Thursday, June 13, 2013

Think you're in control of your brand? Think again.

Swiffer dancing
Ad Week today published a feature about a study by Zefr that has to make "brand managers" re-think their job security. (These people should probably start thinking of their jobs as "brand collaborators.")

"Of CoverGirl's 251 million total views on YouTube, 249 million (or 99 percent) are from fan-created videos, according to data compiled by Zefr. We see a similar trend with other leading brands: 92 percent of Oreo's views and 99 percent of Revlon's views come from fan content. Sometimes, original fan videos go viral, causing lots of other fans to create their own version of the original video. Swiffer's commercial of a woman mopping her kitchen floor and breaking out into dance inspired a trend on YouTube. More than 150 people uploaded their own rendition of the 'Swiffer dance.'"

We first thought about consumer-generated video about a brand as being a threat (as in United Breaks Guitars with 12,129,137 views). But we're now finding that some consumers are equally motivated to post video appreciations (or at least good-natured ribbing) for their favorite brands.

The world probably hasn't changed. But we can see what's going on a lot more clearly. We have YouTube evidence that, indeed, consumers do build the brand -- often more so than do the brand managers, advertisers, and PR people.

It is ironic that this Ad Week story appeared just two days after the 2013 Advertising Research Foundation Audience Measurement Conference. The conference showcased many truly impressive research methodologies and strategies for measuring and evaluating the impact of screen-based media -- but with no focus, no attention, at all, to consumer-generated screen content. What can the analysis of CoverGirl's "official" screen-based media be worth, if those messages only account for 1% of the screen exposures? All the more reason for us to give more attention and thought to analytics that combine attention to social and paid media -- without putting them together, you could easily not have a clue what's really going on out there.