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Opinion

Why True Talent Can Save Retail This Christmas

It has never been more important to work with the right kind of talent and push out the right message to keep and win consumer's hearts this Christmas, thinks William Soulier, CEO of Talent Village.

This year has certainly been a tough year for retail and sadly much of the news coming out of the high street is one of woe. For instance, we’ve seen Debenhams and LK Bennett call in the administrators this year off the back of Maplin, Toys R Us, and Poundworld. What’s more, the number of shoppers heading to UK high streets, retail parks and shopping centres have fallen by 10% in the last seven years. 

Whilst, the often-blamed culprit for these dire high street situations is usually online shopping, it’s not all rosy in this e-commerce sector either. For example, IMRG’s online recent retail sales forecast for the Black Friday period 2019 puts growth at only 2% to 3% and with a very real possibility, it could be flat, with December sales expected to grow just 1 to 2%. This is bad news for retail in general and shows that the issues aren’t merely constrained to the high street. 

Crafting meaningful storytelling

So how can marketers spark positive conversations and drive sales? We believe the solution lies with crafting meaningful storytelling, activated by a talent-led approach. 

The world of influence is ever-changing, and as it continues to grow, the role of true talent and the demand for high-quality content has risen in stature for brands that want to achieve creative endorsement and encourage advocacy.

This year, reports suggest that a record $6.8bn will be spent on Christmas advertising, which is a 4.7% increase compared with 2018. Furthermore, when you break down the figures you can see that whilst national newspapers will see spend drop 2.6% and magazine spend will see a 5.8% fall whilst online display and ad spending is forecasted to reach £1.75bn. These spending habits show the growing interest from marketers who wish to adopt a multi-channel strategy to reach their consumers across various touchpoints in order to overcome the above problems. 

However, what’s interesting is that, despite marketers increasing their efforts to attract their target market, consumer confidence fell by two points in October. So, as political and economic concerns continue to grow, it’s clear that brands and platforms alike need to better address how they promote their products and who they work with.  

The proof is in the pudding when you look at an example such as Coca Cola, who since being founded in 1886 has become a global force in the FMCG market. Over 96% of the world’s population recognise the brand logo and as of 2017, the soda giant sits among the three largest food and drink companies. But what’s the secret behind this fantastic brand awareness? Well, it’s no secret that Coca-Cola has spent far more on marketing than other soft drink companies but its edge is that by regularly working with true talent the brand is able to spread its message and amplify this content across a multi-channel strategy to reinforce brand identity and promote new products. 

This year, Coca-Cola has launched its “biggest yet” Christmas campaign, with its “holidays are coming” ad. In fact, it’s even being followed by a new global film in December. They will be supported by the brand’s biggest-ever media plan which comprises out-of-home and digital activity, as well as a takeover of travel hubs around the UK, including at major train stations.

Activations will include surprise karaoke takeovers in central London, which will see the Piccadilly lights screens live-stream the nation’s favourite Christmas songs for 90 minutes at a time, accompanied by a choir who will encourage a festive singalong with the public. Meanwhile, the brand is also working with various talents in order to spread its message online and attract interest from the modern consumer. As a result, Coca Cola has taken a beloved campaign and optimised this content across different touchpoints in order to engage with its current fans, whilst inviting new consumers to join the tribe too as a result of the talent’s outreach. 

Spark interest across multiple touchpoints 

As the industry continues to evolve, brands and platforms alike need to ensure that Instagram feeds don’t become cluttered with the same sales content and messaging which could be easily overlooked by the savvy consumer, especially during peak season. 

We all know that the less genuine a channel becomes, the more likely it will lose followers, which means that marketers will need to put more emphasis on sharing compelling co-created content crafted by a meaningful storyline. 

As consumers continue to learn the tricks of the trade and become far more cautious when it comes to brand content, brands should consider adopting a talent-led marketing approach to better engage with their target market. Furthermore, as proven by Coca Cola, by optimising your message across multiple channels, you are able to spark interest across multiple touchpoints in order to increase your brand awareness. However, above all (and especially in today’s climate), it’s clear that it has never been more important to work with the right kind of talent and push out the right message to keep and win consumer’s hearts. 

Breakout box

Add some sparkle to your next Christmas campaign with these top tips.

Adapt your brief: Above all, your campaign needs to be clear, direct and unique. These qualities will ensure talents are easily able to create high-quality content for your brand, enhanced by a creative edge that helps make your product stand out in the market. 

Find the right talent: Finding advocates who can propel a brand forward; that fits in with your overall ethos and who can effectively communicate to the right audience in an authentic way can be difficult. In fact, over 61% marketers admit this as their biggest challenge. That’s why we believe that now more than ever, brands need to partner with a platform or agency that can solve this struggle and fully manage a campaign from start to finish. This will save you time and, most importantly, match true talent who are able to authentically connect with your target audience and publish high-quality content to spark consumer interest. 

Elevate your message: Communication is key, and with over 49% of consumers depending on talent recommendations, it’s never been more important for brand content to stand out, both in terms of quality and messaging. That’s why we would encourage co-created content, which ensures that the media has been professionally guided to ensure quality. Meanwhile, educating your community to inspire their captions in order to ensure they are both authentic and encourage purchase intent is also important. In fact, when analysing our campaign data, we discovered that co-created content achieves two-times higher engagement compared with talent generated content, revealing the importance of focusing on both creative direction and copy. 

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