A customer centric approach transcends the silos of digital vs physical marketing by utilizing a marketing strategy that prioritizes the interest of the consumers.
It’s no secret that Millennials have high expectations for their customer experience and offer a fierce brand loyalty in return. Millennials may be the outspoken voice leading the charge, but they have a significant influence on family spend and older generations of consumers are quickly following suit, showing affinity to brands who engage them with quality and authenticity.
So what can brands do to engage with Millennials consumers in a way that translates across generations and stays authentic to your brand? We believe the answer is integrating a customer centric approach to your overall marketing strategy and engaging with customers in a way that’s flexible enough to evolve as they do. Read on for our pillars of a customer centric marketing approach.
Customer Communication: How you’re interacting with your customer sets the tone for the rest of your relationship. Are you talking at them or having a conversation with them? Millennials has a strong focus on quality and authenticity and want to see the brands they interact with be paying attention to them. A two way relationship is more valuable than a one way impression [+] and once trust has been established with Millennials, the transparency with their interactions creates a more valuable direct to consumer relationship. Social media and influencer marketing are a great tool for this as the younger generation is comfortable being completely transparent enabling brands with the chance to develop tailored campaigns by deep diving into their local differences and interacting with them in the manner that reflects how they want to be engaged.
Concurrent Messaging: Ensuring that all of your channels are working together to get your message across creates a seamless end to end experience for your customer. Millennials is the first truly digital generation and enjoy actively engaging with brands whether that’s in physical experiences, social media or even participating in product design when given the opportunity. A recent study [footnote to link] advises that the key to winning the affinity of Millennials shoppers is by engaging their creativity, and ensuring they feel their values and preferences are being authentically acknowledged. In exchange for this high level of activity, they also have high standards for the opportunities brands create for them to partner with and simply targeting them with digital advertising won’t cut it you have to build out multiple channels and use them to engage this audience on multiple levels.
Dig into Authenticity: In a nutshell, don’t be fake; they’ll see right through you. Millennials is practical yet skeptical and prefers to interact with brands who lead with authenticity and individualization. Interestingly, one way to approach this is by incorporating AR/VR into your in-store and online experiences allowing customers to view actual product and use cases they might encounter in real life. By encouraging hands on experiences that give a sense of surprise and delight and then rewarding participants you give consumers a sense of being a part of something and are allowing them to authentically contribute to your brand.
Millennials are setting the stage for how brands interact with consumers going forward. While there will always be shifts in the nature of marketing and advertising, the core values remain the same- stay true to your brand promise and engage with your consumer on their level and adapt based on how they respond
If you’re interested in having a no-pressure evaluation of your consumer experience, we’d love to chat. Drop us a line at email@example.com.
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
So the three of us go back, and I mean way back…I mean, Melissa and Carson got to know each other growing up in west Texas because their parents had been college roommates. Flash forward 20+ years and they’ve both implanted themselves firmly in the entertainment marketing and consumer technology industries- Melissa at Samsung as a founding member of the experiential team in North America before heading up brand experience for Magic Leap and Carson in New York producing marketing campaigns with some of the most exciting entertainment brands around (HBO, NBCU, FX, Netflix, Google). New York is also where Elizabeth entered the scene, who after a brief stint in financial services with companies like Bloomberg 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, our trio has 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 overall 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.
Marketing as a Service
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. 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.
Building off what we believe are the foundational elements of the modern consumer experience: experiential, retail, digital, thought leadership and content, we believe most brands can cost effectively incorporate marketing that speaks authentically to their customers and see more concrete ROI on their marketing spends. No matter your stage, we take what you have already created and augment it to increase how cohesive your customer’s experience is driving their emotional connection to your brand.
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 Carson and Elizabeth 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.
It’s our first correspondence of the year and we can only assume you’re as excited about it as we are. If you’ve received this letter, we were in each other’s orbit in 2018. We worked together, sat by each other at an event, or you’re a brand or person we admire and we’re reaching out to make a connection.
If you haven’t recently, stop by our website and check out what’s new. Our 2018 was great. We formally launched, one of us had a baby (Hi, Rowen) and we worked on some really unique projects with brands doing interesting and special things in their respective industries.
Now, for why we’re here:
We’re sharing our takeaways from 2018 and insights for 2019 from the perspective of an industry chameleon. Thanks to our diverse expertise, we’ve imbedded ourselves in a wide variety of industries and we’ve developed a pretty unique grasp on what people and brands are doing to reach consumers and how those efforts are being perceived.
Since we work on all components of marketing off the screen, we pay special attention to how brands are expressing themselves physically and how they relate to our business pillars. See highlights below and click through to read the full content and see links to other worthwhile articles and insights.
Thanks! The One Two Team.
I see your micro and raise you a nano.
The word “micro” was as prevalent in 2018 marketing conversations as Bird scooters were, well, everywhere, but what did it mean? Simply, that brands discovered they no longer had to rely on the Kardashians of the world to get their products noticed. Turns out, influencers with as few as 2,000 followers could result in significantly more conversions simply due to authenticity.
So what does that mean for 2019? Good things for marketers. More authenticity, for one. Since believability is what actually sells, influencers will have to focus on storytelling when creating content which automatically elevates those with something to say. In turns, brands will be more easily able to select partners with the best ROI for their brand. Consumers will be rewarded, too, because not only will the advertising/content ratio start to work in their favor, less #FlatTummyTea is best for everyone.
OK, that’s all well and good, but what does an effective influencer + brand relationship look like? For brands just starting to dip their toes outside of the digital universe, influencers are a great hybrid option for ramping up brand awareness at a low cost. According to Tony Robbins (yes, that Tony Robbins), on average, it now takes a person 16 exposures to an ad before they take action- quite the leap from the four required just ten years ago. This article from his team succinctly breaks down how influencer marketing can add low cost exposure within your target market. Additionally, read through for more on key areas to consider when considering approaching new influencers or evaluating the effectiveness of those you already have engaged with your brand.
Overall, it’s clear influencer marketing is here to stay. In 2019, we think we’re going to see some great strides made in the market thanks to increasing transparency from brands and influencers, more storytelling contributing to authenticity and a deeper pool of quality candidates to pull from for campaigns.
It’s the retail-NOT-copalypse, am I right?
Retail is definitely not dead, consumers just expect more from retailers. Point blank. As shopping becomes more of instant gratification by clicking on a link, retailers are having to shift how they engage with their shoppers. Brands and commercial spaces spent 2018 learning that nothing is more important than the experience you provide. This not only includes the store atmosphere, displays and engaging with educated staff, but is expanding to the point of how a brand makes you feel. Are you investing in causes and experiences that matter to your consumer?
Well, once again it’s important to explore what that means to your brand, why it matters to your customers and why it should matter to you. Borrowing a point from the influencer section above, modern consumers have made it clear that advertising to them is a multi-touchpoint endeavor and a targeted ad campaign or site takeover just isn’t going to cut it on its own. So now you need to build out the story you’ve already started telling in the digital space. Bringing your brand into the physical gives people the unique sensory experience your brand deserves.
Now we’re in agreement that the retail experience for your brand is key, but where do we go from here? The answer is surprisingly obvious- keep it simple. In 2018 we saw the rise (and seemingly quick death) of the Instagram Museum pop up concept; i.e. creating a space that existed purely to be featured on social media. The lack of authenticity in these spaces is glaring and while there may always be space for the most creative versions of these like the Color Factory, for most brands and retail developments, sticking to the fundamentals – simple, organized and intuitive – will always be a better extension of your brand than a gimmick.
This on-the-nose Fast Company article explores other trends that will be emerging in 2019 in retail and how it will affect bricks and mortar as well as the path from digital to physical purchases. This article calls out an emphasis on sustainability as a brand trait that is becoming more of a requirement; we think this is just one example of how the consumers of this era have higher expectations of themselves and the brands they support. Set your standards high for yourself and then create an experience for your brand that is an extension of those high standards in every touchpoint that reaches your consumers, digital and physical.
So, is this the year we start a podcast?
As emerging technologies continue to permeate our lives and influence how we interact with one another, it’s only logical that it would transform the way we consume thought leadership content. Podcasts are nothing new, but as they’ve become more mainstream, it has become easier for brands to align with smart content that lends authenticity to their product or service. This approach is twofold as brands can participate in the podcast ecosystem as either on-air talent or by purchasing advertising around existing series and hosts that fit with their brand goals. Additionally, as data from the platforms hosting podcasts becomes more refined, brands can rely more on podcasts as another piece of their storytelling arsenal.
So how does developing the thought leadership arm of your brand via participating in podcasts enhance your storytelling efforts? The Atlanta division of the American Marketing Association published a white paper in 2018 defining the three main components of brand storytelling as authenticity, evolving your approach to marketing, and exploring emerging technologies as an extension of your brand. Understanding who on your team is articulate enough to converse regularly and with authority contributes to the multilayered story you need to provide consumers. Consider it one of the multiple touchpoints we discussed above required to reach your audience.
Fine! If Spotify’s leaning into podcasts, we can too. Or at least explore the idea that effective thought leadership doesn’t exist in the same old vacuum it always has. Whether you’re inclined to launch your own series, guest host or advertise with existing series- the preparations for success looks similar to other thought leadership platforms. It’s also perfectly acceptable to take the thinking behind our logic with podcasts here and apply it to the emerging technology that makes the most sense for you. And luckily, there’s a lot of it. Community building? Voice powered services? Thought leadership is a space that yearns for innovation and rewards preparation.
Smart brands know that an effective experience incites emotion and pays itself forward by creating a personal connection to your brand that lasts long after the event itself is over. You can probably guess what we’re getting at here- it’s time to start planning your 2019 SXSW experience. Check out some of our capabilities in the deck below and then let’s connect as we start to craft an event- retail, thought leadership, scavenger hunt & more- that makes your presence at SXSW memorable and beneficial for your brand.
The sun was shining last weekend in Austin for SXSW Interactive- whether it was actually hot or cold out depended on the day but as the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait a minute. SXSW is an excellent way for brands to showcase their latest and greatest while incorporating some fun elements (we see you, baby goats at Viceland) and free schwag. After attending countless SXs, we thought it might be helpful to share some of our key take-aways and tips for success as more brands begin to enter the fray.
Don’t get lost in the clutter
SX has becoming a melting pot for brands to showcase the latest and greatest- there are a ton of activations to experience and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. There are some key factors to consider while creating your buildout to alleviate this common pain point and help you stand out.
Differentiate yourself by creating authentic moments that enhance your brand. You can do this by being clear about your objective.THis is a chance for you to tell your brand’s story in an organic way, don’t fall into the hype of doing too much. It’s better to have one memorable moment than 5 “eh” ones While building out your activation around your objective (sales, email capture, etc), develop clear branding and have a logical and immediate call to action. Develop clear signage with key takeaways so participants know what’s going on when you can’t greet them immediately.
That being said- hire great talent. They WILL be the face of your brand. If they are excited about your product, it resonates so much more with visitors.
We all want to reward guests for stopping by, but don’t get caught up in the schwag game. At an event where everyone is handing out schwag, make sure you develop memorable takeaways that relate to your products
Have a little something for everybody
Not everyone who attends SXSW is a badge holder, and if your activation is limited exclusively to people with a badge, you’re missing out on a core demographic.
Negotiate your activation smartly. When you’re working with a large property like SXSW, they have specific requirements to activate. Look out for your goals and your core consumer by making sure you get what you pay for and allowing access to everyone.
Kitschy activations are fun, on this we can all agree, but make sure you’re extending your reach by creating shareable social moments and valuable content.
SXSW has become a playground of places to pitch and get your hands on products- the problem is it’s also become a schwag branding war. People will walk with items that are useful or unique. Don’t overthink the schwag component and instead focus on creating memorable moments in your activation itself.
Be true to your brand
Now more than ever, buzzwords are everywhere- specifically those attached to movements. Attaching yourself to a meaningful movement is very important, but make sure it doesn’t come across as unauthentic or not thought out. Make sure you ttach yourself to movements that tie back to your core values. If it doesn’t make sense or feel genuine, it won’t resonate and may actually hurt more than it helps.
This year the women’s movement was heavily promoted, but we saw several activations where there was no tie-in or clear goal as to how you’re helping the movement. Find a balance between what your company does and what you’re preaching.
Now, about the word “experience”
Let’s be real here, despite our usage of the word experience several times in this blog post- it’s more than a hair overused. Everyone wants in on the experiential game, so you need to thoughtfully consider what that means to your brand before activating.
Giving away free snacks is not an experience. Thanks for the turkey burger/fish taco/protein smoothie/etc, but that does not mean it’s an experience. . Keep up the free snacks- keep out the word experience.
SXSW has become a playground of places to pitch and get your hands on new products- the problem is it’s also become a schwag branding war. People will walk with items that are useful or unique. Don’t overthink the schwag component and instead focus on creating memorable moments in your activation itself.
With a clear message comes a clear name. Use your brand’s name in your experience and be straightforward in your lingo. The Fast Company Bar & Grill is a great example- you know exactly who the activation belongs to and exactly what to expect when you walk inside. Clarity is much more valuable than cleverness when competing with dozens of other activations.
It’s time to get prepared for SXSW 2019. Let us assist you in making sure your band stands out! – firstname.lastname@example.org