There’s a video on YouTube called OREO CHALLENGE! that has had more than 36 million views. You may think that figure is not too surprising given that Oreo is one of the most popular cookies in the world. And, the video is nothing if not charming. Two cute kids in blindfolds compete against each other to try to guess the flavour of a dozen different Oreo cookies. (We won’t give away who wins!).
What is surprising is the fact that the video isn’t made by Oreo. (The producer is at pains to point this out in the video description). This is a perfect example of user generated content; that is, content created entirely by unpaid contributors. Your super-fans if you will.
Imagine how delighted Oreo is about this. It has showcased 12 of its cookie flavours to an enormous audience and it hasn’t cost them a penny. What’s more, Oreo will be aware that user generated content (UGC) is incredibly powerful. Typically, it gains higher social media engagement that content produced by a brand itself. And, a whopping 93% of consumers find UGC helpful when making a buying decision.
There are a few reasons for UGC’s effectiveness. Authenticity is a big one. A customer posting a picture or video featuring a product is real life proof of its value. This is reinforced by the people who share these posts, who feel strongly enough about the product to want to be part of its ‘community’. Millennials, in particular, engage with UGC and are more likely to buy something if it has been endorsed by someone else. And, a report in Adweek also claims that 85% of users find visual UGC more influential than brand generated photos or videos.
Brands know all about the potency of UGC. Oreo is one of many that have created campaigns around UGC, its #PlayWithOreo encouraging Instagram users to post images showing Oreo cookies being played with. (The OREO CHALLENGE! video was not, in fact, part of this campaign).
Another brand to get in on the UGC act is LEGO. Its Lego ideas campaign asked fans to come up with ideas for new LEGO sets. What was really clever was the fact that users had to get support from at least 10,000 people before LEGO would consider the idea.
People took this seriously, setting up social media campaigns to gain support for their ideas. Some took a humorous approach, as you can see in this LEGO large hadron collider parody video on YouTube. In running its campaign, LEGO had hundreds of unpaid marketers promoting their brand across social media platforms, for free.
Other brands to have harnessed UGC, include Loews Hotels (Travel for Real) and Apple (#ShotonIphone). The Apple campaign was effective in helping win over consumers jaded by their usually super-slick adverts. By getting users to show off the iPhone’s capabilities they added an authenticity to their ads that was previously lacking.
At this stage you may be thinking that this is all very well for B2C, but what about B2B? As we’ve pointed out in previous blogs, businesspeople are human too. It’s more useful to think in terms of P2P – people to people – than B2B or B2C.
We’ve written about Adobe before and how innovative they are in the using emotion in their videos even though they sell to businesses. They’ve done the same with their UGC Instagram campaign, using it to show off pictures and videos produced by clients of their products. By doing so, they are building a community around their products and inspiring both existing and future customers.
UGC is a valuable part of any business’s marketing mix, though it takes originality and imagination to make it work. Where things get a little murky is when businesses decide to produce UGC content for themselves. If you’re considering this approach then it’s important to factor in brand perception. For many businesses, UGC is appealing because the cost of production appear significantly lower. It’s worth remembering, that if sufficient equity has been built up in the perception of your brand, then UGC shouldn’t replace your branded content outright, instead it is better utilised as a compliment to your existing video strategy.
If you’re committed to a UGC approach for video. It is usually a good idea to work with a production company for both guidance on how to shoot the videos properly as well as for support in a post-production capacity. It’s no great secret that films live or die in the edit and a skilled editor will maximise the full potential of your footage. Working with a production company also has the advantage of presenting a screening process to make sure the content being output is on brand.
To discuss setting up a video UGC campaign for your business, please contact us now.