Josh Entman, co-founder & chief development officer at Jukin Media Inc., recently shared his thoughts on why brands need to leverage user-generated content (UGC) in 2015. Entman highlighted six reasons why UGC should be a brand staple, noting users are already creating content for brands everyday. The authenticity of user-generated content, the low cost for brands, the anti-programmatic cadence of consumer content, and the ease of shareability are a few of the key reasons all brands should say YES to embracing consumer content, shared and created by their loyal customers.
So who IS leveraging UGC smartly in 2015?
A study by Chase Marriott Rewards found that 97 percent of all Millennial travelers post their travel experiences on social networks while traveling and 3 in 4 millennial travelers post at least once per day during their trips. This real-time, real-life content offers a big opportunity for travel brands. Wyndham Worldwide has tapped into the authenticity of their consumer content, recognizing that no matter how hard they try in creating their own content, they will always come in second to first-hard experiences of their guests. Monique Misrahi, senior manager of digital content at Wyndham Worldwide, said, “User-generated content allows us to see our brands as our customers experience them. Using the content on our sites lets the customer be a part of telling the brand story, visually integrating their experiences into our digital landscape.” Read more on “The Impact Of User-Generated Content In Travel Marketing”
BucketFeet is an online shoe retailer whose mission is to connect people through art. How do they do this? BucketFeet welcomes anyone, yes anyone, to submit a shoe design to be considered for production and retail. For artists whose artwork is selected for print on BucketFeet shoes, the designer receives payment and royalties. Talk about taking UGC to another level! BucketFeet understands the true value of authenticity and word of mouth marketing. They also understand the mutual benefit for the brand and the artist; artists get awesome exposure and BucketFeet gets free marketing through their artists’ social channels. They currently work with 12,000 artists in 100 countries. If each artist has 100 friends online and each of those friends has another 100 friends, that is 120 million online connections, created by their most loyal fans.
Dove continues to make a splash with their marketing efforts as they encourage women to feel beautiful. Recently Dove turned to their Instagram followers, giving them a #ChooseBeautiful Challenge. For seven days, Dove posted a new challenge on Instagram and fans were asked to take a photo that represents the challenge theme and share by using the program hashtag. As Dove received entries, they shared out fan content with their 33,500 Instagram followers. Not only did Dove encourage confidence, they used the faces of real customers as the face of their brand. The women whose photos were selected to be reposted by the brand most certainly received an extra boost of confidence and feel extra love for Dove.
These examples highlight Entman’s push for brands to embrace UGC. The authenticity is second to none and the lack of programmatic pulsing allows these brands to see a pulse anytime of the year, not just around big marketing pushes/spends. With all of the content living across a variety of channels, the shareability is endless. As brands continue to spend time and effort creating engaging and interesting content, they should be sure to spend some of that time leveraging the incredible content that is already floating around the digital universe.