Memo to Marketers: Quantitative Evidence for Change — How User-Generated Content Really Affects Brands

George Christodoulides

Henley Business School

Colin Jevons

Monash University

Jennifer Bonhomme

Management slant

  • This is the first study to show the direct influence of UGC involvement on brand equity.
  • UGC has a direct and positive impact on customer-based brand equity, particularly when driven by congruence with a consumer's self-concept, development of a brand community, and consumer perceptions of co-creation.
  • The stronger a brand's equity, the stronger the positive effect on these drivers, so UGC and brand equity can grow symbiotically together.
  • Brand managers in digital marketing communications should incorporate this understanding of UGC in their strategic planning. UGC for the sake of it is not enough: an understanding of how it works is needed to avoid negative effects.
  • This adds further weight to the argument that a strict, top-down supervisory brand strategy should be replaced with a more participative and interactive one; brands are not controlled by their owners.