'Omnichannel Isn’t Just One Way Brands Can Operate, It’s The Only Way'

We sat down with Hallie Johnston, SVP of Brand Experiences at Refinery29


Hallie Johnston is the Senior Vice President of Brand Experiences and Strategy at Refinery29 and provides invaluable insight on the positioning of brands in one of the most popular publishers of the digital age. With its specific audience focus on millennial women, Refinery29 knows all about targeting its digital approach to appeal to a particular demographic.

Refinery29 also reject the notion that branded content is the 'dark side' of publishing. Its use of branded content has been intelligent, and Hallie will be presenting on the topic at the Digital Strategy Innovation Summit this March 21-22 in New York. Ahead of her presentation, we sat down with Hallie to talk discuss Refinery29's approach to digital, a core part of its business. 

How is data informing or changing your digital strategy?

At Refinery29, we believe in the power of insights and data to grow our audience and optimize our storytelling - both editorially and in our work with brand partners. We take what our clients know (about their business, category and consumer) and combine this with what we know from the last decade of building a deep relationship with the millennial female consumer. This includes historical performance data, real-time performance data, proprietary research (including our Her Brain thought leadership series) and tapping into our user panel (MadChatter), as well as a dedicated team of creative strategists, content strategists and researchers.

How central a role does omni-channel play in your current business strategy and will this change in the years to come?

Omnichannel isn’t just one way brands can operate, it’s the only way. At Refinery29, we want our user to discover our content wherever she is. We don’t rely on just on .com but serve her feed first content, tailored by platform. One result of this is that we have been able to expand our audience by engaging different groups of users. For instance, we are a leading Snapchat Discover partner and have become a leading source of Beauty knowledge for Gen Z users of this platform.

What does true Strategic Agility mean to you in light of advances made in the last year? Were there any cases that you felt best highlighted this?

For us, our strategic agility is centered around one thing - our deep understanding of our audience. We’ve been talking with millennial women day in, day out for over a decade to grow a brand they love and now we can do the same for your brand too. 

You can hear more from Hallie, along with many other industry leading digital strategy executives, at the Digital Strategy Innovation Summit this March 21-22 in New York. To see the full schedule, click here.

BONUS: Watch this presentation from last year's Digital Strategy Innovation Summit from Hristo Guertchev, Head of Product, CNN International

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