Sramana Mitra: The user-generated content story has been going on since the middle of the 2000s.
Daphne Kwon: The people that user-generated video persuades are separate from professional content that brands create. So, there is basically no overlap between people who are moved buy based on a social video and people who are moved by a professional video. It is a very different type of marketing content based on being able to work with consumers and to adapt socially – to get that kind of content from consumers in a video format. Most of the consumer-based campaigns you see are not information related. They are about the product. There are things like “make a jingle for me” or “how to use Heinz ketchup on your hair.” But actually asking consumers to give feedback about your product, showing demonstrations, and showing how the product fits into their lifestyles is not something that is being done well or is integrated into marketing plans.
SM: You are saying that in your Huggies campaign, for example, essentially consumers are developing infomercials on their products?
DK: It depends on what you call an infomercial. They are creating authentic video about their lifestyles and how the product is fitting into their lifestyle or not. So it is positive or negative, but it is heavy on the kind of information consumers are looking for is. What is that? It is demonstration, how the product fits into their lifestyle, the setting where the person is talking about it – are they showing their baby or not? It is whether or not that person is like them.
When you talk about users and content, you may think about reviews. This is truly social content. The reason we are working with a dozen PNG brands – we are working with Johnson and Johnson or Kimberly-Clark – is that the number one desire to create video content that is useful in their marketing needs is to get consumers to create valuable marketing content that can move other consumers and that complements the video format. They are spending a tremendous amount of money on professional video, as they always have, but they haven’t been spending any amount of time or energy on valuable product information from consumers. Think about users talking about products and having those marketers use that content. Marketers don’t use that content at all. Think about where there was a campaign that has been widely seen, and then think about where marketers used that content again to help move purchases.
SM: In your example of Huggies, where are the places where user-generated video content is being used in marketing – beyond the generation of video content and sharing it on YouTube?
DK: Companies usually have a couple of commercials and “how to” videos. They don’t like videos that have been posted by random people who say things that may be and often are wrong about the product. YouTube is one place people put these videos up.
You are saying that brands do a lot of user-generated campaigns. They are doing them, but these brands are not doing campaigns to use them to put forth marketing principles that the user should be credentialing and that the brands are creating on their own. The videos are on [the brands'] YouTube sites and on their websites. On their websites you have real people who are unafraid to show their faces, their homes, their kids, and their use of the product. This is very different from a text review, where perhaps you have an unidentifiable user, “Momof2-nyc394,” who could be a man giving information at random. On average, this is a 40-video on an average experience where people are talking to brands. It is a very in-depth process. These videos are on their websites and also on their Facebook pages.