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Study Outlines Role of User Generated Content to Build Brand Trust and Resonance

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas, December 16, 2014 – Bazaarvoice, Inc. (Nasdaq: BV), the network connecting brands and retailers to the authentic voices of consumers wherever they shop, today released a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Bazaarvoice titled “User-Generated Content’s Impact On Brand Building.” Based on a survey conducted between June and August 2014 of advertisers, agencies, and analytics professionals in the U.S. and Europe, the study evaluates the benefits of leveraging user-generated content (UGC) like Q&A, rich media, photos and videos, and ratings and reviews to increase brand affinity.

Based on interviews of marketing decision-makers in the consumer packaged goods (CPG), consumer electronics, and automotive industries, Forrester’s study found that UGC:

  • Is primarily used as a new product launch tool: UGC has become a critical tool in the new product launch toolbox for consumer marketers who are focused on securing ratings and reviews to influence the discovery, explore, and buy phases of the customer life cycle.
  • Is a rising but immature marketing discipline: Marketers must solicit authentic content that is generated from consumers’ genuine love of the brand, as well as institute a disciplined approach to deliver brand-building benefits.
  • Offers brand-building potential: Consumers trust content from their peers more than any other form of marketing communication. Harnessing UGC’s storytelling power can help build brand trust and ultimately a deeper, emotional connection to the brand.

“Word of mouth has been critical to our success and, at the outset, consumer ratings and reviews provided a stronger validation of our products than anything we could have produced as marketers,” said Sara Kenton, director of eCommerce and Online Marketing at YETI Coolers. “The addition of social content curation provides us with photos and videos that make an aspirational connection between the features of our products and the lifestyle that is so important to our customers. By offering a storytelling platform for our passionate consumer, we’re constantly sharing impactful, authentic stories that justify the investment in our products.”

With the growing wealth of peer-to-peer information that give shoppers access to a rich sense of what it’s like to own a product they’re considering, marketers intuitively know that UGC is a key influencer throughout the customer life cycle—from discovery through purchase and engagement. People now connect with brands across a multitude of touchpoints and, just as consumers rely on the voice of other customers to inform their purchase decisions, marketers use UGC to unlock a wealth of insights into how customers use and respond to products. However, Forrester found that many businesses miss an opportunity to highlight UGC—and the endorsements of their customers—and also lack appropriate measurement tools and processes to prove UGC’s impact.

To help businesses realize the potential of UGC, Forrester provides a number of recommendations for marketers to leverage UGC as a mature brand-building discipline, notably:

  • Collect data to build up internal benchmarks. Capture as much data as possible to identify patterns in how UGC affects the business; share this information throughout the organization and build internal benchmarks to measure UGC and set expectations for future programs.
  • Incorporate UGC into other marketing communications. Harness the power of UGC by incorporating ratings, reviews, or other social content into point-of-sale materials and online or mobile ads.
  • Turn insights into action. UGC contains insights regarding what customers respond to and how they use your products; use them to fuel new product innovation, operational improvements, or stronger messaging. Use A/B testing to identify what type of content resonates most with your customers, and then feed those insights into ongoing and future message refinement.

“Above all, we believe Forrester’s study showcases that UGC impacts business measures that are far more lasting than sales conversion; it is a key element in brand trust and loyalty,” said Amy Hayes, vice president of Global Brand at Bazaarvoice. “Even before the advent of social networking, businesses captured attention, built their brands, and remained relevant and interesting through the voice of their customers. Today, leading marketers recognize that leveraging UGC throughout the customer life cycle—online and offline—draws people closer to the brand, motivates them to forge deeper relationships, and reinforces the company’s identity with its target audience. ”

About Bazaarvoice

Bazaarvoice is a network that connects brands and retailers to the authentic voices of people where they shop. Each month, more than 500 million people view and share authentic opinions, questions, and experiences about tens of millions of products in the Bazaarvoice network. The company’s technology platform amplifies these voices into the places that influence purchase decisions. Network analytics help marketers and advertisers provide more engaging experiences that drive brand awareness, considerations, sales and loyalty. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Bazaarvoice has offices across North American, Europe and Asia-Pacific. For more information, visit http://www.bazaarvoice.com, read the blog at www.bazaarvoice.com/blog, and follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bazaarvoice.

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