Marketing Report
[Interview] Vivian Kowalski, Charlotte Koeleman, Somention

[Interview] Vivian Kowalski, Charlotte Koeleman, Somention

Charlotte Koeleman (Managing Partner) and  Vivian Kowalski (Executive Creative Director) are part of the social media agency Somention's board. We speak to them about the agency's international ambitions and social media developments.

Somention offers social strategy, always-on & campaign content creation, social advertising and webcare & community management in 15 languages for a wide range of international brands.

You operate in 15 languages with 65 employees. How do you manage to run campaigns in different languages and cultures?

Charlotte Koeleman: We work with a team of different nationalities. These natives not only translate the content but also ensure cultural translation. What trends & developments are going on in France, Germany or Scandinavia? Together with them, we develop appropriate content, both culturally and linguistically.

We, therefore, also involve our natives in the creation process, such as brainstorms for new content. They not only provide us with valuable insights and blow the whistle when something does not fit. We set up content calendars from the global domain, leaving room for our natives to localise content. Internationally, content can often not be copy-pasted 1-to-1.

How do you ensure you keep up-to-date with social landscape changes?

Vivian Kowalski: We challenge ourselves to innovate constantly, speak the language of all platforms, and adapt immediately to the latest developments. Being in close contact with partners such as TikTok, Meta, Pinterest, and YouTube ensures that we are the first to know about changes and introductions.

But we also challenge each other internally. When AI (artificial intelligence) went live, we said: this is not a threat but a huge opportunity. That is in Somention's DNA. We pick up on developments immediately, implement them in our way of working and proactively pitch to clients when we see opportunities. We are now building on this all the time. And that is what we are constantly working towards, being a social frontrunner.

How do you try to implement that internally, and what does it mean for your clients?

Vivian Kowalski: We are continually developing our Somention Academy - webinars or physical seminars in which we zoom in on new social topics. These are so fruitful because we work for brands that like to pioneer with us.

When we devise a proactive proposal, our clients often agree to it. Therefore, we together create genuinely distinctive work, respond perfectly to current developments, and take them into that frontrunner position.

Nadine Kooiker, a strategist at Somention, talked about connecting with Generation Z (Gen Z) through focus groups and panels, for example. What does that approach mean for Somention, and does it work?

Charlotte Koeleman: We can say with certainty that Gen Z has completely changed the playing field. They look at the world differently, create content within seconds and build niche online communities at lightning speed. The team consists mainly of Gen Z, but we have also set up focus groups.

We test our content with focus groups to discover unique insights that are incredibly valuable. You can only create content that resonates if you actually talk to them.

TikTok is the most widely used among Generation Z. At the same time, TikTok is under fire because of its Chinese relation and alleged privacy dangers. How do you look at this, and then what are you doing to reach young audiences?

Charlotte Koeleman: We keep a close eye on the regulations surrounding the platforms. But the regulations which are being applied to TikTok, are also applied equally to Meta (Facebook/Instagram). We must be aware of what is happening on the platforms, but we believe that social media brings people together when handled wisely.

As a platform, TikTok is much more authentic and genuine than any other form of media. So why should you, as a brand, just broadcast when you can also engage with your target audience and really listen to them? That is worth so much.

Vivian Kowalski: We understand the criticism, but to be relevant as a brand, you must be present on TikTok. That's where the target audience is, and that's the new way to produce and consume content. To this, we say: dare to lead the way. In a year (or rather: months) from now, we won't know any better.

What does artificial intelligence (AI) mean for your work and clients?

Vivian Kowalski: We are currently busy developing and discovering AI and how to implement it well in our work. We are using it, looking at AI job profiles and noticing the added value. It ensures we have even more scope for developing creative and innovative always-on content. It will also add value for community management and webcare to generate more velocity. The human touch will ensure an impactful final result.

What will the future of artificial intelligence bring?

Vivian Kowalski: The recent rise of AI shows us that we are just one groundbreaking innovation away from a new way of working, and the same is probably true for life in general. AI, AR and VR are making it increasingly easy to integrate ads and branded content into our online experiences.

Whereas before content was king, we expect this title to shift towards experiences and interactivity. And with ever-improving algorithms, these will become more and more personalised. Where exactly will it end up? Nobody knows. But one thing is certain: the sky's the limit.