Build Your Brand in the Digital Age: User-Generated Content and Brand Ambassadors

building your brand in the digital age

Likely you saw high velocity, adrenaline-pumping commercials for products like Red Bull and GoPro either online or in traditional media. They show people jumping out of planes, riding crazy contraptions, trying dangerous stunts, and appealing to the Evil Kneivel side of viewers. We talk about this type of marketing as experiential or hedonic experiences. Even though the companies don’t sell hedonic experiences, by associating their brand with these experiences, it makes the brand seem more exciting and interesting. Using user-generated content and brand ambassadors further builds the brand around whatever emotions and thoughts you want.

Look at the products being sold. What do they have to do with action sports and crazy stunts? Nothing, specific, although using Red Bull gives you energy you might need to participate in these extreme sports and GoPro is a great way to capture your participation in an interesting way. Hence, building your brand doesn’t work if there’s no relationship between your brand and how you advertise the brand.

Hence, Red Bull and GoPro create an atmosphere and attitude around the products they sell — linking their brand with the actions portrayed. Red Bull’s commercial message positions their brand as adventurous, dangerous, and exhilarating — not something for the faint at heart. Obviously, this doesn’t appeal to everyone but that’s not their goal. As with any brand, you want your brand to stand out from the competition and match the lifestyles, wants, and other aspects of your specific target market.

Does their brand really have anything to do with these extreme sports? No. But, they make consumers think that drinking their brand is an easy way to walk on the wild side — just a little bit.

Think about the marketing lessons learned from these brands. How can you use their example to bolster your brand?

Identity

Red Bull sells three drinks, so they don’t have a diverse product line. Regardless, they found a marketing strategy to sell an incredible number of cans ($2.89 billion for the 12 months ending in May, 2020 based on Red Bull data) and keep customers coming back. They’re the top seller in their market and account for a quarter of all sales in their market. Similarly, GoPro sells a small range of cameras and accessories and has found a strategy to keep cameras vital, relevant, and interesting.

Both companies found their brand identity and voice, which allows them to successfully market their products to their target audience rather than trying to be just another brand selling the same way to the same market.

In building their unique selling proposition (USP), they had to decide what to sell, who they wanted to sell it to, what else appeals to that audience, and how they could promote their products to make that combination uniquely different from other brands in a way that appealed to a specific audience. Both brands suddenly exploded into the marketing scene by capturing their audience’s attention and using creative marketing tactics such as user-generated content (here are some other great examples of user-generated content) and brand ambassadors.

Video

When audiences see these crazy home video stunts, they learn to associate products with them — this is really the essence of branding. Take a look at the Red Bull site. The market content focuses around sports, adrenaline-driven activities, and a younger demographic. They have a portion of their website called “Red Bull TV” with videos of professional athletes doing cool stuff, undoubtedly hoping visitors will assume these feats were accomplished with the help of Red Bull. They build their brand around rebellious young people who aren’t afraid to get a little dirty and get a little crazy, too.

Red Bull also figured out that word of mouth is one of the best ways to sell their product. In fact, word of mouth is a great way to sell any product and it’s the force that makes social media marketing successful. Hence, every brand recognizes the importance of word of mouth, but few harness its potential like Red Bull. One of their strategies is to enlist young people on college campuses across the globe as brand ambassadors who actively reach out to their friends and classmates to promote Red Bull. They create user-generated content and physical events to promote the brand and get paid for their efforts.

It’s a party drink, it’s a study buddy, it’s a wake-up call when you’re exhausted. Red Bull is a young person’s drink and young people are the best at buying it and spreading the word, what makes the tactic of using brand ambassadors work.

Go Pro is another company changing content marketing. They established their own unique perspective and are immediately identifiable. Since they sell wearable cameras, a lot of their marketing campaigns capture the unique view of the people wearing the cameras out in the world. TikToc was a boon for GoPro as a bunch of the videos on the platform used GoPro cameras to capture the videos shared, liked, and build followers for the individual user to encourage them to create content that’s valuable for the brand.

Optimize your brand

Utilize user-generated content. With the constant flow and infiltration of social media, people are constantly bombarded by advertisements. To cut through the noise, companies can use what their customers are already putting out there. By using hashtags on Twitter, Instagram pictures, and Facebook posts, people see the information from people they know rather than advertisements.

Find advocates and build brand ambassador skills. Much like Red Bull uses their Red Bull girls on college campuses, it is always a good idea to have feet on the ground spreading your brand to the masses. Finding ambassadors that already have a social media presence is a great way to create trust with potential customers, and that’s what really counts.

Conclusion

I hope you found this discussion of content marketing alternatives such as user-generated content and brand ambassadors offer valuable options for brands to position themselves to their target market.

I’d love to hear from you. Hence, whether you have questions, comments, or suggestions please enter your thoughts in the comments below.

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