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Influencer marketing brings a face to retail
Built on the site of U.S. Steel’s long-gone, sprawling Homestead Steel Works, The Waterfront Shopping Center is an open-air complex that was facing a challenge reminiscent of manufacturing’s slow decline in Western Pa. — its collection of brick-and-mortar stores and eateries were struggling to stay relevant against the modern-day trend toward online shopping. The Waterfront was seeking to drive awareness of its fashion, beauty and lifestyle offerings by creating a voice that would project its fun personality and increase engagement across social channels.
Following several brainstorming sessions, we collaboratively determined the best way to achieve The Waterfront’s goals was through visual storytelling. Comparative research of other retailers and shopping centers across the country helped us structure an influencer-based media campaign bringing a local face to the brand. Our goal: deliver an interactive, trustworthy and organic feel to the Waterfront's social media content.
The Waterfront partnered with Kate Benz, a fashion/lifestyle journalist with a strong social media following. The “XO, KB” series was meant to be reminiscent of handwritten letters or text messages from a friend who was offering the inside scoop on The Waterfront, plus style tips and on-the-scene information. Benz and the team created a series of bite-sized social media videos — 74 videos in 2018 alone — all framed by light-hearted and quirky social posts, as well as public relations content, promoting retailers, sales and ongoing programs.
Our work is guided by a quarterly content calendar to organize posts, planning for the center’s events and seasonal trends. Our 2018 collaboration culminated with a special holiday program called The Wishmaker, which used a special “wish box” to collect guests’ wishes. Kate helped select the winners and held a special Black Friday taping to cap a great year.
The XO, KB campaign successfully increased social media engagement, with Facebook and Instagram content reaching nearly 2.7 million users. It also garnered frequent media coverage, with 20 hits reaching over 7 million viewers — including four appearances by Kate on KDKA’s Pittsburgh Today Live morning show. Website yearly page views, meanwhile, grew 67% over the previous year. It all goes to show that, sometimes, you just need the right person to share the right story.
We were looking for a PR partner that could work closely with us to highlight The Waterfront as a family friendly shopping, dining and entertainment destination. Our team at WordWrite goes above and beyond in every way and continuously comes up with creative ideas. They are always prepared, dedicated and a joy to work with.
Emily Wittmer, Marketing Director, M&J Wilkow