By: Holly Gonzalez, Account Executive

I am back to cover day two of key learnings from the Marketing, Advertising and Communications (MAC) Summit. This day was filled with engaging speakers with tips and practical stories on the changing landscape of the industry. Here is a recap of the sessions:

Unleash the Power of the Creator

I am ever fascinated by the popularity of social media influencers. This session with Nate Houghteling of Portal A who works with celebrity and influencer talent gave a peek into how to make this form of marketing successful. In years past, just having a celebrity associate with a brand by holding up the product in a commercial or print ad was enough to generate buzz. Today, celebrities and influencers are being more intentional with their brand associations to make sure they align with their own personal personas. Influencers often have such a niche audience of which they remain well attuned so that they are more a part of the creative process of brand promotion than ever before. Influencers are also considerate of the best timing for sharing content with their audience to take into account other projects and messaging they may already be sharing. They are master marketers in their own right, so they often have valuable input on how to best market your product or service to their audience in innovative ways.

Creating Your Personal and Executive Thought Leadership Plan for LinkedIn

During this session, I immediately saw that Ramatu Kandakai of ASAE was on the same wavelength as our team at Williams Whittle because she had featured in the background of her Zoom set up a copy of one of our recent reads “The One Page Marketing Plan” by Allan Dibb. This session discussed the various ways to publish content on LinkedIn from the activity feed, articles and now stories, but Kandakai reminded us there is value in commenting on others’ posts to create dialogue and how comments can also get your brand seen.

Non-Profit Marketers on Video: Case Studies and Insights

Video has been a little tricky as of late, but then again, we are nimble marketers and have made some pretty cool content in recent months using iPhones, family members as actors or animation. Video experts in this session from American Red Cross, Ground Media, The Humane Society of the United States and The Nature Conservancy noted that having a video archive can be essential during these times to draw on old content to repurpose when shooting schedules are hard to come by. One organization even had content related to Joe Exotic that they were able to repurpose during quarantine.  One point that was echoed by all experts was that one single video cannot tell the entire story of your brand. Make sure to focus your client on how a video can be used very specifically to introduce a topic, convert an audience to a specific action or share a few key facts.

Pivoting for the Pandemic

Of course, COVID-19 was a huge topic at this conference. I was eager to hear how others in the field have navigated this uncharted territory. This session was particularly useful because both Sharon Reis of the Reis Group and Resehma Mehta of AARP shared real examples of how they adapted campaigns and messaging for their clients or organizations. AARP shared how they found success in utilizing an old strategy in a new way. They brought back Tele-Town Halls where members would listen to experts in real-time on a phone call to get up-to-date information and ask questions about COVID-19. These were held weekly and featured national, state and congressional officials as well as medical experts. Their results showed a million people or 32% stayed on the call for this service.

Podcasting: Building a Brand

I enjoy podcasts, especially because they can really cover anything. They can tell you a fictional story, feature experts, provide the news and even offer thought leadership in a wide variety of fields. These experts noted the power podcasts have to use audio to immerse audiences and make them think imaginably. This is perfect for businesses that want to use podcasts as an extension of their brand. Podcasts are able to humanize your brand and make your message relatable to new audiences. It does require a lot of preplanned work. Make sure your host is engaging, you have planned out how long your season or podcast as a whole will run and that you diligently fact check and research information you will be sharing.

An Innovative Brand Strategy for the USPHS Commissions Corps

This session was a fun look into the collaboration between a nonprofit and an agency on building a full campaign for a brand. Fors Marsh Group and USPHS Commissioned Corps came together to rebrand the organization with a modern look to attract officer candidates. It was interesting to see how this pivoted during the pandemic, with changes such as using voice-overs with existing video footage or photography rather than filming in real-time. The presence of the pandemic elevated the importance of their campaign because officers were deployed for relief efforts which were covered on mass media.

Phew, now that was a lot of education in two days, but I enjoyed every moment. I sure miss in-person conferences where you can make new connections over lunch and snack breaks, and visit exhibit booths with great free swag, but this conference made me proud to be a part of this industry that is making remarkable progress daily working remotely.