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Blog 1: WITI Elevate Your Brand Blog Series

Laurel Mintz

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Blog 1: Digital & Experiential Marketing: The Critical Connection Between the Two Needed Now More Than Ever

No doubt about it, marketing can be overwhelming. But even when it feels like the world is crashing down, it is not a dirty word. With everything happening with COVID-19, businesses are scared and the first place they are pulling out dollars is in their marketing spend. But if there is anything that the recession in 2008 showed us, it's that those companies who doubled up on their marketing spend were the same ones that came out on top. At Elevate My Brand, our creative experts are good as hell in all the many and multifaceted elements of marketing that support your business' visibility, awareness and sales. Even during times like these.

We break it down in two broad categories: digital and experiential. While these two forms of marketing may sound like they're on opposite sides of the spectrum, they are integral to brand success. Even during crazy times such as COVID-19! They amplify each other's effectiveness, so it is crucial that there's synergy between the two. Enter, the mindmap!

The Mindmap Session: What is it?

Strategy is extremely valuable because of what is discovered in the planning process. It uncovers truths, areas of opportunities, blind spots and outlines the answer to necessary questions about audiences, goals and budgets. This session is the starting point on any brand journey. It's an opportunity to play, visualize and map out a strategic go-forward plan. Here's what this could look like for you.

Digital Marketing

How do your customers find you online? It includes everything from your website to your social channels to your email marketing campaigns. We live in a digital world where people can access information fast and on every possible platform. Plus, people are more digitally literate and brand-minded than ever before, which is why brand consistency across all platforms can increase company revenue by 23%. Your digital footprint is a critical starting point. See if you can map it out like this for your brand.

Now let's break it down.

Website

It's 2020, so there is no excuse for a shitty website. A website is basically a digital brochure of your brand. It's your online headquarters. Making sure your website represents your brand through visual storytelling and quality content is critical. It's often the first and only impression you make with a potential client, so make sure that you spend the time and money to create a stunning, interesting, information-rich and user-focused platform for your company. Think through the most important marketing elements of your site, such as forms, e-commerce API, mailing and database integrations, etc., to make the most of your customers' online experience.

Social Media

Social media can be a great brand builder for your business if you use it the right way, especially right now where people are bored and looking to engage more than ever before. In your Mindmap session, make sure you're outlining the social media platforms that will provide the most impact for your brand category and ones that you will be able to maintain activity on. There's nothing worse than seeing a brand's social page whose content is spotty or nonexistent. That doesn't build brand loyalty and trust. If business development is your priority, consider LinkedIn or Twitter; product development or customer research, consider Twitter or Reddit; sales and UGC, consider Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest; and for general education or content, consider Facebook. Your social network of choice matters. Develop a social media strategy that aligns with your business plan and KPIs. What are the general goals for your quarter, your year? Don't try to be everything to everyone.

In developing your social media strategy, it's important that you stay updated on current news and trends. There's no doubt that COVID-19 has caused several businesses to alter their social media strategy. You probably won't be posting the same content, but that doesn't mean you should lay off on posting all together. In fact, social media content is more important now than ever, with engagement up nearly 30%! During times like these, your social media content is probably going to be less about showing your product, and more about showing your values. How is your company remaining positive and helping the community during COVID-19? Showcasing your values and how you treat your employees will help build brand loyalty and potentially put you ahead of your competitors when budgets open back up.

Advertising

Once you've developed a plan on your social network(s) of choice, it's time to carve out a social ad budget and create some campaigns. Sadly, organic social alone won't grow your audience or build brand recognition these days. You absolutely need ads to reach more eyeballs and increase your follower count. In our Mindmap session, we guide potential clients in choosing the right ad platforms, whether that's Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or even TikTok. You may think that advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic isn't the best idea, but it's actually the perfect time. Think about it: with other advertisers and competitors pulling out their ad spend, you have more opportunity than ever to grow your market share and rise to the top at a lower CPC. That's a huge potential win.

Social isn't the only ads platform. There's also Google, have you heard of them? Whether you like it or not, Google Ads are a necessity. Recent updates to Google Ads' algorithms have made it so that, if you want to be on the first page of a search engine results page (SERP), you have no choice but to pay to play. At a minimum, you need constantly running, highly targeted search ads to increase your SEO.

Content Development

Content is Queen! Many people are surprised to hear that you should be posting content at least twice a week, which translates to 104 pieces of content for the year. How will you come up with this content? Our secret sauce, and something you can definitely execute while in quarantine, is a once-quarterly session where we spend one whole day to create content for three months, or about 26 pieces. And rather than writing blog posts, we record vlog posts. Why? Because YouTube is the #2 search engine after Google. In other words, video content with written transcriptions play nicely with the top two engines. The best part about content development? It's low-risk and high-reward. You can set up some lighting and a good camera and record great content on the fly. Right now, while businesses are coping with COVID-19, is the perfect time to fill out your content reservoir. In our Mindmap sessions, we share with you some ways to create content “pillars” and build out a strategy from there.

Experiential Marketing

Whereas digital is the online experience of your brand, experiential is the offline experience. This includes events such as pop-ups, product launches, activations, trade shows, conferences and even field marketing efforts. When planning and hosting events, it's wise to use a little bit of your budget to bring on a photographer and a videographer so you can tie the experiential to the digital side as well.

A recent event series we did with the fabulous Tamara Mellon is a great example of how the two work synergistically. We partnered with the luxury shoe brand to create, fabricate and execute an event concept for the Create & Cultivate conferences. While we worked hard to fabricate their event, we also worked on the digital side to execute a hashtag that was unique to the event. It was #FlashYourMellons. It was a little irreverent, and the brand wasn't sure about it at first, but on the first day of the conference, Tamara Mellon got more social engagement through that hashtag than in the entire history of the brand!

In-person experiential marketing is temporarily on hold thanks to COVID-19, but that doesn't mean all experiential is on hold. Convert, don't cancel. If you can, convert in-person events to digital hangouts. Rather than reveal a new product in store, go live on social. In just one week, Facebook and Instagram Live views doubled. Use this bizarre time to build brand loyalists by converting your events rather than cancelling, and creating even more intimate and engaging moments online.

How do I sign up for a Mindmap?

There's so much to discuss when it comes to digital and experiential! Marketing isn't rocket science, but it is a lot to handle. Fortunately, our creative experts at Elevate My Brand can guide your strategy and help you develop a marketing plan.

Reach out to us today; it's time you got elevated!


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