User Generated Content: A tool for brands to build trust & recall

Industry experts share insights on how User Generated Content on digital platforms can serve as word-of-mouth for brands and how they should manage such conversations to create an impact

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Oct 23, 2019 8:04 AM
User Generated Content

Social media has thrown open for brands the option to leverage User Generated Content (UGC), most of which is interactions around businesses and brands. With platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram becoming a mainstream source of news content, UGC has become crucial as a multi-channel marketing medium that creates an impact for brands.

According to experts, UGC can help brands create more positive consideration for their products (reviews). This will lead to a better impact, brand recall and even a good ROI.

Talking about the impact that UGC creates for brands, Prashant Deorah, Managing Director, Puretech Digital, said: “UGC is the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising but is a tough nut to crack. Users have to see a lot of value in sharing content about a brand before they can be encouraged to do so. Brands must have a clear-cut strategy and objective behind seeking UGC and a compelling incentive. Some brands will automatically be able to generate ‘talk ability’ by their personality, others will have to try harder. It is important that wherever the user is going online today to converse, the brand is present there to support, participate and engage.”

Mandeep Singh, VP, Marketing, Aegon Life shed light on user generated content being key for brand recall. “UGC impacts brand recall and creates some great content for brands. It establishes authenticity, credibility, and trust for the brand. Such content serves as great promotional material for brands and should be leveraged to its maximum potential.”

According to Ashish Tiwari, SVP, Marketing and Digital, Future Generali India Life Insurance, a brand’s real users help in creating brand trust. “In today’s age and time, it's more important than ever that brands earn user trust and UGC is one certain way to do that.”

With the advent of social media, consumers have become content creators and successful brands are cashing on this opportunity. Rahul Mishra, AVP Marketing, Shemaroo, says that brands have now become cautious and need to ensure that there is a positive attribution from UGC towards the overall brand objectives.

“According to different statistics, consumers say that UGC influences their buying decision more than any other form of advertising or marketing. The impact totally depends on the content created as most of it is unbiased and created by consumers who are satisfied with the offering of a brand. UGC is also perceived as more authentic and honest which can also tamper brand images due to negative content. Hence, brands should be more attentive and watchful towards all UGC. Additionally, it is a great tool to increase brand recall as it directly impacts SEO rankings with positive reviews, boosts social media outreach and growth along with gaining audience insights on the products,” Mishra added.

Deorah states that the role of any agency managing UGC is to keep the conversation alive. “If a customer has taken the effort to create content for you, the brand or the agency managing the conversation must acknowledge and respond. If the customer has posted something positive, thank them. If a user has a question, help them with their query. If a user has a complaint, solve their issue. Also, an agency must constantly analyse the UGC around a brand to understand the sentiments, pain points, etc. This can help a brand create better communication strategies going forward. Eventually, agencies can help brands measure business outcomes from this channel,” remarks Deorah.

Agencies and brands should always hear what the consumers are saying about their brand and respond to critiques in a constructive and positive way by understanding the pain points and addressing them productively.

Mishra stated that partner agencies should also help to build and strengthen the position of the brand by taking inputs from the UGC and interacting directly with influencers.

Speaking about UGC being a good marketing technique, Singh said: “UGC brings your brand’s promises into perspective. Many national and international brands are playing big on UGC for their promotional campaigns and it has worked immensely well for them. In the end, it is all about building trust in the minds of your customers and UGC is an excellent way to achieve that.”

“By retweeting followers' posts, running photo and video contests, or encouraging customers to share their experiences with the brand, a company can take advantage of great content and when used in the right way can paint a more positive, genuine brand image than any campaign could. Brands should now actively encourage customers to share their brand-oriented experiences to amplify their products and services and practice this regularly as hygiene,” said Mishra.

With authenticity and engagement being top priorities for brands, UGC has emerged as one of the most powerful tools in the marketing arsenal.

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