Once upon a time, marketing simply meant paying a lump sum for billboards and storefront signage. But the industry has gone so far down the digital path that it’s now coming back full circle. Today’s consumers don’t distinguish between online and offline experiences, and every good company knows the customer is always right. So brands shouldn’t distinguish between online and offline experiences either!
Consumers aspire online but live their day to day offline. They look to influencers for product reviews and recommendations on social media, yet these social media stars are proving to be highly-effective poster children for big brands not only on smartphones but on traditional media like outdoor signage and in-store promotions. If brands have spent time and money establishing a connection between themselves and their consumers’ favorite influencers on social media, they can leverage that bond in real life by replicating digital experiences offline. The content that works on social media belongs in the store. This closes the loop between the experience the customer can expect from you at every touch point, on- and offline. The possibilities are endless, from influencer content in ads in-store to in-style tip videos loaded on tablet devices to lookbooks featuring Instagram fashion personalities.
Today, let’s explore how four brands are using influencer content for in-store and out-of-home activations.
Glossier creates “pockets of intimacy” with their online audience, IRL
I’m sure even those of us who don’t wear makeup have heard of the cult beauty brand, Glossier. The brand is a perfect example of a brand with a cohesive, customer-first marketing strategy. Unlike many brands whose marketing is drastically different on- and offline, Glossier connects with their online audience in real life by repurposing the same content they share on their Instagram and website onto Billboards across the country. Glossier knows that the content featuring influencers, beauty gurus and real customers instead of highly photoshopped top models resonates with their audience online. So why make the customer’s out-of-home experience any different?
Henry Davis, former President and COO of Glossier, explained that billboards spark conversations with consumers. “As consumers spot the billboard, they feel compelled to photograph it and create and share (digital) content themselves, thus taking ownership of that conversation with the brand.”
Davis shares that the goal is to have a continuous conversation with their customers, both on- and offline. They go so far to ask themselves, if this campaign were an Instagram post, what would the comments be?
Apple gives the grandfather of legacy channels a performance boost
Apple highlights the functionality of its iPhone cameras by showcasing incredible images photographers capture on their phones in what they call the “Shot on iPhone Challenge.” The winning images are featured on billboards across the world as well as in Apple’s retail stores.
Apple partnered with the National Hockey League to showcase the raw and organic images that fan favorite players take on their phones. These billboards were displayed across America and Canada in areas with high concentrations of Hockey fans. The Apple and NHL partnership brought digital and out of home experiences together by doing a simultaneous Instagram story campaign that gave hockey fans “day in the life” style content featuring their favorite players.
Shot on iPhone billboards also encourage other digital content creators to share their own photography online, further expanding the campaigns reach. The #shotoniphone has been used more than 7.7 million times on Instagram, giving the Apple team an endless amount of content to repurpose.
MakeUp Eraser uses high-performing online visuals in-store to boost sales
Beauty brand MakeUp Eraser uses influencer-generated content (IGC) to reinforce its brand wherever it’s carried by retailers like Nordstrom and Costco. According to the MakeUp Eraser team, nothing breathes life into warehouse shelving like a pop-up featuring a real person’s story.
“Influencer content brings a creative touch that one creative team can’t come up with internally,” said MakeUp Eraser co-founder Elexsis McCarthy. “One of the micro-influencers we worked with created a piece of content that I loved so much we included it on the ad that’s in 238 Costco stores. I went back to her for more images, and now she’s on our website and on our blog.”
In addition to IGC being authentic and engaging, it is much less expensive than studio shot creative. And because the team has access to hundreds of influencers, they can get a variety of content to appeal to a wide range of customers.
Adidas Original takes influencer relationships offline
Last summer, Adidas Original’s unique campaign took their influencers relationships up a notch. The brand surprised a few of their favorite partners with custom billboards across Los Angeles and New York. Each billboard addressed a single influencer by their Instagram handle and featured a personalized message and call to action to go pick up the new shoes Adidas was promoting at a specified location.
The idea of the campaign was to spark conversation and encourage content creation and sharing with both the influencer’s audience as well as existing Adidas fans. If a fan of the mentioned influencer ran into the sign, they were bound to share the billboard location with the influencer, who would of course create some amazing digital content in front of it.
Pascha Naderi-Nejad, senior director of Adidas Originals North America, explained, “These guys are the real sneaker celebrities. We wanted to get a lot of user-generated content, and we wanted to get their following to actually hit them up and say, ‘Hey, there’s a billboard with your name on it. What’s that all about?'"