One young South African entrepreneur taking a literal approach to building an empire is Lucy Worsley, the founder of Empire Experiential Marketing. She has captured a gap in the market to bring a fresh, vibrant approach to brand marketing by creating highly focused, custom experiences for the world’s leading brands in Africa.
LoA chatted to Lucy Worsley, founder of Empire Experiential Marketing to find out more about this dynamic young entrepreneur and her aspirations for the future.
What does your company do?
While Airbnb is the world’s largest accommodation provider, it does not own any real estate. Facebook doesn’t create any content, but it is the world’s most popular media owner. And Uber is the world’s largest taxi company, even though it doesn’t own any vehicles. Many other companies have followed suit and done well. However, not many marketing agencies have attempted this. And especially not in South Africa. That is, until now. Empire Experiential Marketing is a female-owned and driven experiential marketing agency that has placed the shared economy model at its core.
Empire has decided to challenge the status quo and take it one step further. By using shared economy we are able to utilise the most brilliant strategic and creative minds out there to customise our experiential campaigns. This way, the client isn’t getting the same stale ideas and thinking throughout each experiential execution they present to their customers. And at the same time, the customers aren’t being overlooked.
This shared economy model has been strategically adopted to create a better working economy for the creative industry, specifically women. We have a pool of different freelancers and sister agencies that we use to custom create experiences for brands, thereby building an Empire in a unique powerful way.
"Empire Experiential Marketing is a female-owned and driven experiential marketing agency that has placed the shared economy model at its core."
What inspired you to start your company?
When heading up the Experiential department for Elizabeth Arden New York in South Africa and for Africa, I realized when dealing with so many agencies that not a lot of them understand the attention to detail that needs to take place when executing an experience for a women. If everything isn't perfect, the whole campaign falls apart. Women’s buying power is growing rapidly throughout Africa. This is evidenced by the fact that 62% of Kenya’s mid-market real estate is owned by female buyers/investors. Empire, exists to bridge the gap between this female market and our clients, through brand experiences that go beyond traditional advertising and promotion. We connect strategic and creative thinking through memorable brands experiences that consumers can really connect with.
The name Empire came about as a statement that represents a woman. Every woman achieves to build her own Empire, wheather building a family, doing an internship, or climbing the corporate ladder. Empire is mine and I hope to create a community that empowers women and leads more women to build their own future in the creative space.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Coming from a market research background myself, I know how important it is to get into the psyche of the consumer. Every single detail we put out to the public needs to resonate with them and exceed their expectations of the brand. If these details are not perfect, everything falls apart. That’s why whenever Empire does anything, be it putting out work or communicating with people, we rely on four pillars: Listen, Learn, Create and Inspire. One can never get tired of learning new things, it’s how we expand our minds. In experiential, it is always interesting because you’re learning about a new brand, a specific market, too, and it’s almost never the same. For example, looking at black females – brands can’t just generalise and say: black females, LSM 7 to 10, love shopping and expensive things. Everyone is different, not to mention the fact that with females you have mothers; university students; working women, etc. Listening comes back to getting the details right. It’s the little things that count, which filters into creating the perfect experience. Creating unforgettable experiences comes down to getting to know your customer whole-heartedly and completely. And then there is the last pillar – inspire – which is particularly special because of the way Empire is structured. We’re all about inspiring, how do we inspire people to think differently? To experience something differently? And to be the difference. Empire, at the same time, is looking to empower women to build their own empires.
Empire, exists to bridge the gap between this female market and our clients, through brand experiences that go beyond traditional advertising and promotion.
Tell us a little about your team
What do petrol, chewing gum and skincare have in common? Me. Who am I? My name is Lucy Worsley, Director of Empire Experiential. A 26 year-old creative, a lover of food, an under cover nerd, a fashion fundi, and an experiential marketer extraordinaire. I have had the privilege to work with some of the most exciting, innovative and globally recognised brands, all vastly different, but, with one key objective … providing value to their target markets. I’m lucky enough to have begun my career at a game changing stage of development in the experiential and marketing industry. Options are endless and strategies are ever-evolving. Everyone is more involved, consumers are heard and have more power than ever, this can only be a recipe for innovation and success. All of this inspire and affirms the purpose of creating Empire Experiential marketing.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Entrepreneurship is not easy, but nothing worthwhile is. My mother, the CEO and founder of All Women Recycling, has led by example and that is the only entrepreneur background I have had. My career has consisted of me studying and working in marketing. From market research agencies, experiential agencies, to traditional advertising and brand experiential. My journey has just begun, but I feel like I have lived 6 years in doing this - I have grown and learnt so much. I wouldn’t change it for the whole world, besides that is having more capital.
"We have a pool of different freelancers and sister agencies that we use to custom create experiences for brands, thereby building an Empire in a unique powerful way."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I have a lot in store that I'd like to keep confidential. But one of them I will share is going global as a South African originated company.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Seeing the result of what we do, that is consumers experiencing the brand in the best way.
You can always tell by emotion, facial expression and body language.
"I’VE LEARNED THAT PEOPLE WILL FORGET WHAT YOU SAID, PEOPLE WILL FORGET WHAT YOU DID, BUT PEOPLE WILL NEVER FORGET HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.”. ― Maya Angelou
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
If you are really serious and passionate about something - do it! no one else will do it for you.
Remember these wise words;
“IN ORDER TO BE IRREPLACEABLE, ONE MUST ALWAYS BE DIFFERENT”. ― Coco Chanel
Contact or follow Empire Experiential Marketing
Why LoA loves it….
In a world where brands are competing for market attention, and buyers are becoming ever more discerning, the need for a brand to stand out in the crowd and make a real emotional connection with those elusive buyers, is increasingly more important. Lucy Worsley has brought a great solution to the table with her experiential marketing expertise and her passion for brands. This is one Young Lioness on the rise and worth looking outfor in the coming months and years. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa