8 Lessons Learned at WOMMA Summit

Moe and I recently had the opportunity to attend the WOMMA Summit in NYC (along with Robbin and Geno). It was a whirlwind 48 hours, and we left The Big Apple with some big things to think about. If you weren’t able to make it, never fear. We’ve curated our top WOMMA takeaways for you in this post:

“Spray and pray” is not a content strategy.
Well, it is a content strategy — a sucky one. Quantity over quality will do brand damage. It will go brand negative. Just because you yell into a megaphone it doesn’t make you a prolific speaker. What it does make you is annoying. If you’re going to spend time and money building a brand, invest in developing a thoughtful content strategy relevant to the people you’re trying to reach.

Rather than talking about your product, talk about what your product helps people do.
This isn’t new advice, but it’s important advice to every person who works in marketing and every brand that sells a product. Product interest is a flash in the pan. People care about what makes them feel good about themselves and look in-the-know in the eyes of others. Those are the things they will share and talk about. (Social signaling. Look it up!) Once upon a time, we worked with a scissor company. Had the story been focused on scissors, scissors, scissors, the conversation probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere. But when we pivoted to make the conversation about the people using those scissors and their passion for crafting? Well, that’s how case studies happen.

Impactful brand storytelling puts PEOPLE, not PRODUCT, at the center.
You can tweet about how you make a great product until your fingers fall off. That’s all fine and dandy. But if you really want people to feel invested in your brand, it’s up to you to give them a reason to care. And that conversation isn’t about you — it focuses on a purpose that goes beyond just making a widget (or even a washing machine.) Brands people give a shit about give a shit about people.

If you’re in the marketing business, you’re also in the legal business.
In a world where social influencers are now responsible for over a quarter of brand content distribution (that’s more than organic social…), the FTC is cracking down on transparency and disclosure. While many bloggers say they are familiar with FTC regulations, a sizable chunk continue to rely on the brands/agencies to share rules and regulations with them — and sometimes it feels like the rules are changing daily. The FTC clear and conspicuous disclosures at the top of posts. The hashtag #ad is now preferred disclosure over #spon. There’s a
ton to know when it comes the rules and regulations. Brands and agencies have an obligation to get informed and stay abreast of changes, especially if they’re engaging influencers for content creation and social sharing.

(On a related note, if you are or know a social influencer, we’d love for you to share your insights on past brand engagements and partnerships. Take the short survey here.)

“The advantage of nonprofits is that we have a cause and don’t need to pay for influencers because they want to support us.”
There’s no denying that a noble cause will tug on the heartstrings, in many instances inspiring people to action. But it’s important not to oversimplify. Brands often forget that bloggers and influencers ARE a brand. They’ve spent time and energy building their personal brands and audiences. Assuming they will or should support an organization for free can rub them the wrong way, no matter how noble your cause. If they share a passion for your cause or mission, there’s no harm in inviting an influencer to join your or become a messenger for your brand. In many instances, they’ll even come to you. But it’s important not to be too prescriptive or make too many demands.

8x the Average.
One of the most fascinating panels we sat in on covered the topic of integrating employee advocacy into the marketing mix. Representatives from Johnson & Johnson, Verizon, and Burson-Marsteller discussed the efficacy of their programming, in which they create and disseminate brand-centric content for employees to share. What grabbed me most was that when an employee posts about a company, it averages 8x the engagement of a post published by a brand. All of the programs have a hefty training process for employees, and legal is looped in to mitigate risk. Perhaps most surprising: none of the volunteers are paid. I REPEAT: these are 100% volunteer-powered programs. You could say my brain is on fire with ways to implement something like this in a future client community.

No one, from well-trusted global brands to niche not-for-profits, can agree on how to effectively measure return on investment when it comes to their influencer and social programming. It was (many times) referred to as the “holy grail of advertising,” a term that simultaneously makes me want to puke and scream PREACH! On just about every panel, brands were asked to define how they measure ROI. The answers were diverse, as they should be. We get into trouble when we start to believe that there’s a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to measuring key performance indicators. Over the course of two days, I heard brands measuring all sorts of data points to communicate their ROI: annualized media value, sentiment, engagement, views, clicks, conversions, etc. What I also heard, consistent across every answer, was a general tone of “… but yeah … IDK.” Not one person confidently stated that their program was slaying goals and impressing their CEOs. The most refreshing (and terrifying) perspective came from Brandon Rhoten, VP Marketing of The Wendy’s Company. When asked how he justifies the budget and assets attributed to his social team, he said, “The mistake that lots of folks who lead digital organizations make is talking in vanity metrics. ‘Retweet’ means nothing. The Facebook dashboard doesn’t do a thing for your CFO. You have to find the language that’s going to get you money. If you’re up there talking about retweets, no one is going to actually care.” If that won’t put a fire under your ass to rethink how you report metrics, I don’t know what will.

It’s giphy. GIF-FEE.
Straight from the authorities at Giphy, the official and accepted pronunciation is gif-fee. Hard G. Forget all that nonsense about “jiffy,” unless you’re talking about peanut butter.


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