Erica GruenDigital media and branding strategist

Sub-specialties: The future of television, advertising, the web – what people are watching, where advertising is being spent, how the Internet is influencing traditional TV and print companiesEntertainment trends – what’s hot, what’s not, and whyPopular culture trends in consumer technology – how DVRs, iPods, and mobile phones are changing what and how we watch and readBest practices in managing media and entertainment companies – how companies are preparing for a future of massive change in media consumptionCommentary on the powerful, rich and famous personalities who run big media companies

A creative and respected media brand-builder and visionary, Erica Gruen is a recognized leader in television, advertising, and new media technologies. She is a management consultant specializing in providing integrated business advice to media and entertainment companies such as Microsoft, Pearson Digital Learning, the Comcast Networks, Weight Watchers, Hearst, Rodale Publishing, Reader’s Digest, and others. Erica’s new online TV production studio, Sand & Stars, has shows airing on,,, and

Erica masterminded one of television’s biggest brands as President/CEO of The Food Network and Taking over in June 1996 when the network had no ratings and no distribution, she staged a complete brand and programming turnaround and created a blockbuster in only two years – introducing the smash hits Emeril Live!, The Two Fat Ladies, and The Iron Chef.

Before joining Food, Gruen was Director, Media Services for Merkley Newman Harty (Omnicom). Prior to that, she was SVP, Strategic Media Resources at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, the world’s largest ad agency at the time, running Saatchi’s branded entertainment unit, one of the first of its kind on Madison Avenue. Among her clients were Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Lexus, General Mills, L’eggs/Hanes and Nabisco. As Saatchi’s chief new-media strategist, she also authored a yearly scorecard, A Look at Cable Television, which became a widely referenced industry handbook, and advised all of Saatchi’s Fortune 100 clients in North America on investments in emerging media.

Predicting the coming Internet boom, Gruen also founded and funded Saatchi & Saatchi Interactive in early 1994 – one of the first brand Web-design businesses in the country – and led the construction of groundbreaking sites for Tide, General Mills, Toyota and others. In recognition of her early leadership in interactive, New York Magazine named her one of New York City’s “Cyber 60” in November 1995.

Gruen’s first jobs were as a teacher and school psychologist. She entered television as Marketing Manager for the national launch and rollout of Bravo and Rainbow. In 2006, she was named to the prestigious Cable Pioneers Society. She is a Past Chair of the Women in Cable and Telecommunications Foundation and an Honorary Chair of Cable Positive. Gruen holds an M.S. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. With Honors from the University of Michigan. Follow Gruen on Twitter @egruen.


Vanessa TingBill King