People will always function well in environments they trust — and customers and marketers are no exception.
Zach Shelley, Senior Director of Marketing & Operations at Uncommon Sports Group, believes product success starts with clear directives and authenticity. Taking the time to determine the ideal approach for different content types and audiences allows for high-impact content and clear-headed creativity, all of which lead to measurable outcomes.
Join us as we discuss:
- How to support creative team members
- The role authenticity plays in building trust
- Why clickbait damages customer/marketer relationships
Trusting the process
Building a great set of processes is one of the most crucial aspects of marketing operations — but many creatives cringe at the thought of being restrained. That’s why he’s reframed the way he establishes processes; they’re not focused on restriction but on redirection.
“With marketing operations, if you provide a guardrail that keeps everything funneling the right way, you’re actually increasing the amount of freedom creatives can enjoy,” he says.
The first key to setting up these processes is transparency — specifically, letting creatives know what the boundaries around their ultimate work product are. Some questions Zach asks when setting up those processes include:
- What is our brand trying to say?
- Who are we saying it to?
- What are the areas of conflict between what we want to say and who we’re saying it to?
The second key to ensuring an efficient process is communication. Marketing team members should feel supported by the process from start to finish, and if they don’t feel like they can speak up when they’re not, something has to change, says Zach.
Authenticity and personality
“Brand authenticity” is one of those buzz phrases that people might tire of, but it’s an important concept to keep in mind when marketing any product, says Zach. There’s nothing that can destroy a brand faster than failing to be open, honest and upfront about exactly what you’re getting.
“If you’re asked to do something that feels uncomfortable or unusual or that doesn’t align with your usual brand focus, that content isn’t going to be effective,” he says. “If you’re batting above your class consistently, you’re going to run into real problems because you’re setting incorrect expectations.”
One of the ways marketers can ensure their brand remains consistent, accurate and authentic is by nailing down a brand voice and tone and sticking with it. Zach calls brand voice and tone guides “one of the most important things a brand can develop.”
This is ideal for message unification and for a clear, transparent understanding of what a brand stands for, how a brand should sound, and what the personality behind the logo looks like.
“We make it a point to be eager and excited about good sports games, but we’re typically not taking sides,” he says. “We’re not picking your favorite teams for you, but we’re authentically excited. We make sure people know that we’re not faking it.”
The damage clickbait does
Clickbait-y social media posts and article titles are some of the biggest culprits of marketer-consumer relationship erosion and a big reason why Zach puts such a focus on authenticity and clarity in his own work.
That’s because, he says, long-term value isn’t about click counts – it’s about bringing people back to your online presence because they know they’re going to get quality content out of their experience.
“There are sites I go to consistently because there has been a positive impact made,” he says. “You might not get nearly as many clicks, but your ability to speak to and elevate your point will make a long-term user.”
Ultimately, building a solid marketer-consumer relationship is about being plugged into what matters to your audience and then articulating how you can provide that value in organic, authentic ways.
Want to learn more about crafting creative processes and prioritizing authenticity in your marketing efforts? Listen on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you find your podcasts.