Fast and Efficient: How Cloud-Based Tools are Driving Future Content

By Mariana Aguiar, CEO and Co-founder of Desygner

If you’ve ever seen the candy factory scene in I Love Lucy, you can get an idea of how marketers feel trying to create, distribute and share branded content at top speed in a rapidly changing marketplace. (If you haven’t seen the episode, just know that things can quickly get out of hand.)

A one-person design department, a contractor, or an unsure small business owner who may not be up to speed with brand points are just a few of the operators within the marketing cycle. They may falter without the right resources to fuel critical content creation efforts. With the increase in cloud-based solutions, however, collaboration is within reach. Projects evolve in the space between contributors, feeding engagement as the line between brand and consumer continues to blur in fresh new ways.

As digital content continues to be the main driver around accelerated online and social commerce, cloud-based collaboration tools will be a key factor in supporting business growth.

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Simplicity for all

Designing an ad used to mean tracking down someone who had specific graphic design capabilities. It might have been someone in the art department or a specialized contractor brought in for their expertise. Valuable time would slip by as version upon version of a design were presented and tweaked, all the while adding tasks for a designer who was already balancing multiple competing deadlines.

Thankfully, today’s marketer, business owner, or influencer has tools available to them that can be implemented within minutes. Whereas preliminary graphics tools created for non-designers still required ramp-up time for education on how to use them, newer solutions are so simple there is nothing to learn. Cloud-based and intuitive, today’s applications are fueling business not as part of the tech revolution but as part of user-centric modeling. With so much riding on fresh content delivered continuously, businesses are able to get up and running quickly, with the ability to collaborate in near real-time with contributors or contractors. This is especially relevant today, as businesses that didn’t previously have a need for design prowess, save for an occasional logo refresh, need to jump into the game. A yoga teacher who spent the last year and a half moving all of her classes online, for example, needs a digital strategy as much as any large brand. Cloud-based design tools make that possible.

User-generated content

Social media for marketing is all about engagement. Or at least that’s what business owners who are new to it are hoping when they dive in. But it’s not that simple. Trying to create content that will not only get potential customers to stop scrolling but to also like, comment or even click through to a website is often grasping in the dark. Brands are constantly trying to gauge what will be compelling or appealing enough to drive sales, all the while expending their time and budget.

Enter UGC, a marketer’s dream come true. When users are inspired to create their own content on behalf of a brand, the guesswork is plucked from the process. No longer simply engaging with brand content, customers are contributing to it. In the process, they become ambassadors and the intrinsic trust value of their shared message spikes. Finally, by proactively inviting UGC through the use of hashtag campaigns, responses, gamification and more, user engagement becomes a measurable metric along the path to conversions.

Cloud-based solutions allow for real-time collaboration around UGC; visuals can be generated that bring brand and consumer together, including high-resolution photos instantly accessible with any smartphone. Take, for example, Starbucks’ simple but incredibly effective Red Cup contest. Promoting their holiday season offerings, the coffee shop giant invited customers and social media followers to share creative photos featuring their iconic red holiday cup. A #RedCupContest hashtag was generated, and a cash prize was offered. The customers did the rest. Tens of thousands of entries were submitted – UGC that Starbucks was then able to store, brand and seamlessly push out via their social media platforms.

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Technology as a service

A national brand is one thing. But what about a decentralized marketing franchise? How can dispersed businesses solicit content from product users and reap the benefits of simplified design capabilities in order to drive revenue? Again, cloud-based tools are the answer, so much so that the technology implemented to support them is a key business decision, as it can be a selling point for independent reps or potential franchisees.

By collaborating virtually, a parent company can work with professional graphic designers to first set the standard for a store-wide initiative. Using simplified design tools can then make it easy for customization by market, enabling the addition of store-specific specials, personal testimonials, or localized imagery. Optimized via social media, this highly personalized content can then be shared by business owners and customers alike, resulting in a branded, localized social media marketing campaign.

Now more than ever, we know that it’s possible to work, create, manage and succeed from just about anywhere, working with colleagues around the globe. With cloud-based solutions keeping up so effectively, collaboration will continue to grow more streamlined, fast-paced and easily accessible for businesses looking to capitalize on high-quality revenue-generating content.

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