Episode 105 – Creative tools engage brand advocates and share better stories.

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Episode 105 – Creative tools engage brand advocates and share better stories.


Our guest on the show today is Erin Flior! Erin is the Senior Director of Digital Communications at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation where she leads brand, multimedia, email, social media, marketing, advertising and cff.org. Her focus is on creating long-term strategies tied to annual and quarterly goals that leverage creative, targeted outreach and deepens engagement wherever community members connect. Prior to joining the CF Foundation she worked on the agency side on everything from advocacy, B2B, reputation and experiential marketing, tieing the in-person to the online, for a variety of corporate and non-profit clients.

dam: [00:08] Hi, and welcome to the Good People, Good Marketing Podcast, a podcast about digital marketing and how to make it better so the good people and good organizations can have good marketing as well. I’m your host, Adam Walker, co-founder of Sideways8, a digital marketing agency and 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to hosting events that build forty-eight websites for forty-eight nonprofits in forty-eight hours.

[00:28] My guest on the show today is Erin Flior. Erin is the Senior Director of Digital Communications at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation where she leads brand multimedia, email, social media marketing, advertising, and cff.org. Her focus is on creating long-term strategies tied to annual and quarterly goals that leverage creative targeted outreach and deepens engagement wherever community members connect. Prior to joining CF Foundation, she worked on the agency side on everything from advocacy, B2B, reputation and experiential marketing, tying in in-person to the online for a variety of corporate and nonprofit clients. Erin, welcome to the show.

Erin: [01:07] Thank you so much for having me.

Adam: [01:10] I love your bio, but it sounds like you’re over like a million departments, which is really impressive. I love that. Like I kept reading, I was like, “Man, she’s doing a lot of cool stuff.” This is great. We can talk about a lot of fun things.

Erin: [01:20] Absolutely. And I am very lucky to have an excellent team of people that I work with closely every day. So that is not all me. Absolutely.

Adam: [01:29] That’s right. It’s always about the team.

Erin: [01:30] It’s always about the team.

Adam: [01:32] It’s always about the team. That’s fantastic. I love that. Okay. Well, is there anything you want to add to that bio or are you ready to dive into discussing questions?

Erin: [01:39] Let’s dive right in.

Adam: [01:40] I love that. Okay. Question number one, related to digital marketing, can you tell us something that has worked well for you?

Erin: [01:46] Absolutely. So one of the things that’s working really well for us right now is multimedia storytelling. Social is a really great space to collaborate and to engage community members, but it’s really important to diversify the kind of content that you’re choosing to do that with. So anything from infographics and photography and using that to do storytelling to video of varying lengths, we tend to do a long form which is usually always under three minutes, a one-minute cut and a thirty-second cut where we can to sort of spread the wealth across different channels and in different formats where it will meet the audience in the way that they want to be receiving content.

[02:30] And the other thing that I’ve really been excited about—and I actually heard one of your other guests talk about a very similar software—is a video software that we have found that lets you deploy an invitation via an app to a large group of people, a small group of people, and set your entire shot list frame by frame. The app sets the person’s phone to configure it in a way that whatever settings you have, so horizontal, vertical, wherever you want it published, whatever the phone specifications need to be, and then allows users to generate the content and send it through the cloud to you to edit and piece together into a final cut video.

Adam: [03:14] That sounds kind of amazing. And that app is called…?

Erin: [03:17] It’s fantastic. It’s called Cinebody, C-I-N-E-B-O-D-Y. It’s a subscription service. They’ve been fabulous to work with and it’s really enabled us to get high-quality user-generated content. When you sort of do a cattle call and post something on social that says, “Send us your video on fill in the blank,” you really get a wide variety of quality, of which direction the frame is facing. This really allows you right from the beginning to plan the story you want to tell and then ask for the specific pieces of content that are going to best support that story.

Adam: [03:55] Wow. That is beyond unbelievable. I wish I’d thought of that. That’s a brilliant idea. Of course that’s how it should work. You plan it all out, map it all out in the app, you send it out, and then they get to go pick out whatever shots they want to do and create them for you. And then you get amazing content that you didn’t have to go shoot yourself.

Erin: [04:12] It’s really been fantastic and it’s really enabled us as a team to move more toward a predator model, to have a producer, editor on staff who really knows our community, really understands our voice and what we’re trying to accomplish so they have this vision of how we can set all of our video content forward, a strategy for the year, and then can deploy different methodology for how we collect that content. So it’s really freed up our editor and our producer to have a larger strategic role and to take the time to think through how we want the entire year to look and what stories we want to tell.

Adam: [04:51] Wow. That’s really, really fantastic. And it also saves you time and money and effort in a lot of those ways too. So it’s just, wow, that’s amazing.

Erin: [04:58] Absolutely. I mean, as a nonprofit, it’s so important to be wise stewards of the money. So it’s been fantastic.

Adam: [05:09] I love it. I’m going to check it out.

Erin: [05:10] Good.

Adam: [05:11] Okay. So now, related to digital marketing, can you tell us something that has not worked well that we can learn from?

Erin: [05:17] Yes. So cystic fibrosis is a rare genetic disease. It’s not something that you can get as you age. It’s a really small community. And so, for us, outer circle advertising has really not been very successful. I’ve heard other organizations struggle with Giving Tuesday and we have found great value in using Giving Tuesday as a test campaign moment to see what new messages might be engaging and the community might respond to. But outer circle, in general, has been a struggle. We have found that people give to people, not to organizations, and so when we help our volunteers better tell their story, we find great success. When we try to initiate that contact with someone who doesn’t know someone personally in the community, we have had much less success.

Adam: [06:15] I love that. I love that. So it sounds like you’re utilizing in sharing the stories of people, because like you said, people give to people. And I love that. I think, as nonprofits, we have this habit of kind of focusing on the mission. We’re going to do this. We’re going to do this. Give to this big vision because we’re going to do this and we think people give to the big vision, but in fact, people tend to give to people. They want to humanize the vision, right?

Erin: [06:41] Absolutely. I mean, we look at it really as training our volunteers to be excellent ambassadors of the cause. They know this disease better than anyone. They live it every day. So who better to talk about what impacts it has in someone’s life?

Adam: [06:58] That’s right. That’s right. That’s fantastic. Okay. And last question, related to digital marketing, can you tell me something you are excited about?

Erin: [07:07] I had to give this one a lot of thought because there are a couple of things that I’m excited about. So I am going to warn you. I’m going to cheat and do two things.

Adam: [07:14] Good. I love that. That’s even better.

Erin: [07:16] I couldn’t narrow. Okay. So the two things that I’m really excited about. I am a big data geek and I’m really excited about omnichannel approach to engagement and analytics. Moving away from this platform-by-platform assessment of how you’re performing just on Facebook and then just on Twitter and then what traffic is that just driving to your website and instead thinking about how individuals or groups of individuals are behaving across all of the places that you engage with your community to really understand the characteristics of what people are interested in, the kinds of content that they’re responsive to, depending on who they are and where they are in their personal journey. It’s really never made a lot of sense to me that we fixate so much on a location that someone goes to instead of what they are responding to overall. So I love that there are tools coming into play now that let you see more broadly across everything. That makes me so excited.

Adam: [08:17] Do you have a favorite tool for that currently?

Erin: [08:21] No. And I will own that this is one of those moments where we are looking with excitement and doing some evaluation right now, but we have not committed to what approach we’re going to take as an organization. It’s certainly an investment and we have to always be extremely thoughtful with where and how we’re investing so that with the choices that we make scale over the long term, we don’t want to put all of our eggs in a basket, especially with technology like this where it’s still in development. We want to make sure that whatever solutions we pick are going to be around for the long haul and are going to meet our needs long term.

Adam: [09:01] Yeah. It’s shocking to me, in the current state of where technology is, how complex it is just to get a really solid dashboard that measures key metrics that you actually care about, like I identify with my team, “Here’s the ten, fifteen just kind of key metrics that sort of define our organization and now let’s put that into a dashboard so we can see it at a glance and keep it updated.” And that sounds like a really simple project and it’s absolutely not simple in any way, form, or fashion. It’s just remarkably hard.

Erin: [09:33] And manual. It’s so manual.

Adam: [09:36] And very manual. Yes. Yes. It’s like, “Okay. We’re going to fill out a spreadsheet and then we’re going to pull that spreadsheet into here and then we’re going to…” Oh, my gosh, it’s just a nightmare. I’m in the midst of that. I literally outlined an entire document about the company metrics we’re going to track for 2019 this morning at 6:00 AM. So this is very top of mind for me. So I very much appreciate what you’re trying to do there and how uniquely complex it is.

Erin: [10:00] It is. And do you staff someone to work on your analytics dashboard or do you staff someone to draft content? I mean, those are the kinds of trade-offs you’re thinking about in a nonprofit. So I’m really looking forward to seeing the great steps forward that it seems are coming our way in this area.

Adam: [10:16] It’s getting closer. It’s getting less complex. It’s getting better. It’s getting better. There’s hope. And you said there were two things you were excited about. What’s the second one?

Erin: [10:26] The other one is also, sort of looking forward, I’m really getting excited about augmented reality, AR. I think that it is a much more accessible storytelling tool that does not require really expensive equipment to view and engage with the experience. It’s still going to be an investment to produce it well, but I think the kinds of stories that you can tell with AR are going to be really impactful. I think it’s going to enable you to do a lot of things, especially in the healthcare space and really tell patient stories in ways that people are able to experience what they’re experiencing in a really meaningful way that just haven’t been as accessible before. So I’m really looking forward to that. I think there are a number of organizations really pushing forward in this space, and again, nothing that I’ve seen that’s made me take the leap, but there are a couple of organizations I know that are testing it out right now and I’m waiting to see. I’m waiting for them to be the guinea pigs.

Adam: [11:28] That’s how technology goes when you’re nonprofit, too, right? It’s like, “Hey, let’s see what these other people do and then we’ll improve upon it and pay less money.”

Erin: [11:36] That’s always the goal. Absolutely.

Adam: [11:37] Yeah. That’s always the goal. That’s why I do this podcast. Let’s see what other people are doing and then let’s see if we can improve upon it and pay less money. So, I think there’s a lot of value in that. First to market is really cool, but it’s really difficult to do when you are a nonprofit. And so it’s something we have to be very wise about it. But I agree with you. I think AR is really going to make a huge stride in this next year and we’re going to see a lot of really innovative and interesting uses for it, especially in the nonprofit space.

Erin: [12:03] I have to say, as a nonprofit, I leave first to market to the corporations and I just want to be best to market.

Adam: [12:09] Yeah, that’s right. That’s a great way to go. That’s a great way to go. And you can learn a lot from the first to market because a lot of times the first to market doesn’t work out so well. So, I mean, in all fairness, I think almost every single Apple product was not technically first to market; they just did it way better than the person before them. So, I mean, they’re super innovative, but they didn’t necessarily invent a lot of the stuff that I think they are actually credited for inventing. So, but maybe that’s a conversation for another time and possibly a debate that’s heated with someone else other than me. So let me see if I can recap our discussion so far and make sure our listeners have a great takeaway.

[12:46] So related to digital marketing, what has worked well? You said multimedia storytelling, so diversified content across all the different social channels. So for example, mixing it up with infographics and videos, and not only just video but a long format video, then a one minute and then a thirty-second video. And so taking those things and splitting them up into different chunks and categories so that you can share it across in various ways across various platforms. The other thing that’s working well is the video app Cinebody, which is a subscription service, but it allows high-quality user-generated content with a lot of guidance from the nonprofit in particular so that you can piece together really amazing videos that are with footage that’s actually generated by users rather than having to go out and shoot the footage yourself, which is kind of amazing.

[13:29] For what has not worked well that we can learn from, you mentioned that your community is a small community and when you do outer-circle advertising, it can be a struggle. I thought it was really fascinating that you mentioned using Giving Tuesday as a test campaign, but not necessarily as your main campaign. You can use it as a proving ground for a campaign and then build on it from there. You also in that segment mentioned that, and I bolded this in my notes, people give to people. So a lot of times we think that they give to vision, and I think to some degree, there’s some truth there, but ultimately, they want to see their gifts going to help people. I mean, it all filters down to people, or I guess potentially animals, depending on what type of nonprofit, right? But it filters down to helping someone or something and I think people giving to people is a really important thing for every nonprofit marketer to sort of have and hold in their minds.

[14:19] And then what are you excited about? You mentioned data so omnichannel approach to engagement analytics where you can look at everything sort of more holistically as opposed to very segmented and I’m really excited about that. Once you pull the trigger on what you’re doing with that, I’d love to have you back on the show. Maybe we can talk more about it. And then you also mentioned augmented reality, AR, and how that can be used as a storytelling tool and how it can be a deeper, more deep and immersive experience. So did I miss anything from our conversation?

Erin: [14:48] Not at all.

Adam: [14:50] I would love to have you back on. Before I do, let me ask this. Do you have any final thoughts that you want to share with the audience?

Erin: [14:56] I would just say thank you so much for having me and if people want to learn more about cystic fibrosis and how they can help this fight, they can please visit cff.org and check out our website and there’s many ways to get involved and we are always looking for more volunteers.

Adam: [15:12] That’s fantastic. And I would definitely encourage you to check out the website cff.org and see how you can make a difference. Erin, thanks so much for being on the show. Really appreciate your time.

Erin: [15:20] Thank you so much for having me.

Adam: [15:24] Thanks for listening to the Good People, Good Marketing Podcast. To get more resources about digital marketing, make sure to go to goodpeoplegoodmarketing.com where you can find more podcasts, blogs, and other fun resources. Also, if you want to find me, your host, you can find me on Twitter @ajwalker, and on my blog at adamjwalker.com where I blog about leadership, productivity, habit building, and the craziness of having five kids. Thanks, and tune in next time.

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