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Sara Hall is the Vice President of Client Services at Braintrust, an integrated marketing agency firm with offices across the country. For over 15 years, Hall has influenced hospitality in Las Vegas and beyond. Before Braintrust, she was instrumental in the strategy and development of hotel promotions and marketing campaigns for multiple properties with MGM Resorts International.
1) What CEOs need to consider before speaking out on social issues?
Many business leaders nowadays are under pressure to address social issues without creating new business risks.
The most important thing for brands to consider when making any stance on a social issue is to ensure they are being consistent and true to the values of their company. We all saw brands post a black box on social media during the Black Lives Matter protests but many consumers started to point out inconsistencies in those brands’ operations, such as lack of minority representation in leadership positions.
I would say that less is more. Brands shouldn’t feel obligated to take a stand on every social issue. What are those pillars and values your company was built on? What kind of culture do you foster with your employees? Looking inward and understanding who you truly are can often guide you towards where your brand can make the most impact.
2) How would you navigate a large-scale marketing initiative?
Collaboration is key. A large marketing initiative has many moving parts that each require a detail-oriented approach. Ensuring you have a team of subject matter experts who understand the overall goal of the campaign and the main KPIs will allow them to focus on building the best strategy for that channel with the most impact to your target audience.
3) Southern Nevada is a minority-majority community. Businesses and organizations are continuously looking for ways to reach new audiences and customers. What are your strategies or recommendations on reaching the minority groups and creating a culturally relevant media strategy?
I think the most important way to approach culturally relevant marketing is to make sure you have representation in the room when making those decisions. Just as our community is diverse, so should our board rooms and we need to make sure those voices are being heard.
Understanding the intricacies and nuances of these communities, what drives them to make decisions and who they often look to for guidance, can help provide insights into how you should be speaking to them and where. Tapping into community influencers is also a great way to build trust and understand where your brand can offer value.
4) What are some of the communications and marketing trends you are seeing?
It’s no secret that influencer marketing has blown up since COVID and the power of social media is not going to go away anytime soon. What I think you’ll see from brands is more focus on the right influencer for their brand and not just celebrities or those with massive followings. Micro influencers who have smaller yet highly engaged audiences are often more effective for brands since their followers are looking to them for recommendations almost as if we look to a family member or friend for advice.
5) Your industry continues to be competitive, how has your agency continued to stand out from the rest throughout the state and nation?
I think what makes Braintrust so successful is the fact that we aren’t afraid of taking risks and we’ve built a team that is incredibly flexible and nimble. We’ve also focused on building a team that is passionate about supporting our clients. We approach every project with creativity, but also with data and research that explains why we are doing what we are doing. Our campaigns are a balance of impactful messaging and creative, executed methodically that deliver on our clients’ goals. We work very hard at building meaningful relationships with our clients which not only allows us to maintain long-term partnerships with them but often leads to new opportunities.