Why true talent could save retail this Christmas

By William Soulier, CEO and co-founder of Talent Village,

It’s 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. Added to this, the number of shoppers heading to UK high streets, retail parks and shopping centres has fallen by 10% in the last seven years.

While, the often-blamed culprit for these dire high street situations is usually online shopping, it’s not all rosy in this ecommerce sector either.

For example, IMRG’s online recent retail sales forecast for the Black Friday period 2019 puts growth at only 2% – 3% and with a very real possibility it could be flat, with December sales expected to grow just 1-2%.

This is bad news for retail in general and shows that the issues aren’t merely constrained to the high street.

The world of influence is ever-changing, and as it continues to grow as a key strategy for any brand who wants to achieve creative endorsement and encourage advocacy, the role of true talent and the demand for high-quality content has risen in stature.

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 while national newspapers will see spend drop 2.6% and magazine spend will see a 5.8% fall – 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 their “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 touch points 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.

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.

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.

Furthmore, as proven by Coca Cola, by optimising your message across multiple channels, you are able to spark interest across multiple touch points 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.

Photo by Denise Johnson on Unsplash

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