Following the launch episode of ‘Marketing can change the world’ initiative, brought to you by The Drum and Facebook, the three teams from London, New York and Singapore reassembled for their second virtual meetup to present and refine the insights uncovered during the first phase of the project before shaping their creative strategy.
The mission for this session was to find and define the big idea that would address the overarching brief set out at the beginning of the project - to find solutions to the business and societal challenges faced by three minority groups: women-run SMEs in the US; immigrant-led small businesses in the UK; and the over-65s fueling a ‘grey business’ boom in APAC.
Team US: Self-doubt in female founders creates a powerful anchoring point
In the US, the team returned with a pretty clear direction having completed their initial ‘fact-finding mission’ which uncovered a powerful briefing framework and anchoring point from which the team agreed they could focus on “self-doubt in women.”
With a focus on finding the tension and the barrier they needed to push against in order to help these women-owned SMEs, further research uncovered the macro barriers which led the team to believe that the catalyst for changing the narrative would be to create a powerful avenue to help women owned SMEs believe more in themselves.
Creative strategist and Instagram specialist at Facebook, Brittany Johnson said: “It’s an interesting tension and so relevant right now. It’s about helping [women-run SMEs] boost their confidence. Sharing some of these inspirational stories can help shift mindsets - not only for women but everyone, changing the narrative in society.”
Aware that the team cannot solve all of society’s problems with one campaign, they geared towards tapping into unique and specific stories of women and the barriers they’ve had to overcome to be able to succeed. But starting a new business requires a higher level of motivation to take that first step, whereas maintaining a business through challenging times requires an energy shift - “it’s the difference between a sprint and a marathon” - according to the team.
The team decided to create different pieces of content for different moments in these womens’ lives and create a suite of assets to appeal to everyone, depending on how they like to engage with content. Johnson outlined Instagram’s ‘Pitch, Play, Plunge’ approach ranging from short (6”) content through to medium (6-15”) tips and a longer (10-20”) deep-dive video of women talking about her obstacles, self-doubt and how she overcame them.
Aligned on a strategic idea, the team are now in a position to move forward to the next stage of defining the creative brief. Given the budget limitations for this campaign, mentor and brand director of Bombay Sapphire, NA, Tom Spaven, encouraged them to explore options on how to effectively crowdsource the creative or other production needs to bring the plan to life.
Team UK: Breaking down silos for migrant-owned business and thinking horizontally
Following conversations with immigrant-owned businesses through focus groups, Team UK pinned down three key insights that would help to shape their campaign: lack of finance, support / mentorship, and lack of accessibility to spaces - to find resources or tools.
Given that this minority group is such a large and broad cohort, the team agreed they needed to segment this group further to look at one of the biggest industries in the UK (food), then target and find solutions for that community with an opportunity to create a blueprint that could expand to other sectors, to broaden the appeal of local immigrant-owned businesses.
Bearing in mind cultural appropriation, the team explored the idea of providing some kind of a learning tool. For mentor Arjoon Bose, marketing head-culture and brand experience, General Mills, the question they are trying to solve for is, “How can we serve as an accelerator marketing team that helps elevate great ideas?”
“How could we support businesses to get scaling and funding as a marketing community? I like this idea of being a gateway to the external world through awareness or a talent pool of brains to help people scale up and go bigger,” Bose added.
Damola Timeyin, global creative strategist at Facebook noted the team’s passion and solid understanding of what they want to achieve and encouraged them to define the problem as a key to get to the creative brief. “If the problem is not defined, the solution will be too loose,” he said. “We need to understand what unites them and what separates them.”
The breakthrough moment came when the team uncovered that every society thinks vertically as a silo, but businesses need to connect to other food trades and elements of society. Former creative associate, Jade Nodinot concluded: “The key for successful business and society is to break[SR1] the silo and think horizontally, not vertically - something that breaks down the walls.”
To do that, these businesses would need to think differently, and the team wanted to facilitate connections, exploring the possibility of creating “a prototype of something that can be used” as well as “provide knowledge to be able to grow and take that to drive exponential growth”.
Team Singapore: Inspiring silver entrepreneurs to survive and not scale the business
Having determined that they would focus on Singapore’s Food & Beverage (F&B) culture, Team Singapore came into their second meetup with two clear directions and a challenge to decide which one to run with. However, the lightbulb moment came following a presentation from guest speaker Ricky FM Law, associate lecturer & founder of Nature for Future Seniors (NFS), when he revealed a “priceless” insight the team had not uncovered yet; a moment of inspiration that encouraged them to rethink their strategy entirely.
“F&B is [physically demanding] and [these entrepreneurs] might not be able to do it in another few years,” she said. “They don’t want to see it go in 5-10 years, they want to hand it over or they want to sell. They care less about the channel and platform. What they want is survival and to prolong the business as long as possible.”
The team agreed that rather than asking a 65-year-old to learn a new skill or change their mindset, they should create some kind of toolkit offering steps that would help them continue their businesses past the next 5-7 years. Rather than focus on one type of business, the team identified three local businesses they would like to work with, each with a slightly different business model, which would help “others be inspired and learn from it.”
“A big caveat for these businesses in today’s uncertain world is how to even stay alive,” noted the team’s mentor Erica Kerner, senior vice president, head of marketing strategy and partnerships, commerical at ONE Championship. “If you don’t even have ten years, how can you use these tools that you need to learn to keep business afloat in these times? It’s about futureproofing your business. Giving everybody those skills is smart business for them in this uncertain world.”
The focus turned to an inspiring idea that would teach them how to make money and retire happy. It becomes, “a story of retirement and passing on the baton,” but would have to be realistic and practical.
Baked into this idea, additional insights from Frankie Luk, creative strategist at Facebook, encouraged the team to make this “as authentic as possible” by “not selling the platform [but focusing on] how leveraging these platforms can make a difference in people’s lives.” The Singapore team concluded that real stories and real people would form the backbone of this campaign, through video, not only to inspire but also to solve their challenges.
The campaign would be about “inspiring existing business owners to keep the fire going and run successfully for the next 3-5 years” by showing inspiring stories and examples, with simple, user-friendly, easy tips which they can do themselves to sustain their businesses.
The next steps
The teams will now define their insights and start to carve out the creative brief, ready to present at the next virtual meetup. The final ideas will be presented simultaneously to all mentors and Facebook’s chief revenue officer, David Fischer, and will also be entered in The Drum Social Purpose Awards.