How to Show off Your “Invisible” Product

With a Brand Hub and User-Generated Content

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Make your invisible brand visible by building on the things customers create with your product

Our latest showcase is not just a look at any old hashtag campaign, but rather a solution for a challenge in brand visibility. If your product is recognisable and photogenic, you can fill your social media content with images of it. But what if your product isn’t something as obvious as, for example, fashion or food?

This showcase and our interview with the social media manager at FunderMax will give you an insight into how you can make your brand more visible even if showing off your product isn’t an option.

The Project: Building Materials Don’t Photograph Well

FunderMax is an Austrian industrial business. The company manufactures quality wood materials and decorative laminates. The components FunderMax creates can be found everywhere, from boards used in furniture to facade panels on the outside of buildings.

FunderMax is ubiquitous and operates internationally, but being a component provider makes it rather invisible as a brand. The company only supplies the raw materials used and isn’t usually named in connection with the finished products.

FunderMax decided to approach its visibility issue digitally. The company understood that showing off the actual products on social media wouldn’t be particularly interesting. After all, all it could post would be photos of boards and surfaces.

Instead, FunderMax decided to show off the great things other people were creating using its materials. The hashtag #forpeoplewhocreate was born.

“FunderMax show:room”
Customer: FunderMax
Website: showroom.fundermax.at
Social Media Wall: walls.io/fundermax-show-room
Campaign Duration: started April 2016, open ended
Channels connected: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, G+, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, Vimeo
Main hashtag: #fundermax #forpeoplewhocreate

A Showroom #Forpeoplewhocreate

First, FunderMax set up a virtual showroom. The FunderMax show:room focuses on design inspiration. It highlights and showcases FunderMax materials by putting them in the context of the bigger picture. The show:room shows the myriad of ways that FunderMax materials can be used to create impressive end products.

The new website hub features blog posts and interviews with designers and architects, as well as an embedded social media wall that collects posts from around the world using the hashtags #fundermax or #forpeoplewhocreate.

The show:room, run separately from the main website, is a virtual stage for FunderMax customers to showcase their work — and that in turn showcases the important part FunderMax plays in their creations. Using Walls.io, FunderMax created a brand hub that showcases its own brand by proxy.

The Interview: Making Good Use of Existing UGC

We talked to Andrea Janesch-Knopper from the marketing department at FunderMax about the digital brand showroom.

Is this your first social media wall?

Yes, this is a first for FunderMax, we’ve never used anything like this before.

Why did you choose Walls.io and how are you utilising it?

Our social media expert recommended Walls.io, and when we checked it out it seemed perfect for our development plans. Now, we’ve integrated the Walls.io social wall platform into our show:room website.

How did you come up with the project?

We wanted to have our own platform where we can talk about our products, general design trends, and share inspiration in another way than just our company website. So we decided to create different areas within the show:room. It includes highlight topics, a dedicated feed where we inform users about various topics, and the social wall where we can share inspiration and ideas of our partners.

We’d already noticed that there was a great deal of social content out there, created regularly by our partners, employees, installers etc. and we wanted to share this with all our customers.

Which hashtags did you pick for your show:room and why?

At the moment we’re using hashtags like #fundermax and #forpeoplewhocreate — this is something which will develop organically, and we’ll certainly have more coming in the future.

We are only using hashtags that have something to do with our company and our products because we want to collect inspiration for our social wall.

What do you want to achieve with your hashtag campaign?

In the first instance, we want to drive awareness of our products and our creativity. We want to inspire others by showing just what can be achieved with FunderMax. Our customers and employees all over the world have different ideas and can post pictures of projects in their countries. This is a perfect way to show existing and potential customers what’s possible.

How are you letting customers know about the wall and incentivising them to post using the hashtag?

We informed our customers about the social wall in various newsletters. We also sent out postcards encouraging them to “be a part of it” which, naturally, also showcased the web address.

Our employees (about 1,000 worldwide) received a newsletter about the show:room, and it was featured in our employee magazine as well. Additionally, we shared information about the show:room and how to get involved on Twitter.

Where are you embedding Walls.io?

We’ve embedded the Walls.io widget on our new subsite showroom.fundermax.at which launched in April. At the moment we’re using Walls.io just for our showroom site, our platform for inspiration and design.

How is the campaign going? What are the highlights so far?

For us, the biggest highlight is that we can see so many different projects, all created using our products, from all over the world. It’s especially great to see our interior products in use since it’s usually very hard to get pictures that we can show to other customers. The social wall makes things so much easier and more fluid.

We are very happy with the results of the social wall so far. Since we launched our new website, we’ve noticed more interaction on the social wall than ever before. Our customers seem to like it very much! There’s no ending in sight as it’s quickly become a very important element of our website.

The Takeaway: Build on Existing Social Content

Being visible as a brand can be especially hard to pull off if your products play a “supporting role” in the creation of something else. But FunderMax has managed to make its products and brand visible by, in turn, drawing on its customers’ creations. FunderMax is letting its customers’ creations tell the story of the brand.

It was a smart move to build on existing social content. Like Andrea says, FunderMax noticed its customers were already posting merrily away. It was a logical step to make the existing user-generated content a part of the campaign to make the brand more visible.

It’s easier to build on existing UGC than to start from scratch when motivating people to create it. Find out if your customers or fans are already creating the content you are looking for and then you only have to connect it to your brand.

Everyone Wins with User-Generated Content

The great thing about user-generated content is that all sides have a vested interest in the content. Partners, customers and employees get to show off their creations. FunderMax can show off its products in an interesting, creative way. And potential customers get an impression of all the things that can be done with these materials.

It’s also important to note that FunderMax has opted to reach out to its existing customers not primarily via social media but in its newsletters. Encouraging user-generated content doesn’t necessarily have to happen on social media even if it concerns social media content.

FunderMax already had an efficient and effective means of connecting with its customers — the newsletter —, and it made good use of it. This allows the company to target its message much better than it would be able to on Facebook or Twitter where target groups tend to be more heterogeneous.

Marketing the showroom to employees was another great idea. The FunderMax employees are the people who are in touch with existing and potential customers, so they can function as multipliers, telling others about the show:room and encouraging them to post using the hashtags.

Consider all of your target groups! Often, your employees can act as excellent multipliers for your hashtag campaign, since they’re in face-to-face contact with your customers.

Got an interesting brand hub you’d like to show off? Let us know!