Is User Generated Content building a Wall between your Brand and your Customer?

Is User Generated Content building a Wall between your Brand and your Customer?So here is a little fact that really scares me – User Generated Content has surpassed that of publisher content which means we marketers (or publishers) are the “white noise” to the User Generated Content “signal” they produce.

So let’s dive into that for a moment …

At a recent concert I was attending at Madison Square Garden – the most popular thing to do at the concert was not dancing (good thing in case you have seen me dance) but it was video taping, text messaging, and generally sharing the experience with others who were not in attendance. 20,000 people for 4 hours producing tons of content – more content than I produced with all my teams around the world in a year – they exceeded in 4 hours!

Now take that same dynamic and put that in front of your brand. If you have (lets take Microsoft for example) customers who are avid users of the brand and tend to be socially active blogging, tweeting, posting on Facebook, or posting on forums about their good and bad experiences with the Microsoft brand – then how as a brand marketer am I supposed to get my message through all that mess?

The answer is – you can’t!

The dynamic I am pointing out exists for most brands today B2C and B2B brands. They quantity of conversations are growing every day about your brand (at Avaya our brand mentions have increased 5 fold in 18 months!!) Now I am not sure it can continue at that pace but I am not 100% sure.

150 million people use Facebook everyday and access it via mobile (more than the entire Twitter registered user base!) and they are said (by Facebook) to be 2 times more active than those that only access Facebook via the web.

One thing is for sure that dynamic is going to continue to get worse as smartphones surpass internet users in the next 2 years. That’s a stat we all need to keep an eye on!

5 comments to Is User Generated Content building a Wall between your Brand and your Customer?

  • Interesting,

    so how can companies make use of this? (Apart from making sure they have a great product or service.)

  • I think firms can harness the power of the UGC channel – I am currently participating in one for American Airlines – see this link for more info –

  • kimbakat

    To Mark.

    The only things companies SHOULD be concerned with is making GREAT product and service without trying to screw their customers. I see very few complaints about Apple as a company. Why? Because they make GREAT product, provide stellar service, and stand by their products if they fail.

    No wonder their siting on 60 Billion in reserve cash! They kept their head above water in the 90s because of a “true” loyal fan, programmer and customer base by a formula of hardware and software, so well integrated, and was superior to any other OS on the common user market. Even if they did go under..the “underground” movement to keep it going would still have existed. Their users were well ahead of PC users on communication skills and technology…even in 1998.

    Otherwise, if companies (i.e. Verizon and AT&T which constantly cockblock their phones from simple and available services like “browse with bluetooth”..or skype”) are NOT awesome and excellent to their customers and their superusers and they just put out crap product, bad service and blocks just to make a few extra charges to the user on the side..AND YET tell everybody their great…..their true motivations and reason for existing are in question!..and they will not last too long. People find out things “within minutes” of what is good or bad.

  • Paul, how are you participating in the AA community? (It looks more like some sort of contest). Nice post and thanks for the perspective re: Avaya brand mentions.

  • @Bill – I am participating in the AA contest – I took some killer photos in the city of AA ads (with my iPhone4) and submitted them online – dont know if I need any more airline miles but I wanted to see how it worked and what type of communications they are doing with the participants

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