Since I’m back in Boston, I decided to profile three companies in the area that are doing interesting things in the marketing world. First up, Pongr!**
Photo-sharing is the most important social media trend of 2012. Facebook purchased photo-sharing application Instagram for $1 billion, even though the acquired company had zero revenue. A little company called Pinterest became the third most popular social media network in the US. From Facebook’s new Timeline layout to the introduction of the TwitPic app, a photo-sharing service for Twitter, the social media world is getting a lot more visual. How do marketers capitalize on this photo-sharing craze?
Enter Pongr, the software service that connects brands and their fans through photos. Using image-recogonition technology, Pongr filters through thousands of user-submitted photos, verifies pictures of branded product, and send fans back an appropriate response. Long story short, Pongr allows marketers to directly respond to the pictures people are taking of their product. Here’s how they explain what they do:
90 second video (link will not allow embedding)
The implications for this technology are pretty exciting. Image tweeting a picture of yourself drink a Sam Adams Summer Ale (this is Boston after all) only to have the company respond with a message about local brewery tours, deals in your area and a message to drink responsibly. So far, Pongr has helped Arby’s, Pepsi and Mountain Dew aggregate and respond to thousands of user-submitted pictures for sweepstakes competitions. Not bad for a 15-person start-up in Boston!
Most people who profile Pongr talk about the consumer game-driven side on Pongr.com (more on that in a bit), but what I think is most interesting about this company is the notion of PRM. Pongr calls the process of aggregating photos, verifying brands, and sending responses to fans “photo response management” or PRM. PRM allows brands and marketing agencies to interact with fans sharing pictures on a massive, as in millions, scale. This process is pretty much impossible manually with a large amount of image submissions , especially if you want a response sent in a timely fashion (I don’t envy that intern!). Plus, computers sometimes have difficulty reading images (as opposed to words), so sorting photos isn’t as simple as writing a program; you need quality image-recogniton software. For brands hoping to interact with thousands of fans through photos, PRM just makes sense–and Pongr’s one of the only companies doing it.
But why are consumer’s pictures of your brand valuable? In Platform Marketing Manager Connor Ferguson’s words, “Consumer-generated photo content is the most authentic, scalable type of content your brand can get”. It makes sense–consumers make the best cheerleaders. Verbal testimonials are great, but actually seeing customers interact with your product? Priceless! And if they share that picture to their friends? Marketing gold.
Like most young companies (this one started in 2008), Pongr is constantly pivoting to best meet the needs of their market. One example of this strategy-shift is Pongr’s consumer face. At Pongr.com, consumers interact in a game interface by uploading pictures of brands to unlock points, rewards and compete for the #1 fan seat of their favorite brand. Out of all the aspects of Pongr, I found this to be the most uninteresting. However, it is also the aspect Pongr emphasizes in the company’s tagline “Take Photos. Share Photos. Earn Rewards!”. The consumer game-oriented side is undergoing some serious tinkering which should be up soon. While I don’t think that they’ve hit the nail on the head quite yet, I’m looking forward to seeing Pongr grow and adapt in this area. What most excites me most though is seeing how brands will use Pongr’s PRM technology in future promotions both inside and outside of the sweepstakes model.
**This profile isn’t an advertorial or a paid post. I’m not directly benefiting from this post, just interested in what this company is doing.
Thanks for reading! Lindsey Kirchoff