User Generated Content: Ingenious Strategy or Simply Insane?

Thursday, 3 November 2011 , , , 0 Comments




We are going back and forth on this idea of letting customers discuss about our brand freely in the social channels and new media. On one hand, we are excited to find out what’s being said about the brand, on the other we have a great amount of fear that the move would bring a colossal disaster to the brand we’ve spent years building. Every product has its weak points and if these points are stressed too much, would they affect the brand adversely? 

Considering what I’ve read and known, user generated content or UGC has an impactful influence on customer’s decision-making process. From a trivial buy like movie tickets to a more significant purchase like buying a car or booking a vacation, other customer’s opinions matter. Moviegoers swear by Rottentomatoes reviews; anything that is less than 60-70% average user rating would not entice them to catch the movie. Recently, when I wanted to buy my first Kitchen Aid, I Googled about the machine, contemplating the good, the bad, the ugly before making any decisions five days later. When it is very easy to get opinions from people who have bought and experienced the products, the decision-making process is very much influenced by those (opinions). Even when it involves buying a new apartment or a new car for example, the owners’ say matter in addition to opinions from experts. 

Now, control is very important when it comes to leaving the floor to the audience to discuss about your brand. If it’s not controlled properly, it could do more harm than good. How are we making sure that the competitors are not contributing to the discussions and dropping vindictive remarks along the way? Are the ones who provide the comments users of the product or just random visitors whom based on their experience with other similar products want to vent their frustrations? 

One thing for sure, contributors do not like to be deleted or denied an opinion if you have comment removal as part of the plan. So long as the comments are fair and not overbearing or breaking any laws, it should be permitted to appear on the sites. Presence of some negative comments also provide consumers with a feeling of trust in the genuineness of the feedbacks. Nonetheless, when the control is favoring the supplier too much, consumers are not getting the real picture of the brand. The question is, how to let go without losing control?

Whatever the issues are, we’ve got to start. When the online market is available 24/7 all year long, somehow or other the brand is going to get discussed somewhere. If we are not opening any channels to know what’s being said about us, the discussions are still going on, the brand is still being discussed over conversations and we miss the opportunity to listen and improve on our products and services. 

FingerTec is looking into incorporating UGC in our websites. One key to successfully letting go of the control to the user is to start small and manageable. Another is to be responsive and ready to engage and address consumer’s concerns. When we’ve gained enough experience, perhaps we could attempt something complex. In the meantime, let us start with baby steps towards acquiring UGC. 

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

We are going back and forth on this idea of letting customers discuss about our brand freely in the social channels and new media. On one ha...

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