Meet Allison Statter: CEO Of Blended Strategy Group
Updated: Dec 7, 2020
You might recognize Allison Statter rocking her fresh 90’S kicks and scrunchie adorned side pony in her best friend Kim Kardashian’s Instagram throwbacks, but there’s so much more to this LA native. She’s a cofounder of the influencer marketing and PR agency Blended Strategy Group, super mom to three sons, and is about to launch the KKW x ALLISON collection.
I chatted with Allison to learn how she’s reshaping the influencer and celebrity talent ecosystem and how her background managing global superstars like Christina Aguilera and J. Lo in the early aughts taught her how to create brand campaigns that win in the modern digital world.
Kate Talbot: Where do you get your drive for success from and how has that shaped your career?
Allison Statter: I got that drive from both of my parents. My mom, Shelli Azoff, managed players from the U.S. Soccer Team and had an integral part in the rebuild of the LA Forum and my dad, Irving Azoff, is an music and entertainment legend managing many artists including Eagles and Jon Bon Jovi, as well as, previous CEO of Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment LYV.
I've always worked. I spent my summers as a teen as a receptionist and in salons cleaning out the hair bins or the trash cans. I went to college for two years, but it wasn’t a fit. Coming home, I ended up working at a West Hollywood salon with a dream to be a makeup artist.
One day, my dad called and asked for my help in the office for only two weeks. I was reluctant to do so. I didn’t want to be seen as the boss's daughter. However, I knew if he asked, I needed to take it seriously. What was supposed to be two weeks turned into seventeen years.
Talbot: What was your experience in talent management like?
Statter: It was the best thing that could have happened. I was with my dad through the evolution, rebirth, and the growth of his management company, Azoff Music Management. I started as his assistant answering phones, sending faxes, and grabbing lunch, and I worked my way to becoming one of the leading managers. My clients were female powerhouses at the top of their game: J. Lo, Christina Aguilera, and Jewel. I was brokering global brand deal partnerships with Fortune 500 companies like Pepsi and L’Oreal.
Executing on these campaigns is where I found I could flex my business muscle in terms of the negotiations but also my creative muscle, asking, "What should this campaign look like? And how does it authentically speak to the client?" That began my love for brand work. At that time, social media wasn’t as prevalent; it was more traditional campaigns. It was incredible to be immersed in the evolution of how brands leaned into the digital world.
Talbot: Tell me about Blended Strategy Group.
Statter: After seventeen years, I hit a point where I just felt like I had done everything I could. I wanted to show that I could succeed independently of the family business. I was lucky enough to meet my co-founder Sherry Jhawar when she was at the brand EOS. We hit it off day one. I always knew I wanted to start my own business, but not alone. I had never met the right person until Sherry. Between my skill-set of talent and hers of brand, we have a one plus one equals one hundred. And that's really where the path to Blended Strategy Group started.
We officially launched in 2015 with the intent to service brand and talent for anything entertainment, marketing related. Five years ago, brands were such novices in the influencer marketing space. They didn’t know how to execute campaigns or how much to invest. For us at Blended Strategy Group, we’re rooted in influencer and celebrity marketing. We got our feet wet and into a really good rhythm and started to onboard tons of clients. The next natural capability was to add a PR division to be able to service our brand in a cohesive way across celebrity and influencer marketing.
We really believe that there is a white space in the market for an agency to be able to service brands uniquely, whether it's an influencer campaign, to the PR, to the social media strategy, it all goes together in the same kind of wheel.
Talbot: What do you enjoy most working with your clients?
Statter: What I love most is the creativity and collaboration. Whether we're working with Reebok on a YouTube focused strategy on a shoe launch or Tiffany & Co. TIF -0.3% on a global brand ambassador program, or with Chelsea Handler on her female-focused Cannabis brand, the common thread is we flex our creative muscles and have fun doing that. It’s the best when clients are receptive to our outside the box ideas, and we all come up with fresh, new campaigns that bring that wow factor on social media.
Talbot: You just launched your collaboration with your BFF with the KKW x ALLISON collection, can you tell me more about how it came about?
Statter: Kim is a serial entrepreneur who has built an incredible business for herself. Not just in beauty, but in apparel with SKIMS, she even has a video game that does phenomenally well. She's a force, and I am inspired by her.
KKW Beauty has had such enormous growth since its launch. The KKWxAllison collection came about with her wanting to partner together. I said, “I would love to do a collection, but I need to be able to wear the makeup." It was me explaining to her how with three boys under ten and with running a company, I have no time to do my makeup. When I do have time, I want it to be easy.
The goal of this collection is to be very attainable — beautiful makeup for the busy woman, the mom-on-the-go, and even the makeup junkie. We want to create this collection for everyone, not just for a specific tone, makeup artist, or YouTuber. We genuinely believe that this collection can work for every single person out there.
Talbot: What content trends are you seeing currently?
Statter: It's so fascinating how things quickly shift. We went from Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat to now TikTok. You have these various channels to communicate in their own specific way, and each platform has niche audiences and influencers.
Millennials and Gen-Zs are so savvy. They know how to communicate better than anyone and create content that their consumers and followers are most receptive to. I have a brother who is 22 years old. He'll post something on Instagram with a caption that I don't understand, but his entire 40,000 followers know exactly what it means. Brands need to lean into these influencers to tell their stories, market their products, and help create the content.
Talbot: How have you integrated these Gen-Z influencers into your campaigns?
Statter: We work with Gen-Z superstars like YouTuber Emma Chamberlain and TikTok’s Dixie D’Amelio. Our strategy is to connect influencers when they’re on the rise to beauty and fashion brands. A few years ago, we partnered Lili Reinhart with Dermalogica. From the time we signed her, to the time her campaign came out, she gained three million followers. These Gen-Z influencers are so valuable, savvy, and smart.
Talbot: Lastly, what advice do you have for female founders wanting to start their own venture?
Statter: I took the biggest leap of faith. I left job security and the family business to venture out on my own. I believed in myself, and I wasn't going to let anything come in the way. Every entreprenuer who has that gut instinct and the drive to try to follow your dream, you have to take that journey.
I knew that I had a vision to start this business with Sherry. We had to do a lot of work to figure it out, but we followed our hearts. You have to be okay making mistakes and failing. You have to trust yourself to do it. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Follow your passion. Follow your dreams. That is what got me to where I am today.