Esther Franklin

Esther “E.T.” Franklin has changed the way the advertising industry looks at multiculturalism. By encouraging marketers to take what she calls an “inside out” perspective, she’s helped iconic brands understand cultural identities and media consumption habits from local to global audiences.
Esther leads the creative vision for the Human Experience Strategy Network in the Americas. Within this function, Esther and her team develop next generation human understanding initiatives and tools, cultivate talent and integrate behavioral data into strategy development. Esther collaborates with client teams to help deliver more meaningful experiences designed to address and seize evolving challenges and opportunities.
In her prior role, Esther pioneered Cultural Communication Anthropology (CAA), which explores cultural behaviors and communication consumption patterns to understand the impact on people’s adoption of brands, services, message engagement and content development. She also spearheaded the creation of Consumer Context Planning (CCP) which transformed SMG from media company to marketing partner with a stronger emphasis on emerging communication vehicles and human understanding.
Her passion with culture and identity led Esther to work on Beyond Demographics, proprietary research exploring the role of subculture in redefining broader communities. To date, efforts have focused on African American, Latino, Asian American and LGBT communities, and have reshaped perspectives on each audience and how to better engage from a client perspective.
Industry authorities have recognized Esther for her invaluable expertise and understanding of the entire consumer spectrum. From being named an AdAge “Women to Watch” to receiving the “Changing the Game” honor from Advertising Women of New York (AWNY), Esther has been celebrated for shifting the paradigm on how marketers view and communicate with consumers. She was duly honored with the prestigious “Legend Award” at the 2011 AdColor Ceremony. And most recently, she has been identified as one of the Top Women Executives in Advertising & Marketing by Black Enterprise in both 2012 & 2013. A published author of several multicultural and subculture targeting pieces, Esther is sought out as a speaker and panelist on all topics related to the evolving consumer landscape.
Additionally, she is the current chair of The HistoryMakers National Advisory Board's Advertising/Marketing Committee and on the global advisory committee of the World Future Society. She is also a board member of the Family Institute at Northwestern University and the Chicago Urban League.
Esther spent the majority of her career at Leo Burnett working on various Philip Morris brands as VP, planning director for Marlboro USA. She was instrumental in launching several corporate trend initiatives, including LeoShe, Foresight Matters and 20Twenty Vision, focused on the female consumer and twenty-something audience. She appeared on Oprah touting LeoShe's research on beauty myths

A Chicago native, Esther received a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and her master's of management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Business School.
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