It’s easy to point to the amazing User Generated Content (UGC) examples from travel providers, luxury goods manufacturers, and those who produce content or products pleasing to the eye.  

Luxury items are often held up as the golden standard for customer advocacy, but they’re far from emblematic of the wider usage of UGC.

These things all contain an inherent need to be shared. Instagram users want people to see images of them in their new Porsche, Facebook is filled with photos of legs and feet on sunny beaches, and YouTube vlogs are full of the latest make-up trends.

For brands offering these products, it’s an easy task to utilise user action and leverage the existing product interest and shares for increased reach.

But what about those who don’t offer such exciting or ‘sexy’ services? The companies and brands who deal in the comparatively mundane day-to-day products everyone uses, yet doesn’t feel the need to talk about?

This is the challenge supermarkets face. Their products are a necessary part of life, but increasing interest in their new range of pasta, the perceived need for in-store baked bread, or a current promotion on loo-roll is no easy feat.

It’s a tough problem to crack, and there’s very few positive examples of UGC campaigns which deal with the day-to-day products we all rely on.

Supermarket UGC

One of the few examples of viral user content focused on a staple foodstuff  – and hardly a positive one.

The products stores know bring customers back day after day, week after week aren’t exciting or fun. They’re not what most would consider “share worthy”, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find an aspect to leverage.

As is the case with any marketing campaign, it’s all about finding the right approach. Find a good angle, and you’ll drum up enough interest with people to encourage them to talk about your store and products.

Who Should You Target?

Every successful marketing strategy begins at the same point.

Understanding the customer.

Before you pen that latest piece of content, devise a new product feature, or launch a new ad campaign, you have to know what direction to take.

You delve into your existing audience and target market to see what it is they’re doing. Map their likes, dislikes, wants, needs, and desires before taking any action.

A UGC campaign is no different. You’ve got to understand who your target market is and how they’re interacting with the products.

According to these stats, it’s women and mothers who are the major decision makers when it comes to supermarket purchasing:

  • 75% of women identify as their household’s primary shopper
  • Women drive 70-80% of all spending decisions within the household
  • 50% of women say marketers do not understand them

The most alarming statistic of all is how 50% of women feel marketers don’t understand them. They’re being fed marketing campaigns that don’t appeal to their needs.

Rather than focusing on trying to create Brand Generated Content (BGC) that a large percentage of your target audience won’t resonate with, let them show you how to do it.

This isn’t just about getting your targeting right either. Mothers trust reviews from other users 12X more than brand generated ads.

It’s a statistic that’s long been known to supermarket executives, and led to more than one attempt at soliciting influencers, user reviews and UGC that promotes their specific brands.

Supermarket’s First Foray Into Engaging Content

Some of the first attempts at creating more engaging content kicked off with influencer led content.

Most notably was the profitable partnership between Jamie Oliver and Sainsbury’s. Along with appearing on the brand’s TV adverts, Jamie produced a number of recipes which promoted Sainsbury’s products, including one that helped the supermarket shift 9 tonnes of nutmeg alone.  

It’s a great method for showing potential customers how best to use products and instil some level of desire, but it’s still not customer led.

It depends too much on the influencer’s continued cooperation, and even then, the product is not the star of the show and neither is your brand.

The influencer is the lynchpin holding it all together.

Sure, people will head to Sainsbury’s and look for the ‘Jamie’s range of sausages’, they’ll tell their friends that the Jamie recipe is fantastic and perhaps that everything can be picked up at Sainsbury’s in one section. But the impact is finite; it begins and ends with the influencer.

Sainsbury’s, to their credit, implemented a more customer led method of creating content. Something which would focus on the product but still generate a similar feeling of desire in customers; customer created recipes.

Supermarket UGC

You can see that this recipe has been created and submitted by a real customer, and that Sainsbury’s offer the option to purchase all the relevant ingredients with a single button click.

It’s certainly more customer centric, contains the necessary social proof to build trust, and has a relevant profit driving CTA.

But once again, it’s hardly ideal.

This recipe will only show for those who are already searching for specific advice. There’s nothing to help increase the reach beyond those who search for it and, even then, that reach is limited by your placement in the SERPs.

With advances in tech, there’s plenty of solutions out there which can help you grow beyond the boundaries imposed by search engines and fickle customer actions.

And the key to that growth is in leveraging social media.

Taking It to the Next Level

Social media has become the key to many brands growing their reach and promoting new products and campaigns.

However, success depends upon finding something that is highly shareable.

A supermarket might have recently secured a new source of eggs and now no longer stock eggs from battery cage chickens. Unfortunately, an image of the battery cages they’re no longer using or a simple stock image of an egg or chicken is not exactly inspiring enough to share.

People rarely care about the core ingredients of their food. They will, however, jump at the chance to share an image of a perfectly cooked cloud egg as evidenced below.

Supermarket UGC


Sharing the end results is a great way to getting your brand’s products shared and liked by getting people excited about what they could do with the products you stock.

The Co-Op have partnered with the guys over at SORTEDfood to create a cooking course detailing a number of easy recipes to help customers get to grips with the fundamentals of cooking.

Supermarket UGC

On the face of it, it’s no different to the aforementioned Jamie Oliver and Sainsbury’s partnership, right?

Not really. Co-Op took their campaign one step further. They knew collecting UGC in conjunction with their influencer led campaign could drastically increase the reach, impact, and success other campaigns.

Supermarket UGC

Those in the course use the hashtag #NowCookIt to share their creations.

The Co-Op have leveraged these social shares in a number of ways. The first is through StoryStream’s technology which curates all of the social media mentions using the hashtag #NowCookIt and showcasing them in interactive, engaging ways.

The pulled results are displayed prominently on the Now Cook It homepage adding valuable social proof and desire elements directly on the main sign up page.

The hashtag itself leads back to that page. Users who would see a picture of a perfectly cooked cloud egg and say “I wish I could do that” now have a direct link to the course teaching them how.

A course which promotes Co-Ops products and directly contributes to their bottom line.

Focus on the Result

Rarely will a campaign featuring the low-low promotional price of basmati rice solicit shares and likes on social media.

Focus on what users do with that basmati rice though, and you will see a huge increase in the interest, impact, and reach of the campaign.

Focusing on the raw materials reminds people of the amount of work they’ll have to contribute to get it to a level they’re excited about.

However, lead with the desired result, and people will be more inclined to take action because people want delicious, cloud eggs, but aren’t necessarily hooked by the free range adverts.

If you’d like to explore how UGC can impact your brands campaigns, speak to one of our engagement experts today.

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