Telling Compelling, Relevant Stories Through User-Generated Content

By Jonathan Skogmo, Founder and CEO, Jukin Media

Consumers relate to content that reflects the world around them. In times like these, when the global pandemic is affecting every aspect of people's lives - the way we work, eat, communicate, socialize - it's important that brands' storytelling efforts don't ignore the new reality that consumers are living in.

That reality is scary, but it's also remarkably uplifting. If shared experiences are something that can bond us, then we're currently experiencing a moment like none other in recent history. There's a sense that, in many ways, we're all in this together.

We see it in the universal admiration for our hospital and medical workers, in the heartwarming birthday celebrations that take place at a safe distance, and we see it in the goofy cabin fever hijinx taking place in quarantined homes worldwide.

The challenge for brands is accurately capturing the moment, while doing justice to the gravity of the situation. Fortunately, millions of people are capturing and sharing their everyday moments with the world, and brands can leverage those moments to tell authentic stories.

User-generated content has been embraced by forward-thinking brands for years for its authenticity and ability to engage viewers. As the current circumstances are showing, videos captured by everyday people are instantly relevant, and have the ability to relate to viewers like no other content.

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As the coronavirus situation has unfolded, there’s been a sharp increase in brands looking for videos that relate to the current circumstances. While these trends change daily, as of today, we’ve seen the following:

  • Uplifting Moments: Heartwarming videos - those that demonstrate gratitude for first responders and medical professionals, or celebrations (weddings, birthdays) observed at a safe social distance - help offer a respite from the daily torrent of hard news.
  • Challenges: People trying to entertain themselves, friends and family through challenges, such as the toilet paper challenge, where folks juggle a toilet paper roll like a soccer ball.
  • Pets: Pet videos are always popular, but now those videos are exploring a new dynamic. Whether owners and pets working out together at home, such as joint sit-ups, push-ups, or even yoga, or people coming up with fun ways to spend new-found extra time with their furry friends.
  • Role Reversal: The ironic role-reversal where younger generations (millennials and gen Z) are ordering their parents to stay home.

While responsible social distancing makes it immensely challenging for creative professionals to go out on production shoots, UGC footage has the added benefit of allowing producers to create great ads without ever picking up a camera or needing to leave the home. Not to mention, it’s an easy way to create relevant content.

As we adapt to the current environment and game plans change, it’s important to use all of the tools at your disposal, keep with the trends, and make sure the consumer’s new reality is reflected in your work.