Making a living from dabbling in the stimulating chemistry between a company’s culture and its mission, Svetlana Zhukova, has long understood the power of marketing to create a positive reaction. Since she stepped into the Head of Marketing role at Getty Images and iStock Australia and New Zealand in 2012, Svetlana has combined her passion for ethical marketing with a love of great visuals and proven that it is a potent formula for success. Leading integrated marketing campaigns for both brands, and taking a collaborative approach to content marketing and transmedia storytelling to connect with customers and achieve brand thought leadership, Svetlana has observed a thing or two about how businesses can achieve more with less.
Collaboration goes hand in hand with innovation
Svetlana believes a team’s innovation mindset — and the way it seeks to make a difference through collaboration — is a powerful, yet often overlooked, element of any thriving business. “There is an expectation that innovation is something produced by a select group of people and that it is a magic pill for business challenges. In reality, an innovative approach will only succeed if it’s based on collaboration and is embraced as a mindset by the whole company,” she says. “It’s the hardest thing to crack for a business, but that’s often the factor that defines who is on the winning side.”
In the fast-paced world of marketing, where digital evolution continually speeds up the race for new thinking and better ways to employ emerging technology, Svetlana is excited by the possibilities for doing business and an increased capability to measure and demonstrate marketing value.
VR set to become an important visual storytelling tool
Virtual reality is a big conversation at the moment in our space. The appetite for a new immersive experience in huge, but no one has quite figured it out yet,” says Svetlana, who is looking forward to VR becoming a prominent tool in visual storytelling. “It’s a big opportunity and challenge for brands and media. I think we will see a lot more progress — and a lot faster — in this domain than many of us anticipate.
Recently, Getty launched its Virtual Reality Group, which is a new business dedicated to the creation and global distribution of VR content. Svetlana says, “We are embedding these content technologies into the core of what we do and ensuring that, as the use of VR continues to grow, users can further enhance their experience with access to the world’s best imagery.”
At this year’s Olympics held in Rio for example, each Getty photographer was equipped with a 360-degree camera as part of their standard kit. Svetlana describes the content she saw coming from the event as “fascinating and unique” and is thrilled that Getty has seized upon opportunities arising from the growing demand for this kind of immersive visual experience. “We have already announced partnerships with 360Cities, Oculus Rift and Google Expeditions and we’re still working on other industry collaborations,” she says.
Achieving a streamlined message and measurable results
It is perhaps self-evident that these examples of changing technology and innovative practice have provoked businesses to do things differently. However, Svetlana is also concerned with showing how these changes can make workflows easier and more efficient, create strengthened partnerships, and demonstrate return on investment. “Today, it’s about reminding everyone that, at its fundamental core, marketing encompasses all our digital interactions, be it through social media, search channels, content marketing et cetera. Bringing all the elements together as one coherent strategy makes it easier to aggregate business impact. Achieving KPIs tied to businesses objectives is how we can show the value of marketing investments.”
Creating a simple, streamlined and coherent message for customers does not necessarily translate to a simple marketing strategy, says Svetlana, who quotes Blaise Pascal’s famous line, “I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I've written a long one instead” as an example of how best-laid plans can go awry. She says, “I often have to remind myself that it pays to spend more time on making it easier for our customers to connect with what we have to say.” While she agrees that ‘less is more’ is a great mantra in an environment where businesses are forced to fight for every second of a customer’s attention, Svetlana argues that every marketing strategy should be tailored for the product and its lifestyle stage.
“Focusing on the right business objectives can drive marketing success, even with minimal resources. Marketers often need to balance long-term brand building with short-term sales metrics and I’d like to start a conversation about how we, as marketing leaders, can keep building brand love in a revenue-driven world,” says Svetlana. “Big ideas can come to life with small budgets.”
Hear more from Svetlana Zhukova about how simplifying your marketing strategy can create growth. She will be speaking at the Chief Marketing Officer Summit in Sydney, which runs from 5–6 October 2016.
3 ways to make a big impact with a small budget
1.Experiment with non-traditional channels
Queensland Board of Tourism’s 2009 ‘Best Job in the World’ campaign achieved 7 million visitors by taking advantage of an improbable media channel. Its advertisement for an Island Caretaker role in the Jobs section of the newspaper made a splash, rippling through social media to bring in 34,000 job applications from all over the world and more than 500,000 votes.
2. Stay ready to seize an opportunity
When a power outage caused a blackout during Super Bowl XLVII, the Oreo social media team pounced, posting a picture of a dimly lit Oreo and the message that “You can still dunk in the dark”. The combination of speed and cultural relevance scored a touchdown for the Oreo brand — the tweet was retweeted and favourited thousands of times while the Super Bowl kept fans waiting.
3. Be aware of context
Dollar Shave Club launched its brand in 2012 with a successful low budget video uploaded to YouTube titled ‘Our Blades Are F****** Great!’. It secured 12,000 subscriptions to its razor service within two days and has since built a reputation for its video content, which typically uses irreverence and humor to talk to its customers in a relaxed and relatable way.