Ahh… The Power of User Generated Content

Posted by: Brendan Shaughnessy

When it comes to creating a lasting relationship with your consumers, being a brand people can trust is imperative to your success. Easier said than done, right? While you obviously can’t practice trust falls with your consumers, marketers are continuing to engage their following in unique ways through user generated content (UGC). While asking for UGC can be as simple as sending a picture or a tweet, some fans are going above and beyond, creating incredible content for the brands they love.

According to a study conducted by Ipsos, millennials trust UGC just as much as they trust professional reviews. While other forms of media play a major role in purchase decision, UGC is 20% more influential than any other media type. One brand that is bringing UGC to a new level is Coca-Cola, who launched its Happiness Flag, an extension to its ahhh.com digital activation website with different activities on each page (ahhh.com, ahhhh.com, ahhhhh.com, etc.). However, now in year 2 of the campaign, Coca Cola is reaching out to teens, asking them to submit short video clips showing what it feels like when they drink a Coke. This content has turned into a full-blown commercial.

By creating these UGC TV spots, Coke is giving more power and trust to its consumers, allowing them to create the content that faces the public. Sure, you can argue that Coke ultimately has the final say on what content from their consumers they post. But that’s not what matters. Ultimately, millennials just want to be heard. That’s why millennials Instagram countless sunsets and tweet at celebrities. When a brand positions itself in a space where millennials are constantly communicating and engaging, this user-generatedMcAlisters content not only creates a great, authentic commercial, it creates brand advocates.

When McAlister’s Deli celebrated their 25th anniversary this past month, they ran a social campaign using the #ShowUsYourSip where fans would take selfies with McAlister’s tea. Not only did the restaurant gather a lot of social buzz, the winners of the contest assembled a costume of a life-sized sweet tea. No need to create a mascot when your consumers will make one for you. Another example is GoPro who practically lives entirely on user-generated content, literally showing a bird’s eye view of a Pelican with a GoPro.

So what does all this mean for marketers? It means that the greatest brands of tomorrow will be the ones that invite its consumers to become co-creators in all that they do. When brands allow their fans to shout their love and loyalty, it only means great things for brands Coca Cola, McAlisters and GoPro who have acknowledged and thanked their fans by turning this love into content. The more brands learn to trust their influencers, the stronger their consumer relationships will be.

Photo Credit via Flickr: Omer Wazir

If you liked this article please check out  The Value of Meaningful Experiences & Shareworthy Content.

About Brendan Shaughnessy

Brendan Shaughnessy is an Associate Strategist at Barkley. Brendan uses his data-driven background to develop strategic insights to help brands speak authentically to modern consumers and reimagine their best possible future. Client challenges are not...See Brendan's full bio.