2015: The Year of User Generated Content
Another great campaign from 2015 was the Star Wars #ForceFriday campaign, a global release and unboxing of dozens of new and exciting Star Wars toys. Their marketing team did an amazing job building up the hype for what would have been just a normal Friday and turned it into a global event with a global livestream and hashtag where fans shared their excitement and photos of new purchases of Star Wars toys.
Leveraging social media and user-generated content to hype the buildup and excitement of a new release can be very powerful. While not every brand may have the strength and numbers of the Star Wars fanbase, brands everywhere can use their greatest asset, their customers and fans, to become their greatest marketers.
A trend I see for 2016 is the increasing personalization of content as well as a greater shift to lifestyle-focused UGC. Coca-Cola did this really well in 2015 with their #Shareacoke campaign, literally personalizing their products for people to seek out specific variations just so that they would share, and create UGC on social networks. By personalizing their products and UGC marketing efforts, they created a greater emotional connection between their fans and their products.
In 2016, lifestyle campaigns in particular will continue to grow in popularity as brands ask their fans to participate in a visual conversation of what their products enable them to do. Moving away from repetitive product shots on social media, brands like the outdoor company Poler Stuff are promoting their own products through hashtags. Poler Stuff's #Campvibes asks fans to participate with amazing camping and hiking photography, not requiring them to feature Poler gear in the photos. It is about the lifestyle, not any specific product. Poler then curates and shares the best photos and videos on their website and in store to inspire visitors to go on their own camping adventures.