It’s been an especially busy fall here at Scaling Retail- including trips around the world! Here’s a quick ab showook at some of our favorite recent events.
A Digital Marketing & Social Media Workshop in Coral Gables, FL
I took a trip to hot and sunny Florida with two members of the Scaling Retail team, Logan and Jan, to host a workshop on digital marketing. The specific focus was social media and we brought together local businesses in the Coral Gables area to learn about their businesses and chat about topics like how to work with influencers, analyzing digital strategies and industry best practices.
I was able to interview and work with three hand-selected brands – POOL LabShow (a really cool high end women’s design store), Pecan’s Day Spa and Cafe Curuba. I helped them strategize based on what’s happening with their businesses through one-on-one hour long consultations, before I gave a three-hour presentation to audience of 200! I emphasized how important it is to leverage social media (and how to activate it) and analyzed business’ websites to give personalized feedback and actionable next steps.
Store visits came next as we walked into several boutiques in Miracle Mile and elsewhere in the neighborhood. Finally, we closed the day by meeting with key stakeholders from the city to give a presentation on the importance of social media. These stakeholders were City of Coral Gables, Chamber of Commerce Coral Gables, The Business Improvement District (BID) and people from different local firms, including a rep from Zyscovich Architects.
My biggest takeaways?
1) I discovered that a lot of retailers didn’t realize how important social media was as a tool for driving traffic into their stores.
2) I found out that so many retailers were on the same block and they never spoke to one another! I pointed out the missed opportunity for collaboration for occasions like event marketing.
3) Over 30% of people in Coral Gables speak Spanish as a secondary or primary language, and yet marketing and advertising always appears in English. Both languages are typically spoken in stores and many store owners are even bilingual, however, their digital assets don’t reflect this. I highlighted the opportunity to be more sensitive to native language and explained why it’s important to utilize both languages in marketing materials.
International Fashion Academy (IFA Paris)
Traveling across the pond, International Fashion Academy Paris left me absolutely impressed! It’s a very hands-on, professional school and all of the classes are taught in English. All of the students have to do internships and get real-life experience which is something I think is really lacking in a lot of fashion education schools today. They usually teach a lot of how-to’s but don’t actually encourage you to implement them. Fashion is a very hands-on industry. You just don’t know it until you do it.
First, I was interviewed by Anastasios Sofroniou- an incredibly smart and knowledgeable mentor/designer/professor at the school. Next, came an inspiring Q&A session with students from the school. The sheer diversity among the group was fascinating! There were students from South America, Vietnam, India, Nigeria… so many different parts of the globe were represented. Their questions reflected a global audience too, with questions about topics like their local markets and sustainability. It was a very forward-thinking audience and they surprised with questions about politics, feminism and even being a woman in the industry. It was definitely an exciting and rejuvenating conversation!
Brand Week Istanbul 2017
Finally, I had the amazing opportunity to attend Brand Week Istanbul 2017 where my husband was a speaker! It was a cool event with a very global group of attendees – Iran, Switzerland, France, Mexico, Spain, The U.S…. And while the talks on stage were definitely inspiring, the conversations in the VIP room were the most riveting. All of the speakers would hang out there in their downtime, sharing ideas.
We talked about how it doesn’t mean much to get a Cannes Lions Award as an agency. Ideas need to be fueled with outside funding and pushing the envelope for better marketing requires more with technology – and not just graphic assets.
We also talked about how it’s important to design based on market feedback. Don’t just design and push to market. Think about the market and consumer before you design the goods.
I heard Tom Goodwin’s talk and there are two things he said that totally stuck with me:
- Everyone in this room has lived in a pre-digital age and we’re not yet in a post-digital age. Meaning, technology is not yet totally integrated where everything is seamless. For example, you can open a new computer and not know if it’s a touchscreen – some are and some are not. Most of today’s technology is driven by taking something that existed pre-digital and copying and pasting it into a digital version. For instance, Amazon basically copy and pasted the idea of a catalog into the digital realm.
- The companies people consider to be tech companies are doing well (Uber, Airbnb and others). They’re seamless integrations of what we didn’t know we wanted or needed and now we can’t live without them. They use technology but they aren’t tech companies and they have new business models. They follow an empathetic way to create product that connects with the consumer. The best improvements in tech and products will come from things created with empathy. He says every company should be a tech company at heart. We cannot not be tech companies and flourish, similarly to how we always emphasize at Scaling Retail that every company needs to be a media company. Think of tech as the infrastructure and media as the external facing component.
Stay tuned for more of our international inspirations, projects and travel!