Real-Time Marketing & Digital Storytelling With Oiselle
Megan Murray knows a thing or two about taking a feet-on-the-ground approach to promoting the Oiselle brand. As the marketing director at this Seattle-based running apparel company, Murray and her team have always made a point to show up for their community, supporting the women who are their customer base. interviewing athletes at races to providing behind-the-scenes peeks into the life of a runner, the team at Oiselle uses the agility and mobility of being a consistently small company to capture these stories as they happen. And in turn, grow the business by sharing these unique stories that otherwise wouldn’t be told.
But how do they do it? What goes into the planning and execution, how do they use cloud file storage to stay connected and work from anywhere? And how does Oiselle define success? With so much experience in mobile productivity—and great success in employing these strategies—Murray shared some specifics about how Oiselle designed their process around a suite of tools in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Q: What types of events do you attend for these real-time marketing opportunities?
A: “We do a lot of in-person interviews with women in our community, professional athletes, and women who are leading culture. We are at trackside at major races and on the ground at road races—whether it's your local 5K or the California International Marathon, we're there making sure we're able to see our community and tell stories from the ground.”
Q: How many people do you have on the ground at these events?
A: “We usually have one person there, sometimes two. One person might be capturing the race times or the way that the light looks and what people are saying, while somebody else is actually working with video or camera equipment to tell the visual side of the story. We avoid taking those posed, expected shots, but instead maybe we’ll capture the way a ponytail moves when somebody's running, or that moment where everybody's pre-race gear is littered around a grassy patch.”
Q: What marketing materials are you capturing and what does that process look like?
A: “It's really about collecting artifacts from the experience, and we make sure we're using different styles of storytelling. Whether it's quick behind-the-scenes moments for Instagram stories, fleeting moments of feeling for our Instagram feed, updates for Facebook and Twitter, or long-form photojournalism and storytelling for our blog, all these elements come together to paint a rich picture of a moment in time.
We also have a lot of different voices telling the story. It's not just our brand handles—we bring professional athletes or ambassadors from our community. Magic happens when you have more than one person telling the story because you're able to take away different experiences. It also creates a dialogue, which is really important in making sure that our community stays connected to each other. So it's that crazy mix of people, places, and things—all at the same time.”
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Q: While including voices of different athletes, ambassadors, and members of the Oiselle team, how do you still maintain a brand voice?
A: “We're really good about picking stories that are on brand in the first place, and then there's permission for there to be discourse within the story. And the fact that we can actually give those different viewpoints a voice is how we’re creating a community of different-minded people who choose to celebrate the same things.”
Q: What does the process look like once photos and notes have been captured?
A: “We’ll have a team ready and waiting at our headquarters, so it’s really important to make sure everything is going into an organized system where anybody else can access it. Everything we gather from the event immediately gets moved into an online file storage system in the cloud. Our office is like a 24/7 war room during these events because it's hard to assess the quality of a social post in an outdoor setting on your mobile phone. We're an apparel design company, so we have to make sure that the color of the pants is actually accurate to what you see on the site—we can't throw a filter on something. So, we’ll make all those small tweaks in Photoshop, then that content goes out into the world.
Our marketing team is really good at rolling up their sleeves and helping our social media manager execute her vision for social. You need a lot of hands making stuff happen to be able to be a timely player in the storytelling space.”
Q: What digital tools are crucial to the success of real-time marketing?
A: “We live and die by shared notes—we use them to talk to each other as events are happening. Email is a lot of times how we plan and run the business, making sure we're talking to each other. Sometimes we have events that require people to go abroad, so you can't hop on the phone with the time difference.”
Q: How do you know that real-time marketing is working at Oiselle?
A: “Oh, there's so much data. I think one of the things that's been hard for us as a small team is realizing how much data there is out there, with only so many bodies to process it. So being really deliberate and specific about what success looks like in every situation—how things translate to tangible, quantifiable key performance indicators—is really important for us. We might come into an execution knowing we're really just here to make a statement, or we're really here to tell a story that we hope actually is passed from woman to woman out in the world. We determine what we hope to see in terms of engagement on Facebook, reach on Instagram, and reactions on Twitter. Data is a really important feedback loop for us.”
Q: Do you think a larger business could utilize Oiselle’s approach to real-time marketing?
A: “Yes, if they are organized from the start. All of that real-time work comes after we've done the hard work of getting aligned on what we're trying to accomplish and why we're attending an event.
Sometimes we go in looking for something, but more than anything, we have in mind a feeling that we're trying to instill, a voice that we want make sure is heard, or an angle that feels more relevant than ever at a certain event. But your team can't come back with what you want if you're not able to outline from the start what you believe that you need.
For us, we also can't go to those places and tell those stories if we don't have a sense of how they're going to help the business. The best thing we can do for this deep belief that we have in women and sport is to make sure that the business stays successful so that we can continue operating and doing these things. That's the best service that you have to your idea.”