UGC, CGC, and UPCs – Part VI

July 17, 2007

Let’s wrap up with a few additional thoughts on how brands can leverage CGC to engage consumers

Make-a-flakeProvide toys and apps that are fun and enable creativity
Not all consumer-generated content needs to result in free-form creation. Online toys are a great way for brands to let user create “content” while entertaining themselves and their friends. Online apps like Line Rider and Make-a-flake are great examples of CGC tools – both succeed because they are simple, fast, and fun.

Apps like the Snakes on a Plane phone call from Samuel L. Jackson require little effort on the part of the consumers but pay off big time in entertainment value.

Not all CGC needs to be shared
The producer and consumer of content can sometimes be one in the same. Branded apps and games can allow users to create their very own, private creations.

Back in 2001 my team re-launched Conefactory.com for Edy’s/Dreyer’s Ice Cream. The new site allowed kids to run their very own virtual ice cream factory and create custom flavors for a fictional town. The kids had full control; from selecting ingredients, to naming flavors, to setting prices. A fancy algorithm on the backend determined flavor favorability from the community each day and rewarded our junior CEOs with ConeCash.

Conefactory main viewConefactory ingredients viewConefactory consumer feedback

Jones SodaTap skilled amateurs and semi-pros
As we discussed in an earlier post, skilled amateurs and semi-pros rarely create content just for their love of a brand. But that’s okay. Enlisting semi-pros has virtually no downside so long as the brand is transparent about who is actually creating the content. Also, costs are much lower and the creative can sometimes be better than an agency can produce because semi-pros don’t have to run through bureaucratic minefields. For the marketer, it’s a take it or leave it proposition.

Consumer Generated Products
Consumer generated content is a natural segue to consumer generated produces. Snakes on a Plane (the motion picture) enlisted the public to play co-producer/director/writer and Jones Soda allows it’s consumers to create/name flavors and even design their own labels. Note, the vote for your favorite flavor/color contests don’t really qualify as CGP.

Did I miss something? If I did please feel free to post your ideas on how brand marketers should be using CGC.


  1. I just read the whole UGC series and I believe you did an excellent job. I have been looking for a comprehensive description of the subject and koolaidantidote is the first place I found one.

    Since I come from the Web Analytics community, my only question is: what do you believe should be measured when it comes to UGC? I mean, what parameters show success in UGC campaigns or in UGC site sections?

    Thanks for the series!

  2. I’m not sure anyone can define a specific set of metrics for measuring UGC/CGC campaigns because there are so many variables. In the end your metrics should be based on your business objectives.

    Most marketers will be interested in 3 things:
    – consumer participation – how many producers and how often/much content is being produced?
    – content consumption and buzz metrics – are consumers actually interesting in the content and are they commenting on it or sharing?
    – direct metrics – anything that can be mapped to a sale, or at least incremental lift during the campaign period.

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