We’ve got thoughts, oh yes we do. Sure this newsletter is typically quarterly and we’re a little early, but we’ve missed you and who doesn’t enjoy a little light reading on a summer Wednesday? Diving right in…
Keeping it well rounded
This month, we’ve been musing on two completely different topics both related to summer: seasonal pop-ups and Pride Month. While obviously on opposite ends of the social responsibility spectrum, both have bright, colorful connotations and signal the start of the summer season. Read our two blogs below for more on our thoughts related to best in class pop-ups and being respectful of the historical context of Pride while still celebrating the community through brand marketing.
Of course, these aren’t the only things we’re thinking about. We’re always looking for unique takes on brand-guided experiences and what is motivating consumers. Fit is it in this breakdown on the rise of in-home styling services & Mary Meeker’s annual internet trends reportconfirms your suspicion that images are increasingly relevant in internet based communications (time to up your meme game). Airbnb is expanding their experiences division to offer 3-7 day trips catering to nomadic millennials but really all we want is to experience the inside of Augusta National.
We’ll be seeing you & thanks for reading! The One Two Team.
How to partake in cause marketing effectively without alienating your customers
by One Two Collective staff
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, and the energy around Pride Month is at a fever pitch. Corporate marketers love to let their inclusion banner wave and paint everything from their Twitter logos to limited edition t-shirts rainbow in June. We love seeing all the creative usage of rainbows, but cause marketing can be tricky and how you navigate these waters can be the difference between swimming or sinking your reputation. Anytime you publicly align your brand with politics you’re going to see some type of backlash because of the nature of the internet and online trolls. Despite this, it is still important to push cause marketing and stay true to your beliefs because consumers want to work with brands who are willing to put themselves out there to support causes they believe in and exemplify.
This year in particular the LGBTQ+ community has made it clear that they expect brands to be year-round allies and pandering to fit in will no longer cut it. Vocal LGBTQ spokespeople have used their platform to offer guidance by reminding brands that catering to your LGBTQ demo is no longer exceptional, it’s the standard and with the political climate in this country there just isn’t room for inauthenticity in this space.
As you know, we’re big fans of piggybacking on cultural moments to gain a boost for your brand, so how do you participate and support an event without being accused of co-opting it? Time to tap into a core value of ours, authenticity and get busy aligning your brand values with the community you want to engage with. While we’re specifically discussing Pride Month and the connected LGBTQ community to inform the content of this specific blog, these tips will come in handy regardless of the cultural moment you’re interested in tapping into.
There are more recognizable faces than anytime in LGBTQ history and yet the demographic is still underrepresented in many areas. The first openly gay governor has only been in office for a year and as of 2018 only 6.4% of primetime television characters can be described as LGBTQ. This is why it’s important to incorporate LGBTQ voices into the marketing efforts you wrap around your brand and embody the cause you’re taking on. When reflecting on what we know about creating a consumer experience, there are two relevant takeaways here. First, partnering with influencers who convey authenticity are more successful than those who fake engagement or overdo sponsored content. Additionally, we also know Gen Z loves to put their stamp on things and participate in the actual crafting of campaigns and the development of products and services to reflect their ideologies.
Weighing both of these considerations, utilizing an influential voice to support your brand is the surface level answer, but engaging your partners to design and contribute to your overall look and feel creates a more authentic campaign tone. Engaging with leaders in specific communities to create your tone, message, and supporting overall causes in addition to showing support during specific “celebration” times shows that you are actually invested in the community and not leveraging them for sales. Keep in mind that doing this component well takes time and effort so prepare to start partnership talks early to craft a message that works for both of you. The benefit of working with community voices is twofold: not only are you avoiding the clueless trope of executives making decisions about communities they don’t represent, but you’re creating authentic content that is discoverable and can be repurposed by your brand.
Speaking of creating content, one overarching goal of Pride is to elevate the voices of the LGBTQ community. You don’t have to work for a media organization to create opportunities for your brand to participate in or even host conversations around Pride, especially as it pertains to your industry. Who are the LGBTQ representatives and vocal allies in your organization and industry? What are they contributing to your brand and the community they represent as a whole? Work with your PR team to develop the best methodology to distribute their insights whether that’s the local news or a Facebook Live conversation and strive to own even a small space of the thought leadership angle of the cause you’re focused on.
The world is evolving quickly, and cause marketing is going to continue to look different every year, too. We’re not here to discourage your brand from participating in a cause you believe in, but instead push you to create a campaign and deliver a message rooted in thoughtfulness and authenticity. One of the great things about social media is that there is no shortage of new voices waiting to be discovered on Instagram, new artists waiting to showcase their talents, and new ways to show how your brand embraces the community you’re supporting. Embrace your diverse audiences and bring them into the conversation, we can all learn from each other.
Additionally, if you’re looking for a place to start to support the LGBTQ community, please consider these organizations that support LGBTQ youth:
If you’ve ever sat in a fluorescent-lit office just knowing everyone outside is doing something way more fun than you, then you’ve experienced the pull of summer energy. Summer energy is colorful, active and fleeting. Devising a way for your brand to tap into that FOMO with a pop up activation is a great way to make a splash in a season that can be otherwise limiting.
Rather than give a white paper version of the technical components of popping up that are a given, we’re going to call out some creative summer experiences and our thoughts on what they’re doing right and the takeaways you can apply to your own brand.
Milk Bar Austin
Christina Tosi has carved a unique space for herself out in the competitive world of baking with her nostalgia inspired confections, and her Milk Bar concept has been going strong for over a decade. However, unless you’re New York or LA based, you’re likely experiencing her famous birthday cake or compost cookies merely at the wiles of your most ambitious baking friend. Tosi and team offered a short term remedy to this locational deficit by popping up for a week in Austin after participating in local food fest Hot Luck held at the end of May every year.
While a food truck is not a novel concept on its face, the flawless execution of this week-long pop up is something to be commended. In town for a little over a week, the bright pink ‘69 Chevy postal truck stopped by four different local destinations offering a way to cater to an existing fan base and a way for the brand to trial a new market. Clear communication, defined operating hours and a mobile operating space that channels the brand’s personality is a great example of how to make a short term setup work for your fans and your budget.
If you’re reading this thinking, we don’t sell shirts and we don’t bake cookies- do pop ups even apply to us? Great questions! And, yes. A pop up is a great way to sell awareness around your brand and educate a new audience on why you’re the best. At the root of any quality retail experience is creativity, and that is even more critical when you’re selling something not quite as tangible as a piece of clothing. Pantone, the proprietary color wheel known for its use in printing, manufacturing and plastics, is well regarded but because their revenue focus is on licensing vs actual product output, their unique approach to popping up was creating the Pantone Café.
A colorful micro eatery, the beachside cafés are devoted to food and beverage items that can be classified by its color matching system. The brand has hosted three different cafés over the last few summers capitalizing on bold pops of color that photograph well and lend themselves to social media. The spaces are clean, photo ready and at trendy beachside locales perfect for short term activations. If you want to emulate their creativity for your non-tangible service, you want to be focusing on what activity guests will be doing on site (eating, hands-on samples etc), how they’ll be sharing the information (instagram, mainly), and how exclusive you want your activation to be (one location or ten, destination location or traditional).
Goop MRKT Amagansett
We unironically stan a beachside pop up and Goop is no stranger to the short term retail game. Their MRKT concept floats around the country popping up in trendy cities in peak season and the Amagansettlocation is a natural addition to the roster. Programmed to the hilt and flocked with a steady stream of well clad influencers, it’s hard to critique this shiny focal piece even if you want to find the lifestyle they’re pushing cloying. So let’s focus on what the lifestyle pop up whiz is doing right.
Location location location. Being where your consumers vacation, relax and play is a prime place to sell them goods. Without a high pressure sales environment, it gives customers a more laid back setting to try something new allowing them and the retailer to experiment with things they might not have otherwise. The other major player in their success here is the influencer focused integrations. Local partners and media figures who are relevant to the brand through a variety of industries from cooking to fashion make the brands seem relatable and accepting to a wide customer demographic. To engage the local market in person and develop a broader reach online, you can sample elements of their smart programming and make it work for you no matter your brand or pop up size. Small bursts of well defined thought leadership moments, food instructions or socially motivated parties can serve as great speed bumps to build a robust event calendar while also providing organic content for the duration of your activation.