Category Archives: brand

User Generated Content (UGC) : 3 Reasons You Should Just Do It

User Generated Content or UGC is any content contributed by people (let’s call them fans of a brand) instead of the brands themselves.   Fans create and share a series of videos, pictures or tweets showcasing themselves with the brand through the use of social media and blogs.  Judging by how almost every one of the user generated content goes viral easily and how effectively it captures the attention of a wide audience, UGC is often heralded as the game changer in marketing.

Why should brands use it?

“The next wave of the Web is going to be user-generated content.” – John Doerr, Venture Capitalist.

UGC is such a great way to spark desire among people new to your brand and to build long term relationships with your loyal fans. What ever your goals are, UGC is a powerful tool to create a meaningful relationship between your brand and your fans.

Here are more reasons to look into UGC:

  1. A showcase of your brand 
    Going into UGC, especially through smart online contest and campaigns, opens up a whole new dimension to your brand.  As fans share stories of themselves interacting with your brand, it allows others to see how they could potentially engage with your brand, too.  It plants an idea in their head. It starts a conversation.  It piques curiosity and leads to questions like,  “What is this brand all about? Maybe, I too, can have that much of fun with it?”  It showcases your brand in a new light and personalize connections to your brand. Leveraging on your fans’ stories about your products and services, you get to wow people with a funny, new or distinct features you may have.

    More than that, good reviews about your brand help raise your SEO rankings.  It’s simple.  The more people post and hashtag (read more about Hootsuite’s tips on using a hashtag) about you, the higher chance it is for you to appear on the top of searches.  Being highly visible and trusted by search engines like Google and others, will work favorably to your brand.  It increases credibility, boosts lead generation and shortens your sales cycle.

    All these put your brand at the forefront. Translating, of course, to higher purchases and increase in revenue.

    Key game-changing point:  Leverage on your fans and their amazing stories about your brand. Build a strong platform and align your online contest and campaigns to their contents. In return, you will enjoy greater publicity and receive more sales opportunities.

  2. A powerful community 
    Behind every successful brand, is a community of passionate fans.  They are those who love talking about your products and services.  Take for instance, Apple.  What makes it a brand supremo?   It’s not just the IPhone product itself. More than that, it’s the thriving band of passionate followers who has build their identity around the Apple I-phones and are willing to queue for days outside Apple stores before the release .

    Your brand community provides a platform for your fans to engage with you and others. They are able to connect with like-minded folks and ask questions, share ideas and solve any problems.  Through these interactions, they are empowered to influence.

    In the community, real life stories are shared.  These authentic testimonials about your brand  convinces and converts way better than slimy marketing tactics.  Point is, people trust people more, which is why, a survey found that 92% of people are more likely to trust a recommendation from another person over branded content,

    Seth Godin, the author and marketer rightfully points out that “you only need 1,000 true fans to build a tribe around your brand”.  Start today to build your community.

    Key game-changing point:  Build your strong community today.  It’ll turn fans to fierce advocates of your brand and it is a fail-proof way to convert many more into believers of your brand.

  3. A cost effective strategy
    The wonderful thing about UGC is that it is run by your fans.  Their contributions fuel the conversations around and does the “marketing” for you.  Marketers often save big bucks on ads and other campaigns that may or may not draw the attention it desires.

    Key game-changing point:  Leverage on your fans’ stories but complement it with the right reward system.  This encourages a stream of loyal contributors and inspire new people to contribute their contents towards your brand.

Here are some examples of brands that rock in UGC marketing:

Krispy Kreme

Picture Source: TINT

One of  TINT’s greatest success was to turn the all time American doughnut giant, Krispy Kreme into a visually and interactive brand, appealing to not only their traditional  set of audience, but to the millenials, as well.  Transforming the website, in-store and social media, the campaign gathered more than 36 million impressions and three thousand aggregated posts.

Read more about it from its original source:


Source: Anna, Toronto Canada, Starbucks Stories & News

Who have not heard about the Starbucks’ #RedCupContest? Or the #WhiteCupContest?  Both campaigns invite fans to submit photos of  their creative take on the Starbucks cups in return for a chance to win gifts and have the best entry design be the template for new limited edition cups.  It sent fans (and non-fans) into a frenzied doodling, snapping away pictures of their creative cups and taking over the social media by storm.   The campaigns gathered close to 40,000 photos in just three weeks. A great way to earn publicity, indeed.

Air Asia


This Malaysian low cost carrier definitely has a creative way to increase its followers.  Winner of ‘Best Social Media Engagement‘ award in 2015, Air Asia used Facebook extensively and creatively to increase it’s followers.

One of its most successful campaign, “Air Asia Friendsy” was launched back in 2012.  It invited fans to participate in a challenge to fill up 302 seats of Airbus that flew from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur with friends.  The winning entry will receive free flights for himself – along with his 302 friends, too!

Below is the excerpt from the Social Media Business Performance study on Air Asia’s marketing strategy:

Within the two days of being live, the contest had more than 4,000 users. As of May 15, 2012, there were more than 11,000 completed entries and the contest increased the Facebook page by 20,000 “Likes”.

It grew from local, to national to international news, generating Public Relation (PR) value of $1,627,593 on a $80,000 marketing campaign.

The campaign grew the Air Asia Facebook fan base by 30%. The competition received 12,500 entries and reached 2,291,483 people on Facebook, which is a whopping 20% of Australians using Facebook.

Now, everyone can truly be part of the AirAsia family.

All preceding benefits of UGC leads to one : to influence purchasing decisions.  How have your brand use this powerful marketing tool?  Do share by leaving a comment below.

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Filed under brand, Content, Trends

Driving Engagements through Interactive Content

Picture Courtesy of Angelo Moleele @unsplash

It was opined, as far back as 1995, that interactive marketing is the future of digital advertising and e-commerce.  Since that significant shift from traditional marketing strategy, interactive marketing made great strides in helping brands engage better with their consumers. 

Not surprising then, that interactive content became the all important elixir to interactive marketing, especially contents that engage, convince and convert the audience. With IoT, 5G, Big data and AI to come, we can only expect exciting times ahead for quality interactive content.

Related: Read about MarTech’s prediction of the top 5 Content Marketing Trends For 2020

Making a Mark 

You probably have seen many interactive content throughout the day. Perhaps some info-graphics while browsing through websites or video advertisements while looking through your news feeds in Facebook. Broadly put, interactive marketing uses any interactive content to enable customers to interact with the brand, including (but not limited to):

  • Interactive storytelling
  • Interactive Info-graphics
  • Quizzes
  • Games
  • Videos
  • Polls/Surveys
  • Email campaigns

These interactions provide the crucial data brands need to journey together with their customers.  The data help brands track their customer behavior, device marketing plans and style their products and services offerings to suit their customers’ wants.  Better understanding leads to greater customer satisfaction and thus, mapping the path to loyal customers.

Many brands engage content marketers to evaluate the right communication channel and create campaigns that will perform well. Content marketers help brands achieve higher SEO rankings, ensure the right balance in the consumption and absorption of content and most importantly, create the right User-Generated Content (UGC) to generate better brand experience.

Exactly, how powerful is interactive content? Well, 64% of consumers say watching video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision of theirs in the last month.  Plus, people are said to have the ability to recall 65% of the visual content that they see almost three days later.

Here’s a look at some examples of great interactive contents:

Survey / Quiz 
Marriot’s website provided a fun way to families planning for a get-away to Scottsdale, Arizona. Based on their answers to the questions, Marriot’s interactive graphics suggest places to visit.

Interactive Website 
Designed by VGNC company, this website introduced APPS’ flagship product apple cider (liquor) in a cool way. You can create a memorable cider producing experience through few easy clicks. I love this, simply because it’s not an ‘in-your-face’ kind of advert that aggressively  pushes its product.  Instead, it lulls you into an experiential journey of plucking, squeezing and pouring your very own cider.

Related: 20 Best Interactive and Fun Website Examples 2019 

Interactive Email 
A surprising element will do wonders for any boring marketing email.  For example, a pop up box featuring the summer drink menu from the company Pret, is a nice “surprise” as it pops up once the email is opened.  Definitely a welcomed departure from the usual marketing emails we receive.

Or book a ride with Penguin Random House on a journey to find out what new books they have in store.  All it takes is to scroll down the email and click on the respective cities’ button – which makes it low in interaction barrier and delightfully surprising, as you’ll discover different new books in each city.

Related : 5 Ways to Integrate interactive marketing into email marketing 

Developing solid interactive content has become a must for any brand now.  What have your brand been doing to cut through the noise and better engage, educate and entertain your customers? Do leave me a comment below.

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Filed under brand, Content, Trends

Lessons from a classic advert


Photo by Cliff Johnson on Unsplash

I remembered watching this particular advertisement when I was a kid. They had this catchy slogan- style, quality, excellence– that’s stuck in my head, even till this very day.

Well, never mind that the product they were advertising was highly inappropriate –  cigarettes (gasp!).  But man, do these words ring true! I have, throughout my writing life, often reminded myself, how crucial it is to deliver a top-notch work that reflects these very same words.

So, what is style?
The good news is, one’s writing style is not something you are born with.  It can be learned.  To develop your own style, begin by harnessing what is inside you – your innate personality and capabilities.  Develop your own voice and tone. (This calls for a separate blog another day).  Think about who you are writing for,  imagine what they are like and how you want them to respond to what you write.  Keep your words simple –  free from grammatical,  sentence construction and spelling errors.  Keep it real.  Don’t force another’s style into your writing or you will end up with incoherent ramblings.

Someone once told me to always write authentically.   Be yourself when you write, they said. Right. But, as a novice writer, where (and how) in the world am I supposed to find my own style? Thankfully, after hundreds of drafts, I believe I’ve found my groove; a style that principally identifies with me.  The key is to let the passion inside of you exude into your work and influence your choice of words.  Allow what we write to be enriched by our beliefs, our experiences and even our eccentric expressions.

What about quality content?
Did you read about how Apple is planning to invest over US$1 billion on original content? Or how the other big players Google, Facebook and Amazon are each spending significant dollars on original video contents, too? The future of content marketing trend is all about consistent, original and addictive content!

In writing, original contents are in demand. Organisations look for that special breed of  writers whom understands and turn unique ideas into results. These writers help establish organisations as experts in their niche and help widen their influence.  Original contents garner more mentions, shares, likes in the social media and gets you the attention quicker than any other reshared or copied content.

Excellence- at the heart of every writer
I rarely release any work without first going through my toughest critic – me.  I diligently complete my drafts, rereading and scraping away ideas that didn’t quite made sense after a second read.  I love my readers, so I made a point to connect with them by writing something they’ll enjoy reading.  Facts are researched responsibly and inspirations are caught from reading, interactions and even watching some television. Excellence, too is that incredible willingness to work hard- to have the discipline to sit down every morning to write even when the flesh is weak.

How do you find your style? Where do you find your inspirations for quality content? What habits do you instill to be a good writer? Share by leaving a comment below.




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Filed under brand, Content, Lifestyle

Funny is good!

Let’s explore the idea of using humor in one’s content.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Trust in Advertising in 2013, polled more than 29,000 Internet respondents in 58 countries to measure consumer sentiment on 19 forms of paid, earned and owned advertising formats. 47% of global respondents agreed that humorous ads resonated the most. (Source: Forbes)

Humor is a powerful, fun and engaging way to connect with your target group. It quickly establishes a rapport and sets the pace for positive alignment to any message you want to bring. Plus, when you are funny, you’re sure that people will remember you (and your message).

Here are possibly the 3 quickest ways to be funny in your contents:

Be plain funny
Humor will help you stand out from the crowd and get noticed. Use wacky advertising ideas, have fun with your logos and bring creative ideas to life! Your audience will find you more exciting, genuinely relevant and overall easier to understand. If you’ve been serious in your contents all these while and have not seen the outcome that you wish for, how about changing things up now and slip in a little humor at that?

When Cisco came up with this Special Valentine’s Gift video,Tim Washer the creator of the ad made it to the New York Times blog and the ad was widely discussed till now, as one of the best marketing humor. A launch for a router, the team took a twist to the ad by presenting it as the perfect Valentine’s Gift.



Or the Knaxis ad which took a humorous look at why simplicity is the best solution for a supply chain management by comparing it to a dating game.



Related : humorous contents on videos >> 14 Most Funniest (Video) Ads of 2013

Be spontaneous
Ironic as it sounds, but when using humour, we’ve got to plan to be spontaneous. Have a strategy ready with proper style guidelines and tone of voice that can easily launch any humorous contents in real time for all those “unpredictable moments”. For instance in Twitter, if you look at@Snicker’s response to the Suarez biting incident during the soccer tournament in Brazil, Snickers were quick-witted at commenting a funny content while keeping their brand true to their values.

twitter suarez


Related : humorous contents on the social media >> 14 Funny Brands You Can’t Help But Follow In Social Media

Be trustworthy
Don’t mess with trust. In being funny, we have to understand and respect our audience, the brand reputation and take great measure in preserving this trust and valued relationship. Our contents need to steer away from sensitive issues such as race, gender, religion and any other cultural issues that may discriminate, hurt or cause disunity. Laugh with our audience, not at them. In short, our humorous content has to be done in good taste.

What other humorous contents have you seen or used before in your marketing?


Filed under brand, Content

What’s your story?

bookPeople and brands are so good at telling stories nowadays. Just look at the number of followers or people they influence on social media or blogs. People are drawn to the stories they share. Immersed in their brand presence.  Captivated by the excitement it stirs. Can you too, start writing your amazing stories?

A great story is written from quality contents that are relevant to its targeted audience. In a nutshell: a relevant connection has to be made with your story. When the Song “Call me Maybe” hit the top charts, Abercrombie and Fitch took advantage of it and created an explosively fun and entertaining advertisement that commanded attention everywhere! What’s not to like? A current chart-topping song, good looking shirtless guys happily dancing and singing away. If it hadn’t make you drop by its stores, it would have pique your curiosity already. Nothing engages a consumer more than a well-told relevant story.

Can we be insanely creative while being dead serious about our brand personality? Why, yes of course! Creative contents strike the right balance for a quirky, weird and entertaining delivery while strongly delivering the message across. Here’s how one brand did it. Mercedes took on their passion on being environmental-friendly when promoting its new fuel cell vehicle in this creative approach.  The ad presented one cohesive image of utilizing latest technology to preserve the environment. Watch this powerful commercial that already boasts of 9 million over hits here.

Many story tellers like to tell a story that’ll put a tear in your eye. However, some unfortunate ones ended up being too sappy. Or being too over-dramatic. If it’s difficult, just remember this: real people, real lives, real stories. You’ll never go wrong. One particularly well-crafted story of one’s origin, is the The Lego Story. The video shares the story of the founder, the late Ole Kirk Christiansen and how the famous Lego came about. A delightful and entertaining video that speaks volumes of Lego’s commitments, ethics and values to bring joy to children around the world.

Contents can be anything you want it to be. Create quality contents to tell a compelling story, influence your audiences and make yourself be heard above the market chatter. As Ole said, “Imagination is the limit”.
What other brand stories do you like?


Filed under brand