As marketers around the world find themselves without the usual streams of content production, sourcing top-performing content has become a challenge to be reckoned with. We’ll show you how.
Take one look at Zara’s Instagram feed and e-commerce app, and the pivot is clear. The speed at which the brand switched from glossy studio and location shots to naturally lit home shots of models by partners, friends, and housemates, is both impressive and refreshing.
As marketers, our usual ways of working have been turned upside down. Content calendars once filled by studio days, location shoots, in-store launches, shows, and press events are now a fond memory. Social media managers, e-commerce experts, and creatives have found new weight on their shoulders as the internet becomes the only way to reach your audience.
Brands whose products aren’t stacked on supermarket shelves are left with e-commerce as the only means of staying afloat. Amazon has seen orders go through the roof as The Guardian reported customers spending $11,000 a second on the platform. Now that e-commerce is a key lifeline for most brands, the entire digital customer journey has come into focus, with leadership pinning hopes of survival on clicks and conversions. (There’s that new weight on the shoulders we mentioned.)
So how can marketers put their best content forward, while still keeping it fresh and engaging, all from their homes?
There are two key pools from which you can source content: your community and your archive. Let’s dive into how you can generate, choose, and optimise content from both of these pools.
1. Your Community
Your community of course includes your followers, but it also includes friends of the brand like influencers, models you regularly work with, your internal team, and other brand muses.
Calling on your followers to take photos at home featuring their favourite items and products is proving successful for many social-first brands. The reason being that these brands have championed their audience from the beginning, regularly sharing community content from day one. Take Pretty Little Thing for example, their audience “gets” their aesthetic and can recreate it at home, which leads to an ocean of on-brand community content from their latest catchy hashtag campaign.
Reinforcement is key when it comes to generating community content, and we’re seeing brands featuring their own versions of the #stayhomewith___ on every👏 single👏 post👏, meaning their audience is seeing this message over and over, making them more likely to jump on the bandwagon and submit their own photos.
So, this all sounds great if you’re a social-first brand with an audience that skews younger and is more open to taking selfie after selfie, but what if you’re a luxury brand who has only ever posted professional photography and community created content is a no-go?
For luxury brands, working with trusted models, influencers and celebrities might be more suited to your brand image. Gucci recently featured a beautiful moment between French singer-songwriter Soko and her young son, and curated a playlist for its followers. The caption has no mention of any product, but speaks of spending time with family, and highlighting what the Gucci Community stands for, and where their donations are going.
Two of our favorites, MATCHESFASHION and Ganni are also generating brilliant WFH content. Ganni is running a #GANNIWFH campaign which has led to a feed of the ultimate cool girls in gingham, denim, and wonderfully mismatched prints at home.
Meanwhile MATCHESFASHION is hosting an At Home With series, which recently featured the force that is Leandra Cohen, founder of Man Repeller. Working with its community to create both short and longer-form content, while fully acknowledging the situation we’re living in, looks to be a winning strategy for the brand
2. Your Archive
Whether your brand is in its first few years, or you’re part of a heritage powerhouse, you have an archive. Your archive is all of your historic content—every piece of content created for the brand.
Brands are dipping into their archives for content to post, and they’re seeing some incredible results. We looked at a few luxury brands to see how their historical content was performing against their current campaigns. Photos and videos from the archives spans from a FW14 campaign, to photographer collaborations from the 90s and early 00s.
Images from Versace’s collaborative project with legendary photographer Richard Avedon had an average engagement rate +112% higher than more recent SS20 content.
Louis Vuitton’s team is digging through their vast archive of location shoots, playing into the nostalgia for travel during a time when the world is staying at home. Photos from Louis Vuitton’s archive performed on average, +54% better than their more recent content in terms of engagement rate.
Moncler is easily one of the coolest brands (no pun intended) when it comes to creativity, and the brand is using it’s archive to encourage their audience to use this time to reflect. The series of images which are largely from the last decade achieved on average an engagement rate +24% higher than more recent content.
Balmain boasts an iconic archive of celebrity content as well as some of the most published collaborations and campaigns.
One interesting fact from this research is that the reach for these groups of reposted historic content did not differ significantly from the more recent campaign content, yet the engagement (likes + comments / followers) was much higher.
It’s clear that content from the archives is working. Audiences are in the mood for nostalgia, and it feels as though brand fans are indulging in how things were, looking fondly back at times when things were a bit more normal.
Once you have community created content pouring in and your entire brand archive in your Dash Hudson Library (there’s no limit), how do you choose what to post? Without your team around you to bounce ideas off, it can be difficult to make these choices from the same four walls you’ve been working in, alone, for the past few weeks. Enter your new favorite colleague: Vision.
Imagine Vision as that person across the desk who always gives you a straight, unbiased answer (we know that doesn’t actually exist, that’s why we made Vision). You show them a bunch of seemingly similar content and they, without hesitation, say “out of the pile of images, these are the top 5. These will perform best.”
Vision is Dash Hudson’s visual intelligence tool that actually predicts the performance of a photo before it goes live. You read that right—it looks at your pictures and tells you which ones your audience is most likely to engage with the most and the least. This is how leading brands are making data-backed decisions on what to post.
(For those wanting to go down the Vision wormhole)
With a community of content creators to source from, an archive of location/studio shoots at your fingertips, and visual performance predictions, adjusting to a new content mix and new ways of working will be smooth, less labour intensive—and, best of all, effective.