Trending: Turning Your Staff into Content Creators

How BWS is Unlocking the Creativity of Their Staff

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Founded in 2001, BWS has grown from a ‘local bottle shop’ into one of Australia’s largest retailers with over 1,400 stores and 9,000 team members. BWS’ dedication to being the ‘unboring bottleshop’ and creating a place where all Aussies belong is backed up by their three rules:
We bring the vibes.
We invite everyone in.
We do drinks your way.
Maintaining a commitment to their local bottle shop roots BWS put their teams first so they can put customers first, creating a trusted and loved national brand.


Retail, Alcohol

Tribe Features Used

  • Influencer Campaign.
  • Brand-Fans.
  • Advanced Metrics.

“Our ambition was to create a group of advocates who become content creators to show the world what the BWS brand is really about.”


Head of eCommerce & Digital at BWS


The opportunity: Taking staff advocacy to the next level

Since TRIBE launched in 2014, our mission has been to unlock the world’s creativity. 

How? With a platform for brands to build, manage and measure their own community of content creators while generating the volume of mobile-first branded content needed to reach their customers. These creators are everyday people so talented at crafting content they’ve accumulated thousands of followers across TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. 

Now, thanks to the advancements in smartphones, anyone can be a creator. One of the more innovative trends emerging across the globe is companies solving their content needs with their talented staff. Makes sense right? No one knows how to sell your brand better than those who do it for a living. 

Enter one of Australia’s largest, and bravest, retailers; BWS.

With over 9,000 staff members, Vanessa Rowed, Head of Digital & eCommerce at BWS, saw an opportunity to tap into their creativity and expert knowledge of their products.


🍻 An opportunity that could:

1. Solve the challenges marketers face in generating a high volume of cost-effective content

2. Share the values and internal culture of the BWS brand with their customers

3. Humanise the brand on social media with raw and authentic content


A selection of content by BWS Insider creators


The ‘BWS Insiders’ program was launched with 25 engaged and passionate crew members to represent the brand on Instagram from their own BWS accounts.

The Insiders loved it, the content was resonating and Vanessa and her team knew they were onto something great. The only problem? The manual workflows in working with creators. In order to scale, Vanessa turned to TRIBE to manage and measure their community of staff advocates. 


In August 2022, Vanessa and TRIBE founder, Jules Lund took to the stage at Advertising Week APAC to inspire marketers with the enormous potential of turning their staff into content creators. Watch the session below:


Or, keep reading as Jules and Vanessa unpack how technology, teamwork and innovation come together to drive a powerful strategy.



Vanessa Rowed

Vanessa Rowed

From founding her own business (twice) to working with some of Australia’s biggest brands, Vanessa has had a rich and varied marketing career.

As Head of eCommerce and Digital for BWS, she is redefining the liquor retail experience and working hard to ensure Aussies can get their drinks delivered cold and fast anywhere in Australia!


Jules Lund

Jules Lund

After 15 years hosting some of the biggest TV and radio shows in Australia, Jules is now on a mission to unlock the world’s creativity through his tech company, TRIBE.

TRIBE has connected 8,000+ brands with 80,000+ everyday creators to generate premium branded content at scale, speed and a fraction of the cost.

Known for his showmanship, Jules travels the world helping marketers unlock the opportunities within the booming creator economy.



The BWS Insiders Program:

How it began, how it’s going and what’s ahead

Jules: Tell us how the Insiders program came about and what you were hoping to achieve

Vanessa: Where we started was with a business challenge. The demand for content was increasing at an exponential rate. We were staring at this problem and going, 


"Okay, we need to create more, but it's costing more and the engagement rates keep going down. We can't sustain this. There's got to be a better way." 


Challenges aside, we also had an amazing opportunity; the BWS culture.

I fell in love with our amazing, fun, dynamic culture. I know a lot of companies say this, but it's really true! As a marketer I couldn’t help by think, “we’re not portraying this in our comms.” There was a real disconnect.

So, you take this challenge of content, and you take this amazing culture, add in the democratization of content creation and distribution and bang, you've got a real opportunity, which was how Insiders was formed.


“Our ambition was to create a group of advocates who become content creators to show the world what the BWS brand is really about.”


Jules: What were some of the benefits you saw in the beginning?

Vanessa: From the first pilot, we saw an immediate uplift in engagement with some posts racking up 35%. Phenomenal compared to the industry benchmark of around 1.4% and evidence of how well authentic, relevant content cuts through.

Employee advocacy was huge. Giving our team members this new platform to share their love of drinks and offering this ‘inside look’ into BWS, in a really modern way. 

We effectively built an entirely new media with the potential for 9,000 new voices to share our products and our brand values.

Finally, it’s a great employee value proposition. We’re investing in our team members and developing skills like how to build a personal brand, show up on socials, create content and ultimately monetize it. These might not be skills everyone on the ground in BWS stores is interested in, but those who are, have really leant in. It’s a competitive advantage when recruitment and retention is tough.




Jules: Where are you at with the program now, and what’s next?

Vanessa: Right now, we’re taking the two years of learning from phase 1, and we’re optimising. We’re slowing down in order to speed up before we expand. 

We were working with 20-25 Insiders who were producing outstanding and authentic content, but we lacked control over the final output. Trying to manage briefs, sharing content, posting and all the communication required was really manual. We couldn’t even get reporting right because we needed the Insiders to pull their results and send us reports. It wasn’t working. We couldn’t grow.  

To reach our goal of having thousands of employee advocates we need to create a solid foundation. And that’s where TRIBE comes in.

This is what your tech and team do every day. By importing the Insiders into the TRIBE platform we can now brief them simply, automate so many tasks, see their results and report accurately. And, your team helps us optimise as well as onboard and train Insiders and set them up for success as creators. We’re also really excited to trial paid ads with the Insiders content. 

It’s a really nice way of fixing the program. Bringing your specialty and our specialty together to expand it.

We want to scale 25 to 50 Insiders, then 50 to 100 to 1,000 really quickly. That’s the ambition.




“This is what your tech and team do every day. By importing the Insiders into TRIBE we can brief them simply, automate so many tasks, see their results and report accurately."



The content:

Content style and how it’s used

Jules: How did the Insiders respond to joining the TRIBE platform? And, what are you briefing them to create?

Vanessa: The response has been incredible! The creator app is so easy for them to use especially being able to pitch their ideas first. They get to be creative, make extra money, represent our brand and there’s the real opportunity for them to grow their accounts and monetize.

Briefs might be around product reviews, or their ‘top picks’, wine pairings or recommendations. Or, we’ll brief for content aligned to our wider marketing campaigns or we’ll have bespoke briefs around events like ‘World Martini Day’. 

The great thing is our Insiders are the experts and they know our products, so they get it.




Briefing creators on TRIBE

On TRIBE, brands upload a brief that creators respond to via their app.

They respond by PITCHING their creative concept. This could be written or they may simply present their idea to camera. Within a few days, brands receive an inbox full of great ideas. They choose their favourites and give the creator the go-ahead to create the content.

Watch an example below:


Jules: What is the content used for?

Vanessa: It starts as organic content on the Insider’s Instagram accounts and extends to our brand social media channels, our website, digital screens in our stores and in our emails.

This style of authentic content is so powerful it’s capable of humanising our brand across touchpoints far beyond social media. 

We’re really excited to start amplifying their content from their accounts as Creator Ads, which is SO easy through the TRIBE platform. It’s a win-win for us and the Insiders, we’ll get more reach and it will help grow their audiences.



“This style of authentic content is so powerful it’s capable of humanising our brand across touchpoints far beyond social media.”



Untapped opportunity:

The whole new world of Creator Ads

Jules: Traditionally you’d deploy ads from your Brand’s account. With your profile pic and handle.

A Creator Ad is where you deploy the ad from the creator’s account. With their profile pic and handle. 

On Instagram & Facebook they’re called Branded Content Ads.

On TikTok, they’re Spark Ads.

Creator Ads transformed Influencer Marketing.


kimmy brings for BWS


Brand Ads lack influence while influencer posts lack the sophisticated targeting tools of an ad. Creator Ads are the best of both worlds.

With a Creator Ad, you can identify which organic posts performed the best and turn them into an ad. You can now target a precise audience and add a ‘Call To Action before measuring which creators performed and putting another $100K behind them.

So why is this so significant with this concept of turning your staff into creators?

In the past, you had to look in your workforce for creators who had an audience. With Creator Ads, if you’re buying the audience, you can create new accounts for staff members today. They can have 2 followers but create amazing content you can push to 10M people. 

The ceiling has been completely lifted.



Measuring success for BWS and the Insiders

Jules: How are you measuring success?

Vanessa: Firstly, we’re measuring for awareness and brand salience by monitoring the the reach of the program using brand and ad trackers. 

We’re measuring engagement rates and making sure they don’t drop past a certain level. If they do we know we need to work with our Insiders and on the content. 

Our main measure of success is Insider engagement, retention and ultimately growth. We want to hit our goals of 50 Insiders, then 100 then 1,000. 

And, of course we’re working with TRIBE on building out other reporting parameters and new ways to understand success in numbers.


Jules: And the Insiders? How are they incentivised?

Vanessa: Short-term, we’re paying them in gift cards because we’re working through things with HR, but ultimately the vision is the program becomes another income stream for them. 

Part of their long-term success is this opportunity to grow their accounts and audiences and become genuine creators, and we’re really supportive of them monetizing that. That’s the huge benefit of us connecting the program to TRIBE, they’re now a part of your community too. Because BWS isn’t aligned with any one alcohol company, they can work with other brands like Diageo or Lion Nathan and create more and more content around their passion for the drinks industry. 

The more opportunity for them the better, because it makes them stickier to the BWS brand which is one of our pillars of success for the program.


“Because BWS isn’t aligned with any one alcohol company, they can work with other brands like Diageo or Lion Nathan and create more and more content around their passion for the drinks industry.”


As the Insiders Program continues to grow we’re seeing more and more evidence of the power of community-driven marketing. An innovative strategy + engaged staff + technology to streamline the process equals a recipe for success in the ever evolving creator economy.

Any brand, from fashion labels to telcos, supermarkets or airlines have the potential to build a community of staff advocates. There’s an opportunity to reach more customers, humanise their brand, provide opportunities and retain staff all while generating a firehose of engaging content.


6 steps to unlocking the creativity of your staff:

1. Identify existing creators

Don’t be limited by working with creators who have an audience, help them grow one instead.

2. Develop Incentives

Find genuine benefits for the creators as content quality and retention are vital for scaling a program.

3. Break down barriers to content creation

Your staff may not identify as content creators. Invest in training and education, inspire them with examples of content that’s achievable.

4. Brainstorm content pillars together

No one knows what will resonate with your customers more than your team member.

5. Celebrate top-performing content

On social, you don’t always know what content will resonate. Celebrating different personalities goes a long way to humanising a brand.

6. Measure. Optimize. Repeat!




Witness the power of instant branded content today.