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
In the wild, wild, west of social media marketing, you might be wondering how much should you be focusing your efforts on the influencer segment and what your spend should look like. It’s different for every industry, but social media budgets across the board arerising, seemingly with positive results for brands and independent creators alike. As such, we’ve developed some best practices and thoughts to keep under consideration when engaging influencers and using social media in your marketing efforts.
For the purposes of this blog, when we refer to influencers- we’re speaking in regard to creators who exist primarily on Instagram with a follower count ranging from 2,000 on the low end to just around 30,000 on the high end. A creator with this range of follower count is typically referred to as “micro-influencer” in the biz and based on the associated costs and ROI, we find this to be the most approachable and effective segment to engage for most brands. This is for several reasons, the first of which will be of no surprise, is cost.
Thankfully, as the social media industry grows, the science to determining how much brands should be paying influencers and how much creators can be charging for their services has evolved. According toLater,an Instagram marketing platform, a creator can expect to earn about $.01 cent for every follower they have- meaning an account with 10,000 followers can expect to earn about $100 per post. Fake followers can obviously affect this equation, but engagement is fairly easy to assess and is another key factor that bolsters our philosophy of engaging micro-influencers more frequently than paying big bucks for a one off post by a mega-scale influencer.
Tell me more, you say. Engagement rate can be calculated by averaging the comments + like count on any given post and dividing the result by the overall follower count. Multiply this number by 100 to see a digestible percentage. See handy dandy graphic below for a clearer (I think) visual.
Because that would be too easy, engagement rate isn’t the only factor to consider here because aside from ensuring you’re not working with a creator who has purchased the majority of their followers, you also need to be looking at other key factors to determine if this influencer is a good shepherd for your brand. These include, but are not limited to, brand fit, personality, and ratio of sponsored to original content. Unfortunately, there is no formula to plug in here as this is a little bit more of an art than a science.
Keeping some perspective around your brand and how big of an ask it is for the creator you’re targeting to work your product or service into their feed will help in answering these questions. Are you a natural fit, say, asking a food influencer to promote a probiotic juice, or is your service a little more dry in nature? If your brand is on the less glamorous side, you may have to get comfortable paying a little more and diversifying the deliverables; for instance interspersing stories and Live videos as a way to ensure your message and partnership comes through authentically.
Where are these perfect partners?
Finally, the last topic on deck in regards to micro-influencers is…how to find them. Accounts that hold your interest are seemingly everywhere when you’re browsing your own feed, but stepping back and taking a thousand foot view when you’re evaluating creators on how they could potentially relate to your brand can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.
This is when scale comes into play- do you need one influencer posting 6 times over the course of a few months or do you need 50 concurrent posts from unique creators to help with a new launch? Dependent on your goals, there are any number of platforms that can assist you in collaborating effectively which is why it’s important to set overall campaign goals prior to beginning outreach.
If you’re curious about how a micro-influencer program might benefit your brand or how to get started laying the groundwork for a successful campaign, give us a shout. We’re happy to walk you through the process and help determine your next best steps as well as how it corresponds to your overall consumer experience.
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.