Your UGC marketing checklist


“I’m a User baby, so why don’t you Call me?!”

There is constant debate over the strengths and weaknesses of the various marketing disciplines with many experts providing equally compelling arguments for and against each. What can never be underestimated though are the importance of peer-to-peer and user-generated-content (UGC) in your marketing mix. Why? Because authenticity, trust and relevance are at their highest within these conversations. So how can we ensure we maximise the potential for UGC in our campaigns?

First of all – forget how much you think people love your brand - They don’t love your brand. You can kid yourself into thinking you have a loyal fanbase, but brand love is fickler than a new couple on #LoveIsland, and weaker than those pink wafer things your granny gave you when you visited at Christmas. Making people shout about you is to constantly reinvent, innovate or engage your audience, never take their interest for granted. Sorry, but someone had to tell you.

Second – INCENTIVE - If you’re asking people to create content or to engage on terms you’ve laid out, then what’s the potential return? It doesn’t have to be monetary or physical, sometimes the social kudos will be enough. If you are doing prize incentive then bear in mind the “propensity to win” phenomenon – the bigger the prize the more people will think “I’m never that lucky” and not enter, multitudes of smaller prizes often generate higher return due to the higher chances of coming away with something.

Third – RELEVANCE - If the ask is not ingrained in your brand personality, then don’t overreach to try make it work. Also, do not fail to consider the speed at which you’re approaching a trend. If you’re late to this party you’ve missed the cake and candles. Harlem Shake anyone?

Fourth - CALL TO ACTION - Be clear in your request. It still amazes me how badly some comms and competitions go out without a clear CTA and wonder how their KPIs are not being reached. If you want people to do something, tell them exactly how to do it. Seems simple, because it is.

Fifth – UX - Always, ALWAYS consider the consumer journey – the longer or more complicated it is and the more effort it takes, the less people will bother. Lengthen the journey – decrease the numbers. Shorten the journey - increase the numbers. Complicate the journey – kill the numbers.

Sixth – PSYCH - Understand the psychology behind why people create and share content that isn’t personal; driven by incentive, emotional response and the OTB (opportunity to brag). More on that in our previous post here but in essence – people are greedy, heightened emotions make people express themselves more, and EVERYONE is on the humblebrag boat. Yes, even you!

Seventh – CELEBRATE - Hero those who have already made an effort. The knock-on effect to their network cannot be underestimated. If somebody has taken time and interest enough to create some amazing content with a positive sentiment for your brand, then make like Rafiki, grab that little beauty and hold it aloft for all to see and worship. “One day, Simba…”

Eight – ENTERTAIN - have a personality. Make it fun. Tell a story. If you want people to create or interact you need to be engaging. Entertain people to unlock that vital retail space on their personal timelines.


We market brands and their campaigns every day of the week with the clear purpose of getting people to talk about, interact with, try and buy the products or offering. The best UGC campaign executions are always the most simple, straightforward and fun.  

Following the steps above will put you in good stead but often, taking a simple step back to ask, “would I do post this myself?” allows you to assess more clearly. If the answer is “No” then ask yourself if the personality is strong enough to ensure other people will.  

Understand your audience, make it as uncomplicated as possible and reap the rewards… and if that still fails, well, “he’s just not that into you!” 


- GC 

Gavin Coffey