Canon Australia Engages & Inspires Photographers With User-Generated Content

As a leader in imaging technology, Canon has been capturing experiences and inspiring photographers for decades. Yet, Canon Australia’s journey on social media — the ultimate source of photographic inspiration — didn’t truly begin until 2014. This was when the switch was made from simply having a presence on a few social platforms to fully embracing a social media strategy.

It was then that Jensen Baptista, Canon Australia’s Consumer Engagement Manager, began building an internal team responsible for “any touch-point a consumer would have with the brand — spanning social media channels, web and email.”

Knowing how influential peer-to-peer product recommendations are, the focus was on post-purchase experiences. “Engaging our existing audience is what’s important to us, so we try to foster a culture of advocacy among our customers,” said Jensen.

“People trust other people, not brands — so the foundation of our channel strategy has been to introduce people indirectly to our brand through our consumers, instead of directly to our brand.” – Jensen Baptista, Consumer Engagement Manager, Canon Australia

Jensen and his team understood that to engage audiences effectively, they needed to put their customers’ experiences with Canon front and centre. “Our products are only as good as the people using them,” he said. “Their stories are what people are listening to, relating to and remembering.”

“What triggered the rise of user-generated content within Canon Australia was our decision to stop focusing on our products, and start focusing on the people who use them.”

Luckily for Canon, their products already do a great job of capturing their customers’ stories. They just needed a user-generated content (UGC) platform to help them discover, curate and display those visual experiences throughout their marketing.

“We were looking for a tool that could help us showcase, in real-time, the great work our customers were producing with our products without compromising the quality of the content. And we needed a solution that would integrate seamlessly with our web platform, Sitecore,” Jensen explained. “There was no other choice in our mind; Stackla had everything we needed.”

Creating a Canon Collective Showcase

The first place Canon Australia began using Stackla was for Canon Collective, a group of passionate photography ambassadors dedicated to helping people grow their skills in a relaxed, down-to-earth environment.

“As people were learning how to use their cameras at these events, they were taking some amazing shots,” Jensen said. “We wanted to encourage them to use their cameras more by showcasing their images on our Canon Collective website.”

 

Bringing Vivid Sydney To Life

Once a year, the city of Sydney transforms into the world’s largest interactive festival of lights, covering public spaces, sculptures and landmarks with full-scale light installations.

Canon was a supporter of Vivid Sydney for the past three years, setting up a Canon HQ at the Museum of Contemporary Arts Foundation Hall and hosting a range of photography experiences throughout the festival.

“We wanted to encourage people to capture and share their Vivid Sydney experiences, so Canon HQ was a place where people could come to test and rent our products, as well as print shots they had taken at the event.”

Using Stackla to power their live screens, Canon was able to display the captivating photos people were sharing from the festival.

“Using Stackla to project all the great photos people were taking on our Canon HQ live screens, we were able to increase the amount of images festival audiences were sharing with us.”

For Vivid Sydney 2017, Canon took their live screen experience to the next level with map visualizations and touchscreen technology.

As Jensen explained, “Canon sells SMART Board, which is a touch screen made for interactive classroom learning. We used these SMART Boards to project our interactive maps. Everytime you clicked a location, Stackla automatically filtered and displayed all the user-generated content being produced in that specific place.”

To get the public even more involved, Canon also launched a competition using Stackla’s GoConnect forms. “We ran a competition asking people to upload images they took during Vivid Sydney, using Stackla to obtain content rights and then showcased those images on our website,” Jensen said.

This was an initiative they had wanted to launch in the past, but Stackla made it easy to finally get it up and running. “If we had to build our own custom solution it would have taken weeks, but with Stackla it took days.”

Taking the LEAP with a UGC Photo Challenge

Some camera manufacturers might see the ubiquity of camera phones as negative, but Canon Australia saw it as an opportunity. Jensen said, “The rise of smartphones has actually increased people’s interest in photography, so we launched the LEAP Challenge to take advantage of this increased interest.”

As a brand agnostic initiative, Canon’s LEAP Challenge set out to stretch people’s creativity by helping them look at things differently through the lens of their cameras. The 30-day LEAP Challenge offered a new brief for people to shoot every day – from ‘change the horizon’ to ‘roam the night’.

“Even though there were no prizes to win, thousands of people shared what they were shooting with us every day,” Jensen said.

Throughout the LEAP Challenge site, Canon was able to dynamically display the photographs people were sharing for each of the 30 briefs.

The program was so successful that they launched an Instagram channel specifically for LEAP. It gained over 10K followers in less than a month.

“We still get a lot of organic traffic to these webpages, even though the challenge is over,” Jensen said. “I think a big reason is because of the large volume of engaging, interactive content we’re able to feature there.”

Expanding The Impact of UGC

Beyond all the UGC-focused campaigns and events Canon Australia relies on Stackla to power, they’ve also transformed their social strategy to be almost completely UGC-driven.

UGC makes up 80 percent of all the content we share on our social channels today,” Jensen said. And on Instagram, their UGC first strategy has paid off big time.

User-generated content makes up 80% of all the content Canon Australia shares from their brandClick To Tweet

Instagram is our fastest growing channel and it’s powered 100 percent by user-generated content.” With over 300K followers, Canon Australia’s Instagram channel has grown by 100K followers every year for the past two years.

As Jensen explains, “UGC as a strategy is really working for us, so we’re trying to use that success across all our other platforms, including our website.” To that point, Canon Australia is working to further integrate Stackla and UGC into their ongoing marketing activities, with plans to incorporate customer photos into all their product pages later this year.

“Traditionally, marketers have looked at user-generated content as a campaign-based activity, but we believe it should be an ‘always on’ marketing strategy.”

“We’ve been using Stackla for over three years now. Over that time we’ve evolved and Stackla has evolved with us, which is exactly what you want in a platform.”

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