It’s a fact of life that creative brand consulting firms are always in need of fresh and compelling content. Unfortunately, they often struggle to meet these demands. That’s because it typically requires time, talent and money to generate high-quality marketing content.
Here’s the good news: Agencies and brands are solving this problem with content generation strategies that ensure access to a consistent pipeline of high-value material.
One of the most overlooked of these strategies is the use of UGC — or “user-generated content.”
Who’s down with UGC?
UGC is simply defined as any content created and shared by consumers, fans or any unpaid contributor. This content often takes the form of videos, photos, testimonials, social media posts, and stories.
One recent example: Coca-Cola’s wildly successful personalized Coke bottle campaign. The beverage giant replaced its iconic logo with 250 popular first names and sold hundreds of millions of bottles of cola as a result.
As part of its product rollout, Coca-Cola asked consumers to upload photos and videos of themselves drinking from their personalized bottles. Thousands did, giving Coca-Cola free content and advertising — and providing a great example of the power of UGC in action.
Coca-Cola isn’t the only beverage company to use UGC to great effect. Pepsi’s “Max It Now” campaign was built around legendary NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, who famously raced under the number 24.
Pepsi asked fans to complete 24 social media challenges (such as Tweeting why Pepsi Max is better than Coke Zero in 24 words, or Instagraming a photo of themselves with Pepsi Max) in order to win prizes.
This UGC campaign was hailed for the way it engaged with a dedicated cohort of so-called “superfans” a.k.a people with deep loyalty to Jeff Gordon, NASCAR — and now, very possibly, Pepsi Max.
Tips for your next UGC campaign
We’ve discussed one benefit of UGC — providing access to a stream of valuable content, an eternal need for brands. Yet there’s another important advantage: UGC resonates with audiences.
Why? People perceive non-commercial content generated by people like themselves to be more authentic. Similar to word of mouth advertising, they also perceive UGC to be more trustworthy than conventional marketing or advertising. In today’s ad-soaked environment, more consumers than ever simply tune out anything with an overtly commercial feel. UGC cuts through this barrier.
Additionally, a UGC campaign allows brands to place consumers front and center. Rather than dictate the story through a creative brand consulting firm, UGC campaigns allow consumers to play a key role in telling the brands journey themselves. When this occurs, brands create campaigns that connect on a more personal level, while also encouraging consumers to feel like they are invested in the campaign — and by extension the brand itself.
So now that we’ve established why UGC works, let’s review a few tips for your next campaign:
1.Create excitement and anticipation
This is one of the best ways to ensure that you receive strong user participation. Set a content submission date and spend the days and weeks ahead of that date building anticipation across all relevant marketing channels.
2.Offer creative awards for participation
This is the key to engaging with people who aren’t already dedicated fans of a brand. Public recognition, company swag or prizes help people feel like their work is worth it.
3.Ensure your campaign is legally compliant
Is your campaign a sweepstakes (random drawing) or a contest (with criteria to meet)? Depending on your jurisdiction, these may have differing legal requirements. Check with an attorney if you have any questions.
Finding the creative brand consulting Firm
Our team of creative renegades specialize in strategic UGC-based campaigns that move the needle. If you’d like to learn more about the power of UGC, please don’t hesitate to call us today.
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