Marketing has always been about creating messaging to influence consumers to buy your products or services. Companies studied consumers, figured out how to connect them with their product or service, messaged them to this effect and the cycle goes round and round.
The advent of ecommerce and social media changed this relationship dramatically. It flipped the balance of power away from the brands and into the hands of their consumers. The democratization of marketing power also helped level the playing field by helping small companies take on the big ones. Look at Something Navy, a social media marketing focused clothing brand brought to life from a social influencer that sold over $1M in 15 minutes during its launch amid a global pandemic. Something Navy extended their consumer reach by having employees and consumers share every part of their buying experience. Instead of forcing their brand message they amplified the consumer’s message.
Ten years ago when social media grew from a business's new digital infrastructure, brands lost control of the message. Twitter and Facebook started this shift. Over time, this power balance has extended to the brand's creative as well. The explosive growth of Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok with younger generations represents how consumers are dragging eyeballs away from your messaging towards their own creative pursuits. If brands do not find a way to join in, their message will be marketing noise in the sea of social media.
While consumers continue to garner this power over the message and creative, it's time for brands to optimize this relationship by officially “hiring” your consumers. Harness their passion for your brand and their desire to be acknowledged to do something that would have been unheard; give them a formal role in your marketing department.
Today’s consumers have changed. They are no longer captive to absorb your messaging where you choose, when you choose or more importantly how you choose. In fact, they spend most of their time simply avoiding your social media advertising because they are spending their time creating content to gain each other’s attention. While this may seem hopeless in terms of how we can better reach consumers, it is not. Their passion for content creation is the raw creativity companies need to harness to evolve and break through. It is the User Generated Content (UGC) they love to produce that makes them the perfect addition to your marketing team.
UGC is not a new idea. Most marketers believe in its inherent power, but often the development of a User Generated Content strategy ends up on the cutting room floor because most UGC isnʻt usable. Let’s face it, just because your consumers want to be director, producer and digital influencers for your brand, doesn’t mean they don’t need guidance. While the concept of UGC’s virality and value is real, without guidance only about 1% of it can be leveraged as is. As a marketer, you need to realize that if you want valuable UGC you need a way to guide the creators.
Good news, your consumers are ready to be “hired” and with them comes their network.
Brand Activation Manager
The brand activation manager comes up with new ways to bring the brand to life. Once you have built a 1:1 creator network imagine directing a whole slew of folks to dream up ways to communicate your brand’s value to their networks. You guide them, they interpret what you want and tailor it to the folks who they know. This enables fresh creative that is on point for their audience with guidance from your brand’s four corners.
Rather than have your brand activation manager crafting ways to bring your brand to life, the brand can give the playground to your consumer brand activation managers who can help interpret your concepts. It provides a network effect that exponentially increases both the amount of creative and the authenticity of it.
What does success look like?
With an army of brand activation managers, you can speed up the rate at which you acquire usable content, how that content can fit reaching a variety of different audiences, all while saving money on acquiring it.
Social Media Manager
Simply put; all of your consumers are their own individual social marketer. In this case, you are creating definitive touchpoints to your brand, creating more individualized consumer experiences through these new social media managers and scaling campaigns at a pace never done before. Right now they have no guidance, if you give them a formal role, they can produce the UGC you need and be the conduit to reach their specific part of the digital world.
Seek them out in the digital wild, invite them to be part of an elite creator network, and guide them to produce the content you need. Once the creator network produces the authentic content you need, send it back to them for usage and amplification. This way they use their own specific social media prowess to drive your brand message.
What does success look like?
Your creator network becomes the passionate and authentic brand ambassadors you need to amplify your message with the guardrails you need to stay on brand. The UGC from your creator network becomes the fuel by which you bring their work and your brand to life.
Channel Marketing Director
You want to provide UGC creators the right tasks that they can excel at performing. You wouldn’t want someone passionate about fishing to respond to a call for creative around snowboarding. As your new channel marketing directors, your consumers can be grouped together based on the interests they have and locations they are in with the brand messaging you want shared. This way you have a specialized army of consumers creating relevant and authentic content for audiences that matter and care in the place those audiences will be.
Find them, invite them to be a part of your brand’s specialized interest group, create special challenges that help them create and away you go. Because these channel marketing directors can bring their unique expertise to your brand, it’s up to you to create the process to guide them to do their work.
What does success look like?
You have groups of your consumers, filtered by channel, producing excellent content that is used by your brand each day. And with your structured program in full swing, you are adding consumers directly into your brand program so that your brand’s direct reach to the creator network expands and multiplies. When this happens, you can measure and decide which channels to own and which consumers or interest groups you can activate to help you own them.
Let’s Face It, in an Evolving Digital World You Can’t Stand Still
With new privacy laws being implemented, the days of being able to subtly study and target your customers could be gone. The only digital links to audiences that might remain could be the direct 1:1 relationships you create with your consumers. To build direct relationships you need to think differently, give consumers a role in crafting your content and messaging, and build a strong UGC process to manage this new way to interact. At EnTribe, we remain committed to helping you manage this new bridge to your customers as you transform them into creators for your brand and your company. Only with a strongly integrated UGC and social media marketing processes can you get the most out of your new marketing stars, your customers, and show your competition what best-in-class digital and social media marketing looks like.