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Meet Rob Hoppenheim of Kindustry

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rob Hoppenheim.

Rob, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Montreal, Canada, a very open-minded and cultural city which has shaped the progressive way I think. I started as corporate lawyer and passed the bar both in Quebec (Frenchheritage Civil law) and NYC (Common law). I changed career path to work with global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman and traveled a lot including to Europe to lead change/restructuring strategies.

I was hired by founder of global retailer Aldo Shoes, Aldo Bensadoun, to enter international markets and to lead the marketing department. As head of global branding, I brought social impact marketing to the world in one of the first bold, provocative and aesthetically beautiful cause-marketing and celebrity-driven campaign: “ALDO FIGHTS AIDS”. Launched globally, it was a multichannel, multi-lingual and multi-cultural campaign at the very beginning of the cause marketing revolution and acted as a catalyst for the rapid growth of this new approach to branding and marketing. The campaign, which included people like Charlize Theron, Pink, John Mayer, Eva Mendes, Michelle Yeoh, Ludacris, Adrien Brody, among others, raised millions of dollars, achieved billions of impressions worldwide and became a case study at the Wharton School and others.

This campaign was a turning point for me. I decided to go on my own to develop transformative ideas and platforms for brands and organizations with global reach particularly in the luxury, beauty, fashion, retail, hospitality, tourism and art/culture spaces for a living. I founded the branding and strategy advisory, KINDUSTRY, a company that works with global brands, organizations, and countries on where they go next to achieve growth or manage disruption. Social impact, purpose, and cultural relevance are important threads that run through all of its work. In addition to advising brands and groups such as CBS 60 Minutes, M.A.C Cosmetics / Estée Lauder Group, Sotheby’s, Four Seasons, the Clinton Foundation, and Selfridges, KINDUSTRY works with organizations on developing marketing platforms, cultural events, docu-series and social impact ventures. I also sit on the board of HIV/AIDS Foundations, museums dedicated to the Holocaust and human rights, and other philanthropic organizations.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road is definitely not smooth. Any entrepreneur will tell you, it’s a roller coaster which can be exhilarating one day and make you feel sick the next.

Challenges:
– Having to think about and being responsible for every single aspect of the business (admin, legal, financial, business development, HR, etc.)
– Convincing brands or organizations about the need to think more progressively about their business as it is being disrupted.
– Ensuring a continuous flow of the right type of work in order to build a cohesive portfolio to position the company in a unique manner.
– Finding and hiring extremely versatile types of people who are unafraid of rolling up their sleeves and have an entrepreneurial spirit.
– Gruesome hours (months!), energy and money spent on doing business development.
– Doing the work and having to, in parallel, publish it, brand and promote the business (or yourself) in order to attract more work.
– Stretching yourself too thin in every way possible.

Kindustry – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We work with brands and organizations on where they go next. We live at the intersection of bold, culturally-relevant, consumer-facing branding and social impact. We work through three key pillars: Kindustry brand architecture: Evolving brand architecture in a dynamic way, including: brand essence, identity, and communications platforms to enhance (corporate) culture, achieve growth, optimize (social) impact and maximize brand value and cultural relevance. Clients we’ve advised: M.A.C Cosmetics, Selfridges, Four Seasons, Sotheby’s Auction House, The Clinton Foundation, CBS, 60 Minutes, etc. Kindustry culture: Shining light on important social and cultural issues (and the brands that get behind them) through engaging content, interactive exhibitions and events that break stigmas, educate, entertain, question, and offer honest perspectives. We work with strategic production partners to create and produce high-quality, culturally relevant, multi-platform content and experiences that will elevate brands, organizations, countries, and communities through films, series, events/experiences, PR, social media, product placement and development, and publishing. Kindustry venture: Building and incubating the next-generation of businesses that exist authentically at the intersection of profit and the greater good or bring a new narrative or solution to the world. See: VOILÀ LES HÉROÏNES (at voilalesheroines.com). We are also currently developing a skincare brand.

What we are the most proud of: doing work that is important. Period. e.g.: We are working with the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, The Clinton Global Initiative and Expedia Cares, among other important stakeholders, to develop the strategic and communications roadmap for a more resilient, sustainable, progressive, and globally competitive regional branding and marketing strategy for the Caribbean.

What sets us apart: we are nimble: our team is led by a small core group of innovative thinkers and communications executives with a world-class, global network of journalists, marketing or creative people all bound by a vision that art and ideas can shine a light on the world’s most important and critical issues, inspire change, and engage people and organizations to drive towards what’s good.

We do incredibly diverse work: in breadth: from MAC to the Art hotel in LA’s art district to Rebranding the Caribbean Region to the Holocaust Museum in Montreal, to visioning the mall of the future, etc. Just recently we were engaged bu the United Nations for a visioning work as the UN marks its 75th anniversary. In depth: from conception to execution – e.g.: launching our own brands from soup to nuts, rebranding a global brand and creating a campaign to communicate it, etc. Our inputs are different (art, pop culture, politics, culinary, music, travel, etc.) – Our ability to pull threads / synthesize large amount of complex information. Thoughtful and intuitive visioning work / creating large scale progressive platforms expressed authentically and in a beautiful and creative way.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Personal definition of success: Finding a way to do the work we believe in. Success criteria: The number of people positively impacted by our work (e.g.: Rebranding the Caribbean project). Setting new standards for an industry or space (e.g.: post ALDO fights AIDS campaign). The number of people who want to work with us because the work deeply resonates with them. Ultimately, when our work translates into authentic, verifiable impact for a client and their community.

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