Sierra Simon is an Account Manager and Digital Content Specialist at Taylor and Pond, a full-service digital marketing agency working with clients primarily in the beauty, health and lifestyle industries. Taylor and Pond was one of the first digital agencies to radically transform the Digital Marketing industry, and have only continued to move forward with their innovative strategies. Read on to learn how they stand out from other agencies, keep up with digital trends, utilize Instagram to curate engaging content, and more!
Hi Sierra! Please tell us about yourself and your background. How did you come to be at Taylor & Pond?
Originally, I'm from Northern California and made my way down to Southern California for school where I attended SDSU and completed supplemental courses at UCLA in the summers. I came to be at Taylor and Pond in somewhat of a serendipitous way. In college, I naively had a hard time accepting that I wasn't going to be certain I was in the right major, until I walked into Marketing 350: Consumer Behavior. To say I was completely consumed is an understatement! Everything about the course made me certain that I was where I needed to be, and that marketing was my passion. Throughout the course, I was very involved and ended up becoming the Teaching Assistant for the course for semesters to come. One day, my professor and I were writing a new test and chatting about my interests past graduation, and we got to talking about Taylor and Pond. Professor Ehrich sat on the board of USD with the Vice President of Client Success at Taylor and Pond, Siri Fomsgaard. She kindly introduced us, and I interviewed in December of 2016 for an internship. I've been full time with the company since my last semester of college! I have always been interested in beauty, from my childhood dress-up days to my present beauty obsession of skincare - having this lifelong interest and my choice in career path collide has been an amazing opportunity that keeps driving me every day.
As Account Manager and Digital Content Specialist, can you tell us a little about how you have shifted the gears at Taylor and Pond and how your role has been essential to the agency's growth?
Coming in as an Intern to then an Account Coordinator to now an Account Manager & Content Specialist has been exciting, rewarding and a little bit intimidating all at once! Since I've been with Taylor and Pond, we have seen a 40% growth within our company, and a lot of that is due to the amazing team we had at the beginning fighting to keep pushing beyond boundaries of what other agencies like ours are delivering to their clients. Something that I have always been incredibly passionate about in this career is the quality of our content, and how we are using it to keep branding cohesive and strategic to meet overall client goals. Video and movement within the social and digital space have grown infinitely in the last two years, and this was something that I knew we needed to get a head start in on our in-house production. A brand's visual story more than ever is now found primarily on social media, and it's our job as a digital agency to make sure that we know exactly how to execute that story visually and with the best types of content for overall goals and media ROI. One of my biggest goals, since I have been at Taylor and Pond, is for people in the industry to know that if a certain piece of content being produced for a client is that great, it absolutely has to be from us.
Taylor & Pond was one of the first digital agencies in the world to revolutionize the traditional print advertising and the Digital Marketing industry. How do you stand out from other marketing agencies and continuously stay ahead of the curve?
Digital Beauty has been a project that is very near and dear to my heart. It was born from our CEO, Cindy Pond, who saw a need within the beauty sphere for a go-to resource for marketing professionals, brands both big and small and even individuals trying to make a name for themselves in the digital arena. We wanted to have a resource for our current clients to better understand the industry in which we are working that is evolving faster than many others, and also advise potential clients on what we know and where our expertise as a company lie for their needs. The topics we write about on Digital Beauty showcase the expertise of each individual in our office. Everyone has different strengths, passions, and knowledge which I believe is what has made Digital Beauty so successful in the short time that we have been live. Since we launched a few months ago, we have evolved Digital Beauty to be the resource for any breaking weekly news within the social landscapes that can include platform updates, product launches, tech, and amazing interviews from who I like to call the silent giants of the beauty market, who are shaping the space. Digital Beauty has become a passion project of mine that I never knew I would be so excited to be a part of. When it comes to the evolution of digital marketing, our industry is just beginning. This is the Wild West right now, and I believe it's our obligation as digital advertisers to share what we know and continue to learn because we wake up every morning and it's always a little different than the day before. That's what I love about this industry so much, and why I have been so honored to manage Digital Beauty.
Instagram is a vital part of digital marketing. What are your top 3 tips when it comes to curating content that stands out when building a brand while still connecting with an audience?
I think that many people make a mistake in thinking that Instagram is just a space to hold aesthetically pleasing content when really, Instagram is not only a brand's most important visual storyteller but also a place to convey your brand's voice and DNA.
- When it comes to curating content, my first tip is to think of your content as pieces of a massive puzzle. Work down from your overall brand mission, and don't think of each post as a singular production, but a smaller piece of your brand's story.
- My second tip is to create content for the piece of your story you're communicating most strategically. Always ask yourself where within Instagram is the best place to convey your message, and with what type of content?
- Lastly, don't confuse cohesive branding and content with content that is rigid and never changes. This ties in with both tips one and two in the sense that you need to keep evolving your communication with your consumers while still staying true to your brand's DNA.
You have the privilege of working with amazing clients, including NYX Cosmetics, Lancôme, and Giorgio Armani. When creating strategies for these high caliber brands, what standards do you set to make sure you're delivering the best work possible?
We're very proud to work with some of the biggest names in beauty, and we've gotten to this point by having such a tight-knit team that's hands-on from the beginning. We're a company that is big on processes, brainstorms, and timeliness; from onboarding clients to creative outlines, to overall strategies, we've outlined steps to properly get our teams and our clients all on the same page from the beginning. There is nothing that goes from our offices to our clients that hasn't been extensively brainstormed, planned, executed and approved by everyone involved in the team. Siri, our VP of Client Success plays a huge role in the internal processes we have. We're very lucky as a company to have an open-door policy in the office where Siri and Cindy, our CEO, are always open to talk through these processes as well. We wouldn't have the success if we all didn't work together as much as we do, which is why we always make sure we have strong teams in place and often have brainstorming sessions to help bring client branding and strategy to the most elevated state. Timeliness is also, both internally and externally, something we hold to a very high standard in our company. We always make sure that projects are managed and have the correct timelines for creating the best possible work at any time we need to.
From a PR perspective, what is the one piece of advice that you can give brands who have yet to work with a company like Taylor & Pond or implement a strong PR and social media strategy?
Know your strengths and why you are valuable to your consumers, then live by those attributes and center your strategy around that. If you are a smaller brand looking to create content and elevate your branding, get creative and get your product into people's hands. The truth about social media is that it is moving fast, and people love hearing other people talk about a brand more than hearing the brand talk about themselves. Find people who truly fit your brand, not just those who seem influential on social media. (This is a common mistake that we see with brands wanting to use the biggest people for the sake of their following; this is a vanity number that can be deceiving within the social media industry.)
What are some of the upcoming trends in the world of digital you think people should keep an eye out?
Video, social, virtual reality and artificial intelligence are all growing simultaneously at rapid rates; I predict that all of these worlds within tech will start colliding more abruptly. With the launch of IGTV, we're seeing another huge push in the video space, and with digital marketers being able to advertise on Connected TV through Facebook, the line between all of these digital platforms is becoming more and more blurred. With the larger Facebook user privacy scandal, marketers are seeing fewer targeting capabilities as well. This presents both an ethical challenge and a business opportunity for data companies to find new ways to sell user information to companies for advertising use. Specifically, within digital in the beauty sphere, there is a huge need for brands to start breaking beauty norms. This is something that is needed in many industries, and I foresee beauty being at the forefront of breaking the boundaries that constrain what people define beauty as.
"I foresee beauty being at the forefront of breaking the boundaries that constrain what people define beauty as."