Branded user content creation tools allow users to create media within the context of a brand. Ideally, branded user content creation tools achieve two things:
1. enable users to create something that they value but are unable to create on their own, and
2. leverage a brand though engaging user-generated content.
Branded user content creation tools guarantee something of value (i.e. the tool output) in exchange for the user’s labor of, for example, submitting a photo to a branded context. This stands in contrast to many user content challenges in which user labor is reciprocated by merely the chance of winning something (i.e. submit a selfie to #brandhashtag for the chance to win a prize).
The risk of only reciprocating user labor with the chance of winning something is that users may not perceive this as a balanced proportion of labor-to-value, which may either dissuade users from participating in the first place or make them feel swindled after they participate in the content challenge. This was the case with a recent Lenovo content challenge on reddit, in which some users complained that the labor required to develop a Lenovo-themed web game was not worth merely the chance to win a prize.
Below are examples of branded user content creation tools that attempt to guarantee value (via user content enhancement and manipulation) with every use.
The Walking Dead Dead Yourself app allows users to zombify pictures of themselves, bite friends (i.e. invite friends to participate), and also submit their pictures to a public feed.
The Budweiser Paint The World Facebook tool allows users to superimpose their favorite World Cup team’s flag onto their face.
Balancing Labor Value With Participation Complexity
Although branded user content creation tools guarantee value with each use, they also increase the participation complexity of a user engaging in a content challenge because users must usually download (or learn) a new app. In contrast, user content challenges that live solely on networks like Twitter or Instagram will harness knowledge and tools that the users likely already possess.
Thus, the decision to create and use a branded user content creation tool depends on how much the tool enhances the user experience, weighed against how much it complicates the participation process.