Vice President, Digital Strategy

How to Utilize Crowdsourcing in Your Brand’s Digital Marketing Strategy

The development of creative work that represents your brand is an important step in exposing your message to the public. In the past, this meant sitting through meetings with advertising agencies and marketing companies, trying to communicate your ideas and goals to their creative staff. While some brands are fortunate enough to employ a dedicated creative staff, most are reliant upon outside organizations to assist with the creation of advertisements, web videos, digital banners and other promotional assets. However, as the costs of creative tools have become affordable for individual users, an entirely new source of talent has become available. For brands on the hunt for additional creative solutions, one answer may be a buzzword you should be very familiar with by now: crowdsourcing.

Rick Parkhill, founder of respected interactive media and marketing conference producer iMedia Communications, realized the accessibility of current creative technology while observing his 12-year-old son assemble homemade music videos. The experience informed Parkhill’s decision to launch Poptent in 2007, with the intention of crowdsourcing web videos for brands from a network of amateur and professional filmmakers. The idea initially gained the support of multinational food company Nestlé, which hired Poptent to find individuals to create an advertisement that showcased its 100 Grand candy bar.

Since 2007, Poptent has raised several rounds of multi-million dollar funding from investors while building a network of more than 50,000 directors, videographers and writers. Clients that Poptent has created video content for include brands like Amazon Kindle, Intel, Budweiser and Frito-Lay. Nearly 80 percent of that content was created for the web, showing up in front of YouTube videos and Hulu programs or shared through the brands’ social media platforms.

When brands come to Poptent with a request for a video, the details of the project are shared with all the individuals that make up Poptent’s talent network. From there, the freelance creatives go to work, crafting videos that Poptent is then able to show to its client. Brands will sometimes be presented with up to 30 different videos and are able to pick the one that best fits their needs. The creator of the chosen submission is then paid for their work, making up to $10,000 for the finished video. By harnessing the power of the freelance economy, Poptent is able to provide its clients with a range of choices at a much lower price than a conventional ad firm might charge for a comparable amount of creative output.

A newly launched ad platform called Dispop is bringing crowdsourcing into the display ad marketplace in a similar fashion, allowing a network of freelance designers to compete for clients’ advertising dollars. Brands are able to submit a brief to solicit the creation of up to 100 different ad designs. Brands then have the ability to narrow the field to their five favorite designs and perform A/B tests. The winning design is determined by its performance in the A/B tests and the designer is paid for their work, while the creators of the second and third place designs are awarded smaller payouts. The platform places an emphasis on performance, encouraging designers to create ads that will result in click throughs and conversions.

Through crowdsourcing, brands now have yet another option to gain high quality video and display ad content. Here are a few key benefits of utilizing crowdsourcing:

A Consumer’s Perspective

By enlisting freelance talent to produce creative content for your brand, you’ll find individuals who view your brand from the standpoint of a potential customer. You may think you know what consumers want to hear about your brand, but these creators can often find ways of making your message resonate in unexpected ways. Take a look at this online Wisk commercial, created by a member of Poptent’s talent network. Its creator found a way to visually represent the laundry detergent’s deep cleaning power, approaching the topic in a humorous and effective manner. The resulting clip resonated with its target audience, gaining over 2 million views on YouTube and inspiring another series of online promotional videos.

Ready When You Are

Crowdsourced video projects are often completed by a small group of individuals who have experience writing, shooting and editing, allowing them to quickly assemble a finished piece. In an interview with Social Times, Poptent president Neil Perry said that video projects are regularly finished within 30 days, while some projects have been turned around in as little as 72 hours. If your brand needs creative content quickly, crowdsourcing that content is definitely a feasible option.

Expanding Your Options

In a freelance economy, an entire network of individuals is motivated to create content based upon your brand’s specific needs. Each creator has their own approach and methodology, so if your brand truly wants to have options, sourcing creative content from a network is the most effective way to do so. Dispop recognized the advantages of having many different designs to choose from, so it began offering clients the option to have over 90 unique designs created for their brand. When you’re presented with so many different creative options, there’s bound to be one that fits your specifications.

Companies like Poptent and Dispop have realized that the creative abilities of a global talent network are equal to or greater than those offered by specialized advertising agencies. Utilizing crowdsourcing when creating your brand’s digital marketing strategy may be useful for your bottom line, and can also result in unique ideas that have the ability to reach new audiences. By tapping into the freelance economy, your brand can take advantage of the speed and flexibility afforded by expansive networks of creative talent. It’s a win-win situation—amateur creators receive the money and recognition they deserve and you walk away with quality creative content. See if your brand can benefit from joining the crowd.

For more information, reach out to Rise

07/19/2013 at 03:33