Please welcome this week’s 12 Questions Expert Spotlight guest, founder and host of the Greater than 11% podcast, Renee Vaughan Sutherland!
Renee is an experienced Chief Creative Officer and Creative Director with a proven history of working in the media production industry. Just this spring, she was named a WACL Future Leader and is the recipient of the prestigious Patricia Mann Award 2019.
With a strong skill set in both the arts and the digital landscape, her experience spans advertising, film, documentary, animation, editing, and film production. Today, she is also founder and host of Greater than 11% – a weekly podcast that interviews women about their creative roles and careers.
Here are her answers to the 12 questions we ask all our experts!
1. Which is your favorite social media platform, and why?
Being a visual person, I absolutely love Instagram! From art to landscape photography to brands, you can feed any creative itch you have. It is also a fantastic tool for ideation or investigating a theme or a style of something you are working on. I also really enjoy the ease of being able to cull accounts that are a bit too selfie-tastic – #brutal.
2. What social media platform is used most by your brand/agency?
For our Greater than 11% podcast we primarily use Instagram. As our content focuses on roles and careers within the creative industries, it is a natural fit with our guests and audience.
3. In your opinion, what is the future of social media and what platforms will lead the way?
We are all, and by “all,” I mean globally, reliant on social media for news, information, entertainment, communication. So the future? It will become what we primarily plug into to navigate or broadcast information, seek experiences, communicate with our friends and purchase. As Machine/Deep Learning becomes even more sophisticated, our lifestyles will inevitably be shaped by what platform(s) we are aligned with.
With both my professional and personal hat on I believe YouTube and Instagram will lead the way.
Instagram quite simply because of the format, ease of use and to be honest the quality of content you can find/follow.
YouTube because it is very adept at monetizing key elements both B2B and B2C. And, it is quite literally the video search engine which we can no longer live without.
I personally am so reliant on YouTube; from researching brands for content ideation, to how to fix my boiler (which I successfully did), to checking news stories I’ve missed through to purchasing back catalogs of box sets not available on the big streaming sites. It has longevity through being able to consistently deliver on multiple needs at all times.
I am in awe of (which I suspect was unintended) the platform’s capacity to culturally and socially broadcast (and maintain an open archive) of what is unfolding globally on a micro and macro level. For me personally, it is unparalleled with its competitors in terms of what it can offer to both brands and users.
4. Tell us about one social media campaign you liked most this year.
It has to be Nike’s Dream Crazier. I get a lump in the throat every time I see it! It felt authentic and so in tune with the current global climate in relation to equality and diversity.
I also want to sneak in another here: Burger King. Being a vegetarian and not a consumer of BK, their social marketing campaigns across the board over the past two or so years has had my immediate attention regardless. Burn that Ad, Pink Chick Fries, and the Funnel Cake Fries campaign were all so brilliantly devised and executed. As a consumer (of content, not burgers) it was evident BK invested in having relevant cultural conversations with ‘us’, in addition to selling a product.
5. What about the latest campaign your brand or agency was involved in? *
Greater than 11% started off as a side hustle – a podcast aiming to contribute to improving diversity within the creative industries. Over the past year (and a whopping 53 episodes later), it has begun to gather momentum and organically grow into a community.
We are currently gearing up for Series 2, which has seen some format adjustments and an expanded team from 2 to 7! Going live this month, we are looking to build out our campaign and reach a broader audience to inevitably grow the community.
So look for more than just the podcast to launch! Greater than 11% will now host events, publish a quarterly magazine and include an online information hub on all things creative. It’s really exciting developing a campaign strategy that will promote creative careers, awesome creatives and that also allows us to pool our creative talents and skills in the process.
6. What is the most important thing brands and agencies need to keep in mind, in order to build a successful social media campaign?
Know your audience. Having a conversation is pleasurable. Being talked at (or at worst, down to) is never going to win hearts, minds, and business.
Owing to the exponential volume of imagery we come in contact with on a daily basis, we have all become more educated and intuitive about what it says. I still am surprised that I’m regularly served content or see adverts and my immediate reaction is ‘that is shit!’ No way should that be happening on a frequent basis.
Brands and agencies shouldn’t be getting it wrong. There has been no better time in history to access quality information through inclusive market research. And, no better time to reach out to consumers, through social media none-the-less, and have direct conversations to learn what resonates with them. With all the tools at the disposal of brands and agencies to create social campaigns that speak to both their existing and potential audiences, there is really no reason or excuse why so many are still getting it wrong.
7. In your opinion, what is the most important KPI you look for to determine success on social media?
Obviously this depends on the campaign’s objectives and expectations of ROI, but I’m personally always most interested in ‘engagement.’
Follows, likes, shares, and comments mean the content is doing its job. Especially if that engagement increases significantly over the lifetime of the campaign. Obviously, the alternative is if the campaign misses the mark by a long shot and the content is being shared and commented on for the wrong reasons.
8. What will be the role of social media in the marketing mix of the future?
With our mobile devices practically being an appendage for most of us, marketers have never had it so good. Omni-channel yes, but in reality, all roads lead back to social media.
We want more ALL OF THE TIME. We can’t just watch a TV show, we need to know more about a character and feel closer to the actual person. We want to feel connected to brands that we purchase or want to buy. We want experiences and to share them. Then, there is that little human trait known as “curiosity.” We want to know what other people are interested in, what they’re doing, and what they’re purchasing.
The role of social media within marketing is pretty much center-stage. Regardless of size, if harnessed well, social media will be the thread that ties a campaign together extending its effectiveness and longevity.
9. What would you say the biggest obstacle faced in social media?
The current state of social media is something akin to a tangle of Christmas tree lights that were thrown into a box only to emerge a year later as an impenetrable clump. Whilst there is a lot of wonderful twinkly lights within that frustrating mess, some persistent focus is needed to smooth out all the kinks. Thus allowing its original intentions (which in most cases were mostly good and altruistic) to be harnessed, its members protected and maintain commerciality.
Social media platforms urgently need to put in place better protocols to eliminate inappropriate content, trolling, bullying and hate speech. No easy task. But more needs to be done than the cursory steps that we’ve seen by the likes of Facebook. Users and therefore brands will begin to vote with their feet if platforms don’t seriously step up to implementing better and more robust systems.
10. What is one piece of advice you would give someone just starting in the industry?
Don’t be shy. Speak up and put your ideas forward. Your perspective could be the winning idea or at the very least be an improvement on the existing situation.
11. In your opinion, what ad format will lead the future of social media marketing?
Obviously the creative execution and its ability to resonate with the audience is the first critical element. But ultimately, any format that facilitates a sense of autonomy. As we are all much more sophisticated in terms of understanding how advertising works. Having dynamic adverts following our online journey or being forced to watch something before we can get to where we want to, immediately dims interest. Unless that is on the rare occasion when the content is exactly what we’ve been waiting our whole life for.
Instagram has nailed it for how I engage. I’ll often scroll past sponsored video adverts appearing in my feed. Only to find myself scrolling back up to watch it because something caught my attention. An advertiser’s dream.
12. Finally, what is a ‘Fun Fact’ we wouldn’t find on your social media profiles?
I’m obsessed with making kombucha (because I’m obsessed with gut health).