Creative Process

The rise of user-generated content (UGC) has fundamentally changed how we think about marketing and the role shoppers can play in brand building and the creative process.

UGC isn’t just a marketing tool; it plays a central and organic role in shopping behaviour globally.

According to the Bazaarvoice CGC Index the highest number of reviews generated last year were in North America, and Europe reached new highs. In the UK, more than four million reviews were generated on the Bazaarvoice network alone.

It pays for your customers to be part of your creative process
User generated content is about getting your customers to sell for you, and nobody in your company will do it better.

Shoppers are increasingly sceptical of advertising claims and look for other sources for information and approval of their choices. Friends, family and other shoppers are among the most trusted. According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, peers sit at the top of the tree as the most credible alongside technical and academic experts.

Authenticity resonates. Shoppers who interact with UGC buy more often and spend more. The CGC Index reported that shoppers who interact with UGC convert twice as often as those who do not and spend 116% more with retailers and 101% more with brands.

Inspiring shoppers
Research by InPowered showed that consumers are five times more dependent on content than they were five years ago. Marketers need ten times as much content than was needed five years ago to keep consumers engaged.

Brands need to find new, innovative and inspiring ways to make it both attractive and easy for customers to come up with creative ideas that they can share with the world, contributing to the brand story.

While reviews can be staple UGC, it pays to be more visual. Shoppers seek and respond to richer shopper experiences.

Brands are increasingly recognising the value of visual-led UGC with 12 times more photos and 16 times more videos posted on Bazaarvoice last year than in 2014. Eye tracking studies have shown that we spend more time looking at images than reading text. A study by Brightcove found that watching a video on social media influenced 74% of shoppers in their purchasing decision.

Forget stock images and over-produced shoots, encouraging consumers to share their own images and videos should be integral to your creative approach.

Simple ideas are some of the best. When Coke printed names on its cans, around 76,000 Coke cans with various names on them were shared online.

Competitions are another effective way to encourage visual-led UGC aligned to your brand. Starbucks received 4,000 entries to its campaign that invited people to customise its cups, submitting photos to #WhiteCupContest. More than a million people invented their own flavour crisps in Walkers’ Do us a Flavour competition.

The key to some of the most engaging creative ideas is rousing emotion and the same rules apply when encouraging customers to generate content.

Three UK found the success of its dancing pony video (13 million views on You Tube) was down to it inspiring surprise and happiness in viewers. As a result the ‘create your own’ pony campaign was born, resulting in the creation of 1.5 million ponies with 95% of content re-shared.

Omni-channel approach
Most UGC may lend itself to the online world, but marketers need to apply an omni-channel approach.

Research by The Behaviours Agency shows that while people are more likely to buy online, 60% of shoppers use the physical store in some capacity – whether researching before buying online, to see and buy a product researched online, to carry out the whole shopping experience or simply collect an online order.

The CGC Index reported that multi-channel customers shop more often and spend three times more than those using just a single channel.

This means brands need to consider bricks and mortar applications of UGC as part of the creative process such as how online reviews and campaigns can be incorporated into the in-store environment or applied to promotional materials.

Shoppers will continue to play a role in how brands are perceived now and well into the future, whether you like it or not. Make the most of their potential by inspiring their creativity, making them part of your world and harnessing their passion to help tell your brand story.


Dorina D’Ambrosio is Creative Director at The Behaviours Agency

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