Why user-generated video just makes sense during the pandemic

What a year 2020 has been so far… Be it working from home, lockdowns and social distancing, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely transformed the way we live as well as our personal lives. Nobody and no industry has been left untouched by the virus. 

Budgets have been reduced, resources have been slashed, yet demand for digital content is higher than ever before. Faced with suddenly shrinking marketing budgets, communication professionals are now being forced to quickly shift priorities and reevaluate how they can best reach and connect with their audiences. With reduced budgets, and lessened capacity to produce visuals due to the lockdowns, they are in a tight spot. At least till now…

How the UGV trend has been accelerated by the pandemic

Due to the pandemic, commercial brands started experimenting with User-Generated Video content for TV. With all the late-night shows and celebrities working from home, society is more open to seeing real life in these formats. The previously polished, high-produced campaign has been replaced with videos celebrating front-line workers and using current event imagery that connects with audiences in a timely and meaningful way.

For Mother’s Day this year, the well-known retail brand focused its campaign on celebrating and giving thanks to the mums who are working from home, homeschooling, entertaining, and providing care all around the clock during COVID-19. It draws on UGC that is relatable and emotional, forgoing the overt sales pitch to focus on content that leaves a lasting impression.

User-generated content, or ‘authentic content’, is any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc. —created by people, rather than brands and is considered the ‘new revolution in marketing’. At its heart, it provides something useful to its target audiences — its relatable, relevant, and true-to-life.

For content marketers, UGC (User Generated Content)  can have a range of benefits, from budgetary to imparting an authentic human feeling that can be difficult to convey through traditional marketing methods. 


Content
straight from the communities you care about

During a time like COVID-19, it is more important than ever for organizations to step back from the ‘business as usual’ approach, especially with so many consumers across the globe being impacted financially, physically and emotionally by the pandemic.

Given this, impact organizations should also consider relaxing their definitions of ‘perfect content’ and instead look to embrace the ‘human’ element to better showcase authenticity, and foster connection. 

Impact organizations can embrace the content that their beneficiaries are generating, content that is being produced straight from the communities they care about. This can not only reduce content costs, but can also help to facilitate real, human connection, and dramatically increase performance on social channels.

Some key insights about user-generated content:

    • User-generated content increases brand engagement by 28%.
    • Users are twice as likely to share user-generated content than content generated by a brand.
    • 50% of consumers trust user-generated content over the content published on the brand’s own website.
    • Almost half (47%) of millennials and 36% of baby boomers trust UGC whereas only 25% of both demographics say they trust branded content.

The risks to keep in mind when working with user-generated content

However, not every user is a great storyteller, nor a good photographer. People will give you authentic content, but sometimes, this content is below your quality standard. Quality control and supervision is again the key to ensure that your brand image is protected while allowing users to generate content.

And finally, before you can collect and publish user-generated content, there are a few legal issues that you have to take care of: The makers have to give consent for the use of their image and the copyrights of the footage have to be cleared before it can be used in any kind of campaign.

TheHive: user-generated video with professional editorial support

At MAKMENDE we believe that with the right creative and technical guidance, anyone can produce great content. We have been coordinating and providing editorial guidance for over 10 years,  instructing professionals and non-professionals around the world how to tell stories for impact-driven organizations.  That’s why we designed a service for impact-driven organizations that help to gather fast and cost-effective stories straight from their projects.

So how does TheHive work?

Our Amsterdam based strategist starts by making an overall creative framework that is on-brand with your organization and that supports your communication goals. This will help focus all user-generated content that is going to be produced. Unify it creatively as well. We call this concepting and a rough concept can be presented after one or two short meetings of 30 minutes with you and your team.

Then our creatives translate your communication messaging into short and easy to follow up instructions for non-professionals. Those simple instructions are then shared with your beneficiaries through WhatsApp, who start to tell their story with their mobile phones. 

Another level of editorial guidance is provided during the collection of the footage by our local journalists. They assist your beneficiaries with content collection by providing feedback and instruction in the local language as they are based in the same country.

The final round of editorial support is provided by MAKMENDE during the editing, once we receive the footage at our office. Our editors and creatives cut up the images into well-told stories that are suitable for any of your channels. Video and audio post-production provides the finishing touch.

Want to learn more about how TheHive can help you? Reach out to our team to plan in a presentation on Zoom or over the phone.

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