In this last of a three part series, we will figure out how to turn your consumers into your brand ambassadors.
Having your customers become cheerleaders for your brand is the ultimate outcome of marketing. For your customers not just sell for you, they also communicate in ways more effective than any structured brand communication you may create. This power is fully revealed in the creative use of social media content or what is also known as
‘user generated content (UGC).’
As Julie Fleischer, Director of Data + Content + Media at Kraft Food Group, comments: Any time you’ve got one of your consumers making the case for you, it’s obviously very credible.
Let’s take for instance, the oft-cited case of Tourism Australia. They receive 900 unsolicited photos from fans every day. Not knowing what to do with them, Tourism Australia posts it on Facebook and Instagram, and with that simple act of social media sharing, is able to generate tens of thousands of “likes” and “shares” on its pages. Any surprise that Tourism Australia outperforms every other tourism board in the world and does with just two primary ingredients:
1. Clever use of UGC and
2. Community co-creation and co-ownership of that content
Their Instagram page has more followers than the Canadian Tourism Commission (@explorecanada, 131k), Tourism New Zealand (@purenewzealand, 30k), VisitBritain (@lovegreatbritain, 11k) and South Africa Tourism (@meetsouthafrica, 6k) combined and “…its more than just ‘big numbers’ and ‘pretty pictures’,” says the Board’s Managing Director, John O’Sullivan. “It played an important role in making Australia a preferred holiday destination,” he adds.
He should know. Because Tourism Australia has made their audience the hero, they have their finger on the pulse on the people. They are completely clued in on what their targets want and are able to tailor their holiday packages accordingly.
Another example worth citing is that of Apple. Although a technology company, Apple’s iconic products – iTunes, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad – evoke a strong emotional response in its audience.
Smart brands connect to their audience through stories not products. They weave emotion-soaked stories on their core values, beliefs and character, DNA to reveal the human side of the company. Think Apple.
Or think Proctor and Gamble (P&G) and their use of Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics as basis for creating the #BecauseOfMom campaign. Encouraged by the overwhelming response, they followed up their efforts with “Thank You Mom app” that allows people to thank their own moms by uploading personalized content in the form of a video, still image with caption or text-based message.
The Google Chrome ads are another example of using consumers as brand ambassadors. Watch it. It’s amazingly simple, amazingly ordinary and the characters are not models, they are everyday people like you and me. The outcome? A real feeling of connect.
Other brands that aim to create such bonding with their customers are Virgin Airlines and Coca-Cola’s “This is Ahhh…” campaign. This was the first Cola campaign that used UGC in such a novel, cute manner.
Personally I loved the one spun on “Kolavari Di” that had already made rave reviews abroad. The seemingly non-choreographed number will have you jive as you co-relate it with the feeling of nirvana as you gulp down a swig of the famous fizzy cola drink.