The importance of reconnecting

Linda Kaplan Thaler can be introduced in many ways, and all of them were on virtual display recently before a Madison business audience.

As the former CEO of the Kaplan Thaler Group, she grew a startup company into an advertising giant with over $1 billion in billings thanks to award-winning campaigns such as the Aflac duck. She has also produced jingles that are industry standard such as “I Don’t Want to Grow Up, I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid.” Her talents have earned her the Advertising Woman of the Year Award and well-deserved status as one of Ad Age’s Most Influential Women in Advertising and the first woman to win the Clio Lifetime Achievement Award.

While with the Kaplan Thaler Group, her clients included Proctor and Gamble, City Bank, Pfizer, and Wendy’s. She also is a nationally acclaimed author and has written several bestsellers, including The Power of Nice, Grit to Great, and Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World, which was her recurring theme at IB Presents.

Perhaps the best way to introduce her is as a sought-after motivational speaker, and her highly informative and entertaining presentation at IB Presents offered ample proof of why she frequently appears before business groups and university audiences. Kaplan Thaler, now president of Kaplan Thaler Productions, delivered the kind of content that was rarely available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We regret that she could not appear before a live audience, which was the original plan, because hers is a show that should be taken on the road. Her insight into fostering a more creative workplace gave those in virtual attendance a lot to think about as we begin to maneuver out of the pandemic.

Speaking of the post-pandemic period, the advice Kaplan Thaler dispensed about reconnecting — in person — might have been her most timely. She recalled how she was able to deliver what proved to be the winning pitch to Dan Amos, the CEO of Aflac, because his best friend happens to be a man that she took out to lunch 15 years earlier, and her lunch date remembered her. “I just took him out because the guy wanted some thoughts about advertising,” Kaplan Thaler recounts. “Didn’t think anything of it, but it planted a seed. So, making those connections is so important, even when you least expect it.”

Click here to sign up for the free IB Ezine — your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.