At its core, social media is rooted in building a community. In the spirit of that idea, we’re excited to introduce a special edition PLANOLEADERS story featuring not one, not two, but THREE rising marketing stars. Enter Ali Alquiza, Anita Sukha, and Erin Hampton who are at the helm of one of the industry’s most promising lifestyle-intimates brand, LIVELY. From design to marketing, these ladies are responsible for telling LIVELY’s story in a concise, engaging, and inspiring way. As a social-first brand, we were excited to join the trio at the brand’s Midtown office to see more of their world and learn about the importance of cross-team communication, adhering to best practices, and building a tight-knit brand community. Discover our respective conversations with Ali, Anita, and Erin below.
Alexandra Alquiza – Director of Marketing
Please introduce yourself!
HI! I’m Alexandra Alquiza, and I’m the Director of Marketing at LIVELY. I was born and raised in New York, and still can’t get enough of this city. It’s full of so many Instagrammable moments! When I’m not in the city, you can find me cozying up at a cool bed and breakfast or exploring a little town in Upstate, NY. I have been a part of LIVELY since its inception. After working on all things marketing to launch LIVELY, my main focus has become cultivating the amazing LIVELY community through all of our social channels and incredible, community-based grassroots efforts.
Before LIVELY, what were you up to professionally, what role did digital play in your job description, and what have been some notable career highlights so far?
Before I joined LIVELY, I was working on brand strategy and product development for retailers such as Sephora, Bergdorf Goodman, and Tory Burch. I worked with them to put strategy and design behind lifestyle accessories that worked for their brand and customers. It allowed me to travel around the world to source and develop each of the products we would create together. This helped shape what I’ve been able to bring to LIVELY, which is a deep understanding of the importance of brand authenticity. I’ve also helped shape LIVELY’s voice, story and social identity through different ways of storytelling, which I have been super passionate about.
Social media has become an incredible platform for LIVELY to tell different stories, not only through the lens of our own mission but through all of the amazing stories amongst the women in our community. There have been so many highlights over the last two years that I have been lucky to be a part of. LIVELY has had over 35 successful community-based events including pop-ups in NYC and the Hamptons, and our Instagram feed has been dubbed a “must-follow.” We’ve also recently hit 50K followers on Instagram after just 18 months as a brand, so that was a definite “moment” for me. Knowing that there are so many women who are rallying behind our movement has truly been amazing and inspiring. Because of this, we decided to take things on the road with our LIVELY City Tour, which kicked off in Dallas this month and will continue to be in cities all across the country within the next 12 months.
As the Director of Marketing, what is your day-to-day like? How much of your role encompasses planning vs. physical content creation?
No day is the same for me, which is definitely part of the thrill and what keeps things so exciting and fresh. My primary goal is to lead our marketing efforts with LIVELY’s strong ethos and movement. Everything we do has a focus on inspiring women to live life purposefully and passionately, which also flows into our digital presence and the events and moments we plan to bring our community together. The majority of my role is spent planning–anything from launch campaigns, to daily social content, to activations like our LIVELY City Tour. However, planning strategic content that will support each launch, activation, and the brand in general also comes with that. Another major part of my day-to-day is working with the entire team to bring both the digital and physical content together, which I would say is my favorite part. The scope and reach of our events become so much more valuable when we can share those stories on our social platforms in a fun but meaningful way. That balance is always key to how I approach each day.
Based on your experience in a leadership role, what tips would you offer to those moving up in the ranks when it comes to planning content strategies with longevity?
- Take the time to create authentic relationships with the people you are collaborating with. It’s easy to get wrapped up in so many different things today because of social media so it’s important to take the time to slow down and create meaningful connections so you can build impactful content.
- Try to operate with a lack of fear! Take risks or try something new and innovative and embrace the learnings along the way. If nothing else, it will make for a good story (on Insta or otherwise)!
- Seize every moment for everything it can be! Our generation is so driven, and we pour our hearts into our work.
Take those real moments that fill your busy “boss babe” day and ask yourself “what story is this telling and how can I share them?” Then think about the full experience of those moments across all of your social platforms; each platform should feel special and different in how that content can be shared, but the experience should feel holistic at the same time.
Anita Sukha – Senior Brand Designer
Please introduce yourself!
Hi, I’m Anita! A creative mind, chasing dreams (and Instagram opps) in the big city. I’m a North Jersey native and a proud Syracuse alum. You can pin me as a spin-obsessed, wine-loving, overly organized, creative thinker. By day, I’m neck-deep in endless inspiration boards and concept decks. By night, I’m an Asian cuisine connoisseur and curator of all thing metallic and marble.
How would you define your role as a brand designer and how does social media play a role in how you craft brand assets?
As a Brand Designer, my focus is to maintain and evolve the visual expression of the LIVELY brand. For a digital-first brand, such as LIVELY, it’s my duty to create a 360° experience for our customers, whether I’m developing a new campaign or designing a new brand activation.
The way I develop my work and ideas is with the notion that social media is a representation of the vision and creation of our brand. When it comes to social, the most important part of being a brand designer is crafting an experience that either engages or ignites your audience so they can feel inspired.
Based on your experience in this particular position, why is it essential for design and marketing to work together to create a consistent social media strategy?
Social media is an ever-evolving industry day-by-day. When design and marketing work together, we ensure that we are evolving our ideas but staying true to the ethos of the brand.
It’s really easy to get lost in all the noise and clutter, but the strongest brands are the most consistent brands, to their core. So we work passionately and together, we create a brand story that’s concise, impactful, and visually stunning. And like they say, teamwork makes the dream work!
What are your top best practices that you believe fellow brand designers should follow when working for digital-first brands or brands in the fashion-intimates space?
- Research, research, research. — You know you’re doing it right when you find yourself screen-shoting, archiving and snapping on every corner you turn. It’s the most seamless way to spark new ideas and produce stronger work.
- Look up — Even though you’re digital-first brand, you have to create that 360° experience for your audience. Get inspired by what motivates you (not on your digital device) and strive to create value for your audience in everything your brand produces.
- You Do You — Working for a digital-first brand, you’re constantly aware of the numbers, data, and metrics. But as designers, we are creators and curators of influence. So study up because knowledge is power, but always challenge new findings. Never be afraid to let your creativity be the forefront of evolution.
Erin Hampton – Marketing Assistant
Please introduce yourself!
I’m Erin, a 24-year-old gal living in Brooklyn who’s new to riding this NYC rollercoaster! I grew up in Michigan and moved here after graduating from MSU to pursue a career in fashion. My beloved role at LIVELY involves wearing many different hats, but I mostly focus on our email marketing, copywriting, blog, reps and campus ambassadors.
What is your favorite aspect of being on LIVELY’s Marketing team and how much would you say your job focuses on the community side?
I love planning the concepts for our emails and writing copy to communicate a specific message. Whether it’s a newsletter, launch campaign or #wcw feature, I am so enthusiastic about figuring out how to communicate with our community and then crafting a message that will bring our brand and customers together.
A large portion of my job is focused on community. At the center of our ethos is community, so naturally, the verbiage and email concepts I create come from our LIVELY Crew. We feature their social content and quotes in our campaigns and talk about the products and topics that interest them.
How would you describe the LIVELY woman and what role does social media play in her day-to-day? How do you cater to that when it comes to the social content posted across LIVELY’s platforms?
The LIVELY woman is a happy, go-getter boss babe that doesn’t let the world define her and strives to make her own mark. I think social media plays a major role for her because she longs to be a part of a community of other boss babes like herself. Social media gives her access to these women, and it allows all of them to have an open conversation and be inspired by one another. It’s also a platform for self-expression, which is what our LIVELY crew is all about.
Our reps and campus ambassador programs are in their early stages, but we are already building our community on the ground and through social. Our campus ambassadors go out and do things with their besties on campus and use the hashtag #livingLIVELY. At every campus event, we have them grab great content to not only post on their own social platforms but to also share it with us so that we can post the content on our own channels. Every interaction between our community is valuable and needs to be shared. Social media is one of the only ways our community at large can actually know there is a vibrant LIVELY community that exists!
Based on your experience in this role, what are your top tips for those looking to create a distinct, diverse, and inclusive brand community?
- Email segmentation and messaging–everyone is different so make sure you speak to each person in different ways. Also, target messages to people in the right way, where it makes sense, and you will see a great response!
- In your blog content, link to product and link back to relevant blog content. People like lifestyle stories that they can relate to, but bring them back around to your brand by giving them opportunities through linking within the content.
- Spread your content as far as you can! Email imagery, Instagram stories, Ads, blog photo stories, etc.