A video entry is worth a thousand words

In the past few weeks, we’ve looked at how brands can listen to consumers and craft compelling messages based on what they hear. However, truly connecting with consumers and driving them to action requires brands to become more involved. Disseminating messages and responding to consumer feedback is important in building customer loyalty and generating buzz in new consumer groups. However, to actually convert new customers and drive them to take action brands must go a step further by putting consumers in the driver’s seat.

Successful brands realize that sometimes the best digital media campaigns are born from user-generated content. It can be difficult for brands to embrace user-generated content, whether it is born organically or sparked by a direct invitation from the company. There are always concerns over negative public relations and, of course, concerns about messages that may portray the brand in a way that is contrary to the company’s desired image.

To help us better understand the issues around user-generated content, we’ll look at examples of companies that have harnessed it’s power in instances where it was part of the contrived marketing strategy, as well as instances where a company embraced existing content.

With two top awards at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, 34,000 consumer responses and 8 million website views and over 610 hours of play on YouTube, Tourism Queensland is one of the best examples of how to connect with consumers through planned user-generated content (Social Media Maximizer). In 2009, they took out a ‘classified ad’…

Tourism Queensland asked applicants from around the world to upload a sixty-second clip showing their creativity and skills. They narrowed the 34,000 responses down to sixty finalists, selecting Ben Southall as their official island caretaker.

On June 11th, 2009, Ben set out to experience Queensland for himself and report back to rapt audiences around the world. Nearly six months later, he is still giving hopeful visitors a first hand look, and undeniably compelling reasons, to visit Queensland, Australia on their next holiday. It’s working. Queensland has received over $390 million AUD of publicity since the campaign started, tourism to Queensland has increased by 20% with 50% of all Australia trips now including a Queensland component (Maffin). In the next post, I’ll discuss companies that have successfully leveraged non-solicited user-generated content to drive sales, as well as those that have missed one of a kind opportunities.

Maffin, Todd. Lesson’s Learned from the “Best Job in the World” Campaign. Case Studies Online: Proven Social Media Tactics for Assured ROI. Retrieved from http://www.casestudiesonline.com/bestjob.

Social Maximizer: Professional Social Bookmarking Service. 7 Awesomely Amazing Examples of Success Through YouTube. Retrieved from http://blog.socialmaximizer.com/youtube-business-use-cases/.

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