content is king on typewriter

Why Content is King (And Always Will Be)

Many businesses increased their production of content for their websites in the last year hoping to compete in the ever-changing and challenging digital space. It seems that content is in every sense of the word king in 2019 and publishing doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

But not all content is created equal.  Not all of it adds value to a business or its products. It's important that you create high-quality content that engages your potential customers and brings new purchasers to your brand. Your content should never be self serving asa as such should be relevant to your customers. They need to feel like you are on the same page with them and you can do that by showing how your products will make their lives easier.

Listen, I know at times I can ramble on but trust me, I've self-edited myself here. So if you would like to learn more about creating great content and to explore all of the reasons why it remains an important place to spend for your business to be successful this year, please, keep on reading.

It Gives You the Best Opportunity for SEO

Search engine optimization is a very popular marketing strategy for businesses of all sizes, and content is a huge part of how it's done. It used to be that you could just seed your website pages with keywords to get them to rank on Google.

Well not anymore. Today, Google ranks web pages based on the quality and relevancy of their content. That means if you have great posts on your website, you're more likely to rank for all sorts of things.

Try to research high traffic keywords to find out what your customers are looking to learn. You can also visit websites like Reddit to see what people who buy your products are talking about. Then, use your content to answer questions that are often asked there.

It Encourages Your Customers to Engage With You

When you write a blog post or make a video and post it on your website, your customers have the opportunity to see what you're about. They can then leave a comment to engage with the content and let other people know what their thoughts and feelings are.

I believe this can really foster a great relationship with your customers. The kind that makes them feel like they play a vital role in your business and its success. Because, let's face it, they do. They'll want to share their opinions and advice with others who visit your website. That means if they find your products helpful and your content helpful as well they'll be likely to leave compliments.

And now for a little pro tip: If you want to make the most of the interactions between your customers, try creating a forum for your website where they can go to discuss your products. This is particularly good advice if you're in a very small niche.

They'll really enjoy having other people to talk to who share their specialized knowledge and needs. And by creating a feeling of community on your website, people will be encouraged to come back more often and engage with others.

It Can Generate New Leads

Content used for search engine optimization is meant to pull in people who might be browsing about topics relevant to your products. By choosing the right topics to write about, you can reach people who are in the latter stages of the sales funnel and encourage them to buy your products.

You should have content targeted at all of your potential customers. That way, you will be able to reach the widest market. The more audience members you appeal to, the more sales you can make.

Try to come up with various customer identities that you want to appeal to and write content for that market. For example, if you sell hair conditioner, you will want to appeal to an audience of young professionals, an audience of mothers, and have posts for an audience of grandmothers as well.

It Adds Value to Your Brand and Products

When you are trying to sell someone something, you don't want to tell them they just have to take your word for it. You want to be able to demonstrate the value of your products.

When you are selling online, it can be especially difficult to reach your customers and let them know that your products work. Content gives you the opportunity to open that dialogue and educate them on why they need to buy what you're selling.

Content is King and Establishes You as an Expert

When you write high-quality articles for your website and publish content that is relevant to your customers, then you establish yourself as an expert on the subject. The more information you have available, the more it seems like you know what's best for your customers.

It Encourages Loyalty From Your Customers

When your customers are drawn in by your content and you have established yourself as an expert in your field, then they will come to you when they have a question.

They will look to your website for more information about your products and use that knowledge to educate themselves for future purchases. That gives you the opportunity to suggest more products to your existing customers to help encourage their brand loyalty.

People like to buy from someone who sounds like they know what they are talking about and the content on your website could be just what you need to gain an edge.

Content Can Sell Products

Content is king and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. Today's customers like to interact with their favorite brands and content gives them that opportunity through sharing and comments.

And not only that, great content can bring you new customers and educate them on your products to encourage them to buy. But there are also other steps you can take to improve your business' reach.

Contact us today for help with your marketing strategy to sell more units than ever in 2019. My ramble is now officially over.


packaging trends

The Hottest Packaging Trends You'll Want To Follow

I must admit, I have at times (in fact even over the Thanksgiving holiday) purchased a product specifically because I liked the packaging. How many of us have done that before? Hopefully I'm not the only one raising his or her hand. But just peruse any alcohol store or college apartment and you will understand something about packaging. When the contents of a product have an intrinsic but subjective value packaging can certainly be the one extra factor that seals the deal.

Boxes and colors and bags wrap up the plastic and glass containers for trips home. High-end scotches come in lined wooden boxes screaming class and refinement.

Vodkas and schnapps, popular with faster drinkers, feature shaped bottles and colorful arrays. Alcohol packaging trends lead the market in finding new ways to dress up old products. Suffice it to say, I'm a sucker for great packaging.

That's why, in my opinion, understanding the emerging trends of packaging can make the difference. Do you want your items rotting on or flying off the shelves?

Emerging Packaging Trends

Of course, creative packaging isn't new. Boutique industries and gifts industries have been fighting these battles for a while. Other industries didn't care. They were able to dominate or saturate a particular region and their packaging didn't need to be anything more than functional.

Packaging does more than serve as a container to deliver the goods inside. Packaging serves a purpose in establishing your brand and engaging customers. It does so by mixing the right material with the right impact.

Purpose

Packaging serves three major purposes to a customer.

  • House the objects inside.
  • Provide or indicate status.
  • Market through brand positioning.

Brand positioning focuses your product packaging from ancillary to necessary. You want your customer to be of the mindset that they aren't buying an item but The Item.

Trending

Making brand packaging trend is about glomming onto the most potent of marketing: named brand recognition.

Unboxing

A newer trend pushing popular packaging designs is the unboxing potential. People love to unwrap and reveal the contents of packaging. Unboxing has emerged as a whole world of anticipation and fun. Making packaging that presents well in an unboxing means tons of views and shares. So now that you have an idea of the end goal of packaging, here's the big question. How the heck do I achieve these goals?

Materials

Considering the material shapes the product messaging. Increasingly, consumers crave packaging that functions well and leaves less damage. Recyclable and upcycle ready packaging get noted and praised. Innovative use of materials and 'less is more' philosophies garner accolades.

Papers

Wooden boxes, cardboard wrappers, and paper constraints make great packaging. Wood is renewable (though it takes energy from other sources). Paper packaging also recycles efficiently.

Paper materials work best when they accent the products inside. Since paper isn't often transparent, cutouts and previews are recommended. These designs provide a little taste of the contents inside.

Laser cutting logos into the packaging provides an old-world flair. Laser cutting is also a great way to create interactive packaging that becomes puzzles or games.

Minimalist designs and DIY looks pop better on paper products than plastic.

Plastics

Plastic wins in terms of durability and longevity but loses in overall appeal. Many consumers also have it out for plastic thanks to the floating garbage islands.

That said, dedicated industries make strides in plastics recycling and upcycling programs.

Plastics provide useful ways of making form-fitting contents with injection molding processes. This makes it easy to keep products from sustaining damage and, in the case of multiple components, can be designed as a storage or carry case.

Think of any given tool case. The packaging that sells the product also contains and transports the product.

Plastic products make large text easy to read and unusual shapes easy to form. Don't settle for a box when an oval, dinosaur or recreated sarcophagus can house the goods.

Impact

Part of what you will select in a material is for geared toward the impact you desire. With so much jockeying for position in store shelves, an eye-catching package can seal the deal.

You also want to find a trend that matches the desires and expectations of the target consumer. You don't want to sell baby shampoo in a hand-tooled wooden box or a set of knives in a pop out Day-Glo plastic case.

Colors

You already know that color theory and the psychology of color are important. Consider also, that tone has an effect in packaging. Bright and bold color appeal to the youth while down-played pastels attract older audiences.

Simple contrasts command respect and offer a quiet superiority. Garish jumbles of colors invoke youth and enthusiasm in their chaos.

Loose design elements lend themselves to color. Precision lines and angular shapes do better in monochrome.

Pick a color scheme that matches your audience but avoid looking like a competitor. Stand out by being precise.

Minimalism

Mark Twain famously intoned, "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead." So too, minimalism takes a lot of time and effort to look simple and uncomplicated. This constantly rediscovered 'trend' in packaging makes sense. People want the packaging to do its job and expect to receive what is advertised. A simple external package sells a promise to uncomplicate stressful lives.

The internal components, though, keep any number of pieces and parts free of damage and easy to remove.

Minimalism in the unboxing era also provides a nice slight of hand for designers. Audiences (future consumers) love to see how many things can emerge from an otherwise unassuming box.

Vintage

The post-modern 21st-century world also loves a good harkening. We love to be reminded of simpler times. Products with a heritage or traditional sensibility make us feel part of a wider world.

Obsequious lettering and simple color contrasts advertise well and boast readability.

Combine a vintage design with some typography know-how to build your brand into a collectible. How often have you seen a t-shirt with a logo for a product that has nothing to do with shirts? That is the power of typography at work.

Also, if you hate the overuse of certain typefaces, get outside of the papyrus and comic-sans horrorscape with a fresh take on lettering.

Get Creative

With these tips and packaging trends, you have what you need to edge out potential shelf-mates. Design and marketing go hand-in-hand and it takes a lot of information to stay ahead of the competition.

Contact us for details on how you can apply design to all of your business functions.


man wearing stack of hats

The Top 10 Benefits of Hiring a Professional Marketing Agency

Most business owners start their own companies because they have a passion for what they do. Hey, that's what we did. But that doesn't mean they are adept at performing all the duties associated with running a company. Here at EraserFarm, we're all wearing a multitude of different hats. But that comes with the territory I guess. Which is why many business owners learn new skills to help them run their company more efficiently. And when possible, smart owners also hire employees with specific skills they don't have. But you don't always need a full time or even part-time employee to run certain things. Especially when it comes to marketing.

Outsourcing your marketing to a professional marketing agency often makes the most sense on a variety of levels. Before you do any marketing hiring, keep on reading to learn the top 10 benefits to hiring one.

1. Hiring a Marketing Agency is Cost Effective

The advantages and disadvantages of advertising are numerous and the costs associated with marketing is usually considered a disadvantage. However, since paying for marketing is a tax deduction and when it's done right it brings in new business, it's not entirely all negative. Especially when you hire a marketing agency because you don't have to spend money on advertising or hire a headhunter to find the perfect candidate. Not only that, you save money by only paying for what you need (Who doesn't love that?) while having access to the latest marketing technology and a whole team of professionals. If you paid for that same level of quantity and quality in-house, well, naturally, that would require you shelling out wads of cash in the hundreds of thousands range. Unsubscribe, you say? Agreed. 

2. Saves You Time

You're busy running a company. And like I said, that means you wear a lot of hats but the good news is now you can take one of them off. While you should know something about marketing, it's no longer your job to be an expert. There are many pros and cons of advertising. One of the cons is that it can be time-consuming to keep up with the latest trends. But one of the pros of a marketing agency is that they handle your marketing while you focus on making sure you can handle all the new business you'll enjoy from hiring the right company. That sounds like a good deal doesn't it?

3. Access to a Team of Marketing Experts

If you hired an employee to handle your marketing efforts, you'd only be able to take advantage of their knowledge about marketing. Most marketing experts focus on one or two areas. They can't possibly know everything, especially since Google constantly updates their rules and regulations. But a team of pros means you have a well-rounded group of experts who together know everything and anything about marketing.

4. Fresh Ideas

Your employees are highly valued because of what they can bring to the table. But after a while, working together often means you begin to think alike as well. We're all individuals here, not a pack of lemmings walking towards a cliff. It may prevent you and your employees from developing fresh ideas for your company. And hiring an outside team means you have a team with a fresh perspective on what makes your company awesome.

So, in other words, go find a marketing company who has worked with companies like yours before. I would put my money on it that they already know what it takes to make your company succeed.

5. Access to a Wide Variety of Marketing Techniques

Marketing experts can't all be great at everything, as much as some of them think they are. It's usually best to focus on a few areas to become an expert on. At a marketing agency, they can afford to hire experts who are great at social media and other experts who know SEO better than the back of their hand. And together, they all form a great team whose sole job it is to make your brand shine.

6. Helps You Avoid Hiring an Employee

Marketing hiring isn't fun if you're trying to do it in-house. It can get expensive and take a lengthy amount of time. You don't have to worry that they'll suddenly decide to quit. You don't have to pay out benefits or pay for their health insurance. And if you do decide to part ways with your marketing agency, it's far easier to fire them than it is firing an employee.

7. Ability to Scale Your Marketing Efforts

One of the advantages and disadvantages of advertising is knowing how to properly scale your marketing efforts so you get the right type of exposure without going over budget. When you hire in-house, part of your budget goes to pay their salary and insurance. Hiring an agency means you can focus more dollars on marketing which allows you to scale your efforts more easily. And as you grow, it's easier to work with an agency who can work with you rather than having to pause to hire additional employees.

8. No Training Necessary

Training a new employee takes time. Then there's making sure they fit in with your corporate cultureWhen you hire a marketing agency, they'll help you focus on and develop your brand so they can use it for marketing purposes. That's all the training they need. They don't need to learn how to use your computer systems because they're using their own. And they also use their own technology to help your brand become more competitive.

9. Access to the Latest Technology

There are many pros and cons of advertising. The expense of technology is one of them. Technology constantly changes, especially when it comes to how we market our companies. And it costs money to keep up with it both in terms of education and arming yourself with the right programs. Any marketing agency worth their salt will always be on top of the latest technology and they're happy and eager to share that technology to help promote your company.

10. Increased Security

By 2021, it's expected that cost of cybercrime damages will exceed $6 trillion. And it's really difficult to keep up with hackers these days. Working with a marketing agency, they can help ensure that your website is a safe haven for your customers to shop at. You can trust they can help ensure that your site isn't hacked and that it won't crash at an inopportune moment. Even small businesses have to worry about cybercrime so make sure your site is protected at all times.

Work With Us

We like to consider ourselves a cutting-edge marketing agency. And trust me when I say we eat, sleep, and breath the latest technology. We're kind of nerdy in that way, I admit.  But we truly do  love to help clients we partner with succeed. And we'd love to hear from you. Whether you have a question or you're ready to hire us, click here to set up a time for us to chat.


strategy on blue background

Digital Advertising Strategies that can work wonders

The digital market is a new frontier for most marketers. Although digital advertising has grown tremendously within the last decade, many companies still don't have a solid digital marketing strategy.

Research shows that more and more consumers are making their purchasing decisions online. Nowadays, the moment a user lands on your website or sees your ad, they are a potential customer.

It's up to your marketing team to create a comprehensive marketing strategy that converts users into customers.

In this guide, we'll highlight some advertising strategies that will boost your revenue.

Learn Your Platform

The best thing you can do as an advertiser is to learn your platform. Social media advertising has grown in popularity but it doesn't work for everyone.

Old-school pay-per-click advertising works wonders for others. On the other hand, search advertising converts the most leads into customers for certain companies.

The online platform matters because you need a platform that speaks to your target consumer. Search advertising is great for companies that have a product or service that most people search for online.

For example, a maid service benefits from search advertising. Most people don't know they need a maid service until something happens.

Once the search begins, they look for the most reputable businesses in the area. If you provide a business or service people don't know that they need, search advertising is a great outlet.

For more conventional retailers i.e. restaurants and clothing stores, pay-per-click (PPC) is probably more effective. Search advertising is part of PPC, but all those ads on a website are also part of the PPC network.

Website ads require a bit more research because the web owner and advertisers have to make sure their audience and needs align.

Bidding for ad space on a site your demographic enjoys will really impact your conversion and click-through rates.

The product/service placement makes sense because it aligns with the site's mission and demographic ex. sporting goods equipment on a hunting site. Users won't view the content as spammy and it'll pique their interest. Interest=clicks.

Social media advertising is great for new and innovative products. Startup businesses love social media because advertising is relatively inexpensive and the platform does most of the work for them.

Platforms like Facebook have users share information about themselves to curate their online experience. All you have to do is select your demographic.

Now, social media campaigns are more detailed and require more research but the idea of innovation is the same. Social media users are unique and they're looking for unique products.

Research Your Consumer

Your team can pump out a million advertising campaigns, but without the right research, you're wasting time and money.

It's amazing to see the number of companies that don't understand the true needs and wants of their customers. If your digital advertising strategies don't connect to your audience, they won't spend money with your company.

Use web performance metrics to track page visits, search terms, top search engines, bounce rates, an average visit duration. These are just a few metrics that help you gauge your customer's behavior.

The unique visitor metric tracks a customer's IP address to track their visits to the website. Another tip is to engage your customers with online surveys and polls. Have them tell you what they want to see and what they need.

Once you've identified your customer's "personality" start doing some A/B testing with your web campaigns. You can change little things like font/size or redesign the entire page.

A/B testing is another metric that helps with web optimization and research. Pay special attention to the conversion and drop-off rates.

You can use this information to set reasonable goals for your advertising strategies.

SEO is a big part of digital advertising and keyword research is the centerpiece of SEO. Use your AdWords account to add PPC keywords, identify negative keywords, and optimize landing pages.

Only bid on keywords that perform well for your site. Zero in on methods that work.

Get Creative with Your Advertising Strategies

Nobody wants to see a boring advertising campaign, especially on the internet. A digital campaign will help you flex your creativity button. Get your graphic designers and UI/UX designers on board.

Create a campaign that's not only eye-catching but also user-friendly. You will also need to optimize your images for mobile sites.

You can also use a digital campaign to revamp the company's image. Switch up the logo or add a mascot, create some visual interest.

People have short attention spans, so your digital campaign needs to be vibrant. Adding graphics like gifs, memes, and other fun digital effects. Experimenting with different visuals will help your campaign stand out.

Google notices your creative efforts and it will also improve your search ranking.

Hire a Content Marketing Agency

Sometimes, it's hard for you to know what your company's advertising sector needs. Members of your marketing team may be laser-focused on areas that don't need that much attention.

They may have a hard time understanding the changes that need to be made.

That's where a content marketing agency steps in. They can offer a comprehensive and objective review of your company's advertising strategies.

Content agencies also stay up-to-date with the newest digital trends and Google updates. They can bring some new and exciting suggestions to the table.

Finding the right content marketing agency will take some work. You want a firm that pays special attention to your marketing goals and industry needs.

Eraser Farm

At Eraser Farm, we pride ourselves on being digital experts that focus on the human element and the emotional aspect of marketing.

We develop concepts that speak to your consumers' minds and hearts.

We utilize strategy and neuromarketing techniques to help us pinpoint powerful emotions that will connect with consumers. Techniques such as eye tracking that helps us recognize the methods that grab the user's attention.

Combining biometrics and tried and true research methods is a unique approach to advertising that drives results.

Curious? That’s an emotion we love. Check out some of our work and contact us today!


orange butterfly with blue butterflies

How to Find the Best Tampa Advertising Agency

Deciding to hire an advertising agency is a big step for your company. The results that can come from a campaign crafted by industry experts can mean big growth for your business.

It's an exciting proposition, but also a daunting one.

There are many advertising agencies in Tampa. The Tampa Bay Business Journal's list of largest Tampa ad agencies included 31 names, and there's plenty of others who didn't make the list.

With so many options, it can be tough to narrow down your search. But maybe we can help. Here are some tips on how to find the best Tampa ad agency. The one that’s right for your company.

Know What Your Business Needs

Deciding to find an advertising and marketing agency isn't as simple as waking up and realizing you need to work with one.

If you're interested in working with an ad agency, it's likely that there are specific reasons your company needs outside help.

Some small businesses don't have their own marketing department, so they outsource the work. Larger businesses might have in-house staff but want to add help for a massive campaign. Sometimes a company needs a unique specialization, such as animation or search engine optimization.

In order to find the best Tampa ad agency for your business, you must evaluate your company, its goals, and the work you want to be done.

Evaluate Your Business

Smart business owners will frequently evaluate the state of the company.

What do you do well? Where are their deficiencies?

A common method of evaluation is to perform a SWOT analysis. This analysis looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the company, as well as the external opportunities and threats.

An analysis like this can reveal the source of hindrances to your success. With that knowledge, you can properly allocate resources to make effective, efficient changes.

Company Goals

After evaluation, you need to decide what exactly you hope a partnership with a Tampa ad agency would accomplish.

Do you want more people to know about your brand? Do you want to sell a specific product? Do you want to effect societal change over a particular issue?

It's important to concentrate on your end goals before focusing on how to accomplish them. A common mistake businesses make is acting without considering what those actions will accomplish.

By having a focus on the end goals, it's easier to realize which actions will be the most effective. This will help when deciding what services to seek from an agency.

Budget

Getting work done by an ad agency does come at a price.

It's important to know how much your company can afford to spend to find a great fit. The top names in advertising will cost more than smaller, less experienced firms. And often, you get what you pay for.

That said, there are quality ad agencies of all sizes to fit any budget. The size of the agency isn't as important as the size of their ideas.

Understand Agency Specialties and Strengths

Your search for a Tampa ad agency will likely start where most searches do: Your favorite search engine.

This process will present you with many options. Make a list of names and websites to check out, and begin the process of narrowing things down.

It can seem at first that they all mush together. But the reality is that each agency is unique and presents something different.

Services

This is where it's valuable to know exactly what type of work your business is looking for.

If you have many different needs, you'll want to find full-service agencies. These well-rounded agencies are typically larger and more expensive. But they can take care of everything from traditional advertising to marketing and public relations.

If you have a specific need, it might make more sense to go with a specialized firm. Some agencies are experts at video production, while others might be great at securing media coverage. Many focus on the digital aspects of marketing, such as social media, website management, and SEO.

Both full-service and niche agencies can get you great results, so find the one that best suits your needs and your budget.

Industry

Along with the services they offer, some agencies can be categorized by their industry.

These firms work exclusively on projects revolving around a certain field. The medical, real estate and automotive industries are among the areas that a Tampa ad agency might specialize in.

Industry-specific ad agencies are experts in those fields. They're knowledgeable of the nuances, best practices, and legal issues unique to that area.

If you find an agency that works in your niche, they would be a good option to consider. And if they don't fit your business, they're an easy name to cross off.

Research Work

You're not only looking for service options. You're also looking for quality of work.

Luckily, most agency websites include a collection of past work. Don't hesitate to browse through their work samples and see what they have to offer.

You should look at the general quality of the work, as well as the success of the projects. Also, pay attention to style and tone -- You want the personality of the agency to sync up with your company's.

Looking at past work also gives you an opportunity to see which businesses have contracted with the agency before. If large, successful companies are on the client list, it might be a good indication of quality and reliability.

Look for a Partner

Your relationship with the Tampa ad agency you choose should be an in-depth affair.

It isn't as simple as running to Wal-Mart, grabbing a bag of chips, and checking out at the counter. You aren't just buying a one-size-fits-all item.

The best agencies don't look at the companies they work for as merely clients. They see them as partners.

Crafting a strong marketing message requires a deep understanding of your company. To do that, the agency and the company need to build a relationship.

A healthy marriage between the two parties will result in better work. It will also pave the way for additional projects and opportunities in the future.

When searching for a Tampa ad agency, look for one that is enthusiastic to build a meaningful, long-term relationship with your business. 

Find a Tampa Ad Agency

If you're looking for a Tampa ad agency, we invite you to check out EraserFarm.

At EraserFarm, we're feverishly dedicated to research and strategy that leads us to the most innovative, emotionally charged, creative ideas. Want to start a project or just touch base with us? Contact us today.


the Homefront foundation portrait

The Homefront Foundation Work Featured in Communication Arts

Every day, veterans return home struggling to tell their story. Struggling to readjust to the lives they are retiring to. But The Homefront Foundation encourages veterans and service members to tell their stories and helps them do just that. It's a powerful coping method and also gives these courageous men and women a chance to come together as a community. Using real veterans instead of actors gave this piece an authentic, believable message that connected with donors and veterans alike.Without a doubt, the shoot was emotionally taxing for both the crew and the veterans. Asking them questions took them back to a moment in time that was very difficult for them to recall and articulate. The easy part was finding the veterans and service members to participate. They all were very generous with their time, and so open to express themselves in front of us like they did—especially since they didn’t know what questions we were going to ask them. They only knew it was for the Homefront Foundation.

To have this piece featured in such a prestigious publication as Communication Arts is a validation of its authenticity and we are beyond honored to be included for the work we've done and continue to do for such a wonderful foundation.

 


photo of lake next to coniferous forest and mountains

The Flipside of User Generated Content

Consumer distrust. It’s a problem that runs through a marketer’s nightmares like a runaway train. User Generated Content is a good start to pull that train back into the station. And to no surprise, it’s become such a big part of current trends like influencer marketing. UGC is a more authentic than typical content. It is more relatable to consumers and is a great way to connect with them in real ways. Do we really believe a product or service is better because a celebrity is telling us so? I certainly wouldn’t. I am more inclined to believe someone who seems just like a regular Joe like me. The rub is that when brands engage their UGC with influencers who have tons of followers, relatability and authenticity of the content can get a little dicey. Particularly when you’re trying to differentitae between ad and advocacy.

One of the unique elements of UGC is that it taps into consumer trust and relationship building. It’s a good tactic, for sure.  Particularly when used with influencer marketing because the content users create is presented organically to those users’ social audiences. In fact, I recently saw a study conducted by Reevoo that said “61 percent of people would be more likely to engage with an advertisement if it contained user generated content.” And another from Bazaar found that “51 percent of Americans trust UGC more than other information on a company website.”

But….

And this is a big “but”. UGC is just half of a story that needs the whole story told.  I wholeheartedly believe that organic distribution is perceived as more authentic than paid, but when all brands care about or hone in on the size of someone’s audience, they risk missing out on the other powerful half of the user content story. And that is User Inspired Content.

Organic stories are more powerful than organic reach. And that’s why we should stop focusing in on how content is distributed and instead create the kind that people actually want to listen to. Content people want to read about and content people want to watch. The kind that places the user in the spotlight.

Take Patagonia, for example. This is a company whose mission is rooted in social responsibility. A lofty and worthy goal, and not one that’s easily communicated through banners or 30-second ads. To get its message across, Patagonia uses content to build a passionate community of people who share those values – and eventually support the company through purchases. They’ve produced and supported short films that tackle environmental issues, such as “The Refuge”, about two women from the Gwich’in people of Alaska who are on a quest to protect their land. They didn’t send them gear with the agreement that they’d post images wearing their stuff. Instead the powerful and emotionally charged story connects with users because it’s real and far from feeling anything remotely close to advertising.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4DH5cK37Y8

REI, another outdoor company with strongly held beliefs and a passionate and devoted following, released the 30-minute film “Paul’s Boots,” that tells the story of a hiker who dreamed of completing the Appalachian Trail but passed away before ever starting. A group of hikers carried his boots along the trail to realize Paul’s dream. The film has garnered more than 1 million views on YouTube.

The risk you run by passing your voice to an influencer is you are fueling the relationship they have with your consumers. Is that a risk you’re willing to take considering the investment you’ve made cultivating followers and reach through your own channels, your paid media and PR?  Instead, why not give your advocates the podium, like Patagonia or REI did? Their story is the star. And because your brand plays a supporting role, the User Inspired Content is real and authentic. And it’s content a consumer will believe. And become an advocate themself.


ottlite varieties on desk

EraserFarm Selected as AOR to Help Re-envision OttLite.

National Consumer Packaged Goods brand, OttLite, has chosen Tampa-based EraserFarm as its agency of record. The partnership was a natural fit for the two organizations, combining... EraserFarm’s branding and storytelling abilities with OttLite’s innovative products and proven health and wellness benefits.

Using intelligent design and LED illumination, OttLite products bring the power of natural daylight indoors through one-of-a-kind natural daylight bulbs. In addition to energy efficiency, OttLite bulbs help to show colors more accurately and clearly, reducing eye strain and increasing productivity.

“We recognized that one of the greatest strengths of EraserFarm is that they are incredible storytellers,” said OttLite Chief Executive Officer, John Sheppard. “We could think of no better partner to highlight the incredible health benefits of OttLite products and to reach the new audiences that could benefit as a result.”

According to the National Eye Institute, there are currently 4.2 million Americans ages 40 and older whom are visually impaired, and that number is projected to reach 7.2 million by 2030??  With products that reduce eye strain by 51 percent, OttLite manufactures the healthiest light you can buy. Through this new partnership, EraserFarm will help OttLite reposition their story and extend their product offering to the consumers and markets they could most benefit


colorful wormholes

The Surprising Way to Win in the Digital Age

Technology has caused major disruption. The Digital Revolution has impacted almost every aspect of daily life. It’s torn down global barriers and empowered average people everywhere.

Sure it feels like digital has significantly changed the way marketers think about marketing. There’s access to more data. People have control over the conversation. And answers are expected real-time. But even with all of this change, marketing in the Digital Age is really quite simple. It goes back to mastering the basics.

Here’s an easy analogy from fellow strategist Ingmar de Lange. Take the idea of a baker.

Pre-Industrial Revolution, the baker was a central part of a small village.

  • He had personal relationships with his customers.
  • There was daily dialogue between him and his customers.
  • There was a shared context as everyone lived in the same village.
  • He offered a consistent habitual experience.

The Industrial Revolution changed things. The local, familiar butcher was replaced with the faceless factory.

  • The factory had no relationship with its customers.
  • Factories talked to their customers; there was no dialogue.
  • With distance grew lack of shared context.
  • The focus was on product and operations; there was no personal experience.

The Digital Revolution is disrupting things again. This time, it’s boomeranging marketers back to the basics. Today’s brands, big and small, are behaving like those local, familiar village bakeries from days long gone.

  • Brands strive for personal 1:1 relationships with their customers.
  • Rather than talking to their customers, brands are creating more dialogue with their customers.
  • They embrace shared contexts with their customers.
  • The focus is on brand experiences and not just functional product features.

Lesson for the Digital Age is to put focus back on the basics. Embrace the shared overlap between brand and customer. Develop a genuine relationship with customers. Live the brand’s core purpose. Have a consistent brand personality.