Why Brand Development And Relevance Is Important
Angela Wei is the Managing Director at Milk Agency in New York City. Recently, she participated in a wide-ranging interview on the podcast, “Content is Your Business”. The interview was hosted by Lisa Berger, Dalia Strum, and Edward Hertzman.
Angela Wei of Milk Studios explained in the interview how her agency provides a platform for expression and creative content. Since Milk Agency has many components, the company can serve a wide variety of interests within the creative community.
Milk Agency has made its name through creative collaboration. The agency brings together ideas from advertising, marketing, event production, and consumer products. The agency’s expertise centers on transmitting its clients’ messages.
The Background of Milk Agency
Milk Studios was founded 20 years ago in the Meatpacking District of New York City. The studio itself was one of the first independent photo studios in the city. Milk Studios became known not only as a place to hold a photo shoot, but as a platform for creating content.
Today, the agency has grown past its roots as a photo studio. It now includes a creative agency, a gallery, services like post-production and casting, a website called milk.xyz, and a makeup line. The complex nature of the company evolved organically over time, adapting its services as well as its content.
The newest aspect of the company is Milk Makeup. Made popular through influencers on YouTube, the makeup is available through a partnership with Sephora.
Angela Wei’s Story
Angela Wei came from a background in advertising and marketing. She was an early employee at Razorfish, where she worked on consulting and digital innovation. At various points in her career, she has been in roles that focused on both creativity and implementation.
Wei’s knowledge and experience allows her to see content from many different angles. Early in her career, she worked on developing major websites which played into her work at Time, Inc.
Angela Wei understands the complex relationship between content and the companies producing it. She is well-versed in “old-school” and “new-school” forms of content. Additionally, since Wei began her career in advertising, her experience undoubtedly makes her professionally qualified to successfully manage production campaigns: i.e. hiring directors, photographers, etc.
Wei has stated that today’s content model is “snackable.” This means that people look at their phones dozens of times each hour, absorbing small bits of content as they go. This represents a dynamic shift from the way in which consumers absorbed digital content pre-smartphones.
Content can be conceptualized as a “molecule” streaming past the viewer. Angela Wei believes that content should be the first consideration in developing a marketing strategy. Companies often pay lip service to this concept, but fewer have truly done it.
Wei believes that the power of content will become more obvious and that brands will become publishers.
Content has been used and misused over the years as part of a marketing strategy. A few years ago, clickbait sites became one of the largest drivers of ad revenue. Legitimate sites moved away from using clickbait and into affiliate marketing. Today, it is difficult to know what content is genuine and what is part of an affiliate marketing program.
Developing Brands Today
The relationship between consumers and brands has always been complex. Large media houses, like key advertising agencies, have credible branding identity. While younger consumers in their 20s and 30s enjoy relating to their favorite brands, consumers in their 40s are turned off by obvious branding and logos.
Influencers have become important in building today’s brands. For example, Milk Makeup is not yet a household name, but it has gained a strong following among beauty enthusiasts due to its promotion by YouTube influencers.
One of the most exciting ways in which a company can set itself apart is through experiential marketing. Companies can create experiences through pop-up stores and temporary installations. Where it may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to take out a full-page newspaper ad, it is much more affordable to rent a few storefronts. This can be done around the world, playing into a global strategy.
Today, brand relevance is one of the most important considerations for any company. This applies to large consumer brands and startup companies alike. How does content play into the distribution of a company’s story?
Some company executives do not understand branding as part of an overall strategy. They believe in the simple theory that buying advertisements directly results in more sales. Today, however, the brand is king.
New Ways of Discovering Content
Content represents a constant cycle of streaming, testing, and learning. Content is not as simple as a TV commercial. It encompasses the information that users put into a search bar to find the things they want. Wei encourages readers to think about how Amazon knows what they want. This is another form of content.
Instead of “going shopping,” we are continually shopping through the digital world. Voice and visual search are poised to be huge players in the marketing landscape. AI systems are being put into play by understanding audio descriptions of a product and finding relevant product matches for consumers.
Challenges Faced by Content Producers
Today’s rapidly changing content is forcing agencies to develop new methods. Nevertheless, creating a considerable volume of unique content can be daunting.
The economics of advanced content can also be difficult. For example, metadata will be needed to do extensive voice and visual searches and all of this data must be created and combed through.
In her interview, Angela Wei of Milk Studios provides a great deal of thought provoking insight. Milk Agency is one of the leaders in the content marketing revolution. Understanding how content works and how it should be a brand’s top priority is the number one takeaway from Wei’s interview.