Michael Sussman, PhD.
Michael Sussman is an Effie, Cannes Lion and Emmy award-winning creative strategist. He brings a unique expertise and experience helping clients to drive brand momentum. Brand measurement, data, analytic driven insights and creative strategy are part of Michael’s arsenal, helping to guide the outer voice of his client’s brands. Michael has worked on an array of brands and clients across sectors, including strategy work for Pepsi, Target, Dell, Salesforce, Sofi, and Netflix; tracking work for Harley-Davidson, Nestle Purina, Campbell’s and Panera; and partnership work with the NFL, American Express, NBC and the Olympics. Michael has participated in hundreds of agency pitches over the years, helping to identity the brand building blocks and positioning strategies for companies.
As CEO & Chief Product Officer of the BAV Group, Michael’s work has elevated BAV to become WPP’s proprietary global brand study and positioning tool. A lifelong innovator, his impact can be seen on the 6th Annual Best Countries Report which he leads in collaboration with US News and World News Report, and Wharton Business School.
While in graduate school, Michael interned at BBDO Advertising in NYC, where he rose through the ranks of the Marketing Sciences and Strategy Department. It was at BBDO where he developed his first research product, BBDO’s proprietary brand values assessment tool, Personal Drive Analysis®, as an extension and application of his doctoral thesis.
Michael holds a PhD in applied psychology from Hofstra University. He has contributed as an industry expert to Ad Age, Advertising Week and Campaign US, and has been a guest presenter at SXSW (South by Southwest), the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), The Conference Board, Yale University, UNC, NYU Stern, Hofstra University, and the Columbia Business School.
My history and expertise in the ad industry dates back to my earliest days as a student at NYU. In 1993 just before my senior year, I decided to do my thesis on digital photography. The further I researched, the more I was convinced that the days of using film were going to be disrupted by something known as digital capture; so I did two things. I elected to add one more year to my undergraduate degree and decided to get a dual degree - a BA and an MBA - and I took my senior thesis and built a business. It was called Final Image, a consumer facing digital capture facility on the Upper East Side of Manhattan adjacent to a place called West Side Camera, one of the most successful photography stores in Manhattan - frankly in the country.
After a couple years, I knew I was on to something much bigger so I decided to elevate my expertise and know-how to create a digital photography and post production business for the industry by creating a company called Shoot Digital. We were the first to help some of the biggest and most powerful brands adopt digital photography and use digital capture for some of the world's largest campaigns. We even became an incubator for companies like Apple and others to test their technology and equipment in our studios.
Fast forward - we owned the industry. Clients included the likes of Estée Lauder, Neiman Marcus, Max Mara, J Crew, Nicolle Miller, Nike, Valentino, Chantecaille, Chanel, Vogue, Elle and countless others. We became the go-to source for Grey, BBDO, Saatchi and Saatchi, McGarryBowen, Kirschenbaum and Bond, and others.
Our success rooted in our people and a culture built on creativity, a client-first DNA, innovation at its core and joy in the process. Managing a company of hundreds of employees, dozens of clients, overseeing all facets of production made me not just a satisfied entrepreneur, but a happy and fulfilled partner to some of the greatest photographers, clients and agencies in the world. There is nothing I love more than creating new solutions in the world of art and commerce. It's my true north. Shoot Digital became known as "the place to do business for pushing the barriers of innovation while supporting artists creativity" and by being one of the first to use 3D printing to create world class products by prototyping with brands like Chanel and Maharam.
Net, net, my career in the ad world has been defined by three things. A tenacious desire to go where no one has gone before, service as in 24 hour - how can we make it happen - on location - anywhere you want it with instantaneous results and a deep desire to see my clients win. To do that you need the best teams who get disruption, who want to learn and who thrive on delivering the best in class service.