Interview: Velda Tan, Founder and Creative Director, Collate the Label
1. Where do you start when creating a content engagement plan?
Like all plans, when my team starts work on the content engagement plan, the centre focus will always lie in understanding our customers. We always ask ourselves the same questions: who are we talking to, what are their preferences and desires, how do they digest content, why would they be interested? We believe that understanding our customers is the first step to creating tailored, relevant content which captures their attention and more importantly, brings value to them.
2. What content and offers best engage young audiences?
The young audiences now are very discerning when it comes to consuming content. Gone are the days when big advertising budgets sufficed; the millennials are into content with a compelling story which evokes their imagination and connects with their emotions, values, and perceptions. Visually appealing, instant, shareable content that is tailored to their interests work well when distributed on appropriate platforms. For instance, Facebook works wonders as a channel to distribute information, Instagram serves as a media to inspire them through well-curated content and Snapchat is a great avenue to connect with audiences on a personal basis. It really goes back to how well one understands the audience and the purpose of the various channels to create specific content that engages.
3. What tools and technologies do you use to engage customers with a value add experience?
As a small business, my team often has to make do with existing resources and budget to create engaging and creative content that also value-adds to our customers. For instance, at COLLATE, our vision is to offer pieces which are functional and fashionable for our customers. Being functional and fashionable also goes to sharing styling tips and ideas to wear our designs for different occasions in a sustainable way.
We have done a couple of styling videos to provide references and that received really good traction with our audience. It has since become something we would like to commit to for each of our collections.
4. What tools or innovations offer the greatest insights on what customers like, dislike and want?
For a young enterprise, Google Analytics provides free, website-specific, bread-and-butter data which is essential for everyday decision-making for marketing and content creation. Another approach which covers more bases and allows for scaling up is to run Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys on a regular basis to identify customer experience gaps in the entire shopping experience from website navigation to return policy.
If given a more substantial budget, we would like to consider what EDITED.COM has to offer – retail analytics in real time that allow for optimising of product assortment and pricing according to market’s true value, hence, enabling retailers to offer the right product at the right time. With a substantial base of partners, categories and products, EDITED shares what works and sells best across the industry. Such information is crucial for retailers and marketers alike to make the best of the moment and provide useful, timely offerings for customers.
5. How do you turn customer engagement into customer loyalty?
That is a constant work-in-progress that we are still fine-tuning. The gap between customer engagement and customer loyalty is their personal experience with the brand, both online and offline. To turn customer engagement into loyalty requires much dedication to meet and exceed customers’ expectations at every point of interaction. For instance, creative, engaging content might help drive traffic to one’s website but a late delivery or receiving a less-than-ideal product mars the shopping experience.
Aside from avoiding pitfalls, customer loyalty is also about creating positive experiences by going the extra mile to promote and reward loyalty consistently. The basis of it really lies in conveying a sincere message that we as retailers acknowledge their support and understand their needs, concerns, and desires. Happy customer, happy retailer!
6. What brands have you come across that you believe have done a great job providing first-class customer engagement? What can we learn from them?
I look up to the US-based brand Everlane whose core values lie in fashion sustainability and transparent pricing. What I truly appreciate is that beneath the veneer of well-curated content, an easy-to-use website and catchy copywriting, the brand remains very committed to conveying their values to their customers in a sincere, honest manner.
Walking the talk is not easy but we believe Everlane is doing its very best to stay true to its beliefs while keeping up to speed with how brands and customers communicate. This is definitely something COLLATE aspires to!