Matte Black shares the key components to a creating a successful brand.

Brand distinction is requisite to enduring success and survival in an over-saturated market. Faced with fierce competition from rival brands, strategic differentiation is the saving grace for companies seeking the attention of an audience that is primed and ready.

At MAGIC 2017 in Las Vegas, Chelsea Matthews, the founder of digital agency Matte Black, conveyed her insights on how to create addictive, strategic copy and uphold a consistent brand voice across all channels.

In Matthews’ panel, “Your Content Matters, So Make It Count,” she described her firm as “a digital marketing/creative studio hybrid.” Based in Los Angeles with an office in London, Matte Black helps position global lifestyle brands across key marketing channels, including web, email, influencers and social media, to tell consistent brand stories that raise awareness and ultimately drive revenue. Peppering her speech with idioms like “super bummer” and “gnarly,” Matthews epitomizes the casual and cool L.A. girl.

Matte Black began as a social media firm and later evolved into a brand and marketing agency when consumers began to want and need more to remain product loyal. “When you think about a brand, you think about something you connect to beyond just a great product,” Matthews said. Though a quality product is contingent to any level of meaningful success, Matthews believes that brand creative and copy are the primary drivers for effective marketing. When defining brand purpose, Matthews says to “find your why” and ask, “What can I create that’s valuable, and makes sense for my brand, and is going to be something people tap into?”

According to Matthews, a strong brand is comprised of three key components: A trifecta of “quality product, killer creative and a strong voice.”

Matthews shared the example of Casper Mattress, a mattress brand that succeeds in captivating and engaging its audience in a rather lackluster subject. “Why would you follow a mattress brand?” Matthews asked. The brand produces creative, clear and humorous copy, coupled with thoughtful imagery and features an editorial platform on sleep content. “They find a reason to talk about sleep everyday,” she noted.

Or Reformation, an e-commerce and brick-and-mortar fashion brand that “Knows their girl,” according to Matthews. The brand’s edgy, consistent tone of voice connects to its audience (“they have fun with copy”) and expands its influence through strategic email marketing campaigns. “I think email marketing is super powerful for brands,” she added.

In observance of the “80/20 Rule,” or the Pareto principle, Matthews said, “You want your content to be 80 percent community and lifestyle and 20 percent about your product.” The “brand community” includes content or communications that should be “created with intention” and planned in advanced to help capitalize off of marketing or promotions. Matthews added that sharing similar sourced content and photos helps develop community; or, as Matthews explained it, is comparable to throwing a “digital high-five.”

Social media channels such as Snapchat and Boomerang are increasing in popularity for brands due to the more authentic nature of video content, Matthews noted. “Snapchat was the one to create this whole new movement in real, unfiltered and raw content,” she said. “We were coming off the heels of this several years of perfection on Instagram. Everything started to become so curated and so beautiful.” She added, “Snapchat helped change that landscape.”

“You just need to make sure that your creative is going to hit across all the channels, so your customer feels like, ‘Oh I get this,'” she says. To remain relevant and continue gaining traction, a brand’s website must be updated with compelling creative, be it a photo, video or very strong copy. Following website interaction, consumers should receive content through email marketing that follows the same “creative thread” to further advance the relationship to the brand. Matthews says that strong brand identity lies in consistency: Brands must unceasingly adhere to their own “brand DNA.”

Matte Black’s clients span across a variety of sectors, and include Lululemon, Dermalogica, O.P.I., Solstice Sunglasses, L’Agence, Juice Served Here and The Ad Council. Matthews’ key queries to help define brand “taste,” include:

  • Why is our mission statement different?
  • What do I know about this brand or business that I take for granted?
  • What do we find interesting, and why?
  • Who do we find interesting, and why?
  • What is it about our business that sticks out?
  • What makes your brand relatable? What do you do, where do you go?
  • What does your community want? To travel, lose weight, be inspired?
  • What visuals do you screenshot, and why?