User-generated content is building brand affinity: AMA

While brand image risk still prevents some marketers from initiating Web 2.0 campaigns, many are finding that letting consumers have a say can benefit consumer perception of a company, a new study said.

Adults view campaigns that involve user-generated content as more customer-friendly, more creative and more innovative than agency advertising, according to a recently released American Marketing Association research report.

The younger demographic is, on average, more skeptical than older consumers. Respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 are more likely than those between the ages of 25 and 64 to say a company that uses customer-created advertising is less trustworthy (21 percent versus 10 percent).

Also, 20 percent of the younger crowd said companies using the tactic were less socially responsible compared with 10 percent of older adults. And 13 percent of 18 through 24 year-old respondents said marketers using user-generated content were less customer-friendly compared with 5 percent of adults aged 25 to 64.

The Chicago-based AMA released this research in conjunction with its first marketing industry event, Mplanet, which ran from Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 and addressed topics of new customer reality and brand relevancy.

The content for Mplanet, held at Walt Disney World Resorts, was developed in collaboration with McKinsey and Co., The Wharton School and Spencer Stuart.

The AMA partnered with Opinion Research Corp. to conduct the research. Between Nov. 9 and 12, Opinion Research conducted online interviews with 1,098 Internet-representative consumers 18 years of age or older in the continental United States. The sample was comprised of 527 men and 571 women.

Half of the respondents said they found a company that uses customer-created advertising is just as trustworthy (50 percent) as one that uses only professional advertising.

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