In the last year, we’ve seen visual social channels like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr become fixtures in our everyday lives, driving a marked shift in the way people consume, process and share content. Indeed, images have overtaken text as the social currency of choice. And as we welcome 2015, we’re eager to see what the social and digital marketers of tomorrow have in store.

To spark inspiration, we look back on four of our favorite visual marketing campaigns of 2014, as shared by members of Curalate’s team. Interestingly enough, each one puts customers first – a testament to the value of consumer-driven marketing and perhaps just a taste of what’s to come. We hope you’ll think of these as a jumping off point as you begin to conjure new and exciting ways to engage your fans in the coming year.

Campaign Idea #1: Get personal.

consumer social marketing campaign

Brand: Coca-Cola

Campaign: Share a Coke

Cura-loved by: Peter Berman, Brand Strategy

For their Share a Coke campaign, Coca-Cola printed 250 of the most popular names among U.S. millennials (as well as terms like ‘BFF’ and ‘family’) on Coke bottles and cans, adding a personal touch to the ubiquitous beverage.

“Every brand wants to be relevant on visual platforms, but it can be very difficult to create compelling content, especially as a CPG brand,” Peter explains. “By simply encouraging fans to buy a Coke for their friends, they were able to generate a ton of user-generated content that they could repurpose on their social channels and feature on their website.”

From June 2 to July 14, Coca-Cola saw more than 125,000 campaign-related posts across all of their social channels, 96% of which were positive or neutral. The company also saw a lift in sales for the first time in a decade.

Campaign Idea #2: Reimagine your products.

mini social marketing campaign

Brand: MINI UK

Campaign: Not Normal

Cura-loved by: Christina Morgan, Client Success

MINI UK’s “Not Normal” campaign speaks to the transformative power of the visual web. Here’s how it worked. Step one: Ask fans to reimagine the MINI in unexpected ways, and encourage them to submit photos using the hashtag #mininotnormal. Step two: Feature these images on digital posters and ads to celebrate those fans.

While MINI has a longstanding reputation for innovation in marketing, what set this particular campaign apart was the brand’s imaginative fans. Just do a search for #mininotnormal on Instagram, and see what you find. Between MINI-shaped ketchup art and garden-inspired cars, creativity abounds.

The results were pretty spectacular too. Over the course of the campaign, MINI generated more than 230,000 social media engagements, but what’s more is that they were able to turn those engagements into sales opportunities. Of consumers who visited the campaign hub, 11% became qualified leads.

Campaign Idea #3: Create content that adds value.

social marketing campaigns instagram

Brand: Chobani

Campaign: A Yogurt for All Occasions

Cura-loved by: Olivia Herron, VP of Brand Strategy

To most people, yogurt is yogurt, and that’s that. Chobani wanted to change this notion, and they did so with their “A Yogurt for All Occasions” campaign.

To demonstrate how versatile their product can be, Chobani sponsored a series of posts on Instagram over a four-week period inspiring fans through appetizing imagery. Some might call it #FoodPorn. Over at Curalate, we also know it’s tactical and smart.

“The content Chobani created—especially on Instagram—was both beautiful and inspirational,” says Olivia. “It gave me amazing ideas for desserts that use yogurt as a base… recipes which I have actually tried.”

According to Instagram, Chobani’s campaign was highly effective for the brand, reaching 4 million U.S. consumers and generating a 22-point lift in ad recall – nearly 4x higher than the Nielsen average for online advertising.

Campaign Idea #4: Share customer stories on your social channels.

user-generated social marketing campaign on Instagram

Brand: Starbucks

Campaign: Meet Me at Starbucks

Cura-loved by: Lucy Xu, Community Manager

If there’s one person who understands the value of social media for brands, it’s Curalate’s own all-star community manager. Lucy’s favorite? Starbucks’ first-ever brand campaign, Meet Me at Starbucks – specifically their #HowWeMet photo series. The campaign showcases stories of how people use Starbucks as a meeting point, with an emphasis on the idea that technology brings us together, but there’s nothing quite as authentic as an in-person cup of joe.

Says Lucy, “Starbucks did an incredible job of striking an emotional connection with people by associating their product with real life interactions.”

A new outlook for a new year.

If there’s one thing we learned over the last year, it’s that visual social channels have given consumers more influence than ever before. The brands that win big in 2015 will be those that harness this mindset. This doesn’t have to take a ton of manpower either. With the right tools, you can easily determine who your fans are, what they’re interested in, and why they care about your products – social insight that can be used not only on your social channels but throughout your entire organization too.

For an even deeper look at how brands can drive revenue from social content, download our latest case study on Lilly Pulitzer. In it, you’ll learn how Lilly’s social team used Curalate’s visual insights to launch an entirely new product and generate sales.