What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We wanted some very simple metrics in the start, and we talked about our followers base, engagement level, and consumer-generated content. We focused on these for the first six months of the relationship. We had some points of distribution across Austin at the time, but we were an unknown brand at a state level. Our focus was to enlarge our follower base, and we set some targets for that.
The Creative Exchange emphasized quality over quantity, so it wasn’t just a game of numbers. We monitored the level of engagement and looked at what type of content generated it. They helped us fine-tune our narrative, particularly in terms of recruiting the right influencers. Initially, we were going through a wide net of influencers, and we then focused on seeking a certain profile, and the ones we recruited have been working for us ever since.
How did The Creative Exchange perform from a project management standpoint?
With the exception of one or two instances where there was a miscommunication on one of our ends, The Creative Exchange has been on completely top of the work. We have multiple communication channels, including Slack. Old-fashioned as I am, I prefer using the phone. I can call Samantha whenever there’s an urgent matter, and they’re always responsive. They’re available all the time, and I get responses even over the weekend.
They use a content management tool called Loomly, which allows all of the team to collaborate. I can see all the individuals making edits, proposals, and so on.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Our initial agency is focused more on classic advertising, and they had just one person in charge of social media. We determined that having only one person who understood that part of our advertising was a risk for us. They’re still our agency for packaging design and the like, but we decided to find another partner for social. It proved to be right, because that person left the agency in May 2020.
With The Creative Exchange, we can talk to Anna, Samantha, our project manager, and others. We feel that all of them are on the same page. They’re tuned into what’s trendy and what works, and they’re willing to experiment. As an example, I got curious about TikTok after seeing my kids use it, and I knew that it generates buzz and had a lot of eyeballs on it. I was wondering whether companies use it.
I discussed it with Anna, and, next thing I knew, they came back with a proposal for testing what it would mean for our brand. I don’t know of any brand that’s been able to monetize the use of TikTok, and it proved to me that they were willing to experiment and that we weren’t in a dogmatic relationship.
Are there any areas they could improve?
They decided on a distant setup before COVID started, so their team is now spread across the US. That’s a good thing, but I don’t know how many alignment forums they have internally. There have been times when I had contact with two different people and found that there may not have been that much alignment between them, so I was the one bridging the gap.
Secondly, there are a lot of unknowns in the social media field, particularly in terms of ROI. This is an area where I haven’t seen much tangible data to support this type of discussion, aside from numbers of followers and likes and engagement ratios. To put it simply, there should be a more accurate measure for how we’re spending our dollars.
Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?
They need to be transparent and forthcoming, and open about the challenges they’re facing. I saw an openness from The Creative Exchange, which wasn’t just about the billing drive but more about how they could help.