We’ve seen it with DJ Suss.One on the digital ones and twos, in Teddy Riley’s record-breaking battle against Babyface and Justine Skye’s live sessions with Timbaland — Instagram Live is taking over. In place of concerts and venue gatherings, Instagram live concerts and streaming services through Bandsintown and Zoom are becoming more in demand than ever thanks to social media. We had the pleasure of chatting with Harvard Business alumna and media and marketing maven Karen Civil about the impact of COVID-19 on social and digital marketing, her Live Civil Concert Series installation and empowering fellow women and creatives alike.
Though she is recognized and regarded for her work with music artists from Lil’ Wayne and Teyana Taylor to Quavo and YG, she implements inclusion in the beauty and fashion space through social campaigns and events. “Naturally music and fashion go hand-in-hand,” Karen told HelloBeautiful. “I [feel] there is a lack of women of color in executive positions being invited into the fashion and beauty space so I began creating the opportunity and stepping into it.”
Back in February, Karen curated the first NFL Super Bowl LIV “The Audible” Women’s Brunch in Miami to celebrate women across various industries who are changing how the game is played – get it? Guests ranged from Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks to beauty influencer and best friend Ming Lee, with whom she had a KSwiss shoe collaboration.
Her passion for telling stories about dope women across the beauty, fashion and entertainment space shine through her media platforms and foundations that promote positive news and lifestyles to grow and empower the lives of her audience. “Women are the heartbeat of the world. Without women, life can’t exist. My Live Civil platform is about me creating a network that’s highlighting women and providing opportunities for all women. Although our stories are often overlooked, we have stories and ideas. Our ideas matter,” Civil exclaimed about her passion for uplifting her own.
Karen has, thus, made it her mission to promote positive stories on the official Live Civil Instagram account sharing stories of Gianna Bryant’s honorary draft into the WNBA to Taraji P. Henson’s free virtual therapy services for African-Americans impacted by COVID-19.
We might be amid a pandemic, but Karen Civil shows no sign of slowing up her grind. As some creatives are struggling to create engaging and meaningful content amidst the pandemic, Karen acknowledges the circumstances and works through the face of adversity. “COVID-19 is a pandemic that is affecting us all,” she reiterated. “I wouldn’t necessarily say we’ve taken a hit as much as we’re just simply being forced to produce more meaningful content.” From the digital marketing perspective, for MUAs, stylists and fashion bloggers who are looking to promote their work along with the shift of traditional marketing efforts, creating content with free templates on Canva and accessing a free Adobe creative suite can unlock a work of content production for your platform.
When asked what advice she would provide to any creative struggling to balance and take creative control over developing content for their branding and social marketing efforts, Karen advised “understand their brand story and who their audience is” and stressed the importance to “provide content that serves a sense of hope and relief.” However, when it comes to her own brand and the impact of COVID-19 on her personal branding, business endeavors and entrepreneurial mindset, she admits to just going with the flow. “I’m taking it one day at a time with the Karen Civil brand. What I do is for the people,” Karen shared. “I’m enjoying seeing the Live Civil platform to get the shine!”
Through the ebb and flow of it all, Karen Civil successfully launched a series of live takeovers from the account where professionals from a variety of industries from beauty to fitness educate, entertain and engage. In addition, Karen created and developed a platform for female artists to perform and showcase their gifts through her latest installation, Live Civil Concert Series, on the Live Civil Instagram account, which kicked off on April 15th. While the Instagram concert series has created a space for female artists in their own backyard, Karen is not forgetting other female entrepreneurs across all fields. Live workout sessions with fitness coach Chanel Delisser and COVID-19 stay-at-home fashion inspo from Nayamka Roberts-Smith has also been included and highlighted on the Live Civil page.
“For the Live Civil Concert Series, we had Jessie Woo, Elle Varner, Stacy Barthe and Queen Naija,” she recalled “With the Live Civil Concert Series, it’s my goal to provide the Always Civil support with positive sounds and vibrations. Music is a universal language. It’s how we communicate without having to be direct. I’m also excited to give artists a platform to touch a different audience. It’s a project I’m super excited about.” With Instagram live becoming the new saving grace of the music industry, Karen Civil tapped into her project at the perfect time where social distancing is forbidding large gatherings of people to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keeping one another safe. From John Legend to Chloe x Halle, singers, rappers and producers have welcomed us with open arms into the comfort of their own homes to give their fans mini-concerts of relief or previewing new music.
As a woman who is fairly active in the entertainment industry through her creative and branding agency, Karen has witnessed first-hand how Instagram concerts are changing the game of both the music and digital media industries. “Currently, Instagram Live concerts provide a sense of community and normalcy, which I think is very important at this time,” Karen expresses. “It’s allowing consumers to get their music intimately and safely in the palm of their hands.” Digital media efforts have increased within all industries from “The Real” talk show co-starring Amanda Seales and Tamera Mowry-Housley being recorded in their homes to makeshift workouts and yoga sessions via Zoom.
For the woman who may be reading this who is having a bit of trouble figuring out creative ideas to engage their audiences or attract news one during these trying and competitive times, Karen Civil has some sound advice. “Be consistent and be meaningful,” she advised. “As long as your content is both meaningful and consistent your audience will grow and follow.”
As a last-minute surprise to HelloBeautiful readers, Karen has also left us with a sweet parting gift. “I also want to share exclusively with Hello Beautiful about Live Civil Creatives Week,” she excitedly told us. “During the dates of April 27th through May 1st, we are honoring women in pro positions on social media platforms by allowing them to take over our Instagram stories and share their story, as well as give our Live Civil Instagram audience tips on how to succeed on that platform. I’m excited about that.” So are we, sis.
If you’re a fashion vlogger, designer or budding beauty guru who is looking to find her footing in the creative space, Karen says not to fret. “ Live Civil Creative Week will benefit everyone. We are bringing some of the top women at these platforms and allowing them to share tricks to our audience that will allow them to excel on these platforms,” she shares. Who’s tuning in? *Turns on post notifications*