Introducing BrandVerge 5 for 5 - Her Campus Media Spotlight
Yes, BrandVerge is the only platform that expedites premium media partnerships between publishers and advertisers. Our story is that we seek to upturn the tedious RFP process to introduce creativity and efficiency into partnerships, but what about the stories of our users? Our users are the foundation of our platform. Thus, today we are introducing “BrandVerge 5 for 5” where we ask five questions to our customers to highlight the mission of their brands as well as their endeavors to innovate their respective verticals of media to change the media industry and the world at large.
Our first spotlight is on Her Campus Media, the #1 media brand empowering college women with their 360° marketing solution across digital, social, on-campus, influencer and event platforms. We spoke with Katrina Melesciuc Campanale, the National Director of Sales and Business at Development for Her Campus:
Industry Influencer: Katrina Melesciuc Campanale, National Director of Sales and Business Development for Her Campus Media.
Please tell us about Her Campus Media
Her Campus Media is the #1 media brand for the empowered college woman with a 360-degree college marketing solution for brands reaching over 34 million monthly unique visitors across our platforms. We help brands meaningfully connect with the female 17-24 year-old audience, on her turf wherever (and whenever) that may be through our digital, social, influencer, on-campus, experiential, and research capabilities.
What makes Her Campus Media unique in today's marketplace?
Today, we’re seeing the rise of an entirely new generation that advertisers are desperate to understand – Gen Z. Current college students are the first wave of Gen Z adults and they are super different from millennials. They have never known the world without the internet in their pocket, and they are ruthless in the pursuit of what they want – from products to jobs to social cause. They want to change the world and want to be (and be seen as) successful. The marketing and communications strategies and methods that worked on past generations won’t work on them. As marketers, it’s vital that we understand the power of this generation and work to build loyalty for today and tomorrow in order for our brands to stay relevant.
Being so tapped into the Gen Z consumer, and knowing her inside and out, is what makes Her Campus Media special. We are actually celebrating our [Her Campus] 10th birthday this year. Since 2009, we have stayed true to the college female audience, and understand her better than anyone in the space. Over the years, we’ve certainly gotten pressure to branch older or younger in our demo, but we stayed true to being everything for college women. There is no other player in this space that has the level of authenticity, integration, and reach with the Gen Z audience – an audience that now brands are paying more attention to than ever before.
We understand how brands can connect naturally when she’s becoming a point of entry consumer, establishing her brand loyalties, and gaining access to buying power for the first time.
As branded content investment continues to rise, how does Her Campus Media stay relevant to break through all the clutter?
As a media brand for Gen Z women, we keep our brands relevant by keeping our team relevant. We invest in driven and ambitious young women, hiring incredibly talented employees, many just out of college, as writers, marketers, designers and more to ensure we are staying true to the college female voice, and empowering our brand partners to do the same.
In addition to that, we prioritize taking a cross-platform, multi-touch approach to everything we do for our brands. Not one single marketing channel or one single piece of branded content will necessarily work for this generation. Content consumption is changing rapidly so it has been important to make sure that we stay nimble, diverse, and innovative. To that end, we help our brands be where college women are – whether that’s online, at events, on campus or through influencers. We’re seeing a lot of our channels, especially experiential and influencers, really taking off. While we help brands get into these areas, we remain true to the fact that digital and social is where brands can get scale. When we’re thinking about branded experiences, we’re thinking about it from a 360-degree standpoint, and that’s how we are able to help brands break through the noise and reach her at different stages and different environments.
What is the most successful branded content program you’ve worked on (and why was it so successful)?
One of our most recent programs was with our partners at bareMinerals. The brand wanted to win the point-of-entry, the Gen Z beauty consumer and needed a campaign to hit all elements of the funnel, from awareness and engagement, to trials and purchase. To accomplish this, we needed multiple touchpoints -- not just one piece of content or one influencer to take her down the path to purchase.
We kicked off the campaign with a large-scale mobile tour called “The Power of Good.” We fully produced an interactive event which travelled to highly trafficked places and colleges where young people spent time. We picked locations near our clients’ key retailers and handed out flowers, samples and positivity cards combined with an inspiring photo moment to pass on the “Power of Good.” We saw tons of user generated content and thousands of attendees. It was a really fun and grass-roots way to hit on upper-funnel objectives with elements to drive to retail.
We also took to digital to reach the brands’ target audience online. In addition to engaging content creation from members of our InfluenceHer Collective with the product, we launched a first-to-market Back-to-School Beauty Packing List on HerCampus.com, custom developed for bareMinerals. It was extremely high-trafficked, went viral on our site, and was search optimized, where college students and parents of college students were looking for essentials to pack for back to school. bareMinerals listed out everything they would need for skin care and beauty to have the best semester surrounded by digital ads.
This campaign was so rewarding because the bareMinerals team really believed in us and our ability to take a cross-platform approach including experiential, on-campus, digital, social, and influencers to build new brand lovers and loyalists. This campaign ended up winning the 2018 Marcom Platinum Award and we saw some great results.
If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to yourself when you started in media?
I actually started my career path in accounting. While getting my master’s degree, I realized it wasn’t for me, but it was hard to shift from accounting to advertising. It took a few years, but I ended up working as an assistant at an AdTech startup and eventually made my way into marketing and sales, which launched my career.