You may recall that earned media is any positive digital exposure generated through personal or public recommendations. In this case study, you’ll learn how a real company, New-York based Name Glo, acquires earned media through effective social media marketing.
Name Glo is a New York City-based neon light studio specializing in custom designs. It sells neon lights business-to-consumer and business-to-business. Name Glo’s mission is to light up people’s lives by creating personalized neon lights. Its customers purchase lights to celebrate milestones, decorate homes, create ambiance and branding in small businesses, and simply add some light to the world. Customers often request lights in the style of written text that spell out people’s names, business names, personal mantras, or catchy phrases.
Name Glo’s founders Lena Imamura and Sas Simon credit a portion of their company’s success to the sharing of their designs on the photo and video sharing platform, Instagram.
The challenge: Acquire earned media
As a small business, Name Glo doesn’t have the resources or time that a major corporation has to devote to digital marketing. Since Name Glo is a small business, Lena and Sas are in charge of managing Name Glo’s social media and making strategic marketing plans. Currently, all of their content and growth is organic, meaning their social media activity doesn’t require any paid promotions. This means its posts aren’t sponsored and don’t currently run as ads, making its success even more impressive. Name Glo’s entire strategy is to acquire earned media.
The approach: Create a post-worthy product
Name Glo includes their customers in every stage of creation—from ideating, to planning, to creating. This makes its customers feel like they received an experience rather than just a beautiful product. That is because Name Glo’s customers are involved with a piece from its inception, so they feel particularly invested.
Since Lena and Sas know they won’t be paying for social media marketing campaigns, their goal is to create a unique, high-quality product that customers will want to take photos of and post on social media. Since Name Glo’s customers have invested in a custom neon light piece, many want to show them off in the best way possible. This means the photos Name Glo’s customers share on their own social media accounts are often high quality. It also means Lena and Sas don’t have to stage photos with props and lighting, saving them time and money.
When a client posts a photo of the piece they purchased from Name Glo, Name Glo makes a point to repost them as an Instagram story, and most of the time, their Instagram feed as well.
Name Glo’s organic social media strategy has resulted in high conversions and a steady increase in clients and sales over the few years they’ve been in business. Lena and Sas attribute this to their clients’ happiness level with the product.
Name Glo’s growth is also due to the types of clients it has. Several of its customers are interior designers—some with large followings of their own—which means they’ll commission pieces from Name Glo with the intent of making a space feel extra special. The designers then post images of the space, and Name Glo reaps the benefits of the earned media.
Sometimes, when a client loves a product Name Glo creates for them, those clients refer them to friends, spouses, and family members who open new businesses, and Name Glo’s products end up in those businesses as decor.
Working with artists and brands has proven effective for Name Glo on a few occasions. First, Name Glo partnered with the online plant store, The Sill, to create a neon light based on the tropical Monstera plant for their holiday gift shop. This originally started as a giveaway, but blossomed into something much more. Every time someone received their plant and posted an image of it, Name Glo was tagged. As a result, Name Glo had a large increase in Instagram followers who wouldn’t have heard of their brand otherwise.
They executed another successful collaboration when they were invited to create a rainbow neon experience at Bergdorf Goodman’s flagship store in New York City. Because of the experience they helped create, Name Glo had an uptick in reposts of their content by 10 to 15%.
Name Glo is a prime example of how to cultivate growth and success without spending money on ads. The company has had major success through relying solely on acquiring earned media. Name Glo does this by producing a product that people feel involved in creating and that people truly love. The end result is so pleasing to clients that they want to post it and share with their friends and family.
All brands want to generate earned media because of its authenticity. Earned media is especially important to a brand that may have minimal money to spend on ads and marketing. An effective marketing strategy for every brand is to try to create a lasting impression on customers through frequent communication, collaboration, and a memorable final product. As a result, a brand’s social media following is likely to grow, and this may result in higher conversions.