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PODCAST - Unpacking the digital shelf

Interview: Test and Scale Social Commerce with Luke Garro, EVP and Content Director at GYK Antler

New commerce opportunities in social are popping up all the time. How do you test and scale these direct methods in an agile way? Peter Crosby and Rob Gonzalez spoke with Luke Garro, EVP and Content Director at marketing agency GYK Antler, about the best practices for brands to drive connection and commerce through social.

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Transcript

Peter

Welcome to Unpacking the Digital Shelf where we explore brand manufacturing in the digital age.

Peter

Hello Digital Shelf listeners. Peter Crosby, executive director of the Digital Shelf Institute here. Social commerce, the latest daunting buzzword for many brands. What's the best way to test and scale these new channels to prove out what works for your brand, for your audience? Luke Garro, EVP and content director of marketing agency, GYK Antler knows the answers and shared them with Rob Gonzalez and me. So Luke, you are a social media social commerce digital marketing expert. When was the last time you actually bought something you found on Instagram? 

Luke

That's a great question. So the last thing I bought was this product called Ink, the original. It's a tattoo kind moisturizers, slash re and re-invigoration slash stuff that just makes your tattoos pop again. So I have several tattoos all going on 20 years old and I love the beach. So I, I got hit with an ad on Instagram and what I tend to do when I get hit with ads is figure out why me? How did this come to me? And I don't talk about tattoos, but what I did realize is a few months before that I had posted a photo of a tattoo that has my mom's name on it for mother's day. Yes, I am that child. And whether they actually did this or not, I wanted to give them credit for somehow they had photo recognition that maybe could see tattoos. I don't know if that's what happened, but I want to think in my fantasy world that people can hyper target us, that that may be a reality of how they found it. 

Peter

So some people might say fantasy world, others would say, that's super creepy and I wish they wouldn't. So you, you seem to, is it because of your business that you fall in the, into the, wow. That's awesome. 

Luke

Yeah. Yeah. Well, and I certainly get my fair share of ads that I wish would not show up in my feed. This happened to be one where in a few weeks I was about to go to the beach and I was like: “You know what? I'm going to give it a shot.” And I ordered it right there and got it. And I've been using it and I'll tell you in maybe in a few years how the results are, but so far it's a product that I like and, and I it seemed very hyperfocused to me 

Peter

The rest of your body will look like crap, but those tattoos will look sweet. 

Luke

When they bury me, they'll say “Guy had some sweet ink.”

Rob

It's funny there are these Facebook conspiracy theorists that swear that they're listening to everything that you say, so that even if you're not posting about tattoos, if you talk about tattoos near your phone, that Facebook is targeting you and listening to you somehow wired magazine had an article a few months about it. There's just a whole group of people that just believe that you're being listened to 24 hours a day. 

Peter

Now I'm raising my hand for those of you at home. Well yeah it does. It's hard for me in some of the, to trace back. Cause I totally get that we ought to be able to scan photos and discover it. That makes sense to me. Copy on the website. But it does seem like I've not been on social media. I've been talking about something. And the next thing that happens, it shows up and yeah, Luke's nodding his head. So you think that that's actually happening? 

Luke

Well, I've had my phone always. So answer questions without me pressing a button on it. Has that ever happened? You're speaking and all of a sudden from your pocket, your phone kind of says something back to you. 

Peter

Are you, are you in therapy? Because I'm not sure that's your phone. 

Luke

Save that for the next one. 

Peter

So it's just as we move into the realm of how this applies to business, besides our personal life. As you know, our listeners, our audience are really the people at brand manufacturers like I shouldn't call it that. Sort of think of the people that make stuff, the Legos, the L'Oreals, the 3Ms of the world, all that sort of trying to figure out how to operate in this new sort of digitally focused world. And when you think about those people, a lot of them are new to building a direct relationship with their end consumer and buyer and and because a lot of them for decades and some amazes almost centuries I've been going through channels where then their story is retold by the distributors or the retailers that are selling their products. What do you think this sort of crisis and opportunity is today to have that pressure to connect directly with your consumer? How do you guys think about it at at GYK antler?

Luke

Well, we see it as both, both an opportunity and a necessity. You know, the opportunity is you can have a much more rich experience with an audience now than you ever could before. You know, it used to be, you could put out a message, you could put out an image, you could put out stuff, people can see it and then come try to discover your product wherever it's for sale. Now you have the opportunity to give them much more information. You have an opportunity to talk to them, you know, through two way communication channels in real time. And address specific needs. You can hyper target exactly who you want to talk to. So that's where the opportunity is. The necessity is everyone expects that everyone wants that. And so you have these startups coming into every industry who are operating very nimbly and quickly and they're out there talking to people, giving them information bringing people into their marketing and advertising, you know, bringing people into the conversations, learning from people in real time, giving them opportunities that they're only getting through these channels.

So where that opportunity meets that necessity is where becomes such a strong thing that you, you kind of have to be doing and you have to kind of pick and choose where you hone in. You know, the battle you want to fight on that territory, but you kind of have to be there. If you're a product that people want to know something about and people are inquiring further than you know, a message that you send out, that's a one way thing. If people are ever going to ask you a question or people are ever going to have a comment or something that could benefit the conversation, you kind of have to be there for it.

Rob What's an example of a larger company that's doing this well? Cause I think, I mean T to your point, if you're a small nimble company, the founder wakes up in the morning and they've got their phone on them and anytime anyone mentions anything about their products, they're on their phone and they’re Tweeting. I gotta imagine in let's say, let's pick Casper for example. Right? Which has done an awesome job in social media in the early days of founder. Anytime anyone mentions anything about Casper mattresses is responding in near real time. If I think about some of the major brands that I know they have internal conversations about, well is a 48 hour SLA on an Amazon comment sufficient or not sufficient? I mean, so you're going from, you know, real time phone in your pocket from the founder to some social media person in a corner with a 48 hour SLA and it's just, it's a world of difference in operating behavior. The like what's an example of a big company that's doing this well that's actually engaging at the level that, that year that you, that you're implying is useful here?

Luke

Yeah, that's a great question. And there's different ways. I think brands are exemplifying that they're doing it very well and it depends on what you're actually there to accomplish. And so on one side of the spectrum, you have a brand like Wendy's who's just there to socialize and make people laugh and they absolutely crush it on a channel like Twitter because in real time they are interacting with people, they're interacting with other brands, they're kind of saying whatever they want to say, whether it's about a trending topic or a reaction to some what somebody else said. And there they're humanizing their brand in a way that a lot of brands might be scared to do or might not know how to do or just don't want to take on the risk of doing that. 

Peter

And in a way that if you'd asked me five years ago, is that, will that be Wendy's brand personality on social? I would have said no. That they don't really have a personality at all. I mean, I guess their, their founders CEO was Dave, I don't remember, was their personality for a while. But in, in social, it really has become sort of this snarky fantastic voice. 

Luke

Yeah. So you have a brand like that. This is going all in, on, on having a personality and just socializing, being at the level of, of the audience that they're talking to. Then you have other brands who have gone way deeper into launching complete content platforms, right? That are meant to serve a specific need for an audience even beyond the products or services that they offer. So, you know, it could be Johnson and Johnson has you know, adopted and took on and grown BabyCenter, which is you can't even tell that it's one of their properties, but it's there to talk to moms.

And, and from I heard there's, I think 7/10 expecting parents or are current parents are on that platform. [inaudible] Is incredible. So you have brands that have gone that far to where they're like, we're actually going to put content and building audience first ahead of our product and services and create a business model around that that then feeds, you know, what we do as a core business. So yeah, there's a lot of good examples like that and I mean there's even age old ones like that. You know, John Deere has the furrow, which is a magazine that's going out to farmers for I believe, over a hundred years now. And that was well before digital or anything. They recognize we got to give people information beyond just how to use our products. We have to give them information that actually serves the needs of their lives.

Peter

So it is not just a consumer, it's I'm selling to consumer concern or opportunity. It's also there for people that are selling to businesses as well.. And when you think about I need to gather this audience and then I need, and then I would like to make these channels work for me as a manufacturer. Some people have taken to call that category social commerce A) Is that a term that resonates for you and, and if so, what, how do you define it to to a customer for your agency? 

Luke

So social commerce, I think most purely people define it as when you're directly selling through platform. I like to look at a little more broadly than that because I think, yeah, sure you can directly monitor when somebody clicks and buys on a platform, but that doesn't take into account the influence you possibly have on people buying it elsewhere. It doesn't really take into account the ongoing kind of information and images or other stuff you can give to people to get them to either use your product more or look into the other products you offer. So I look at the world of social commerce being, how does social media channels influence people's purchasing habits? So yeah, I think the most direct KPI when it comes to that is somebody using like a shoppable button and actually buying on a platform. But if we can take a barbecue sauce and give people a hundred different ways to use it through social media and they're going to keep paying attention and wanting to adopt those ways, we're going to keep selling barbecue off the shelves. And to me that's how social commerce is more of like an influential tactic than a direct measurable sale tactic. 

Rob

How much, how much does that level of investment require? Like an evangelical executive that just believes in it? Because I think about the Wendy's example is an example. Or like RBS has a similar similar approach to the way that they engage the market. They've got somebody there who says, you know what? I don't know exactly how to tie this, this snarky Wendy's strategy to selling more hamburgers, but I'm going to do it anyway because I believe that it just increases their awareness, right? So there's an element of investing in education and investing in the audience and investing in the engagement which isn't directly traceable to a sale other than made you know other than maybe like a indirect ways. So how, how do they actually justify the investment internally? What KPIs for folks that are looking at big picture that they're using like the barbecue at example to to talk to their management team and talk to talk to their board and say: “Look, it's worth this investment even if it's not directly related to sales.”

Luke

Yeah, making the business case for it can be simple. If you want to just say here's the only  reason we're using it or it can be complex if you're combining both of these short term and long term goals. I always try to steer people to look at the long term of it because you're, you're putting effort and resources into a channel where it's not a one and done play. You're not putting up a billboard for a month. You're not running a TV spot for a few weeks. You are putting stuff out there that is timely and does get looked at there but in a lot of cases has potential to be seen much later on. It has has a chance to kind of take on a life of its own. So you always have to look at the short and long term. I think if somebody was saying: “We want to get into social media and content and we need to see in a very short time period results.” I would say: “Then you're basically using it as an advertising added platform.” You know, you're running a campaign, you're promoting a product that you need to see move there and therefore your approach is going to be short term focused. And you know the idea of a KPI of growing an audience isn't on that list because that's a long term play. The big picture is where I think people need to put their heads. It's looking at all of the different options and you can definitely interject short term sales objectives and short term KPIs that are going to be measured through website clicks and sales and stuff. That's very easy to measure, but then you have to look at the more qualitative aspect of, well what if we deliver value content like Johnson and Johnson or John Deere is doing and what's the value of an audience for us? And for some brands it's going as far as: “We're just going to learn from them and we're going to make better products because we're learning from them. And you know, we're gonna value this audience as a long term asset that we can, you know, pay to promote a new content to, we can learn from them, we can bring them in. Maybe there's some advocates or, or people that we can turn into voices for our brand within that mix. 

So it's always a mix of looking at those short and long term. And for me, you know, the business cases is more on that long term because the value of an audience is a lot less. It's a lot more difficult to put a dollar amount on that then a direct sale. You know? 

Peter

And if you think about what the, cause I think for the short term campaigns, the KPIs around that are probably pretty definable. But I, I'm, I'm imagining for an executive that's trying to think of how do I think about this as a holistic, integrated, longer campaign for my brand to build this audience. What are the sort of longer term KPIs that they're tracking on an ongoing basis to, to judge whether they're achieving their goal. 

Luke

There's some debt, definitely still related to the end goal of selling. So repeat customers. Are you able to target people, have those people you targeted who are already identified as either part of your audience or existing customers? Can you get them to buy more? So that's kind of the vertical volume. Getting people to continue to stay loyal. I think even just, you know, the ways you can use them to grow whether it's product development or other kind of business functions there, I think looking beyond sales as being the only end goal and looking at other things you could get out of it. And, and for some brands it's even like maybe we have an event series and we want people to show up, are we increasing event attendance because we grew an audience that we already have. People who have self identified, raised their hand as somebody that's a fan or interest in what we're talking about and is that able to parlay into other things we're doing that are part of our marketing mix?

Rob

It's, it's like if you think the long term audience building view, it's like moving from social as a media platform where you've got outbound communication only to social as an engagement platform where you're growing repeat viewers who you expect to come back to you from driving short term sales in a way that you might, you know, include in your marketing mix model and how did this impact sales and so on and so forth to how many people you get to show up for your brand when you need them every once in awhile. And that shift in thinking is I think a tough shift in thinking for a lot of people, right? Because the ROI isn't direct. The ROI, what it means for your business this year is a hard thing to quantify. If your Wendy's and you just stop tweeting you bidden is that going to hurt your business in the short term? It may not. Right. So there is an element here of the folks that are doing it well. It does feel like there's a leap of faith that some of them take to keep investing in it. Am I reading that wrong or is that, is there is a really, you know, there's believers and there's kind of nonbelievers.

Luke

I think you're absolutely reading it correctly. It's having the audacity to implement a long term plan, which like sounds funny to say out loud because of course we should all have long term plans, right? When you put yourself into a business function where you know people are changing jobs and roles and, and there's things that are out there in the greater world that are affecting how we do stuff. It's a lot more it's a, it's a lot easier to look at the short term and prove that something worked in a quicker timeframe than to say: “Just trust me. We're going to do this for three to five years and I guarantee it's going to work.” Now there's ways to see if you're trending towards a longer term goal, but I think it's a, it's a little bit more of a risk and a lot of a lot of situations to say, let's just, let's just blindly go for something for years.

So you still have the mix, the short term and the long term because you have to constantly be making a business case for this, that it's working and you have to be smartly measuring and willing to kind of shift and admit that maybe something didn't quite work like you wanted it to work and be able to accept that and optimize your efforts going forward from there. But I do agree with you, it takes somebody believing in it and then having the, you know, having that kind of that macro view that believes in it and then the micro steps that lead to getting there and having healthy conversation conversations along the way to see if everyone still feels like it's working and be able to shift on a dime if you need to.

Peter

Yeah, sorry. I was going to say I think what a lot of our brand manufacturers struggle with, I'm sure this is true of all of your clients as well, is the job of creating content. What made me think of it was I was on your website and reading some of your blog posts and you had the benefits of creating social media content in bulk was a blog post, but then I was trying to contrast that with social media feels like an instant and conversational channel. So how should, how should these executives think about their content creation process.

Luke

So I think there's this strategic side of it. How do you, how do you hone it in? Who is the core audience, you're not going to go for everybody. Who is the most relevant audience that you think content is going to resonate best with and what is the specific thing you can deliver? So rather than talking about a lot of different stuff, what's the one thing you can really be known for? And so from a strategic perspective, I always just say: find the one thing and go all in on that first. Maybe you can build from there. So that's from a strategic perspective, then when it comes to creation, you're right, a lot of people have the thought leadership and information ideas there. It's probably what, what birth some of these businesses, right, is some really smart thinking that led to either the products or services they offer.

So how do you extract that and package it up? So if strategically you're honed in on a specific topic or  theme that everyone's gonna recognize you for and come back to get more about that from you, then how do you go about the right kind of production process? And that that's where, you know, the blog posts that you're referencing that we put up recently was about batching. We found that if you are able to take a step back and get out of the day to day, week to week, potentially even month to month aspect of producing content and think a little more broad that you can actually produce higher quality content that you know, really plays into the, the quality over quantity matter. You know, there's some types of content where I'd say once a month, maybe you send this into your email list or something like that and you can, you can, you know promote it through social or whatever, but really kind of figure out what the right strategic way to hone in and then the right cadence and don't think you have to go big immediately too. You know, I think there's ways where you can gradually towards something, but the more you can hone it in, I think it becomes a more tangible model to grasp.

Cause it doesn't seem so daunting that like every time you're sitting down to plan, you're coming up with a million new things, you're focused on what your topic or theme is and then you're continually executing off there. And that's where the ideas flow. Cause everybody's got that thing that it needs to point back to. And every idea can ladder right up to that. When you're thinking about content and that approach and you're going to be the person who is the kind of champion for this. I think that that tough decision does have to come in there of who's the core we go to and then look from there. Well does that appeal to some of the broader audiences? But the more you focus it, the easier it becomes. Not just for a subject matter what not, but even when it comes to targeting and whatnot.

And I think the strategy of who that core audience is should transcend the entire business from sales all the way through to marketing and content. And then if you're nailing it there and you've figured out your content creation machine and you're doing great, you can always build off of that. But if you try to start broad, you're gonna have a lot more of a challenge measuring the results because you could go in any direction at any time with any person. 

Peter

And additionally, probably trouble getting creative that actually lands with the person with you can't do that for every persona at once, right? 

Luke

Yeah, correct. I mean, make up of the most specific audience in the world. If you're like, I want to talk to left handed people in Milwaukee who have cats and I don't know why you'd ever want to do that. But if you wanted to do that, that kind of makes it easier to figure out how to talk to them right? You know, you've already kind of narrowed in certain things about them that are specific to them and you all know you're all watching news or, or paying attention to brands and social media. If somebody literally had a headliner or opening paragraph to an article or something that directly addressed you, you're hooked, you're in on that. 

Rob

That's like, that's the advantage that some of the upstart brands have that the big ones don't have is that when you're small and you're just launching, you can focus on in on a niche audience and you can be hyper-specific to who they are. And there's tons of examples that are out there that are like that. So whether in the coffee space, for example, I think in store there's eight brands of coffee on average that you can pick from in a grocery store and online it's like in the 30s and brands that you can pick from.

It's just a, it's a crazy explosion. And the coffee brands depend on whether you care about fair trade, whether you care about organic, whether you care about high ground, whether you care about fruit flavors, all this type of stuff. And each one of those brands has its own audience that, that, that they can actually talk to. You know, people that live in the, in the coastal cities, people that live in the country they've sort of carved out the market in different ways. But if you're, if your Folgers right, you've, you've been mass market, you might have started at some point in your past with a niche, but now you, your audience is everybody. If you're Johnson and Johnson with Acuvue lenses, you might have started with a small subset of humans that you, that were early contact lens adopters. But now unto people use contact lenses. And it's a, it's a huge variety of individuals.

Luke

I like to say that every brand is as strong as its weakest kind of touch point, the weakest thing that you put out there. So if you are a bigger company like a Folgers or Johnson Johnson, there are a lot of people you could go after, especially Johnson doughnuts and as so many different products. You still have to choose where you're going to do your marketing very well. And so if you're ever at a point where be it resources or whatnot, where you're like, we're going to end up putting weeks stuff on the market, why even put it out? Because you're just going to potentially damage the perception that people have of you. So they need to pick and choose.

Rob

I mean, I totally agree. I just, I look at a lot of the branding that's being done, especially by the large CPGs. I mean, I think what's the average tenure of a Fortune 500 CEO? It's less than a presidential term. I mean, these guys are not sticking around that long. They're all short term in the way that... They need wins on the board as quickly as possible. And a lot of these CPGs just haven't done the type of branding and type of marketing that keeps consumers loyal to them.

Peter

And I do think a part of it is, is that the elements are the inspirers of loyalty have changed that brands what used to inspire loyalty was that kind of: I've seen your ad, you've made me aspire to be this person and this person is through your brand... etc. Now it seems like more and more the loyalty, and you tell me if, if I'm just making stuff up here, but that there's the loyalty that people are building is actually in some cases to the influencers that represent the brand that the buyer represents, that the buyer connects with. That they may not be as much connecting with the brand, but they're connecting with the person that introduces and inspires the brand through, through this influencer community. And do you think that that this influencer thing is about sort of building loyalty and, and creating a brand connection?

Luke

Yeah, it's, it's absolutely true. And what digital and social has done is made it much more prevalent and apparent in our face. It used to be going to high school and whatever the cool guy was wearing, that's what everyone else wanted to wear. Right.

Rob Definitely not me.

Luke Or what you are, what you'd see in a fashion magazine. I'm specifically talking about like, you know fashion and clothing and apparel and stuff like that. But the influencer has always been there. It's just how it's changed over time and now how the influencer is pushing a little bit more. 

Peter

Yeah. I mean now your has a million friends.

Luke

And they’re a media person or persona, whatever you want to define it. They have an agenda if they're getting paid by a brand to promote stuff to you. 

Peter

And I was wondering how you're thinking of that trend going. Cause I see it more and more now. 

Luke

Yeah, it's a, it's a pretty awesome topic to dig into. Cause you know, like I was saying, there's always been influencers, right? And it used to be like the brand spokesperson who was paid and they'd get up there and they're in a TV spot. And then, you know, earlier on, in some iterations of my agency we were doing, you know tastemaker events, like having party promoters throw parties and we'd bring products in there that was trying to get people to, to capitalize on, we're capitalizing on that person's influence in a real setting with digital channels. Of course, now we're looking for people who have big followings to, to promote stuff. So I think there's, there's definitely a world where it's gone too far, where, where it completely loses authenticity when it's so apparent that someone's being paid to promote something over, it still works. If Kylie Jenner gets up and, you know, he's paid a quarter of $1 million to promote something, it works. A lot of people see it and talk about it and it's out there. I think people have to, one, make sure their brand is very aligned to make sure it feels authentic to them if they want to be one of those brands that separates themselves from the pact and has the right kind of allure and appeal, you know, so don't, you know, don't take a cheap route with influencers where you're literally just get paying them to talk and it doesn't even feel right. They're just holding up a product and smiling and saying: Hey, this product. If it's very authentic to them and the influencer believes in it and the content they create as has a little more depth to it. I think that's kind of one of my biggest complaints now is just the photo of holding up the product. Like, come on. Seriously? We can't think we can think more creatively than that. Use it in your life like, like tell us, tell us something interesting about it that we can't see in the photo. You know, I think I would push an influencer to give us an experience or give us valuable information or inspire us in a way that we just can't see with our eyes. And then that truly provides the depth that makes you believe in the authenticity between that brand and that product and that person.

So I think all too often I'm just seeing people have the base level of like pay me and I'll take a photo and I'll put it up. I'd rather see people getting a lot more rich and deep with how they interact with influencers. I think that'll save it and make at least a segment of it better. But I think, I think you're going to continue to see a broad range, very authentic pushing and promotion of products with very inauthentic kind of, you know, gotcha type of influencer marketing.

Rob

Who does this well? Like who looks at the influencer space and uses the influencers to engage the community as opposed to just promote themselves. 

Luke

When you're saying that, it made me think of two things. One is, yeah, like the long term play with influencers. So it's not a one and done thing building a relationship because they've built a relationship with their audience, their audiences in with them for the long haul. And so if it's a one and done partnership, you're not taking advantage of that. How can you build long term things? The second was, you know, the age old saying: “Don't put all your eggs in one basket.” If you're launching a marketing program and you're saying the program, is it all influencers? You're absolutely right. Like how does that actually benefit you beyond just the immediate exposure? So you have to have a, a way of, of looking at everything you're doing, whether it's part of a campaign or just your ongoing efforts and say, this is just going to get us some cool content, some exposure, but where's, what's the end game here?

And you know, whether it's getting people to subscribe to a podcast or an email list or become a customer and you can get the data from them that way. There's gotta be a, a part of that matrix that is really looking at the influencer side of it for what it is, but still funnels people into something else, the way that benefits your business. So I think whatever the channel you're using to get exposure it's kind of the same measurable result of how you then corral the customer from there. 

Rob

The way that you're thinking about this in terms of holistically connecting all the pieces into an overall branding and go to market strategy. I absolutely, I love and I completely agree with.

Luke

Influencer marketing can't be the end all be all. It has to be a way of getting people through to the next step. And also the content that your brand is going to put out there. How much does that align with what the influence is even saying? Because if you do get attention and you do get somebody to either follow you on social channels, subscribe to your email, purchase your product, does that even align with what they initially saw? 

Rob

What's the worst misalignment you've ever seen? 

Luke

Actually some of the stuff that was most interesting to me was like these kind of twisted stories of different types of influencers, more so than maybe the, the product that was aligned with him. And so one of the topics I want to bring up was AI influencers. Are you guys familiar with that? 

Rob

AI influencers? Like robots? 

Luke

People that have personas and names and they're taking photos every day and they're out there. 

Peter

Out where? On the street?

Luke

They're on Instagram. I think they're out there. Oh yeah. I hope not. The most known one is Lil McKayla. She has an Instagram following of 1.6 million followers, completely digitally rendered. It's not even like you're trying to hide it. She does not exist. But if you go there, it's completely digital rendered images. She's out with her AI friends doing all these cool things and she's an influencer. She, I don't even know if I can say she, the characters and influencer. So that to me is, is like you know, coming from wanting to be a, such a pure marketer and have everything be fully authentic. I like literally almost fell out of my seat when I first discovered that, like, you know, over a year ago. But that to me is like an example of, wow, this is kinda gone a little too far when we're basically saying what this type of content means is real people authentically connecting and having such a valid and trusted voice. And then you throw a fake person in there.

Yeah, so, so not necessarily fail in the sense of like a bad product aligned with a bad person. 

Peter

But it seems to run counter to what the relationship is supposed to be, but you know, it's sort of wizard of Oz ish, right? As, you know, don't touch the curtain, who knows what's going on. But I would love to know, I mean, is there, is there a brand behind that, that particular influencer or is it somebody who thought, well: I can't as a human being will probably be an influencer, but boy, I can create this really cool persona that maybe people will come. 

Rob

I mean, it's me, I'm just, I'm not good looking enough to have been an influencer on my own. So I invented... 

Peter

You have nowhere near the patients to be that committed. 

Luke

My understanding is it's the later. It's not a one brand behind it. It was somebody who was probably wanted to do an experiment and had the means of designing, you know, really, really very real looking images of people of interest came up with it. 

Rob

I mean, hat hats off to that. I hear something like that and I just think I'm done. I quit.

Peter

Oh man. A lot more straws in that line. I would love for you to describe to me actually favorite example of that, which is a campaign that I saw on your website and involved Dunkin donuts and the prom?

Luke

Oh, you're referring to the promposal boxes, aren't you?

Peter

Now tell our audience what that was and how it came together and how it worked. 

Luke

For those of you not familiar with what a promposal is, it's an extravagant way of proposing, you know, that somebody goes to the problem with you, but done in a way where you're kind of surprising and delighting them and then documenting it to kind of share the story via social channels. So it could be, you know, the thing that I compare it to is kind of gender reveals with babies, how people are going all out now and how they do that. Similar to that, you're coming up with some elaborate scheme of how you propose to some go to the prom with you. So working with Dunkin Donuts, you know, we collaborated with them to identify what people are actually using food boxes, whether it's a pizza box where you open up the lid and you know, kind of says a message on there and pepperoni if they want to go that far.

Yeah. and people, they notice we're using Dunkin Donuts boxes. So T buying a dozen donuts and writing it kind of donut pun in there or whatever. And so we collaborated with them to, to actually create these completely pimped out doughnut boxes. So we've done this for two years in a row. Most recently we had like a disco theme. So we completely covered the box in, in you know, basically the, the reflectors that are on disco ball. When you open up, there's a DJ table and flashing lights and two donuts sitting there as records and the whole message about going to the prom and we did a whole online contest, you're creating a bunch of content, did a whole online contest to actually award these 10 people to use for their proposal. And you know, did a whole submission phase for people to share stories, to be able to win them and then sent them out.

And then from there, people do it and they document it and they put up their own content about it. 

Peter

You have to go to the site GYKAntler.com and take a look at the box because it is stunning. When I saw that I was like: Oh my God, I wish I had known that in high school cause my promposal involved a little like sweaty rolled up piece of paper, slid into a locker. We've gotten much better. 

Luke

Oh it's brands like Dunkin donuts that wants to support people like you but that ex souls who also love donuts. 

Peter

Luke, thank you so much for coming in and talking about this kind of new frontier and new way of thinking about connecting with consumers and manufacturers kind of building their own relationships. Cause I think it's really important to our audience and we loved having you. 

Luke

Thanks for having me. Great time guys.

Peter

Well, when I've started reflecting on my high school promposal as social commerce, we know it's time to move on. What are you thinking about your social commerce strategy? Have questions for Luke? Come to the digital shelf Institute's LinkedIn page, or tweet at us @Windigitalshelf and drop a review of our podcast when you have a chance. We'd really appreciate it and thanks for being part of our community.