New Year, New UGC: How Lifestyle Photography Can Amplify Your Brand

Jan 26, 2022 3:00 PM4:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

User-generated content (UGC) has increased in popularity, especially over the past three years. Across different industries, marketers are using it in digital campaigns to amplify their brands. Unfortunately, many brands are missing out on the power of UGC because they (mistakenly) believe that UGC is of poor quality.

Another misconception is that UGC is not scalable. Yes, in the past, creative decisions had primarily been subjective, a gut instinct, and not data-driven. However, all that is changing — you can now test UGC before deploying it, making scalability super easy.

In this virtual event, Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson interviews Anna Charity from Cohley on the value of UGC, the available types, the channels where you can see the highest ROI, and how to uncover the winning creative based on data, getting started with UGC, and more.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • What is user-generated content (UGC), and why is it important?
  • Where to use UGC in your marketing
  • How to get started with UGC
  • What is the shelf life of UGC?
  • Anna Charity talks about the ROI of using UGC
  • Best practice for reusing old content
  • How UGC in marketing took off
  • Getting customers to create UGC
  • Myths around including UGC in your marketing
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Event Partners


Cohley is a content generation and testing platform that helps brands create content for social ads, email marketing, websites, and more.

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Guest Speaker

Anna Charity

Director of Product Marketing at Cohley

Anna Charity is the Director of Product Marketing at Cohley, a content generation and testing platform that helps brands accelerate their eCommerce sales with testable creative or user-generated visual content. Anna has more than a decade of experience in the advertising and software industries. She was formerly the Senior Product Marketing Manager at Calendly and CallRail.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson LinkedIn

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.

Event Moderator

Anna Charity

Director of Product Marketing at Cohley

Anna Charity is the Director of Product Marketing at Cohley, a content generation and testing platform that helps brands accelerate their eCommerce sales with testable creative or user-generated visual content. Anna has more than a decade of experience in the advertising and software industries. She was formerly the Senior Product Marketing Manager at Calendly and CallRail.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson LinkedIn

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.

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Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Senior Digital Strategist Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 0:18

So hello, everybody. Happy Wednesday. I'm Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson, a digital strategist here at BWG Connect. And we are a network and knowledge sharing group, we stay on top of the latest trends, challenges, strategies, whatever it may be, that is changing in the digital landscape that we all live in, and love. So we are on track to do almost 500 of these virtual events this year, due to the increase in demand to better understand the digital world. And we are on track to do almost 100 in person small format dinners. So if you happen to be in a tier one city, definitely shoot us an email. These dinners are typically small format, like I said, 15, 20 people talking about a specific digital topic. So we'd happy to have you and we'll send you an invite if you're interested. It's from these conversations that we generate topics that people want to learn about, and what we know to talk about for our next calls. And it's also how we get our resident experts such as Cohley, who's here today. So welcome, Anna. Anybody here that we have teach the collaborative, we want to ensure they're highly recommended, and they are from the brands that we work with within the community. So if you ever have any need for any recommendations on any service providers within digital, definitely feel free to shoot me an email at Tiffany, we can set up a time to chat. Because we have a short list of the highest recommended service providers within the digital industry. So no need to go to Google start from scratch doing your homework, we got it covered for you. And we'd happy to share that information. And also we know a lot of people are hiring right now. So do note that we do have BWG Talents, and it'd be happy to put you in contact with their team as well. So like I said, we are going to start at three to four minutes after the hour. So rest assured that we will end three to four minutes before the end of the hour, they'll give you ample time to get to your next meeting, so you won't be rushed. So with that, let's roll and start to learn about user generated content and how life style photography can amplify your brand. The team at Cohley has been great friends and supporters of the network. We're gonna kick it off to Anna. And if you can give a brief introduction about yourself about Cohley, that would be great. And we can jump into the information that you brought today thank you.

Anna Charity 2:47

Awesome. Thank you, Tiffany. Thank you again, everyone that's on the line or again watching on demand. Really excited to be here and represent the fabulous team of Cohley. So my name is Anna, I am the Director of Product Marketing. And today we are going to be covering New Year New UGC. Hopefully that's the last of the New Year puns you'll hear this year. But so a little bit about Cohley. So we help brands accelerate their eCommerce sales with testable creator or user generated visual content. So when you hear content sometimes that's in the form of blogs, review text, what have you. This is includes reviews, but also specifically visual content produced at scale. We have an awesome group of pre vetted creators, a really large marketplace of individuals that we have personally vetted and ensure that they're aligned with who our customers want to work for. A lot of our customers are, as I mentioned in the eCommerce space, particularly beauty, fashion, health care, in terms of vitamins and supplements, kind of runs the gamut there. But what is really awesome about Cohley as well, is we do provide tons of creative assets, from videos to photos to product reviews, custom to our customers, specific brands, and as little as just four weeks. So that's really the big differentiator is that we have those connections of those creators that have that influence as well, but also can provide that at scale. So that's not enough about Cohley. But if you do have questions, I don't think I put my email on here. Again, a Anna COHLEY if you have any questions,

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 5:06

If there's any questions along the way, drop them in the chat, the q&a or the chat. I'll be moderating both and we can get them answered. And a one quick question is can this presentation be shared after the webinar?

Anna Charity 5:19

Yes, absolutely. We are recording this and we will share it out I think within 24 hours, so absolutely available to whomever wants it. Perfect. Awesome. So what are we covering today? So many of you are probably familiar or maybe familiar, I don't want to make any assumptions with user generated content. But we'll really get into what is that? Why is it super beneficial? Why is it having this massive gain and popularity over the past three years, the different types of user generated content that are available, I kind of spoke to some of those upfront, but where you can really include those, what channels are super valuable, and where you can see the highest ROI, return on adspend, all of that good stuff, depending on what your KPIs are, as a marketer. Most importantly, I think, in the past, creative has been very much of a subjective decision, a gut instinct, not very data based. So we're really trying to help brands and empower them to test that content. And we'll get into what that looks like, again, more, but how to really uncover the winning creative based on data. And also three myths that people typically hear about user generated content. So these are actually objections we have specifically gotten from our sales team, and things we just happen to hear in the industry frequently. Okay, so what is user generated content? Hopefully, this isn't too redundant for anyone but UGC. It is a mouthful, so I'll be referring to it as UGC, also known as creator generated content, CG, CG C, is really any type of content. So that could be text, videos, images, product reviews, created by consumers versus exclusively by the brand. So if you think of a beauty team, they maybe have someone in house, they might use an agency, a lot of our customers are agencies as well, it's a way to really get the more lifestyle imagery, as you see here, at scale to also incorporate into different pieces of your marketing strategy. So as we know, different leads prospects, customers want to be communicated with differently at different stages of the funnel. This is no different creative content just resonates differently based on if you're viewing a landing page for the first time versus you are organically going to their social media page. So why is this important? According to Nielsen 92% of consumers buying UGC content to be more trustworthy than other types of advertising? Again, there's a time and a place for those really stylized produced shots. We're not saying get rid of that we're not saying get rid of your agency by any means. It's just incorporating that more humanized approach. And you can do that in a variety of different ways as well. And so when researching for a new product, so again, could be a vitamins, skincare, a luggage, a piece of athletic gear, grill utensil, you get the you get the idea. Who do you typically trust more, so maybe it's the brand itself or maybe it's more of a fellow consumer that really feels more authentic, and resonates more with you? Maybe you feel more represented? That's really how UGC and again, CGC can really be beneficial to your strategy and bringing that more human like approach. Especially now, in the pandemic, you know, it can feel sometimes a little tone deaf if you're going through and you don't see yourself represented anywhere. So I think that's really important to, again, not just make that gut instinct, but test against the more stylized produced images versus lifestyle.

All right, so again, just to lean in a little bit more and to what those benefits are. So I've touched on many of them, but brand authenticity. So feeling that sense of trustworthiness and credibility with that brand is really key. Which also kind of leads into the next point of competitive advantage. So ensuring that you remain current. And I don't love the word trend, but on trend, brash, especially as new channels are emerging, like TikTok. You can repurpose purpose images, of course, but there are certain, you know, trends that may get a little stale. So it's worth just, again, testing that out and consistently, consistently, making sure you have the data to prove what is resulting in the highest again, ROI, return on adspend impressions, engagement followers, whatever that looks like for you. It's something that UGC can really accelerate diverse content, representative of your target market. So a lot of times when these consumer brands are serving several, it doesn't matter what it is, it could be a consumer brand, it could be a service, it doesn't matter, when you're serving such a variety and broad a broad array of customers, even if it's even if it does, niche as women in their late 40s, that you still need diverse content within that segment. And so being able to ensure that diversity in terms of age, ethnicity, style of photography versus lifestyle is really important. And again, it resonates with different markets and different personas in different ways. So again, going back to that testing component, and I think, you know, 5-10 years ago, you didn't really need that. And now you now you really do to be to be successful in marketing. And I think we see that now really bleeding into that creative visual previously a question mark. And then lastly, this is really big for you know, performance marketers, marketers that are a little more maybe metrics driven. But you need to have, you know, you have to prove your ROI. As a marketer, a lot of times you're dealing with limited resources. So including user generated content, and again, testing that to know what yields the best performance, and the best results are what is going to really optimize those campaigns. Awesome. So where are the different places you can use this. So awareness top of funnel campaigns? Again, they can be UGC can really be scattered throughout your integrated marketing strategy. So maybe you are a brand that's tapping into a new market, or you know, you're expanding into a new retailer, whatever it might be. You can utilize different UGC assets to opt to optimize that. So you'll see here, digital ads are really great for UGC. So, again, and the age, especially since the pandemic, we're all on our phones. I hate to say that I hear that in every webinar I'm on but we're we're all on our phones we're all experiencing with these different social tools. And it's really important and crucial to have this concept of scroll, stopping ads and ads that really feel authentic and organic to you.

And I mean, I always say personally, I love getting targeted Instagram ads, they're geared towards me, I can see you know, I'm exposed to new products, things like that. So I think we've come a long way for better for worse. In terms of personalizing ads, Um a lot of times, you know, you might want to include UGC for, again, back to a new product unboxing or, you know, really working with different groups of folks. So it might be, you know, creators that do have a ton of following lots of followers, and they are very influential, but they also have that engagement component as well. You don't want to just look at those vanity metrics, it's not going. Depending on your use case, it typically is not going to yield the results that you ideally would try to go after in terms of those KPIs and how you define ROI. Again, they're just that vanity metrics. So really important to look into incorporating that UGC, I know a lot of brands, again, within the past two to three years are really just now getting into it. And there can be them. We'll get to this at the end when we talked through some myths. But there can be that big misconception surrounding the fact that, oh, this content is great. But I have all these different channels. And I need to as I keep saying, I need to test this, I need to know it's doing well. And I don't want to have banner blindness, I don't want these assets to get stale. Sorry. So you really have to have a ton of content, again, whether it's professional in house, or you go after, you know, folks that are using your product in a great way, maybe follow the hashtag whether whether you do it manually, whether you use Cohley, there's it's just very again, imperative to to have that diverse content, um

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 16:49

So one question and maybe we'll get to this with the slides is, if you're a brand, and you haven't gone down this road yet, and you do want to build everything that you stated out, you know, if you want user generated content, but you need the users to actually generate it. Is it mission critical that you have to get that influencer component off the bat? Or are there other opportunities outside of that, that you could work on to get that user generated content? To get people interested about the brand that you're going to market?

Anna Charity 17:25

Yeah, um, I don't think it's unnecessary. It depends on your goals. Again, if if you're trying to, you know, tap into a new market, and you're not necessarily specifically trying to gain a ton of followers, but you're really trying to get that engagement and sales across your brand, I would recommend getting very targeted and personalized, and to who your customers are, and working with them, again, recommend going at it through a more automated approach via Cohley. We can help you produce that at scale, versus the one to one looking at hashtags. But influencers definitely have a great use case. But a lot of times their results can kind of fall flat in terms of meeting moving the needle for revenue and growth

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 18:23

Got it? And just a reminder, anybody joining in, please put in the questions, comments in the q&a, or in the chat bar. And I'll be fielding through them. I do have another question about the awareness side is that when you couple in the idea of a promotion, to amplify the awareness,

Anna Charity 18:44

and it absolutely could be. So if you wanted to do some form of promotion, you could definitely do that. And we have in terms of Cohley’s product integration with Shopify. So basically, if you wanted to ship that product out, it's really easy for our network of creators again, that we've pre vetted and that you've decided on to choose the products that you've already pre to decided as as the bulk they're out of the catalog. And then they're able to Shopify automatically ships that product. It's all tracked down to that SKU ID. And so that does take the middleman out of it in terms of working with shipping and handling and processing and all of that good stuff. So for a promotion. It's a great use use case to incorporate user generated content. And there's lots of different ways you can do that again through reviews beforehand. So sometimes before you launch into a new market, you might not have those reviews yet. Or you launch a new product you might not have those So it's really great to be able to work with creators beforehand to get those genuine, authentic reviews before going into market.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 20:11

Awesome, thank you.

Anna Charity 20:13

Awesome, great questions. And then of course, as you move along down the funnel consideration, so again, looking at those product reviews is huge. Different lifestyle UGC, on product pages, including UGC and more style lot or sorry, less stylized produce photography, within abandoned cart emails, and digital campaigns, our customers tend to see awesome ROI there. So again, every step of the funnel, it's a great place to include it. It just depends how you want that perceived, what channels it performs best, and whether again, you're not going to use the same content you use in TikTok, or sorry, and Facebook within your TikTok. It's all going to depend on channel. And different creative is going to resonate based on where you're really pushing that asset based on promotion unboxing you know, new product, trying to expand into a new target market, whatever that tends to be for your brand. What's also really great about using UGC again for whether it's display ads paid display top of funnel versus retargeting display ads, regardless of what it is the status from Shopify ads that include UGC, receive four times higher click through rate. And again, that depends on your business. And you always want to test it, I we always go back to that. Here at Cohley, we never say you know, just trust your gut, there may be one image that personally it's, it looks gorgeous, and then another that may be a little more fuzzy, that happens to perform better, and you can make those decisions. But it's just all about knowing what creative is really doing the best and winning the most sales for your business.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 22:31

What is the shelf life for user generated content?

Anna Charity 22:35

Yeah, that's a great question. So it depends, it will vary depending on your method. Again, I keep mentioning the manual method of having to go one to one. And for those that don't know what I'm talking about when I say that, a lot of times, if folks are trying to get reviews, or trying to get approval on a really awesome user generated photo, they will someone at their company will typically go to those pages and just say, hashtag, this, if I can use that, or if they'll do a promotion, they'll say hashtag this, and there will be a chance that will feature your photo, that type of thing. And a lot of times if you are working with creators, they will have limited or finite rights, in terms of how long you can actually use that photo. So from the legal side, Cohley actually works with those creators, we pre vett them as I mentioned, and make sure that they you know, hold up to our standards and we work through all the agreements for for the customer. With that being said, it gives our customers rights to those photos into perpetuity. So photos, videos or reviews, our customers own them, you can use them wherever you want. So in terms of shelf life, from a legality standpoint, that's what that looks like. In terms of you know, like trends and images becoming stale. It's all about having a ton of really diverse good and good can mean lifestyle, like what you see here, or highly stylized, produced. professional photography feel. It can really vary, but having a really good inventory of photos, videos, reviews that you can use to fuel your campaign and kind of swap those out. Because I mentioned before. As consumers we do experience the banner blindness. And we do, you know, get tired of seeing the same thing all the time. So it's really important to continually cycle through those. And the best part is, is you can be really sustainable with those assets and recycle them across, again, doesn't work to make them that match across all channels. But do the testing, see what works, see what's converting. And a lot of our folks, you know, in again, regardless of the method you take, you can take these images and videos and pipe them into your paid ads, or pipe them into your blog posts. So beyond just what I've listed in the two previous slides here of awareness consideration before purchase, there's so much you can do as a brand marketer or performance marketer, digital marketer to really test these assets and have fun with it, swap them in and out, see what performs best. Is it you know, lipstick laying on a beautiful table or someone holding a lipstick, playing around with that? And yeah, seeing what performs for your brand and your audience.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 26:24

So yeah, the testing is consistent and constant. You just have to keep learning. And it was already recording and acclimating very quickly. Going back, because everybody, obviously, ROI is top of mind. And how do you measure this? And when you look at the influencer experts, and you have these sites that are focused on that base of service? Can you do have any metrics on working with those sites versus a traditional online retailer that is using influencers on their site?

Anna Charity 27:03

Yeah, and let me know if this answers your question, I'd say businesses that are primarily influencer focused, typically just want followers. Whereas other brands that are focused more on how it actually impacts revenue, that's going to be more so I'm looking at things like engagement rates versus impressions. So as a marketer, of course, all of those pieces come together, but I'd say the key metrics to look at our conversion rates return on adspend, click through rates for emails, course, email is a very significant channel, click to open rates. And those are some of the bigger ones that we see, you know, in the space that they're measuring. But yeah, ultimately, it comes down to sort of working backwards of my goal is impressions. My goal is engagement, my goal is, you know, meeting this return on adspend, or, you know, lowering my customer acquisition cost, depending on the stream of of like, where you want to pipe this content in based on the channel. And then sort of working backwards from there to set those KPIs. One other thing I'll just say not to plug Cohley or anything, but we our team, specifically has marketing consultants that work with our customers ahead of time. And then throughout the process. So basically, they would say, what are your goals? Oh, you're launching a new product into, you know, the European market, here's what we can do for you. This is where we've seen success. These are your goals very catered. So that will vary, but I'm really crucial to outline where you're trying to go before you start. Because again, you're not going to want to just take one image and use it everywhere, you won't get a higher ROI. And it's gonna impact you know, brand perception as well.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 29:35

Great Call out. So a key takeaway is define success and your strategy upfront. And really, what is that and then that brings your pathway of like, okay, what is the best platform influencer, etc, of what you need to do that test? Yes, that's that defined in the beginning it's going to get very grey very fast. I've seen that from my own personal experience.

Anna Charity 30:01

Yes, exactly, I would say. You, it's kind of it can be a moving target. of, hey, this is where we're trying to go. But we might pivot as we move along. But again, defining just, Oh, are we looking at typically are what we see marketers are either tied to metrics that are more, you know, top of funnel, sometimes they own the whole funnel, if they're, you know, CMO. So that might vary. But as much as you can, working with those corresponding teams to outline, this is what we're trying to get to. And then again, Cohley is very beneficial and working with our teams to make sure they get there.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 30:55

Another question, before we go,

Anna Charity 30:59


Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 31:00

we have a lot of questions, which is fantastic. So everybody keep it rolling, because this is how I love it. This question resonates for me, because I am guilty of doing this, of having old content, it right. We put it away, we file it, and then we maybe wait six, eight months? And we're like, Oh, can we bring it back? Or is that bad form?

Anna Charity 31:24

I don't I don't think so. And again, the numbers don't lie. So I would say bring it back, you know, maybe in a different form. Maybe you try it in a different channel, to some extent try different copy. You know, maybe you put an overlay on on the photo, I think that's totally fine. Especially like you said, eight months, six months? I think it's it's great to just continually test I'd say at minimum, you know, every six ish weeks. And it again, I hate to say that that it depends. person, but definitely, for example, a lot of marketers may have evergreen campaigns, so they know what's coming. Or maybe something's more seasonal. There's a variety of ways that you can kind of work that in to the content in a fresh way, without making the consumer feel like oh, I just saw that. And also ties into testing. But making sure you're also trying it out different audiences. Don't assume just because you've set your audience don't set it and forget it. Try different things, A B, test it with different audiences within your target market and see what works.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 32:57

Fantastic. And since we're talking about KPIs, again, hot topic, yeah, looking at Instagram, what KPIs Do you focus on

Anna Charity 33:08

with Instagram, I think it's typically followers impression, impressions. And depending on if it's paid, or again, for organic. And then also, if you're doing pay, if you're selling products through your Instagram, and you're using Instagram shop, then click through rate and conversion rate and return on adspend. So again, like six different metrics,

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 33:39

magic number six. Thank you.

Anna Charity 33:45

So getting back to the session, want to make sure I think we answered all the q&a, I'll good to go. So again, don't want to sound like a broken record here, but just really drilling into the importance of testing creative. So you can test copy in an ad, you can mix up the CTA, and that's pretty easy to identify what's the top performer? Again, creative has historically been a little gray, lacking that visibility. So really important to test that, regardless of the campaign. So this was particularly within the email within an email campaign. It was an abandoned cart, email campaign. And we have two different options. One on the left, a little more stylized, versus the one on the right, that feels very, you know, shot by an iPhone and a little more human like, if you will. Turns out that even though email on the left is great. It only had a 3% click through rate whereas the email on the right had a 71% click through rate. So had this business is not tested that they may have just said, well, obviously, you know that the product is front and center on the image on the left, the one on the right is a little darker, you just never know. And again, that's why you can't really be subjective. When it turns when it comes to your marketing campaigns, every element needs to be on brand, but also very much data backed as much as possible.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 35:30

Very interesting.

Anna Charity 35:34

So in terms of where did this come from, because it did kind of feel like it came out of nowhere. So pandemic definitely had an impact. But it started, you know, a little before then around 2019, which is, sadly three years ago now. But what sparked that massive spike in UGC across digital campaigns, so definitely the expansion of digital platforms. As we know TikTok came in fast and furious brands are very eager to get in and experiment with TikTok. But no one you know, really knows the best practices and how to collect that that video. You know, who does your customers that are already either using your product or a similar look alike target market that you know, fits, who would be your ideal customer profile. And so again, targeting them on the channels where they're at and meeting them with that diverse creative depending on where they spend their time. That expansion has been huge. So across Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube, it's been, you know, blowing up over the years. So because of that, it also goes down to sort of the third point, and I guess, second, people are on their phones, phones a lot more. They're on their phone, they're on their iPad, everything is very accessible. Everything is mobile friendly. And so, UGC are sorry. advertisers and marketers and brands and agencies have to get really competitive, and they're creative. And make sure that they have this concept of scroll stopping native like ads that just pop into their feed. Like I said, I personally have gone down a spiral. So it definitely something to build that trust and authority, especially in a time when we all are very skeptical. So whether again, it's a photo of video, a review that we're trying to vet a product or in its authenticity. UGC has just been really prevalent over the past couple years.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 38:14

A couple more questions that rolled in before we get to the myths, okay, like everybody is very anxious to hear about them, myself included. Do you have any recommendations for repurposing or maximizing the UGC? In an email push?

Anna Charity 38:35

Hmm Interesting. This is giving me a lot of good ideas for content that my team can help with Thought Leadership on it.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 38:43

It might be the new trend that we talked about here next time. It might be

Anna Charity 38:47

I know, I love that. Um, I would say yes, so there will, I don't want to give any spoilers. So Cohley is is working on ways to really automate the way that you test images and different across different channels. So I'll tease that that's coming very soon.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 39:12


Anna Charity 39:13

very exciting. So more to come there. Aside from that. I would recommend having just that Bank of images, and working through with your email provider. So whether it's play vo or, you know, MailChimp or whatever it might be working with them to incorporate that into your A B testing strategy. And I believe there's a way you can set limitations on the images, the timeframe that they're in the test. So that would be my recommendation is A I would say curated at all. If you decide to use Cohley, if you're using Cohley, we have the content library, we have everything managed for you. So you can, you know, export what you need, you have everything right there. Beyond that you can gather all of the images, again, whether they're Cohley specific, whether they're not using Cohley, and you're getting them from social, your agency, your professional photoshoot in house, whatever it is collecting and curating those in one spot, and then just incorporating them into your digital strategy.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 40:39

Awesome. And then this question ties into well, in the beginning, what's the reason to get them talking about you? Okay, challenge number one. I guess the challenge before a challenge number one is how do you get them to talk to you period? So if you are trying to reach out to these customers to get that content? And they're not receptive, you know, what are some tricks of the trade to get them to bite to then get them engaged to create the content?

Anna Charity 41:12

Yeah, so a couple of different, that's a great question a couple of different ways you could do that. So you can always incentivize them with a discount code. We do at Cohley have like creator compensation, that, again, our team can handle that on there. And we take care of a lot of that for you, or we can, you know very much be a strategic partner and letting you know how to pay them out. But that's another way that that really accelerates the process, because we also not only have those communications, so you're not cold, reaching out to some random person. But it also is accelerating it at scale. So A you could do that. B like I said, You could do a discount code. C, you could say that you your brand will repost what they post and that, you know, you have X amount of followers or engagement and that, you know, that could be another push as well. So any levers like that, that are available to your business, I would recommend leaning into but again, if you're trying to not just do onesies, twosies photos and you needed at scale, I would definitely look into more of like a user generated. Content Management Platform scenario.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 42:46

Beautiful. Alright, let's talk about the myths.

Anna Charity 42:50

Okay, so there's no more questions. So three myths. I'm curious if any of these are hot takes I would love to hear if anyone has questions about it. But one of the biggest myths that we tend to hear is that, oh, I don't want user generated content, because it's poor quality. Couple of things a, brands are often surprised that may be something that is not as pretty of a photo actually does perform better. So again, you just cannot trust your gut, you cannot rely on something subjective. And B, we look at the iPhones that we all have today. And you can very much take a professional looking photo with the iPhone, so not to discount again, professional photographers, there's a reason and use case for every piece of creative content. But having creators a large marketplace of them or working with a creator, one to one, if they're using an iPhone, most likely, they can get really, really good quality photography or video creative to pipe into your different streams and make your brand look really awesome. And repeat that based on your findings.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 44:23


Anna Charity 44:24

Another thing is that it's UGC isn't scalable. So as I mentioned, that can be true. But it doesn't always have to be one to one, it's a lot slower. That way you're not going to get enough creative to actually test and see what's working. Again, there's so many different aspects. So testing what's working within a certain channel, but then also testing with working across different content types. So photo birds versus video. There's just a lot of different variables. So it's It's really down to, oh, this green shirt performed better than the blue shirt. Really important to have what we like to say fire hose of content. And there are ways to do that, again, it doesn't have to be through coli. But there are platforms that can do that. And it's something that you should not let this myth deter you from getting all of that really awesome content. And from one platform, you're not having to go to all of these different places. And, you know, again, not just the one off component, but then, you know, running a contest, and this is just a, you know, easy way to do it all at once. creators and influencers are the same. So this is a really big mis misconception, there's definitely some overlap here. But I will say that influencers are a lot of times hired when your brand is solely looking for I mentioned this at the beginning, but that vanity metric of followers, that doesn't necessarily translate into value, and you can't actually see how that's moving the needle on your ad spend on your marketing budget. So they're very much not the same, they can have overlap. But I'd say what a lot of brands are really successful doing in this space in the eCommerce space, are working with creators that have high engagement and influence. Sometimes that means they have a smaller pool of followers, but they have a lot of traction across those followers. And because of that, you know, you'll get really good, solid quality content. Um, oops, I have one more. Oh, I guess I went through them off. Okay. I'll pause there any questions?

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 47:08

Those are very interesting myths. Okay, go against everything that five, seven years ago was like imagery is everything high rez? And? Yeah, really? Great. Yes. Imagery is important when you're looking at it from the marketing from the corporate lens. But when you're looking at this authentic marketing experience, it doesn't matter it as long as it's true. That's what really resonates.

Anna Charity 47:34

Exactly, yeah. And I can't iterate enough. You don't have to get rid of those beautiful photos. But I my experiences in advertising and marketing, and it was very much. Yeah, those professional shoots that cost 10s of 1000s of dollars, and you get like just a couple good assets out of them. And again, those are good. But then also, you're definitely seeing that transition of adding that human component, not just the Stark, white background. That's so product focused. Absolutely.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 48:14

Going back to the user generated content, taking that and have you seen brands make it into a story? Is there an opportunity to potentially make it into a story to keep building off that content or reaching out and figuring out the why that user did what they did? And play off of that to bring you even more content?

Anna Charity 48:42

Yes, I and let me know if I'm understanding this, like in terms of storytelling for your brand, correct? Very much so. So we definitely find that just like user generated content in general, your consumers, your customers are going to tell that story better than you can. So let's say you're a jewelry provider. Really having that, again, represent representation, authentic life, like company components, and then being able to tell that across different whether it's your grid for Instagram or Tiktok, you can really build your brand presence and we've seen tons of brands do this simply by incorporating UGC, enter your strategy. It's again, figuring out those goals up front as best you can. And then working that into the strategy and, you know, making sure that it's consistent.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 49:47

It could truly be the gift that keeps on giving the low costs when looking at marketing, content creation.

Anna Charity 49:55

Yeah, exactly. And if you look at like I mentioned if went through. We I mean, we've even seen some, you know, wild professional photo shoot invoices of, like I said, 10s 1000s hundreds of dollars. Cohley for literally the fraction, the cost. You can get hundreds, like 100 150 photos, videos, whatever, within four to five weeks for a fraction of the cost, cost of each of our content, pieces of assets ran, sorry, run from, like 45 to $95. And then like I said, we have that whole marketing consultation. That's huge. So definitely, definitely recommend testing that and seeing where you can optimize your marketing budget.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 50:56

Totally agree. Anna, thank you so much. Fantastic information. Thank you Cohley for being awesome partners and supporters of the network. I'd say anybody who's on the call, reach out to Anna and team. They have a wealth of information. We're happy to give you the intro. And feel free to reach out to me we can talk about this. We could talk about anything digital. That's what we do here at BWGConnect. So definitely With that, I'm going to let everybody have a good night. Have a wonderful week. Great weekend. Stay safe, take care, and we will see you on the next event. Thank you so much.

Anna Charity 51:35

Thanks, Tiffany. Bye everyone.

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BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.
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