#AgencyFocus: TILT — shifting social while making profit
by Sabrina Forbes. As the South African social media landscape continues to grow, brands are either bringing digital in-house and trying to figure it out themselves or making use of agencies that’ve added digital as an arm to their existing traditional repertoire (and which are also trying to figure things out). Then there are the agencies born and built for social, such as TILT.
They call themselves influence architects who create magnetic branded content and then amplify it like wildfire, and consider themselves the unfair advantage for brands wanting to market on social.
Co-founders Arye Kellman (of 5FM and CliffCentral fame) and Jason Levin (ex-MD of HDI Youth Marketeers) got their new agency off to a flying start when they launched in May 2017. Within their first month, they had picked up two campaigns with global brands, Kellogg’s and Estee Lauder Companies. The duo didn’t just get their first clients quickly; they agreed on the agency name almost immediately. TILT is about shifting the way you look at things, and according to Kellman, “four-letter words are dope.”
The agency’s core offering is in the influencer-marketing space. “I came from a content background — mostly radio but also podcasting and social media — [and] had watched the rise of influencer marketing and thought I had value to add to the space,” says Kellman.
TILT focuses on using social media content influencers, celebrities, and trendsetters to build deep connections with digital driven audiences, millennials, and other early adopters. By focusing on “bespoke, creative-driven influence architecture”, the way Kellman explains what they do, the now team of six creates content that’s made for social, built in the right style, format, and duration, every time.
It’s a social world
It’s probably fair to say that chiropractors are making a killing these days with society’s newly discovered 45-degree head position. What was once an odd sight is now becoming more commonplace: groups of humans walking like zombies, heads dropped down with focus, both arms engaged tightly to their side, their hands cradling a device that holds more computing power than the machine that got Apollo 11 to the moon. What are they doing? They’re double-tapping, liking, commenting, LOLing, #tagging, meme-ing, GIF-ing, sharing, posting, and storytelling. Truth is, they’re not about to stop.
The recent South African Social Media Landscape Report uncovered that over 40% of brands are using Facebook effectively. This is probably because most of the people at these brands use Facebook daily for their personal needs. It’s when brands try to use platforms such as SnapChat and WeChat that they fail, specifically here in South Africa. This is another USP of the team at TILT. They’re young and ‘with it’ enough to have large followings and engagements on all social media platforms, not just the typical. This allows them to offer their clients workable campaign ideas that are created for social, with social in mind, and for the social age.
By simply having a social media account, anyone has the ability to share and influence those around them. TILT understands that, for youth and affluent audiences, social is where it’s at and that it’s now easier than it used to be to get TV-sized audiences to view a single social media post for a fraction of the price of broadcast platforms. That you can also deeply target your audience by specific metrics helps to reduce the amount of marketing wastage often experienced by brand budgets going the traditional route. “The rise of the individual as a content creator and content carrier — and therefore a media vehicle — has been huge the past few years,” says Kellman.
But the rise of influencers automatically brings the rise of “chancers and snake-oil salesmen”, as Levin, TILT director and co-founder, put it in a recent Business Live article. Everyone with an Instagram account is trying to jump on the social media influencer gravy train and, for an agency such as TILT, whose USP is working with influencers to create value for brands, this could become a dangerous field to work in if not carefully handled. By using a bespoke, highly vetted set of influencers, the agency hopes to negate any negative or dishonest campaign metrics. It offers 100% transparency on follower bases and market rates achieved per post, plus full reporting during and after each campaign.
On the books
While it doesn’t keep a set of influencers on its books, it’s worked with the likes of Boity Thulo, Kyle Deutsch, Roxy Burger, Locnville, and Rorisang Thandekiso, bringing them into campaigns as and when their offerings fit.
TILT manages its influencers a little differently to other influential agencies, as explained by Levin: “We are differentiated from the ‘system driven’ offerings like Indahash and Webfluential by very careful influencer selection and hands-on talent management, but also by the fact that we produce and co-create content, rather than just brief them and let them do their own thing.”
Kellman and his team say they don’t like to brag and, when asked about recent client wins, the former’s response was: “Our goal is to increase revenue for our clients; so long as we’re doing that, we’re #winning. Advertising agencies can often be self-indulgent in reflecting on what they think they’ve done right. We’re about getting the job done, generating revenue for our clients, and looking to what’s next.”
Nevertheless, the client list after 18 months in operation includes Estée Lauder Companies, Virgin Atlantic, Investec, Kellogg’s, and The Walt Disney Company.
Reflecting back on the last 18 months, Kellman’s proudest moment is how he’s brought people into the team who are smarter than him. “Our success is 100% rooted in the team of people in the office every day,” he says.
When it comes to finding new collaborative clients to work with, Kellman shares, “We present a lot. We pitch (not necessarily in formal competitive pitch processes) two-to-four times a week. We’re actively out there, locally and internationally, looking for clients and trying to propose better solutions than they have in place, and it’s working. We now have 15 clients. The agency world seems to be unhappy with the way pitches work forever, [but] we’re trucking and rolling with it as, ultimately, great ideas will always speak for themselves. In terms of retention, we stay close to our clients, we talk to them, service them, and deliver on work that ups their revenue.”
Sabrina Forbes (IG) is an experienced and published writer covering the food, health, lifestyle, beverage, marketing and media industries. She runs her own full-stack web/app development and digital-first content creation company. For more, go to moonwrench.com. She is a contributing writer to MarkLives.com.
“#AgencyFocus” is an ongoing weekly series updating the market on ad agency performance, including business performance, innovation, initiatives, the work, awards and people.
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