How User-Generated Content will drive Barclays Bank’s #Prosper Campaign

Barclays bank which is one of the leading multinational banks in Kenya has kicked of a Pan African brand campaign dubbed prosper. The campaign aims to capture the business objective of the bank aside from enabling its customers achieve their ambitions.

Targeting people of all ages and cultures the campaign emphasizes on storytelling. By asking the question what is prosperity?, it triggers people to share with the world what the word “prosper” signifies and how they are able to prosper.

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Looking at this campaign, what stands out is that Barclays has employed the User Generated Content (UGC) tactic as part its corporate communications strategy. It’s also clear that it uses the symmetrical model developed by James Grunig (PR expert and guru).

The model best fits the online campaign as it fosters two way communication which  employs; research, listening, and dialogue to cultivate relationships with both internal and-in this case- external strategic publics more than one-way and asymmetrical communication.

The online platform that will mainly be used is Facebook -presumably because it carries the Bank’s largest community at 131,000 fans as compared to its twitter account which has 2,180 followers. This will be to the banks advantage since according to statistics, Facebook has the highest rating when it comes to how much brand sites benefit/profit from user generate UGC.

By definition UGC is published information that an unpaid contributor has provided to a website. The information might be a photo, video, blog or discussion forum post, poll response or comment made through a social media website- Definition via SearchCIO.

The advantages of using this communication tactic are discussed below.

Authentic conversations

People love positive experiences and will talk about them almost as much as they love to talk about negative experiences. Prosperity is a terminology that has a positive connotation tied to it. On this basis an opportunity is thus created where people are able to share their positive thoughts on a wider scale around the same term.

Other than this it’s crucial to also note that; people trust friends/family first, peers/strangers second, and brands last. They look to social media for recommendations, reviews and feedback from “real” people- this can be thought of as authentic conversations around a brand. Consumers trust in social and mobile is growing, but doesn’t hold a candle to the trust they put in real feedback.

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Brand Visibility

The online fans will be valuable publics who play an important role in boosting Barclays’s search engine mojo through the content they create. Statistics indicate that 25% of the world’s top 20 brands search results are as a result of UGC generated by fans of the same brands. These results reinforce your owned properties and increase your brand’s visibility on that all-important search results page. Other than this Barclays can use the final research results of the campaign- to be released in May 2014- to tell their story and consequently attract media attention.

Brand Ambassadors

By engaging fans and encouraging them to create content around the campaign, Barclays will be creating mutually beneficial and transparent relationships. This will in turn lead into them becoming social media brand ambassadors for Barclays. From a communication point of view these brand ambassadors will assist Barclays when testing communication messages as the campaign progresses and long after the campaign.

For customers still on the fringes of searching for bank services, this type of earned media will have the most influence on swaying them to join Barclays.

Indeed UGC will help Barclays understand what service its publics are looking for or the problems affecting their experience.

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