UGC and the Importance of Being Real

By Ben Miller|Content Marketing|Tue Aug 02 2016|


There seems to be a stubbornly prevailing idea that businesses must adhere to a certain set of standards when it comes to their appearance and how they interact with their customers. There is the general feeling that businesses must offer a pristine image of their products and services to potential customers. This is usually done through the use of carefully designed marketing materials and strategies that set up a very particular expectation for the customer.

You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s not an unexpected or odd tactic. I understand why it happens. Of course you want to show customers the best you have to offer! There’s a lot of competition, and you want to make sure your potential customers understand that you’re a cut above the rest. Unfortunately, sometimes this only serves to set up an unreasonable expectation that will ultimately lead your customers to feel disappointment when they see the reality of your product or service – not because it’s not a quality offering, but because they were led to expect something else altogether.

The Ice Cream Shop

Whenever I talk about this particular topic, I like to tell a story from my own experiences to help illustrate exactly what I mean. When I was in high school, I worked a part-time job for an ice cream parlor. The owner made the decision to hang huge professionally created posters depicting our various sundaes. Now, the ice cream was, as you might imagine, quite tasty and generally well-liked. Sometimes, however, one of our creations would fall flat – and it had nothing to do with the quality of the product.

I remember one night in particular when I created a sundae for a customer who was quite displeased with the finished result. She complained that it looked nothing like the poster. Well, that was true – that poster illustrated a one-time, professionally crafted product created specifically for the purposes of taking the picture. It wasn’t what a normal sundae looks like, in other words, and even though the sundae was delicious, the woman was very unhappy because it didn’t look like what she had been led to expect.

Be Real

The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t lie to your customers. It’s not about presenting the best possible picture to your customers. Instead, focus on the reality of your product. How does it help people? What exactly can they expect to receive? This is what people want to know. Don’t create an unrealistic expectation that could lead to dissatisfaction among your clients. Doing that is only creating unnecessary strife for your company – because it doesn’t matter if the product does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It doesn’t matter how tasty the ice cream is. If the client has been led to expect one thing and they receive another, they’re not going to be pleased.

Engage with Your Customers

Instead of painting an idealistic (and unrealistic) image, show your potential customers what they can expect. You can do this by using user generated content (UGC). Encourage your current and former clients to take pictures and create content for current customers to look at. They can take this into consideration when they’re making a decision – and they won’t have any unrealistic expectations about what they’ll receive because they can see exactly what other customers received and how they use the product.

Don’t fall into the trap of creating unrealistic expectations for your customers just because it seems like the traditional thing to do. It’s far more important to be real. Interact with your customers, tell them what to expect, and promote UGC that comes your way! Encourage customers to create content and use that to help convince potential customers that your brand is the best option out there.

About Us

We are a bunch of ice cream lovers based in Silicon Valley who share a passion for authenticity. ShareRoot offers a software as a service (SaaS) platform that works with brands and digital agencies to easily find and source user generated content (UGC). Our proprietary, legally secure process allows for brands to obtain the legal rights to these images as well as display them in customizable galleries that can feature on any webpage. For more information about ShareRoot’s award winning platform and why it can truly help “Harness the Visual Power of your Consumers” please visit