It’s been a long… um, year. We hope this finds you and yours well. Like many of you we’ve had our head down helping our clients, becoming homeschool teachers, working on ourselves – you may have noticed we’ve had some work done.
Your Market Watch
You know you can count on us to be watching everything that’s going on out there and give you the deets. Here’s what’s up:
The Social Dilemma: Those outside the tech industry are catching wind of the power of social media and the potentially negative effects on our democracy and children. Why is this important? Brands need to be more aware of how they’re talking to their audience, why they’re talking, and messaging that is both socially aware in addition to benefiting the bottom line. Thoughtful marketing is more important now than ever.
Rethinking Retail: With the ability to shop in person made more difficult due to the pandemic, many brands are opting for pop-up options for the holidays. Risk is lower with a higher reward. Have you thought about your holiday strategy while in the midst of COVID? Even if physical retail isn’t in the cards this year, there are other ways to break through to your audience.
Influencer Backlash: Influencers have been catching some negative attention since COVID hit both from partner brands and their audience. Consumers are fully aware of “pay to play” strategies and weary of becoming clickbait associated with social issues. Strategic partnerships are vital for brands but must be carefully selected with authentic and true partners who value your product and can build a long term relationship.
What We’ve Been Up To:
BigStar: BigStar is an award-winning motion design and graphics studio that is experiencing growth in both talent and project recognition. OTC came on to amplify and define the agency’s brand identity along with expand their reach to new and prospective clients and talent.
Brand Identity, Internal and External Messaging
Social performance: Organic 20% increase in IG followers, 15K impressions, 7% growth on Twitter and 5% growth on LinkedIn in 5 months
Client pitch wins: 2
Lindsay Neuren Group: OTC partnered with leading Austin realtor Lindsay Neuren to amplify the Lindsay Neuren Group brand through a bespoke strategy that focuses on growing their social following on Instagram, developing a robust advertising strategy with print ads and evergreen video content, and strategically crafting brand partnerships with local Austin brands to distinguish and elevate the Lindsay Neuren Group within the crowded realtor space.
15% Social Growth in followers over four months. Ideate content and saw efforts to tailor content to generate sales leads via social saw 1000%+ increase
Messaging and tagline creation for Website, Social and Advertising copy
Coordinated and creative directed advertisement creation, sourcing agencies for print and video advertising
One Two Collective: Like many clients we work with, 2020 has pushed us to re-evaluate our offerings and ensure that our own marketing strategy makes sense and aligns with the consumer climate we’ve seen shift over the course of the year. We’re still your reliable marketers in residence, we’ve just edited our focus to be what we feel is most relevant to clients today:
Experiential & Retail Optimization
These core services can easily bloom into neighboring areas, but focusing on these four areas maximizes marketing spend and gives the highest ROI to our customers. Browse our new site and get acquainted.
OK! Enough about us. How are you? No, for real, you’re being a stranger. Sayhelloand give us afollow. Your friends, OTC
We help companies of all sizes scale their marketing capabilities to expand brand reach and engage consumers across all touchpoints. We generate results by customizing consumer experiences through creating 360° marketing strategies from scratch or crafting targeted strategies to supplement an existing plan.
The events of recent weeks have left brands in a tailspin and future challenges will continue to make themselves apparent. As marketers in residence, we’re tasked with helping our clients create and implement strategies that drive demand and loyalty and in trying times like these, we feel it’s important to drop the curtain and help as many people as we can. Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing tips for how to strengthen your brand and stand out in a flooded market place.
Top Level Overview
Now that you’ve had a moment to pause and reassess the framework of the situation, it’s time to reallocate your ad spend and strategically focus on the right customers.
Rebalance your budget. Focus on growth and efficiency in marketing and R&D. Cut back on non essentials like fixed asset expenses or nice to have functions.
Over invest in your current customers and new ways to reach them. Ask them what they need from you and make customer service your top priority. Deploy new ways to reach them outside of social media.
Share positive stories and information- tell people where you’re at, show your teams that work tirelessly and get no credit. Give a face to the people in your company so that consumers are more likely to support you.
Next, focus on the brand:
Think long term. This is an event that will change the way people think moving forward. You’re focusing on digital/social now but, what is your long term strategy for connecting on a human (or in-person) level?
Be creative. Content is critical right now. To cut through the clutter, be empathetic to the situation, but find interesting ways to engage with consumers. Advertising prices drop during times of recession (and hopefully the economy will bounce back quickly) so this gives you a unique opportunity to increase your market share. So now might be the time to invest in a new creative strategy.
This is the perfect time to work on your brand messaging and mission. Spend time focusing on your core offerings. Tragedy and the unknown makes consumers more aware of who they invest in, make sure your messaging is authentic and resonates with your audience.
The rising panic around the COVID-19 virus and the uncertainties that come with its level of transferability and mortality have stuck a stake in several marquee spring events. Some, like ShopTalk, have smoothly managed the hiccup, promptly rescheduling for a future date (made possible by taking over the dates for Groceryshop, a sister conference with a smaller audience that is being pushed out to 2021). Others, like SXSW, have publicly floundered with their cancellation plans while weighing how to mitigate both the risks of spreading the virus against the slew of speaker and sponsor cancellations that would adversely affect the experience for attendees who might choose to attend despite a virus scare. After a week of waffling, SXSW ultimately did cancel the 2020 event with the city forcing its hand, and the blowback for both Austin and conference will undoubtedly be felt for months and years to come.
While the reason for canceling these spring 2020 events is due to an unforeseen pandemic, it’s hard not to step back and look at the overall landscape of events and see a crossroads. Face to face is always going to be the gold standard for networking, but the strength of virtual platforms has rapidly expanded, thereby opening the possibilities of interaction around live events. The rise of thought leaders sharing content via TikTok, podcasts and Instagram has lessened the exclusivity offered by industry and entertainment events by increasing access. This digital evolution would continue to peck away at live events regardless of a virus scare, so how can savvy event producers embrace the duality rather than reject it at the expense of their event’s livelihood?
A look at NYFW
In its heyday, nothing was more glam than scoring a seat at a New York Fashion Week show in the Bryant Park Tents. The shift to Lincoln Center came with a loss of designers interested in showing and a more obvious deference to the whims of our corporate sponsor overlords. Socialites in the front row gave way to first wave (Tavi, Garance, et al) bloggers, eventually giving way to the cohort of influencers filling seats at venues that could only be referred to as tents in the most metaphorical sense. New York Fashion Week is not the only event that has suffered in magnitude as consumer interest has changed, but it is one of the most obvious.
The shift in events like NYFW popularity can be attributed to several factors: notably, a shift in industry requirements and changed consumer behaviors. Big designers no longer need to show on the runway for their collection to be seen, and as such the more interesting story has become what designers are doing to reinforce their presence on the scene without physically participating in the shows. Tanya Taylor has been showing her collection off-runway for a few years, but for Fall 2020 stretched her creative wings by showcasing her collection via a collaboration with four women comedians. The 2-5 minute videos allow the collection to be the main centerpiece to the storyline each comedian is central to, creating a zippy overview of this season’s prints and designs and cementing her status in the fashion scene even apart from the once requisite runway.
Inclusion over Exclusivity
If fashion brands are able to maintain their entire presence via digital engagement while simultaneously expanding their fan base, we feel festivals and conferences should at least have a significant enough digital component that an unforeseen circumstance like COVID-19 doesn’t completely derail the event from occurring. While there is no question that the preferred level of participation at an event like SXSW or ShopTalk is in-person, a baked in way to partner and share content and reactions could expand the reach of the festival even when there isn’t a wave of forced seclusion. Driving external participation also brings in an element of inclusion when people can’t afford or have physical limitations in regard to traveling. While some could argue this diminishes event exclusivity, we believe that it in fact creates an opportunity for tiered participation levels that incentivize more attendees and additionally expand monetization opportunities.
The cancellation and potential rescheduling of these two major industry events is going to have countless negative financial implications for many people involved. The independent film community is notably reelingfrom the loss of SXSW and the very real threat it has to the perpetuation of the event as a whole. An established digital component here would be particularly valuable as film is one of few areas where home access now rivals theater releases in compensation, if not quite prestige. As brands and event producers begin to pick up the pieces from the wave of coronavirus cancellations happening now, these takeaways around utilizing new digital trends and embracing a model that supports platform diversification will define in part how the conference and events industry rebuilds.
*Until we reach that euphoric hybrid digital/event state, here is a compilation of ways to help artists and event producers in Austin working to offset the financial losses of SXSW
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:
Here at One Two, we spend a lot of time doling out info and felt it was high time some of that information centered around who we are and why you might have wanted to get to know us in the first place. You may know us by a few terms- consultants or marketers in residence- and hopefully know us in a broader sense by having seen our hands in various projects all centered around cultivating consumer experiences for clients. So, please allow us to gratuitously share our origin story in hopes that it will give some insight as to how we launched this venture and what we hope to accomplish for ourselves and our clients.
Who We Are
Melissa found her calling in entertainment marketing and consumer technology- first as a founding member of the Samsung experiential team in North America before heading up brand experience for Magic Leap. Elizabeth has spent the majority of her career in New York, after some time in financial services with Bloomberg she found a way back to her roots in thought leadership and marketing for retail and entertainment partnerships at WWD.
Regular observers of each other’s work, we have been percolating on the state of marketing and the shift we’ve been observing since our careers began. After various life events moved us all around the country, those observations began to seem more like fact than conjecture and we started to envision how we could utilize this shift in our work. Ultimately, we’ve found the best fit taking on the role of marketers in residence assisting clients and resulting in better work without the restrictions typically found within agencies.
The State of Marketing
What exactly was it that we were seeing? Well, after our cumulative years spent in technology, finance, retail and entertainment we noticed that the agency model once perceived as canon in the industry no longer makes sense for most brands. Disruptors of all shapes and sizes are popping onto the scene daily all clamoring for your attention and new customers.
On the flip side of this, or I guess partially as a result of, consumer interest in brands they’d been historically loyal began to decrease while we’ve inversely seen an increase in the appetite for the discovery of new experiences and brands. Speaking this new language of discovery authentically is a challenge faced by all marketers. To stay relevant, brands have to be able to adapt quickly and connect with consumers, so we pulled on a model used regularly in other industries and adapted it for marketing: the as-a-service model.
Marketers in Residence
With the formation of One Two Collective, our custom marketing programs integrate into what you’re already doing seamlessly because we act as marketers in residence for our specific points of expertise. If your brand is only operating in digital, we’ll figure out the best experience to complement your existing marketing whether that be an influencer strategy or thought leadership moment and build it out. Consumer experience is defined by every interaction customers have with your brand and because people will arrive at your brand for a multitude of reasons, you need all channels to be consistent and work together.
Building off what we believe are the foundational elements of the modern consumer experience: experiential, retail, digital, thought leadership and content, we can help you to develop and implement necessary layers of your consumer communications:
Define your brand messaging & strategy
Communications plan for how/when/where distribution occurs
Execution and/or Execution Oversight
Our hope in this writing exercise was to provide some clarity around who we are and our philosophies around the modern state of marketing. Melissa and her family are currently based in San Diego while Elizabeth and her family returned to their Texas roots in Austin- but you can find us frequently criss-crossing our states and the country meeting with clients, discovering exceptional new consumer experiences and continually staying abreast of trends and best practices for our clients.
If you want to learn more about how your brand can cost effectively reach your customers using methodologies rooted in authentic consumer experiences, we’re your team. If you don’t know what you want, but some of this sounds interesting, we’re your team for that, too. Drop us a lineand connect for the marketing version of a jam sesh where we have a no pressure convo about what your brand is doing and how we might help.