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    on August 06, 2020 Digital Marketing

    The rise of user-generated content in marketing

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    Thanks to the smartphone, it’s now commonplace to see user-generated content on the social media feeds of big brands.

    But it’s a trend in mass media that goes beyond just marketing. Ranging from newsgathering to filmmaking, technology has even the average person contributing to mediums they weren’t able to previously. Over time, industries have embraced accessibility of cameras and editing software. A phenomenon that became extremely apparent when directors, like Steven Soderbergh, started creating entire movies on cell phones

    Because of the coronavirus pandemic, companies in all of these industries have been utilizing user-generated content in a way they haven’t had to before. Production schedules for television and films have been halted. Photoshoots for commercial purposes have been cancelled. And users have been asked to send in any usable content they may have.

    Brands have started leaning into this with more creativity. Domino’s announced its very own film festival. The pizza giant asked consumers to shoot video horizontally for no longer than sixty seconds for a chance at winning free pizza for a year. 

    A spokesperson said “that some of the submissions could be used in a future commercial,” according to Restaurant Business

    Asking consumers to engage in this way is not only fun, but it’s also exciting. Vera Bradley’s brand marketing manager, Jillian Speck, told us in an interview on our podcast that “everybody loves the chance to be potentially reshared by their favorite brand.”

    And she’s right. There’s consumer psychology behind why that is. According to a professor at Michigan State University, Dante Pirouz, consumers start to identify with the brands they use. These products start to become an extension of self. When companies use content created by consumers in marketing strategies, they’re fostering that relationship.

    “There’s a lot of great marketing leaders saying, ‘Hey, we’re here as a reflection of you,’ ” she said. “‘Whatever matters to you in your life, we’re here to make that better.’” 

    We, here at Quikly, see value in this too. Empowering the voices of consumers brings valuable insight that allows marketers to help serve their audiences even better. This is especially important as consumer preferences continue to change in an unstable and chaotic environment.

    In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing user-generated content from consumers who opt into brand activations powered by Quikly. We’re excited to give voice to their firsthand accounts, in addition to data that allows us to take a few steps back for a better understanding of a larger narrative.

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    Andrea Gonzales-Paul

    Andrea Gonzales-Paul is a brand journalist at Quikly. Her background is in storytelling, specifically working in TV news and documentary filmmaking.