January 01, 2019
A Commercial Innovation Company
An Interview with Lisa Brown, Global Chief Strategy and Chief Business Development Officer
Prior to joining Active in 2012, Lisa Brown served as CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports, CEO of Maverick Communications, President of Interactive Marketing for AOL, CEO and President of Electronic Commerce Solutions a IAC company, and Senior Vice President, Group Sales and Marketing for TeleRep, Inc., a Cox Communication company.
With 35 years of experience, Active International (activeinternational.com) is a global financial solutions company that drives performance and improves business outcomes for leading brands. A data-driven company, with media as a core competency, Active operates a full-service omnichannel media agency. In addition to media, Active brings to bear a broad portfolio of competencies such as Asset Disposition/Merchandise Sales, Real Estate, Retail Marketing, Travel and Hospitality, Freight & Logistics, and Lighting. Through the application of its core business model, Active is able to create financial benefits to serve its clients. Active International is based in New York and has offices in 15 countries.
How do you define the Active of today?
Active was formed 35 years ago with the mission of offering a differentiated, scalable and client centric form of corporate barter and trade. Our trades create spread, and we use that spread to create financial benefits to clients, and we derive our profits from the utilization of our spread. We are a no-fee model and we continue to be the leader in that area today.
Given our FORTUNE 50 client base and established trust, we have since evolved to a commercial innovation company, which now involves utilizing our trading model to provide our clients customized solutions that improve their bottom lines at scale.
Our client-centric approach has led to the development of a suite of products and services that go way beyond the borders of what would be known as corporate trade.
We now describe ourselves as a commercial innovation company, because we believe we have developed products and services that are quite innovative and that change business outcomes for brands and allow them to innovate while they operate.
How important has it been to engage those who have worked at Active for many years in this transformation?
We believe that we have become a best-in-class corporate trade company and the leader in corporate trade simply because of our people and the ability to execute.
Prior to an official launch, we spent two years working with our more than 600 employees worldwide and getting their thoughts and buy-in so that they are completely comfortable with our transformation and our evolution into a commercial innovation company.
For instance, our media practice, which was designed to provide fulfillment support to corporate trade transactions, is now a full-service media agency with everything from data, analytics and planning capabilities through to measurements and optimization. It serves both our clients and our agency partners.
Will you discuss Active’s culture of being entrepreneurial and disruptive?
Developing the type of corporate trade company Alan (Elkin, CEO) developed stems from not only the model but also the leadership.
Alan and Arthur (Wagner, President) are the type of executives who are completely open to entrepreneurial ideas and, thus, attract people who are entrepreneurial and keenly interested in staying ahead of the marketplace.
In a world of disruption, Active is certainly a disruptor. When Alan and Arthur started the company, they came up with an idea for corporate trade and barter that was differentiated from the competition. They started the business with that disruptive notion 35 years ago.
We have a company where being entrepreneurial and disruptive in an effort to serve clients in a more distinctive way is in our DNA. This makes us uniquely suited to deal with the disruptive marketplace that businesses are dealing with today.
Client centricity has also always been in our DNA. We have a group of people that like to be able to offer very smart and entrepreneurial ideas that are designed to change business outcomes for our clients as we also do it for ourselves.