Weleda, a manufacturer and online seller of natural cosmetics, personal care products and alternative medicines, leveraged user-generated content (UGC) to promote “real” beauty and, more importantly, drive customer engagement during its Global Garden marketing campaign. As a beauty brand, Weleda felt it was necessary to showcase real customers to its audience — without photo editing or filtering — to build closer relationships with younger consumers.
The cosmetics company leveraged the Olapic Content Engine to identify hundreds of images marked with the hashtag and campaign keywords that aligned with Weleda’s brand identity and values. From there, Weleda was able to mine images from the approved content library to inform and improve the next iteration of its brand communication. Following a successful test phase in Germany, France and the U.S., UGC campaigns are now being rolled out in other countries.
The company presently has 1,500 images on its main site, but it has collected more than 40,000 from its followers and shoppers.
“Probably the biggest and most significant reason why UGC was so effective is because it’s credible,” said Daniel Kugler, Head of Global Brand Experience and Communication at Weleda AG in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Everyone can check or verify that, ‘Hey, this is a real person, and not just some fake account or marketing ploy.’ It feels authentic. They can go to the social profile of the person, see that they aren’t a bot or just another face in the crowd. That means something. It feels personalized in a way that other marketing does not.”
#GlobalGarden Competition Winner Shares Weleda Stories Through Blogs, Images
Under the hashtag #GlobalGarden, Weleda launched a competition in 16 countries during fall 2017, seeking out the UGC that best shared the company’s socially conscious and sustainable values. The winner, Lauren Doolan, an Australian blogger also known as Micro Adventurist, was given the opportunity to travel to 11 countries for three months in early summer 2018. She chronicled her trip with her followers through blog entries and images on the campaign’s dedicated web site, www.weledaglobalgarden.com, while the content was amplified through social media.
Doolan’s trip, and the content derived from it, was designed to share the stories and people behind Weleda, whether through meeting gardeners and growers or learning about natural plant ingredients, spa treatments, sourcing and biodiversity projects.
“There’s a lot of research out there that supports the fact that UGC resonates with consumers, more so than stock imagery or staged photography,” said Kugler. “It makes brands feel more personal, almost as if they are having a one-to-one conversation with a consumer, versus spewing marketing-speak. To add to that, we were already seeing a lot of UGC supporting our products. That was when the light bulb went off — we were essentially sitting on all of this great content that could allow us to engage with our audience in new ways, but we weren’t using it to its full potential. That’s what led us to look into a solution to not only manage the content, but a process and technology partner to manage photo rights as well.”
UGC Matters Most At The Point Of Consideration
Weleda leverages UGC mainly during the consideration phase of shopping, according to Kugler. The company has observed that campaign and product detail pages garner a lot of engagement, making these the two primary spots where the company feels the need to capture shoppers’ attention and try to convert them.
“The first [path] where a shopper is most likely to interact with UGC is when they are on the homepage and just browsing,” said Kugler. “They’ll stumble on the UGC we have in a special, curated gallery, and then they’re directed to the product detail page, where they actually shop. The second is on the product detail page. Sometimes, a consumer may be on the fence about a purchase. They’ll browse the product detail page and see real consumers talking about or supporting these products. In a way, it’s more credible than straight product reviews, and can often lead to a conversion.”