Employee Login

Enter your login information to access the intranet

Enter your credentials to access your email

Reset employee password


Leaning into the Rise of Creator-Generated Content: Utilizing a Trend Lab

July 11, 2024
By Alyssa Baxter

Just like it’s not a new concept that authenticity is imperative to generating influencer marketing results, tried and true user-generated content (UGC) also isn’t a new concept. The authenticity of real consumers sharing their actual opinions is just one benefit of having UGC as part of a complete marketing strategy, among other benefits like fostering a sense of connection and community and driving brand trust. What is new is how we can foster and accelerate UGC through a creator approach within a broader influencer strategy.

While the terms “creators” and “influencers” may be used interchangeably, there are a few key differences between the two. Creators may or may not have large followings but have a propensity to produce compelling content optimized for social media performance and typically collaborate with a brand to develop assets for the brand’s use. Influencers can impact behavior, opinions and/or purchases of a brand, product or service by promoting or recommending it to an audience they have the potential to sway, either online or offline.

These traits for creators and influencers are not confined within the boxes of their own definitions – they can work independently within a comprehensive marketing strategy but are better together. While a creator approach should not replace an influencer strategy, it’s a great addition to a brand’s complete influencer ecosystem and overall content strategy. This is especially true as the industry is demanding more efficiency in content creation that sways target audiences.

Creator-generated content comes in many forms. It is a content asset resource for use in owned and paid channels, including for brand social channels, for use in paid amplification, influencer social channels or for other marketing channels including brand websites, newsletters, etc. Here at FleishmanHillard, we use our Trend Lab to help brands maximize the impact of creator-generated content – coupling creator-generated content and social trends. With our Trend Lab methodology, we identify brand-relevant conversations along with priority audiences and communities. From there, we determine which creators are catalyzing those trends and reaching the brand’s priority audiences to maximize relevance and, ultimately, social engagement through creator-generated content.

Moving at the speed of trends is imperative to make creator-generated content most relevant and impactful. We help brands keep a pulse on internet culture in a brand-relevant way on their own social channels, keeping up with trends as quickly as they arise to drive engagement and relevance across social channels. We do this in three phases:

  • First, using our Trend Lab methodology, we identify brand-relevant trends and conversations.
  • Next, we start with the data to determine who reaches the right audience. Even when we’re playing on trends with the content direction, we still must use data to understand if a creator actually sways the right target audience. In some cases, a UGC creator with a micro reach may be proven through data to influence the target.
  • Then, we collaborate with creators on the content and work with them to develop creator-generated content for brand-owned social channels to capitalize on relevant trends and produce trend-based content quickly and nimbly.

Through it all, it’s important to operate with the best practice of ensuring the best possible value exchange for the creator, brand and audience. The goal is to develop influencer programs that use a shared value exchange between both the brand and the creator. In doing so, ensuring that the relationship is mutually beneficial and not transactional at all levels of influence, allows for more meaningful partnerships that still move as quickly as trends surface.