Marketing: 5 tips on how to capture hearts… and wallets

2 March 2021

Marketing has become a way of doing business. Ironically perhaps, social media has put a human face on it. Relationship now means everything. Andrew Johnson, Founder and President at Dreww and Ann-Stéphanie Dumont, Vice-President, share five tips on how to build relationships as a means of doing marketing – and business, in these digital times.

The shift from Selling to Engaging

Andrew, the face behind Dreww, a digital advertising agency and production studio launched in 2020, sets the tone : « This is not about selling anymore ». Indeed, marketing used to push company-focused content to the widest audience to sell as many products as possible. But generic and intrusive banners and ads have become unresponsive. There has been a fundamental shift in the role and purpose of marketing. Companies have become customer driven. They define a persona and target their audience. They are now pushing the experience to another level, building authentic relationships as a means to connect and engage. Digital marketing is about creating high quality and relevant content for things that matter to the people who matter. After all, behind every successful brand is a special relationship.

1. Dive into the Ecosystem. 

To be on top of the game, you need to master some knowledge. Or else, hand it over to experts. Knowledge of the technology and of the environment you are working in. « We work and live in the ecosystem. This is not a 9 to 5 business. We are part of it », asserts  Andrew. In other words, breathe, eat and sleep with social media. He continues : « We are Millennials. We have grown up connected to the wifi and to our cell phones! Here at Dreww, we are all digital natives from head to toe, from the president to the photographer. To work with us, you have to understand the ecosystem, even if you are an accountant. You need to get this world » says the boss. So it’s about being fully digitally literate. Mastering the SEO language, the analytics, how to do indexing, remarketing, use conversational interfaces and be fluent with all sorts of apps and platforms.
And to follow your audience and share your content wisely, you will need to constantly keep up to date with the latest and ever-changing trends. Ann-Stéphanie explains : « The generations after us are born into technology and have special ways of conversing. Since we are early adopters to new social platforms and trends, we are constantly navigating the same social ecosystems; therefore, we speak their language and we know what they want to hear ».


2. Be Relevant. Reach and know your Audience.

Relate to issues that are relevant to your audience at that moment. Influencer marketing leverages the reach of a genuine influencer who has built a close relationship with its followers. It is about connecting. And this is how your brand can be seen, and more importantly, trusted. « Most of our team members are influencers. How can you propel your clients’ brands if you don’t excel at it for yourself first ? » states Andrew. Sure, influencers can be celebrities and other perfect image icons, « fast-food reality TV types content like the KUWTK » (translate the Kardashians), according to Andrew. These still reach enormous audiences. « Think about the size of what the Nelk Boys have reached ». But influencers are also people just like you and me. With a certain number of followers. The thing is, being constantly stimulated by brands has had the opposite effect : consumers rather trust real humans they can relate to. Andrew claims without hesitation: « Social networking is word-of-mouth on steroids ». Bloggers, vloggers (video sharing) and other trustworthy influencers know and share what is relevant to their followers. They have the power of shaping opinions. They know what inspires their audience, like friends would do. And they have their ears.


3. Be Authentic. Share your journey. Engage and Connect.

« It is important to make consumers feel that they are part of the journey you are embarking on, as a company. To share who you are, to showcase your team, but also to highlight your wins and losses. It is not about showing off how good we are. Put it simply : we, too, are humans » illustrates Andrew, also executive director of the production studio. He explains that to engage and resonate with your target audience, you cannot be superficial. You need to be authentic. Seize the opportunity to show your colours. Even making mistakes is fine, and getting back up. His colleague Ann-Stéphanie articulates : « It is important to relay your objectives, to communicate clearly and openly, so your public feels that they are part of the journey with you ».

The agency released its first original short film early February. Fack c’est ça, about a guy having a hard time handling the lockdown, reached over 1 million views and 800 000 million listened minutes. Only 48 hours after it was released on Facebook, the film had 400 000 views and thousands of shares. Yet, this short film was not about Dreww. It showed for itself what the agency was capable of. In a meaningful way, one that everyone can relate to these days.

4. Storytelling, not Selling.

When asked What advice would you give companies on their marketing strategy?, this one came first : « Tell meaningful stories ». You need to be relevant, bring meaning, that is one thing. Most importantly, you need to touch their heart and « pull on their emotions .» We are emotional human beings. This is how we relate. Being emotional creates a connection. That’s what makes your business stand out. Andrew explains : « You have to stay with the emotions. This is not about pushing and selling a product. It is about storytelling, the engaging narrative of emotions .» Dreww’s Valentine video The girl next door was about a love story in these times of lockdown. Sweet, full of hope, purposeful. With a drink nicely wrapped up as a nice-to-meet-you invitation to share. No branding out loud. Pure customer seduction. The video, released mid-February, has had 465 000 views and reached 1 million people with 580K minutes of watch time.



« Capture hearts, minds, and — ultimately — wallets, the smartest brands will realize that they must stop thinking like advertisers and start thinking like media companies, giving core audiences value beyond just the products and services they provide .» – Jesse Greenberg, former chief strategy officer at Ackerman McQueen

5. Offer an Experience.

With the pandemic, shops have turned to e-commerce sites to survive, until they re-open. However, digital agencies have already crossed this path. Their objective is already the other way around. They create pop-up shops as unique shopping experiences. Specifically branded. Deliberately temporary. These can be designed for a one-time event, with the objective to bring consumers back to their Instagram accounts and to generate buzz. The experience can also be  immersive with interactive displays or unexpected wow elements, to feel the brand through all your senses.

Dreww, as an advertising agency and a production studio, creates memorable environments in its films, in relation to the brands they propel and the products they put forward. Customers buy emotions and experiences. They don’t buy products. New marketing is just about that: connectivity, interactivity and creativity.

« Social networking was not invented for selling, it was invented to connect humans together » –  Andrew.

About the author

Isabelle Naessens

About Isabelle Naessens