Instagram Story Stickers = Free Exposure Hack

OWYN Stories

Last week I wrote a post about the necessary ingredients needed to succeed as a healthy CPG (or beverage) brand. One such brand is our awesome client OWYN. They have super smart people running point, are investing the necessary capital and hustle, have a great tasting and healthy product and are all about storytelling.

They are always open to new ideas and hacking ways to stand out from the clutter and get their brand messaging out there in the process. Ahead of a weekend full of events, we went ahead and created a custom branded GIF for Instagram Stories that can be used by them and by any IG user for that matter.  We submitted to Giphy and got it approved and it is now searchable by anybody who is posting a Story.
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Without prodding or planning, we had someone post it within a day of creating the asset. Even better, the person @Jessmair, is a power user, with 57K followers on the platform. We have effectively empowered a true influencer with some ammunition to do the heavy lifting for us. We put in some work and earned some free exposure for the brand.

We call that a win!

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Sircle Squad Profile: Lauren Utecht

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Full name/nickname: Lauren Utecht. Sometimes people just shorten my name to Laur or Lau.

Age: 22

University & Major: Roger Williams University. Major – Journalism, Minor – Film, and Concentration – Spanish

What made you choose Sircle Media? I decided to apply to Sircle Media because after researching the company and looking at their website, I really liked their overall vision and POV on social media. At school, I was introduced to the power of social media and all things digital. I believe it has opened up a window of opportunity for brands to have conversations, develop relationships and show that they care about their customers by sharing personal stories and giving them an inside look at their company through the use of digital elements. Sircle Media really emphasized this idea and I knew it was somewhere I could enhance my skills. I always make sure I can believe in a company before I interview with them. Most importantly, I really liked the company environment as it seemed positive and productive. Everyone was extremely friendly, encouraging and I could see that there was a lot of opportunity for growth. That is why I ultimately chose Sircle Media.

Most surprising discovery/realization after working here? The most surprising thing I’ve learned after working here is that brands don’t need to take their social media management too seriously. What I mean is that people don’t want a product being shoved down their throats on social media and most likely aren’t going to take the time to read a long caption explaining a product. I always knew it was best to keep captions short, but I’m really learning to have fun with my posts. It’s OK to be silly and make jokes and puns because it shows off the brand’s personality, explains who they are, what they stand for and breaks the ice between sellers and buyers.

What’s the best part of your job? The best part of my job is that it is not restrictive at all and I have a ton of autonomy. With social media, every day is different from the last and I get an opportunity that most new hires don’t, which is to have fun while learning new skills. Social media forces me to be creative, innovative and keep up with all of the latest trends. Social Media Managers have the ability to create content that can influence a culture and shape the future. That is really exciting and encourages me to be better.

What can you tell us about Adam or your supervisor? I’ve been working really closely with Sara Lerner on a few brands. Both she and Adam truly care about their employees. They help me believe in myself because they took a chance on me very early on in my career. They are now teaching me everything it takes to be a Social Media Manager, from building relationships with clients to managing day to day functions and even experimenting with audiences by promoting posts. They are always accessible if I need help and when I have questions, they get back to me right away. They are always reminding me that no question is dumb and are constantly encouraging me.

Advice to future interns/employees? My advice would be to ask questions and research topics you don’t feel comfortable with. It’s always better to make sure you’re doing something correctly than guess and make a mistake because you were too nervous to ask.

Bonus Questions:

What are three songs that never fail to get you hyped?: “Closer” by the Chainsmokers, “Levels” by Avicii and “All of the Lights” by Kanye West ft. Rihanna and Kid Cudi.

What is something about you that people would be surprised to know?: My sister and I did competitive gymnastics since we were very young. I was always getting injured and eventually had to give it up at the beginning of high school, after my third broken arm because I fell too far behind on my skills.

What cartoon/movie character were you inexplicably afraid of as a kid?: I wasn’t really afraid, but I hated the “The Emperor’s New Groove” for some reason when all of my friends were obsessed with it.

Favorite hobbies? I love to travel and see new places around the world. I’m a firm believer that spending money on experiences rather than on material items makes you happier. I love to run, as I ran track all throughout high school and college. I like to cook and experiment with new recipes, read a lot and watch really good movies because film has always been another interest of mine. I also love playing with my dog and spending time with family and friends! :)

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POV: The keys to winning as a healthy CPG brand…

Saffron-Key

With Expo East looming, it got me thinking about what I think makes for a winner brand in the healthy CPG (Consumer Packaged Good) space. Everyone thinks they have the best (or at least a really great) product, or they wouldn’t be grinding it out in this vertical. It is so demanding and defeating, so you need to have the underlying belief that you have the goods and ride that horse until the end of the race. The big differentiators I have found between the winning and losing brands are:

1- Good taste and health profile. I have some clients with products that taste good but have too much sugar or just aren’t really all that healthy or good for you. Then I have others with great labels and concepts, but a product that consumers won’t like or buy (more than once). You sort of need to nail both.

2- Good operators. I am such a believer that you need smart, compassionate and driven leaders (and the team to follow) to win in this game. There are so many layers and paths to navigate and it cannot be a B- player making the calls, especially at the top.

3- Funding. Bottom line is you need the funds to even sit at the table and be able to deal yourself into the game to have a chance to really make it. You cannot get by with minimal cash because you cannot invest in the mission-critical areas needed to succeed. If you are always making “either-or” decisions then you are always leaving opportunity on the table and greatly reducing your chances of coming out on

4- Solid storytelling. You need to be able to story tell and explain your USP’s to make people listen. Then your DTP’s (Describe The Product) need to be tight, concise and believable. So much of this comes down to your social media messaging, execution and ongoing dialogue with consumers. Everyone thinks their baby is the cutest, but most aren’t and/or others wont see it like you do. You need to be able to clearly convey your why (and your why they should care) if you want them to become customers and brand advocates. Your branding, packaging, website, label, POS, and story all lay the foundation. Then how and where you spread those messages around makes a big difference. Underinvesting in any or worse, all of those, will greatly compromise your chances of winning.

5- Grit. Finally, with all of the above in the right place, you need a leader, team, and brand with the grit and willingness to stick it out when times get tough or you suffer major losses or setbacks. They will come, so you need to have the mental fortitude to weather the storm, bounce back quickly and keep plowing forward. This game is not for the weak, trust me on that!

I encourage all players in this space to look inward and figure out if they are lacking in any of these core categories. The good news is that most can be course corrected and adjusted, but only if you stop, breathe, assess, and are honest with yourself. It does require reflection, forward thinking and serious commitment

Most of my clients have some of these attributes in place and a few have them all. An analogy I like to use is that I feel like a High School or College Basketball Coach sometimes. Working with all of my clients is important and meaningful to me, but collaborating with those really special ones that come around more rarely (like a true NBA star in the making) is incredibly rewarding and a lot of fun along the way!

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