10 Ways To Create An Authentic Branded Podcast Audiences Value

Consumers quickly lose interest in brands that they sense aren’t completely genuine. Honesty and trust are table stakes for modern marketers, and when it comes to branded podcasts, audiences demand authentic value.

Forbes Agency Council

The medium is so personal, podcast content must resonate with listeners if a brand hopes to use it to build a following and have a positive impact. Done well, branded podcasts that consistently deliver meaningful, useful content can become powerful channels to build deeper connections with your target audiences.

We asked the members of Forbes Agency Council how to create the most valuable and authentic branded podcast content that will help attract loyal listeners. Here are 10 of their top recommendations.

1. Operate Within Your Strengths

Always make sure you operate within your strengths. Deliver podcast topics and content that energizes you, motivates you and ignites your curiosities and passions. This will come through in your delivery and help you as you work to set the tone for your podcast. Deliver content regularly; consistency is key for keeping your audience engaged. – Ana Miller, A2 Communications Group

2. Don’t Script It Word By Word

Don’t script your podcast word by word—let it flow. This makes it authentic but hits your important key messages. Talk about the main problem you solve, as that will resonate with the audience. Don’t take yourself or company too seriously, accept and acknowledge criticism, talk about the flaws you have and maybe even mention the competition. This makes every benefit that you mention much more authentic. – Timon Hartung, True Impact Consulting

3. Let Your Curiosity Lead

I’ve been podcasting for two years, and the only way I know how to do it is to let curiosity lead. Of course, I bring a journalistic background to the task, and that’s really what is needed. Podcasts require conversation, inquisitiveness, honesty and listening. If you can do that and explore timely issues (not just issues in your industry), your podcast will be authentic as well as valuable. – Lynne Golodner, Your People LLC

4. Weave Sponsorships In Throughout

In my experience, 99% of the time, the quality and relevance of the content are more important to a viewer than the “who” or “why” of the sponsorship. The problem is not who is funding the content, but how good the content is, and how naturally the sponsorship is woven into the entire experience, versus a “commercial” at the beginning and the end. – Abigail Hirschhorn, Human Intelligence | H.I.

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5. Get Introductions From Influencers

Influencers can help establish your authenticity within a niche. If influencers are introducing you to their communities, know that the communities will follow their recommendations and will definitely come to listen to your podcast. – Mandeep Singh, SEO Discovery Pvt Ltd.

6. Focus On The Lives And Stories Of People

Podcasts that focus on the lives and stories of people are authentic and always resonate with the audience. Listeners love to hear where people have come from and how they persevered. No matter where they are in life, listeners can easily identify with the goals and struggles highlighted on a podcast, as we are all on a path to reach our individual goals. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

7. Inject Personality Into Your Content

You can achieve authenticity by injecting personality into your content and just by being yourself. It’s also important to be consistent because people will be looking forward to your content once they’ve heard your first episode. Sharing personal stories with your audience is also priceless, as it will resonate with your listeners. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

8. Don’t Use It As A Promotion Channel

Most companies can argue that they’re authorities in their domain of expertise and can start building a platform based on that. But what’s crucial is to avoid the trap of using it as a promotion channel. Instead, share real experiences as well as insights about what does not work; invite guests that might not be your fans and have honest conversations that provide value to listeners. – Lars Voedisch, PRecious Communications

9. Back Your Advice With Proper Data

When a brand provides expert advice while sharing content, it not only offers value to its listeners, but it also ensures that the content comes across as authentic, coming from “the” expert in the subject field. Brands should carefully research the topics they share and back them with sound and proper data. This gives content more credibility, showing the brand went the extra mile in its preparations. – Elissar Hajj Zarwi, Comma Hub

10. Approach It As You Do Any Other Ad Content

Approach your podcast content with the same mentality as you do any other advertising content: Remain true to your brand and aim to solve a problem. Put yourself in your listeners’ shoes. Ask yourself, “What makes people tune into their favorite podcasts?” Meet your audience where they are and provide them with transparent and direct content to keep them engaged and coming back for more. – Corbett Drummey, Popular Pays

What Not To Do When Algorithms Change: 13 Common SEO Errors

When search engine algorithms change, businesses typically try to adapt their search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to deal with the shift as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, without adequate understanding of the basis of these changes, a company’s response often runs afoul of a search engine’s new rules. Missteps in the approach to optimizing a site after algorithms shift can lead to a fall in ranking, potentially knocking it off the first several pages of search results and decreasing traffic.

Forbes Agency Council

Fewer visitors to your site can strike a blow to your company’s bottom line, especially if you rely on consumers finding your offerings through organic search. To help your company avoid these consequences, experts from Forbes Agency Council examine 13 common SEO errors that brands make when search engine algorithms change.

1. Making Rash Decisions

Companies jump to conclusions and start changing ranking pages and disavowing links or building new links. This will damage their rankings long-term, and they won’t recover fast. First of all, always check if the loss in rankings actually resulted in a loss in real traffic. Many times, the traffic is back a few days later. Then, carefully update bit by bit and, like Google, keep the user experience first. – Timon Hartung, True Impact Consulting

2. Overcorrecting With SEO ‘Hacks’

Overcorrecting is a big mistake. Chasing SEO “hacks” after each major update is like day trading. It may yield some short-term wins, but over time, you’ll likely be at a loss, compared to sticking with the basic strategy of frequently creating unique, quality content that’s relevant to your customers. Any major dips in page rank that don’t come from bending the rules will likely be corrected in a subsequent update. – Brian Sullivan, Sullivan Branding

3. Not Understanding Underlying Factors

A common mistake is not taking the time to understand the underlying factors that led to the change. This can lead brands to continue following “best practices” that the changes have now made obsolete, such as keyword stuffing, which at one time helped and then, overnight, hurt search rankings. If you understand why the algorithm was changed, you will do a better job of adjusting your strategy to the new reality. – Jodi Amendola, Amendola Communications

4. Chasing The Change

Chasing the change is a mistake I see often. Search algorithms are simply trying to prioritize what people find most valuable. Organizations that constantly chase and complain about the changes likely are missing the mark on what is actually important: building content that is actually valuable to those you serve, not just content that makes the current algorithm version happy. – Tyler Farnsworth, August United

5. Not Creating Content For Humans

Create content for humans first, not search engines. A common mistake marketers make when trying to “game SEO” is publishing content in awkward formats to appeal to search engines. This results in a poor experience for your web visitors, and it won’t provide an SEO boost for long as search engines continue to root out these tactics in favor of authentic content. – Wendy Covey, TREW Marketing

6. Making A Drastic Change In SEO Strategy

Algorithm changes are typically subtle and rarely present a case for uprooting your entire SEO strategy. A common error is for brands to make a drastic change in strategy without considering what is working and will continue to work. Improving existing content is a more sensible, short-term move until the algorithm change is fully proven and a new direction is clear. – A. Lee Judge, Content Monsta

7. Focusing Too Much On Brand Name

A common SEO error is putting too much focus on brand name or “inside baseball” jargon and not enough focus on how people actually search for services. Use keyword tools to understand how people are searching for solutions you offer. Focus on what audiences need, not on what you offer. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group

8. Buying Backlinks

I’ve seen businesses buying backlinks, which generally means having your URL inside disreputable websites blocked by crawlers and dragging your reputation down as well. They make the copy super hard to read and understand just because they want to achieve the keyword saturation. Robots are super smart today; you must make your copy easy to read and understand and relatable to the web page’s topic. – Ally Spinu, USA Link System

9. Removing Content That Ranks Well

The most common SEO error I’ve seen brands make after search engine algorithms suddenly change is removing blog posts or website pages that have high notoriety and already rank well in the search engines. All of the built-up SEO that already exists is lost and must then be restored. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

10. Trying To Exploit Loopholes

Some brands try to exploit the weaknesses of a search engine to rank higher on a search engine results page (SERP), which typically refers to the first page of organic results for specific keyword searches. However, when they do this, they constantly have to make adjustments and find new loopholes to exploit. Creating engaging, original content that fulfills a user’s needs will always be the best way forward, no matter what changes are made. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing

11. Keyword Stuffing As An Afterthought

Companies tend to treat SEO as an afterthought to a web build. We like to bring that conversation upfront. One of the biggest SEO errors I have seen is keyword stuffing at later stages in a panic to score better on search engines. With algorithms always changing, that strategy is just setting up the brand for failure. – Dean Trevelino, Trevelino/Keller

12. Not Reacting Quickly Enough

Not jumping quickly enough on SEO changes can decimate revenue overnight if algorithms change and redirect traffic to a competitor’s site. Be ready to not only adjust SEO content on your site at a moment’s notice, but also potentially overhaul the entire website to make sure you’re back on top of the SEO game. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

13. Forgetting The Brand’s Goals

Most SEO experts feel too pressured by Google’s algorithms. When there are changes, they are eager to address them, but forget to follow the brand’s goals for positioning. Google loves known brands, so having a brand that is recognized by consumers should be your goal, regardless of Google’s algorithms. In conclusion, don’t adjust your brand identity; instead, adjust Google to your brand. – Nikolay Stoyanov, Influence Vibes

11 Creative Ways To Use AI-Driven Conversational Marketing

Responding to consumers in real time is the cornerstone of conversational marketing, leading businesses around the world to implement tools driven by artificial intelligence (AI) as part of their customer outreach. Taking a more personalized and interactive approach to automated communication makes it easier for businesses to guide consumers toward specialized solutions that will meet their needs.

Forbes Agency Council

Success with conversational marketing can be achieved using many different methodologies. Here, 12 experts from Forbes Agency Council talk about the most creative conversational marketing strategies they’ve seen employed successfully, demonstrating how well AI can support business goals.

1. Leverage Chatbots For 24/7 Service

The best example of AI being used to help customers in real time is the advent of the chatbot. This simple bit of code can make your customers feel like they are chatting with a real person at any time of day, and it is sophisticated enough to solve most problems. If it can’t, it can get the customer in touch with someone who can. A chatbot is like a customer service rep that works 24 hours a day. – Jason Hall, FiveChannels Marketing

2. Increase On-Site Engagement And Conversions

You can use chatbots to increase engagement on your website, encourage conversion and direct visitors to take the required call to action based on their queries or requirements. This will ultimately improve the overall user experience and increase conversions from the website. – Ajay Prasad, GMR Web Team

3. Use An AI-Driven Gift Guide Or Product Finder

As conversational marketing and the desire for more personalized interactions with brands are growing daily, chatbots have become a must-have for brands. One of the most creative and impactful ways brands can leverage an AI-driven chatbot is by using it as a gift guide or product finder, where the consumer answers a few relevant questions and is then presented with the best options. – JP Johl, AdTribute

4. Give Automated Conversations A Human Touch

The most successful AI-driven conversational marketing is both targeted and specific. When a consumer is viewing an item on a website, an AI assistant can start a conversation by mentioning that specific product and inquiring whether the consumer has questions or needs help comparing products. The customer will feel more of a human touch, increasing the chance of that lead converting to a sale. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

5. Filter And Respond To Inbound Messages

AI-driven conversational marketing can definitely help companies engage with and respond to customers in real time. One creative way we successfully apply conversational marketing is by automating real-time responses to inbound messages on social media and websites. We create chat flows that help filter inbound inquiries and facilitate in getting customers the solution they seek. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

6. Communicate On A One-To-One Basis

The best thing about AI-driven conversational marketing is the ability to communicate on a one-to-one basis. For instance, I’ve used a behavior-driven algorithm that combines location data with implicit and explicit behavioral patterns. When a pattern is recognized, a personalized communication is sent to that individual. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

7. Spike Awareness As A Differentiator

Sleep experts at a mattress company created a late-night chatbot designed to keep you company when you just can’t sleep. On its own, the tool creates a solid PR moment to spike awareness as a differentiator. But it also has evergreen possibilities when people share their conversations on social media well after the bot’s initial debut. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

8. Engage Via Text-Based Conversations

A great application is text message-based conversational marketing. This underutilized channel is often overlooked because it is tied to different restrictions than others are. However, if used correctly, it can be a powerful way to speak to your customer in real time. – Corbett Drummey, Popular Pays

9. Take A Help-First Approach To Online Sales

I recently visited a site to get a new skin for my phone, and the conversational marketing chat prompt not only welcomed me back by name, but also asked if I was “still using a OnePlus 7” device. This was helpful because, when I clicked “yes,” I was directed to the latest skins for my device. The goal may have been to sell a product, but because they used a help-first approach, I almost forgot. – Bernard May, National Positions

10. Capture Real-Time Feedback To Scale CX And Drive Campaigns

Capturing real-time feedback using sentiment analysis and then routing potential problems or opportunities to the appropriate human is an easy way to efficiently use AI to scale customer experience. Over time, these datasets can be used to build segments within paid and email channels for win-back or loyalty campaigns, using the voice of the customer to drive creative and copy. – Jacob Cook, Tadpull

11. Listen To Potential Customers Across Social Media

We have used AI and big data analytics to listen to business leaders across social media in order to understand their confidence level in their business or industry. This information has been pivotal in understanding what solutions business leaders are looking for, which has allowed us to create relevant content and service offerings. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group

13 Essential Marketing Tips For Preparing Your Fall Campaigns

Seasonal marketing is one of the most natural elements to leverage in a campaign. Summer serves as a perfect example, but as summer starts winding down and we’re entering fall, some businesses are slow to change gears.

You need to adopt a different mindset when transitioning your marketing between summer and fall. At the end of the summer, you should take stock of your goals and set new ones for your fall marketing, while making sure your approach reflects current realities and challenges.

Forbes Agency Council

Thirteen experts from Forbes Agency Council discuss how a business can transition between the summer and fall advertising periods, and offer tips on how to make that transition more seamless.

1. Don’t Be Tone-Deaf

When it comes to marketing, particularly during our current global pandemic, one mistake a lot of companies make is they don’t pay attention to or address what people are dealing with. Instead, they simply push their marketing agenda, which is not a good look. – Drew Gerber, Wasabi Publicity, Inc.

2. Build Brand Awareness Early

Start building brand awareness earlier than you think. Brands look to quickly scale revenue in the fall. Strong response rates driven by enticing offers mean that brands can acquire more customers efficiently. It’s imperative that brands have large brand-aware audiences to enable success and drive the scale they’re looking for. – Samir Balwani, Methods & Metrics

3. Plan In Increments

Be agile. When it comes to your fall marketing efforts, plan in short increments of time so you can be nimble, allowing quick adaptation and optimization. We are hardly out of the woods with the pandemic, so having a contingency plan should we go back to lockdown is critical. – Laura Cole, Vivial

4. Leave Room For Ad-Hoc Messaging

Always leave room for ad-hoc moments and messaging. Today’s world is ever-changing, and you want to stay relevant at all times. Create values and a purpose that is long term/evergreen, play with seasonality, but also leave that wiggle room to tap into current conversations and culture. The social media landscape is perfect for that. – Maddie Raedts, IMA – Influencer Marketing Agency

5. Make Sure You Have The Bandwidth

Bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwidth! Customer experience is always important but with likely significant increases in online activity, be sure that your website can handle increased traffic and purchases, beef up customer service including plans to support customers from home (do your employees have access to the tech and high-speed internet?), and — as always — have your marketing plan laid out in advance. – Chris Graham, Graham Advisory Network Inc.

6. Approach Each Campaign Individually

Make sure to approach each campaign as its own entity, regardless of its seasonality. The time of year isn’t the only thing that changes from campaign to campaign, especially in the times that we are currently living through. Every changing circumstance needs to be in consideration during the preparation stage. – Dmitrii Kustov, Regex SEO

7. Plan Media In Advance

This fall will bring many changes such as a crowded political media marketplace and consumers who are navigating a nontraditional back-to-school season. Planning media in advance will be more important than ever to ensure you stay present in the consumer’s mind. As the marketing landscape continues to shift, businesses need to be agile to quickly adjust to a changing landscape and consumer needs. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

8. Adapt Your Purchasing Infrastructure

With COVID-19, consumer buying behaviors have changed dramatically. The mistake businesses may make is thinking that their customers will be purchasing from them in the same way and for the same reasons as before. One remedy is to adapt your purchasing infrastructure to be digitally focused based on specific customer behavioral patterns. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

9. Make Sure The Content Is Posted Early

If you plan to add seasonal content to your website, make sure it’s in place and indexable (meaning it can be found by Google) before starting your promotion. Manual indexing can take up to four weeks, and while it is possible to speed up the process by requesting indexing directly from Google, it still doesn’t guarantee new pages will show up immediately. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

10. Keep Up With Current Trends

Be cognizant of the trends that are currently happening in these unprecedented times and be prepared to pivot your fall campaigns a few times. What you may think will work one week could potentially change based on what is happening in the world. The “new normal” is changing and marketing needs to change with that. – Warren Jolly, AdQuadrant

11. Be Clear On Past Successes And Failures

Be clear on the successes and failures of the year before and revisit the audience they are targeting to measure changes in attitudes and behaviors, new technologies and competitive values. Things change and agencies need to be on top of and ahead of those changes so they can help their clients be ahead and in sync with the shifts so they will be relevant to their target audience. – Pat Fiore, FIORE

12. Remember Not All Audiences Are The Same

It’s important to remember that not all your audiences are the same. There are some people that don’t know much about your business and others that adore your brand. Create marketing that captures interest from new prospects and also campaigns that provide rewards for your most loyal customers. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

13. Reconsider Your Back-To-School Campaign

Think carefully before running the traditional back-to-school-themed campaign creative which may no longer resonate with your customers. School will not look the same for anyone this year, and many parents are keeping their kids at home for virtual learning or homeschooling. Some brands have already embraced this shift with “back to learning” messaging instead of “back to school.” – Keri Witman, Clever Lucy

How To Ensure Authenticity In Marketing: 12 Critical Tips

Consumers have to deal with so much advertising daily that they are very particular about the ones they listen to. Thanks to the sheer volume of marketing efforts, buyers have become clued-in to what inauthentic marketing looks like. Consumers treat businesses that try to perform inauthentic marketing with disdain, and modern cancel-culture can lead to massive PR disasters.

Forbes Agency Council

If you want to connect with your clients, you need to do it in a way that resonates with them authentically. Below, 12 members of Forbes Agency Council share several critical tips to help businesses be more genuine in their marketing endeavors.

1. Make Your Customer The Superhero

If you make your product or people the superhero, you’re putting your brand above your customer and looking down at them. This positioning makes you appear inauthentic and untrustworthy. In your marketing, the superhero is always your customer. Your product or service is the tool that enables them to achieve the superior results they’re seeking. – Douglas Karr, Highbridge

2. Understand Your Brand Promise

Businesses should first of all understand their brand promise. What is it that their consumers expect of them? What is their core philosophy? What is the brand’s DNA — not its ideal, but the truth of its culture and impact? Once that is known, any message that strays from that brand promise will be inauthentic. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group

3. Project What Your Brand Stands For

Every clever marketing campaign should project the heart of the brand and what it stands for. All marketing projects must be consistent in messaging to truly connect with the consumer and showcase the values of the brand, ensuring authenticity. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

4. Develop A Brand Style Guide Early On

Branding is storytelling, and authenticity and consistency are key. Developing a brand bible and style guide early is a helpful tool to crystallize your story. You should include elements like positioning, mission, pillars, dos/don’ts, visual identity, etc. These will serve as a North Star internally and will also enable partners, agencies and other extensions of your team to know your story. – Marc Becker, The Tangent Agency

5. Gather As Much Feedback As Possible

What you think customers want and what customers actually want are not always the same. Gather as much customer feedback and engagement metrics as possible to learn how they talk about your product/service and what they want or need from it. Use that information to build a marketing strategy and you will be sure to resonate with your target audience in an authentic way. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

6. Focus On Providing Value And Educating

The single best way to have authentic marketing is to give value first. Instead of always trying to sell, sell, sell, make sure you take the time to educate. We pride ourselves on our blog, training and learning hub. We give access to all of them for free because we believe in value first. If we can get our customers to trust us, then the selling will come even easier later in the funnel. – Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH

7. Feature Your Subject-Matter Experts

People trust people, not brands. It’s important to look for ways to feature the subject-matter experts behind your company because it’s easier for someone to connect with a person than a brand. People want to buy from people they trust, and learning about your founders’ stories, values and experience can help build that trust. – Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.

8. Have A Story With A Human Touch

Make sure your brand has a story with a human touch. Showing why customers need your product or service is not enough, you have to connect with them on a deeper level — and that’s where storytelling comes in. What’s the story behind the brand? Why does it exist? When your brand has a proper story behind it, you’ll win the loyalty of consumers and that’s priceless. – Randy Soderman, Soderman SEO

9. Focus On Product Benefits, Not Features

Authentic marketing always focuses on product benefits, not product features. To ensure authenticity, first understand how your product makes the customer’s life better, easier or more enjoyable; i.e., the product benefits. Then ensure that marketing content focuses on telling that product benefit story. This approach helps your marketing content resonate and keeps it authentic. – Aliza Freud, SheSpeaks, Inc.

10. Keep Your Message And Tone Consistent

Keep your message and tone consistent. If you’re clever, be clever. If you’re snarky, be snarky. It’s the inconsistency of this tone that can sound fake. If the written content on your site is a bit casual and loose, but the videos on your site are overly “corporate,” your brand will reek of inauthenticity. Clever and catchy are OK, but don’t do it halfway. – Bernard May, National Positions

11. Always Test Before Launch

Even the best creative can have a blind spot, so it’s critical to test before launch. Test it! Too often, campaigns come out without input from a variety of demographics. If you want to be authentic, you must first test it with your internal team and collect feedback based on how it makes them feel and how they expect the outside world will react. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

12. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Vulnerable

Be vulnerable. Nobody’s perfect, so if your marketing suggests that you are, it will always come off as inauthentic. I saw a restaurant that advertised that its rooftop bar was “well worth the three flights of stairs.” That’s clever and self-deprecating in a way that resonates with consumers. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove

16 ways to ‘future-proof’ your career

Change is constant, especially when it comes to technological advances. Many businesses are quick to embrace and adapt to include these technological advances, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, in their daily operations. Indeed, the increasing use of AI and ML has many people nervous about being pushed out of their jobs.

Members of the Business Journals Leadership Trust understand these professionals’ concerns and have shared some recommendations for “future-proofing” yourself for the working world. Try these strategies to prepare yourself for the increased role of technology in the workplace.

Forbes Agency Council

1. Take inventory of your skills.
Inventory your skills and know what value you bring to an organization so that you can adapt and grow based on your success, not what’s hot in the market. For example, a skilled writer will always be a skilled writer, regardless of whether that is within a creative shop or a highly technical environment. Some raw, innate skills will always be in demand. Focus on those and the rest will follow. – Paul Weber, EAG Advertising & Marketing

2. Learn about and leverage your technological ‘competition.’
Learn about your AI/ML competition. Find out what makes them great and what their pitfalls are. You can strategize ways to work with and use AI/ML to enhance your human level of service instead of fighting against it. – Christen McCamie, Nesta Real Estate Consultants

3. Do the things AI and ML can’t.
Do the things that AI and ML can’t do or don’t do well. These are mostly related to human interaction. The human mind is far more complex than any computer can understand (at least right now). Furthermore, we are each so different that a computer could never keep track of those differences. Lastly, emotional intelligence is still a (rare) human talent. – Brian Walters, Walters Gilbreath, PLLC

4. Reframe your value based on operational and cultural knowledge.
Employees should first reframe their value based on their operational knowledge and their ability to navigate company culture, including the unique elements they contribute — things the machine cannot use in decision-making. They also have a chance to take advantage of the current situation to learn new skill sets, earn relevant industry certification and position themselves to add value to the bottom line. – Daniel Villao, Intelligent Partnerships, Inc.

5. Hone in on your creativity.
Humans’ unique differential will remain regardless of automation. We are creative beings, and as long as we approach problem-solving and pain points with creativity, our jobs are “future-proofed.” Embracing AI and ML to enhance efficiency and competency is a good thing! The door is open for more human invention and innovation. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management

6. Never stop learning.
Learn a new skill, language or even a new code. Make sure your employer knows you are hungry to learn and conquer new opportunities. Never stop learning and developing new skills. – Andrew Duffell, Research Park at FAU

7. Be able to recognize and adapt to business changes.
Being able to adapt and recognize modern changes in the way business is done is very important to any professional, no matter the industry. While it’s impossible to be an expert on everything, professionals should stay relevant by continuing to learn and embrace the modern new technologies that are entering our daily lives. – Tom Rourick, RSM US LLP

8. Remember there’s no substitute for human empathy.
In our business, human interaction and involvement each step of the way are what sets us apart. Even if we get to the point where there’s more automation, there is no substitution for empathy and feeling heard. As more industries utilize AI, the human touch will continue to differentiate us. It’s important to create an environment that celebrates the unique experiences our team brings to the table. – Jake Gilbreath, Walters Gilbreath, PLLC

9. Develop a growth mindset.
Every professional should develop a growth mindset where they focus on learning and make conquering new challenges a part of their routine. This will allow them to grow as businesses evolve. If professionals have a fixed mindset where they give up or avoid challenges, it will inevitably lead to failure to adapt to changes in the environment. – Vincent Phamvan, Vyten Career Coaching

10. Look for opportunities to streamline mundane tasks.
AI and ML are growing, but instead of being nervous about job security, people can see it as an opportunity for the more mundane tasks to be taken care of with technology. Then the human aspect can blossom, with professionals being more creative in their work, planning and strategy. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

11. Get ahead of the curve.
We must all continually update our skills! The technologies are coming, and we can either be displaced by them or be the innovator who solves problems through these new tools. Staying current and getting ahead of the curve is critical to remaining relevant in the new workplace. – Kathleen Schofield, Northeast Florida Regional STEM2 Hub

12. Prioritize your critical thinking skills.
This is an age-old question. People worried about the calculator, then the computer, now AI and ML. The one professional asset that is constant is critical thinking. Train your brain to look at problems from a macro/micro, conceptual/analytic and social/strategic viewpoint. Critical thinkers will be the next generation’s leaders — they will be the conductors rather than the musicians. – Lane Conner, Fuzse

13. Demonstrate your resilience.
While no one really knows which employment opportunities will be available in the future, you can still learn to future proof your career so employers see you as the best candidate. People who are adaptable and resilient will be the ones who will have longevity. A “change is inevitable” mindset must be adopted by professionals. Have an open mind about what change brings and take it head-on. – Katie Wahlquist, Star Bank

14. Challenge yourself to think creatively about your job and business.
Allow yourself — better yet, challenge yourself — to try creative thinking sessions (all pencils down and phones off) at least once a month about your job/business. AI and ML can do a lot at an impressive speed but are nonetheless tethered to data and processes that have occurred in the past. To date, only the human mind can envision something that has not been done or existed before. – Michael Sluka, B2B CFO Partners

15. Find ways to make tech work for you.
In today’s era of distributed workforces, cross-functional collaboration is digitally driven. All professionals must keep up with emerging technologies and upgrade their tools regularly. If you’ve used the same old tool for years, you may not even know what you are missing! My recommendation is to make tech work for you, not be scared of it. – Mark Zinman, Zinman & Company

16. Think like an entrepreneur.
There is no such thing as future-proofing. It is important to understand the market value of what you have to offer. You should always think like an entrepreneur. What can I offer that others need? What is the hiring manager looking for? When the skill you are currently known for is plentiful, build your other skills or acquire a new skill that is less available — then promote it. – Samir Mokashi, Code Unlimited LLC

13 Critical Steps When Partnering With An Influencer

Influencers are among the most impressive traffic-generation engines marketers have available to them today. However, not all influencers are created equal. For a business, just seeing the numbers that an influencer can impact is only the tip of the iceberg. Companies need to know the people they’re partnering with.

 

Forbes Agency Council - Influencers

In all aspects of business, trust plays an important part, and a company should know it can trust the face of its marketing. Thus, for companies to be secure in partnering with an influencer, they should start by learning more about their potential partners. Below, 13 experts from Forbes Agency Council share a few critical steps companies should take when checking an influencer’s trustworthiness.

1. Know The Influencer’s Audience

Successful influencer marketing is essentially tapping into an influencer’s audience; hence it’s not only important to look at the feed, storytelling, followers, engagement rate etc., but also at what audience you are tapping into. Are their followers your target demographic, are they interested in fashion or cars? You are accessing an influencer’s audience so make sure it is the right one. – Emilie Tabor, IMA – Influencer Marketing Agency

2. Don’t Take Influencer Status At Face Value

There are many things you can do to investigate the true value of an influencer for your brand. As you do so, keep in mind that what’s important isn’t just their follower count. In fact, many smaller influencers can make for a great choice if they have high engagement and a true relationship with their audience. An influencer’s personal audience connection is what really matters. – Dmitrii Kustov, Regex SEO

3. Make Sure Your Values Are The Same

Your business is successful because you have a win/win solution for you and your customers, and your ideal customers’ values match your business values. Your association with influencers will only work if they believe in the values of your company. Their endorsement will come out authentic only if they believe in your business, plus their followers will be closer to your ideal customers. – Ajay Prasad, GMR Web Team

4. Do A Deep Dive Into Their Life

Before partnering with an influencer, do a deep dive into their life to make sure their persona is something you want your brand to be associated with. If you make the wrong decision on an influencer, only to realize this after you have gone public, quickly remove them. Don’t be afraid to let your consumers know you made a mistake and will correct it to be more in line with your brand values. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

5. Look Beyond The Individual

Take time to look into a potential influencer’s online connections and other partnerships. You should already be familiar with their followers, but what do you know about the people the influencer follows — do their messages and posts align with your values? This shouldn’t be used as a pass-fail test, but it can give you some insight into your influencer’s motivations. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

6. Look At The Numbers

It’s hard to judge how trustworthy an influencer will be, but the numbers won’t lie. Check the audience composition of their channels — does the age, gender and location align with your target? Do a quantitative analysis of other partnerships they’ve had — what did reach, engagement and clicks look like? It’s a red flag if they’re unwilling to provide the above, or if the numbers don’t look great. – John Keehler, RUNNER Agency

7. Request And Review Analytics

One important step each business must take when checking the validity of an influencer before partnering is requesting and reviewing their analytics to ensure their social accounts are genuine. In doing so, you can more accurately and confidently predict that partnering with the influencer will drive you qualified traffic and result in new sales. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

8. Ask For References

Ask your influencer to demonstrate the success and impact they’ve had with other businesses. Ask for references, too — or seek them out on your own. It’s important to get third-party insight into how your influencer moved the needle for others. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.

9. Look For Low Fraud Levels

When choosing an influencer, authenticity is of the utmost importance so be sure your influencer has low fraud and no recent competitive posts. If an influencer has fake followers, you’re paying a premium to connect with fewer real followers. If the influencer posted about a competing brand within the last 30 days, they may not seem genuine and could negatively impact your brand. – Maria Sipka, Linqia

10. Check For Fake Followers

Tons of influencers buy fake followers. If their engagement rate is below 1%, their following is most likely purchased. There are many apps you can check that provide metrics on bots or inactive users. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, reach out to a social media agency that manages influencers. We usually keep a blacklist. – Kelly Samuel, Kelly Samuel

11. Read The Audience Comments

Sometimes, reading the comments under photos and videos of an influencer can give a clear picture of what sentiment their audience has for a certain type of content. Understanding that can help in selecting those creators that can actually influence the others and avoid those who bought fake followers or who are receiving only bland emoji comments. – Alessandro Bogliari, The Influencer Marketing Factory

12. Make A Real Connection

Whether it’s a phone call or a Zoom meeting, you’ll learn a lot more about someone through live connection than you will in their DMs. Set up time to chat one on one with potential partners. The little things, like whether or not they’re on time, will give you a peek into their reliability, and a real-life conversation can help you vet how they fit with your brand quickly. – Kate Weidner, SRW

13. Implement A ‘Q Score’

The most important step is recognizing that an influencer’s following is not the only criterion to determining a good fit with a brand. As an industry, we need to develop and start implementing a “Q Score” for influencers just as we do when evaluating celebrities. This type of measurement would dig deeper into an influencer’s persona and appeal and help ensure an authentic fit with a brand partner. – Carl Fremont, Quigley-Simpson

15 Key Considerations For Businesses When Commenting On Political Or Social Matters

A few decades ago, the rule of thumb for businesses when it came to politics or social issues would be to ignore it. However, as the world has become more politically aware of the situations that infiltrate everyday life, businesses can no longer sit on the sidelines as history passes them by.

Politics and social issues can be thorny subjects, especially if a company doesn’t understand where its audience’s sentiments lie. A wrong step could mean a public relations disaster of epic proportions. Here, 15 members of Forbes Agency Council examine how a business can comment on social and political issues without finding themselves on the receiving end of “cancel culture.”

Forbes Agency Council

1. Walk The Talk

A tweet in support of an issue might feel like a good idea, but when you lend your brand’s support to a cause or issue, make sure it’s more than words on a screen. Woke consumers do their research. Be prepared to speak to what your company is doing with its policies, procedures and dollars if you choose to join the conversation on social issues. – Kate Weidner , SRW

2. Get Buy-In From All Levels

It has to be more than a public statement. When you stake a claim, be sure that the belief has buy-in across all aspects of your business. Your employees need to have buy-in and stand behind the belief, you need alignment with existing core clients and local support within the community. Each business decision should be held up to a litmus test to ensure it aligns with your belief (social or political). – Korena Keys, KeyMedia Solutions

3. Don’t Force It

Engaging in political or social issues may not be right for your brand. Before you go down this path, make sure that you take an honest look at your brand and your consumer to see if these issues fit your identity. If they don’t, it’s best not to force it. Today’s consumers can spot forced or disingenuous commentary a mile away. – JP Johl, AdTribute

4. Make It Defensible

If you have a fully-informed opinion that is based on more than emotion and you can articulate it well, then feel free to share it. If not, keep it quiet. Then, you can stand on your principles and the truth when there is dissension (and there always will be). – Christine Wetzler, Pietryla PR

5. Embrace Controversial Content

When you post about traditional “taboo” content, it will invite both sides of whatever issue to come forward no matter what, no matter how polite or how well-oiled your PR team is. Instead of trying to fight the inevitable, be open with your wording to encourage conversation. The more organic comments, the cheaper your CPC, the better your content performs on social media. – Kelly Samuel, Kelly Samuel

6. Define Your ‘Why’

Before you take a position on anything political or social, define your “why.” Make sure you live up to it with your actions. This is the hard part. Now, do not conduct market research to see how people respond to your “why.” Even if you do, never change it to please everyone. Own it as is. Now go ahead and be fearless in inspiring your brand followers with social commentary. – Kashif Zaman, Pivyt

7. Make Sure Your Stance And Values Align

Be authentic. When your words align with your brand, they will impact people. The popular choice is not the proper one if it goes against your values or does not connect with your brand. If you have no history or actions to back your statements, they will be poorly received; but if your messages are consistent over time and what you say matches what you do, your stance will draw people to you. – Fran Biderman-Gross, Advantages

8. Understand Consumer Perception

While authenticity has long been a marketing buzzword, it’s critical that brands understand who they are and how consumers perceive them when venturing into any political or social commentary. This ensures that if brands are entering taboo waters, they are doing so in a way that doesn’t appear to be opportunistic and will feel authentic to their followers. – Jessica Reznick, We’re Magnetic

9. Connect With Integrity

Connection with a brand should never come at the expense of integrity. Unless you represent an intentionally polarizing brand, there is no reason to create deliberately polarizing content or messaging. Even in that case, keep in mind that the internet is forever, and your messaging has the potential to haunt the brand, its stakeholders and you as the creator, for a long time. – Patrick Nycz, NewPoint Marketing

10. Be Politically Polite

Political issues should still be off the table unless someone invites the conversation — do not actively bring it up especially in such polarizing times. However, if someone does bring up a political subject and you don’t have the same views, politely listen to the content and then redirect the conversation to pertinent business topics instead of personal political feelings. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

11. Don’t Try To Satisfy Everyone

In sharing your views, you will appeal to many consumers, but not all. In fact, you may turn some consumers off such that you lose their business. But for those that share your beliefs, you will create a much more loyal customer and the increase in sales from them will offset any loss. Don’t be afraid of losing customers because the ones you gain will make up for it! – Lori Paikin, NaviStone®

12. Always Be Fair

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you have to be very fair. As a company, you need to remain fair and share information and perspectives that are balanced and inclusive of all viewpoints. – Jon James, Ignited Results

13. Research Your Sources

Sharing your opinions or values can be a great way to bring authenticity to your messaging, but use extreme caution when sharing other people’s content — if at all. Items like user-generated quotes and photos need to be vetted carefully before you stake your online reputation on them. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

14. Be Mindful Of How You Say It

It’s not about what you say, it’s about how you say it. Today, there’s no longer one “media elite” but rather, endless conversations that are taking place on many different platforms. Listen to communities and hear what they have to say on the matter you wish to talk about and figure out what your added value is in the conversation or solution. – Hamutal Schieber

15. Support Causes That Resonate With Customers

Studies show consumers are apt to switch brands to those that share similar values to their own. The best way for a company to make social commentary to increase brand loyalty is to support causes that resonate with their customer base. For example, sponsoring arts and cultural organizations, or programs such as arts education, shows that the business is investing in their community and its people. – Henry Kurkowski, One WiFi

15 Ways Potential Influencers Can Attract Sponsors

Influencer marketing has become such a significant part of many businesses’ strategies that they’re always on the lookout for new talent to add to their roster. As an influencer, getting noticed requires the most amount of effort. Potential influencer marketers need to know what sponsors are looking for and try to deliver on that.

Businesses tend to regard an influencer’s ability to offer their brand message to the correct audience as the most crucial factor to consider. However, an influencer can deploy several strategies to make sure they get the right eyes on their content. Below, 15 associates of Forbes Agency Council explore how influencers can get themselves noticed by sponsors.

Forbes Influencers as Sponsors

1. Become Part Of Influencer Networks

Brands rely on platforms such as CreatorIQ and others that provide recommendations to brands. The caveat here is that the data is not always accurate. If an influencer’s following and engagement rates are legitimate and accurate, brand marketers would be interested in seeing results achieved on previous projects in order to determine whether a working relationship would be beneficial. – Terry Tateossian, Socialfix Media

2. Leverage Automation Platforms

One of the biggest challenges agencies have is managing multiple influencer campaigns at the same time. It can be a lot to track. Automation platforms should be the wave of the influencer future. Rad Intelligence is one I can recommend. Full disclosure, we work with this group a lot and their latest iteration of the platform has performed well for some of our clients. The ease of organization and planning is tops! – Jason Fishman, Digital Niche Agency (DNA)

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Connect And Ask

If you have a well-defined brand image and audience, don’t be afraid to reach out to agencies and companies and ask for partnerships that make sense. There’s a lot of competition in the influencer space, and sometimes, all it takes is a little outreach and determination. Our agency has created fruitful partnerships with high-level influencers over Instagram direct message in the past. – Travis Peters, EightPM

4. Connect With Their Buyer Persona

For an influencer to be an asset to an organization, their audience and followers need to match with the buyer persona of the target company. The influencer needs to provide follower and audience demographics in addition to engagement metrics so the company knows that the influencer’s target audience is a prospective buyer and that their investment is going to attract the right audience. – Elyse Flynn Meyer, Prism Global Marketing Solutions

5. Build A Solid Media Kit

A solid media kit with statistics will help agencies partner with influencers easily. Also, having a website/blog adds a lot of credibility and is seen as valuable for agencies. – Sam Founda, Social Connection

6. Be Different And More Professional

Influencers range from everyday customers to full-time professional influencers. Be a brand yourself. Be professional. Consider how potential brand customers will regard your content and how they imagine you influencing their brand. – Jim Caruso, M1PR, Inc. d/b/a MediaFirst PR – Atlanta

7. Prove You Can Deliver The ROI

An influencer must not only be open to but should be able to prove the ROI they can deliver to an agency or brand. If you address this head-on and confidently, a company will be willing to invest in you and develop that partnership. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

8. Be Honest About Your Community

Don’t be something you’re not. Be open and honest about what works and doesn’t on your channels. What might not work for one campaign or brand partnership might work for another, so don’t try to be all things to all brands. And be open to collaboration — agencies can help. – Jackson Murphy, Pound & Grain

9. Have An Engaging Audience

If you engage with your audience regularly, you will get a better understanding of who they are and what they are into. From there, you need to fully represent that audience. Companies will see what your audience is and will partner with you based on the demographic you represent. Companies will also tailor their partnership to meet the demands your audience has. It will be a win-win. – Jason Hall, FiveChannels Marketing

10. Act Like A Business

To attract agencies and partnerships, an influencer needs to act like a business. It is not enough to have “followers.” Influencers must offer credibility and proof that they’ve helped other brands obtain actual ROI from their campaign work. They must quantify how their engagement has achieved results and provide thoughtful insights about their followers and past campaigns to prove their value. – Nicole Rodrigues, NRPR Group, INC

11. Target Brands That Match Your Influence

We see this all the time with restaurants hiring models with huge followers to be photographed in their establishment. The influence doesn’t work if the model doesn’t typically post food and beverage content. Their followers are typically looking for clothing and style influence and then boom, they see tacos and margaritas in the feed. Engagement and action is limited. No bueno. – Todd Maxwell, eMaximize

12. Have A Well-Defined Niche

A massive following is no longer enough to secure a brand partnership. A wide net of followers serves little purpose if they don’t interact with your content, so agencies today are putting a greater priority on smaller niche accounts with high engagement rates. Influencers should focus on tailoring niche content for an active audience in order to secure mutually beneficial brand partnerships. – Adam Binder, Creative Click Media

13. Post Quality Organic Content

Our greatest interest is whether the influencer will perform for our client. When we are looking at influencers, we look at the quality of content and the engagement of the influencer’s communities. We also make sure that every post is not a sponsored post. Too many branded partnerships start to dilute the messages from the influencer and it becomes less authentic. – Gina Michnowicz, The Craftsman Agency

14. Quantify Your Reach

Understand the potential reach of your audience. Companies need to know who you can reach, how much they engage around your content, and what traffic or impact your content can have. The more you can quantify your network into measurable outcomes the better. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group

15. Define Your Personal Brand

In order to attract agencies and companies for partnerships, it’s important for potential influencers to first define their personal brand (values, personality, tone, etc.) and consistently exhibit it through all online and offline channels. Agencies and companies can identify if the influencer aligns with their brand, giving them trust and confidence with that influencer. – Tripp Donnelly, REQ

Are You Posting Good Content? Find Out With These 16 Quality Assessment Methods

Content marketing has evolved to become a unique field within the marketing industry. One of the things that businesses have realized when it comes to content marketing is that quality trumps quantity. Companies have understood these developments, and as a result, have been taking more notice of what they share with their audience.

How does a business go about determining if their content is good enough to inform, educate and engage its customers? To answer this question, we consulted 16 experts from Forbes Agency Council about their own experience with content quality assessment. They share their favorite methods below.

Forbes Agency Council

1. Do A Little Research

One of the more proven strategies to ensure you’re creating content consumers want is by leveraging properties that allow said consumers to ask their questions. Quora is one such property. Find a relevant category and look for questions that may be trending. Be sure to be as helpful with your response as you can. In doing so, you may find you’ve discovered something new to write about. – Stephen Kleiner, Bloom Ads Global Media Group

2. Look At Relevant KPIs

Quality content can be assessed by looking at KPIs (key performance indicators) including search visibility, dwell time and engagement. Search visibility shows how a website’s content ranks for a wide range of keyword combinations. Dwell time reveals the length of time a person spends looking at a web page’s content, and engagement measures the interests, opinions and thoughts of the reader. – Don Dodds, M16 Marketing

3. Start With Your Sales Team

“Quality” content is in the eye of the beholder — in this case, the customer. Starting with your sales team to find out what prospects are asking about and wanting to solve lets the marketing team focus on how to tell the story of how your brand can uniquely solve those issues. When you can answer questions before they’re asked in your own way tied to your brand values, that’s a quality promise. – Courtney Smith Kramer, Co-Active Training Institute / Co-founder PureMatter

4. Use Data And Analytics Tools

Instead of making assumptions about what your target audience finds useful, use data to see what actually resonates with them. Use analytics tools to understand how your content is being shared on social media and how it compares to your competitors. Dive into what types of content have been most successful for you and your competitors, and use that to assess your content’s quality. – JP Johl, AdTribute

5. Conduct A Content Audit

A content audit enables you to take a deep look at the strengths and weaknesses of your current content strategy in order to determine how to improve moving forward. A complete content audit includes assessing your current topics, link structure, metadata and so on. This allows you to identify gaps and pitfalls in your current content strategy that you can use to improve future marketing campaigns. – Adam Binder, Creative Click Media

6. View Its Quality In A Rounded Way

Impressions, interactions, consumption and the relationship between each are important data to understand in order to answer questions such as, “Is there enough?”, “Was it pitched at the right audience?”, “Was it the right ‘quality’?” But the eyes of your experienced content experts are still important perspectives to complement the data-driven universe. – Ken Mainardis, Getty Images

7. Monitor Engagement Statistics

The best way to assess the quality of your content is to monitor the engagement stats — views, shares, likes, comments and subscribes. If you’re new to generating content, take a look at your competition’s content and engagement. What generates the most buzz? Assessing engagement is a great way to give your audience more of what they want and stay top of mind. – Chelsey Pendock, Innovision Advertising

8. Ask Yourself If You Like It

If you, as a user, wouldn’t engage with your own content, it’s probably not ready for prime time. Before you hit publish, ask yourself, “Does the content inform, inspire or entertain you?”, “Does it serve a purpose aside from promoting your own business and agenda?” Make sure you’ve answered “yes” to both before putting it out into the world. – Kate Weidner , SRW

9. Determine How Much Value It Gives

By giving people a tremendous amount of value in the content that gets put out, you immediately build trust. People still buy from people and trust matters now more than ever. – Seth Winterer, Digital Logic

10. Work With Professional Editors

You should not have the same person who is writing content be the one editing it. Instead, hire an editor or work with an agency that has professional editors to review your content for grammar and style and ensure you’ve cited the correct sources and that the content flows organically. Editors do a lot more than catch misplaced commas, and they are well worth the investment. – Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.

11. Look At Your Biggest Competitors

Research is crucial when it comes to generating engaging content. Looking at your biggest competition and what they’re putting out in terms of content, be on top of what’s trending in your industry. Try and emulate what’s getting good engagement and make it better by adding more personality to it. – Sam Founda, Social Connection

12. Check Traffic And Rankings

Days after you’ve posted the content and made sure Google was aware of it, we suggest taking a look at the organic page traffic, number of associated indexed keywords and the rankings of those keywords. If you’ve written something of high quality that’s helpful to your buyers and also has demand in your marketplace, Google will reward that page over time with more views. – Dustin DeTorres, DeTorres Group

13. Plan Ahead With A Survey

Putting together a survey to assess key messaging to a targeted audience before going wide is an important tactic to build into your strategy. Before investing valuable time and resources in messaging that may not have the impact you initially thought, a survey gives you the opportunity to readjust on a cost-effective and targeted basis. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

14. Assess If It’s Useful For Non-Customers

Ask yourself this question when reviewing a concept for any new piece of content: “Will this piece be useful to someone who is not a customer of mine, and might not ever be?” That question helps you determine if the content is valuable to a broader audience or simply serves as a soft promotion for your products. The best performing content is objective and product-neutral. – Amith Nagarajan, rasa.io

15. Aim To Answer Ideal Customers’ Questions

As a business, we’ve hired consultants to deep dive into our client’s psyche to understand their top questions and concerns in doing business with us. This has led us to a list of five key questions all prospective clients ask. One way we assess the quality of the content we put out is to ask ourselves if this content is going to help answer or provoke thought around one of those questions. – Patrick Dillon, WISE Digital Partners

16. Evaluate Relevance By Using Personalized Visuals

Quality content is increasingly rooted in relevance. Brands can tap into user-generated content (UGC) to create highly personalized messages through regional, demographic and culturally-specific imagery. Consumers want to see themselves, their lives and, subsequently, their needs reflected in the brands they support, which cultivates a high-quality overall brand experience. – Analisa Goodin, Catch&Release