Many of us have heard the expression “working in silos”. In fact, most of us have personally experienced the decline in productivity that comes with the resulting breakdown in cross-functional collaboration. Siloed departments suffer from decreased diversity of ideas and lack of teamwork, and imperceptibly, the company’s relevance takes a hit.

There is something very similar happening in media nowadays. Due to factors like overwhelming amounts of information and increasing amounts of media/information vehicles, consumers are becoming more and more media-siloed “navel gazers*”, increasingly getting most of their content from the same few sources that they know, relate to and trust (i.e. are relevant to them), while effectively creating “relevance filters” or barriers for other content providers. The marketing implications of this phenomenon are huge as brands have to work even harder to create the most relevant and engaging content that will interrupt navel gazers, cut through the media clutter and attract their attention.

One way to get attention is by leveraging user-generated content (UGC). Leveraging UGC is very important for reaching navel-gazers, but especially Millennials, who may not be effectively reached with traditional media – or may even reject traditional media – but are more likely to notice a brand’s content if it’s within a relevant realm, such as a friend’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account. The more marketing savvy companies have already figured out how to leverage UGC to impact sales. User-generated content will occur no matter what. What companies should do is try to control it by trying to proactively initiate these conversations with consumers, better select what those conversations will be and choose which UGC to include on their sites and other communication vehicles.

For example, a company creating a contest and inviting consumers to participate by submitting content should first ensure that the contest is fun, engaging and will make the brand relevant to target consumers. Or, if a company is collecting-user generated content to post on their site, they should also ensure that that content is engaging and will ultimately have a positive impact on the brand.

So, what can your company do to best ensure relevance among consumers through UGC? At Lab42 we can help you understand what UGC could be more effective before you post it on your website. Not only can we run quick tests on user-generated pictures to select the most appealing, funny, buzz-worthy and relevant ones, but also we can test potential contest concepts to determine which one would be the most motivating to your target audience to participate and also share. This approach will help you break media silos and convey relevance to your target consumers, thus growing your company’s marketing effectiveness.

*Reference- Why retailers are struggling to reach online audiences  – Jacqueline Lisk

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