International Marketing: 7 Successful and Global UGC Examples
User-Generated Content (UGC) has quickly become an integral part of any successful international marketing strategy, especially with the explosion of social media.
If you're not using UGC as a global marketing tool then you're gravely missing out!
According to a study made by Cohn & Wolfe, a massive 91% of the surveyed consumers felt like one of the most important behaviors for companies to display is that they're honest about their products and services, and this is exactly what UGC does!
User-generated content, and even video testimonials, are more memorable, authentic, and influential than traditional advertising mediums due to the fact that content made by real customers builds massive trust and authenticity across all foreign markets.
User-generated content also influences purchase decisions which makes it scalable for any business or company, and it's perfect for SMEs (Small to Medium-sized Enterprises).
In this article, we will go through 7 examples of why user-generated content must be part of your international marketing efforts, with examples of how large-scale brands have done it themselves.
You'll definitely walk away with some key takeaways for your own business, so grab a coffee and enjoy the content!
What is User Generated Content?
Before we jump into the first reason why user-generated content must be part of your global marketing strategy, let's quickly define what UGC actually is.
UGC can refer to any form of online digital media where users are allowed to create and share their own unique experiences, perspectives, thoughts, or opinions about a particular brand or product.
In short, UGC is created by customers (and other people) and shared online on social media like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, blog posts, and even user forums like Reddit - the possibilities are endless!
This is what truly makes UGC a powerful global marketing strategy, as customers all around the world use social media which lets you tap into foreign markets.
But this also puts a ton of pressure on global companies to truly deliver outstanding products and services, or it will have the opposite effect and put you out of business fast.
7 Examples Why UGC is A Superior Global Marketing Strategy
| 1. User-generated content is truly authentic and memorable
UGC builds trust between brands and consumers because it's simply authentic and real, much like how customer reviews and social proof drive conversions.
You don't have to spend advertising dollars or write international marketing materials as all that's needed is content submitted by one of your own customers to showcase.
It may seem strange but people tend to believe in user-generated content more than advertisements because it's less likely to mislead or misinform in the eyes of the consumer.
Unfortunately, customers are becoming more and more "banner blind" when scrolling through social media. Pair that with the average price of ads going up each year which makes it harder to scale.
| Case Study: Worn Wear
A great example of user-generated content comes from a campaign by the outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia. They launched an Instagram account called Worn Wear where customers submit photos of their favorite Patagonia products that they've been using for years.
They now have a huge content portfolio on their website with Worn Wear Stories, solidifying their brand and target market position.
| Why it's so successful
Promotes authenticity and transparency between the brand and consumer which builds trust in such a unique way!
Builds a community of passionate customers.
Makes the brand more relatable, even in foreign markets.
| 2. User-generated content builds massive trust
User-generated content is more memorable, authentic, and influential than traditional advertising mediums due to the fact that user-created content builds massive trust.
Imagine if you had one of your own customers create an amazing video about how they used your product and how it helped them achieve their goals... this would be so effective because people are naturally drawn to stories since the caveman days.
And chances are that users are most likely part of a community with like-minded people that has similar issues.
There is a good marketing quote that rings true here:
"People buy from People first".
| Case study: Joe Fresh
Another user-generated content example is an Instagram campaign by the Canadian fashion retailer Joe Fresh.
They created a cute activewear collection for mothers and daughters, asking their audience to hashtag Joe Fresh for a chance to get featured on the main JF Instagram page.
You can check out all of the user-generated photos on Instagram, which drives more traffic back to their website too!
| Why it's so successful
Builds trust by the target audience by sharing their experience that resonates with similar global markets.
Not just a review, but real testimonials outside of the brand's domain.
People buy from people first, and UGC bridges people to products, even in foreign markets.
| 3. User-generated content influences purchase decisions
It's no secret that product reviews influence user purchase decisions, but user-generated content is even more influential than the average review online.
What makes user-created content so powerful and influential? Well, it's not just a product review, it's real testimonials... this creates more trust in potential customers who are shopping around for that perfect solution to their problem.
| Case study: Outdoor Voices
A great example of user-generated content influencing purchases comes from Outdoor Voices (an activewear company) on Instagram featuring their clients wearing OV Frostknit wear during a chilly and windy outside jogging session.
This "advertisement" features an authentic user testimonial showcasing the product in action, which is why it is so successful with comments from other people like:
"I actually never want to take this ‘fit off"
"Need to give those a go".
| Why it's so successful
Positive testimonials by other people massively influence purchase decisions.
Blows regular reviews out of the water with real use cases by people demonstrating the product and why they love it.
Social proof is what user-generated content is all about for successful global marketing.
| 4. User-generated content has a massive scale
UGC is phenomenally scalable to extend the reach of your brand to international markets by leveraging it across various social media platforms and amplifying your message through user sharing and increased engagements.
This encourages organic reach which is a much more cost-effective way to promote your content than paid advertising. In addition to this, user-generated content can also be repurposed and used in newsletters, print materials, and on your website as well.
The key to user-generated content is that it spreads organically through social media channels as it has been created by fans of the brand who are keen to share their opinions with other users.
This means that user-generated content should be the backbone of your social media marketing strategy to get it into user feeds, where they will see and engage with your brand.
| Case study: GoPro
They kickstarted their marketing by hiring professional stuntmen to film and show off extreme sports with the GoPro, which led to a massive trend of over 6000 UGC videos being uploaded to YouTube, each and every single day!
And this was made almost 8 years ago and achieved that kind of scale, imagine what is possible today.
| Why it's so successful
A marketing team at a single company is limited, but a global consumer base is almost limitless.
Customers turn into brand ambassadors with user-generated content.
| 5. User-generated content does not need an advertising budget
Creating user-generated content costs less than producing other types of marketing assets such as video ads and infographics, and can even provide a better ROI than paid social media posts.
You don't have to hire an expensive agency or freelancer for this type of work; instead, tap into the power of your existing user community by asking them for help in promoting your brand through their own channels - Facebook groups they are part of, Twitter accounts with large followings (if applicable), LinkedIn company pages etcetera. It's free promotion!
And because user-generated content comes from real people rather than companies, it has a much higher engagement rate for global marketing.
| Case study: Nike
A great user-generated content example is the interaction between Nike and its social media community.
Every year, they hold a competition for aspiring athletes to show off their training techniques on social media by posting videos of them doing workouts with specific hashtags, such as #justdoit or #PlayNew.
These campaigns generated millions of user interactions and brand impressions, and it's also very authentic because it comes from real people rather than the company itself promoting products through paid ads, generating international business for the brand.
| Why it's so successful
Free promotion, with an organic reach that doesn't cost you anything but time.
Higher engagement rate because of its authentic nature and real people behind it!
| 6. User-generated content builds a community of raving fans
UGC is a great way to engage and connect with your users and build a community in the process.
You can learn more about them and their interests, pain points, and desires, which in turn may inspire you for new product features or marketing ideas, finding an angle not explored before.
You can also ask UGC creators to help you promote your product and seek advice on how to improve it as well, which ultimately is a win-win situation.
| Case study: Old Spice
Another great example comes from Old Spice, the ones who created the insanely funny and viral videos answering real comments with targeted videos, building a community that would explode the brand to new heights.
A twist on how Old Spice uses UGC is to demonstrate its mission and vision with partnerships and letting the UGC speak on their behalf, like the video below, super neat and bound to build massive trust as well.
Their YouTube channel has over 843K subscribers to date which shows the power of cultivating a community (of course this is influenced a lot by Terry Crews as well).
| Why it's so successful
Creating a community unlocks hidden pain points, desires, and a better product-market fit.
UGC does not have to be from consumers alone, it can be an interview with influential people that speak for your target audience.
| 7. User-generated content encourages brand loyalty
User-generated content is so powerful compared to other marketing methods, it makes people feel like they are part of a community, and that builds brand loyalty in an authentic way unlike anything else!
This is also a prime time to put the customer and your audience first, engage with them, and try to solve their problems in the best possible way.
Making your audience feel like they are a part of your brand will deepen the bond, create buzz, generate impressions, and ultimately drive more conversions.
Believe it or not, word of mouth is still a thing even in the digital age, just on a much larger scale with social media.
| Case study: Samsung
One example used very effectively for influencing purchasing decisions, fostering brand loyalty, and building trust is the user-generated content that was created by customers for Samsung.
Samsung teamed up with the insanely famous K-pop group Blackpink where they danced to a slogan made by Samsung with the #danceAwesome on TikTok.
Of course, people went wild and started to mimic and make their own dancing videos with the same music, essentially generating billions of views for both Samsung and Blackpink at the same time, smart!
| Why it's so successful
The audience feels like they are part of a community, as opposed to being advertised.
There was no monetary gain for Blackpink or Samsung from this user-generated content, which makes it even more authentic.
Ideas on how to start implementing UGC in your business today
As you've seen from the examples above, each brand has had its own unique approach to incorporating UGC in its international marketing strategy. The common denominator seems to be a few things:
| Engage and motivate your customers to create UGC, and share what they create!
There are many ways to engage your customers, one way is to give them a specific product or service and ask them for an honest review about what they think of it.
Ask them to post pictures from their experience with the brand, share funny stories that happened while using the products/services, etc.
And don't forget to let people know to publish these posts on all media channels, perhaps with a specific #hasthag of your choice.
| Create a competition and let customers create UGC in return for a prize.
This is a great way to encourage your customers to create user-generated content.
You can also do this with influencers, too - ask them to enter a competition by creating content, and have the chance to win a lucrative prize.
Promote the creation of UGC on all media channels and social profiles, so that people know they are always welcome to share their own thoughts about your brand!
Just keep an eye out for any kind of negative feedback towards your business; make sure users aren't posting anything that might cause legal problems later on by perhaps regulating this with legal before the competition starts.
| Build a community of raving fans that will be your brand ambassadors.
As you know by now, UGC is a great way to build customer loyalty, and user-generated content can be extremely powerful in building brand awareness.
The main thing you need to do is create an environment that will get your customers excited about creating UGC - this could mean hosting competitions as we just mentioned, or just encouraging them by asking questions on social media posts. Think about how GoPro did it with their audience, get creative!
Some brands have even created their own platform where users are free to post user-generated content! This also gives the business more control over what kind of content they want.
Share examples of UGC you find online, and make sure to link back to the original source and give credit to the customer.
User-generated content is an important part of the user experience. It helps to create a memorable, authentic atmosphere that builds trust and can influence purchase decisions for your company's products or services.
If you want more sales without having to spend time searching for new customers in a foreign market with expensive ad campaigns, user-generated content could be what you need!
I hope that this article helped convince you about the power of UGC content and that it should play a bigger role in your international marketing strategies.