We’re thrilled to announce that Tesa Aragones has joined Discord as Chief Marketing Officer where she’ll oversee brand, consumer, and product marketing functions as Discord broadens to welcome a variety of new users.
Before joining our team Tesa was the CMO at VSCO. She is an award-winning digital and brand marketing executive who brings more than 25 years of experience managing global brands including Nike and Volkswagen. She is the original creator of Nike Training Club, one of Nike’s most popular digital communities!
Tesa, a Detroit-native, is a recipient of Ad Age’s 40 Marketers Under 40, a member of the Advisory Council for the Cranbrook Academy of Art since 2011, an official judge at the Cannes Festival of Creativity Future Lions, a member of the Forbes Communications Council, and an inventor on 12 patents filed by Nike.
I sat down with her to hear a bit more about her initial thoughts about Discord — check it out!
Tell us about your background and some of your accomplishments before joining Discord.
First of all, thanks Jason. I’m super excited to be joining you and the Discord team on this journey. Really looking forward to getting started.
But as far as my background, I am first-generation Filipino and I grew up in Detroit. These data points are important for me to mention because my parents were immigrants which is why I’m particularly grateful for the opportunities and successes that I have had during my career. And, as a woman and a person of color, “where I come from” defines a lot about how I move through life. Growing up in Detroit instilled in me an appreciation and real passion for innovation, creativity, and a whole lot of hustle.
As for my career, I’ve been fortunate to have worked for some of the most iconic brands on some incredible projects. I’ve also split my career on the agency and client-side of the business which has taught me the fundamentals of marketing, digital innovation, and the creative process. I’ve come to realize that the work I’m most proud of works in more than one way–it has to solve a consumer’s need, move the world forward, and inspire with a great story. Projects at Nike, Volkswagen, Apple, Xbox, and VSCO were some of my favorites.
As a veteran executive with 25 years of experience working in the marketing industry with global brands like Nike and VSCO, what drew you to Discord? Is there anything about Discord’s brand that stood out to you?
I have used Discord for some time now. I was originally introduced to it by my nephew Izaak who, since he was very young, has played video games online. Izaak is in college now, and Discord has become his primary form of communication with his friends — and with me.
But it was not until earlier this year when I started to appreciate Discord for its ability to connect people and serve communities. Over the past several months, the feelings of fear and isolation arising from the global pandemic and quarantine have become part of our daily lives.
For someone used to commuting to an office, working alongside my teams, and collaborating with partners, these dramatic lifestyle shifts have been jarring and, more than anything, isolating. As I’m sure many of us do, I miss the sense of connection that these communities give me. I began to wonder, “Where do I belong?”
With the global events of 2020, I realized I needed to expand my definition of the word, “belonging”, beyond simply “an affinity for a place or situation”. In previous roles, I’ve focused on a powerful, but narrow, expression of community. At Nike, I created a digital training community through Nike Training Club. At VSCO, I fostered a digital creative community. I’m proud of these accomplishments and the impact of these communities.
But 2020 has helped me understand the even greater potential in digital communities to find purpose and belonging. That is why it was so inspiring and refreshing to meet you and learn that Discord exists to give everyone the power to create belonging in their life. The feeling of “belonging” is a universal human need. And now more than ever, people are looking for ways to stay connected. I believe that there is so much opportunity for Discord as a brand because the service serves this very specific need for all kinds of communities.
Tapping into these insights will be exciting. I used to love the athlete storytelling that we did at Nike, especially around the Olympics for the same reason. The best product innovation and brand storytelling are almost always inspired by the people and communities that we serve.
What are you most excited to work on at Discord?
I am most excited to help grow the Discord brand and work alongside the talented Discord team. To say that I want to help the Discord brand reach its full potential might sound funny given that Discord just became the #1 social network in the app store, but I love the strategic challenges and work involved in building brands and bringing them to life with the art, science, and emotion of marketing.
If you had to describe Discord’s brand in 5 words, what would you choose?
Tell us about what you meant when you said that companies should “obsess the consumer journey”?
I have a very consumer-centric approach to marketing and innovation. I believe in putting the consumer in the center of everything a brand does and then designing experiences that serve customers along their journey.
In practical terms, this often means mapping out the consumer journey and establishing an emotional connection at every touchpoint with the brand. It’s never enough to only think about the end goal or KPI. A deep understanding of your consumer at every point along their journey enables brands to make each interaction more meaningful and relevant.
Building iconic brands is a full-funnel discipline and craft. Brands that only focus on lower-funnel metrics often lose brand affinity over time. Brands that obsess about the consumer journey have real potential to become global icons.