Photo Credit: Jessica Bordner

Overheard at Create & Cultivate: Top 7 Takeaways

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Feature photo by Jessica Bordner, Courtesy Create & Cultivate

What happens when you get 600 entrepreneurial-minded women in one room for a day-long conference? Year-round inspiration. The key themes that resonated at Create & Cultivate are reminders that strong marketing = rich content and incisive social media strategies.


Decor tip #1: don’t be afraid to use @LocalandLejos woven baskets from as wall #decor. ✨ #CreateCultivateDTLA

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In a truly “pinch me” experience, I attended Create & Cultivate’s Los Angeles conference this past May and am still thinking about all the priceless insight I gained from panel discussions, mentor sessions, and keynote speakers from the likes of #LadyBosses Jessica Alba, Rachel Zoe, and Chelsea Handler.

 

“I undervalued how important it is to trust your gut” -@jessicaalba #createcultivatedtla

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So, what’s this event all about?

Create & Cultivate is an online platform and conference series for female entrepreneurs in the digital space. Since its launch in 2012, it has held conferences in cities such as Brooklyn, Dallas, Chicago, L.A., as well as a pop-up at 2016’s South By Southwest. The next Create & Cultivate is scheduled for October 15th in Atlanta and promises to be a next-level, not-to-be-missed event.


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MEET THE BOSS BEHIND CREATE & CULTIVATE

Founder Jaclyn Johnson — whose accolades include being named among Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list in 2015 — was inspired to start Create & Cultivate after the launch of her digital marketing and events agency, No Subject.

Johnson was recently featured in the Los Angeles Times, explaining her vision for the conferences: “She hopes Create & Cultivate will become the go-to destination for female entrepreneurs, like TED is for those interested in technology, entertainment, and design…The company’s evolution will be loyal to the brand’s tagline — entertain, enlighten and inform.”

In addition to the conferences, Create & Cultivate’s blog is a rich resource for women looking to create and cultivate the career of their dreams. After all, this is a year-long conversation for curious creatives, entrepreneurs, bosses, and women looking to pivot career-wise.

The good news for everyone? The lessons overheard at Create & Cultivate #DTLA are right here for you to enjoy.

LESSON #1: INSTAGRAM CAN BE YOUR LIFELINE

Joshua Zad, founder of Alfred {Coffee & Kitchen}, spoke on the “Startup 101: Breaking Down Raising Money, Scaling & Making Your Mark” panel and described his focused marketing strategy: Instagram.

“God bless Instagram,he says. “We had a very strong social media strategy and we never deviated from it. Coffee is infinitely shareable.”

Weekend plans? ✔️☕️ #alfredcoffee #melroseplace @thecultofshe #butfirstcoffee

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Alfred’s tagline “But First, ____” makes for perfect Instagram material. The brilliant mix of good java, a strong tagline, and graphic decor gives Alfred clout as a purveyor of delicious coffee as well as a pop culture destination — and a must-visit for Angelenos and tourists alike.

It helps that bloggers and influencers are constantly populating their Instagram feeds with the “But First, Coffee” cup sleeve — Alfred serves as hot content for others’ social media, which means a jolt of word-of-mouth marketing for Alfred.


A Retailer’s Guide to Instagram: Celebrities, Hashtags, Sales and Engagement.


LESSON #2: AUTHENTICITY IS MORE THAN A BUZZWORD

Ironically (or not), the importance of authentic content was the most salient takeaway at the “Fresh Faced: An Unfiltered Look at the Business of Beauty” panel.  

“Real is the new way. People want authentic content, not just lattes on marble,” says Fashion blogger and YouTuber Evelina.

Evelina also offered up a golden prediction: “Snapchat and real-time content is the future of social media.”

While Instagram is mostly about curated, high-quality visuals, Snapchat offers a more genuine glimpse of your favorite influencers — and that’s likely why it has caught on with so many people!

I’d like to also give a shout-out to Facebook Live, which has gained traction in the past months. It might even be edging out Periscope — Twitter’s live-streaming video app — as the “real-time broadcasting” channel of choice for brands.

For those who didn’t attend Create & Cultivate, the Honest Company’s Jessica Alba was broadcasting on location via Facebook Live.

Be on the lookout for Facebook Live’s momentum: According to Digiday, online publisher Refinery29 is currently in the process of building out a 10-person team dedicated to Facebook Live. And R29 isn’t the first to experiment with this feature: The New York Times, Tastemade, Elite Daily, and Allure are all broadcasting live content on Facebook Live.

 

LESSON #3: PLAY BY INSTAGRAM’S AESTHETIC RULES

For all of those entrepreneurs and influencers leveraging Instagram, designer Bri Emery of Design Love Fest offered these words of advice in the “Design & Digital: A Match Made in Dot Com Heaven” panel: “Get your grid right, girl.”

Maintaining a high level of aesthetic on Instagram is important, because “the medium is the message.” So not only are the images you post important, but also the order in which you post said images needs to adhere to a certain aesthetic. Yes, managing your “Instagram grid” is more of a commitment, but it’s important, especially if your brand is playing in a creative field.

But what if you’re posting something relevant or timely, such as a promotion announcement or contest, that eventually “expires”? Post, and then delete a few days or weeks later.

 

LESSON #4: RICH EDITORIAL CONTENT IS (STILL) KING

The best example of content came from Carly de Castro of Pressed Juicery, in the “Startup 101” panel. Pressed Juicery launched the health and wellness website The Chalkboard in 2012. The site has really taken on a life of its own as a rich resource, but its tie-in with Pressed Juicery is what makes Pressed more than a product — it’s a lifestyle brand that stands on its own.

 

LESSON #5: BUILD A SENSE OF COMMUNITY

 

And speaking of building a lifestyle brand… SoulCycle is definitely riding the “cult-following wellness” movement. Gabrielle Etrog Cohen, Vice President of Public Relations, shed some light on SoulCycle’s marketing efforts as part of the same “Start-Up 101” panel: “Why would you pay $30 for something you can get for free at your gym? We had to create a marketplace and create value.”

SoulCycle’s secret? Create a sense of community. SoulCycle is bigger than a spinning-focused gym, it’s a movement that extends beyond the bike. When you’re part of SoulCycle, you belong to a “tribe” or “girl gang” of like-minded people. This is why SoulCycle does not rely on advertising: its word of mouth marketing is what brings riders out in droves and what has added to the brand’s cachet. 

 

LESSON #6: PIVOT, PIVOT, PIVOT!

As marketers or entrepreneurs, it’s important to stay focused on your brand’s vision and mission, but in this ever-changing digital landscape, it’s also key to test things and experiment.

Take a cue from Brides magazine’s boss Editor-in-Chief, Keija Minor, who spoke on the “#Wedding: Capitalizing on the Business of Bridal” panel: “Be bold. It’s okay to be wrong. You have to pivot.”

So if you’re looking to try something new with your business, take a slight change in direction: it might just be the change you were looking for.

 

LESSON #7: WHEN IT COMES TO SETTING THE SCENE, IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS

The decor and details at Create & Cultivate begged to be Instagrammed and “snapped” by all who attended. Every corner at LA’s Hudson Loft was ultra-grammable, with everything from neon signs and teepees to next-level floral arrangements. I especially got a kick of the witty wordplay found on the customized snack labels. (I’m talking copy like this: “Friends don’t let friends get hangry.” Love it.)

Insta posts, snaps, and tweets make for truly #FOMO-inducing moments, for the marketing win.

 

THE TAKEAWAY

Create & Cultivate is paving the way for creatives, bloggers, influencers, entrepreneurs, and tastemakers — basically, anyone hoping to learn some new marketing tips and strategies. Here’s to many more years of creating and cultivating!

We want to know: which lesson is most important to you?


Karin Eldor is 818 Agency’s Chief Content Writer. A former senior editor/writer for AskMen.com and contributing content strategist for global footwear brand ALDO, Karin marries storytelling with analytical marketing to inspire results and long-term growth for inspiring brands. 


WHO ARE WE? 818 AGENCY PROVIDES CREATIVE B2B CONTENT MARKETING AND SOCIAL ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS TO FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES AND GROWTH-ORIENTED STARTUPS. BASED IN NYC AND LA. GET IN TOUCH.


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