Brief #92: How do people perceive your brand?

Welcome to Future of Marketing.

Each week, we send you the most relevant trends, resources, and strategies in social and user-generated content (UGC) from leading marketers and brands around the globe. 

Today, we’re discussing…

  • The psychology of UGC
  • Influencing brand perception
  • #BrandCrush: The Inkey List 💘

The psychology of UGC

Sixty-four percent (64%) of consumers will strongly consider online reviews and actively seek them out before making a final purchasing decision. Think about it… when you’re shopping online, chances are you’ve looked (and will look) at reviews before adding the items to your cart. 

How do the pants fit? Are they the right color? How are people styling them? Are others happy with this product? 

For brands, it’s one thing to share testimonials and 5-star ratings – but it’s another thing to show real people sharing their experiences with your brand. 

For example, H&M uses visual testimonials and user-generated content (UGC) to build trust and increase conversions across their marketing channels. On their website, they often share reviews across product pages – and they have a dedicated gallery of UGC that shows how customers are styling each product (which drives people to buy). 

A gallery of UGC featuring images customers tagged with #HMxME – including home decor and outfit inspiration.

Capturing and sharing reviews from your customers doesn’t just apply to the apparel industry; people often share their experiences online – whether it’s a hotel they visited, an airline they used, a restaurant they loved, an event they attended… the list goes on.

TIP: Consider the industry you’re in and encourage your customers to share experiences with your brand – whether by tagging your company or a specific hashtag – and then reshare this content across marketing channels your audience will come in contact with.

Influencing brand perception

Marty Neumeier, author of The Brand Gap, wrote:

”A brand is not what you say it is – it is what they say it is.”

You can tell everyone how great your brand is and shout it from the mountaintops, but it won’t be as impactful as having your customers and team genuinely tell others how great it is to shop (or work) there. It makes sense – considering 70% of people trust recommendations coming from other people (including strangers) more than the brand. 

“Brands try to create this brand perception, but at the end of the day, it’s the customer that owns the perception of what that brand is,” shared Neal Schaffer, marketing consultant, author, and speaker. “And they’re displaying that every time they post something on social media about that brand.”

Neal’s advice? 

“If you can start replacing some of your own content with UGC – once a week, twice a week – it [helps you build] relationships. The content in the feed is a little bit more authentic because it’s coming from [your] fans. It’s offering a little bit more variety, a little bit more diversity. And at the end of the day, it actually leads to a more engaging feed, higher engagement, and even a bigger ROI.”

What we’re learning

#BrandCrush: The Inkey List 💘

Each week in #BrandCrush, we highlight exceptional brands that are channeling their customers' voices to connect more authentically with their audience.

This week, we’re highlighting The Inkey List for too many reasons to count. For starters, they offer high-quality, clean skincare at prices that are tough to pass by (Hyaluronic Acid for $7.99, anyone?).

On their website, The Inkey List invites their audience to #askINKEY about their skincare concerns, where fans can live chat or book a 1:1 appointment with their team at no cost. This is a great way to make the customer experience feel more personalized and boost engagement for the brand – because who doesn’t want a free skincare (or haircare) recipe tailored to them? 

The Inkey List also shares incoming questions from #askINKEY across their Instagram Stories, where they respond – whether by sharing a video response by the company’s skincare experts or by writing out their recommendations.

A person asked The Inkey List for recommendations for oily acne prone skin – and their experts responded with a list of product recommendations.

By having great products, affordable prices, and tapping into personalization, The Inkey List influences how people perceive the brand (for the better). But when fans engage with the brand, submit reviews, and ask questions – it only makes that brand perception way stronger. 

Remember: “A brand is not what you say it is. It is what they say it is.” 

Thanks for reading!

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