As mobile technology, socially-driven content formats, and consumer expectations all converge, marketers realize they need to identify and activate visual content assets that are authentic, personalized, and optimized for each touchpoint. Of course, today’s customer journey is far more complex and fragmented than ever before, meaning that brands need to create, or aggregate, an enormous volume of high-quality visual content to fulfill a growing set of relevant channels and touchpoints.
Aside from traditional brand-owned content, many modern marketing teams are turning to user-generated, or “earned” content as a way to supplement their visual creative library, and to achieve personalization and authenticity at scale. Still, to truly succeed brands must deploy a holistic strategy including an intelligent mix of content formats from all possible sources of creation. Influencers have gained in prominence in recent years as brands co-opt their cultivated brands and targeted reach to connect with new potential customers. In fact, research from eMarketer recently found that 48% of polled marketers planned on increasing budget allocations to influencer marketing this year.
One audience that has enormous content creation potential is a brand’s’ own employee-base. Employees, particularly for retailers and other brands that maintain brick-and-mortar locations, are the closest physical connection between a brand and its products and its customers.
Some brands have recognized the benefits of activating employees as creators. Starbucks, for example, has maintained a unique employee advocacy program over the past several years, actively asking employees to share content about the brand on their own personal social media profiles. This may help explain part of the reason for Starbucks’ 29.1 million hashtagged photos on Instagram.
Zappos is another brand that has embraced the employee as creator mindset, offering social media training to its staff and encouraging them to post on social spaces about the company culture, products, and other experiences with the brand.
While many brands initially shied away from having employees generate social content over fears of public relations issues, today, they are embracing the employee as an exceptionally powerful asset to help fill the need for visual content. According to one estimate based on research from MSLGROUP, brand messages increased reach by 561% when shared by employees vs. official brand-owned social channels.
In addition to employees, brands must find ways to better organize and activate their loyal brand advocates and fan networks. In particular, this is useful when launching new products or campaigns, where organic user-generated content hasn’t yet had time to reach full maturity.
Olapic has launched our Content Creator App to help brands navigate this challenge. The Content Creator App allows brands to manage requests for types of content, centralize content collection and uploads, and organize assets to prepare them for activation across channels. The app helps brands to communicate more effectively with their advocates and employees and turn them into powerful creative contributors by connecting with them where they are spending their time: on mobile.
With sophisticated competition, and constantly shifting customer preferences, brands need all the help they can get to generate valuable, personalized, and authentic content for use across the customer journey. How are you activating all of your audiences and optimizing your visual content strategy to prepare your brand for success?