As shocking as it may sound, most of the most successful brands making their mark today, don't actually produce their own content.
Taking eight year-old homestay marketplace Airbnb and online hail-a-cab company Uber as an example, it's clear that neither of these multi-million dollar businesses actually produce their own content or offer their own services. Instead, they provide a platform for individuals to connect. People with the same interests, needs and desires, matching them up and creating that significant connection that allows them to gain something from each-other, or, do business. It appears that an increasing number of businesses are aiming to meet this demand; acting as the middle-man and giving the users a platform to have a voice, and offer their own services.
UGC is not just blogging platforms and social media, but is becoming much more about user-generated services. A huge amount of online apps and service websites are adapting this method and meaning they are not only gaining free marketing, but are able to stay current and updated, without the need to produce new content. For example, on-demand handyman app Bizzby allows locksmiths, personal trainers, plumbers, electricians, and more to sign up and provide their services whenever people need them in London, within an hour. Apart from the need to maintain and develop the user interface and experience on their site and app, Bizzby’s reputation is almost entirely managed by user experiences, services, reviews and connections. It’s clear that the nature of branding is changing, and for businesses similar to the iones above, reputation and brand image is increasingly being taken into the hands of our users.
As a Brighton web design and branding agency we understand branding as much more than just a colour scheme or logo, but as a personality. It’s the outfit that your business wears to give the world a little piece of what it’s like, what it stands for, and what it does. These user-generated services are just as risky as they are beneficial – we all know how quickly a couple of bad reviews can affect your buying power. Customers have the power to praise and complain at a few taps of a button and are taking to social media to voice that opinion. The ease of online communication has built company reputations as easily as they have damaged them and so it’s now imperative that on-demand companies are heavily regulating and monitoring their users and partners. There is now a huge reliance on their users and their experiences, as London venture capitalist Fred Dustin mentioned about food-delivery service Deliveroo, “if some riders are unhappy, the company cares about it, because we live by our riders.”
It appears brand image management is not as simple as it used to be. The rise of user-generated services means the landscape is quickly and drastically changing, and branding now needs to take into an account a new side of user experience, catering for it’s customers, and it’s partners who ultimately, support the infrastructure of their success.