Hello, it’s us. One Two Collective.

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.