“I truly believe entertainment is the future of e-commerce and retail.” This quote was authored by Rachel Tipograph, founder and CEO of MikMak and former global director of digital and social media for Gap Inc., during a panel discussion at the Summer 2015 Create and Cultivate Conference in Chicago earlier this year. Tipograph along with many other startup founders and e-tailers shared how to stay relevant in a modern marketplace to over 500 bloggers, influencers and entrepreneurs in attendance.
During the keynote panel, “Launchpad: How to launch your business, create community and stay relevant in modern marketplace,” founders and CEOs from Ringly, DooBop, MiraFit, Havenly and BrideSide all shared their trials and triumphs of launching a business. The key takeaway from the panel was that content delivery is a large part of their brand.
“In my opinion, professional video is more effective than user-generated content in retail,” added Tipograph. “It’s the way people consume content now, and content is powerful.”
Suzanne El-Moursi, director of brand development for women’s wearable tech company MiraFit, elaborated on the brand’s digital strategy.
“I think it’s important for every brand to have a storyteller,” said El-Moursi. “You have to find what’s compelling about your story and brand and go from there.”
MiraFit reaches its customers through its blog, which features tips, fitness how-tos and Pinterest-worthy images.
The panel continued to elaborate on the idea that content marketing and a seamless digital experience are no longer the exception, rather the new expectation. So how can marketers make their brands stand out? Sonali Lamba, co-founder of BrideSide, an e-commerce site that aggregates bridesmaid dresses, shared what she believes makes the difference.
“One day it just hit me that it’s not the items that I’m selling people are after, it’s the service, the piece of mind and my brand that people are interested in. Perfecting that through content and customer service is critical.”
BrideSide emphasizes content not only through a blog, but by highlighting its customers’ experiences to showcase the brand’s services.
Content generation has been a hot topic in brand marketing recently. If you’re not expanding your brand through content, it will likely fall behind. Big-box retailers such as Old Navy and Target are currently making content creation, influencers and stylists an integral part of their social media strategies.
“We’re making sure we’re very engaged with those bloggers and that we’re in the discussion,” said Brian Cornell, Target’s chairman and CEO, in a recent earnings call. “It’s a very important part of how we think about the brand and making sure that we incorporate social into our overall brand development initiatives.”
Right now, CPG, food and retail are the industries benefitting most from influencer marketing. However, as you can see in the graphic below (click to enlarge) from Burst Media, other verticals aren’t far behind.
How are you using influencers in your marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments section below.
This article first appeared on The Women in Retail Leadership Circle.