The Secret Society: Technology, Personalization and Authenticity

In the dynamic hospitality landscape, where experiences are as important as accommodations, innovative brand communications are the cornerstone of success.

Campaign Middle East delves into this domain with Romain Fourel, the CEO and founder of The Secret Society.

The platform aims to create meaningful partnerships that resonate with brands and influencers, resulting in authentic and impactful collaborations.

Fourel shares insights into the evolving strategies that are reshaping how hospitality brands connect with their audiences, drive engagement and build lasting impressions in an ever-changing marketplace.

How has innovative brand communication in the hospitality industry changed?

In the hospitality industry, brand communication has shifted to digital platforms and personalized experiences. Content marketing, influencer partnerships, and user-generated content play a crucial role in engaging customers and building brand credibility.

Sustainability and social responsibility are also integral parts of the brand message, reflecting consumers’ growing awareness of environmental issues.

Innovative communications strategies focus on technology, personalization and authenticity to connect with customers and stand out in a competitive marketplace.

How works The secret society fulfill a need in the market?

The inspiration behind creating The Secret Society came from recognizing a gap in the market for facilitating collaborations between companies and influencers, content creators and models. In today’s digital age, influencer marketing has become a powerful tool for brands to authentically reach their audiences.

However, finding the right people to collaborate with and managing these collaborations efficiently can be a challenge. We wanted to streamline the process, manage partnerships and track campaign performance. Collaboration on an exchange basis is at the core of our structure.

Previously, brands collaborated financially with influencers and models, which added to their expenses. The fact that we operate exclusively on an exchange basis makes our approach groundbreaking.

In essence, TSS fills a market need by providing a centralized platform where brands, influencers, content creators and models can seamlessly discover and collaborate with each other. This can save both parties time and resources while ensuring that the collaboration is more targeted and effective.

Romain Fourel, the CEO and founder of The Secret Society
What kind of influencers and brands do you work with?

We work with a large client portfolio that focuses on various sectors, including F&B, catering, wellness, fitness, beauty, festivals & concerts and retail. Our brand selection process includes understanding their target audience, marketing objectives and brand identity to ensure alignment with our influencer network.

When it comes to influencers, we work with a wide range of people, including micro-influencers, macro-influencers, content creators and models. We prioritize working with lifestyle individuals who enjoy going out, creating content and being active on social media platforms.

We are one of the few platforms in the world that can obtain real KPIs from Meta using an API. This capability allows us to carefully select the right people and connect them to the right brands and, more importantly, track the results of each campaign.

We strive to create meaningful partnerships that resonate with brands and influencers, resulting in authentic and impactful collaborations.

What marketing strategies do you use to attract both users and F&B brands?

We demonstrate the benefits of our platform through engaging content, engaging with our audience on social media, sending personalized emails, and ensuring our platform is easily discoverable through SEO and SEM efforts. It’s all about connecting and bringing together users and brands in perfect harmony.

In addition to marketing strategies, word of mouth has been a big driver for us. We consistently receive referrals because our members and customers are excited about spreading the word about our platform.

It’s incredibly rewarding to see that kind of organic support. Our members are the best advocates for us. We are the secret society, but they are the secret.

How do you measure the success of your marketing efforts?

We measure this by the international growth of the app. The app has grown into an international tool with a community of 75,000 members. Every time we expand to a new location, there is an immediate buzz around the platform, resulting in thousands of downloads every day.

We consistently rank among the top 20 lifestyle apps in the Apple Store in the countries we enter. In Dubai, our new app ranked second for three weeks after its launch. We currently have more than 3,500 members who travel with us every day.

What role does storytelling play in your marketing and advertising campaigns?

Storytelling plays a central role in our marketing and advertising campaigns. In today’s digital age this is essential. A beautiful video without a story behind it is an empty shell. People expect high-quality content that appeals to them.

As Casey Neistat once said, the essence of a successful video lies in storytelling; you can film with basic equipment and still thrive if the story appeals and gets the message across. None of the advanced cameras and tools can save a campaign if the stories lack depth or fail to captivate the audience.

What are your plans to increase reach and impact in the region?

We believe that The Secret Society’s international expansion will contribute to the growth of tourism in the Middle East, which has become a global tourism hub.

In the UAE, we aim to simplify tourism by encouraging people to access Careem or Uber and now The Secret Society upon arrival. We bridge the gap between elite locations and individuals and guide them to the very best experiences.

In a market saturated with countless F&B restaurants, it’s easy for people to feel overwhelmed; that’s why we guide them to the places they should visit.

We diversify our portfolio. While we have had a significant impact on the F&B and hospitality industries, we believe there is still much to explore in the wellness, beauty and retail sectors. This journey in the Middle East has only just begun, we are developing another app that will also soon have a significant impact.