The Hidden Sea is a unique global wine business with a well-defined mission: remove 1 billion plastic bottles from the ocean by 2030.
The Hidden Sea approached our team with a significant challenge to build brand credentials across three key locations (Australia, UK, and the eastern seaboard of the USA) and drive wine purchases to generate the revenue necessary to complete their mission.
Previously, they had experienced a 12-month decline in audience engagement and reach, and were eager to recapture brand presence.
There were a few unique challenges that arose with this task:
1. Historically, the Hidden Sea spoke to the mission & wine product separately
2. A significant ambassador program to incorporate into the content strategy
3. Global events & activations that needed visibility & support
We began by conducting a thorough content audit, studying audience demographics, and analysing their competitors’ strategies.
This allowed us to realign THS’s content pillars with their business objectives, and ensure that the content creation process was focused on their core mission.
Turning a two-story brand into one
The Hidden Sea were having difficulty merging their wine story with their ocean story. In the age of social media, brands must be providing value for free and upfront, before expecting a consumer to commit any further.
Through creating value-led content, you can reach a highly engaged audience that sees you as honest and trustworthy. This was critical for brand awareness and retaining engagement across the platform. Customers had either considered or bought into the brand, and wanted the validation that the mission was being worked towards.
The newly defined content pillars had to speak to the following ethos:
We need to protect our oceans.
We will support clean-up initiatives
We will sell delicious wine.
Everything we needed to post should speak to sustainable efforts, because people have trusted the brand to be authentic and real. Content that speaks to the evidence of these efforts, the sustainability measures THS has in their supply chain, or genuine steps that have been taken towards meeting your goal.
In short, leave the sales promo for in store and your paid channels.
“We started working with DamnGood to get help creating engaging content for our socials. We couldn’t have been happier with the quality of the strategy, content and the execution from the team. If you’re looking for a team to help your content click, you’ve found them!”
— Richie Vandenberg
Co-Founder, The Hidden Sea
Emotionally led content
The Hidden Sea team were truly passionate about the mission, and ultimately this was the key to great success.
Through creating somewhat ‘shocking’ content — like this reel of owner Richie Vandenberg swimming in a Hidden Sea-funded collection site in Jakarta — we were able to grab the attention of new audiences and keep them fully engaged for the run time of the 60-second asset. Another factor that likely contributed to the video’s success was the emotional response it elicited from customers. Richie’s passionate delivery resonated with viewers and helped to build a stronger connection with the audience.
Now, it wasn’t just the content we learned from after vigorous testing of similar assets; there were a few best-practice elements that drove up viewership.
In terms of style, the video had a handheld/UGC feel to it, which made it feel more authentic and less polished. This likely helped to build a stronger connection with viewers and made them more likely to engage with the content. Short text with 2–3 words per frame on screen made the asset not only accessible, but felt fast-paced and would stop the scroll.
These two learnings became the principle qualities of all assets moving forward.
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Harnessing the ambassador community
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The Hidden Sea had over 1,000 active, unpaid ambassadors — a pretty incredible feat. While it’s amazing to have such a fleet of brand champions, wielding that power is no easy task.
Top that off with a global activations funded or partnered by The Hidden Sea, and you quickly have a full inbox with little direction.
In order to leverage the potential success of the program, it was clear we needed to build out a new internal ecosystem that empowered the stakeholders and ensured we had a clear plan on how to utilise the content.
This was ultimately solved through creating a streamlined work order form to efficiently execute global content initiatives, along with a centralised monthly WIP with the partnered PR agency and the national sales managers.
However, the magic truly began when we fully adopted the use of Meta’s collaboration tool. This tool allowed key posts to appear in the Hidden Sea feed in addition to those of key stakeholders.
This new play would generate not only strong engagement for our ambassadors but truly significant results for both parties when leveraged for sponsored clean-up events, which often became the highest-performing asset for both accounts against their regular content.
Stronger, smarter, effective digital communities
The key to success for us was in the content audit and strategy. Know your audience and leverage the features available in platform to test, review and scale.
Often you forget that the reason your brand exists is the reason people engage with it, so leverage your passionate stakeholders and talk genuinely through that lens.
While there may not be immediate ROI on organic content, you will position yourself as an authority in your industry and increase that top-of-mind awareness.
It may take a little longer to build your audience but once you master your organic strategy, you’ll be wielding the full power of the platform (and you’ll even have your paid strategy shaking in comparison).