Updated: Jan 7, 2021
I don’t want to repeat how shitty 2020 has been for most of the world. Fortunately, LL BrandLab has done well as many businesses invested more in digital marketing. Our revenue tripled compare to 2019.
My intention, through this review, is to share with you, some insights we gained in the past year and some exciting plans for 2021. Naturally, I'm looking forward to collaborating with you in any possible way to make what we do more valuable to society and more fun.
(Original artwork by Eunjin Choi）
Virtual Creative Team Works
If you had experience with the creative process, you probably know how much nuance and uncertainty is involved. I had one prospect who really liked our portfolio but decided not to work with us, only because we are not “brick and mortar”. However, I decided to do an experiment by setting up LL BrandLab completely virtual – see how long we would last and how big we would scale.
It worked! LL BrandLab has expanded from a one-woman shop to a highly dynamic team with 3 full-time staff and over 50 contractors around the world. We delivered hundreds of creative pieces including brand stories, brand identities, print collaterals, websites, landing pages, videos and even drive-in events. Regardless of Zoom malfunctions, time zone differences and cultural gaps, we surprisingly managed the creative process very well and delivered to our best abilities.
I dare to predict that the virtual team trend in the creative industries will only become more “mainstream” if it is not already the case. If our designers choose to live a beach life and have a glass of mojito while designing a logo, well great! I might even pay for that mojito.
Pivot to Private Label Social E-Commerce
At this point, we already know that selling online is a permanent shift. Growth of the global E-Commerce industry in 2020 is equivalent to the growth of the past 10 years, and the growth is only getting faster.
To dive deeper, what will be the trends that drive the growth for e-commerce in North America? Our team has been studying various angels of the industry, including leaders (e.g. Amazon, AMZN), the new favorite child (e.g. Esty, stock price x4 in 2020) and the geeks behind the scene (e.g. Shopify, SHOP) and global leading market, China. Based on what's advertised and our exclusive database of Amazon sales, we realized that private label enabled by social media will be the ultimate growth drive in the next 3 to 5 years. Big brands are just not nimble enough to compete in the digital space efficiently. As a marketing agency, we ran campaigns for big and small companies: their speeds are at least 5 times apart. Product quality, innovation, customization and personalized shopping experience will be the winning formula for private label brands.
Marketing on social media has gone beyond brand awareness and landing page traffic. Sales can now be directly made in the social media environment with a few clicks. Consumers expect no less. Investment by tech giants also proved this trend. Google, Facebook and Instagram all upgraded their app to facilitate direct purchases from Shopify based stores with literately 2-click checkout. The next game will be brand’s creative ability and ability to mobilize influencers.
Of course, LL BrandLab is already in the game. We have been investing in influencer e-commerce for the past 6 months. I'm glad to announce that we are making big moves in the coming months to become a player in this space. Stay tuned for further announcements!
Diversity Is A Business Strength
When I first started my career after graduating from the Ivey Business School, many people “inferred” that being a foreigner who doesn’t fully understand the Canadian culture nor speaks perfect English, it would be very, very hard for me to have a successful career in marketing. It was true, until recently. I realized that my cultural background and international experiences bring more perspective and more empathy to the creative process, and management of the business. This is not just a woke moment but a real competitive advantage for our business.
The LL BrandLab team lived and worked in Canada, US, UK, China, Singapore, India, Korea and Thailand. We collectively speaks more than 10 languages. Each person brings a unique world view and empathy for the audiences of the creatives we do. Many clients actually hired us for this specific reason. Going forward, I will make diversity a priority in our hiring strategy because it pays back.
Founder <3 Investor Network
As an entrepreneur myself, I understand how valuable it is to have a support system to get me through the tough days and challenges. Supporting entrepreneurs is a core mandate of LL BrandLab. This year, we are going beyond helping entrepreneurs launching their brand. Together with a friend/mentor, I will set up an exclusive founder <3 investors network. In the end of the day, we might all be in the game of capital. If you are interested in getting further information, let me know.
At the end, I want to thank everyone who supported me and my team throughout the past year. We would not have gone so far without your help. Our team have a lot of expectations for 2021 and I'm very confident they will come true. The sky is unlimited.