Brian Berner holds almost two decades of experience as an advertising media and technology executive. For the past decade, he has been the Head of North American Advertising Sales at Spotify, where he oversees all personnel related to the country’s Advertising Partnerships. Berner works with management to set forth Spotify’s go-to-marketing strategy. He also leads the development of ad product and sales strategies to create products for Spotify’s Advertising Partners to market to their consumers in an authentic, yet impactful way.
Advertising has been a passion of Berner’s since he was a college student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Here, he studied Management Information Systems with a concentration in Library Information Systems. It wasn’t until he began selling advertisements in the school newspaper, The Daily Illini, that Brian Berner knew he would pursue a career in advertising rather than his original path of investment banking.
After graduating in 2003, he accepted a position at an email marketing firm that would eventually become MySpace, the premier social media site at the time. Brian Berner was the first salesperson to spearhead revenue efforts for the company. He began his tenure as an individual contributor but quickly advanced to Sales Manager and, eventually, became the Sales Director for the Midwest. In 2010, he moved to another marketing solutions firm where he worked as Vice President of Midwest Sales for a little over a year.
In 2011, Brian Berner accepted a position with Spotify as their Regional Vice President for the Midwest. His experience and leadership was vital in their expansion into the Midwest and throughout the United States. It was this oversight that elevated Berner into overseeing all of Spotify’s U.S. advertising sales.
For Brian Berner, working at Spotify was a no-brainer. At the time, combining social sharing with music streaming was a newer innovation, so there were a lot of learning curves as companies attempted to refine their services. Berner recognized that Spotify was the first company to really get it right. They seamlessly aligned tech, social connections, content discovery, with a world-class user interface. Out of all the music services, Spotify was ahead of the game and already planning for the future. Berner knew he wanted to be a part of this future.
Brian Berner’s biggest accomplishment at Spotify to-date has been taking their salesforce from private to public. This was a massive undertaking that required the implementation of new business rules, accounting practices, and customer communications. Berner has grown Spotify’s NA Sales team from 40 employees to over 170 employees and is actively involved in cultivating their talent so they can continue to achieve career growth in advertising.
Brian Berner also encourages his team to get involved with as many philanthropic organizations as they can throughout the United States. Spotify supports various fundraising efforts, as well as offers hands-on volunteer days to their team members.
Berner is excited to help Spotify break into the podcast space and continue expanding their operations overseas. This will continue to open up new opportunities and customers that will continue to grow their services and user base.
While he has achieved more than he had set out to accomplish at the beginning of his career, Brian Berner is continually looking for the next milestone to strive for, whether it’s in the professional sphere or in his personal life. He has a deep interest in philanthropy and education, and one of his long-term goals is to lend his efforts toward further building upon Chicago’s startup culture and improving their education system, where he grew up.