What’s In the Bag: Inside an Employee Generated Content Campaign

May 19, 2020

It’s possible to create unique and engaging content that connects with your customers while working from home and social distancing.

Last week, we launched a social media campaign across our channels using an Employee Generated Content strategy.
Here’s how we did it and how you can do the same. (If you really just want to jump to the photos, click here.)

The First Thing

First things first, what’s Employee Generated Content? Glad you asked. You’ve probably heard of User Generated Content — when your customers take photos and videos of your products and post reviews to their social media feeds. (Unboxing videos are a popular form of user-generated content, but even a selfie that tags your company can count.)

Employee Generated Content is similar, but it combines a behind-the-scenes look into your employees’ lives with a soft-sell endorsement of your products. Especially now, when hard sell tactics are falling flat, these subtle advertising campaigns can significantly benefit your business.

Our Situation

In case you haven’t heard, SanMar recently released a new product lineup. Our May launch was a big deal, and we wanted to celebrate the launch on social media, but hard sells rarely work on social networks, and they’re really not working right now.

On the other hand, personal looks into the lives of our team members are bringing in substantial engagement numbers at the moment. When you think about it, what’s more personal than the items a person carries around with them every day?

Our Plan

Since the May launch featured a lot of great new bags, we decided to send samples of our latest bags to a handful of our employees. Along with the bags, we included instructions for taking good selfies such as:

  • Use natural lighting
  • DON’T use your flash
  • Make sure your background is interesting but not too busy

We also included a couple of example photos. These helped ensure the quality of the content we received.
Finally, we asked our volunteers to fill out a short questionnaire where we asked them what they carried with them and asked them to call out any particular items with sentimental value. We really wanted to highlight their personalities.

The Results

We posted the photos to our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts last week. As of this blog post, the Employee Generated Content campaign is one of our most successful product-focused social media campaigns of 2020, and we’re currently looking into ways of branching out and creating more of these campaigns.

The Campaign

Christine's Downtown Tote

Who: Christine, Brand Art Director
What: OGIO® Downtown Tote

“I love music. When I’m on set, I’m known as the dancing art director. I always carry AirPods so I can tune in or tune out. Currently a major Mac Miller fan.”

What’s in the bag: Stamps, earrings (because I always have extras), AirPods, magazines, a favorite beanie, sketchbook, color ideas, a trinket from when I lived in Hong Kong, train tickets, notes from friends, a computer, Tom Ford Lipstick, something to listen to

Doces Dome Duffel

Who: Doces, Creative Designer
What: Port Authority® Access Dome Duffel

“The water bottle was given to me by my daughter. I pretty much take it with me everywhere I go.”

What’s in the bag: Gym clothes, shoes, towel, armband for my phone, water bottle, padlock, sunglasses, headphones

Kassy's Heritage Backpack

Who: Kassy, Marketing Coordinator
What: Nike Heritage 2.0 Backpack

“Always in my bag? Chapstick. I’ll forget my wallet before I forget my chapstick. Also, a Target receipt, because if it’s my bag, guaranteed there’s a least one in there.”

What’s in the bag: Hand sanitizer, sunnies (sunglasses), lint roller (dog hair no more), perfume, peach green tea for a little pick me up, wet wipes, extra pair of socks (you never know, you know?), laptop, water bottle, vitamin D3, bobby pins, hair tie, headphones, mints, lip gloss, lotion, snack fruit bar, rewetting eye drops, Chapstick, loose change, deodorant

Josh's Connected Pack

Who: Josh, Social Media Writer
What: OGIO® Connected Pack

“My mom gave me that compass before I moved out west to Seattle. I know as long as I have that, I’ll never lose my way.”

What’s in the bag: 13 inch Macbook Pro, 12.9 inch iPad Pro, solar-powered backup battery (it doubles as an LED light), phone gimbal (helps take really crisp/stable video footage), Bluetooth headphones, all kinds of charging and data cables, a bullet journal (Leuchtturm 1917), Dungeons & Dragons books + dice (I’m a big old nerd and proud of it), Clipa bag hanger

Tara's Brasilia Backpack

Who: Tara, Senior Project Manager
What: Nike Brasilia Backpack

“I used to work in downtown Seattle and would run into pro ballplayers all the time, so I carried a baseball around with me for autographs. Now, it’s my version of a fidget spinner.”

What’s in the bag: Reusable straw, extra laces, gardening book, a baseball, noise cancelling headphones, tattoo brightener, adorable dog (This is Ruby. She’s part dachshund, part cockapoo and all kinds of cute.)

John's Exec Briefcase

Who: John, Tradeshow Director
What: Port Authority® Exec Briefcase

“My bag needs to be my office on the road. I’ll carry my laptop, iPad, phone, wallet, charging cords, keys and all the files I need at my destination.”

What’s in the bag: Laptop, iPad, phone, wallet, charging cords, keys, all the files I need at my destination, mints, hand sanitizer, eye mask, sunglasses, a snack

Additional Resources