We Are MGM—Hear Us Roar!

Jessica Cipolla-Tario is SVP of Advertising & Content at MGM Resorts International, a global hospitality and entertainment company operating destination resorts including best-in-class hotels, casinos and more. In this week’s Inside Scoop, Jessica talks about her team’s recent rebrand, the obstacles they overcame and what they learned along the way.

My first professional job was at a local ad agency. I started as a production assistant for the video and broadcast team. I worked within the creative department for two years and credit that time for helping to shape me into the advertising professional I am today.

I eavesdropped constantly on creative conversations, including heated debates with the account team. I learned the process, from presenting concepts to producing final art. I learned what happens when you render a file. I learned how much a script change can impact a video. And, best of all, I learned how to treat people. I was mortified by how some account people spoke to their creative counterparts and I warned my 23-year-old self not to adopt any of those behaviors when I got to accounts.

I was fortunate to be exposed to so much in those early days and I’ve taken every bit of it with me throughout my career—including my next phase at MGM Resorts International. Having been with the inspiring team at MGM Resorts just shy of 13 years and in my current role for two, we’ve experienced some major changes and learned even more along the way.

The big news is that we recently branded our internal team and announced it to the company. There were so many reasons we needed a name and an identity that went beyond terms like “corporate” or “in-house agency.” And, we chose an identity that’s connected with the one iconic symbol that MGM Resorts identifies with above all others—the MGM lion.

Lions are social animals. And, communication is essential to the survival of the pride. You don’t just hear a lion roar, you feel it. Plus, MGM Resorts is the reigning family within the industry. We, as its creative agency, are heirs to that legacy and the ones responsible for how the world sees us going forward. Introducing ROAR Communications.

I’m very proud of our team for their research and passion in aligning our new identity with MGM Resorts. The reveal of our workgroup brand was a huge success—including our team mascot, Roary (shown here).

We also rolled out a new retainer model for our clients this year, with defined SOWs. This is a big change for our company, though I believe it will help everyone get the quality of work they need to drive business and brand awareness while managing volume. We’re implementing a new DAM solution, extending our server to on-site creatives across the country to improve efficiency and speed to market. And we reorganized to better align with the business including a new conceptual team that we stood up at the start of the year.

The growth of our company is exciting and keeps the work fresh. Our challenge has been keeping up with demand among current and new clients while maintaining quality. Year over year, we’ve experienced a 17% increase in overall scope and a 58% increase in rush projects. We want to be great partners. At the same time, we knew that increased accountability through tracked hours and a retainer model would help us better manage volume and improve our ability to scale, delivering assets faster (at a higher quality) as we focused on being more efficient with where our time was spent.

With growth comes change. I’ve made some big decisions regarding structure and operations within my leadership team based on industry insights, adjusting the way we do things by using best practices I’ve learned through IHAF. My team is excited to be part of a network of people with so many similarities—able to receive feedback quickly from peers at other companies. We had two colleagues attend the IHAF Conference & Awards last fall and they literally came back with four pages of notes (single spaced) of ideas they shared with the rest of us post conference. IHAF has been an amazing addition and support to Roar Communications.

Thank you, Jessica, for your enthusiasm in sharing your story. We wish you well and can’t wait to hear more from Roar Communications. Is your team king of its own jungle? Tell us your tale. We’re always interested in learning more about the people and personalities that comprise our exceptional community

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