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Issue 2 | December 2016


The BrainTrust is a boutique agency with a lot of heart, committed to helping the world’s most beloved fashion, beauty, lifestyle and celebrity owned brands develop and execute strategies and campaigns that drive awareness, demand engagement and impact the bottom line.


Letter from the Founder As we approach the end of the year and prepare with excitement for 2017, I have a lot to be thankful and grateful for, both personally and professionally. There have been highs, lows and everything magical in between! From launching in January to establishing an amazing group of clients, building new offices with dedicated teams in New York and Los Angeles; we have been hard at work this year to not only build a new company but to create the agency of the future where we develop meaningful relationships with our clients to uncover their true value and unique positioning in the marketplace. We LISTEN to identify their point of differentiation and create compelling content to build communities that support their brand and drive action. With this mission in mind, and the need to efficiently create effective and affordable content, we launched The BT Studio in partnership with Spoolia Design to help our clients build world-class brands, produce custom content and develop cross-platform campaigns from video series, to logos to websites. In addition, we have a myriad of products and services that we can’t wait to roll out in 2017. • • •

Content In-A-Box: Turnkey seasonal content (both written and visual) packages Dishing on Digital: Breakfast digital content Influencer dashboard and tracking

From Snapchat and Instagram battling it out over who can make content disappear faster to Facebook turning everyone into movie stars broadcasting live, and the end of Vine along with the changing face of the digital influence; we are excited about 2017 and the latest news to make us stop, share and post. Cheers to a successful 2016 and even more productive 2017! See you next year! Xo K Kendra Bracken-Ferguson Founder, The BrainTrust

Thankful & Grateful…

Letter from the Editor

In 1996, Bill Gates penned the famous “Content Is King” article that made bold predictions about the future of marketing on what was then the new Internet. Gates predicted, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting. Those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experience and products – a marketplace of content.” 20 years later, we see his vision more vividly than ever. Our content issue expounds upon Gate’s belief by delving into current trends in content marketing. Before forging too far ahead, we must always be mindful of our marketing roots and Micah Greenberg takes us back to the days of traditional marketing in his guest feature, “Remember the Mad Men.” We meet one of the latest additions to The BrainTrust, Social Media and Digital Marketing Coordinator Iana Kozelsky who shares valuable insight on current social trends in “What Brands Can Learn From Instagram Stories.” Our Vice President of Brand Strategy and Digital Marketing Kristi Bergeron offers an in-depth content marketing analysis in this quarter’s feature story, “Content Marketing in the Digital Age.” In each edition of The BrainTrust Quarterly, we take time to shine the spotlight on one of our clients and influencers we love. Get to know our client Sally Beauty through a case study on the brand and our Influencer and Community Relations Coordinator Karen Nguyen has curated a great group of beauty influencers you definitely want to know. Finally, our guest contributor, Paige Pope, offers a glimpse into the future in her piece, “2017 Content Marketing and How Influencers Can Lead.” As we continue to forge into the future of digital marketing, I wonder how the landscape will continue to evolve. I’m convinced of this one thing – content will remain king!

DaVida Chanel Smith Editor-In-Chief The BrainTrust Quarterly

Letter from the Founder Letter from the Editor Feature: Remember the Mad Men Meet The BrainTrust: Iana Kozelsky Iana Kozelsky Q&A What Brands Can Learn from Instagram Stories Content Marketing in the Digital Age Client Spotlight: Sally Beauty Influencers We Love What’s to Come and How Influencers Can Lead 2017 Content Marketing Predictions


In an office that specializes in digital media, there’s daily work like managing content calendars and tracking conversions. And then there’s the exciting (and demanding) stuff – diving into new platforms, inventing innovative campaigns, educating established clients and predicting what’s next.

Remember The Mad Men: Lessons From The Past By Micah Greenberg It was August in L.A. and I was leaving a birthday dinner at Little Dom’s, a classic Italian restaurant in the quaint neighborhood of Los Feliz. The atmosphere was festive and the risotto balls were to die for, but what I remember most is a man sitting in a dark corner booth by the door, the actor Jon Hamm. An East Coast transplant, I still have fan-boy moments when I see celebrities in the wild, but this time was different.

As a near-forty-year-old brand strategist and copywriter, I feel almost old school and I learn something new every day. But as the notion of integrated marketing becomes more varied, as technology becomes more complex, as we put innovation first and race to create new content, in new forms for new platforms, we could stand to remember the lessons of the past. Steve Penchina has won 350 awards for his work, including more Clio’s than any creative in history. I’ve watched his reel dozens of times and it remains relevant today. Iconic campaigns for clients like Xerox (his most famous spots), Canon and countless others, remind me of why I got into the industry in the first place and the essence of great creative: a deep understanding of a client’s brand and objectives, insight into what defines and motivates their audience, and a combination of authenticity and imagination. With all of the science behind today’s campaigns, the tagline Penchina created for Xerox speaks to the art of marketing and advertising, the kind of work that stays with us and we’re not sure why. The tagline? “It’s a miracle.”

I’ve worked for two decades in marketing and advertising, and this was Don Draper. Of course there was no three-piece suit, no midcentury staging, no cloud of cigarette smoke and unmistakable machismo. Hamm was in a simple button down, perfectly polite, having a quiet meal with a friend. It made no difference to me. I studied the history of advertising in college and have a certain reverence for the “Golden Age” of advertising, even as I revile much of the agency culture around it. My good friend and longtime mentor, Steve Penchina, embodied the worst and best of it, starting a checkered and legendary career as a copywriter in the late 1960s. A larger-than-life personality, a hugely talented creative and a self-described “lunatic,” he was, in many ways, one of the last, true Mad Men. In his recent memoir, Who Wrote This Sh*t? The Rise and Fall and Rise of a Madison Avenue Lunatic, Penchina chronicles the escapades and successes of one of the most decorated creatives of all time. I highly recommend the book, which I had a small role in writing. For this piece, let’s pause on its opening line: “These days, good advertising is not good enough.” So much has changed in marketing and advertising, from the culture of the industry, to the research available to us and, of course, the ever-growing list of platforms where we build brand awareness, promote products and engage in active conversation with customers. As I write this piece for the BT Quarterly, the shift in culture couldn’t be more apparent, or more powerful. The BrainTrust is a nearly all-female agency – I’m the only guy in the office – ethnically diverse, and absolutely cutting-edge. If Don Draper, or even Steve Penchina, were to sit in on The BrainTrust’s Monday team meeting, they would feel like they were in a science fiction film, not a conversation on advertising.

Micah Greenberg is the Head of Copy and Visual Brand Development at BT Studio and Partner at Spoolia Design.


Meet The BrainTrust Iana Kozelsky

Coco Chanel has been widely quoted as saying, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” The validity and true origin of that quote have been widely debated, but the sentiment is apropos for one of the most recent additions to The BrainTrust family. Shortly after graduating from American University in Washington, DC, Iana Kozelsky cut her hair short and headed west to pursue a digital media career. Now a resident of Los Angeles, Iana has joined The BrainTrust as a Social Media and Digital Marketing Coordinator. It was a pleasure to explore the experiences and plethora of knowledge the multi-hyphenated Millennial (Designer, Writer, Social Media Strategist) has accumulated, as well as her forward-thinking ideas for the future. Iana Kozelsky is definitely in the midst of life change – for herself as well as The BrainTrust.


Iana Kozelsky Q&A What triggered your move to Los Angeles and how has the transition from Washington, DC been? I visited Los Angeles a few times before moving here this summer. Every time I came to the West Coast, I instantly connected with the vibe and felt like I fit better here than on the East Coast—although I will always be a Marylander at heart. The ultimate trigger to move, though, was my curious drive to begin working immediately after my graduation in May. I had always been busy during my academic career juggling classes, internships, and jobs, so when I was finally done with everything, I was itching to work. Two weeks after my graduation, I bought a one-way plane ticket to L.A. and flew out two days later. I am d r a w n t o L . A . , s p e c i f i c a l l y, b e c a u s e o f i t s r i c h entertainment, beauty and lifestyle culture. It's the exact opposite of the D.C. bubble, where political news is the center of daily conversations. Admittedly, I watched the first presidential debate, but I was relieved to walk into the office the following morning and talk to my colleagues about Instagram instead of the Post.

You have such an interesting background, including starting your own DJ company at a young age. How do you feel about the correlation of today's music industry and social media? Fortunately, word-of-mouth drove my DJ business in high school. Since I was more focused on entertainment for local private parties, I did not need to have a social media presence to play at least two bookings every weekend. The social media aspect was crucial, however, when I started DJing in college, because my target changed from private parties to larger events at bigger venues. Even if my music selection would fit perfectly with the crowd at an event, the organizers would ask about my social media following. To them, that was the sole determinant for whether I could perform at their venue. I discovered that if you do not have a social media following as a musician, your career will not get farther than your own neighborhood. Online social buzz, not just talent, is what drives popular music in our digital age.

You also have an impressive background working with education and youth. Can you discuss reaching and connecting with young people via social media? It's not hard to reach young people on social media— they're on their devices all the time. Connecting with them, however, is a feat of its own. For one semester as a junior I was a teaching assistant for a freshman class called Social Media and Social Change. I was able to experience how college freshmen navigate around their social media landscape by watching them do so in real-time. When they analyzed social media accounts of different nonprofits, they explained what they liked and how the organizations could do better. I thought to myself, "I would recommend more graphs and analysis on this profile," but the students consistently wanted less text, and interesting visuals beyond ordinary photographs. Their ideas ranged from interactive graphics to 3-D animations. Young people want to be amazed, and it’s our job to create content that makes that connection.

What do you hope to accomplish at The BrainTrust? How does your unique background help in the role of Social Media and Digital Marketing Coordinator? Mainly, I am focused on creating engaging content, learning about lifestyle brands and improving my multimedia skills. My academic background is in journalism and graphic design, but most of my experience is in social media. Skills and experiences combined, I bring an interesting mix of writing, design and strategy skills to The BrainTrust. At our boutique agency, I am able to work on a variety of multimedia projects for all of our clients at the same time. In one day, I could be designing graphics, creating social media captions and shooting a video. I've always wondered if a company would ever allow me to create my own job that combines all of my skills, and I am delighted to say that The BrainTrust has made this ideal position a reality.



What Brands Can Learn From the Story of Instagram Stories By Iana Kozelsky

In early August, Instagram released an update with the most game-changing feature it has ever revealed…or so it seemed. When Instagram Stories started to appear atop users’ timelines, many were eager to taste the first bite of the new feature. From brands availing themselves of the opportunity to gain more impressions, to everyday users simply testing it out, thousands of Stories were posted on Instagram within minutes.The birth of Instagram Stories swayed most digital experts to forecast a dim future for Snapchat, the social app credited for originating and popularizing the “story” concept. Snapchat’s signature component is namely Snapchat Stories. The feature allows users to post a series of short videos or photos that are viewable by all of their followers for 24 hours. Instagram Stories does all and exactly that, but on Instagram.The pundits concluded that since Instagram, which already sees 300 million daily active users while Snapchat sees half as many, now allows users to do entirely what Snapchat does best, there is no room for competition. But when Business Insider reported no change in Snapchat’s user engagement two weeks after the release of Instagram Stories, commentators began to shift their opinions accordingly.

The data showed that Snapchat consistently saw more daily time spent per user before, during and after the Instagram Stories launch. The supposedly game-changing update did not prove to have a lasting effect on the social media landscape after all. Amid the buzz over a mobile tech development, brands and social media professionals need to remain objective to the necessity and practicality of a shiny new marketing tool. It’s easy to infer that utilizing the newest app shows the target audience that a brand is modern and current. But if user engagement remains strong on one platform, it would be counterproductive to switch to a newly released platform. While the future of an app or feature cannot be predicted, we can look at the data regularly and analyze its performance. How steady is its user growth? Have more features been added? Has it manifested trending content? An open mind and willingness to adjust social media presence based on audience preference is key for a brand’s online success. In this case, you can teach an old dog new tricks, but you might not want to.

Content Marketing In The Digital Age By Kristi Bergeron “Content is King.” Does anyone remember that phrase? From the moment brands decided to tap the power of social communities to deliver their message to the masses, large amounts of great content became the deliverable. This mantra has become the charge giving marketers, brands and idea makers permission to create, play and do everything within their power to get noticed on the Internet. With almost reckless abandon, brands entered themselves into a race that had no finish line. Their hope was that the likes, shares and comments that their content created would turn passive actions into valuable ROI. They hired in-house staff and agencies, created entire departments and began to see themselves as publishers (and sometimes even developers) in their own right. A s t h e d i g i t a l s p a c e b e c a m e e v e n m o re saturated, the brands and agencies with the biggest budgets and best ideas became the beacons of great advertising and masters of the social media landscape. In 2012, the Oreo Daily Twist, ideated and executed by 360i, revitalized a 100-year-old brand. In 2009, Burberry unleashed the Art of the Trench, bringing us one of the first incidences of luxury content that is still prized and coveted today. From consumer packaged goods to beauty to luxury, great content has become the benchmark of performance in the online space. Content is here to stay but somehow brands still find themselves struggling to create content and content strategies that drive tangible results.

As people continue to spend more time online now than ever before and the space continues to become more dynamic, it’s time for brands to take a deep breath and reevaluate the role of content in their marketing efforts. To do this, brands first have to go back to the beginning and ask, “What is content and what drives people to interact with it?” The digital space is defined by communities. These communities take many forms and span across multiple platforms. There are communities built around blogs and forums, interests and friendships and even people and brands. Content has become the rallying cry of these communities.

Great content forges a dynamic adjective bond with its consumers by tapping the power of the collective and inspiring people to action. Be it engagement, clicks or conversions, all the actions that brands want and need to measure happen as a result of content that resonates. At its core, content is what allows community members to identify their tribe and it’s what allows brands to move people to action in the online space.

When brands understand what makes great content and why it’s important to potential consumers, the question then becomes, how do brands leverage content to drive measurable results?

At one point in time, content was the only price of entry for marketing in the digital space. Facebook has been pay-to-play for brands for almost two years now, while Instagram is quickly following suit although Snapchat advises brands to not even try to create an organic presence. As a result, brands are no longer required to just create content, but put money into helping promote the content when users log on. Fortunately, most social platforms understand that requiring brands to invest in paid advertising means they must provide a variety of advertising products and more importantly, measurement tools, to prove the value of dollars spent online. Moving consumers to action in the online space, requires a 360° view of digital and the move from organic to pay-to-play strategies is giving brands everything they need to see the digital space differently.

If brands are looking to turn awareness plays into consideration, it’s essential that they target brand loyalists, their friends and previous engagers with content designed to inform and educate them about products and services. Intent and conversion-oriented content will almost always contain a more direct call-to-action that drives users to a website or goes for an even bigger win with in-store or online purchases. And how does the Loyalty metric measure out in the digital and online space? By taking existing fans and creating incentives for them to share and talk about your brand in the digital space.

This ability to view every facet of social and digital media as a singular string of actions, requires brands to take a step back and start first and foremost with the goal of understanding the people they are trying to reach. Understanding how these people engage with the digital space and then with their content is fundamental. We recommend all brands start any social, digital or content strategy with a deep dive into both target user jour neys and user experience. From here brands can identify most of the audiences and communities that are essential to their target’s online experience. It’s only after these fundamental understandings are in place that brands can begin to look at their content and determine how to leverage it for desired action. Understanding that not all content creates the same action is essential to reaching marketing objectives. We encourage brands to think of content as messaging that moves consumers through the marketing funnel. If awareness is the goal, brands should create content that inspires engagement and measure the engagements it collects.

The most important things for brands to remember when matching their content to the marketing funnel, is that every phase is essential to the success of a brand and its content and brand building strategy. When a brand has great content and a deep understanding of what is available to them when they choose to spend their dollars digitally, the possibilities are truly endless. The one thing that hasn’t changed since social and digital platforms decided to throw decades of marketing tactics into a new era, is that now more than ever brands need to think bigger when they approach the space.



Client Spotlight: Sally Beauty With the help of The BrainTrust, Sally Beauty had the opportunity to launch their first ever Sally Beauty Influencer Executive Summit, a fun, socially primed three-day event designed to create connections and content for Sally Beauty's social channels and beyond. Over 65 influencers attended and met with executives, including the President, CMO, CEO and senior executives across merchandising, marketing, licensing, retail and multicultural, as well as over 40 vendors. Over the course of the weekend, we used both paid and unpaid relationships to capture 1,000+ pieces of content (photos, videos, GIFs, etc) through our dedicated Content Studio and Beauty Confessional Booth. We generated a significant increase in online conversations about Sally Beauty. #BeautyForEveryone saw 1,000+ uses and #SallyBeauty saw 4,500+ uses. Influencers all received products as well as deeper understanding and appreciation for Sally Beauty. Additionally, multiple influencers said this was one of the best influencer events they have ever attended.

2.9B+ Potential Impressions

1MM+ Social Engagements

4,500+ Branded Hashtag Uses


Allison McNamara

Yasmin Maya



Allison McNamara is a dynamic and relatable on-camera host, journalist, style blogger, and producer who has a decade of experience in the digital hosting and producing space. She currently hosts and produces beauty and style videos for Refinery29, one of the leading digital lifestyle publications, in addition to creating content for her own personal style blog, Previously, Allison was a staple at POPSUGAR, where she developed, hosted and produced over 2,500 entertainment and style videos. Prior to POPSUGAR, Allison hosted a series for Who What Wear called, “Real Girls, Real Style.” Allison has a wealth of TV experience as well. She recently co-hosted ABC’s LIVE “On the Red Carpet at the 2016 Oscars,” appeared on the TODAY Show, FabLife, KTLA, KNBC, the Hallmark Channel and more. We’ve had the pleasure of working with Allison on several projects and she’s become one of our favorite people. It is amazing to see her in action on camera, which is why we love working with her!

Yasmin is a beauty expert on Youtube with over 700k subscribers. She’s a funloving ordinary girl with a proud Mexican Heritage who enjoys filming videos that have to do with beauty, fashion and lifestyle! Her channel features tutorials for different makeup looks and her current favorite hair and beauty products in monthly favorites and haul videos. We loved working with her at the Sally Beauty Executive Summit this year. Her bubbly and genuine personality is exactly why all of her fans adore her. Not all influencers are willing to go out of their way for a quick meet-n-greet and Yasmin definitely retur ns the love. Needless to say, we can spend hours watching her vlogs because her smile is contagious.

Influencers We Love

Felicia Walker Benson

Jessica Harlow


@jessicaharlow Jessica is a veteran YouTuber with a passion for beauty & fashion/style since 2008! Her comedic flair makes her videos fun to watch and it’s safe to say t h a t s h e ’s t h e M e m e Q u e e n o n Instagram and Twitter. Her real life personality exactly resembles how she is in video; she’s not afraid to break out an impersonation. Her mantra for her channel is to help people look & feel their best. She also has motivational videos, where she shares any advice that she’s found helpful to her followers. Did I mention she has her own jewelry line Kyle Moon? This business woman continues to move on up in the influencer space and we’ll be keeping up with her.

Curated By Karen Nguyen Influencer Relations Coordinator

Felicia Walker Benson is Editor-in-Chief for ThisThatBeauty. Her blog features fashion and beauty news, product reviews, trend spotting, industry interviews, and more. As a highly sought after beauty authority, Felicia has appeared on The TODAY Show and has been featured in numerous publications including Allure, Lucky, Marie Claire, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, WWD, The New York Times, Ebony, Essence, Elle, NewBeauty and Bergdorf Goodman Magazine. Over the years, ThisThatBeauty has evolved from a reviewbased site to a lifestyle brand that revolves around Felicia’s passion points from beauty to fashion, as well as fitness, food, wine and most recently – baby. Felicia exuberantly shares her passion through seminars, on-air beauty segments, and speaking engagements. If it’s happening in beauty, Felicia is on it… with red lips in tow!


2017 Content Marketing

What’s To Come and How Influencers Can Lead Thanks to the rise of social media and constant connectivity, content marketing has been having a major moment. The die-hard creatives who used to skirt on the edge of marketing are in major demand to create high-quality, brand-related content that resonates with consumers and forms authentic relationships across networks. And we are happy to report that in 2017 content marketing is here to stay and influencers are pegged to lead the way, of course. Here’s what we predict as some of the hottest 2017 content marketing trends and how you can get in on the action.

Don’t Be Scared of Podcasts As a visually centric brand, you probably think podcasts attract an irrelevant audience, but think again. 21% of Americans ages 12 and up have listened to a podcast in the past month, up from 75% since 2013. For context, 13% of the U.S. listens to Spotify monthly, and 21% of the country actively uses Twitter. Confused how to translate your brand into a podcast? Chat with different players in your field, hash out on your favorite fashion or beauty moments, or just talk all topics related to life out with friends á la Garance Doré’s Pardon my French podcast. As is always the case with content, just be sure to post on a consistent basis.

Data Counts Content will become even smarter in 2017, while data, data and more data will be driving the influencer game. Utilize a variety of metrics to start tracking ways in which readers actually engage with offered content. The more you hone in on your data, the more you will be able to shape content that actually matters, compels and proves to potential clients you are on top of things with a strong ROI. Don’t worry, fancy new algorithms and apps will be there to help.


Keep The Human At Every Level This continues to hold more true than ever headed into 2017. Be transparent whenever possible and move away from salesy or sensationalist headings or captions such as "You won't believe this." People started following you because they love YOU. Keep it that way.

Tap Into Your Tribe Your community of followers is your greatest asset. Love them, nurture them and use them (transparently of course). Have an extra 15 minutes of downtime in airport security? Use it to convert a follower into a brand amplifier. Find opportunities to incorporate user-generated content, directly feature followers and engage on personal levels. When your followers feel a part of your squad they’ll act as brand amplifier, and 2017 looks like the year to rally your troops.

Never Underestimate The Power of Visual Content

Action, It’s Time For Video 2017 is the year of the video. Marketers agree that videos bring the highest ROI and according to Syndacast, 74 percent of all traffic will be video in 2017. Having more videos also improves SEO, as Google favors them in search results. Start rolling across platforms, and may we recommend focusing on live video on Facebook, YouTube and Periscope for instant, deep connections. Videos combine visuals, interactions, narratives, personality and more there is a reason videos go viral, after all.

Beautiful visual content will matter more than ever in 2017. Great news for fashion, beauty and lifestyle influencers whose brands are often based in visuals. Researchers at Xerox even found that colored visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by 80%, and marketer Jeff Bullas says content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. So trust us, all of your gorgeous photos that you spent hours on do really matter. But in 2017, you’ll need to push your visuals beyond the basic. Continue exploring apps like Boomerang or play with graphic options on platforms such as Canva. Make your content, whether it is an Instagram or blog image, arresting and new. You want people to stare, and people will only stare at something new so...


Virtual Reality & Immersive Content The future is here. No really, we promise. Virtual reality traffic quadrupled in 2015. Globally, virtual reality traffic will increase 61-fold between 2015 and 2020 according to the Cisco VNI Forecast. 360 video and virtual reality have now even been adopted on Facebook and YouTube, so it’s ready for the mainstream. Not your thing? Create content that lets readers choose different paths or explore interactive tools. Take risks with the new technology and find a way it can apply to your brand without seeming too trendy.

Quality Over Quantity One of the golden rules of style, design, cuisine and now content marketing is quality over quantity. You can’t get away with just mindlessly pushing out similar selfie after similar selfie in 2017. Now is the time to focus on quality. 85% of companies with successful content marketing said a shift from quantity to quality in content was their reason for success. Think through every piece of content and don’t just go high quality, go deep too. With everyone trying to create content these days, your audience is going to be pretty tired of surface-scratching posts that just repeat the same old thing. Make sure whatever you are creating is one of the bestproduced items out there. Take the time and watch everyone else drop out of the content game exhausted and exasperated.

Don’t Neglect Strategy Ok, ready to open your laptop and start crushing the content game? Hold up, none of this matters without strategy. While you may be a one-woman entity versus a major corporation (hail to you girl bosses!), high-level strategy still means business. Before you go pushing out fabulous content and spinning your wheels with no traction, stop and develop a strategy. No, you can’t just privately whisper to yourself, “I’m trying to bring more people to my blog.” Sit down with a notebook and pen (ah, the power of paper), and write out an editorial mission statement with an overarching who and the why for all of your content. You’ll say goodbye to inconsistent, lackluster content and hello to content marketing mastery.


The BrainTrust’s 2017 Content Marketing Predictions Paige’s Prediction I think influencers and organizations will really start to find their distinct personality and audience. There is too much watered-down content out there with nothing fresh to offer. This will cause a major reset where organizations will have to differentiate themselves in branding, personality, content and even the new ways they incorporate new technology. Influencers that do this right will be tapped to create content for major companies in bigger ways than ever before that blend PR and marketing.

Kristi’s Prediction Building on the idea of "Cultural Trends,” we believe in the coming months and years consumers are going to be more mindful of how/where they are spending their dollars. This trend will be less about economics and more about a consumer’s ability to vote with those dollars. As a result, we anticipate that the brands who make a point to do good and rally behind important changes that affect us all on a global scale will win with consumers.

Davida’s Prediction Many people are searching for something bigger than themselves as the world appears to be more turbulent and frightening than ever. I predict that 2017 will see a surge in the realm of spirit-based content creation. It’s my belief that in addition to the more established influencers such as Mastin Kipp, Marie Forleo and Gabby Bernstein, we will see more influencers stepping into the social space sharing information on becoming more grounded in these times of uncertainty.


Kendra’s Prediction For years, the goal of branding experts has been to compile a clear brand position designed to cut through marketing clutter. Until recently, they've done so by assessing their target’s needs, their product’s benefits and shouting through a megaphone. However, in the last two years the concept of Cultural Branding has started to rise as the idea that brands who deeply understand the cultural forces driving consumers are the ones who have the most power to build a brand of lasting value. While brands like TOMS, Patagonia and others are certainly not a new phenomenon, we do anticipate seeing more and more brands with this type of approach appear on the scene in 2017!

Iana’s Prediction User-generated content is going to drive the content marketing landscape in 2017. UGC is a triple win for brands: high-quality content, exposure to a new network of potential consumers, and no extra cost. I wouldn't be surprised if brands even released campaigns composed entirely of UGC!

Karen’s Prediction Social media is quickly becoming paid media and the brands who are winning in the space are starting to view influencers’ channels as a form of paid media. By contracting influencers to run paid media on their channels in conjunction with your campaigns, you can drive their fanbases to your site, creating opportunities for trackable conversions. This trend is just beginning to take off. But, we believe it will be a HUGE play for brands in 2017.

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Issue 2

The BrainTrust Quarterly - Issue Two - December 2016  
The BrainTrust Quarterly - Issue Two - December 2016