Meet this month’s ‘foiler – Megan Soule, Airfoil account supervisor and consumer brand brainiac. An Airfoil team member for more than 8 years, she’s a resident expert in how to drive tremendous awareness around consumer clients’ product launches through smart influencer relations and tradeshow strategies.
While Megan works both sides of the agency’s client roster, overseeing a variety of both B2B and B2C programs, she’s earned a distinct reputation as a consumer product marketing savant. Here, she shares insights into what drives her and her clients’ success.
What about working with consumer brands is so rewarding for you?
The competition – to stand out in the marketplace and with media and analysts – has made me a stronger professional, because it’s required me to take a lot of calculated risks along the way. The world becomes your oyster in the consumer space – you have a lot of freedom to be incredibly creative and try new things. We’re constantly pushing boundaries to see how creative events and media strategies will be received and play out in the marketplace.
Consumer media has you constantly on your toes. Like a consumer, consumer media seeks instant gratification when an exciting product hits the shelves – and even better, if they can gain access to a product before it hits the shelves! I’ve been so lucky to work with groundbreaking brands like Parrot, which designs really cool wireless gadgets like the AR.Drone line and Zik headphones that have been so popular. The media has learned over the years that Parrot is a company that constantly brings it, so it’s an ongoing balancing act, giving media want they want and still cultivating that sense of intrigue and anticipation around what Parrot will do next.
My number one concern, above all else, is doing what’s best for the client, for the product, and for our communications program. We approach consumer media relations in a very tailored manner, asking ourselves who really needs to be – not just who wants to be – in the room.
January’s Consumer Electronics Show isn’t really that far off, if you factor in an appropriate level of planning. Airfoil has represented brands that have turned CES on its head, disrupting, entertaining, delivering fantastic product experiences. Can you talk about what brands will be doing to stand out at CES 2015?
While I can’t tell you anything specific about what our clients are doing, part of the excitement for everyone is not fully knowing what brands like Parrot are going to do until we get much closer to the event. We might have enough information to start having conversations with select media, but dynamic brands will formulate CES strategies in a really fluid way that reflects what’s happening with their businesses in January – not now.
That said, businesses truly need to be planning for their presence at CES now, even if they currently don’t have a handle on their announcements or launches. The early conversations we’re having with clients include not only how to maximize time at the primary event, but also whether and how to leverage tertiary events, like CES Unveiled or Pepcom’s Digital Experience! to showcase new products for top media, buyers, analysts and influencers.
I love the process of tending to both overarching strategies and the nitty, gritty details of attending a show the size of CES, so I really enjoy helping prep other agency members who have never attended the show gear up for their first time. CES is an undertaking like no other, a true mind, body, soul marathon! But one of the greatest things about working at Airfoil is that we’re there for each other. CES is a place where I can guarantee our teamwork will be put to the test, and deliver. We’re in the trenches – with each other and with our clients and their teams – and you come out the other end with a deeper appreciation and understanding of both your colleagues and the brands you represent than ever before.
Mastering the channels and trends for any industry is a heavy lift, so do you find that representing both business and consumer brands is doubly challenging?
When you look at it from an audience perspective – one of the first things we as communications professionals evaluate when approaching a client’s issue or opportunity – they have more in common than not. Whether a client is using marketing communications to reach an individual shopper or a business, they’re all ultimately consumers of products and services. Business owners who are the target of a B2B message or campaign all take into consideration their personal experience when making purchasing decisions, so the idea that B2B and B2C audiences and, therefore, strategies are wildly different is overblown. While building a strong strategy is critical to success, don’t overthink it. Instead, use that energy to look for synergies that translate between client types and drive creative programs and efficiencies.