Experience means everything to Visible, the first all-digital wireless service in the United States.
Without physical storefronts to engage with consumers, the Colorado-based company has employed a creative integrated marketing plan to make its meaningful connections. For instance, in the fall of 2020, Visible presented Red Rocks Unpaused, a three-day music festival that digitally reimagined the historic Red Rocks Amphitheatre and provided fans at home with a new kind of interactive experience while watching acts such as Megan Thee Stallion and Phoebe Bridgers. (The festival garnered more than 8.6 million views.)
This fall, Visible entered the Austin, Texas, market with a holistic marketing push featuring an array of local influencers (the band Black Pumas, chef Kristen Kish, actress Odette Annable and BMX athlete Chase Hawk, among others). They also brought along a hot pink mechanical bull to various Austin venues for an activation that showcases that Visible is wireless without the “bull.”
In a recent phone call with PRsay, Pearl Servat, head of brand marketing at Visible, discussed the company’s marketing ecosystem, the brainstorming process and her decision to pursue an MBA right now.
How do your marketing channels drive business to your digital storefront?
Our marketing ecosystem is digital and traditional. We’re an all-digital business, so we don’t have a physical storefront. Experiential marketing is really important to us. It’s a means for consumers to touch and feel the brand. We leverage experiential marketing, media, paid social and organic social. Customer-relationship management is a healthy channel for us. Affiliate marketing currently contributes to about 17 percent of the overall business.
It’s an ecosystem of these digital and traditional channels that work together. But how [consumers] come to the digital storefront is around creative-messaging strategy, positioning strategy. Also [it’s about] being succinct, the messaging being crisp and for people to know this is a wireless carrier that offers unlimited everything — and the way to sign up is through this link. We always have brand ambassadors that will educate the consumer.
Visible is an all-digital brand. While I talk about experiential marketing, that goes on and off for us. It’s not an always-on thing. Because you, as a consumer, are making the decision to come to Visible as your wireless carrier. Your wireless connection is one of the most critical parts of your everyday existence.
Experience is important to us, always. How does it feel to the consumer at every touchpoint? That starts with marketing, and ends at the website and our app when you convert — and then how we’re retaining you, as well.
When do you start assessing a communication channel’s effectiveness?
It’s an ongoing process. You’ll start to get a readout at different points of the life cycle of campaigns — some after a couple of weeks, some in real-time. If we’re doing social media marketing or influencer marketing, we see the engagement in real-time and have conversations about it.
We talk regularly about key performance indicators. After each campaign, we get together and look at marketing effectiveness. What worked? What didn’t? What needs to be scaled? What needs to be reshaped? What should we no longer do because it’s just not working? It’s all of those things — and being honest with ourselves. We design per-channel KPIs and then per-campaign KPIs.
What did you and Visible learn about making connections during the pandemic, when in-person events weren’t possible?
When it comes to our bigger creative-marketing or brand-marketing campaigns — which we call “marquee campaigns” — we’ll have some element of experiential. Whether that’s digital but with a Visible stamp on it, like what we did with Red Rocks Unpaused.
As a company, we obsess over experience. We were never going to do a digital concert or virtual concert if the technology wasn’t the first of its kind — if the viewing experience wasn’t the first of its kind. The way that we brought the audience together with the performers, no one had ever seen or heard anything like that. It’s creating this immersive experience for both the artists and the audience. I can’t tell you how many conversations we had about, “What else can we do to make you feel like you’re in that stadium at Red Rocks and watching Phoebe Bridgers in real-time, in person?”
How does your team brainstorm campaign ideas?
We have a close partnership with our agency, Madwell. They know our business objectives, what matters to us and our brand values. They’re part of the team. They might as well be sitting next to me. They’re great thought partners. We push them and challenge them — and they’re up for it always, which is really amazing.
We also have an incredible internal creative team, 39 North. They’re some of the best creative folks that I’ve ever worked with. They develop creative assets for us. A lot of brainstorming happens within that team.
Good ideas can come from anywhere. One person will throw out a great idea and then a lot of us will get involved and build around it, so it becomes a team effort.
You’re attending the MBA program at the University of North Carolina. Why did you decide to pursue an advanced degree at this point in your career?
I wanted to stretch myself. I’m a lifetime learner, one of those people whose curiosity cup is never full. I’m curious about everything. I ask a lot of questions. Sometimes it drives my team crazy.
But I wanted to extend beyond myself, so I decided to go back to school. It’s a heavy schedule. I have colleagues who are full-time parents and doing at-home school and working full time. By no means is what I’m doing even close to what some of those folks are living through.
Have you found a work-life balance?
Not totally. And that’s OK for me. I thrive in environments like Visible, where we’re building from the ground up. We’re building this thing in real-time. Imagine how incredibly rewarding the experience is.
And then with school, [it’s the] same. I remind myself every day that I’m grateful. I keep my feet firmly on the ground. And I remind myself, when I’m going on hour 19, of what so many millions of people went through this past year and that I’m in an amazing position.
John Elsasser is PRSA’s publications director and editor-in-chief of its award-winning publication, Strategies & Tactics. He joined PRSA in 1994.[Photo credit: visible]
It is interesting that a company is going completely digital with no physical store front. The PR and marketing that has to be pushed in order to get customers is crucial to the success of the business. By associating events with the company, people can associate those experiences with a positive attitude towards the company that aims to build up the name. With one of the main functions of PR being media representation, it shows that the company revolves completely around PR and the content development that goes along with it.