News & Views

Stoli / Interview

by Contagious Team

We interview the agency behind vodka brand's editorial content channel

Stoli's new curated content editorial channel ORGNL.TV aims to express the vodka brand's style through contributions covering art, music, style, tech and taste.

Contagious spoke to Brian Carley, SVP and executive creative director at Rokkan, New York, the agency behind the project, about publishing original content online, and establishing and engaging an audience. 

What are the business aims for Stoli in relation to ORGNL.TV, and why did the creative team feel that content was the best way to engage with fans of the brand? 

The aim of ORGNL.TV is to help grow the fan base and build a community of like-minded people with real interest in the arts. In a crowded market, like spirits, to be able to own a content channel that allows us to feature unique people and stories that are true and that we love, will only help solidify that we're authentic to our beliefs and ultimately build affinity for what we do. We don't want to only talk about our product specifically in a place where people are spending their time consuming things that are important to them and not just advertising. It's not enough to co-opt or sponsor content, but if we can create it and own it then we can be innovators in that area and build it into something much bigger in the coming years, which is the ultimate goal.

How did the brand select what content to include, and what is appropriate for it to have a point of view on? 

We're selecting content by vetting artists and features through an internal team and our client. The goal is to feature people, stories, places that we feel have an angle of originality. We really want to showcase interesting stories, the types of narratives you wouldn't find or see elsewhere. There needs to be an element of exclusivity to the content. 

What kind of a team has the agency and the brand developed to produce this kind of content? 

We're keeping the team and process pretty scrappy. Once we select something that we want to feature we put the appropriate team together. There's a copywriter who also serves as the interviewer of the subject or subjects, an art director who helps with the overall vision of the piece but also handles a lot of the site design so they understand how the final product should look once it's place on the site, and a producer to help organise. 

Once we know what the output would be (photo/video) we bring in a local photographer or videographer that we've worked with in the past. Usually they have a small crew, one to three people tops. We shoot as much footage as we can and then edit down various versions of the piece to present to the client. We have an editor in house that does this work as well. Now this is specific to content that we're creating. 

We are also sourcing content from partners and contributors who write stories based on the specific vertical that they represent. From there, we're built a CMS where images, text and video get added in and then pushed live once they're approved. To be entirely candid, being a member of the artistic community but also having a large number of connections, as an agency we call in a lot of favours to pull all of this together. There is not a ton of money getting thrown around here. We're partnering with people who want to show off what they do and who are willing to put themselves out there. We see this as a mutually exclusive partnership and hope to continue to grow it and help support the artists that we feature.

Why is connecting with established content creators an important part of the site? 

It allows us to leverage any embedded audience that they already have. We want the content on the site to be interesting enough that if someone comes to read an article by or about someone that they follow or whose work they enjoy that they will see other relevant content and peruse the site in a deeper capacity. We want there to be as many little nuggets and cross-pollination of content across the creators as possible. It will not only benefit us, but make us more authoritative in the space. 

How are you driving readers and are you using the content in other ways, beyond the website? 

We're using some media channels to drive readers. This includes content partnerships with sites like BuzzFeed and UrbanDaddy. We're also doing some site takeovers and simple banner units. Facebook and Twitter are being used as targeted media buys, but we are also pushing our content out to our community through those channels. We do a lot of organic engagement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and now that the site is live we'll push this content out through those places. 

How do you see the site developing over the next few months? 

Along with just articles we're going to launch smaller contest-based initiatives on the site to help build the community and give readers a reason to come back for more. Aside from that we'll continue to look for original artists, events and more, and we will be creating some larger and more robust content pieces for the site. We have some exciting things in the pipeline that should prove to be really interesting along with a big ORGNL.TV event at the end of the year.