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Journey with me down the rabbit hole (pun intended) as I explore various brands, their efforts in building Community and other key observations I have made of them as a Brand Enthusiast and Marketer.
First, A note on Community
As a Caribbean National, my passion for community is deeply rooted in my DNA; where it and culture go hand in hand. Community has also been a way that I have personally coped with what life has thrown at me. Having bonded with strangers over our mutual love for Linkin Park (LP fans reading this - #MakeChesterProud) and the unspoken acknowledgement of what that means. I have founded and been a part of Mom-focused communities to figure out how to cope as a new parent while grieving the loss of my own parents - in other words, I see and appreciate the value of community.
By definition; Community refers to a group of people who share characteristics, interests, attitudes, circumstances or even goals. Originally, communities were usually assumed to be based on locale, but as the world and technology have evolved, communities are no longer largely restricted by geographic location. Whether by intention or not, brands have also played an integral role in this social evolution, in many ways, becoming the framework of modern-day pop culture and even some sociological constructs - Playboy is one such brand.
So why Playboy?
The Power of Brand
Playboy is a brand I have come to admire for remaining true to their core principles; of celebrating the female body with an unapologetic cigar-in-hand ‘Mad Men’ nod to the patriarchy. The brand has evolved beautifully over the decades; far less misogynistic since its first edition in 1953 to what could be regarded as the borderline feminist modern-day Playboy.com. Which boasts a wide array of articles ranging from political commentary to features on Black Voices and people making a difference in the lives of others. Their online merch shop has a wide range of products which include the descriptor “made responsibly” in addition to their recently launched line of CBD-based pleasure products.
Brand-orgasm aside - the Playboy core strategy has remained unchanged; beautiful women, well written and researched articles, and an incredible laundry-list of who’s who interviews from the likes of Jimmy Carter, Maya Angelou to John Lennon.
The tongue in cheek phrase, “I only read Playboy for the articles” has been around for a while and has become synonymous with the brand. The phrase has also become an identifier for the Playboy aficionado and overall community member. Someone who has a like for the lustful eye-candy located within the pages of the print magazine or on their website, with a more discerning taste for adult content, which tends to be ‘tame’ in comparison to its other adult media counterparts, like Hustler and Penthouse.
"If you don't encourage healthy sexual expression in public, you get unhealthy sexual expression in private," Hefner said in Playboy in 1974, according to CNN. "If you attempt to suppress sex in books, magazines, movies and even everyday conversation, you aren't helping to make sex more private, just more hidden. You're keeping sex in the dark. What we've tried to do is turn on the lights."
Hefner has been lauded as a pioneer of the sexual revolution but also a perpetrator for driving misogyny - but while a valid angle to explore, this article focuses less on the actions of the brand’s owner and more on the resulting identity of the brand; one which the public discovered and got to know over the years. Still with me? Great, let’s continue.
The Playboy Persona & Customer Avatar
The Playboy (which no longer has heavy gender-based masculine connotations) is usually a bit more on the well-read and well-spoken side and with a natural ability to chameleon their identity to suit situations and surroundings. The ‘Playboy’ is daring and debonair, sophisticated and savvy, vocal and vivacious.
People recognised this unfolding of brand identity over the years, they saw a mirroring of their own desired characteristics of the ‘Playboy’. The business leveraged that and crafted their audience niche in adult entertainment; a free-thinker, more respectful of women than a Penthouse / Hustler fan, likely to be regarded as a gentleman or a confident woman in various circles. This birthed the Community. A community developed from the inside out; through the careful crafting of the brand, establishing a tone of voice (outside of Hefner’s with time), identifying their audience and creating content that would be appreciated and valued by a very specific type of reader/consumer.
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Stakeholders of brands have always tried to be as cost effective as possible in seeking maximum ROI for minimum expenditure. With the digital space, finally being respected and utilized appropriately (the way many marketers like myself have been yelling about for years - sorry I couldn’t help it) strategic methods to increase visibility, like Influencer Marketing, will continue to be key elements of a fulsome Marketing Strategy.
The problem is - NUFF IDIOT OUT THERE WILLING FI RUN WHE WID YUH MONEY!
Having developed and executed numerous Influencer Marketing Campaigns over the years, for brands the likes of Baileys, Heineken, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Red Stripe (yes I have a thing for Alcohol brands) I’ve experienced the gamut of ‘ Digital Influencers’; their ways of working and in particular, their perceived added value to a successful marketing campaign. The following are a few basic tips I have put together, to help guide you as a business owner or your marketing team, to ensure you get maximum ROI the next time around.
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By: Anika Repole Wilson - @businesschicceo
I know the title of this article may have made you clutch your pearls a bit. Perhaps, there was slight panic, maybe I offended you or made you worry? If you felt anything close to these emotions, that's a concern for me - I mean that. It also means I wrote this article for you. So read on to see how you can (if necessary) take your Brand-Follower relationship status from 'its complicated' to 'committed'.
As Digital Marketing evolves; Social Media platforms continue to place emphasis more heavily on Engagement. Engagement on Instagram (which this article is primarily focusing on) includes everything from; likes, views, comments, shares (to stories, DMs, external links like WhatsApp) and saves.
It has always been crucial to be able to wade through the BS (and there is a lot of it) on what works on social media. However, in the advent of the number of likes on IG posts being phased out globally, its become even more important. These other metrics for measuring engagement, must now increase in importance not just to professional Digital Marketers and Influencers, but to entrepreneurs making their own content, as well as, middle managers and CEOs who have others managing their content. Until you understand what words like: Engagement, Reach and Impressions actually mean and how to manipulate them, you really are just shooting in the dark and could be taken for a ride by any of the many so called Social Media 'Experts'.
Content Marketing isn't just about the pretty pics (sure that's a part of it), there is a balance, skill and rhythm that combine to create great content. Some folks hit it out of the park immediately (lucky *$#%), others struggle for years to get it, while some have the money to pay others to make it happen for them. If you aren't one of the lucky ones, or have a rich uncle ready to bequeath you a hefty inheritance to fund your content marketing aspirations, here are a few tips to make the 'struggle' a little easier.
#1: MAKE A COMMITMENT TO YOUR AUDIENCE
Yes the look of your Content, plays a huge role in engagement. It is a very real part of it; particularly on Instagram where your content needs to look the part. It needs to compete with the, motivational quotes, #instafit celebs, Instagram models, professionally managed big brands, Instagram couples and travel bloggers. Not to mention the #foodporn and #foodie posts and if you're like me the #nailart posts too.
Ahead of choosing a theme and look, you need to also identify what your brand is about and who you're connecting with. As an example, looking on my content, for the coaching arm of the business @businesschicceo you should be able to see that I'm trying to target professionals and entrepreneurs with a primary focus on women. My content is designed with an aesthetic that I like BUT its designed specifically FOR my target audience. Think about who you are trying to speak to and what they like. Take it a step further and think about the conversations not only that they want to have, but need to have, and see how your brand can start a dialogue with them.
#2: IDENTIFY AN OBJECTIVE
Next, it's not just about the pretty pictures. Each post/piece of content must have an objective. Are you trying to raise awareness of your brand? Are you trying to get folks to consider your product or service? How about getting them to call you or visit your site? Creating / Posting content without a clearly defined objective is a waste of time.
Sure Social Media Content is great for increasing Brand Awareness, but it is also about building a tribe, a cult following as it were for your brand. It's not about what you're selling, its about how you make your followers feel. Do you make them feel smarter, more confident? Are you helping them make a major decision? Are you helping them through a phase in life, or solve an everyday problem? Your brand, no matter what size it is, must answer these questions for your target audience. It's not about the sale, its about the solution. Creating content that will have an objective of long term success is an investment, and just like any relationship, you must nurture it. Sure a one-night-stand is fun from time to time, but generally speaking, people want to feel passion, trust, comfort and safety. If your content isn't doing that, you're nothing more than a booty call.
#3: DON'T LIMIT YOURSELF
Content is dynamic and while choosing content you should also consider what your particular audience likes to engage with. Are they readers or viewers? Do they have time to listen to your podcast or watch a live video? Can they download your workbook or attend an online summit? These are all types of content - between having a clear objective and knowing what your audience wants and needs, you can then better identify content types to employ.
Wish to know more about content development? Check out another article HERE or schedule coaching time with the author below.
Meet the Author:
Anika Repole Wilson
Anika is our Managing Director but we prefer to call her the Strategy Maverick. Well known for her out-of-the-box thinking and personal approach, she is a hub of knowledge and experience having worked with over 40 brands in the last 15 years.
Anika is think-tank of BIG ideas - with the execution plan built in.
Schedule a chat with Anika
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As the end of the year fast approaches, we take a look at some of the top digital marketing trends for 2018 and how they can be further leveraged in 2019.
In an industry as fast-paced as digital marketing, it is crucial that we stay on top of trends, assess what benefits our brands can gain from them and find new ways to set our trends.
Let us know which trends you have had success with this year in the comments!
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We’re always looking for ways to better ourselves, ways to set ourselves apart from the crowd - whether in our personal or professional lives. At times we get discouraged along the way because we take such a complicated approach to it, but we’re here to break it down for you in three (3) simple steps. It’s time to level up and do it the easy way!
The first step is to identify the skills you need to improve on or gain. Self-assessment is always the first place to start when thinking of any kind of improvement. You can do this by answering a few simple questions:
Take a few minutes to complete our quiz to see what area you might want to focus on first. If you've already made up your mind, then let’s get into identifying some of the key skills that will give you a professional (and personal!) edge!
Communication skills are at the base of all interactions - personal and professional. Being an effective communicator entails more than just enunciating or projecting your voice well. It requires you to know how to address the different types of people you interact with, listening to what they have to say in order to craft appropriate responses.
Improving your communication skills will help you improve other skills such as negotiation, problem-solving, critical thinking and interpersonal skills. All these areas are key to being an effective leader.
It doesn’t matter what role you play within your organization - strong leadership skills will always give you an edge. Some of the marks of a leader (and strong leadership skills!) are the ability to take accountability, remaining level headed under pressure, being solutions-oriented, being decisive and being able to command the respect of others. There are many benefits that come with honing your leadership skills that go beyond getting that promotion you’ve been eyeing😉 It allows you to stand up for your team or an idea, you’re better able to influence others which is quite handy in navigating the various personalities you encounter. With these new skills you will also be considered more reliable, thus getting you more responsibility within your job.
Repeat after me: "Everything is a project. Every project needs managing". That is by no means an exaggeration, especially in the world of work. With so many moving parts in each task, there are many ways things can slip through the cracks. By effectively managing a project, you minimize the possibility of this happening and allow yourself to catch it early, if it does happen so you can do damage control. The first step in effective project management is being organized. This means identifying the project at hand, breaking down the steps to complete it and delegating tasks where necessary. Here, your leadership and communication skills will come in handy in helping you manage your team. There are many online tools that can help the process flow smoothly, so a little tech know-how will be an added benefit!
It’s time to crack the code on technology! It can ether be the enemy or your greatest ally - if used right. With so many social sites out there that seem to just eat away at our time we often forget what useful tools are available at our fingertips. Many project management, accounting apps and software can help you reduce your workload in a few clicks. Being able to connect with clients via communication software, makes for better interactions and helps keep them in the loop, as you execute tasks on their behalf. These communication tools can also help you tap into a fast growing resource - virtual personal assistants, who can help you do more, in less time.
So, ready to move on to the next level? Keep following!
Our Account/Production Manager, Emjae, is a self-proclaimed wordsmith who fell in love with words thanks to Dr. Seuss. She's an avid reader and a recovering screen junkie, and is fueled by coffee and sarcasm. Her work ranges from recounts of her adventures as a mom, her take on trending topics and deep pieces that she weaves from experiences and sheer imagination.