User Generated Content

Have you ever been at a family reunion where Uncle Marty told you stories about how he fixed a flat tire with chewing gum and duct tape, or your Aunt Susan showed you pictures of her recent trip to Florida or cousin Jimmy showed you a video of him trying to jump his bicycle in the driveway?

Ah yes – painful family memories. And this is your family. So how much less would you care if these stories, pictures or videos came from a random stranger?  So that begs the question – why is user generated content so popular? There are many reasons why user generated content is a valuable marketing tactic.

It provides wonderful PR opportunities, it generates consumer insight and allows consumers to have a deeper relationship with their favorite products.  Those are all good reasons why marketers would want to take advantage of user generated content but it doesn’t explain why consumers care about random strangers’ slice of life tales.

Here’s why people care - have you ever had one of those moments with your friends or family where someone is telling a story and it ends with “if it didn’t happen to someone I knew, I wouldn’t believe it” or “you couldn’t write a movie this good”? There are many psychological and sociological theories on the popularity of user generated content but at its root the value is quite simple…life is interesting.

Consumer/user generated tactics provide a platform that brings freshness and reality to the marketing world. We live in a pre-packaged, edited, scripted world – so while Uncle Marty, Aunt Susan and cousin Jimmy may be odd, boring and even grating at times, they’re real which makes their stories more powerful.

Published On
Wednesday, September 26, 2007