With competition for consumers’ attention spans at an all-time high, how can brands break through the online noise to reach people in a meaningful way that engages and motivates them to purchase?
The answer is user-generated content (UGC).
User-generated content (UGC) is impactful on any channel that it’s used. Whether it’s through email, social media, websites or more, UGC’s authenticity makes it the most trusted and engaging content brands can show consumers at every point throughout the buyer’s journey.
BRP, owners of iconic brands like Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo and Can-Am, is a company that understands the power of UGC. That’s why we asked BRP’s Global Asset Factory & Social Media Lead, Bellanis Pereira, to join our Co-founder, Peter Cassidy, in a keynote presentation at last week’s NES 2021 event, to share her insights on the value of growing a brand through user-generated content. Here is a summary of their conversation. View the full keynote here.
Peter: Can you give us a brief background of your role at BRP?
Bella: I essentially wear two hats at BRP: the first being that I’m the global lead for anything social media-related. I guide our various international marketing teams in social media best practices and how to level up our social game—from community management to content creation. My second role is head of the Asset Factory, where my team helps marketing teams produce a high volume of assets with a “content-first” approach. We adapt content to fuel all our digital channels (CRM, web, social, e-com) based on platforms’ best practices. User-generated content helps us respond to many of these content needs.
P: Obviously, with COVID, many brands’ marketing strategies were turned upside down, but it also created opportunities, can you speak to that?
B: At BRP, COVID changed how we normally shoot product content, but at the same time, COVID provided a boost to our industry. Everyone is craving ways to enjoy and explore the great outdoors, and that’s exactly what our products enable them to do. So while we weren’t able to plan photoshoots with production crews for a while, our customers were still active on social media and sharing content from all over the world. We looked to UGC as a content generator to show how customers are experiencing our vehicles and showcasing our products online.
P: How do you see UGC as a tool to help marketers succeed in challenging times?
B: As marketers, we all need to jump on the opportunity to connect and celebrate active communities like the ones BRP have. It’s a privilege as a brand to have customers that care enough about our products to want to post about us, tag us and share their experience on their own personal social accounts. It would be a miss not to highlight this type of content, encourage it and celebrate it so it has the potential to be reused across all of your channels.
P: Broadly speaking, what do you see as the biggest benefit UGC can provide brands in today’s digital-first environment?
B: UGC is a cost-efficient way to get content for all of your digital platforms. It gives us marketers more relatable content to play with, and furthermore, plays an important role in the consideration stage of any product. We always want to see ourselves in the product advertised to us, right?
It is also a very clever solution to filling the challenges marketers have to fuel their channels with enough content, whether it is for CRM, website, social or paid tactics. Many companies have one shoot where they create a large amount of content to use for the whole year, which can result in large gaps. That’s where UGC is perfect for these challenges and can help solve the problem of stale content.
Of course, you’ll always want to have the right permissions to leverage UGC. No marketer should publish something for commercial purposes without having full permission. And if budget allows, reward your fans for their contribution!
P: What are you currently trying to achieve with UGC at BRP?
B: One of our key strategic pillars for content at BRP is moving from focusing on our products to the experience our vehicles offer people instead. The thrill of the journey and the destination are our driving forces in creating this experience rather than talking about vehicle specs and technicalities. UGC is one of our content pillars to help us achieve this goal.
The other important goal is to humanize our brands by building communities. We want new and well-seasoned riders to feel like they belong with us. We want to showcase more of the content from our actual customers to show the beautiful diversity of our riders and so other people see that and feel like they could be having an experience like that too. UGC inspires people to do things differently and that’s what we want to encourage.
We are also putting together UGC-specific tactics for all of our brands and assigning a target for branded hashtags and tagged photos so we can track success. It’s great to talk about content but we also want to measure, so KPIs are going to be important for us this year.
P: What types of content do you consider to fall under UGC at BRP?
B: It’s most often customer-related content. We have something that we call ‘Friends of BRP’ for people who have some influence or for people who are consistently coming back and sharing content about our brands. We keep an eye on them and it can sometimes spark collabs.
Another thing we noticed is not everyone is necessarily an owner in the UGC space. For example, a photographer that works with an influencer, a friend of a rider, etc. can all be good sources of content, so giving credits to these guys goes a long way.
We also have started to explore DGC or dealer-generated content. These are our partners who are also a good source of UGC not to be ignored. It’s something we can repurpose for our marketing purposes as well.
P: What has BRP done so far with its UGC strategy?
B: All of our social accounts currently leverage UGC, especially on Instagram. With the growth of stories on the platform, we have found UGC to be a good way to show content that is more “real” from our customers and tagging them in our ‘highlights of the week’. As you know, it’s not always easy to produce this type of frequent content at the pace and the variety that it’s needed, and we love it as a way to celebrate customers and inspire people.
On our website, we have implemented a few Stackla widgets to showcase our owners and inspire newcomers into our industry. The idea is to showcase real people, real riders. It’s people doing things they like to do, which has come across as really good content.
P: How have your social audiences responded to your uses of UGC?
B: Very well! People enjoy the content we’re putting out. When people see they made it to the ‘highlights of the week’ we see them resharing our stories featuring them which then creates this online relationship that enhances the customer experience with our brands.
Even leaving a comment on someone’s picture creates excitement for our customer so being able to feature them it’s like a wall of fame! They made it to the ‘highlights of the week’ which gives them a sense of pride, so it’s definitely something for brands to explore. If you’re not currently doing it with your brand, then you should.
P: What are BRP’s UGC plans for the future as far as eCommerce?
B: We’re testing some new things this year with UGC. The Stackla email feature is one that is really interesting for us in the CRM space. ECommerce Shopspots is also something we want to test and see what the results bring.
From a product page perspective, we want to bring in more UGC widgets and showcase specific products in real-life scenarios.
The other thing we are aiming to do this year is globalize the practice of using UGC in our other marketing departments around the world so they can benefit from Stackla at the local level.
We are looking to deploy the practice in Latin America, EMEA and APAC to be more global in our content production strategies. We want to make sure we are showing the global diversity of our riders and Stackla is going to help us in the search and curation of this content.
P: Do you have any learned best practices or recommendations for brands out there that are interested in UGC but may be unsure of how to implement an effective strategy?
B: We’ve learned that communication is key with UGC. Be clear and tell people exactly how to share content with you. Use all of your channels of communication to encourage your customers to share their experiences. Your bio on Instagram is a great starting point!
Also, be consistent in what you want your customers to do. Ask them to tag you and use your branded hashtag. Repetition is key. Don’t confuse followers by creating a brand new hashtag every time you run a new contest or UGC tactic. Rather, build on your primary one to create consistency and awareness over time.
You should also reward people! Surprise and delight tactics are a great way to show that you are seeing the content of your fans and encouraging them to create more.
Always rights manage the images you select to publish on your marketing channels. No one likes to find their face on a newsletter or website without giving permission for the brand to do so.
Finally, don’t forget to always credit the original creator. Tag them on the image and the caption to engage them and further the excitement around creating content for your brand.
P: Are there any other big trends you’re looking to test later this year/early next?
B: The new kids on the block are Reels on IG and TikTok. With these new platforms and formats, we have to challenge ourselves as a brand to find interesting ways to involve our audiences in this creative process. We haven’t yet cracked the code there, but we’re excited about the opportunities and for how we can feature UGC there. We are watching and excited to see where it’s going!
If you would like to learn more about using Stackla to implement a UGC strategy for your brand, fill out our free demo request today!
Watch the full interview here: