Posted on May 12, 2018
Nobody can deny the power of authentic UGC (User Generated Content), especially when it applies to video, and it's every marketeers dream to work for a brand where the consumers tell the stories for them. But the reality of establishing such a loyal fanbase/community is more than likely going to be years and years worth of hard work and expense on the brand's part.
UGC isn't an off-the-shelf marketing strategy that just any brand can apply and that's quite often where people go wrong. There are countless examples scattered across the internet where cameras have been unexpectedly thrust in the face of a consumer where they are berated about the reasons why they love a brand. You can tell by their pained expressions that they just want to be left alone and, in a situation like that, you're never going to get a genuine, heart-felt response.
Instead, the modern day marketeers need to identify the common themes that are associated with their brand/organisation and map their customer's journeys. Once you have established this framework you can then apply a narrative that is centred around emotion, which is in essence what is so appealing about UGC, after all.
A great example of an organisation that has successfully applied this approach is the Royal College of Nursing with their '2018 nurses day advert Advert:
The advert blends a range of different emotions and depicts real people in real situations in such a way that it leads you to believe you are watching a snapshot of somebody's life rather than a TV commercial. This is the human factor, this is the type of content consumer's are craving, and hence, will engage with more readily.
Humanising a brand's core marketing messages is a delicate balancing act and, whilst stitching together a load of clips found on the internet seems like an easy task, there are a lot of things to consider.
The first thing to consider is sourcing - where will you find a library of content that has been willingly submitted by the Author for wider marketing purposes? Websites like Newsflare and Jukin Media offer a wide range of licensed and categorised video clips that will enable you to effectively browse their database.
The second thing to consider is the authenticity of the clips. As the term UGC becomes more widely recognised and the appetite for this kind of content grows, we are starting to notice that more and more staged clips are emerging. With this in mind, video producers and brands must be sure to check the authenticity of the clips as well as the authenticity of the producers themselves. If you’re striving for your video to tell a real human story, the last thing you want to be doing is outputting content that specifically created for the purposes of going viral.
The third thing to consider is editing - how will these seemingly un-connected pieces of content be brought together to form a coherent and overarching message for your brand. Perhaps the visuals need to be paired with on screen graphics and a catchy piece of music? Perhaps a carefully crafted piece of voiceover script needs to be written and recorded to accompany the on-screen visuals? All of these elements will go some way towards guaranteeing your content is engaging, authentic and trustworthy.
The final thing to consider is your brand voice, how you, as an ambassador of your brand, will ensure the output of any content produced continues to uphold the standards of production that your viewers have come to expect. The nature of UGC and a certain element of its charm is that there are no standards or expectations for how this content should be filmed or uploaded. Therefore a comprehensive understanding of delivery formats and how clips can be manipulated is crucial. That's where we as the video agency come in to help. Our understanding of video and delivery formats is vast and, for at least a decade now, we have been crafting adverts and promotional video content across a number of different mediums. Our job is to help you, the marketeer, tell your brand's story in the most effective way, without having to worry about the standard of the production at the end.
So, in summary, whilst User Generated Content presents a number of challenges, the positives still far outweigh the negatives and whilst this shift in mentality for brands certainly reinforces the notion that the landscape for video is changing, what remains a constant is the brands desire to tell compelling stories and we as an agency remain committed to our storytelling routes. It's all about the idea and harmonising your consumer's story within this.
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