Brief #59: Why hybrid experiences will triumph

This content originally appeared on April 22, 2021 as part of the Future of Marketing weekly email series. Subscribe here.

Welcome to Future of Marketing.

Each week, we send you the most relevant trends, resources, and strategies in social and user-generated content (UGC) from leading marketers and brands around the globe. 

Today, we’re discussing…

  • Omnichannel distribution in sports and hospitality 
  • New expectations for hybrid experiences
  • #BrandCrush: Cisco 💘

Innovate and distribute

We recently spoke with professional sports digital leaders to discuss the impact and importance of UGC – and it all came down to one question: 

How do you make one fan feel special enough to tell other people about your brand? 

Regardless of your industry, the more you make people feel special, the easier it will be to convert them into loyal fans. 

Sameer Kamat, CEO at TINT, shared inspiration to re-share user-generated content in other industries like hospitality: 

Social media marketing and email marketing – that’s a given. The keycards that sit on the table have UGC, the card used to open the door, the channels you watch on TV.

And it goes way beyond that – lobby screens, events, concerts, websites, print, packaging. You name it.  

A screenshot of TINT's CEO, Sameer Kamat, speaking on Zoom with four other men, who appear on the bottom right-hand corner of the screenshot.

Brands that embrace omnichannel strategies achieve 91% higher customer retention rates year-over-year. The problem is many marketers don’t have the time, budget, or team size to produce content (much less scale it). 

Cue user- and employee-generated content – where customers, fans, and employees create content instead of the brand. 

TIP: Use UGC and EGC to save time, money, and resources needed to create content from scratch. This helps you focus more on innovation, distribution, and scaling word-of-mouth.

Hybrid experiences will triumph

Sixty-four percent (64%) of business leaders plan to adopt a different operating model post-pandemic. Esther Shein, writer at TechRepublic, shared:  

Respondents said the shift was not only to ensure employee safety but also to offer a better employee experience and increased employee productivity.

Behaviors will change (yet again), and that means so will the experiences and channels your audience devotes their time in. 

Physical spaces will likely make a comeback, but hybrid experiences will dominate because – get this having choices makes humans feel powerful.

From hybrid events and work to social commerce, the brands that listen and deliver safe and flexible experiences will gain market share over brands who return to the outdated 2019 business model.

A graphic with a black background and 70.1% of marketers are considering hybrid events in 2021 written in the center in white (except the 70.1% which is in red). Future of Marketing logo is at the top right corner. #Future of Marketing is tagged at the bottom center.

In TINT’s State of UGC 2021 study, 70.1% of respondents said they’re considering hybrid events. Meanwhile, Salesforce committed to an in-person convention this Fall – while artist-led platform, Veeps, “plans to equip 60 concert venues across the United States with turnkey livestreaming capabilities.”

To make customers or employees feel comfortable about attending your physical location (and get them to advocate for your brand), ask them what they need or want to see from your company. DON’T assume you know the answer.

In other news, social audio is also heating up. 

Reddit and Facebook each revealed their version of Clubhouse audio rooms. Meanwhile, IHOP is using Clubhouse to attract fans with sounds of sizzling bacon. 🥓

TIP: Try running a poll or contest to get customers and employees to share anonymous feedback or ideas. You might just learn something new. 

What we’re learning

#BrandCrush: Cisco

It’s official – Cisco’s CEO declares the future of work is hybrid. 

According to Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco Systems, businesses are asking,

How do we create an experience that makes home users feel just as productive, just as effective and just as much of a contributor to meetings as their onsite colleagues?

Besides transforming their workforce, Cisco is using #FutureVoices to share the stories and experiences of their customers and team across social media, where they ask employees what they learned while working from home.

A screenshot of one of Cisco's #FutureVoices Instagram posts – featuring a young woman wearing a hijab sharing her story via video and a description by the brand describing her experience.

Cisco is also asking fans to share their stories or tag any superstar teachers or students who are making a difference in education. 

Moral of the story? 

These are just some examples of the types of questions you can ask your team or customers to build trust, be more authentic, and gain a deeper understanding of industry changes (and new expectations).

Until next week. 👋🏼