15 Minutes With Kat Henry | Podcast Episode #2

What makes an influencer? How is influencing changing? What are the common misconceptions, pitfalls and goals of influencing? On our second episode of 15 Minutes With we speak to Instagram Influencer, Public Figure and current Ms Great Britain Kat Henry on all things Influencer Marketing.

Interested in learning more from Kat? Connect with her on Instagram. And if you're looking for the link to the report by Namogoo, The 2022 Annual Global Ecommerce Leaders Survey, we mentioned in the episode, it can be found right here.

Ways to Listen

You can listen to it right here on the blog using the player below or you can head over to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Amazon Music where you can subscribe or follow the podcast too, so that you never miss an episode. You can also check out the podcast website to find the other apps our podcast is published on.

 

 

Want to be featured on the Podcast?

We're always looking for new industry experts to speak to and if you think you've got some great insights that you'd like to share with our audience, reach out to us via our contact page and we'll get back to you to arrange an intro call.

 

Transcript

Graham  00:14

In a recent survey of over 200 global ecommerce leaders, it was found that more than half had highlighted social media influencers as a preferred promotional channel for 2022. So to give us a peek behind the curtain on today's episode of 15 minutes with we've got social media influencer and current Ms Great Britain Kat Henry joining us. Kats experience in the world of influencer marketing gives us a unique insight from the other side of the coin. An established and professional influencer on TikTok and Instagram, Kat has a devoted following of 10s of 1000s of loving fans, being an influencer is not plain sailing. And the realities of COVID have changed the face of social selling in a variety of ways. So how can brands and influencers work together in this new landscape? Kat talks us through the influencer world from her perspective.

 

Shelley  01:01

So Kat what makes an influencer?

 

Kat Henry  01:04

To me, I think that anybody within the social media world has a level of influence, especially people that are using their own personal platforms to influence other people to either purchase something or speak out about a topic or just kind of use their own voice to elevate another person's voice. So I think for me, an influencer is somebody who can use their own personal skills to either upsell a product or who can sell a product or make a positive change within society.

 

Shelley  01:35

And how has COVID changed the influencer space? In your experience?

 

Kat Henry  01:40

I think it's definitely changed the way that influencers create content. I think that forcing us all to be at home put us in a position where we had to be a little bit more intuitive in how we put our content out there and how we actually provide engaging content when we're all stuck in our jammies and not really doing anything. I think it kind of did open the market for loungewear and pyjamas, a lot of home improvements, I think that kind of that kind of market definitely probably thrived throughout the lockdown. So I guess the types of things that are actually being, you know, advertised throughout lockdown was different.

 

Shelley  02:19

Everyone was stuck at home, right? And ecommerce went through the roof because everyone was buying stuff online and getting it delivered to the door. And as a result of that, I think a lot of people seeing other influencers, like you said, being able to wear pyjamas and having the lounge as the backdrop was sort of empowered to give influencer marketing a go themselves. But for established influencers, it was very, very difficult because it was almost like this expectation that you'd always have these amazing settings behind you one week, you're in Tahiti and the next year in Dubai. But how do you how do you do that when you're stuck at home?

 

Kat Henry  02:50

Yeah, I think it definitely did put a lot of pressure on people who are existing influencers, because you know, not everybody has the ability to have a beautiful backdrop we were as influencers, we were really discouraged from doing things, especially in the fashion industry for using like the mirror selfie, because it wasn't really an engaging piece of content, it wasn't high level quality content, that people would look at that picture on the grid and be like, Wow, I want to click it, I want to, you know, like it, share it. But actually, when you're stuck at home, you have no choice but not everybody has a tripod and or somebody who can take their photos for them. So your mirror selfie became your best friend. And that's how the content grew over the last two years, it was literally people taking pictures using the self timer on their phone or standing in front of a mirror and taking the best photo that they can. I also think that you know, it kind of lays pathways to putting a lot of pressure on influencers because not everybody has good surroundings. I mean, you know, I live in a flat. So for me finding spaces within my you know, four walls is very difficult to find, you know, picturesque beautiful images,  you have to be intuitive and you have to think, okay, outside the box, how can I make this look engaging. And I think after about two months of struggling to find various different two places within my home, I got to a point where I've just realised that this is more relatable if I just tell the truth and be honest about it and say like, this is my bedroom, guys, this is what you get. That's all good. And actually I think more people started doing that, because they realised that life is too short to give a monkey's about how the backdrop looks.

 

Graham  04:19

And did you see from an audience point of view, kind of an uptick in engagement during the pandemic? Because presumably, well, the assumption would be that everybody was stuck at home using lots of social media all the time, or was that kind of counterbalanced by the fact that there were just so many other people doing the same thing that actually any increase in engagement activity was kind of dispersed between the existing influencers, and anybody new that came along?

 

Kat Henry  04:43

Definitely the latter. I don't think there was a specific spike in terms of engagement. I think that if I posted about certain topics, or certain levels of creation definitely got more engagement, actually, the more relatable stuff, where you're saying, you know, like I've had COVID or, you know, I actually lost my mom to COVID and that actually was probably my most engaging content because people found it relatable, those sorts of things actually thrived. Whereas the more glam pictures of me looking like a pageant queen or being a high fashion model or anything like that, that wasn't really thriving, because people didn't see that represented in day to day life. So actually, the level of content was different. And also, you know, the the amount of engagement that came from relatable content went up. But in terms of actual overall, I think what you said Graham towards the fact that there was so much going on, I actually felt like I was perhaps muted in various different scenarios, because I wasn't getting the level of exposure that I had been because there were lots more people doing it.

 

Graham  05:37

And one thing that I noticed that was quite interesting, it was probably in the middle of the pandemic, I would say, LGBTQIA community, there are a lot of influencers. I'm a member of the community, so live proud, but also portray a lifestyle of excess and putting the influencer on a pedestal look at my life, I want you to want to replicate it. And people started breaching COVID recommendations to be able to produce content. So there were people that travelled to parts of Greece or Spain to be at these gatherings. And actually, what happened is there was a massive backlash against that by the community, because they were seen as irresponsible. And as a result, posts started disappearing, and people started to kind of hide from what they were doing. And all this activity was kind of downplayed. Yeah, it's just it's interesting that, like you say, the stuff that you saw most positive effects on were the things that everybody was kind of going through or could get in touch with. And as soon as this aspirational content was put in front of people, it wasn't seen as I wish I was doing that it was seen as Why are you being so irresponsible, and it kind of people not listening to what's going on in the world. And the fact that the audience are a lot more savvy than they used to be.

 

Kat Henry  06:45

I think a lot of people, if they saw a picture of like me, personally, if I was to put a picture up of me in a bathing suit, I felt like I had to make a real real point of making it very, very known that this is a throwback, guys like I'm at home in my jammies. And I wish I was on a beach somewhere. And that in itself became relatable, because people were like, Yeah, I also wish I was on a beach somewhere. But we're stuck at home too. And three of my family members have COVID. And therefore, you know, we're in the same boat as you it's finding that balance and being honest and totally transparent with your viewers and your followers. Because actually, authenticity is what is the key here. And there's a level of filtering your life and adding filters to make it look better that actually reality will win all the time. It always will. And honesty is and integrity in this life has to be paramount.

 

Shelley  07:34

I find that really, really refreshing to hear. And I'm so glad that you said that Kat and that your experience is actually showing that for you. Reality is doing so much better, even content wise. And message wise, compared to overindulgence, I guess, in the sense of, oh, look where I am. And look what I'm doing, particularly over the past two years, when actually people can relate to struggle. And actually, they want to see other people not necessarily struggling, but they want to see people that they can relate to. They don't want to look at influencers and just go okay, they're just living this this life that isn't even aspirational for me at the moment, while I'm locked down. So with all of that in mind, how do you choose which brands to actually work with?

 

Kat Henry  08:16

For me, I think company ethos is really important, and how that they portrayed themselves on social media, and what sort of level of you know, responsibility and standing they have within the community. I think that those sorts of things play a huge part to me, because I would never take on collaboration that I didn't wholeheartedly believe in, I am not going to sell a product that doesn't align or attune with my own personal ethos. And I wouldn't also sign up to a campaign if I didn't wholeheartedly believe in what he was trying to portray. I think it's really important that businesses and brands are open and transparent about their their own business ethos. And when engaging with collaborators to actually be honest and transparent in what you're trying to portray with your campaign. And actually look for people that attune to that that ethos, rather than just picking the first person that you see, when you open up the Instagram. It's not necessarily about who's trending, it may actually be about who is the most relatable, or who's the best person to sell your product. That's essentially what we should be doing now is looking for the right fit, you wouldn't put somebody into a job role if they weren't the right person for the job role trying to grow or develop your business. So why would you not want the best person to help sell your product, and that best person might not be the person with the highest level of engagement or the most likes on Instagram, they may actually be the person that is a really, really sound background in what you're trying to sell. So yeah, I think research is really really important from a brand perspective to understand who they're looking for. What that influencer delivers, what their own personal ethos is and hope that they both collaborate in the middle on more than just money. It should just be also about how they believe in the product and actually making sure they're the right fit for it.

 

Graham  10:00

So once you've you've picked the brand that you want to work with, or the brand has picked you, I guess. How do you go about building trust between your established audience, the people that you've built over time with this new brand that they're being introduced to, presumably, if you're working with a brand multiple times, it makes it a bit easier? Because it's not the first time they're seeing it. But how do you introduce this promotion to your audience, and build trust between the two, so that you don't, one,  put your audience at jeopardy, I guess, or kind of under deliver for the brand based on potentially what you've told them, you're able to able to do for them?

 

Kat Henry  10:42

Yeah, I pride myself on being able to negotiate from the outset of engagement when you start working with the brand as to what you can actually deliver. And being honest, and you know, sticking by your word, if you can't produce something, don't offer it, I would never want to over promise and under deliver, that's not something that I think anybody should aspire to want to do. But also be realistic with your own personal time, with your ability and your you know, you don't promise that you can produce, you know, high level quality drone effect, you know, footage, if you've got a hand cam, and you know, nobody else to help you produce it, you know, don't do that. Be honest in what you can provide. And actually a lot of brands would would prefer the honesty and the, you know, the ability to turn around and say, Okay, well, if that's all you can produce, then maybe I need to look elsewhere. Because there might be 10 other people that could produce that level of content that I haven't tapped up yet. But because you've got a really high level of engagement, that might be who they pick, when you're asking about how do you maintain that relationship with your with new audiences, I will never lie about product. If it's a rubbish product, I'm going to take that feedback, I'm going to take it back to the brand without posting anything on social media. Because actually, I think it's really, really important that if a product is not sound, that you feed that back to the company, so they have the ability to fix it before you take that negativity and put it out into the into the social sphere. Because actually, that damning review is not going to build trust in either you as a personal brand, or to your audience. Influencers have a huge responsibility to be honest,

 

Shelley  12:23

We've talked about how you've managed these relationships with brands. And we've talked about the changing landscape as a result of COVID as a result of all these new influencers sort of flooding the market, but also in terms of new platforms. So you were a really early adopter of TikTok, and I've personally seen seeing you on TikTok advertising, which is amazing. By the way, it looks it looked incredible. And so I just wanted to ask you, do you have any other sort of tips, insights, advice on this, any part of these topics of influencer marketing that we haven't covered that you think would be interesting, or relevant for people.

 

Kat Henry  13:03

I have probably a couple for each, but I'll go with from the brand perspective, don't just go with the people that you think are the highest level of engagement, do your research, find out who is who is the best person aligned for what you are looking for, and tap up, don't be afraid to tap up other people within the industry, because they may be a very, very valuable tool for you. But also, don't just go down the tokenism thing like you know, just because you are you understand that being woke in today's society is important. Don't just tap up, you know, the high level influencers who are from the BAME community, drill down a little further, do do the research, because I think it is really, really important. And I kind of understand why you just look at engagement, I get it. But it's not always the key. And it's not always the be all and end all and from an influencers perspective, don't be afraid to shoot your shot, you know, go out there, promote yourself in the best way possible. Send those brand emails, you know, I'm not a huge lover of all of the, you know, follow this strategy sort of thing. Like I take tips from the from the YouTubers and stuff as to how I can increase my content engagement and stuff like that. But essentially, find your niche, find what works for you. And don't be afraid to put yourself out there for every 10 no's there's going to be one yes. So keep going and remain resilient. And from the perspective of trolls, because we didn't touch on it really I think that you know, if you're putting I'm very, very grateful that in the seven years that I've been doing social media, I can probably count on my hands, the amount of times that I've had negativity thrown my way on my own personal platform. And that is because my platform is a safe space for me to sell products without asking for people's opinions. And I pride myself very, very highly in the fact that when I promote a product Whether it be an item of clothing or a makeup product or a hair product, you're saying, this is the product that I'm selling. And if you like it, here's how you can buy it. I'm not asking you as the person who scrolling through Instagram to weigh in with an opinion on my products. And the minute you ask people, What does this look like? you're opening up the gateway for people to offer their opinion. From the influencers perspective, stop asking those questions if you are becoming an influencer, because you want validation, or you're becoming an influencer, because you want free clothes, you're in it for the wrong reasons. If you're doing it, because you know, you can use your skills, your life skills to promote a brand, then you're in the right place. But I also think that empowering other people is really key. And you know, if you see somebody in the industry that's doing well elevate them share their content, because essentially sharing each other's content engaging with each other's content is how we grow.

 

Shelley  15:57

Love it. Absolutely. Love it. Thank you so so much your time Kat that was just it was so insightful.

 

Graham  16:04

Yeah, thank you. It's good to have this insight. Because, you know, as that report points out, there's so many people that are wanting to now take a huge part of their marketing budget and put it into into social media influencers, but I suspect the large majority of those people don't actually understand what they're about to do. So the information that you've given them will lead them on the right path to success. So yeah,

 

Shelley  16:25

Steering them in the right direction.

 

Graham  16:27

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for your time.  That was social media influencer current Ms Great Britain, Kat Henry. Her insights as a social media influencer have been invaluable. And the key to making a success for both brands and influencers is to remain authentic, transparent and genuine with their audiences. We also need to be hyper aware of what's going on in the world, and ensure that we adjust our messaging to match the reality. If you'd like to download a copy of the report, you'll be able to find a link of it on our Insights section of our website. Thank you for joining us for this episode of 15 minutes with and we look forward to having you join us on our next one.


What are NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens?

What are NFTs?

A non-fungible token is a unit of data, or an internet file, stored on a blockchain. For those still scratching their heads, blockchain, simply put, is a platform where you can create and distribute such content in a way that minimises the chances of hacking, cheating the system, or duplication of your precious intellectual property. On these blockchain ‘digital ledgers’, such files can be sold and traded. Common types of NFTs are photos, videos, and audio.

If you are wondering why this is such a big deal - because you already share photos, videos, and audio files on the internet - you are not alone. Why is labelling them as NFTs any different? Essentially, instead of internet and ad companies owning, profiting from, and controlling the content you share on their platforms, owning the NFT file means you own the rights to it. You can protect the work you create.

As Kayvon Tehranian puts it, “NFTs are a certificate of ownership of your internet files, registered on the blockchain, for everyone to see. It is not dissimilar to your legal ownership of a physical home”.

 

 

What Are NFTs Worth?

The most expensive single NFT is a digital collage of images known as The First 5000 days. Created by Michael Winkelmann, a digital artist known as ‘Beeple’, this collage sold for $69.3 million.

The First 5000 Days is an important artwork in the NFT community as it paved the way for mainstream audiences to explore on-fungible assets.

There has however been a more expensive NFT sold but it is a little different. The Merge is a digital artwork created by an anonymous digital artist nicknamed Pak. It was sold on Dec. 6, 2021, for $91.8 million on the NFT decentralized marketplace Nifty Gateway.

However, the piece was fractionalized to 312,686 pieces distributed to 28,983 buyers. The catch here is that The Merge was a single artwork composed of a collection of “masses” that users could buy.

These pieces could be stockpiled to make a bigger mass and sell it on the secondary market. By the end of the sale, a total of $91.8 million was spent, making it the most expensive NFT sold to date.

‘Alien Cryptopunks’ also dominate the most expensive NFT listings. These are unique pixel art collections, made using algorithms.

With over 2.4 million NFTs created and in circulation, and over $4.8 billion in trade, the average NFT value ranges between $1,500 and $6,500.

 

How Are NFTs Disrupting Commerce?

Unlike ownership of files in the physical world, NFTs do not attempt to remain private. They are made for sharing. One’s ownership does not prevent others from interacting and enjoying it. The greater the publicity, the greater the value. Buying and selling NFTs can be compared again to real estate in the physical world - values grow as NFTs gain in popularity and demand.

Furthermore, they are changing how we exchange currency across geographic boundaries. An instant payment system, international wire transfers, foreign exchange and customs charges are all circumvented.

 

Summary

NFTs are reshaping ownership, experience, and trade of intellectual property on the internet. They open new possibilities whereby rights are placed in the hands of creators, and not the hands of a few mega-corporations. They are disrupting commerce and the status quo that since the conception of the internet, services the needs of the all-powerful ad platforms. NFTs have the potential to be a true value-leveller for the internet users and creators of the future.


15 Minutes With Alan Gray | Podcast Episode #1

In our first episode of 15 Minutes With we're talking to Research Psychologist from Tailify, Alan Gray. In the episode we talk through his research on laughter and self disclosure and their effect on behaviour as well as how it can be used to develop relationships and be used by influencers and those delivering a marketing message.

You can find out more about Alan and his research over at his website, Gray Area.

Ways to Listen

You can listen to it right here on the blog using the player below or you can head over to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Amazon Music where you can subscribe or follow the podcast too, so that you never miss an episode. You can also check out the podcast website to find the other apps our podcast is published on.

 

 

Want to be featured on the Podcast?

We're always looking for new industry experts to speak to and if you think you've got some great insights that you'd like to share with our audience, reach out to us via our contact page and we'll get back to you to arrange an intro call.

 

Transcript

Shelley  00:13

Is the simple act of laughing enough to win others over? Today, research psychologist Alan Gray is joining us on 15 minutes with. Alan's research interests are in the unique fields of laughter and self disclosure and their effects on behaviour. As part of the research team at Tailify, Alan is involved in optimising influencer marketing strategies. And interestingly, some of the work Alan has published would show that the world of laughter and the world of business have quite a bit more overlap than you might expect. It would seem that the simple act of laughing is enough to win others over.  Hi, Alan, welcome to the podcast. Thanks so much for joining us.

Alan Gray  00:52

Hey, thanks for having me.

Shelley  00:53

How are you doing today?

Alan Gray  00:54

I'm good. Yeah, it's a nice a nice day.

Shelley  00:56

So why laughter? Why did laughter appeal in terms of your research,

Alan Gray  01:01

So I guess I was interested first, and laughter the University of Oxford, and I guess it was just, if you watch people interact with one another for any period of time, you'll find that they laugh a lot. And what they seem to laugh at is not necessarily jokes, they just seem to laugh because they're around one another. And this was instantly interesting to me as a behaviour that is common and this frequent, you know, must serve a great purpose. And yet social psychologists barely investigated that felt like a field that was wide open.

Shelley  01:29

And so your research in this in this area of laughter? Was it really sort of, like you were talking about the social sciences in terms of behaviour based? Or did you dive deeper and look at what happened, cognitively. And what happens in the brain, when, when people laugh when they're exposed to laughter?

Alan Gray  01:46

Well, there's been a bit of an explosion of research into laughter at this point now, so they have produced various different neuro imaging studies of what happens in the brain when we laugh, and so on. But my interest was in the social psychology side, and it was trying to understand if laughter is so closely related to relationship development, might it be linked to other elements of relationship progression. So I was looking to see if it was associated with self disclosure, the amount of intimate information we reveal to another person. Social psychologists have found this to be strongly linked to liking and relationship development. So I assumed if, if this is integral for relationship, building and bonds, then it might be linked to laughter.

Shelley  02:28

Completely. It's so so interesting. And so what did what did you find? What were your top key findings and your research?

Alan Gray  02:33

Yeah, so I kind of, I mean, discovery is that laughter. People tend to think of it as something very positive and uplifting, and everyone seeks out someone who's a comedian, and so on, and their relationships and romance, but in my research suggests that it might well be something quite dark. So self disclosure is typically an exchange of information between two people, you know, I tell you something personal about me. And you return the favour by sending me personal about you, that's slightly risky, because that whenever I tell you something about me, I'm making myself vulnerable, you could use that information against me, you could exploit me somehow. So if I could get out of this exchange, if I could bypass that deal, and make you tell me everything without having to tell you a thing at all, you know, I'd be one up. So my work looked into how laughter and the act of laughing might increase the likelihood that you will reveal things about yourself without really expecting that in return, and not really feeling like you had said that much. When it comes to how vulnerable you'd you'd spoken about.

Graham  03:32

It puts people at ease really quickly without realising that they're in that situation. Yeah, that is interesting, because I'm just thinking about that myself now, actually. And you'll I laugh at anything. I'm terrible. Like, I find everything funny. And actually, one of the things I was wondering is, you know, is there a noticeable difference between like, genuine laughter like big belly laughs, and like nervous laughter because I feel like sometimes a lot of what I do is nervous laughter because it's, you know, it's the polite thing to do, because society has kind of adapted towards, you should laugh at this point, because someone's kind of said something funny.

Shelley  04:05

Filling the empty space, so yeah,

Graham  04:07

Yeah exactly. I'm not a fan of silence I don't like it. If I could fill the silence with a laugh or giggle or something, I kind of do that. I guess. It must be somewhat critical to humans kind of forming bonds, right? That is, is that way it kind of doesn't help speed the process along?

Alan Gray  04:27

And yes, there's been quite a lot of research into genuine and and fake laughter. Then the literature the call duchenne laughter and non duchenne laughter, voluntary and involuntary laughs and there are different acoustic properties from those laughs. So, when we're laughing involuntarily, we tend to have loud early bursts and we tend to have a repetitive cycle of laughs and that the go on for quite some time, much longer than a feigned laughter does. So there are acoustic differences here, but more interestingly, people can generally generally very easily detect the difference between fake and genuine laughter and in an fMRI scanner, we seem to process genuine and fake laughs differently to so when we hear a genuine laugh, we process that emotionally, emotional regions of the brain are active and make law and so on. When we hear a fake laugh, we might not necessarily know this, but we start trying to understand why that person laughed, we see it as a kind of problem. And the parts of the brain that are active are usually the frontal regions that are involved in problem solving. So it looks like we approach the sound of genuine fit laughter very differently.

Shelley  05:34

If we sort of extrapolate that idea, and what we've what you've just sort of discussed about bonding and the self disclosure element to it, how does that fit in to digital life?

Alan Gray  05:47

Well, you know, texting, lol, and hahaha, and so on, it's not really going to get these effects because you know, doing that it's not going to produce the physiological release of laughter. So I don't expect that kind of laughter to be, in fact, we rarely laugh when we're alone. So if you're receiving a text message that, you know, is a joke, the likelihood that we're laughter that if we're just receiving that alone will be low. So I don't really think that is so linked to this. But when it comes to the world of influencers, you know, we are in a relationship with them, essentially. And we're watching them online, we're sitting, sometimes we might even watch the video together, or we might see influencers that we truly identify with laughing on screen. And when we really identify with someone, if you say someone is hilarious, what you're saying is, I like them, you're not saying that they're funny. That's how we express liking by laughing.

Shelley  06:40

And so what you're saying is actually in the world of influencer marketing, laughter is a crucial element to who you actually choose to follow and continue to follow.

Alan Gray  06:51

It's a it's a part of expressing your identifying with someone and liking that person. And it's also because of the way that laughter affects us physiologically through endorphin release, it can kind of lull us into a sense of credulity. So we can be more inclined to believe what we're being told is true and less inclined to question that we're not in a defensive mode, when we laugh, we're suddenly very relaxed, and we're very accepting. So it can increase the likelihood that the promoters message is truly heard.

Shelley  07:21

Ah, so it's a sales tool, in a sense, you can actually break down barriers, communicate to build an audience more easily communicate to that audience more easily, and actively open the lines to sales a bit more.

Alan Gray  07:34

Yeah, I think it will increase the likelihood that you'll go ahead with the purchasing decision since the main reason and influence marketing. It's not just like, it's not just like a traditional billboard of grabbing people's attention. It's about gaining people's trust, and having them identify with you. That is what drives the purchasing decision. So laughter if we know that it's linked to self disclosure, we know that it's linked to trust and relationship formation, it's going to be a part of what drives the purchasing decision in influencer marketing.

Shelley  08:01

Definitely. So it's part of that overall experience. And so if we tie that in with the self disclosure element of say, influencers, social influencers, who we're trying to sell, represent something in particular, how does the self disclosure element tie in with the laughter side of things?

Alan Gray  08:23

So if we laugh, because we might be more likely, after laughing, we're more likely to reveal information about ourselves? Well, we can imagine the following might be more likely to comment on the video. And comments have been shown to be associated with purchasing decisions, because we feel like we've invested somehow in this video with the influencers themselves, since we know that we tend to like those who disclose to us. If the influencers laughing and therefore are more likely to disclose, they'll tell us more things about themselves. And we like people who reveal themselves to us. There are many reasons for this. One is that people who we've just encountered are somewhat threatening, we don't know, we don't know them, so we can't predict them. We like people to be somewhat familiar, we'd like to know things about them, so we can understand them and judge their actions. So the more someone tells us about themselves, the easier they are to be around because we kind of have an implicit model of how they might behave. So self disclosure can help us like a person.

Shelley  09:21

Definitely. And I think, you know, when you look at sort of earlier influencers before it really blew up online and on social media, like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, you know, traditionally on television, you know, you can actually start to feel like, you know, these people, when actually, you know, is a very one directional relationship in that sense, but you're right, when you look at sort of the comments of these kinds of influencers, the people that follow them, follow them actually feel like they're part of their lives to a degree. And I mean, how that feeds into the whole sales model, I guess at the end is imagine the insights that these that these influencers have on their own following, they must know so much about them because they are themselves self disclosing so much so much of their own lives and their own likes and dislikes. And I just find it super interesting.

Alan Gray  10:13

Also, you know, one of the reasons why we choose not to stop disclosures because of cultural norms around disclosure. So men and women disclose differently because stereotypes around, you know, women are expected to disclose more and sooner relationship than men. That's a stereotype. But it's one of the kind of rules that people follow. In the influencer world, there seems to be a new norm emerging of excessive disclosure. Disclosure is a thing that people do a lot. And it's more acceptable for an influencer to reveal very intimate things very quickly than what it is, you know, anyone else in day to day life. So it seems to be a new culture emerging in influencer marketing that promotes this.

Shelley  10:58

And you think that is to build, you know, such a tight relationship with the following with their followers, because obviously, they don't know them in person. So you have to feel connected in another way. And it has to you have to to build that level of intimate intimacy, I guess. And that's, that's a good way to, instead of a one to one relationship, have the same thing or the same depth, but on a one to many basis.

Alan Gray 11:21

Yeah, I think it's speeding up the process of relationship development, there's always the risk with self disclosure, that you might disclose what was taken to be too much too soon, and therefore come across as maladjusted and somewhere and therefore less likeable. So you've got to kind of judge what is the what is the appropriate amount of disclosure in this particular moment in this particular context. And changing those norms in the way that influencers have done might be a way of bypassing that and increasing the likelihood that they can reveal a lot more intimate information a lot sooner in the relationship.

Graham  11:50

And presumably, from a brand's point of view, they have to do a whole level of research, right to be able to make sure that because it might seem like the easiest thing to do is go for the influencer that has the most perceived power, either through the largest following or, you know, through their ability to attract numbers of people, if they're not brand aligned in terms of sentiment, or you know, they live to the same values, I guess potentially there's a detrimental effect that the brand can have on itself without even realising it's doing that.

Alan Gray  12:19

A lot of people when they're trying to understand what makes a good influencer, have looked to the available metrics of, you know, the number of likes you've got, how many followers you have, what's your audience size, and, you know, what's your Google search optimization and so on. But we're starting to discover that those things aren't necessarily good at predicting your return on investment for the brand. And what Tailify are doing now is to venture into psychometrics to try and understand if the various psychological predictors of relationship development can shed some light into why some influencers perform better than others. Self disclosure is one of them, laughter is another.

Graham  12:54

Can a brand build the same level of trust with an individual as an as an individual can I guess, is that why influencers are as important as they are to this process? Because a brand just can't do the same thing?

Alan Gray  13:07

Yeah, I think the real breakthrough with influencer marketing is an influencer can stand in for a brand, they can embody a brand and make that brand, truly a human being, in a way.

Shelley  13:18

In your role at Tailify and with respect to influencer marketing, which is the space that you operate in, do you have from what we've just talked about everything from, you know, the laughter piece, the self disclosure piece, any tips for people listening that is relevant to them, whether it's selecting an influencer, or whether it's being an influencer, or even deciding whether they go down that route, anything that you think could be helpful for people to know or to be able to apply? Or insights that could be actionable, I guess.

Alan Gray  13:54

So I think a lot of the time, when people are selecting influences, they tend to shy away from having the influencer use comedy when discussing the product or the brand, they're totally fine with the influencer joking about everything else. But when it comes to the product, the brand, you know, just deliver the lines and the influencers themselves, are also quite nervous about this. They want to be paid and they want to do the job that they've been assigned. I would advise the brand, permit that more and give them permission to joke even when discussing the brand or the product, because we know that humour draws our attention. And we remember that kind of content more. So if we have a bias and memory and an attention for humorous content. And then the brand and product comes along and it's stone cold and bland. What are we going to remember, what are we going to pay attention to? It's exactly it's also going to defeat the purpose for the influencer because they want to come across as authentic and sincere. And if all of a sudden the moment they start talking about the product, they lose all of that that isn't going to do them any favours and their followers will fall over.

Shelley  14:55

And I think we've all been familiar in seeing those those exact kind of messages. The sponsored content and it stands out like a sore thumb. And you're right, it comes down to I guess, brands being so particular over what they want that message to be because they've paid for that slot, so they want to make the most of it, that actually they've completely micromanage the process and defeated the whole point of tapping into this audience that really, really trust this influencer. And so I think that's really interesting. Thank you for that insight. If people have brands can actually take that on board and go, if we're, if we're working alongside this influencer, to deliver a message, let's relax a little bit and see what their take on it is, and how they can deliver that message to the audience in a way that the audience is already comfortable and familiar with.

Alan Gray  15:39

And I think I would also recommend that the influencers themselves try to collaborate a little bit more on their videos, try to get their friends and family and you know, interact with other influencers. Because we know that when you're in company, you'll probably laugh more, you'll probably feel more relaxed, you'll do all the things naturally, that we know are good indicators of success, and people will like you for it.

Graham  16:03

Thank you for your time. You know, it's been super, super interesting. And I'm sure we will definitely be having you back. Because there's bound to be a whole bunch of questions that come from people who listened to this. And as much as Shelley and I can attempt to answer them, we're by no means the experts. So probably best send the questions back to Alan and he can come back on and answer them for us, which would be awesome.

Shelley  16:25

Alan, thank you so so much for your time. It was so interesting to speak with you. And like Graham said I know that there are going to be so many questions off the back of this that I'm sure we will have you again soon just to to be able to dive even deeper into this whole conversation.

Alan Gray  16:40

Thanks a lot. I'm really glad that you guys had me on it was great.

Shelley  16:43

That was Alan Gray research psychologist with Tailify explaining how laughter and self disclosure impact relationship building within both in person and digital exchanges. If you want to find out more you can contact Alan at Tailify to find out how this evolution in behavioural science is being applied to digital experiences and strategy. Thank you, Alan, we cannot wait until our next chat and to everybody listening, see you next time.


Brand Trust Biggest Customer Experience Indicator

The X Index - A Trust Indicator

As a barometer for brand trust, the X Index measures customer experience across globally recognised brands. This assessment considers how trust is built, maintained, and broken in relationships with consumers. This includes brand image, customer service, relationships, purchase histories and product & service experiences.

In their research, it was found that only 40% of customers globally feel that the brands they interact with truly have their interests and needs at heart. To assess and deliver on customer needs, actions, perceptions, and narratives must align to provide the ultimate experience for the end customer.

Key Findings:

  • Commit to Trust
  • Build an Exclusive Experience
  • Always be of Service
  • Provide for the age of extra

Actions relating to these elements in turn help to produce or refine customer experiences that are just that - experiential - not simply mechanical. They help brands to narrow their efforts towards goals and the avoidance of common pitfalls, maximise their X Index rankings, and ultimately their measure for brand trust.

 

Brand Trust

According to action-perception theory, people perceive environments in terms of their ability to act within them. In other words, customer accounts of brands rely on their experiences with them, and these experiences stand the best chance of success when they are immersive and productive.

Primacy and recency effects also dictate that brands that people encounter early in their search for a product or service, and similarly, late in their search, will naturally outperform those brands that are stuck in the middle.

Psychologically speaking, these brands are innately mediocre compared to the first and the last in a search. So how do all these techniques help pave the way to a better level of brand trust? How can techniques such as advertising ensure that your brand is the first or last (or in a perfect world - both) that a potential new customer might see?

How can experiences be recreated to ensure they are more immersive, inclusive, and satisfying?

 

Goals and Pitfalls

Combined with other elements, action-perception (positive immersive experiences) and primacy & recency (early or late search advantage) can be combined with strong ethical stances, a ‘customer is always right attitude’, and the balance of well-struck humour.

Externally controlled elements such as reviews, or user-generated content also tie into the overarching category that is brand trust. But brands need to start with the internal elements with which they can exert some control. This also aids in limiting the potential for damage to be caused to any established level of brand trust. Cyber security, system hacks and data breaches are becoming increasingly common and paint brands in a negative light.

Poor internal or staff culture eventually makes its way to the public eye through disgruntled past employees on platforms such as Glassdoor or LinkedIn. Poor taste in humour, public sympathy or even collaborations with the wrong influencer has been known to backfire on brands and impact trust.

 

Summary

Brand trust is gaining increasing levels of coverage and exposure in mainstream marketing as a feature that is central to business and customers. No longer is it a complete dark art, lacking any sort of definition or measure. Thanks to the X Index barometer of brand trust, a measure of perceptions is available globally for businesses and brands to leverage.

As supported in both research and theory, actions and perceptions are intricately linked. Customer perceptions of brands are linked to the actions that they have experienced with those brands. These experiences can refer to a plethora of potential actions - Google searches, advertising exposure, website purchases, return of goods, etc etc.

The aim of building brand trust is to ensure that these actions produce positive perceptions of the brand. A tool for achieving this is providing interactions that create a sense of inclusion and investment for the customer.

Where a brand features in a search journey for a potential customer is also important in the initial impression of a brand. Those that feature first or last in a search are psychologically considered to be more trustworthy and preferred than those in the middle.

Tools for benefiting from this effect heavily rely on paid advertising. Finally, ethical, customer-centric and brand personality goals can aid in improving an X Index score, as can a focus on the avoidance of damage-causing elements. These include, but are not limited to poor internal brand culture, data and system breaches, and poor choice in collaborations, personality, and public sentiment.


Introducing our New Podcast - 15 Minutes With

We're excited to announce that we're almost ready to release the first episode of our new podcast, 15 Minutes With. We've been working hard in the background to line up an amazing selection of guest speakers who will bring their experience, expertise and insights to you the listeners.

What we have for you right now, is the trailer for the podcast. It will introduce you to the host and give you a little background about why we decided to create a podcast and what you can expect from the upcoming episodes.

Where will you be able to listen?

We are going to be publishing each episode, along with a full transcript of the episode, right here on our blog but you'll also be able to listen to it via your favourite podcast app. 15 Minutes With will be published to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Amazon Music to name just a few, but you can find a link to all the apps where you can access the podcast and listen online if you like at the podcast website, right here.

We look forward to welcoming you all to each and every episode but for now, here is our trailer.

 

Introducing 15 Minutes With

 

Want to be featured on the Podcast?

We're always looking for new industry experts to speak to and if you think you've got some great insights that you'd like to share with our audience, reach out to us via our contact page and we'll get back to you to arrange an intro call.

Transcript

Graham  00:15

Welcome to 15 minutes with, I'm Graham, one of the CO hosts at Eclipse I am the Head of Brand and creative.

Shelley  00:21

And I am Shelly. I am the Head of Product Marketing at Eclipse, we are really excited to welcome you to our podcast 15 minutes. Basically what the podcast is all about is our interest in brand experience. We have all had experiences good and bad in our lives as consumers. If you think of stepping foot in Disneyland, from the first step to the very last, that brand experience is consistent no matter where and no matter when that experience takes place. It's the same thing when you visit McDonald's, whether it's in the UK, whether it's in Japan, or anywhere else that that experience might be. But now experiences are having to translate into the digital sphere. And this is what we're particularly interested in. So we are very, very excited to be speaking to industry leaders from all different brands, about how they translate those experiences to really create something special online

Graham  01:16

At Eclipse as an agency, we are data driven in the decisions that we make. We don't always do things based on gut feeling. Gut feeling has, you know, as in business that always has been to play with it. But we believe that data and insights are the key drivers to ultimate success. And it comes in multiple forms. It's not just numbers and statistics, it's insights from, as Shelley said, industry leaders, people that have experienced the things that have driven the change in the industry. And it goes well beyond the accelerated change that we've all seen as a result of the pandemic, the pandemic has pushed a lot of people further along the line. But for a lot of these people that have been super successful, they've been doing it for a long time, they've seen the change coming and started to turn the cogs of change so that when something like this happened, or when they wanted to do an acceleration of they were perfectly placed to be able to do it. And by us having these conversations, we wanted to have these conversations ourselves as a business, we want to talk to these people and find out what are they done? How would they've been successful? And how could we take that insight and not only applied to us as a business, but to our clients, we then realised very quickly that actually these conversations would be of interest to a much wider audience. And when it comes to kind of translating a message, you've got a couple of options. You can write them down and stick them on a blog. Or you can record them and put them out as a podcast. And we felt that a podcast like this is a far more engaging medium. It's an opportunity for you to hear from these people in their own words. And it's just a chance to put information into the world in a way that multiple people can engage with it.

Shelley  03:00

So where do we go from here, we are talking to some incredible speakers that we already have lined up. And we have decided to keep 15 minutes with short, sharp, sweet and to the point. So every single episode is going to be jam packed with interesting conversation from interesting people. And every single one of them is going to have insights, tips, actionable pointers, for listeners to be able to actually apply.

Graham  03:26

And if you'd like to join us on 15 minutes with you can reach out to us either via the contact page on our website. Or you can reach out to either myself or Shelley directly on LinkedIn.

Shelley  03:35

So keep an eye out on our LinkedIn page for our very first episode, which is going to be launching very shortly. We're very excited to be able to introduce our very first speaker who is under wraps for now. So we look forward to seeing you there.

Graham  03:50

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you in advance


Visual Commerce: What it is and why it’s important

It’s hard to deny that we live in a visual world where the way a thing looks can and almost always will have a huge impact on how it is perceived. This goes for the front of a store or a house, often referred to as curb appeal, to what we see on social media platforms like Instagram. For an influencer image is everything.

Where the commerce bit comes into play has been hyper-relevant during the pandemic and as habits shift are becoming more and more important for any business that operates at kind of presence online.

It is essential where buyers may not or cannot have a chance to visit a brick-and-mortar store or handle products in person. They become entirely reliant on visuals and the days of just pictures are over.

 

Visual Commerce in a nutshell

It essentially involves using visual content, front and centre, for marketing, branding and sales purposes. It is core to the strategy for helping customers learn about products and create connections with the brand.

It includes way more than just product images. For it to sing, it needs to include high-resolution photography, videos, and augmented reality.

By adopting visual commerce you’re aiming to dramatically enhance the customer experience by offering more than just ‘regular’ visuals they’re either expecting or coming across when dealing with other retailers.

 

Here’s why customers love it

There are a bunch of reasons why customers gravitate toward visual commerce and here are just a few.

 

Drives Engagement & Purchases:

As mentioned before people are drawn toward things that look good or are interactive. Having compelling visuals attracts customers and encourages them to engage.

It only takes 13 milliseconds for the human brain to process an image, which is 60,000 times faster than text and it only takes 50 milliseconds for someone to form an opinion about what they’ve seen, like your website. If you’re trying to get information across images is a great way to do it.

And when we look at how it is shared, images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only, and they achieve an interaction rate of 87% compared to 4% or less for things that are text or links only.

When it comes to AR, 71% of shoppers said they would shop more often if they could use AR, 61% said they would choose to shop with stores that have AR over those without it and 72% of shoppers that used AR in their shopping journey said they purchased stuff they didn’t plan to buy, simply because of using AR.

 

Discovery and Education

Visual content is key to discovery and education for customers. Video tutorials can help solve problems, answer questions and drive desire whilst AR allows people to get closer to products that ordinarily can’t be picked up or seen in person.

And we’ve all been subject to that moment when we’re scrolling through Instagram and something makes us stop or even scroll back down to take a second look. That is the power of visuals and their ability to create a discovery moment.

70% of B2B buyers watch videos during the purchase process and 4 x as many consumers watch videos about a product rather than read about it. Generally, people are 85% more likely to buy a product after watching a product video and when it comes to AR, 77% of users said they use it to see product differences such as possible variations of colour and style and 65% use it to find out more information about a product.

 

So, what could it look like for you?

There are plenty of ways that it can be implemented using great images, video, and AR and of course, combining multiples into a single experience. This tends to be the case for the companies that are doing it well. Here are just a few examples that show it in action.

 

Configurators

These are becoming more and more popular with companies that offer products that can be ordered in customised configurations. A lot of car manufactures have adopted more advanced versions of these, but they can apply to just about any product where customisation or choice is part of the ordering process.

Tesla has a great example of a configurator at work. They have for the most part encouraged potential new owners to order their new cars online and as such have created a fantastic clean experience.

But they’re amongst great company. Manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche and Alfa Romeo all offer some kind of builder on their websites and the best combine it with a 360-product model, matched to the configuration so that people can experience the car from all angles.

 

 

Another company doing it well is Steelcase. Their range of home and office furniture is fantastic, and they offer the ability to match the accessories and finishing to match needs and interiors.

 

 

Again, combining the option of either 2D or 3D gives people the chance to interact further with the product during the ordering process.

 

Augmented Reality or AR

AR is a technology for many that is still somewhat unknown or misunderstood. The result of the pandemic and the popularity of games such as Pokemon Go has really driven interest from consumers and awareness from manufacturers and sellers.

There are plenty of companies already making great use of this technology by taking the 360-product models that others are using and allowing users to bring it into their homes or create try-on solutions.

One of those is Etsy. They rolled out the ability via their app to allow shoppers to try pictures for sale, in their homes, via AR.

 

 

Having this as an option means no more measuring tapes and trying to figure out if the picture will fit in the space you have. You can literally see it on the wall before you buy it. This is a great example of what AR can do to drive interaction and remove doubt from buyers’ minds.

Virtual try-on is another place where AR is really making strides. Be it a watch, shoes or sunglasses giving people the chance to get up close to products without the need to have to deal with shipping and returns is great not only for the customer as it is a lot more convenient, but businesses can save on the logistics and the environment benefits from not having to have extra parcels on the road that are essentially just going to do a great big loop.

One of those offering this service is Monc. They offer several of their sunglasses models as virtual try-ons from their website when using a mobile device. It allows a person to see what the glasses will look like on their face with an incredibly high level of accuracy, adapting to lighting and movement but they also offer the ability to see the glasses in 360 so that you can get up close with the detail of the product.

 

 

Video

When it comes to creating an incredible experience with exceptional video it is hard to beat Apple. It is so well incorporated into the total visual commerce experience that you can be forgiven for not even realising that you’re consuming video whilst navigating their website.

Every element where value can be enhanced using video, it has been implemented. They use it to tell stories and demonstrate features and functions teaching the users how to use their products as part of the product discovery process.

 

 

Another example of great use of video as part of the buying experience is being done by PrettyLittleThings. They use video in the form of catwalk videos. These show the clothes on real people moving and turning around in the items you’re looking at giving them a real sense of what they’ll be like to wear.

 

 

Most people are aware of the tricks of the trade when it comes to photography and by using video you remove any doubt that photoshop has been used to make the clothes look like they fit better than or that they have been size adjusted on the model with pins and clips to make them look better.

During our research, we came across entire threads on the internet where people were sharing links to sites that have this catwalk video option because they refused to shop with people online who did not have that option open to them.

 

360 Images

We have talked about this as part of configurators and within AR but they have a use in their own right. Giving people the option to view products, especially big ones, from all angles helps with decision making.

Heals have implemented this for their furniture and most notably with their sofas. When you load the product page, it is the first image you’re greeted with and it encourages you to drag the product around and take a look at it from all angles.

 

 

So, what are you waiting for?

We hope that we’ve been able to demonstrate the value that visual commerce has when it comes to creating incredible experiences and that more and more businesses will see that the longer, they take to adopt some of these tools and methods, the further behind their more forward-thinking competitors they’ll fall.

These things are not nice to have, they are expectations of the consumer and avoiding them is done at your own peril. It’s not too late to push forward and create memorable experiences people want to share.

And the good news is that if you’re serious about it and need help making it a reality, Eclipse can do just that. Come talk to us and let’s create more personalised experiences for your customers that genuinely make a difference.


Customer Experience Optimisation: Pivotal for the Recovery of the Travel Industry

The State of Travel

The world is desperate for some semblance of normality regarding travel. But the travel sector has been one of the hardest hit as a result of Covid-19, and a full recovery is far off. Due to both domestic and international restrictions, mass staff layoffs and sector bankruptcies, the travel sector is far from profitability and peak.

STA Travel and Specialist Leisure Group (running Shearings, and Cruise & Maritime Voyages) are examples of recent administrative closures since the outset of Covid-19. Global travel giant Flight Centre closed hundreds of underperforming high street offices during the pandemic. How then, are the end-users (holidaymakers) impacted? How can an entire sector and workforce bounce back from near obliteration, and do so swiftly? During this climate of hard lessons and even harder bottom lines, a handful of travel sector businesses flourished.

These businesses and their Covid-19 survival strategies offer a unique and valuable insight into how recovery for the wider industry might best be achieved. This article investigates exactly how and why these businesses were able to excel in such a complex and challenging sales environment. It aims to apply their approaches to a broader industry context, for the benefit of the travel sector (and end-users) as a whole.

 

Success Stories

The past two years saw profuse international coverage on Covid-19 cases aboard cruise ships. Often these ships were required to quarantine offshore for long periods, and passengers were restricted to their cabins for the duration of the quarantine period. It is no surprise that because of such coverage, the cruise ship market took a significant hit on current bookings, future sales, and the reimbursement of missed travel plans.

Despite this, however, two key industry players were able to stabilise and improve their market position. P&O Cruises and Cunard Line are Covid-19 success stories. They offer the wider travel industry not just a glimmer of hope for future recovery, but also a methodology to apply to accelerate that recovery. P&O Cruises Australia President Sture Myrmell said the company has “a big reservoir of loyal guests who are keen to cruise again as soon as it is possible to do so. Booking trends for the first part of 2022 are encouraging and compare well with the same period of pre-pandemic 2019”.

Cunard Line boasts their own Covid-19 Hub, which aims to promote ‘sailing with confidence’ amongst their loyal customers. Assurances relating to updated Covid-19 travel restrictions, travel flexibility options, booking guarantees and expectation management of onboard and onshore experiences all play a part in keeping their customers informed, inspired and faithful to the brand (Cunard Line, 2021). But these trust-building experiences are deceptively complex. They are not produced and promoted in a day. They are considered, strategic investments that serve their investors well in both good times and in bad. Such investments can be simple to overlook in times of booming business. But in times of negligible margins, such strategies can mark the difference between success and failure in the fates of many businesses.

 

Customer Experience Optimisation

The encouraging results of P&O Cruises and Cunard Lines in the face of adversity offer a roadmap to others in need of a strategic lifeline. Though each business, market share and audience are unique, broader parallels in learning can be applied for the benefit of other struggling businesses within the travel industry. For example, applying the principles of transparency, assurance, flexibility, and expectation management hold relevance to most other businesses.

Deeper strategic decisions and investments relating to the optimisation of customer experience then become the sticking point for those businesses willing to take survival strategies seriously or not. Much of the resistance comes from a lack of understanding of concepts and values. Decision-makers must empower themselves with knowledge on the concept of customer experience optimisation and learn from the success of others the value that such strategies offer to a business. Customer experience is not simply the services that they encounter during a transaction.

They are an ecosystem that includes attitudes, values, experiences, highs, lows, pleasant surprises, and disappointments. Understanding and valuing this ecosystem for your customers is pivotal. Incorporating this ideology into company culture and infrastructure is vital for the ecosystem to flourish. Investment in digital assets, customer service support, up-to-date information sources and communication lines to users are all part and parcel of this methodology.

 

Summary

Within a scarred industry, two leaders have emerged as front runners during the difficult times of Covid-19. P&O Cruises and Cunard Lines have demonstrated the value of applying a Customer Experience Optimisation strategy within their business. As an investment in growth as well as customer satisfaction, this approach has delivered positive results in the buffering against a perilous market. It has also seen growth within an otherwise bleak industry outlook. The travel industry as a whole ought to take notice of this approach and apply similar learnings within their strategic plans. At a time when the focus is on recovery, it is easy to forget that if the focus remains on the customer, recovery will surely follow.

 

Need a Little Help or got Some Questions?

At Eclipse we’ve got an incredibly talented, multi-award-winning bunch of people ready to help you and your business. Our Experience team are experts at this stuff and can guide you or offer advice and answer questions that you might have. All you need to do is reach out and talk to us.

There’s not much that can’t be solved with a few cups of tea, some bright people and a (currently virtual) whiteboard.


Best Practice for eCommerce in Google Search.

There is little doubt that online shopping is growing, and it is becoming the first place to start a shopping journey but one of the biggest challenges is being found by customers.

Growth Intelligence found that in the 4 months between February and June of 2020, 85,000 new businesses launched online either by setting up their own store or by joining a marketplace. That is a lot of new competition.

Growth Intelligence Research Extract

But there are ways to put yourself ahead. About 48% of online shopping journeys start with a search engine and in the UK, over 87% of search is performed with Google. Understanding how eCommerce sites gain visibility on Google search is vital. Thankfully, Google has just released a new set of best practices for exactly that.

 

Best Practices for eCommerce in Google Search

Google Search Central has released new guidelines for developers to help improve search visibility for e-commerce sites. Although aimed at the developers, we advise that if you own or operate an eCommerce store, you should know and understand these new guidelines.

“When you share your e-commerce data and site structure with Google, Google can more easily find and parse your content, which allows your content to show up in Google Search and other Google surfaces. This can help shoppers find your site and products.” We talked a little about this in our previous blog, but these guidelines go further than just the merchant centre.

 

The Guide is Made Up of Seven Sections

There is a ton of great information contained within each of these sections and we can’t recommend spending a little time looking over and understanding them and how they impact your business and what you’re doing right now.

 

Key Thing To Note

One of the things we think you should take note of within these practices is that Google is more than just the traditional SERP (Search Engine Results Page). The way people search for information depends on where they are and what they’re currently looking for. Make sure that you’re doing everything you can to appear within places like Google Images, Google Maps, and Google Shopping. And make sure you’ve claimed your Google My Business Listing.

Another is making sure that you’re sharing your data with Google. The more they have the easier it will be for them to understand who you are, what you sell and how best to put you in front of your potential customers. So, if you aren’t using the Google Merchant Centre, make sure you start.

And one of the handiest sections is on structured data. It explains how Google uses the information to place people into highlighted sections like How To’s. Because it is run with machine learning, it is looking for things to appear on a page. If you add them in and do it in the way the algorithm is looking for them, you have a much higher chance of being picked up and the results appearing more accurately to the user for the search they have performed.

 

Got Questions after Reading the Guide?

We’re sure that having read the guide you’ll have questions that you need a little help answering. The good news is that Eclipse can help.

We have teams of developers and customer experience experts that can consult with you to discover where issue may be and help create a strategy to resolve them.

And we can go far beyond just getting people to the website. Once they’re there you want to make sure they can find what they’re looking for and checkout with ease.

The Experience team can offer site audits and ongoing CRO programmes to test, optimise and develop better shopping experiences for your customers. These things can take a little time but creating a 6- or 12-month strategy, with continued optimising and testing, means you’ll have continuous improvement.

All you need to do is reach out and we can start working on ways to win and keep more customers to your online store.


The Power of User-Generated Content

It should come as little surprise to literally everyone that the pandemic and its continued persistence has significantly shifted the buying habits of all consumers. This has left many brands scratching their heads and scrambling to find ways to get these consumers attention, bring them to their websites and turn these visits from just a casual browse to that of buying stuff.

The big question here is have the effects of 2020, and even a big chunk of 2021, fundamentally shifted and permanently changed how people discover, shop, and engage with businesses?

 

New Research is Helping Provide an Answer

A new research report from the team at Stackla offers insight into this and reveals that not only is the increase in online shopping here to stay but also, that today’s consumers want brands to provide them with a more authentic, personalised shopping experience.

The report, Post-Pandemic Shifts in Consumer Shopping Habits: Authenticity, Personalization and the Power of UGC, surveyed more than 2,000 consumers across the US, UK and Australia. It found that consumers “increasingly seek out and value the social content that real customers are creating about brands. This means that visual social proof—like user-generated content (UGC)— is more important now than ever for brands to leverage as part of their online marketing strategy.”

We’re going to look at some key findings of the report, but we encourage you to head over and download a copy for yourself. It has a ton of great information that will help you develop solid strategies when thinking about how to deal with this huge consumer shift.

 

Creating the Authentic Experience Shoppers are looking for

In the report, Stackla found that 88% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands, they like and support (with 50% saying it’s very important) and that 83% of consumers believe retailers need to provide more authentic shopping experiences to customers like them.

That’s great we hear you say but how do we do that? Well, the report can help with that too. Let’s start by looking at content.

We know content is incredibly powerful when it comes to marketing and advertising with some of the most successful businesses spending 40% of their entire marketing budget on it but is it being spent on the right kind.

Stackla Report: Post-Pandemic Shifts in Consumer Shopping Habits: Authenticity, Personalization and the Power of UGC

A strong majority of businesses are either already spending large amounts of budget on influencer marketing strategies these days or are looking to include it in their marketing strategy. However, as you can see from the image above, only 10% of consumers say influencer content resonates as authentic with them, and a mere 19% say that brand-created content is the most authentic.

The real authenticity winner, with 59% of consumers, is content created by other consumers or in other words user-generated content (UGC). It is by far and away the most authentic type of content — meaning people are 3.1x more likely to say user-generated content is authentic compared to brand-created content and 5.9x more likely to say it's the most authentic compared to influencer content.

 

And it Does More than just Offer Authenticity

UGC is clearly ticking the box for the consumer, but it also has a big impact on their decision to make a purchase.

In the report, it was found that UGC is 8.7x more impactful in influencing purchasing decisions than influencer content. 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions, while a very small 9% said influencer content impacts their purchases.

Stackla Report: Post-Pandemic Shifts in Consumer Shopping Habits: Authenticity, Personalization and the Power of UGC

And it doesn’t stop there, UGC just keeps on giving. 72% of consumers say real customer photos and videos are the content they most want to see on eCommerce sites when making purchasing decisions and 80% of consumers say they’d be more likely to purchase a product from an online store if its website had photos and videos from real customers.

It is hard to argue with those numbers. UGC is clearly an area that if you’re not currently thinking about you might want to start, and here is the reason why. 58% of consumers have left an eCommerce store without purchasing because the site didn’t have customer reviews or photos.

 

UGC is Easier than You Might Think

Consumers are happy to engage with brands that want to share their content and they’re eager for the content they create to be seen and used by their favourite brands.


Stackla Report: Post-Pandemic Shifts in Consumer Shopping Habits: Authenticity, Personalization and the Power of UGC

As you can see, consumers would grant a brand permission to use an image or video they posted of clothing or accessories (58%), a home goods product (58%), a beauty/health/wellness product (54%), a sporting goods product (53%) or a recent trip/excursion (52%) throughout their marketing.

And there are rewards for using this content outside of the ones we’ve already talked about.

43% of consumers — and 47% of Gen Z — say they would be more likely to continue engaging with and purchasing from a brand if it shared their photos or videos throughout its marketing.

 

The Full Report has so Much More

We’ve just scratched the surface of the insights in this report and again we’d encourage you to head over and download a copy for yourself. You’ll find a stack of insights on the importance of personalisation within the shopping experience and why it is so important as well as key insights at the industry level.

 

Putting it Into Action

Hopefully, you’ve seen the overwhelming benefits of including UGC into your strategy and now you’re thinking about how to make it a reality.

The Experience team at Eclipse is here to help. We can work with you to define the best way to include it in the user journey and make it part of the personalisation that your site offers. All you need to do is reach out to us and we can start talking options.


Is Your Brand Using Short Videos? It Should Be

You’ve all engaged with it, even without realising that you have, and all things considered, the world loves it.

Short-form videos are those that are 60 seconds or less and they’re fundamentally changing the way the world works, communicates and learns.

Vine started it and platforms like Tik Tok picked it up and drove a shift that other platforms have followed. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have all made video key to growth and user retention.

 

Why Video?

The reason they’re doing this. It is how people wanted to be communicated to.

60% of internet traffic revolves around video, 72% of people prefer video vs text to learn about a product or service, 68% of people will happily watch a business video if it’s under a minute and 54% of people want to see brands create videos vs any other type of content.

Those numbers speak for themselves but if you needed more, we’ve got them.

93% of marketers have landed a customer via social media video, video content on Instagram receives 49% higher engagement and it also gets 48% more views on social media when compared to other content.

 

The Experts’ Case for Short Video

We’ve found a great Ted Talk by Digital strategist Qiuqing Tai where she explores the explosive rise of bite-sized content and forecasts its promise as an economic and social force.

It really is a must-see and has some incredible examples of how short video has driven real change and offers ways you could do the same.

So, there we have it. Short video could just be the next step in your brand and marketing strategy to support your eCommerce business growth. Now you’ve just got the pick the platform your existing or future customers are using and produce some great content for them to engage with.

 

Need a Little Help with it?

At Eclipse we’ve got digital experts that understand what makes an exceptional customer experience and they can work with you to create and implement a strategy so that you can deliver just that, making short video a lever in the strategy that you can pull on when needed. All you need to do is just reach out.