F**k the Formula: Crafting digital success with Vinterior, Grind, Lick and Papier

In the era of economic uncertainty with the relentless rise of automation and AI, traditional marketing methods are becoming increasingly obsolete. The solution? Saying ‘F**k the Formula!’ and utilising strategic marketing methods to stand out from the crowd, creating an online presence to be reckoned with and, ultimately, boosting ROI. 

At our F**k the Formula event in London, Matt Mercer, Senior Strategist at Journey Further, sat down with Ruth Halls from Vinterior, Stacey Britt Fitzgerald from Grind,  Lucas London from Lick, and Holly Chapman from Papier to discuss how brands can craft an authentic digital presence. Here’s everything you should know!


Expert panellists discuss powerful branding strategies


What is  a powerful brand?

Panellists laid it out: A powerful brand elicits real emotion and connection with the audience, beyond just being an e-commerce site. Standing against sameness gives a brand its edge. Holly Chapman from Papier stressed that authenticity must permeate all aspects of a brand’s operations, not just its outward communication, aligning with consumer trust. Lucas London from Lick summed it up by pointing out a brand has to have a clear purpose in meeting consumer needs.


Navigating brand evolution

Panellists dug into the tightrope walk of brand consistency versus flexibility as brands evolve and branch into new markets. They hammered home that while sticking to core messages builds trust, brands must adapt creatively to engage different audiences effectively.


Innovating while staying true

Panellists dished out strategies to keep brands consistent, like tweaking guidelines as they grow and keeping messages tight across all platforms and places, while still letting creativity run wild. They stressed how sticking to core values and clear messaging doesn’t mean skipping fresh ideas that click with their crowd.


Balancing data with brand vision  

Testing content organically before diving into ads is crucial for killer campaigns. Sure, data matters, but trusting your gut and staying true to your brand’s unique perspective is just as key. Stacey Britt Fitzgerald from Grind warned: “Testing can risk losing brand identity. Sometimes, going with your creative gut is more effective than chasing metrics.”


Aligning trend engagement with brand values 

Choosing trends aligned with core values and customer expectations is key for long-term brand strategy. Ruth Halls of Vinterior spoke about sustainability in trend engagement: “We focus on calendar moments that align with our brand values.”


Adaptability in action

In a rapidly changing digital landscape, adapting to new platforms and trends is essential. Brands like Papier are exploring TikTok and experimenting with trend reactions while making sure they are maintaining brand identity.


Optimising resources in uncertain times

When times get tight, creativity’s your ticket. Brands should focus on cost-effective strategies like brand partnerships and creative content rather than large-scale campaigns. Holly Chapman from Papier shared insights: “During economic uncertainty, creativity thrives. Brand partnerships and focused resource allocation can yield high impact without high costs.”


Human touch vs. AI integration

AI offers efficiencies in content creation and data analysis, but maintaining a human touch and humour in brand storytelling? That’s the challenge. Holly Chapman noted: “AI supports our strengths but needs human expertise for nuanced tasks like humour.” 

Using AI to boost creativity and efficiency rather than replacing it is key. The game plan for brand success is understanding AI’s strengths and limitations which is the base for integrating it effectively into brand strategies.


Amplifying messages through partnerships

Low-cost, high-impact collaborations with complementary brands can effectively reach new audiences and amplify brand messages, as demonstrated by successful case studies like those from Vinterior. 


Success through authenticity

Brands that authentically align partnerships and content with their core values and customer base achieve stronger storytelling and consumer engagement. Lucas London from Lick gave us the example to follow: “Skims stands out with compelling narratives that resonate widely, showcasing effective brand messaging.”


Want more?

Read our top takeaways from fireside chat with Richard Shotton. Lydia Hinchliff, our Director of Strategy, sat down with Richard Shotton, Behavioural Scientist and author of The Choice Factory, to dig into his expertise in applying behavioural science to marketing strategies.

We hosted F**k the Formula in New York too. Check out key learnings from the expert panel involving marketing leaders from Adidas, Whoop, Brooklyn Brewery, and Tod’s Group.