State of Social is an annual conference held in Perth, WA. A mega meeting of marketing minds, it explores trends and innovations shaping and changing the social and digital landscape. This year I went along to see what it was all about… and my nerdy-strategic-love-to-know-all-the-things brain bloody loved it!
For the most part, the fundamental concepts that were discussed were things I already knew or was across. Having these ideas reiterated by leaders in the industry definitely invoked a few “pats on the back” for myself. That said, amongst it all there were still plenty of “ah-ha” moments or much-needed reminders of notions we know that can sometimes fall to the way-side.
While I could probably write for days about all the things, I wouldn’t do that to you. I know you’re a busy business owner and you want the guts of what was talked about and what’s going to be most beneficial and impactful for you. Sooo here goes, my top takeaways from State of Social 2023 were:
What the heck do I mean by each of these? Read on and you’ll see…
BE WARY OF SHINY OBJECTS
In many respects, marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. In her opening address, Meg Coffey, Founder of State of Social, spoke about shiny objects, and the way brands and businesses can be drawn to the sparkle of new things before stopping to think about what they are and whether or not they’re the right fit.
The crux of the message? With new apps and technology dropping daily, it's super important to always move in essence with your strategy and the fundamentals of marketing. Don't fall victim to the quick wins. Every time you're tempted to shift direction, ask yourself, “Am I jumping on this trend because it's genuinely right for my brand - or because it's shiny and new and I feel like I have to?”
Remember, epic marketing is about connecting, resonating and adding value.
THE KEY TO STANDING OUT, IS TO REMAIN CONSISTENT
Sure, businesses are forever evolving and innovating - but the key to creating a brand that stands out from others of its kind is to evolve and innovate with consistency.
In a discussion with the marketing heads from three WA breweries, it was clear that consistency in their brand and how it’s used across all avenues of the business, right down to the way beers are sold in the bottle shops, is what enables them to all exist and thrive alongside each other.
Consistency starts with knowing, living and breathing your brand in all that you do. Through this consistency, people get to know exactly what you're about and what to expect from you, and it's that trust and reliance that keeps them coming back.
CREATING MENTAL AND PHYSICAL AVAILABILITY IS KEY FOR GROWTH
Mental and physical availability was talked about a lot across the two days. Mental availability is about ensuring your brand is top of mind when clients are actively looking to buy your products or book your services. Physical availability is about ensuring your products or services are easy and accessible to do this, at the time the client is seeking to take action.
Both mental and physical availability are needed if we want to see growth in business.
Mental availability is created through being both distinctive and consistent in our marketing. Consistency cements our message and distinctiveness showcases our personality and points of difference. Together the two build that know, like, trust factor you hear so often, and it’s that factor that helps your brand be top of mind in purchasing moments.
However, being thought of is only half the battle. Your products and services also need to be physically available to seal the deal. This is where things like stock availability, sales processes, and booking systems become incredibly important. If someone is ready to buy, but can’t for whatever reason, there’s a good chance they’ll go elsewhere. Make it easy for people to take action or buy the product. Make it streamlined, accessible, and don’t make people beat about the bush.
THINK ABOUT THE TAMER, THE TEACHER AND THE TRAFFIC POLICE
In her epic copywriting workshop, Lucy Kough introduced the concepts of the tamer, teacher and traffic police. The tamer being the engaging hook that gets people reading, the teacher being the gutsy content that shares info and provides value, the traffic police being the clear, concise call to action. While it seems such an obvious writing structure and something most people do already without thought, having it broken down like this with catchy titles for each type of copy was just rather genius in my mind.
Hook your audience in. Speak directly to them and remember this when you're trying to think of what to say:
Give your reader the info. Serve it up on a platter and share some genuine insight that answers their questions.
Point them in the direction you want them to go. Don’t overthink it. You can be creative here and use language that’s fun, but don’t complicate it. Keep it clear and concise.
Here’s an example of each that I wrote during the workshop where we had to sell glow in the dark undies…
TAMER: Wanna light up their night?
TEACHER: When you want to give date night a glow-up, our Glow in the Dark undies are the perfect way to brighten up your under cover activities.
TRAFFIC POLICE: Get Your Frisky Glow On. Shop Now.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE REAL WORLD
Owner of Pretzel, Brittany Garbutt, gave an awesome address about the way Pretzel use real world tactics to amplify their brand. If you’re in WA chances are you’ve seen a Pretzel store - you can’t miss them they’re literally ALL pink. When developing her brand, Brittany knew and understood the importance of the real world and of creating a space people want to be in, talk about and share online. So much so, half of her promotional budget goes on the design and development of her stores. They ARE her marketing.
It serves as a very important reminder that while we can get very swept up in the digital world and all things social, the real world still exists and it should never be forgotten. People are still people. They want to see, feel and experience things - for real! If being online 24/7 is not your jam, or you want to encourage more user-generated content and have your fans spread the word for you, consider what you can do in the real world to get people’s attention and create genuine moments that get people talking.
If you’re still reading, kudos to you!! I hope you’ve got a few pieces of golden nugget advice tucked in your top pocket ready to go. If you’re keen to talk strategy and how ideas like these can be implemented in your business, book a strategy exploration and development session here.