The Power of UGC in the Age of COVID

So, Tomorrowland 2020 was a virtual event.

No, I don’t live under a rock, but if COVID19 hadn’t happened, I was planning to tent-up at the live event this year. Anyway, I’ll just go stand at the back of the queue of all the people whose plans got canned in 2020. Don’t feel too bad for me though; I settled to see updates of it on one of my friend’s Instagram stories. Granted, I saw Katy Perry perform on a very large television screen in one of their stories (yeah, I have no clue why Katy Perry was at Tomorrowland either), but the lights and virtual set was very pretty. I FOMO-ed in a very weird way that weekend. Apparently, that annoying Instagrammer who puts up a string of videos of live events is a thing now and sure enough, is catering to a very important part of brand building in the Age of COVID. Read on.

Tomorrowland 2020 by the way, sold out in five minutes – like, all 4 lakh virtual seats, if you please. Today’s writeup however, isn’t about how the events industry is finding inspiration to survive COVID19’s terms, but about the people who create the inspiration. It’s about the people who kept the spirit alive on every social channel as they possibly could – the people who provide brands the power of User Generated Content (UGC).

That’s right, UGC is one of the most potent tools a marketer can use to help people connect with a brand today. It is a sign of utmost faith and confidence in a brand that doesn’t need any prompting what-so-ever. Right from product reviews, to snapping photos/videos, UGC is a school of thought that lets individuals be the voices of your message, help market your brand with you, for you, and most essentially, you get to identify the people who help shape your brand – free of cost. What’s the big win here? Credibility!

UGC is incredibly credible, that 90% of consumers report that UGC is the reason they would put something in the cart, as opposed to other forms of marketing! UGC works, because it is proof of people who love and trust your brand, hence making any opinion they share a potential sermon. More numbers state that 47% of millennials and 36% of baby boomers trust UGC, whereas only 25% of both demographics say that they trust branded content.The primary reason these stats stick is because UGC makes brands and their message appear more human.

Let’s face it, these are dark times, and if branded content fails to get the meaning of empathy, they are literally thrown out the window. When KFC released their ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ campaign in UK, COVID19 was wreaking havoc among the UK population. It was a tad bit late before they brought it down and realized that it was perhaps not the best idea to film slow-mo shots of people licking their fingers in public. What UGC does in the contrary, is that it validates a larger audience that brands have truly started connecting with people again – and right to their homes. Uber’s detailed precautions for drivers and travelers, Zomato’s contactless deliveries, or even J.W.Marriot Luxury hotels providing and delivering meals at home – these are all signs of brands moving with the times, and people are talking about it! Let it be known, that people want to be heard. Yet another study shows that 64% of millennials and 53% of Boomers want more ways to share their opinions about brands – so apparently, Instagram, Snapchat, Amazon and TikTok aren’t enough... (Just kidding).

What sets UGC apart is that it is raw, it is homely, and it’s got no direct ulterior motive per se. When you see the senior Managing Director of your favourite brand get on an IG interview with his dogs and kids playing in the background, you know he’s real, and people want to see more of that. It’s the humane identity that attracts customers to brands in the most trying of times. Engagement with UGC is everything a brand needs right now, and it is the ideal time to use the best of AI tech to listen to what your customers have to say, whether it is image recognition tools or analytics and ORM, it is the only way to turn a crisis like COVID into an opportunity to do right by your customers.

Nishevita Aiyer
Client Relationship Manager
Locobuzz Solutions Pvt Ltd

Locobuzz is a saas platform that converges with technologies such as ai, ml, big data and analytics to provide brands with a 360-degree customer experience management suite. Locobuzz’s powerful analytics algorithms have helped seasoned brands establish a strong foothold in the digital hemisphere and transformed their customer experience journeys. Visit our website for more information on our cx management services that are catered toward businesses like yours!

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