Activating a Brand’s Creators

Adam DornbuschAdam Dornbusch

CEO & Founder

October 8, 2020

All creators are not created equal. Some are good at taking pictures and videos, others are not. Some will take flattering images of your brand, others might tarnish it.

Just because anyone can capture quality content about your brand and post it to social media doesn’t mean they will. An estimated 1.4 trillion photos will be taken this year. A small percentage of those are posted to social media and a smaller percentage of those represent brands in the way that the brands would want. This makes it challenging to find user-generated content which is usable by a brand for marketing purposes.

But what if a brand could direct its community to create the content that it wants? What if a brand could give its community creative direction like they would for a professional photographer?

Over my more than ten years at GoPro, Current TV and now with EnTribe, I enabled tens of thousands of creators to do this. I have learned from the best professional photographers and media experts and have helped brands implement methods to derive the best creative from any brand’s authentic community. I initiate the process with “activations”.

What is an “activation”?

An activation can be any point of contact a brand has with its community. It can begin at the point of sale, on social media, at an event, through traditional advertising or in packaging. Every time a brand connects with its audience is an opportunity to engage and activate them.

So, how can a brand activate its community?

You make an ask, offer a reward, and spread the message as wide as possible. To get the most participation out of your community, keep the ask simple. The simpler the ask, the more you will drive participation.

Messaging is the secret sauce to an activation. The easier the message is to understand, the farther will be its reach and the greater its community activation. One of my best activations was, “This is how I GoPro. Show us how you GoPro and get rewarded at”. I made it simple, inviting, and general enough to encourage anyone to participate, and it succeeded even without clearly defining the reward.

We connected this messaging into almost every GoPro marketing initiative. We baked it into frequent social media posts, at the point of sale, on the product box, on GoPro’s media channels- at almost every opportunity GoPro had to connect with its community. We also encouraged our influencers to highlight the tagline when they posted and, as a result, so did their networks of followers.

Clear, inviting messaging explains your brand’s ask, but it won’t drive much action unless it’s backed with a motivating reward. Rewards can take on many forms. But there are best practices for different use cases. Coupons are a great way to drive ecommerce revenue. Cash and free products are always well received. At other times, even simple social media credit can be enough to incentivize most people. The reward should be appropriate in scale for your desired content use. Finally, if you intend to make a TV commercial from a user’s video, cash would be an appropriate reward. If the goal is simply to re-post for earned media, a simple coupon code or shout out may do. I’ll dive deeper into reward systems in another blog.

By layering authentic user-generated content into a brand’s marketing, EnTribe is able to create a multiplier effect that spins off exponentially more User Generated Content (UGC). Everyday consumers connect better with authenticity and as a result with the brand itself. When followers are engaged as creators, the brand becomes more than simply a product or service that a consumer buys. The customer actually feels an intimate association with the brand. And this intimacy creates a snowball effect, where a community’s feeling of association leads to ever wider participation.

How does a brand get the best content from its activations?

  1. Reactivate the creators. Explain exactly what content the brand wants. By sharing photography tips learned by experts directly with prospective creators, EnTribe has been repeatedly impressed with how often and how well amateur creators produce high quality photos and videos of exactly what its client brands seek.
  2. Then, by tracking a brand’s best creators, EnTribe enables brands to seek and effectively obtain the best content for its next marketing campaign.

The process generates a brand’s close connection with its community, drives authentic creative content, and turns the members of its community into fans for life. But to do this at scale requires a system for community engagement that EnTribe’s platform enables. That’s why I built EnTribe.

Key Takeaways


trillion photos will be taken this year

The essence of brand activation?

  1. Keep all consumer touchpoints in mind
  2. Simple is key
  3. Rewards create relationships
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.