Making UGC Work

Posted on June 27th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Campaigns

Does User Generated Content (UGC) work? More specifically, can a campaign reliant on UGC work? We think it can, provided the idea is carried out the right way. The best part about UGC campaigns is the element of risk involved with them; as far as content creation is concerned, UGC campaigns take a little relinquishing of control on the marketers part.

Granted, UGC platforms have come under fire for not being professional enough. Remember the great journalism debates over self-publishing on blogs? However, there are distinct advantages to taking this road, especially in terms of the creativity that gets channeled through people in different corners of the world.

Just so you know, we like the idea of building community through a common cause. It gives us warm fuzzies everywhere.

Think about it. If you’re creating a campaign from a crowd-sourced idea or content, you’re making the room to create a huge fan following by making your brand a lot more accessible than it probably has been.

Case in point: Doritos and their UGC Super-Bowl commercials. Doritos invited their audiences to create and send in their own Super Bowl commercials with a chance to win a very cool $1 million and have their ad aired during the Super Bowl.

The advantages here are self-evident. First of all, crowd-sourcing new content keeps production costs at a definite minimum. With countless numbers of talented amateurs and home grown video enthusiasts out and about, the production costs for creating video and then laying down media buys for dissemination are cut down, in some cases, by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Secondly, there’s always a new perspective and new insights to be had. You don’t really know what brand means to other people or how they connect with it until you offer them a chance to create or recreate an insular perspective that’s carried by a select group of people.

Finally, with a built-in potential for going viral, UGC campaigns offer an unprecedented opportunity for social engagement. While there’s no set formula to get millions of people talking about what you want to share and have to say, there’s no doubt that human connection is the basic driver.

It’s a simple principle. Don’t tell people what they need. Ask them and then deliver.

Posted on June 20th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Branding

Imagining this scenario may be difficult for some people, but we believe there’s a lot to be learned from reality T.V. No, really. If you take a moment to dissect what lays behind their overwhelming success, the basic principles don’t stray too far from what generally determines and defines success.

Faith in the product, ample amounts of self-confidence and an intimate understanding of human behavior go a long way in creating marketing campaigns that leave strong impressions for a long time.

How do we make it happen? If there’s anything Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has shown us, it’s that people love people who conquer seemingly insurmountable odds. Who doesn’t love a good journey story?

And there are more common elements than not between all the stories that make them so memorable.

Reflect and Retrospect Audience’s love being able to delve into the psyche of their producers. It’s a way to feel closer and more connected through a one-dimensional medium. And it’s a good lesson to take away from reality TV. Show the process of evolution –either your company or your product’s – to your customers, especially if you’ve achieved any success from the process. If you’re willing to share how you’ve overcome your obstacles, chances are you’ll be connecting with your target audience a lot faster. We all need something to aspire to and be inspired from.

Be Memorable It’s a wide umbrella. Being memorable can entail any number of characteristics – being flashy, communicating flair, taking risks and in certain cases, taking a risk big enough that many people will consider offensive. But when was the last time you could instantly recall a product or a campaign that didn’t have a razor-sharp edge?

Strut a Little. Strut a Lot. We’ll say it without any qualms – confidence is sexy. And if you’ve had a string of successes in the past, it’s perfectly fine to step back, reflect and toot your own horn for yourself. Because really, if you can’t believe in what you have to offer, how will anyone else?

Share with us what you’ve found to be a common thread or a memorable nugget from your observances of reality television. Do you think there’s more than meets the eye?

Making Connections

Posted on June 13th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Branding

How do you make connections? This may sound like a rhetorical question at the off-set, but when it comes to serving a target market that gets lumped together as a distant demographic, how do people find ways to reach out and connect?
We’ve been thinking about this for a while. After all, if marketers can’t find ways to connect with their target markets in earnest, how do they adapt to change and changing interests within their demographics? We’ve thought about this for a while. Really, it’s what we do. And we’ve narrowed our thoughts down to two basics: Listening & Perspective.

Speak your audience’s story. And it begins with listening, because the best way to connect with people you’re trying to reach? Get them to tell their stories. If there’s anything that the PSA’s related to cancer survivors have taught us, it’s that people want to share their stories, their journeys and their path to empowerment. We know that people need to be heard. And we can’t provide services for them before we’ve provided an open space for their voices. The underlying detail here is transparency of and commitment to company ethics and values. If your mission statement or vision include positive growth and corporate responsibility, establish a platform that communicates those values through action.

What would happen if all Lance Armstrong tried to do was win a race? Granted, it’s one of the most brutal tests of strength and conviction, but still. Winning the Tour de France requires a lot more than physical training.

What it really boils down to is this: Don’t sell a product or a service. Sell an Attitude. What makes brands like Nike or Axe or even Harley Davidson for that matter wildly successful? They’re not selling shoes, cologne or motorcycles. They’re trying to communicate edginess, sensuality and freedom, the core values that move their demographics. Think about it. You’d be hard-pressed to find too many Harley-Davidson owners sitting behind white picket fences.

Building Trust – Virtually

Posted on June 7th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories communication

We can sometimes lead you into tangents that talk about the warm and the fuzzy

aspects of business and communication. We believe that relationships, after they’re

established, are to be nurtured if they are ever to grow.


Corporate relationships are not unlike interpersonal relationships – after all, we

still deal with human beings at each end of the communication spectrum. And you’d

think that virtual communication and relationship building would assume a top-

down model by default.


Not particularly. When we’re not all being harassed by spam-bots, the driving force

behind virtual communication is still people. And it takes a lot of TLC to build trust

with your audience to bring them to a point where they will gladly approach you or

refer to you without thinking about it twice.



[The How-To]


1. Listen Yes, you’re in the market to provide solutions, and there’s a time and

place to offer those. But strong relationships are built on the foundations of

strong listening skills. If you don’t have them, then cultivate. Every once in a

while, stop sending active verbal and visual messages and just listen to what

your customers really need. They need the space to express themselves.

2. Be Your Values You may have strong company values written down on

paper, but they mean very little if they don’t translate into reality with

interpersonal interaction. If you value the quality of service you provide, then

the last thing an upset client needs from you is to be rejected or dismissed.

3. Instead of pointing clients to your FAQ page or handout, Respond to

queries, emails, Tweets, “Likes” and comments on Facebook posts, forums

and blog posts with custom replies. There is little worse than knowing you

are not welcome at the place you are seeking a service.



4. Keep Building You don’t stop caring once you know you have a good thing

going, do you? Corporate relationships are the same way, and good will

matters. Go the extra mile. Hand-write your cards. Do something for your

client that extends beyond the typical special-event discount, and do it just to

say thank you.


Your relationships with your customers will always be a reward-based two-way

street, and they will sense your transparency if you choose to display it. While the

process may take a little effort and be a little involved, the relationships you build on

the basis of mutual trust will be rewarding far beyond profit-margins.