3 Brands That Dominated Cyber Monday And What They Can Teach Us About Consumer Engagement
Lego, DJI and GoPro are tapping into the power of creating communities. Columnist Jordan Kretchmer discusses what they're doing right and how you can take a page from their marketing playbooks.
This year, many shoppers skipped the hustle and bustle of Black Friday for the convenience and comfort of Cyber Monday. ComScore reports that digital shopping growth is on track to outpace in-store growth this year — again.
The $70 billion in sales through desktop and mobile represents 14-percent growth over 2014’s digital sales figures. Sure, tryptophan-induced daydreams played a part in keeping consumers out of brick-and-mortar stores, but the ease by which shoppers find and make the most of online deals is by far the biggest contributor to this shift.
Each holiday season, brands bombard consumers with advertisements — billboards, TV spots, radio ads and promoted social posts. Yet younger consumers don’t feel connected to traditional advertisements the way older generations do; they feel the old car-with-a-bow-in-the-driveway antics are superficial, staged and hard to relate to.
Instead, consumers shop with and follow the brands that offer authentic experiences that feel like two-way conversations.
This year’s Cyber Monday provided us with a number of exciting contenders. Here are some of the brands that stepped into the ring (and out of the box) with engaging, modern experiences for their consumers.
Lego Star Wars
The longtime muse for childhood imaginations meets one of the best-known movie franchises of all time. Not only can kids (and let’s face it, adults, too) dream up plastic-brick concoctions, but now they can do so alongside Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance.
While Lego and Star Wars don’t suffer from a lack of brand awareness, both brands are keeping the legacy alive with an uber-engaging Lego Star Wars website.
Head to the site to rediscover the barren wasteland of Tatooine or fly sleek X-Wings through fans’ personal experiences and interactions. The page boasts a forum full of interested fans leaving messages about everything from the newest Lego sets to their favorite bounty hunters.
The gallery also features user photos of favorite Lego creations and comments.
The result? A fan base that not only purchases Lego’s product but keeps returning to their owned website to share experiences and show others just how great Star Wars and Legos are. It’s authenticity at its finest.
By giving consumers a destination solely dedicated to their offering, Lego built a community of long-term, loyal followers.
It certainly feels like these high-flying hobby machines are taking over. Drones are a popular holiday item this year for good reason.
They’re fun, they’re customizable, and they take amazing video and photo footage unattainable by us ground-locked humans. To show the true power and beauty of these machines, DJI created an entire microsite — SkyPixel.com.
Starting with its site headline, SkyPixel is fully focused on “connecting creativity” through user-generated videos and photos. Each user who posts to the site creates an Instagram-like profile where other users can like and comment on uploaded media.
SkyPixel even has a separate “Stories” page where users can upload the media that tells the stories behind their photo and video shoots. DJI essentially turned this microsite into its own social network, capitalizing on the success of social giants like Facebook and Instagram, while still owning the conversation on its own site.
This allows the drone maker to gain a better understanding of both its user base and its users’ behavior.
These days, action sports and hair-raising adventures are synonymous with the world’s largest action camera brand. From first-person bungee jumps to crisp renditions of underwater wonderlands, GoPro cameras provide endless amazement — and an endless source of user-generated content.
GoPro not only regularly repurposes user-generated content on its social media channels, but the brand also developed an entire community on its website dedicated to celebrating its users’ imaginations. The GoPro media channel, complete with playlists and features of the day, encourages GoPro users to upload their own content directly to GoPro’s community.
These social features drive home the idea that GoPro isn’t just a brand — it’s a community of active, exciting individuals. User-uploaded content transforms this website into a destination that increases social participation and builds engagement with little effort from the brand’s side.
A massive opportunity is lost when brands allow all of that juicy user-generated content to wither away on users’ social media profiles. When brand websites solely function as portals to product information and pricing, they lose out on quite a bit.
They lose the ability to enrich customer engagement; they lose valuable customer information; and they sacrifice time and money to manufacture ineffective advertising that doesn’t resonate with customers.
Brands need to find the dynamic reasons social networks are addicting and bring them back to a place they own.
By failing to harness user-generated content and to engage with consumers on their sites, brands pass up major opportunities to control the conversation, build a community and turn their properties into desired destinations. And It’s not just a one-way street, either.
Modern consumers make shopping decisions by researching and gathering the information available to them on digital channels. They research everything: peer reviews, expert opinions, even comments on social media channels.
Purchasing decisions become much easier and more fluid when consumers can find all of that purchasing information at a single place — say, directly on the product or company website. But it can’t be in branded jargon.
Potential customers want real, trustworthy opinions from people just like them.
The best marketing campaigns are conversations between brands and consumers. By incorporating user-generated content, brands turn their owned properties into sought-after destinations where consumers can engage with each other and the brand in an authentic conversation.
Lego, DJI and GoPro’s ability to create communities might not be the only reason for their Cyber Monday success, but it’s a huge one, and other brands would be smart to follow suit.