We are living in an era of hyper-content, said Lucie Greene during the WWD Beauty Inc Virtual Summit.
Greene, the founder of Light Years, works in brand innovation, trend forecasting and creative development.
“It’s the fact that there’s more channels, more touch points, more venues, more creators than ever before,” she said in conversation with Courtney Colavita, vice president of global brand communications, advocacy and social for Coach; Nelly Gocheva, global group director of content for Soho House Group, and Robin Marshall, vice president of strategy for Case, a branding and digital agency that has worked with Shiseido, E.l.f. Beauty, Ouai and Summer Fridays.
“Anyone has the possibility of becoming a creator, and COVID-19 has only accelerated that [fact],” Greene said. “There’s a huge amount of more consumption of content online, because we’re spending so much time remotely.”
Innovation has been embraced in the mass market more quickly as a result, with a boom in content such as shoppable live videos, branded podcasts and the popularity of augmented reality through features like face filters on social media. There have also been notable collaborations, like “Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty Show Vol. 2” premiering on Amazon Prime Video and rapper Travis Scott’s partnership with online video game Fortnite.
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“What’s next in this moment where content has never been more important but can be absolutely anything?” asked Greene.
In brand marketing, it comes down to this: the days of big-budget campaign shoots are over.
The impact of this year has ushered in an age of “scrappier, more lo-fi content,” said Marshall. “That’s been happening for a while, but with the pandemic, this has accelerated in a way that we think is irreversible. Brands big and small have been able to create content with Zoom at home in very untraditional ways at a fraction of the cost and fraction of the time. I can’t see us going back to long lead times and massive budgets, because consumers are engaging with this content, and TikTok is a perfect example of that.”
Case’s client E.l.f. Beauty has been highly engaged on the app and has done well with Gen Z, she noted. “Brands are most successful when they understand their audience, meet them where they are and deliver content that is authentic to them as a brand,” Marshall said.
Both Colavita and Gocheva echoed the sentiment.
“It’s about finding the right people to represent you, the right creators, the right content, the right packaging, the right flighting and pushing it out in an engaging, strategic way,” said Colavita.
At Coach, the company put more of a focus on podcasting this year, partnering with brand ambassadors Selena Gomez and Michael B. Jordan.
“We were able to use the podcast to talk about our brand values, our philanthropic work,” Colavita continued. “It’s much more impactful to have them speak to their own personal experiences, just as you would hear from a friend, that connect directly to Coach’s brand values via a podcast verses an image on Instagram. That’s not to say that we didn’t optimize and capture video content of the podcast while it was being recorded so we could then play it in its entirety.”
For Soho House — the global, members-only club for creatives — the focus was put on digital initiatives after the company had to close its physical locations. While the club typically hosts in-person events (like film viewings and music sessions), all gatherings were moved online. From about the end of March until July, its team organized nearly 200 digital events.
The shift was essential to keeping members engaged, but it was also a way for Soho House to showcase its members and their talents. The club organized special contests in film and art, encouraging its communities to submit their work, said Gocheva.
“It’s a great opportunity to not only entertain and connect with your audiences, but also to give them a platform,” she added.