Have you ever been on the receiving end of a sales call or meeting, with the salesperson going on and on about how incredible their business/product/service is? Did you find yourself thinking:
“Not another one! Of course, you think your business is great. So do all salespeople”.
You aren’t alone. In fact, in more recent years, there has been a growing mistrust in businesses hyping themselves up. That is why we’ve seen such a rapid rise in marketing methods such as influencer marketing, with third party reviewers providing a more trusted opinion on a business’s offering.
When we think ‘influencer’, we may think of online gamers with thousands of YouTube/Twitch followers or the young, rich in-crowd on Instagram. But fundamentally, an influencer is someone with a degree of influence over others. When it comes to business, this can be anyone from a customer, supplier, or partner. At Small Films, we regularly deliver customer testimonial videos for our clients, helping them engage with new clients.
There is something to be said about the level of influence that can be leveraged through video testimonials for your business. This is especially true when they include clients who are respected in their field.
These respected individuals can be more powerful than the big social media influencers. In these cases, potential customers will often be aware of their expertise and respect their opinion – creating an environment of genuine trust.
Clients rarely have a reason to give a video testimonial beyond a genuine delight with your service or product. Therefore, customer testimonial videos offer a level of authenticity that is otherwise difficult to find elsewhere in marketing.
Using key clients in testimonials will also often offer points of view that you may not have otherwise considered. For example, most businesses have their ‘go-to benefits’ of why customers should choose them. These often don’t cover the softer elements that many customers find so valuable, such as good communication, flexibility or compassion. Testimonial video productionhelps businesses highlight their personality as well as their capabilities.
Customer testimonials videos are highly engaging content
Let’s put the benefits of having your customers sing your praises aside for a moment and focus on the vehicle – video. After all, there are a few ways a customer could provide a testimonial…so why is video so powerful?
“Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.” WordStream
The keyword here is ‘engagement’. Keeping anyone’s attention for more than a moment can be easier said than done in a world where there is such a vast amount of content online. However, video provokes and captures the senses in a way that no other form of media does. Video testimonials allow your customers to expressively and concisely tell the story of why they chose to work with your business.
Video also allows businesses to distribute valuable testimonials across various platforms. Including websites, social media feeds, social media stories, emails, direct messages and can even be included in sales decks to add authenticity to presentations.
Customer testimonial videos are a fantastic way to grab your current and potential customers attention. This powerful type of marketing offers a level of authenticity and engagement which is otherwise hard to portray to new and potential clients.
Video is dominating the digital marketing space at the moment and the statistics speak for themselves. According to Google nearly 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store and video ads have an average click-through rate of 1.84% – the highest of all digital ad formats. (Business Insider). But what’s the best way to drive sales for your business with video?
When it come to sales, Google describes the consumer marketing journey in its own framework “See, Think, Do”. In short, these are the 3 phases a customer goes through before buying your product. First, it is awareness of your product or service. Next, they signal an intention to buy and finally, they buy.
Whether you are a B2C brand selling a consumer product or a B2B business selling a service, you need to create a funnel of interest and leads at the start of your consumer’s journey and then guide them through these 3 steps before asking for a sale. The best way to do this is with either an online advertising campaign, an email marketing campaign or a mix of both.
Run some general awareness video adverts on either Google, Youtube or Social Media. This is for the people that don’t know you and haven’t even heard of you. Get them familiar with your business through targeted video adverts. Identify your audience first, decide where the best place is to reach them, then create adverts that softly introduce you to them. Don’t try to strong-arm them with a sale at this point. Brands that use video marketing grow their year-over-year revenue 49% faster than brands that don’t. (Wirebuzz)
Often, your ideal customer doesn’t know they have a problem that you can solve so begin to educate them. Let them know about the value of your product and why it is a good fit for them. In their buyer journey, when they are in Google’s “Think” phase, they will be seeking out information before making a decision so this is a great time to educate them. In fact, searches related to “how to” on YouTube have grown 70% year on year. (Google) Either send videos to your prospects via email (if you’ve captured their information) or re-market to them via Google or Facebook pixel. As I’ve talked about in a previous blog, think about creating videos that focus on the problem rather than the product. For example, if long distance runner is having a problem with blisters and your product solves that, then create content that unpacks “why” blisters happen in the first place, then how your product helps.
Buyers love a deal so run a promotion and deliver the promotion in a video. Run these videos as either 15 second adverts to the same audience you have raised awareness with, re-market to your existing audience or email them directly. Remember to have a finite time-frame on your offer and a definitive cut off point. The video should have a very strong call-to-action so prospects know how to redeem the offer. And remember to keep your videos nice and short. Nearly two-thirds of consumers prefer video under 60 seconds. (Insivia)
A recent survey by (Buffer) found that 73% of marketers said they’d create more video content if there were no obstacles like time, resources, and budget. But always consider that if you create a well-structured video marketing campaign just once, it’s much easier to then replicate it. It will be worth the time, resources and budget you may waste on less effective strategies.
If you want to talk to us about how to drive sales for your business using video then drop us a line at email@example.com
The word branded content gets banded around quite frequently but what does it actually mean? How does it specifically apply to video? And how can I use it to win more customers?
Wikipedia (always to be taken with a pinch of salt) defines Branded Content as “the practice of marketing via the creation of content that is funded or outright produced by an advertiser” as opposed to “content marketing” which “is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online.” Surely then that’s different to advertising which Wiki describes as “Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea”?
Confused? You are not alone. I’ve sat through many talks with industry leaders who often find it hard to put their finger on the true definition of “branded content”. The lines between advertising and content marketing are often blurred, but one truth remains; branded content offers value to the audience but serves the brand that created it.
If you are interested in what counts as branded content and how to define it then here’s a series of examples from the Haagen Dazs Youtube Channel…
This is their advert. No two ways about it. They are showing the product and pushing their agenda.
But then look at these three videos and their different forms of branded content.
This film was made by well-known filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. It’s a mini documentary that is sponsored by Haagen Dazs. So its branded content right? Seems simple enough.
And what about this video? It tells the story of the Jam Stand company. Seems like a classic bit of content marketing; an interesting story about these entrepreneurs, with a bit of product placement toward the end.
But then it gets slightly confusing. This video is an amazing 360 VR experience looking at the plight of the honey bee. Its a great bit of content that adds value for people watching. But it was commissioned by Haagen Dazs to shout about the social purpose work they are doing so it’s strongly pushing their agenda. So is it branded content or a clever bit of advertising?
Ultimately semantics aside, there’s one thing that unites all three pieces of branded content; they all put the “Audience-First” by offering value to the audience rather than being just a straight-up advert. And when you are creating video, this part is critical if you want to generate more interest in your company, greater customer allegiance and sales.
So how do I create branded content for my business?
Its actually quite simple to create your own branded content. It just takes a bit of planning and a strong understanding of your target audience.
Think about your customer demographics and what interests them. Then start to build a content plan around that. Remember, you are putting your “audience first”, not your company agenda. So all the videos need to be informative, educational, interesting or entertaining. Don’t push the company agenda too heavily. Give your audience something first and then be grateful when they give you their allegiance.
For example, if you are a tech company that’s developed a new app to help people find car parking spots then what content would your customers find useful? A video guide to all the different ways you can pay for parking? Videos with insider tips on parking in major UK cities? You can even start to look at concepts that are less directly aligned with your company’s purpose like “DAB Radio Stations reviews”, “How to avoid road rage” and “Cheap fuelling spots in the UK”.
If your company has a social purpose or passion that you are aligned with, then explore creating content around that. So if your Parking App company also campaigns for the promotion of electric cars or you back an environmental charity then why not start a web series interviewing interesting people about those subjects?
Back when I worked in the TV industry in the development department, we’d cook up ideas for television series in a brainstorming meeting. Once we’d considered the TV channel we were pitching to and its tone of voice, as well as the viewer demographic we were appealing to, we’d come up with ideas that we thought they might like. We’d then plan out every episode of the series with post-its on a whiteboard until we had a well-formed plan to pitch to the commissioners at the TV channel.
The same plan of action should be taken when creating a branded content plan. Think of your Youtube channel as your own TV channel and you need to create different TV series to populate that channel. How frequently do you want episodes to show? Once a week? 2 per month? And how many months will the series last before you assess its success?
Why bother when I can just run paid adverts?
The online landscape is saturated with advertising. We are bombarded with it day in, day out. People are becoming desensitised to advertising and we’re learning to tune it out. Not to say that online adverts don’t have their place; they absolutely do. They are great for brand awareness, direct calls to action and can even go viral in their own right. But if you want to cut through the noise and engage your customers on a more meaningful level then you need to be creating your own branded content video plan.
I truly believe that brands can be the driving force behind meaningful video content that adds value to people’s lives. And the good news is you don’t have to be a multi-national conglomerate to do it. In fact, for startups and SMEs, branded content can be one of the most affordable and effective ways of generating new business. So what are you waiting for?
If you want to talk to us about how to create branded content for your business then drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are an SME and haven’t heard of the term ambush marketing, then you may be missing a trick. It’s a high impact, cost effective way for brands to hog the limelight and is frequently being used by the likes of Pepsi, Burger King and Nike to generate huge sales. And the good news is that you don’t have to be a big brand to use ambush marketing. It works for emerging brands too. So, what is ambush marketing and why is it so effective?
Imagine you want to hold a street party but can’t afford it. Then you find out your neighbor is hosting his own street party with a band and an expensive sound system. So you invite all your friends over and pass the party off as your own. Before you know it, your neighbour’s guests have even ended up at your house. You’ve got the street party you always wanted and didn’t have to pay a thing. #partyambush.
Now imagine you are Coco Cola and you’ve paid a fortune to sponsor the World Cup. But then Pepsi, who hasn’t paid a penny in sponsorship, decides to rebrand all their drinks cans with pictures of the England World Cup team. They win sales from Coke without the hefty price tag of official sponsorship. Catch my drift?
The most common form of ambush marketing takes place surrounding key sporting events where brands would ordinarily have to pay for sponsorship like the World Cup, Wimbledon or the Olympics. But it can also be used for other key calendar events like Movie Releases, Royal Birthdays, Festivals OR to hijack big marketing announcements from other brands like Apple or Tesla. And that marketing can manifest in print, TV, digital, radio or a brand’s packaging.
So how can emerging brands use ambush marketing effectively? And what about video – how can you use it to amplify an ambush marketing campaign?
1. Be Direct
In this game you need to be proactive and keep a beady eye on your annual calendar. There are many events that pop up throughout the year which you could create some awesome content to generate buzz. Form connections through imagery, colour and slogans whether that’s Union Jacks for a Royal Wedding, rainbows for London Pride or in the case of Blue Kitchen restaurant this year – create a social media video.
During the world cup they create this video which referenced Maradona’s famous “Hands of God”. So even thought Blues Kitchen has no official connection to the present world cup they formed a strong association that would have resonated with their audience.
Your ambush doesn’t just have to be inline with a specific event – it can stem from anything that is current or trending. You need look no further than social media for the latest meme or hot topic. Do you remember when fidget spinners first came into town and how everybody went crazy for them? Well Burger King took that trend in their stride and produced this awesome Gif…
As an emerging brand this is exactly the type of trend that could you easily to create some content around.
2. Be Fearless
To make an omelet you have to break a few eggs. So to stay ahead of your competition, you’ll have to risk putting a few noses out of joint with your ambush marketing. Look at what your competitors are doing or any bigger brands that you could ambush and then form a marketing campaign around their events. For example, in 2012, Nike piggybacked off London Olympic fervor with their own TV campaign called “Find your Greatness” despite the fact that Adidas were the official sponsor, not Nike.
And an example of an emerging brand jumping on a big brand’s bandwagon is Mous – they timed the release of their indestructible phone case with the arrival of the Iphone X. They even ambushed the long queue outside the Apple store and filmed some video content with the hopeful Iphone owners putting their indestructible case through its paces.
3. Be Predatory
Look for opportunities to have a dig at your competition. Here’s another example from Burger King where they hijacked the cinema release of the Clown horror film “IT” and used it to poke fun at their main competitor McDonalds with the slogan “Never Trust a Clown”. They created this piece of video content to promote the campaign.
And Android released this advert for their Smart watches just before the release of the Apple Watch, making the point that as an Android smart watch owner they have different styles so you can still be individual but with Apple, you only get one choice.
As an emerging brand there are so many opportunities lying in wait for you to do your own ambush marketing campaign, whether that’s piggybacking off a major event, jumping on a new trend that’s doing the rounds on social media or having a dig at some of your bigger competitors with a counterintuitive video campaign. Just look at the calendar and for anything you can take advantage of, then start your scheming! Be the predator, not the prey.
According to a recent study by Forrester Research, 1.8 million words of text is worth 1 minute of video in terms of impact. Whether such a comparison is really accurately quantifiable, it’s clear that video is rapidly overtaking text as the most dominant form of digital content.
In a fast-moving world of Social Media, changing technologies and ever more selective consumers, it’s the attention-grabbing, story-telling and engaging qualities of video that make it the most effective and shareable way for brands to communicate with their audiences. Indeed, by 2021 it’s predicted that a staggering 80% of global consumer internet traffic will be video.
Social Media has changed the way we consume video content
There are no two ways about it then – consumers love video and businesses are quickly having to adapt by making video a central part of their digital marketing strategies. So far, so straightforward. But it’s not quite as simple as commissioning a video, sticking it on your website and sharing a few links across Social Media.
The evolving digital landscape is creating more and more ways for audiences to consume video content and an increasing number and variety of Social Media platforms are at the forefront of this. Each Social Media platform has its own audience, character, features and functions, not to mention technical restrictions and conventions about hosting video. Audiences have different expectations and consume video differently according to each platform. Forward-thinking brands can take advantage of this by considering these Social Media nuances when planning their video distribution strategies. You can stay one step ahead of the competition by carefully adapting your video content to have the maximum impact on each Social Media platform.
To help you get started, here are our top tips on how to use video content across the most popular Social Media networks:
Using video to get brand engagement on Facebook is more important than ever. Facebook generates more than 8 billion video views per day (source Bloomberg) and views of branded video content have increased 258% since 2016 (Tubular Insights). Square video gets 275% more views and 482% more shares than regular.
Facebook is primarily a personal network of family and friends. Of course, businesses make great use of it for marketing purposes but consumers are largely using it in an informal way. It’s great for B2C and any video content you post should be friendly, entertaining and sit well in users’ feeds alongside casual updates from friends. Don’t post anything corporate or specialist and keep the tone light.
Square video is outperforming regular video in terms of engagement, perhaps due to the increase in internet usage on Mobile phones.
Facebook videos autoplay and the majority of people watch without sound – make sure your video is captivating in the first few seconds to stop users scrolling on by – and don’t forget to add captions or text overlay and an attention-grabbing thumbnail and title.
Videos under 2 minutes long perform best.
Upload your video natively (rather than posting links to other video platforms) because the Facebook algorithm rewards native video.
Facebook’s algorithm also rewards live video as it is the most engaging type, and what’s more when brands post live video, it also seems to increase the reach of their non-live video content. Facebook live videos are viewed for 3 times longer than uploaded recorded video and get 10 times as much engagement. Live videos should be longer than recorded videos (but less than 15 minutes).
Reach a highly targeted market with engaging video advertising on Facebook. Video ads receive 10 to 30% more views than other image ads (although often with a higher CPC).
Twitter is the channel for short, fleeting updates and therefore hasn’t emphasised video as much as some of the other social media channels. However, 82% of Twitter users say they watch video content on the platform (Bloomberg). Twitter reports that Tweets with video are 6 times as likely to be retweeted as Tweets with static images, and 70% of US marketers said they were confident they could drive sales through Twitter video advertising (www.emarketer.com)
Twitter is great for business networking and connecting with influencers and customers. The tone should be more professional than Facebook, but avoid overly spammy or salesy content. You can be more businesslike in what you post, but be conversational too as ‘real-time’ interactions are common.
Twitter supports MP4 or MOV format video and you can post landscape, square or vertical videos. Square and vertical perform best because 93% of Twitter video views are on Mobile devices (Adweek). Films can be no longer than 2 minutes 20 seconds. Between 30 and 45 seconds is the optimum length however so the platform is ideal for posting teaser clips to longer format video content on YouTube or your website.
Live video marries really well with the real-time immediacy of the Twitter platform and posting live video via Periscope is a great way to promote business events, conferences, product launches etc.
Video advertising now accounts for over 50% of Twitter’s revenue and video website cards or video app cards can drive viewers directly to your website.
While primarily a photo sharing platform, the amount of time users spend watching video on Instagram has increased 80% year on year since video feature was launched in 2013 (Instagram). The main demographic is 18-29 years old (59% of this age-group uses the platform) and video advertising gets 3 times as many comments as photo advertising. 35% of Instagram users are creating and viewing video via Instagram stories (Mediakix).
Instagram is a friendly and informal platform used predominantly by the Millennial and Generation Z demographic.Its visual nature encourages active engagement and Instagram posts get the highest brand engagement of any Social Media platform (Invespcro). It is a really useful platform therefore for informal visual storytelling, communicating brand culture and identity, and for creating an emotionally engaged brand community. It is also very effective for showcasing products and online shopping for retail brands.
Instagram video must be less than 60 seconds in length. Use vertical video in Instagram stories, and landscape for timeline video. An Instagram story video can only be 15 seconds in length, but you can add as many stories as you like, or make a longer story by posting multiple 15 second chunks sequentially.
Live video on Instagram can be up to an hour long and is available for your audience to watch (in full) in the stories and live section at the top of the screen. Live lends itself to seasonal stories and events or time limited promotions. It can also be a great way to increase engagement with your audience by means of live Q&As and chat.
As we discovered earlier, video advertising on Instagram generates 3 times as many comments as photo advertising. As well as standard video ads between 3 and 60 seconds long including room for 2,200 characters of text, brands can now use carousel video ads by adding up to 5 videos to one ad, along with up to 2,200 characters of text.
Instagram has recently launched Instagram TV, a long form video app that’s also available within Instagram. Videos on the app will be vertical in format and can be up to an hour long, suggesting that Instagram is vying for YouTube style content.
75% of business executives said that they watch work-related video weekly (Cisco Systems) making professional networking platform Linkedin ideal for hosting business videos. 38% of marketers use video on Linkedin and 55% of business owners said they would continue or start to share video on Linkedin in 2018. Linkedin users are also 20 times more likely to share a video than any other type of post (Linkedin). 61 million Linkedin users are senior level influencers and decision makers and Linkedin is the top channel for distributing content for 94% of B2B marketers.
As a professional networking, B2B and recruitment platform, Linkedin suits a corporate and formal tone and is the place to demonstrate industry expertise and personal thought-leadership to your audience. 50% of US internet users with a college degree use Linkedin so your content should be value-adding and informative. Video can be used professionally to showcase projects, conduct interviews, show case-studies and post how to’s and demonstrations.
Linkedin enabled a native video function recently and it now allows members (not businesses as yet except via advertising) to upload videos natively between 3 seconds and 10 minutes long from the app or web in either vertical or horizontal formats. Vertical videos will be cropped to square and videos will autoplay silently in the feed. The platform has also recently added sticker and text options for video. Native video will rank higher in searches than video links to other platforms. Although you can’t livestream, you can post a video as soon as you have recorded it and you can also share it to your company page.
Linkedin has recently rolled out business video advertising in the form of Video for Sponsored Content and Company pages. Businesses can now pay to showcase their companies with video on their company pages and can sponsor highly targeted B2B video content that will autoplay in audience feeds.
The daddy of video hosting platforms, YouTube has a staggering 149 million viewers per month. (Statista). More than 1 billion hours of video are watched daily and more than 50% of YouTube video views come from Mobile devices (YouTube). YouTube also reaches more 18-49 years olds than any broadcast or cable TV network, and whilst time spent on YouTube by this demographic has increased by 74%, TV watching has decreased by 4%.
Although a lot of YouTube content is perceived as being entertainment based, it’s very much worth businesses having their own YouTube channels to raise awareness and build brand identity and engagement. Google has a strong bias towards YouTube videos in searches (as opposed to videos hosted on websites or other platforms) (Stone Temple) and 70% of people say they watch YouTube videos to ‘solve a problem’ and 86%, to ‘learn new things’. YouTube is therefore a brilliant tool for brands to use to explain how their products and services work and to educate and inform on industry issues.
As a video hosting platform rather than a Social Media platform, you can upload all sorts of format and length videos to YouTube as long as they don’t exceed 20GB. However, ComScore reported that the average YouTube video length is 4.4 minutes, and Wistia research has shown that while you will keep 60% of viewers watching to the end of a 4 minute video, you will retain 75% of viewers of a 1-2 minute video. Shorter still seems to be sweeter on YouTube. 95% of YouTube video ads are audible (Google) – both vision and sound are important on this platform.
Live streaming is possible on YouTube (and now also from your desktop) if your ‘account is in good standing’ and is verified.It’s a useful feature for vloggers to share live updates and for businesses to share live video of events/launches etc.
YouTube accounts for a quarter of digital ad spend in the US. There are three video advertising options, the most popular being the 6 second bumper ads which appear before, during or after other videos and cannot be skipped. YouTube say that ’70% of bumper ads drive a significant lift in brand awareness.’ The second type of advertising is TrueView which is adverting that plays before, during and after videos, but which can be skipped after 5 seconds. The advertiser is only charged if a viewer watches for 30 seconds or engages with the video. Discovery ads appear when a viewer is browsing content on the web or YouTube and can be any length. The advertiser is charged when a viewer clicks on the ad.
And a final word for Snapchat. Although the least used Social Media platform for video marketing, Snapchat’s popularity amongst the under 24’s should not be underestimated. For businesses targeting this demographic, they can make use of Snapchat stories to post 10 second temporary stories, and can take advantage of Snap Ads to get their video advertising content placed in users feeds.
If you would like help with producing video for different social media platforms, contact us here.
Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign.
Regardless of the type of client, industry or budget, we see the same pattern of mistakes emerging when brands decide to commission a video.
Going with the cheapest quote.
When it comes to commissioning branded video content for your business, the landscape for finding a video production specialist is a minefield, littered with all kinds of video production providers; from marketing agencies to video production companies and freelance videographers.
When navigating your path to the right video producer, there is often a temptation to go for the cheapest solution. In fact, your mate Dave is pretty handy with his Canon DSLR and filmed your sister’s wedding last year. And Sam from Accounts has a brother who’s graduated from film school and set himself up as a videographer. He’s willing to create your video for free. But before you go down the tempting route of finding someone cheap, consider this; what is the true cost of working with an inexperienced video producer?
Before we answer that question, let me ask another one… If you’d bought a plot of land and were about to build your family’s dream home who would you hire? Would it be a professional architect with a solid reputation, proven track record, references and access to the best builders, carpenters and plumbers? Or would you hire your next door neighbour’s son who’s pretty handy with a hammer and did their loft conversion last year?
When you hire an inexperienced videographer with no track record, you might save yourself some money on paper, but you’ll end up paying the price 10 fold in the long run. There is the chance that you’ll get lucky as there are some amazingly talented freelancers out there, but it’s a gamble you should be willing to risk losing. Inexperience can result in a whole host of problems from being given a poor quality video that can cause brand damage to a lack of professionalism, leading to unreliable service and unexpected costs.
But beyond those issues, the biggest problem our clients have reported from hiring inexperienced videographers is the time strain and stress caused by them having to micromanage the project. As soon as the cracks start to appear in a video production, you will be sucked into trying to problem solve and sort out the mistakes.
Thinking of the video company as “technicians” and driving the creative from in-house.
There’s often a perception that videography is like photography – you need a photographer for a shoot, you just hire them to take photos. So surely a videographer is the same? But in reality the two are very, very different.
When you need product photos, portraits, fashion images or pictures of an event, you hire a photographer for the day on a flat rate with a potential cost for processing. But the minute you decide to create video of the same things, it becomes more complicated. And here’s why…
A photographer can rely on a simple moment in time, captured in a single image that tells a story. But for a videographer, that story has to be told through a series of video clips. And for a proper story to be told through video, the videographer needs to plan the shoot before hand and build a narrative. Unlike a photographer, the videographer also has to record sound from the environment they are filming in and then potentially add more sound to their video in terms of music or sound effects.
All this means that the video they create needs to be edited and that takes far longer than it takes to film. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For any production that’s more complicated, the videographer cannot work alone. Other players will need to be enlisted from producers, directors and script-writers to sound operators, lighting technicians, editors and motion graphics specialists.
Sometimes, brands and agencies believe that they can cook up an idea for a video in the same way they might plan a photo shoot, then hire a videographer to come and film the concept they’ve created. They are then surprised when at best it doesn’t turn out the way they expected and at worst is a complete shambles. Video production is more than just the videographer shooting the footage, it’s a team effort from the producers in pre-production using their expertise to create the best concepts and storyboards through to the specialist post-production team who add the bells and whistles to the finished product.
Not having a clear budget.
The most common experience we have when speaking to prospects is that they won’t be transparent about budget. Sometimes they say they don’t know what their budget is, other times they are just evasive and want to find out how we charge and what our “rates” are. Unfortunately, whilst this may seem like a chicken and egg exercise, it actually isn’t. Without a basic steer on budget, any production company worth their salt cannot provide a realistic quote.
Think of the person offering the quote as the project manager of a house build. If you put that individual on a patch of land and say “I want to build a house here and I want it to have 5 rooms – how much will it cost?”, there is absolutely no conceivable way that the project manager can offer you a realistic quote. If they do offer you a “competitive” quote then you can bet anything that the final price will be far higher than the quote. Without knowing the scale of the project, the materials you want to build in and the finish on the inside, how can that Project Manager accurately quote?
It’s the same in video production, we need to know how long the video needs to be, what level of expertise the camera operator and equipment should be, whether you need a soundman, lighting, added equipment, how long the edit will take and whether you want added elements like graphics. It’s a complex build that is tailored to the available budget.
Not having a clear objective for the video.
We see time and time again where companies decide they want to create video but they don’t think about their objectives or what outcome they want it. Without a clear strategy going in to creating video content, you may as well flush your money down the toilet.
The first thing we always do when talking to our clients about creating video content is to identify the overall objective and who they want this video to be seen by. It’s the most important factor and informs everything we do. Is this video targeting B2B or B2C? What demographics are we targeting? How will the video be shared? What is the objective of this video? Sales? Brand image? Production explanation? All these questions need to be answered before we can come up with creative concepts for the video. For example, if the video has ad spend behind it and is destined for Facebook pay-per-click then it needs to be very short and punchy but if we are relying on organic shares then we’ve got to create a strong hook so people engage with it. Conversely, if this video is B2B and will be sent out via email, then perhaps we can assume a pre-existing level of knowledge and familiarity with the subject matter in your audience, so we can have a longer video with more depth to it. By having clear KPIs and understanding of the core objective for the video you will get far more out of it than just creating video for video’s sake.
Not aligning video to your brand purpose.
Video Content should always be seen as an extension of your brand identity. When done correctly, it will feel like a seamless transition from your print materials, web site and brand image through to video. This is done through the style, tone, fonts, imagery and colour. Too often, companies will use video inconsistently, putting up a series of videos that have nothing connecting them. Or worse, they will post videos to their social feed that is amateur or homemade. A third of the people who watched a poor quality video had a negative perception of that brand. Video Content should always be integrated into a company’s marketing strategy from the outset and even if it’s only used sparingly, it should reflect the quality of the brand. Lack of budget should not be used as an excuse for putting poor quality video out into the public domain. With careful planning and a reliable video production company, most budgets can be stretched to create video content that will have a high impact in the right way. For example, a single day’s filming could be done in a way that generates large volumes of material that can be recycled into a series of short videos for your social media feed. By setting a style for the look of the videos from filming techniques to motion graphics, larger volumes of content can be generated for a fraction of the cost.
Not getting on the front foot with a good video partner.
All companies with a marketing strategy can benefit from using video and most of them know that. But we often see that unless there is an immediate need for video, most people don’t bother to find themselves a video production partner. The result is that when they finally realise they need to commission some video work, they are already on the back foot. The deadline looms faster than they thought and they are forced to hire the first company they find even though they may not be the best. This can lead to paying above the odds for an inferior product.
There are a lot of benefits to partnering with a video production company for future opportunities. We have a few companies we work with on a rolling basis and it brings huge benefits to them. Firstly, we’re always on the phone to discuss any video ideas they have and to brainstorm concepts with them as well as budgets. This can help with internal marketing briefs they are putting together or in the case of agencies, with pitches to clients. Because a relationship is in place, there is a transparency to pricing and budgets that instils a sense of trust in all the players. Everyone values the relationship and wants it to continue so no one is going to take advantage of the other. And finally, it’s in the vested interests of the video production company to keep the relationship going so they will always try to deliver above expectations. In this way, we’ve helped some of our clients to win big contracts with some major brands and we’ve helped others to put a lasting content strategy in place that maximised their yearly marketing budget.
George Hughes set up Small Films with a simple ambition – to create brilliant films for brilliant people. Over the past 14 years he’s learnt his craft in the television industry working in the UK and USA as a Producer / Director and camera operator making hundreds of hours of high profile series for major broadcasters including the BBC and Discovery Channel. From hard-hitting documentaries about the mafia to light-hearted cooking shows with high-profile chefs, he has worked with a wide range of budgets, briefs and subject matters and is excited at transferring this experience into the production of branded content. George and his team are passionate about partnering with like-minded people and organisations to create amazing films.
For more information or a chat about commissioning video content for your brand, contact us here.
Over the last few years, the rise of new technologies has dramatically transformed the way audiences consume and perceive video advertising – and change continues at a staggering pace. Millennials and Generation Z aren’t interested in watching live television. Instead they turn to Netflix to binge-watch their favourite drama series or surf Youtube and other platforms for content relating to their particular interests or passions. As traditional broadcast audiences grow older and conventional TV viewing figures decline, focus for advertisers has shifted to the online space. In 2017 brands and advertisers spent twice as much on online advertising as they did on TV (Magisto), and this is set to grow.
Adapting to rapidly changing online technologies has had a massive impact on the nature of the advertising format itself. Without the luxury of a captive static TV audience, and with an increasing consumer distrust of disruptive and overt advertising, advertisers are having to get both creative and technical in the way they approach marketing to their ever fragmenting and mobile audiences. Today’s tech savvy consumer demands a choice of uninterrupted entertaining online experiences – and they are ready to skip, switch channels or switch devices if they don’t like what they see. Audiences have always had the opportunity to ‘go and put the kettle on’ during traditional broadcast ad breaks if the content was unengaging of course – but the potential of an ‘ad rejection’ moment is now multiplied 100 fold online.
The ongoing challenge for brands and advertisers then, is ‘how do we stop consumers reaching for that virtual kettle?’
These are the questions brands need to consider:
WHAT types of content will engage consumers?
The internet has changed the way people can and choose to view content. It’s no longer simply a case of marketing to a static audience who are sitting down for a few dedicated hours of TV watching. There are now many more ways for people to consume content via multiple devices (TV, desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and wearable tech – often simultaneously), and many more opportunities for consuming content away from the traditional home leisure space and time. Marketers now have the opportunity to reach people as they move around during the day, travel from place to place, at work, at school – and as they’re spending their leisure time. This poses a challenge for the types of content brands should be producing:
On-The-Go – Snackable, scrollable content
There’s no point putting out 30 second videos for people to view when they’re on-the-go, waiting in a queue, checking messages or walking down the road. This audience is using mobile phones and needs bitesize, 6 second chunks of mobile optimised content that will briefly grab their attention as they scroll through their feeds, moving from task to task. The average adult scrolls through 70+ feet of social media feed every single day, so content has have an instant hook for the viewer to notice. A recent report revealed a 26% increase in brand awareness through brands using scroller ad formats. (IAB)
This ad by jobs website Reed has it all incuding kittens, humour and a 6 second in-your-face spot at the beginning.
Lean forward content
People with a bit more time on their hands, will spend a little longer choosing to view and more importantly, engage with, content in a bit more depth. They might be travelling to work on the bus, waiting in a doctor’s office or be on a break. They are still using mobile devices, though can also be at their desks viewing on desktop computers and laptops. This content should encourage ‘lean-forward’ user interaction in the content experience in the form of prompting users to like, comment on, share, or embed videos. It should resonate with the desired audience in a way that encourages them to engage with it.
These Volvo Trucks short brand videos are highly entertaining action adventure stunts designed to pull the viewer in and elicit engagement.
Lean back content
The traditional type of leisure-time content consumption. Audiences who are static and relaxing will consume long-form, long-term content formats. For marketing content to compete with other content in this space it needs to be highly creative and emotionally engaging, employ great storytelling and in fact integrate with the surrounding content so as not to disrupt the consumer experience. Interesting branded content like documentaries or brand-made programmes can work well in this space. Although they may be static – the majority of people will still be browsing on mobile devices so content needs to be mobile optimised. This is the optimal time for simultaneous platform usage. 87% of consumers now watch TV together with a second screen (Deloitte Digital Consumer Survey.)
Stella Artois partnered with National Geographic to commission an award wining film director to make a documentary highlighting the impact of the global water crisis on communities around the world – a compelling piece of quality long-form ‘lean back’ branded content.
HOW will brands engage consumers with content?
The increasing rejection of overt advertising means brands are having to be more creative and consumer-focused in their marketing content strategies. Along with producing different types of video content for different devices and types of consumers as we have seen, brands now need to think about HOW best to reach these fragmented audiences.
With the increase in digital marketing noise and content choices available to them, consumers are becoming less responsive to content they perceive as less relevant to them. Brands will have to produce tailored content accurately targeted to specific audience member interests and browsing habits. They will also need to harness technology to make use of location-based marketing so that they can target consumers according to where they are at any given moment.
Tesco Clubcard produced a personalised awareness and retention campaign.
Rather than placing expensive paid advertising with the big, general reach global publishers and broadcasters, brands will have to find different ways of marketing to their targeted audience segments. As consumers watch more self-selected video content and less broadcast TV, brands are creating their own video content channels and collaborating on ‘audience first’ content shared via video influencers. Macro influencers with more than 100,000 subscribers or followers on their social channels have been in the ascendancy up to now but with growing audience segmentation and targeting, brands are increasingly partnering with micro-influencers on content production.
Social media algorithms are becoming more sophisticated, and as has already happened on Facebook, overt hard-sell advertising will be penalised and brands will have to work much harder to get their messages in front of their audiences. Brands will need to create more thoughtful, entertaining, and value-adding videos that consumers will actively choose to watch and share in order to beat the algorithms. Quality over quantity will be key in the video content of the future.
Coors Light revamped its frivolous image with a series of high-quality, value-adding short docufilms, presenting their products in real-life situations and places, while telling compelling real-life stories.
With audiences using multiple devices and consuming content via multiple channels, sometimes simultaneously, brands will have to adopt a user-centric integrated approach to content in order to get a better ROI.
Heineken’s Departure Roulette is a great example of a cross-channel integrated, interactive video campaign.
So the future of video marketing content is full of opportunity and the potential for brands to accurately reach their target audiences will be better than ever before. The biggest challenge for brands will be getting noticed online and cutting through the increasing digital marketing noise. Only the brands that think creatively, embrace technology and adopt a user-centred approach to their content will get results. Surely this can only be a good thing for the digital advertising industry – and consumers in general?
If your business would like help creating quality video content for multiple platforms, contact us at email@example.com.
Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign.
Feeling peckish? Food is one of the most popular and fastest-growing subjects for video content in digital marketing. In terms of online content, lots of us are yoga devotees; some of us love gaming and a select few of us are passionate about free-diving. Food, however, whether we like cooking it or just consuming it, is a unique form of content in that it appeals to pretty much everyone. The preparation and sharing of food has been at the heart of what it means to be human since earliest times – we use food for fuel, celebration, comfort and consolation; we have a deeply emotional connection with it. In addition, food stimulates the senses – it lends itself to a visual and dynamic medium like video. Watching food being prepared, cooked and consumed is captivating on a primal level. Research in sciencedaily.com showed that visual stimulation through enticing images of food increases a hormone protein in the blood which stimulates appetite. It actually makes us hungry! Whether we’d like to admit or not, we’re all hooked on looking at food.
The measure of food content’s success can be seen in its adoption as a growth strategy by the big online publishers. Food has always played a central part in traditional publishing content of course; all the big newspapers have food supplements and we lap up restaurant reviews and recipe pages in print publications. But social media and the growth of affordable video marketing has given food content a rocket-fuelled boost in recent years. Buzzfeed’s popular Tasty food channel to which 1 in 6 people in the UK subscribe, and the New York Times’ recent foray into discerning digital food content are hugely successful examples of this.
And the stats speak for themselves. Views of food-related content on YouTube are increasing 170% year on year (Tubular Insights). Food is in the top 10 categories of content that generate most engagement, and amongst Millennials, the popularity of food content is massive (a whopping 70% of food-related views are in this demographic). Food is therefore proving to be one of the most successfully visually appealing, emotive and shareable subjects in digital marketing. If seeing it makes your audience want to eat it – and social media can direct consumers directly to your business website – food and drink brands have some amazing opportunities to grow their businesses with cleverly targeted video content.
Here are some of the ways food and drink brands can capitalise on video marketing for growth (and there’s a lot more to it than just enticing recipe videos):
Social Media Advertising.
Video content generates the highest engagement of all online advertising. It is estimated that 92% of mobile video viewers share them with other people (Hubspot). Users expect high-quality production values and great entertainment though to keep them watching. YouTube stats show that users skip ads on average after 5 seconds of watching so it’s important to grab the attention quickly. If you can pull it off, a well-made online food advert is so shareable on social media that it can go viral. KFC has just released 3 online videos using their infamous gravy to make cocktails, piggybacking on the niche cultural trend of ‘stocktails’ – whilst being quirky enough to pique the viewer’s interest. With over 270K views in a week, the ads are proving capable of cutting through the social media noise and creating some buzz.
Social media advertising is also brilliant for targeting your specific market through campaigns on individual social media platforms. Kids’ sweet brand Sour Patch Kids carried out a successful video campaign on Snapchat by collaborating with a popular YouTube influencer to record ‘sour then sweet’ prank videos and then utilising live video to have conversations with fans and consumers. The high-energy, fun and young social media app was the perfect platform for connecting with the brand’s potential teenage audience and Sour Patch Kids gained 120,000 Snapchat followers during the campaign. Utilising more online video content also contributed to their growth in sales by $30 million between 2014 and 2015.
Video provides a way for food businesses to integrate branded content across multiple platforms. Using video in different ways across broadcast, online, mobile and social media channels means that brands can digitally communicate their stories, tone of voice and messaging holistically. A big-budget TV ad might launch a new product for example, but regular video content posted across YouTube or Facebook can give depth, personality and consistency to brands. Some brands use these methods effectively to show a human side and connect directly with their audience – posting videos of behind the scenes, food production, and employees for example. Dunkin Donuts famously launched one of the first branded live Facebook videos when it posted a tour of its food development kitchen for a Valentine’s day promotion and competition, generating 21,000 viewers in 15 minutes.
Our first-ever LIVE tour of the DD test kitchen + a big announcement for engaged Valentines!
Live video is a fantastic tool for connecting directly with customers and building a committed and engaged community of followers (and potential customers) and is ideal for a relaxed, informal brand.
Other brands have effectively used regular video content to demonstrate their ‘expert’ status, quality and authenticity. Waitrose launched a successful YouTube channel and collaborates with top chefs and influencers to produce gorgeous recipe videos using high-quality ingredients, whilst also placing an emphasis on ethical food production and sourcing. This appeals directly to its educated middle-class market and provides a way for its customers to invest emotionally in the brand.
Combine with influencer marketing.
The increasing visual and emotional appeal of food has not been lost on bloggers and vloggers and food and recipe influencer content is one of the fastest-growing types of food content creation online. Some foodie influencers have a much wider audience reach than many brands and many have built up vast, trusting and engaged followings. Without the corporate machinery, they can often produce content more quickly and regularly than brands. SORTEDfood is a brilliant example of this. A group of British millennial men decided to video themselves sharing banter and food and have built up a huge YouTube subscriber base of over 1 million people. With a relaxed and humorous vibe, and lots of engaging content like recipe battles where they each attempt to make the same recipe, their content is perfect for reaching a particular demographic of 20 and 30 something men (and women) who are interested in (and spend a lot on) food.
Collaborating to make joint videos with influencers like this can be a brilliant way of targeting specific audiences. When Lea & Perrins wanted a younger market for its famous Worcestershire sauce, SORTEDfood was the go to influencer. Together they made a series of videos and Lea & Perrins launched a YouTube channel on the back of the content, resulting in 2.2 million channel views.
Generate user action.
Video content is also a good way for brands to encourage genuine customer engagement and to prompt user action. Coca Cola carried out a hugely successful integrated marketing campaign when it launched named bottles, using broadcast and online advertising to stimulate customer engagement.
The campaign, which originated in the UK but went global, encouraged consumers to #shareacoke with friends and submit videos and photos of themselves with their named bottles to be shared online. It proved a brilliant way of generating a feel-good shareability of branded content.
Use video as a recruitment tool.
One issue that affects a lot of food and drink brands is recruitment. The food industry is employee heavy in terms of production and service, and recruiting enough good, qualified staff can be difficult. (This issue is likely to be exacerbated with Brexit – over 40% of staff in fruit, vegetable and meat processing and production are from EU countries – as are nearly 15% of employees in the hospitality industry.) Video can be an effective tool for reaching the right audience of potential employees (young, social media users) and competing in a busy market. Have a look at a recruitment video we recently produced for restaurant group Living Ventures which capitalises on this.
Small Films’ founder George Hughes spent 15 years producing and directing content for TV broadcast including serious documentary and food and cookery content. For more information about how Small Films can help your food or drink brand with engaging video content, contact us here.
Small Films are a London video production company. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign. Give us a bell.
When it comes to creating video content for a brand or small business, a viral video is the holy grail. A piece of content that so connects with audiences and captures the imagination that it is voluntarily shared repeatedly across the internet – what could be better for a brand seeking maximum exposure?
The common misconception with viral video is that it is always homemade, amateur or that it spreads somehow accidentally. Though this was true in the early days (and can sometimes still be the case today), marketers quickly realised how powerful viral video can be and began to harness that power. In fact, today, 9 out of 10 of the top viral videos have been created professionally. It’s a modern marketing fact that viral video can work brilliantly for raising brand awareness fast – but how can you deliberately ‘make’ a viral video?
Although there are no guarantees when it comes to making a video go viral, there are certain characteristics shared by all viral videos. If you want your video to be compellingly shareable, these are the top priorities in terms of content and style:
Harness the element of surprise. All viral videos have something unexpected about them that marks them out as different from their competitors. Don’t follow the rest, subvert an idea that immediately piques the viewer’s interest. Think of the ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ Australian public safety film that was an internet sensation a few years ago. Using cute animated characters and a funny, maddeningly catchy song, Dumb Ways To Die turned the idea of the serious, educational public information broadcast on its head, and heralded a new era of naïve style animation. Catchy music can also help – although be aware that many viewers (especially mobile users) will watch videos with the sound off.
Include humour. Not all viral videos are funny – but many contain humour or irony. Humans are social animals and laughter is eminently shareable. If you can include humour – do. But only if this authentically reflects something about your brand identity. Have a look at this very amusing (yet highly informative) video for toilet training seat ‘Squatty Potty’.
Make your content value-adding. Although it sometimes seems like we are all just pointlessly sharing videos of cats falling off shelves and pandas sneezing, the brand films that go viral often contain an important element of useful information. Michael Dubin, former CEO of the Dollar Shave Club, sold his cheap razor subscription business for 1 billion dollars, five years after launching with a brilliant viral video. Combining charismatic humour with the unexpected, the video entertainingly demonstrated why no-one should spend more than a dollar a month on disposable razors. In this case, entertainment + value-adding content resulted in ultimate shareability.
Don’t be derivative. If you see a funny video that’s gone viral, don’t try to do your own version – unless you can make it genuinely quirky and captivating in its own right. There are many derivative versions of Dollar Shave club that don’t work, but also a very clever antidote version, ‘The Dollar Beard Club’ which promotes a subscription service for oil and products for men with beards.
Use the power of emotion. Humans take action based on how they feel. Successful viral videos generate strong emotions in people – be they joyful, empathetic, or sad. A moving charity video for example can prompt people to take direct action and donate or share (the Second a Day video for Save the Children is an amazingly affecting example of this).
Unless your brand requires an empathetic response from your audience however, research shows that it is best to concentrate on generating positive emotions. The feel-good factor can play a large part in making your video shareable. For best results, use your video to tell an emotionally uplifting story simply, quickly and arrestingly, using humour and surprise. The big-budget Nike football ‘The Switch’ ad brilliantly demonstrates this.
Piggyback a cultural trend. Make it easier for yourself by basing your video on something that is already being widely shared and searched. If people are currently responding to prank videos and it fits with your brand, have a think about incorporating that. If the gadget of the moment is a VR set or everyone is talking about Star Wars – can you somehow use one of those themes in your video? It may well not be appropriate for many brands, but it’s worth thinking about popular content themes as a way of leveraging more social shares. Social Media scheduling tool Hootsuite cleverly made a Social Media themed version of the Game of Thrones title sequence to piggyback on the popularity of that show.
Keep it short. We often look at Social Media in short bursts, during breaks, scrolling through quickly and stopping briefly on content that momentarily captures our interest. Video is naturally more captivating than other forms of content, but in order to go viral, your video needs to grab the viewer’s attention in those first few scrolling seconds. Dispense with rambling intros and product shots and get straight to the point. Sustain that attention by being fresh, pithy and quirky. 15 seconds to 1 minute is the optimum length for a viral video. Turkish chef ‘Saltbae’ produced a compelling 30-second video that achieved 7 million views and spawned thousands of copycat memes (not to mention football goal celebrations).
Use influencers and paid promotion. Give your video a head start by pushing it heavily on social channels in the initial stages. The best way to do this is by getting ‘influencers’ with a large number of followers to share your video with their audiences. Think about influencers who are relevant to your brand or product. Often ‘micro-influencers might better suit your promotion – they have smaller follower numbers than the top influencers but their followings are more focused and niche so you will have a better chance of reaching an audience who will be interested in and engaged by your video. You might even think about featuring or interviewing an influencer in your video. They will share it on their channels and you will have access to their followers. Some influencers will share your content for free and others will have a payment structure in place for various levels and types of promotion. Whisky distillery Lagavulin did this to great effect with Ron Swanson.
Likewise, think about paying to promote your story by advertising on Social Media when you launch it. Once it gains a certain number of followers and shares, then a snowball effect will lead to far greater (organic) engagement and you can cut back on the paid promotion.
Professional video production. As we learned earlier, the majority of viral videos are professionally made. Viral video is highly sought after for a reason – it’s incredibly valuable to a brand, and is pretty hard to achieve. If you want your brand video to go viral deliberately, it will usually need an exceptional creative concept, a great script and good production values – not to mention a strategic approach to promotion. Have a go by all means, but if you’d like to have a chat about professionally producing a viral video and have a look at our previous viral work, please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Small Films are a video production company in London. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign