Getting the word out about a product is always challenging. But photo sharing may be one answer to those marketing woes. Billions of photos are shared every day on prolific social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, as HTC Corporation discovered, even when social media users share photos and post comments about a company’s products it takes a creative approach to cut through the noise.
HTC Corporation, a China-based creator of cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, wanted to launch a campaign for HTC One, a popular smartphone, to drive engagement and sales. The campaign strategy was to incorporate social media and user-generated content in a way that cut through the typical social media chatter. The campaign needed to work in several markets with varying cultures and include a personal element that would encourage individual connections to the brand.
The HTC One digital campaign, which had a theme around “beautiful” (referring to the phone’s design), asked consumers in China, Taiwan, the UK, and United States to submit personal photos of themselves, friends, family, pets, or anything they deemed beautiful via email, HTC’s website, and social media sites including Twitter and Chinese-based Weibo and Wiexen. “The campaign went to another level because of its multichannel nature,” says Sanjay Manandhar, founder and CEO of Aerva, a mobile-connected digital signage company that HTC worked with for the campaign. “These days, consumers demand cohesive, multichannel branded social experiences that allow them to take part in their brands’ stories.”
Aerva powered the 11-week campaign and displayed select user photos on billboards in New York’s Times Square and on HTC.com. “The campaign gave us a unique and visible way to engage consumers,” says Ben Ho, CMO of HTC.
Adding to the momentum, participants received a Digital Keepsake, an image of their photos as displayed in Times Square. “The campaign skyrocketed because of the Digital Keepsake,” Manandhar says. “Having proof that your picture was displayed in Times Square makes friends want those pics and continue sharing them.” The campaign culminated with a substantial HTC One giveaway: a holiday season drawing awarded a few chosen customers 24-carat gold plated HTC phones worth $2,500 each. HTC gave two of those phones to winners in the U.S.
Users actively engaged in a photo sharing digital campaign that allowed them to make personal connections to the brand. Consumers shared more than 54,000 photos through multiple platforms. “People love [the campaign’s] emotive nature. It’s a very emotive thing to have your personal photos displayed anywhere, especially in a place like Times Square,” Manandhar says. And the same principal can work for smaller businesses, he adds. “Lots of small brands have smaller screens of their own, LCDs in retail locations for example. Small businesses can replicate the campaign with their resources.”
The HTC One campaign continues to live on as selected pics are housed in the Keepsake Gallery on HTC.com. As a result of the campaign, HTC amassed a collection of personal, actionable data, such as email addresses and Twitter handles.