If Every Picture Tells A Story, Rob Norman's New Board Seat Speaks Volumes

Robert Norman

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But what's the value of adding the head of the largest digital media-buying organization in the world to Pictela, a fledgling online content management system focused on delivering high-definition photos, video and other content for brand marketers? At the very least, it should be worth thousands of contacts, referrals, leads, and at least one trade press scoop.

But what makes Rob Norman's entry to the board of Pictela especially newsworthy, is that Norman, the worldwide CEO of GroupM Interaction, the largest buyer of online media, and co-CEO of GroupM North America, is that unlike many top media agency execs, the doesn't take on many outside board roles.

"I am not a serial board member as it happens," Norman tells Online Media Daily. "I joined the board of Pictela because Greg and Matt are former colleagues, current friends and people I admire personally and professionally."

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Greg is Greg Rogers, a co-founder and current CEO of Pictela, who previously was a top exec at behavioral targeting firm Tacoda. Matt is Matt Straz, the current CMO of Pictela, who previously was a senior Partner at GroupM's Mediaedge:cia unit, where he worked with Norman. Other Pictela connections to GroupM include two advisory board members: Carrie Frolich , managing director for digital at Mediaedge:cia; and Alan Schanzer, chief strategy officer at Undertone Networks, who previously worked for GroupM's MEC Interaction unit.

Ordinarily, when media agency honchos take seats on the boards of emerging media companies, it's for some strategic reason, such as when Norman's boss Irwin Gotlieb, the worldwide CEO of GroupM, took a position on addressable TV advertising developer Invidi's board after GroupM made a strategic investment in that company. Other media agency chiefs routinely take seats on boards or advisory boards as part of equity positions.

Norman says he joined the board of Pictela out of friendship, curiosity and respect for their products and services.

"From a product POV, I joined because brands find themselves in choppy waters navigating the primordial ooze of online content and Pictela creates a creatively rich safe harbor. For those of us who believe that branding online is important this matters," he explains.

Pictela, whose name is a compound of the words photograph, movie and a "thin web like structure," says it is a "global platform for distributing high definition brand content across multiple online channels," and that it currently reaches more than 120 million consumers worldwide and 1 billion impressions daily with high definition video, photos, text and other content on behalf of brands.

It launched in 2009 with Disney and American Idol, Pictela and currently works with marketers in the retail, consumer packaged goods, automotive and entertainment categories, and boasts media partners including Time Inc., The Wall Street Journal, Scripps Networks, Glam Media, Hearst, Rodale and Thomson Reuters.

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