Challenge: Pepco and its parent company, Exelon, have long been leaders in diversity and inclusion programs, but they wanted a stronger presence with DC’s multicultural communities particularly among its LGTBQ customers. As Pepco’s multicultural agency, SRB Communications was uniquely positioned to engage with this diverse group in a compelling and highly targeted way. Our main objective was to build brand awareness of Pepco’s key initiatives as they relate to the underserved populations in the District. However, it was also important to position Pepco executives as inclusive leaders who understand the nuances and experiences of LGBTQ communities it serves.
The Work: To address the objectives, SRB Communications executed a sponsorship on behalf of Pepco with the Washington Blade. The Blade is the oldest LGBT newspaper in the U.S. covering the latest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender news in Washington, DC and the sponsorship coincided with the its 50th anniversary. Through the sponsorship campaign, we were tasked with creative direction for both digital and print advertisements placed with the Blade and content writing for four thought leadership articles highlighting Pepco’s executives who have focused on creating safe and meaningful spaces for the LGBTQ community in the workplace. Our executed media buy and advertising placements with Washington Blade consisted of (8) run-of-site digital ads on the Washington Blade website, (23) full-page ad placements in the Washington Blade print publication, (5) dedicated email blasts which featured the four thought leadership articles and (6) weekly email blasts.
The digital ad campaign achieved an overall 298,700 impressions
Dedicated e-blasts garnered an impressive 2.21% CTR
Print ads were circulated to a readership of 2,100,000
Overall, we were able to provide a strong, consistent presence within the LGBTQ community that Pepco services throughout the year. But most importantly, the work was meaningful, and we couldn’t be prouder of the impact.
Since we are nearing the end of 2019, and quickly approaching Q1 of 2020, we thought we would give you a heads up on what marketing trends to consider when you’re trying to reach your customers next year.
Video Remains King – This one is a no-brainer. Many surveys and studies show that video has been and is increasingly becoming the preferred way customers learn about products and services. These videos need to be easy to digest, transparent, and short.
Nobody is going to watch a three-minute, highly technical video, on Instagram for example, that explains your product or service. Those videos are helpful once you have already drawn the customer in, but for marketing purposes, keep it simple, visually appealing, and short.
Consumers and other businesses know when your message isn’t authentic, so stay true to your brand. Transparency with your marketing can go a long way to help you gain trust of your intended customer.
Another thing to consider is the platform your video will live on. In general, you want to shoot video horizontally, but for platforms like Instagram or Snap Chat, you should shoot vertically.
Google Ads – You may not know that Google Ads have been around now for 19 years. While it has always been a great, cost-effective marketing tactic for businesses, it is getting even better, and will become one of the standard marketing tools, moving forward. The smart bidding and automation on Google Ads allow for real-time optimization that will allow you to maximize conversions for a lot less money than you might spend with traditional marketing avenues.
Social Media Ads – You may have noticed by now that there is a theme here of digital marketing. You want to reach people where they spend most of their time. Social media apps are where people spend loads of time, so going into 2020, you definitely want to put marketing dollars into social ads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snap Chat (depending on your target market). Of course, not all these platforms work for all industries, so research which ones your target demographics use. Like Google Ads, most of these apps allow for real-time optimization so you can see what ads are working and which may not be.
Digital Audio – If you listen to music or podcasts, there is a good chance you’re using a service like Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, iHeart, etc. Guess what? It’s likely that your customers are too. Placing ads on these platforms can sometimes be costly but have shown to be very effective. These platforms have hundreds of millions of users per month and half of those users use free accounts that contain ads.
Spotify’s granular targeting allows you to narrow your audience by age & gender, language, interest & behaviors, playlist, genre, platform, location and time of day. That means you can get in front of the people you know are interested in what you are offering and not waste dollars on people who might just tune you out on traditional radio, for example.
Personalized Marketing / Retargeting – This is going to become a very important marketing tactic in 2020. Traditionally, marketing has been a company putting out generic ads to general market or targeted audiences. Customers want to become part of the experience and see your brand where they spend time. They are also more likely to engage with your brand if they feel they are getting something in return. Trends have begun moving into the personalized marketing space by offering coupons, free white paper downloads, etc. but this will become increasingly important moving forward.
This can seem overwhelming and challenging but utilizing a content personalization engine can make it easier. With this, you can capture information about audience such as where they are visiting and clicking, how much time they spend on a site, their purchase history, search terms, and a lot of other data. Then you can determine who your intended audience is, where your ads should go and how you can stay in front of them and provide them valuable recommendations based on their behavior.
Of course, there are other trends to watch out for in 2020 that you should begin to utilize to create an effective marketing plan. Other things to look for are:
Interactive Content – This is content that is geared mostly to mobile users, which is where users are spending their time more and more. This includes marketing content, such as quizzes, surveys, guides, tutorials, VR content, calculators, etc.
Voice Search – With the advent and popularity of Apple’s Siri and Google’s ‘okay Google’, it is important that your SEO search terms, and marketing are optimized to work with these services.
Over-The-Top Marketing – marketing to the cord-cutters who use services such as Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, etc.
Marketing is a constantly evolving and fascinating world. The technology available enables marketers to quickly and cost-effectively reach their intended audiences like never before. Customers now demand easy and fast to digest, personalized content. Using the above-mentioned trends, you will set your business up for a prosperous 2020.
It’s beginning to look a lot like… the holidays! In the spirit of this festive season (and all of the creative brand campaigns going around,) we wanted to share some marketing tips with our fellow small businesses. There are many affordable ways that you can grow your customer base and help others in the process. Take a look at these three holiday-friendly marketing strategies that will help expand your client base and profits.
What do we love more than fusing creative talents? Very few things. Below are examples on how to collaborate with companies that tap into your for-profit side and your charitable heart.
Partner with another small business
Pepco and Smithsonian’s National Zoo made magic a few years ago by partnering for ZooLights powered by Pepco. Animals and power might not have been the most obvious connection, but it has turned into a holiday tradition that activates the Zoo in the colder, less visited months of winter. The website boasts that “more than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland!” Visitors can do their holiday shopping, enjoy live performances, eat goodies, and take advantage of the social media worthy moments including a step-and-repeat and photo frame (one that SRB actually designed…shameless plug)!
What if you’re a small business? Partnerships can happen at any level. Holiday classics like sweaters and hot chocolate are an easy connection to make. If you are a purveyor of fine knits you should definitely find your local chocolate artisan and create co-partnered holiday packages to warm hearts and minds. Sell them online, promote them on both of your business social media handles, or maybe even host a co-sponsored pop-up. Make sure to keep your customer in mind and consider other areas of their life where you can find a good partnership opportunity. Brainstorm a list of other businesses that fit your mission and reach out. If you want to feel extra inspired make sure you stop by the Zoo, take a photo, and use the hashtag #DCZooLights.
Partner with Local Charity
Tis the Season! We have all seen the prompt to donate a dollar to a good cause when checking out at the grocery store. D.C. is filled with socially-conscious millennials that wear Toms and Warby Parker because of their “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” commitment. At a time of the year when everyone is buying gifts for loved ones, companies can encourage the good tidings of shoppers and bundle in a free item with purchase or donation to a charitable organization of your choice.
MAKE YOUR BRAND FESTIVE
There are several marketing tactics that can expand your visibility and reach this season. Take a look at a few examples below to leverage branding, production and outreach.
Show that your company is showing off its holiday season from your most visible piece of branding. Give your logo and website a holiday refresh. Add a little Santa Hat or make a holiday background for your social media avatars. We had a little fun with our own logo!
Video content has increasingly become the most engaging form of digital and social advertising. Shoot a few creative videos of your staff in the holiday spirit or your products and goods packaged for the holiday.
To really get a true sense of your impact this season, get a true head count on engagement. Open the doors at your location or arrange a pop up where you can let the holiday spirit increase your bottom line. You can have commemorative pictures with Santa, pass out hot chocolate and cookies, participate in or hold light display contests, while attendees purchase your goods and services. Even if you aren’t selling anything at your event, your brand will stay top of mind for the future. Make sure you grab their emails; they will come in handy later.
Digital campaigns can be an affordable way to reach a targeted new audience and your existing client base. Reward loyal customers with special holiday discounts (…and pssst offer the same discount to new customers, we won’t tell). It’s all in the messaging, use this time to be creative and personal.
Google, Facebook and Instagram have very user-friendly ad platforms that allow you to control your spend and reach your target market with fun holiday content. You can even market yourself organically on your own page. Here is one simple promotion we love from the local multicultural beauty shop The Brown Beauty Co-Op. #brownbeautycoop
Now is the time to turn up the lights and frequency on your remarketing campaigns. If you have taken advantage of digital advertising, you should really be allocating a portion of spend to customers who have engaged with your site and left. Bring them back with fun little graphics and phrases like “Santa told us you left something in the cart”.
Use your impressive collection of customer email addresses to send end of the year well wishes and holiday promotions. What a great time to offer a gift to your loyal customers and their friends for inviting new loyalists to your email list. Try something trendy and attention grabbing, especially in the subject line of the message. Pop out in your customer’s inbox with “Yuletide Greetings, 20% off all consultations!”
Whichever you decide to make this season a marketing success, SRB Communications wishes you a Happy Holiday!
Have you ever thought about streaming live video for your brand or business? Here’s a quick and easy guide to producing and promoting your next live video.
What is Live Video?
Live video is streaming video content sent in compressed form over the Internet and displayed by the viewer in real-time.
Live video gives brands the opportunity to connect with fans and customers on a far more genuine, personal level than polished and produced videos.
Used strategically, live video can leverage a brand’s audience as content producers, creating truly authentic content.
Consumers can view live content through services such as Twitter, Snapchat and Twitch. According to eMarketer, Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Instagram are among the most preferred channels to view live video.
Why Live Video is a Winner
According to eMarketer, U.S. companies will invest heavily in video content with special attention given to live video (i.e. Instagram Stories, newsfeed videos, live streaming, IGTV, etc.) in the next 12 months.
For brand awareness, relationship building, and even direct sales, live video will become an increasingly effective marketing channel that will shape the industry for years to come.
Marketers should consider live stream video for the following purposes:
To connect with your audience in the most genuine, human way possible
Live video allows brands to meet fans in person since the event is happening “face to face” and in real-time. Live video gives you a chance to show there are real, caring humans behind your business, which in turn helps to builds trust and leads to more business prospects in the door.
To answer questions in real-time
Interacting with fans and followers doesn’t have to be limited to when we are checking back in our social media pages. Live video also allows for the opportunity to answer followers’ questions in real-time, which provides an opportunity to engage with viewers when they’re most interested.
To showcase an event to people who couldn’t attend in real life
Live video is a great way to broadcast events and connect with fans who aren’t able to attend in person. Just make sure the internet connection is strong and permissions to stream the event live have been secured before going live.
Live Video Event Ideas
There’s an overwhelming number of ideas out there about how to create a viral live video, but little practical advice. These four techniques will show you how to do just that.
While how-to videos might be one of YouTube’s most-searched video types, they’ve become incredibly popular on Facebook Live, as well. You can use the live streaming platform to not only demonstrate how your own product or services work but also to show how to perform tasks related to your industry. Doing so builds your reputation as a helpful, trustful brand.
The best strategy to do this effectively is to create a recurring series where you share information around lesser-known facts about your respective space and answer fan questions as they come up.
To nail this strategy:
be consistent with the time and day of the week you go live,
feature hosts that aren’t afraid to show off their personalities,
and ensure you have someone ready to monitor questions so you can answer them either in real-time in the comments or in the actual broadcast itself.
Behind the Scenes
Generally speaking, your fans only see the forward-facing side of the brand — the side that markets to them and wants to continuously impress them with engaging content. But if you use live video to take them behind the scenes, you’ll find brand loyalty and interest will grow. Give your audience a peek behind the curtain, almost always taking them someplace they couldn’t otherwise go.
You can do this by:
showing fans preparations for a highly anticipated event,
revealing the process of how something is made,
providing a BTS lens into talent’s media interviews or PR stunt,
or by letting them follow along with a particular expert employee’s “day-in-the-life” or daily duties.
Everyone loves a good challenge! If your brand has an idea for a competition or challenge which can be broadcast live, don’t hesitate to do so via live video. You’ll attract your fair share of viewers, but you’ll also reap the benefits of views on the archived live stream or in post-promotion of the video. Encourage your audience to share in the challenge at home (if they’re safely able to) and report on their experiences in real-time using the chat feature.
How-to videos have become incredibly popular, especially on Facebook Live. You can use the live streaming platform to not only demonstrate how something works related to your company’s brand but also to show how to perform tasks related to your respective industry. Doing so builds your reputation as a helpful, trusted brand.
How to Promote Live Video Streams
While most of the live video content is followed up with consistent promotion, it’s important to remember live videos are more like an event than a blog post. In other words, you need to generate interest before the experience if you want to get that all-important viewership. The good news is most of the social channels supporting live video lets you target specific audiences and groups with your promotions. This is perfect for a more focused advertising campaign.
Social media announcement 1 week prior to the event.
Consider creating an event page for it on Facebook with a dedicated cross-promotion on your company’s Facebook page.
Publish reminder posts in the week leading up to the event (3 organic posts across social platforms max as to not inundate the audience with promotional messaging).
During the Event
Publish tune-in posts to drive viewers to live event.
The event should go live at optimal posting times when the audience is most engaged.
Engage with viewers of the live event and take questions from the audience at moments throughout the discussion.
Continue to promote the recorded live video following the broadcast for further viewership.
Tips for Great Live Video Streams
When setting out to produce a live video event, you should always follow the standard video production process as you would follow for any other video production. Here are a few more best practices to follow as you produce live video, specifically.
Choose the Right Camera
Mobile phones are best for “run-and-gun,” in-the-field moment, and though HD cameras are great, they sacrifice agility for higher video quality. Either way, be strategic about what video quality is necessary to tell your story best.
Pre-Test Live Video
Before going live, test things out by creating a practice video restricted to your eyes only on a private account on the platform you intend to go live. This will allow subjects to “get loose” and comfortable on the camera and will help ensure the lighting and sound are up to standards.
Check Your Connections
Connectivity is key. Test your connection before going live to be sure your broadcast does not cut out. Time permitting, go to the location shoot a day or two early and test connectivity. Decide beforehand if you will use Wi-Fi or cell service. And make sure to have a backup plan, because going live depends on solid connectivity.
Face a Window
Facing a window will give subjects a beautiful source of natural light and make them appear clear in the video frame. Additionally, remove the subjects’ glasses when filming. Glasses can pick up additional glare and can be distracting when filming.
Film Horizontally on the Mobile Device
Mobile phone users have the natural urge to film vertically since this is just how most are used to using a phone, but flipping the phone to a horizontal view yields a much nicer sized video. Horizontal videos look better all around, especially when displayed on the news feed.
Audio is Still Important
Best practices for radio also apply to live video. While you’re thinking through the production, don’t forget about audio. Low-level, off-mic or distorted audio will cause your audience to turn away.
Among the practices to keep in mind:
Choose the right mic for the environment you’re in
Hold the mic close to the subject
Select the shot locations based on how it looks and how it sounds
Use a windscreen
Smile, and Be Properly Caffeinated
Listening to a monotone, unfriendly voice talking about a topic will put everyone in the audience to sleep. On the other hand, watching a video of an individual with an energetic and friendly demeanor will evoke positive feelings in your viewers and keep them hooked. Subjects should speak with a smile, wake up with some caffeine, and most importantly, be themselves. When possible, avoid a talking-head, broadcast model. Always look for ways to add interactivity or visual value.
Optimize Go-Live Time for Pacific Standard Time (PST)
Remember to schedule the live event at a time that offers the best chance to catch people’s attention. Optimize the go-live time for Pacific Standard Time (PST) to allow for more people to attend the stream. Consider scheduling the Live event for 2pm PST to catch West Coast viewers during the afternoon slump, East Coast viewers as they’re getting off work and European viewers as they’re tucking into bed.
Have Someone Monitor Comments and Feed Questions
With live video, it can be hard to host your video and reply to comments at the same time, which is why you should have a colleague answering your comments in text form, and prompting you to answer the most relevant questions during the actual broadcast.
Talk Back to the Audience
Interaction on live videos gives the audience a vote of authority and provides new viewers with confidence that they’re not wasting their time on snooze-worthy content. During the broadcast ask questions, and then ask your viewers to reply in the comments. Ask them to like and share the post. Perhaps even run a live contest asking them to like, share and comment on the post to be entered into a free giveaway raffle.
Call Out Commenters by Name
When answering questions over the broadcast make sure you call out the user by their first name. This helps build even more of a connection and will make them feel special that you chose to answer their question live.
Give an Actionable Sign-Off
After the broadcast, tell viewers what we want them to do with a strong call-to-action. Do you want them to like the company Facebook page for a discount subscribers code? Share the recording on their page or in their stories? Whatever it may be, be sure to end your live video event with something actionable for viewers to do.
Promote the Video Post-Broadcast
Once the video is done livestreaming, publish organic posts for fans who were unable to attend the live event. Additionally, consider boosting the post and running an ad campaign just like on the other Facebook videos and posts. Take advantage of the audience and geo-targeting features to get the recorded live video in front of a larger but still relevant audience.
After the video has been up for a few days, take a look at the analytics and see how the live video performed. There you’ll be able to see metrics that matter most to your live video event depending on the platform like minutes viewed, unique viewers, video views, 10-second views, average % completed, number of reactions, comments, and shares. Facebook, for instance, provide metrics specific to live video around peak live viewers, total views, average view time people reached, and demographics of who watched. Using these metrics will allow you to continue to perfect your live video strategy going forward.
When setting out to produce a video for your agency or a client, there are many factors to consider. It could be as simple as grabbing a camera and just shooting, or it could be as complex as producing a full feature film. The complexity of your production will be determined by the purpose of the video, budget, timeline, and the tools and resources that you have access to.
UNDERSTANDING THE VIDEO PRODUCTION PROCESS
The video production process always starts with three main phases: pre-production, production, and post-production.
What is video production?
Video production usually refers to the process of producing video content in a digital format. We define this because it can be a very different process to film production, which usually involves much larger crews, larger budgets, and different equipment. All video production starts with a story that needs to be told. The video should portray this story in an easy to understand and visually appealing way for your intended audience.
To help you along this process, below are the three-phase of video production as a quick checklist to help you determine what your needs may be for your next video.
What is Pre-Production?
This is when all of the planning and coordination happens. All phases of video production are important, but the pre-production phase may be the most important and most tedious, depending on the complexity of your production. This is where all the preparation takes place that sets the groundwork for your video. By doing your homework and mapping out all the details in this stage, your production and post-production phases will be much smoother and less stressful.
The pre-production phase includes:
Develop the Creative Treatment – This is an important first step to any production. The creative treatment should describe the concept of the video, the look and feel, and what you want your audience to feel and do when they see your video.
Write the Script – The script is obviously another key element to your production. It is going to determine what shots you need to capture when you are in your field production shoot. It needs to tell a story that will captivate your intended audience and quickly and easily tell the audience what you want them to know. It will also help you determine what elements you may need for your field production shoot. For instance, if you write a point-of-view shot of a bird flying into the script, you know that you will need a drone to capture that type of shot.
Book the On-Screen Talent – Will you be the on-screen talent? Will you be using people within your organization? Will you need professional actors?
Scout and Secure the Locations – Before you go shoot, go out and scout the locations you have in mind, just to make sure they will work on camera as you expect. Also, keep in mind that videotaping in certain locations may require approval, which can be a lengthy process, so make sure you plan for that.
Make a Shot List – This list should include each location you need to shoot at with the shots you need included at each location.
Define the Budget – Your budget is one of the most important factors for your production. If you are doing a quick Facebook video in a vlog style, you likely won’t need to spend any money. If you are doing a corporate video or commercial, your budget could require a large sum of money.
Book the Voiceover Narration Talent – Do you need a voice narrating throughout the video? Will you use a narrator and on-camera soundbites? If you do need voiceover narration, you may want to consider using a professional talent for that polished look, if the budget allows.
Choose the Music Carefully – The right music can make your video really shine. Spend some time just imaging what the look of the video should be in your mind and select music that you think will accompany the shots you want to get. The music may change once you get to the post-production phase, so don’t purchase it until you know it is the right fit.
Choose the Distribution Channels – Before you shoot, you should define what platforms the video will be used for. Will it be used on broadcast television or online? Be conscious about your platform so that you know what format to shoot the video in.
Don’t Forget Weather Considerations – This one seems obvious, but you should check the weather and be prepared for inclement weather. If your scene calls for a bright sunny day and it is raining, well, you are going to have to reschedule. Keep this in mind and check the weather before you go out and shoot so that you don’t have to unbook your whole crew.
Make a Production Schedule – Once you have all of your ducks in a row, you should create a production schedule that contains all of the important information about your field production shoot day. This should include the names and contact information for all crew members, the equipment that is needed, the name, address and contact person at each shoot location, and a timeline with start and end times for each location and what will be shot there.
What is Field Production?
As you probably guessed, the production phase is where all your pre-production work comes to life. This is the phase where you get out to your locations with your crew, gear and talent and turn your creative treatment and script into real life.
The field production phase includes:
Production Equipment (camera(s), lighting gear, audio gear, memory cards, extra batteries, stands, tripods, lenses, etc.) – To state the obvious, if you are going to be producing a video, you will need gear…sometimes a lot of it. Be sure you have the correct gear for the job. And always make sure you have plenty of memory cards and extra batteries. Audio in video is as important, if not more important than the video. Capturing good audio in interviews and natural sound in b-roll is key to a great video. Make sure you have a quality microphone.
Release Forms – If you are not using professional on-screen talent, be sure to bring copies of personal footage release forms, particularly if you are shooting people off the street and directing them in any way. You want to make sure you have their written consent to be on camera to avoid any legal trouble with a subject who complains about being in your video without their consent.
Personnel needs (director, producer, talent, grips) – How large a crew will you need to make your production happen and look good? Some complicated scenes may require extra hands. Of course, if your budget allows for a full professional crew, your finished product will likely be better. If this is not feasible, there are ways a small crew can still accomplish the same quality but be realistic about your limitations.
What is Post-Production?
The post-production phase is where you will set the tone for your video. While right or wrong music and voice over narration selections can make or break your video, the video edit will shape the video and give it a certain pace and feel. Make sure you edit with your story and purpose in mind, and not just throw shots together randomly.
The post-production phase includes:
Video editing software – Once you have shot all of your video, the next step is to edit it. There are many options these days when it comes to editing software but some of the most popular include Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premier, and Sony Vegas. If you are not comfortable with editing the video yourself, consider hiring a professional editor, who can really make your video shine. Editing is one most important steps in the video production process.
Audio editing software – Just like editing your video, audio editing is a very important step of your production. Using dedicated audio editing software, you can take out some of the background noise, hiss, and breath sounds that may be distracting within your video. Some popular audio editing programs are Adobe Audition, Avid Pro Tools, and Audacity.
Of course, entire books are written about video production and how to prepare for a successful video shoot, but if you aren’t in the production industry and don’t have time to read a whole book, keeping these tips in mind should help you be prepared for your next video, whether big or small.
Recently, our Vice President of Marketing, Michaela Blanchard, spoke on a panel for Ad Week DC, #ADWKDC, addressing the topic of Multiculturism in Advertising. One audience member asked an insightful question. “How can you tell if a brand is authentic when advertising to minority audiences?” Of course, we can do our research to investigate a company’s culture and brand history. But we have to accept that direct Multicultural advertising targeting will be more prevalent as we enter a landscape where the minority becomes the majority.
Diversity and inclusion is a business imperative in hiring and profitability. Those who embrace it will be more likely to prosper, and those who ignore it will be more likely to fail. We must remember that the minority population in this country is currently at 41%, according to the U.S. census; and expected to exceed 50% before 2044. Any smart brand would position themselves to benefit from the massive buying power of African American and Hispanic customers in the marketplace.
If you are determined to use and buy the most socially-conscious goods and services, here are a few ways to see if the brands you support, support you:
Look at past advertising campaigns to see how long diverse representation has been present.
Have there been any recent snafus in the news, regarding insensitive marketing material or images?
Look at the people at the table. Does the agency or marketing department have people that look like you in brand or product development?
Is this brand only being supportive of a trend? For example, does this brand reach the LGBTQ audience outside of Pride Month?
Finally, when all else fails…ask the internet. Social media has become the whistleblower of all things morally slanted.
But don’t be discouraged, whatever a brand’s reason may be, we are headed into a direction of a plethora of options for health and beauty, automobiles, and other retail treasures.
For the first time ever, Refinery 29 took their interactive exhibit, 29Rooms, on the road and this year’s theme, “Expand Your Reality”, promised to “connect you to your curiosity and unlock your sense of wonder through mind-bending creativity and bold collaborations.”
The DC event took place at the DC Armory with installations that were a mishmash of art, activism, marketing and corporate sponsorship under the Refinery29 brand. The exhibit allowed visitors to meander through 29 distinct experiences created by local DC artists Kali Uchis, Yvette Mayorga, NNEKKA and many others.
Here is a quick overview of the installations that really caught my eye:
Dream Doorways (Collaboration with Kali Uchis): This room put you in a surreal alternate universe to interpret your thoughts, dreams and unconscious.
29 Questions: This room was a social experiment that asked visitors to disconnect from technology and engage with a stranger by asking each other questions.
The Art Park (Collaboration with Yvette Mayorga, Dan Lam, NNEKKAA, Hanski, and Trap Bob):A climbable staircase that created a canvas that explored unique ways of showcasing art through playful and creative composition.
Dance Break: This room got people dancing by offering up an awesome soundtrack.
A Long Line of Queendom (Collaboration with Unbothered): This room was a celebration of and dedication to Black millennial women and the truths that make up their experiences.
In terms of corporate sponsorship, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) did the experience better than others. ACLU’s exhibit, The Values Stand, was an Andy Warhol-like “news stand” that fit in seamlessly with Refinery 29 branding. It pushed a message of community activism by getting people to pledge to better their communities through voting and signing up for ACLU’s community volunteer teams.
Other brand sponsorships at the event felt a little out of place at the exhibit and there seemed to be a disconnect between the sponsor’s brand and the Refinery 29 brand.
Personally, I believe the intent of the exhibit was to showcase the art and create space for conversation about the cultural landscape and political climate. But in reality, I don’t think that 29Rooms pushed enough to expand that conversation, rather it offered up an opportunity for people to take selfies with corporately branded art.
With that being said, the event was a really fun time. It provided a great introduction to the creativity of some of DC’s best artists and I now have enough selfies to get me through the next few months of #throwbackthursdays.
At SRB Communications, we recognize the fiercely talented women entrepreneurs who are paving the path for their peers.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for 29 years. As we approach our 30th anniversary, I often marvel at the ways SRB Communications has grown in new business, strategic partnerships and retaining the absolute best marketing talent in town. I am also humbled at how entrepreneurship has brought me closer to other strong women business owners across generations – some who I’ve mentored and some who have mentored me. I am filled with gratitude when I think of the ways these women have impacted my life as an entrepreneur.
This month, we celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month, which means it’s time to honor women-owned businesses everywhere, as well as the progress female entrepreneurs have made over the years. As I reflect on my years as an advocate of women entrepreneurs and the significance of this month, I am reminded of the strides women have made in business and entrepreneurship. According to the latest American Express State of Women-Owned BusinessesReport, the growth of women-owned businesses continues at a rapid pace.
As I honor other women entrepreneurs for their contributions to business, I am also humbled by the advances I’ve seen in my own business, SRB Communications, which was recently recognized by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). Last week, I attended the NMSDC Conference in Atlanta, Ga., where SRB Communications won the 2019 Supplier of the Year award. This was truly an honor because as much as I’ve accomplished throughout my career, the Supplier of the Year award is a testament to the hard work of the SRB team, both nationally and the local honor we received in 2018 from the CRMSDC to position us for the national win. I am proud to say that the staff of SRB Communications is 85% women. And as I continue to grow this business, it is crucial that I continue to invest in other women and diverse communities just as our Fortune 100 clients have invested in us.
Every Monday morning at our weekly SRB staff meeting, we dedicate a portion of the time to an agenda item we call “Lessons Learned.” It’s a point of discussion for our team to share their wins, challenges and areas of opportunity learned from the campaigns we execute. In Atlanta last week, I started to think about the lessons I’ve learned growing a business in marketing and advertising, being an award-winning diverse supplier to some of the biggest utility companies in the mid-Atlantic region, government and transportation agencies, higher education institutions, and leading a team of marketing experts that is also representative of today’s diverse America.
Here are three of my biggest lessons learned:
Lesson 1: Build your board of advisors.
You can learn from your own experience, but it’s better to learn from other people’s experience, especially when those same people have achieved success in the same field as you and other fields. Turn to these women and men for advice on how to run your business. A board of advisors can advise you on your finances and human resources, but also offer strategies to marketing the business and growth in areas you may not be proficient in.
Lesson 2: Trust and invest in your people.
As an entrepreneur it’s easy to take on all of the responsibilities required to run your business — though it’s not easy to manage them all. Your team is your biggest asset and a great representation of the work you do. Choose people who not only are good at doing the work but are also a good cultural fit. And make sure you feel empowered to delegate the work, as necessary. You hired them for a reason. Trust they will be able to do their jobs.
Lesson 3: Embrace new technologies.
Smart business owners should take advantage of new tools to help manage their business. For instance, digital marketing tools like social media, newsletters and blog writing is a great way to grow your customer base, network with other business owners and helps you lean into the way people are communicating these days.
Do you have other resource suggestions for women business owners? Which resources have been the most beneficial to you? Let us know in the comment section below.
Washington, D.C. October 15, 2019 – SRB Communications received the 2019 Supplier of the Year Award in the Class II category ($1 million to $10 million in revenue) from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). This award recognizes outstanding minority business enterprises (MBEs) for their business growth and development, operational success, support of other minority businesses, and active participation in the community.
SRB Communications was nominated for the award by Pepco Holdings – an Exelon company, and one of the agency’s Fortune 100 corporate clients since 1996. Currently, SRB Communications serves as the multicultural agency of record for the utility, serving the Washington, D.C. region, southern New Jersey and Delaware. The agency currently has had several multi-year contracts with the utility over the years including providing communications and community outreach work for a multi-year infrastructure project that will modernize the energy grid in the District of Columbia and areas in the state of Maryland.
The national awards event, which was held on October 14, 2019 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA, recognizes minority entrepreneurs who have excelled in providing quality services and products to major corporations that have a strong commitment to supplier diversity. NMSDC has 23 affiliate regional offices. Each of the affiliate councils selected regional winners over the past year, totaling approximately 92 MBE businesses in the final four revenue categories.
In 2018, SRB Communications was recognized as Supplier of the Year by the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC). Only 16 of these regional award recipients rose to the national level across the four revenue categories of which SRB Communications was one of them. Ultimately, SRB Communications won the national title in the Class II category.
SRB Communications is a full-service advertising, marketing and PR agency in Washington, D.C., with satellite offices in Baltimore and Manhattan, New York. The boutique agency specializes in multicultural markets, public relations, media relations, community outreach and broadcast production. We are storytellers who deliver integrated advertising solutions through all media channels. For more information visit www.srbcommunications.com.
Knowing which platforms are best for a company or organization to advertise on depends on several factors and a hyper-focused understanding of your consumer. Who is your target audience? How old are they? Where do they live? What are their cultural experiences? These are just a handful of questions that can help shape what type of advertising your company needs.
For many, especially if you have the budget, a good mix of traditional (print, TV, radio, outdoor) advertising and digital and social media advertising is best. However, for some small businesses and non-profit organizations, those traditional mediums are not financially feasible. Luckily, in today’s ever-evolving marketing world, digital and social media ads are the most effective ways to reach most audiences.
Digital advertising allows companies to be nimble and try new things. You can test your ads and if they are not getting the traction you want, you can continue to swap them out in real-time until you find that sweet spot. For example, retargeting allows you to serve ads to your target audience no matter where they go online. It’s happened to you before; you’d been eyeing a new coffee pot on Amazon and then went to check sports scores on ESPN.com and you were served an ad of that same coffee pot you were just looking at. That is retargeting at work. This type of advertising is great not only because you can see who you are reaching, how many people are seeing your ad and clicking on your ad, but it is also a very cost-effective way to advertise.
Social media ads are another way to make a big impact with your advertising online without spending a ton of money. The best social media platforms to advertise on currently are:
Facebook: Facebook has about 2 billion active users. That is a huge potential audience for your ads. However, you likely don’t need to reach the whole world. With Facebook ads you can run geographic-specific banner, native, full screen ads and video ads. They also offer detailed performance tracking with ability to make instant changes to your ads, if necessary.
Instagram: Instagram caters specifically to mobile users; enhanced targeting with paid ads; Instagram users tend to follow brands. Once users start seeing your ads, it is likely that some of those people will start following your Instagram account, which will increase your visibility and potential business leads.
Twitter: You may want to consider using Twitter Ads if you want to reach users who are very active in current events. Twitter also uses an auction system, which allows you to advertise by bidding on your ads, based around your budget. Then, you only pay for the ads that users take action on.
Snapchat: Snapchat is one of the best platforms for reaching mobile users in the 18-24-year-old range. If you need to reach a younger crowd, this is where you want to be, especially if you have interactive video ads.
LinkedIn: This is likely the best platform to advertise on if you are trying to reach business professionals. With LinkedIn, you can advertise in a few different ways, either with Sponsored InMail (sending direct messages to inboxes), Sponsored Content (in-feed ads), and Text Ads, which are pay-per-click ads, based on the amount of impressions the ad gets. Text ads are cost-effective because you only pay for ads that get impressions or clicks and because there are no graphics, you can create these very quickly.
Because of the ability to identify your target market so specifically with digital and social ads, advertisers can reach exactly who they want, where they want, and how often they want.
To learn more about cost-effective advertising strategies, reach out to us with any questions at any times. By using our advertising capabilities – traditional, digital or others – we can help your company deliver results. Learn more about our advertising and marketing services at SRB Communications.