Picture this: an exclusive evening of thought leadership in partnership with Stylus, attended by some of the top marketing professionals in London, in the 3 Michelin Star Library & Lecture Room at Sketch — our favourite spot in Mayfair.
At Dash Hudson, we believe in the alchemy of data and creativity. We also believe in community, and we love bringing like-minded, savvy marketers together. On this occasion, we set out to talk about the intersection of content and commerce.
We brought our friends Hannah Wilkinson, social editor at Urban Outfitters Europe and Rebecca Hobbs, retail editor at Stylus to speak with Michaela Atkinson, our head of content, and Elise Ngobi, our senior brand strategy manager in the UK to discuss the ever-changing world of content and commerce, and how they’re now intrinsically linked.
While there’s no denying that social channels have transformed the way that retail brands interact with consumers, the evolution of commerce has pushed brands to think outside the box when it comes to fostering an engaged community — both on social and IRL. Keep scrolling for the key takeaways from the event.👇
1. The retail store is by no means dead.
Brands are creating in-store experiences like activations and pop-ups, and utilize new technology to attract shoppers in-store, into environments that are primed for content creation. Brands are investing in shareable events like Urban Outfitters’ in-store gigs and photobooths to bring shoppers into their four walls, and to effectively grow reach on social.
Hannah from URBN shared how the brand is using their spaces to encourage content creation from their customers, “whether we are working with artists or our own customers — we create moments that feel local and tend to be very low-fi. The installations range from something small like the changing rooms having an Instagrammable moment to slightly larger scale like selfie stations in-store. We always come up with these activations with a key demographic in mind.”
2. Live video is the new frontier.
Instagram predicts 75% of all of the data we consume will be in motion by 2020. As video becomes an increasingly paramount pillar in leading brands’ content strategy, many brands struggle to keep up with the demand for video. This sentiment comes from the time, resources, and production brands tend to associate with video creation. While there will always be brands that invest in high quality video content, we’re seeing a huge increase in the amount of on-the-fly lo-fi video being created — as well as the engagement this format receives. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on exactly that. 👀
Hannah talked about how URBN produces lo-fi video for social, “my team and I are frequently on the ground filming. We’ll live stream from events or use our phones to create content from the lens of a customer — and that really resonates with our audience. It’s that simple.” She continues, “and it’s especially key to create that authentically real video content and leverage it across your business, and not just necessarily on social media.”
Brands are experimenting with Instagram Live as a medium to bring their digital audience a step closer to their events, making the most out of the activation, and better yet — making these events shoppable. And if you need more persuading, the content created at live events can be chopped, sliced and distributed across channels in shoppable formats to really sweat the assets and maximize on reach, engagement and of course, conversions.
Stylus’ retail editor Rebecca Hobbs shared how mediums like Instagram are quickly becoming the QVC of the digital generation. Brands are launching campaigns and products exclusively through Instagram and other live streaming platforms like NTWRK — and when it works, it really works. Rebecca cited a recent Nike and Jeff Staple collab on NTWRK that proved the level of hype that can be generated on streaming channels — a staggering 20,000 units sold out in a matter of seconds.
3. It’s time for paid and organic social to be friends.
It wouldn’t be a Dash Hudson event without a healthy dose of actionable insights. We’re seeing brands that leverage organic insights for their paid strategies achieving great things. Our visual intelligence technology, Vision predicts the performance of Instagram content before you post it. Now think about the audience you’re targeting with ads — chances are they have similar tastes, likes, and dislikes as the organic audience you already have. Leveraging those insights is helping brands like Kendra Scott and REVOLVE drastically improve ROI from their paid campaigns.
Urban Outfitters leverages its organic social channels and its organic brand voice to fuel its paid strategy. The brand prioritizes the insights it realizes from organic social to inform its image selection and targeting for paid social advertising. To effectively do this, teams at URBN work in tandem to share learnings and align on what’s working and what’s not across paid and organic channels. The brand’s social editor said, “we really try to think of it as one aligned channel. We never want to see an ad pop up that feels conversion led and doesn’t speak to our brand voice. We want to leverage our organic content that is performing with our audience to really drive the strategy of our paid.”
As we said, we love bringing our community together. Not only do we get to provide a platform for sharing industry expertise — and data of course — it gives our community a chance to connect, to exchange learnings with other peers who are facing similar challenges, and to make new friends.
Thank you to our panellists! (LTR: Elise Ngobi, Dash Hudson, Michaela Atkinson, Dash Hudson, Rebecca Hobbs, Stylus, Hannah Wilkinson, Urban Outfitters Europe)
Photography: Haydon Perrior
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