Meerkat is a great way of telling your brand story and engaging with people. They see how we interact with customers and get to meet our staff.

We originally discovered the video streaming app Meerkat through Gary Vaynerchuk of Vaynermedia, an auspicious businessman who was using it successfully across his brands.

The app is very simple. Users can stream live video using the camera on their phone, or they can schedule streams 24 hours in advance, tailoring events to build a subscriber list.

We knew it would be a challenge to use because it operates in real time. We have to maintain the stream constantly by fielding the comments that come into us straightaway.

But engagement and interaction are key to growing our brand awareness.

We livestream every day via our shop at Westfield Stratford in London or from our offices. We demonstrate how all the embroidery is made on our products. We also set up Meerkat at the till point and in our offices to show our corporate merchandise being printed.

We are training staff on how to interact with this form of digital marketing and are helping them to understand that sometimes we have 50 people on the stream, looking at our products in real time.

Long-term benefits

Use of Meerkat has brought various benefits. Initially we saw an upsurge in our social media sites and viewers of our website.

We later gained permission from Meerkat to produce its branded merchandise worldwide.

We branded T-shirts with the option for customers to display their username, allowing for immediate recognition when broadcasting.

We continue to receive daily enquiries and leads for our bespoke items and now have over 5,000 subscribers to our brand via Meerkat, as well as daily visits of around 200 people.

In this digital age of marketing our efforts in this new medium have pushed us to number 12 on the Meerkat world leaderboard, near the likes of Madonna and Mashable.

Champion your brand

If you’re still thinking about whether your company should use livestreaming, or are already brainstorming with your teams about what your brand can show the world, one thing I would strongly advise this is not TV.

The app is about real people. Show your retail stars, the people who live your brand day in day out, because they are your biggest supporters and will champion your success every step of the way.

Don’t ask your teams what the return on investment of this medium is, because they won’t be able to tell you. It will work differently from brand to brand.

Let staff engage with your customers and see what happens.

  • Vicki Stewart is director of The Funky Fairy