How did the pandemic change both the structure of your business and the way you operate?
Prior to the pandemic, I was looking to pivot to experiential marketing (instead of digital marketing) and already had a few clients I was about to sign. As news evolved and the situation worsened, it became clear that events needed to be cancelled and this potential new avenue I was pursuing needed to be put on pause. It was really scary because contracts had ended with clients and I was counting on these new ones to come to fruition – I had to act fast. I started reaching out to physical retailers and businesses without much of a digital footprint, and sold them on the importance of digital. I also convinced my current clients to adapt quickly to Zoom events and IG lives to foster community during such disconnected times. My company has always been fully remote but the ability to meet with clients around the country actually seems easier, since we’ve all been so acclimated with our screens!
You say that Yes Mam is “a creative consultancy that elevates brands through community.” What is your advice to brands that are looking to foster community, yet can’t meet IRL right now?
I would say invest in your community – feed them content that is inspiring, offer unique experiences to them, and try to make them feel seen and special. Also, engaging ambassadors is a great way to foster community. If possible to gather safely in smaller, outdoor situations to show them some love, or even hosting a monthly Zoom event with an amazing guest/panelist. I think anything that really touches upon self-care and kindness.
During the pandemic, your viral hits were a shining light to many in these tough times. How did focusing on your own work help you in these strange times, and how did you find the courage to put yourself out there so fully?
First of all, thank you! So much of my creativity is found through music and performing, so funnily enough, investing in my own work actually resulted in better products for my clients. Channels had opened up in me and I was able to tap into a flow that made me dream even bigger and come up with even wilder / out-of-the-box ideas for clients. I found the courage because I myself was so terrified, that it was truly just an outlet for me to process what was going on. There was zero expectation around it at all!
As your work is very politically focused, you have also been very vocal about the harassment and antisemitism you have faced. Why do you keep creating content, and what changes would you like made in order to prevent further harm in viral bullying?
If I’m being honest, there are days where I feel unsure/nervous about putting things out. As an outspoken person on very polarizing topics, I am that much more susceptible to criticism, especially by the group(s) I speak/sing about. But, if I really imagine stopping, I think that would be exactly what the bullies want me to do – clearly something is resonating if they are so deeply offended by what I am saying! However, I do think there needs to be better protections against hate speech. There’s a keyword option on Instagram that lets you filter out certain comments, but that doesn’t wipe out the horrific DM’s you may get. I think I continue because I know on some level this comes with the territory and I feel an obligation to speak out on the things I believe in – especially when they’re under attack.
As a female founder, what do you want your legacy to be?
I want to be known as someone who is a trusted mind and creative leader who helped build businesses and communities that really changed the world.
What can we expect from you in 5 years? Or even in 1?
Having a top-charting musical comedy album, expanding YES MAM & continuing to work with exceptional/socially-minded companies, and hopefully having my own little family. We can have it all 🙂
What’s the first thing you do every morning: cuddle my dogs!
What’s the last thing you do every night: find the cool side of the pillow
What app can’t you live without: insight timer (my meditation app!)
What book do we need to read: 3 Women by Lisa Taddeo
Missy Modell is the founder of YES MAM, a creative consultancy and a viral music parody artist. Her work has been featured in Bustle, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Forbes, the Daily News, and more. She resides in NYC with her two senior rescue dogs, Buster and Stewart. You can follow her on Instagram at @missymodell