It is brutal in retail land at the moment.
Topshop Australia and Marcs have followed a string of other brands into voluntary administration, Oroton recently called a trading halt on the back of abysmal half yearly results and discounts were steeper this June than I have seen in years.
So I was quietly amazed when I popped into The Daily Edited’s flagship store recently. There was not a sale sticker to be seen. A steady stream of customers came in, browsed and bought. Some didn’t even browse, they walked straight to a product, picked it up and took it to the counter.
Clearly some brands are defying the current retail environment. But it is tough out there. And it isn’t enough to create beautiful products that add value to customers’ lives.
So what is The Daily Edited doing that other retailers aren’t?
It is true that they were one of the first to capitalise on the personalisation trend that has swept through retail. But others were also there at the beginning and they still discounted hard this end-of-financial-year.
It occurred to me a day later what the answer might be.
The first time I heard the term content marketing, I was sitting around a table with a number of other marketing colleagues. Our advertising agency had come in to brief us on our campaign for the coming year and content marketing was listed under a slide titled ‘upcoming trends .’ I hadn’t a clue what they were referring to.
It was 2009.
Back in 2009, providing value to potential and existing customers through blogs, images, downloads and video was a new and elusive concept. There were so many questions. How would we monetise that? How would we measure its impact? How would we rationalise the expense to the rest of our organisation?
But in those early days, mostly we asked ‘why?’
As any small business owner will confirm, content marketing is relentless. Whether it is posting to social media or uploading to your own site, content creation requires resources and dedication. The beast must be fed day after day, week after week.
Standing in The Daily Edited’s Flagship store, I was reminded of the power of building a brand through consistent, valuable content. And in turn, I saw the impact of a strong brand on sales.
Here is what I think The Daily Edited can teach us all about content marketing.
1. Content can no longer be an afterthought
The Daily Edited started as a daily blog that featured an ‘outfit of the day.’ Initially, owners, Alyce Tran and Tania Liu held inventory for each daily outfit so that their readers could shop the look. When they realised this approach wasn’t viable, they changed their product and business model but content remained core to their business.
Alyce is a queen of the flatlay. She consistently produces Instagram content that is beautiful regardless of your level of interest in leather goods. And this content has allowed The Daily Edited to position itself as a luxury brand, despite an accessible price tag.
Content marketing is about telling a story about your business and the nature of its engagement with your customer. It has to be authentic, it has to be consistent and it has to resonate.
‘Collabs’ have been a hot buzzword for a few years now. But underneath the hype, is a very solid strategy. I first discovered The Daily Edited, via a photo shoot they did in The Langham Sydney.
I don’t know what their collaboration model was at that stage. Were they big enough that The Langham gave them use of the space in exchange for photo tagging on Instagram? Did they pay to hire the space? Were they still so small that they had to collaborate by stealth- hiring a room for the night and then also using common spaces within the hotel?
It hardly matters.
By associating with an established brand, The Daily Edited associated themselves with brand values of the Langham- refined, luxurious, opulent.
Hint- I’ve just listed three ways you can associate your business with an established brand whose values you want to transfer to your brand. Pick the one that suits your business’ age and size.
3. Content marketing doesn’t pay for itself overnight
Alyce and Tania wrote a blog for a year before they launched their clothing line. It was another three years before The Daily Edited took its current incantation. That is a lot of content. And if Alyce had a boss (like I did in 2009) who’d asked about ROI on all that content, I doubt the boss would have received a satisfactory answer.
Yet without this dedication to content, The Daily Edited would not have a brand so strongly associated with quality and glamour that it didn’t need to discount in the June stocktake period.
The latest eMarketer research tells us that, on average, people spend 4 hours a day on their smart phones- consuming content! So creating content has become one of our best hopes for reaching our customers where they are.
Interestingly, when I do some digging into Oroton’s future prospects, I discover they have recently bought a 30% stake in The Daily Edited. It seems they can see the value in content marketing too.
The photos in this post were taken by Matt Irwin of Matt Irwin Photography. Not only is he a superstar when it comes to Melbourne streetscape photography, discovering his photos was one of the formative events in my own love affair with Melbourne. All the other photos on this website are embarrassed to be seen next to his, but I’ve told them to grow up and get over it.