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Kate Spade's summer Instagram contest perks vacationers

Kate Spade launched a new Instagram campaign to jumpstart Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer.

By simply tagging @KateSpadeNY and #TravelColorfully, contestants become eligible to win a generous gift card of $250 all the meanwhile sharing vacation photos. The contest goes through Aug. 28 and works to build a community among its followers.

?User generated content helps consumers connect with a brand on their own terms and makes them feel a part of the brand?s story,? said Matt Heindl, senior director of social media for Razorfish, New York.

?Plus, tapping into the creativity of your audience (and understanding how consumers interpret your brand) could help inform future decisions about the visual identity of your brand.?

?In a recent audit of luxury brands (ranging from Burberry to Patrón) found that many of them use up to 75% ?UGC-style/iphone photos? in their feeds ? giving their brand authenticity that speaks in Millennials' native tongue: photos,? he said.

Second Nature
By incorporating a normal routine for smartphone users, Kate Spade draws in more followers, participants and eventually sales by utilizing Instagram and creating a trending topic with a hashtag.

It is already common for vacationers to share scenic photos with their followers, and adding a simple hashtag makes it easy enough to be qualified.

Kate Spade has made qualifying for a chance to win easier than ever, increasing response and membership. Kate Spade leads off the campaign by sharing a handful of its own staff members? vacation photos like, among others, Leslie, senior web designer, with an ocean scene in Jamaica and Caroline, senior designer, with a red convertible image in Williamsburg.

Details about the campaign launched on Kate Spade?s blog Web site, and the company also used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to broadcast the news.

The #TravelColorfully campaign benefits the user in more ways than one. Winning photos will be shared among Kate Spade followers, which encourages the opportunity to gain more personal followers and to share photos with more people. Participants are also encouraged to submit multiple inquiries, increasing their chances.

Outsourcing brands are able, through this type of mobile marketing, to let the consumer do the advertising for them in a fun, effortless and innovative way using a platform such as Instagram.

For example, Gap?s #SummerLoves campaign enlisted musicians Andra Day and Smith Westerns to represent Gap in its marketing.

Similar to other millennial-focused marketers, Gap continued to bump up its digital marketing and investments to better appeal to a group of consumers who are increasingly shopping less in bricks-and-mortar stores (see story).

Also, Birds Eye?s recent concept restaurant, The Picture House, enabled customers to settle the bill by sharing Instagram pictures of their food. Birds Eye?s initiative seeks to build the brand on social media after research found that 52 percent of diners regularly photo document their meals. The strategy is in support of a new line of products called Inspirations (see story).

Brands search endlessly for user-generated content to provide a fresh outlook on the company and to show customers they care. Personal users also enjoy the idea of their own work being published by a well-known brand, which aids to motivate such activity.

"It?s about color and travel ? obviously very visual, hence Instagram and Pinterest being logical choices," Mr. Heindl said.

"It also strives to capture the colorful 'moments' of travel/adventure. Instagram in particular makes a lot of sense here. Visuals are the best performing assets in social media.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York