How User-Generated Services are Affecting Branding

by | 22nd October 2017

Many of the world’s most successful brands don’t produce their own content.

It takes a few moments to get your head around, however this notion really says something. Take eight year old Airbnb, the well-known and much-loved homestay marketplace, and Uber, the online American-grown hail-a-cab company – neither of these multi-million dollar businesses are actually producing or offering their own services. Instead, they provide a platform for individuals with the same interests, needs and desires to connect. There is a trend developing exponentially, and now we are overwhelmed with a number of businesses that are doing the same. It appears that businesses are aiming to meet this demand; acting as the intermediary and giving the users a chance to have a voice, and offer their own services.

User-generated content isn’t just social media and blogging platforms, it’s becoming much more about user-generated services. Many of our most-favoured non-social media apps and sites are adapting this method and are not only being provided with free marketing, but are able to stay current and fresh, without the need to produce new content. For example, on-demand handyman app Bizzby allows locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, personal trainers and more to sign up and provide their services whenever people need them in London, within 60 minutes. Apart from maintaining and developing it’s user interface and experience on their site and app, Bizzby’s reputation is almost entirely managed by user’s experiences from other users. It’s clear that the nature of branding is changing, and for businesses similar to the above, brand image and reputation is increasingly being taken into the hands of our users.

As a lead generation and content agency we understand brand design as much more than just a logo or a colour scheme, 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. Therefore these user-generated services are just as risky as they are beneficial – it can take just a few bad experiences for a user to disregard you. Customers have the power to spread praise and complaint at a few taps of a button and are taking to social media to review you. The ease of online communication has built company reputations, and ruined 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 user-provided services, 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 management is not as simple as it used to be. The landscape is quickly changing, and the rise of user-generated services means branding design needs to take into account a new side of user experience, catering for it’s customers, and it’s partners who ultimately, support the infrastructure of their success.