Summer Marketing Ideas for Food and Drinks Brands

26th October 2018

written by George Hughes

Summer is a really important time for many FMCG brands – it’s a happy time filled with a lot of fun and excitement, good weather, holidays and late night sunsets, and is therefore a massive selling point for both businesses and consumers. Some brands depend solely on their summer campaigns and will spend the whole year working towards the months of July, August and September, where they release new products, run promotions and do big advertising online and out of home. For food and drink brands especially summer is a massive highlight of the year, it’s when all of the big food shows roll around like Taste and Lunch, and when consumers are more eager to be out and about, which unsurprisingly means they eat on-the-go a lot more. In fact, consumers are prepared to spend more on things like food in the summer because they spend more time outside and last year we saw a 5% rise in consumer spending during the summer holidays (Barclays). Because of that, the months of “summer”  are some of the best times to be making video content and getting your brand as much attention and exposure as you possibly can, so that when your customers are out and about, they will spend their extra cash on your products. 

 

Digital marketing during the summer can be very loud, fun and exciting, and your content can be as colourful and summery as you like. Using a season to help promote your brand is an easy and effective way at engaging customers and reaching new audiences And making video is an even better strategy as it can be cheaper, more versatile and a lot more engaging. Consumers already prefer watching video to static imagery and text and during seasons of fun like the summer holidays they are even more receptive to adverts that reflect the positive and happy vibes they are trying to achieve during the summer months. Here are some examples of videos your food or drink brand can make this summer…

 

Social Media Videos

You can go really basic with Instagram video ads like this one from Costa Coffee – Iced Coffee Range. 

Really simple but yet very engaging; they’ve made the coffee and the foam look like the ocean and placed it in front of a blue “sky” background. It’s eye catching because it looks like the beach and reminds you of summer holidays, vacations and calming times spent looking at blue skies  It instantly gives you a positive feeling.

These Instagram videos from Holland and Barrett work well at promoting products using a happy and summery vibe.

 

Summer Campaign Video

The great thing about a summer campaign is that they can be as extravagant or as simple as you like. They can range from a massive stunt in Waterloo Station, to a pop up shop on Oxford Street, to a simple out of home billboard or online advertisement. Either way if your food or drink brand has anything planned this summer you’d be a fool not to film it. If you’re attending an event then you should film it, if you’re handing out samples then you should film it. Even if you’re going on a work outing to the Zoo, you should film it! We did a summer campaign video last month for UpBeat Drinks for the launch of their new juicy protein water products and to promote their new re-brand. The video was a 22 second social media advert and a 6 second cut down version for YouTube pre-roll as well as a 15 second version for out of home digital display.

 

 

Filming your street sampling is one of the quickest, easiest and most effective ways at getting great customer feedback, market research and providing audiences with a first hand, genuine account of what people think of your product! We created this video for Emily Crisps last year to promote their Whole Foods front window display on Kensington High Street! 

 

 

Promotional videos

Promotional videos are a really effective way at targeting and engaging consumers and work really well across all forms of social media and online advertising. These can be as short as 6 seconds and can advertise your products online to target audiences that you really want to market to. They can be short and snappy and therefore really eye catching, like this promotional advert by McDonalds which is promoting their iced coffee range.

 

 

It’s striking and definitely takes you into a summer hypnotism. Really cheaply, you could film your cold drink bottles close up with water slipping down the side – its eye catching and reminds you of summer – great for an instagram video.

 

Video adverts

So, Boot’s isn’t exactly a food and drink brand but they do stock and promote a lot of food and drink products. This advert they’ve recently released called “Summer” created by marketing agency Ogilvy is a great example of the types of promotional video adverts you could make online. Whilst this had significant budget behind it, you can still take aspects of this video advert and utilise in your own video marketing on a much smaller budget. This is a montage of a child’s summer experience, from the school summer dresses to watering the plants in the garden. A food and drink brand could make short video content for online advertising that shows a child in the garden playing with water and mum calls them in for a snack. Or, people in a park playing frisbee and reaching for your product.

 

 

Event videos

If you are exhibiting at an event this summer then 100% make sure to film it and make sure to create some promotional content around it. Exhibitions are the perfect place to get video content for your social media pages, online advertising and even for your brand film, because you have first hand footage of consumers sampling and trying your products. Event videos make great case studies and customer testimonials. Don’t be afraid to ask the visitors what they think of your product and film their reactions. It’s great to show your audience that you are out there, attending events, making the most of your summer and keeping them in the loop. Event videos work well at developing your brand identity and personality. You can live stream these events, take videos for your instagram and facebook story or you can get a professional to film it and get interviews.

 

Be creative this summer with video and get your brand out there, show off your fun personality and engage with as many audiences and customers as you can. Summer is a huge promotional attraction to any brand, influencer and consumer, so regardless of the budget just make sure you’ve got a lot of summer related posts and videos going up onto socials, through your stories and feeds. This way you can effectively stay at the front of people’s minds and slot into their news feeds with relevant content.

 

 

A brand that is dominating the world of  content marketing right now is the notorious Nike Inc; the world’s largest athletic footwear and clothing brand. Over 55 years, Nike is risen to become a shining example of a brand that has it all; market share, $34 billion yearly revenue, contracts with world renowned sportsmen, factories in over 40 countries and selling worldwide in over 170. Nike is doing phenomenally well and shows no sign of slowing down.  Competition is fierce in this space, with brands like Adidas, Puma and New Balance all taking their slice of the market however, something about Nike and its strategy has placed them at the top of the playing field and has kept them from being overtaken or outshined. So what is it that makes Nike different?

 

Founded in Oregon in 1964 by young entrepreneur Phil Knight, Nike started off as a reseller of Japanese running shoes selling to well known sports brands across the US. Knight wrote a paper before the inception of Nike called “Can Japanese Sports Shoes Do to German Sports Shoes What Japanese Cameras Did to German Cameras?” After that Knight went on to create the company Blue Ribbon Sports, which we now know today as Nike Inc. Hard work, luck and determination were not the only forces that turned Nike into a world leading manufacturer of sportswear but also a superb and unique marketing strategy, one that encouraged people to think differently about athletic footwear and oozed the “Just Do It” mentality.

 

Nike has been a brand that always challenges the boundaries of sport, sportswear and athletic principles. So much so that today Nike is worn and bought by billions of people around the world who aren’t even interested in sports. They decided early on that their products would be constantly redesigned and reimagined with their customers in mind, pushing the traditional running shoes as far as they could using crazy inventions like waffle machines to design the soles. Very soon Nike became less about the shoes and more about fitness. They didn’t want to sell you a shoe but instead a mantra of being fit, active and staying healthy. Their shoes were sold as a way to stay in shape but the fact that they were comfy to run in and more stylish to look at was a bonus. Nike very quickly became the fitness brand selling a way of life, an image, a feeling and a lifestyle – their customers and audience then became the most important thing to the business.

 

So, in the 21st century what is it that Nike offers us that makes them so irresistible? To reach their new, digitally savvy audience, Nike put a lot of attention into their content creation, focusing on their social media channels and video production. Through their brilliant use of advertising Nike offers all generations, gender and races across the world this feeling of empowerment and energy. Their marketing strategy is to empower people through uplifting videos, advertisements that ooze culture, social freedom and restraints, fashion trends, lifestyle trends, opinions, messages and love. They test the limits of our personality by being so in tune with the world and providing their customers with a release, a safe place and the feeling that they are not alone. They now produce regular video content that speaks effortlessly to their customers through strong, moving and engaging storytelling. 

“Walk With Love” – Represent Love

 

Nike BETRUE – Nobody Wins Alone

 

“MILES” Joan Benoit Samuelson

 

For a long time now Nike has slowly started to reduce the production of TV adverts and instead focus on video content for their YouTube channel. Understanding that marketing in the digital age is changing, Nike decided that the quickest and most effective way to reach their audiences and customers with detailed, meaningful and relevant content was through online video. They dropped their TV and print advertising spend by 40% between 2010 and 2012 – but increased their overall marketing budget to $2.4 billion in 2012 (Fortune). This marketing strategy in itself shows that Nike as a brand that follows the people, listens to trends and adapts instantly to the changes in culture. TV advertising spend dropped substantially in the last few years because traditional TV viewing has also massively declined. Instead, video streaming and viewing has become a lot more selective, personal and intimate, and because of online streaming it has become hugely accessible and people prefer to binge watch shows at their leisure. YouTube is the second most used site after google (Alexa) and users view more than 1 billion hours of videos each day (YouTube).

 

Nike speak to their audiences on their terms. They provide customers with personalisation, the ability to design their own shoes, content to watch that reflects their attitudes, opinions and lifestyles, not to mention the endless creation of new styles, clothes and shoes that constantly hit our high streets and allow its customers to always feel original and stay excited and passionate about Nike. What is their marketing strategy? It’s to give the people what they want with the utmost time, attention to detail and uncompromising quality whether that’s clothes, experiences or content. 

Of all the brands nailing content marketing right now, arguably, Red Bull is the undisputed leader. These guys have transcended from being a single product energy drink brand into a world-renowned and globally acknowledged publisher of media, TV, print and film. From their up-to-date YouTube channel to their television broadcasting, sponsorship of some of the world’s most famous sporting events and having their own Sky Channel, magazine publications, journalism, radio channels and lastly, creating high-end documentary films. They are doing it all, and they have us gripped. But how?! And what’s the secret to their success?

Red Bull was launched in Austria back in 1987 by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz after a visit to Thailand where he found the energy drink Krating Daeng. At that point, the idea of a carbonated energy drink in Europe had not been heard of nor thought about. The launch of Red Bull signified the beginning of a new product and the beginning of a whole new drinks category. Now, Red Bull has the highest market share of any energy drink product in the world and sells almost 7.9 billion cans every year worldwide (wiki).

How do I hear you say? Red Bull found their audience and customers very early on. In 1988 Red Bull sponsored their first-ever sporting event, “The Red Bull Dolomitenmann”, one of the most challenging relays on the planet. They discovered that the extreme sporting industry depended a lot on the adrenaline, energy and excitement of all people involved and that their product was perfectly suited for this type of audience, thus finding their “niche” and their ideal customers.

They then began to market the absolute sh*t out of it, making a name for themselves in the extreme sporting industry and soon becoming the thrilling epitome of youth and sporting culture that we know them as today. Red Bull got their logo out wherever they could, on TV and at extreme sporting events, and promoted their energy drink to sporting athletes who would then promote the Red Bull brand. Not long after inception, Red Bull had lift-off. They already had 100% market share because no other energy drink had been launched in Europe at that time, so they were very exclusive and therefore very desirable. Soon, they were not just seen as a drinks brand but as a culture and lifestyle brand.

Red Bull now own multiple sports teams across the world in Europe, USA and Brazil. They sponsor incredible sporting events from Formula 1 to the Snowboarding Olympics, work with hundreds of famous athletes. They have their own Red Bull sporting businesses like Red Bull Cliff Diving and, own two F1 Teams. They even have their own track racing game on PlayStation 3. It’s safe to say that they have killed it! People follow them for their content and updates on their activities, like a subscription to a streaming service. They have 10.2 million subscribers on YouTube, 14.9 million Instagram followers, 48 million likes on Facebook and 2 million followers on Twitter. Their videos on YouTube get ½ million views, with their most viewed videos standing at 155 million, 92 million and 47 million.

The secret strategy? Well, let’s start with Red Bull’s audience. They know their audience intimately and consistently put them first. Quite simply, from start to finish, Red Bull has always put their customers at the heart of their business and focused on making content that they know their customers will enjoy. It’s not just about filming, sponsoring or hosting sporting events. For Red Bull, it’s about creating moments and experiences they can share with their unique audience. They film TV content like Red Bull Rampage 2021, host events like these every year, and make them accessible to everyone and anyone.

They also film documentaries for their YouTube channel like “The Fearless Swedish Free-rider” that are interesting and enjoyable to watch by anyone.

But, their most popular content is stunt videos like the “Felix Baumgartner’s Supersonic Freefall” or their most viewed video from the free-running series “Last Call for Mr Paul”.

Red Bull constantly goes above and beyond (quite literally) and creates content that is mind-blowingly brilliant and better than most of the content produced by major publishing organisations. By putting their customers first and listening to their audiences, they have become the most talked-about brand of our generation. Where their customers go, they go, from music festivals, concerts, art shows to reporting on the latest and trending sports, skate parks to mountain biking, free-running in car parks and paint-balling – they’ve been everywhere, and they’ve done it all!

Sell an experience, not a product

.Red Bull’s marketing strategy is to sell an experience, not a product, and this is something that any business or brand can do. Creating content for your customer and putting the audience first is a strategy that can work for any company. There are many other brands out there that have started to adopt this Red Bull method and become publishers instead of just selling “products”. Volvo is one such brand. They created a documentary series on YouTube titled Human Made Stories: Defiant Pioneers, which features five episodes that look into different human stories like this one titled “Nemo Gardens”, about a man in Italy building an underwater farm.

Patagonia quickly established itself as a publisher on YouTube, uploading interviews, documentaries, short films and long films about the planet, sustainability and people. Patagonia’s Workwear series on YouTube has 15 videos and is still being updated today with new videos, these feature interviews with people who wear Patagonia’s workwear as part of their jobs.

Nike is another brand that is identified through its content. Yes, they sell shoes, but they also share experiences and promote a specific identity. Their YouTube channel also has a lot of documentary content going up onto it that is interesting to watch, like this Waves Not Cycles | Nike x Patta

More and more brands are implementing Red Bull’s strategy, becoming publishers and creating video content for use online. However, no brand has or is doing better than them. They nailed this part of their marketing very early on and have set the tone for any brand to follow and replicate. But, looking at all the brands out there that are following suit is a good sign that the Red Bull strategy works. For businesses that aren’t implementing this strategy, we suggest starting small and working your way up to it. Start with some customer testimonial videos or behind the scene footage of your business and factory, documenting the way you do things and the way your products are made. Just get your content out there to the customers that want to listen and see how they respond. 

If you want to know more about audience-first content, you can read our blog >>What is Audience-First Content?

If you want to know more about audience first video content and documentary filming, you can visit our other blogs:
>> How Brands Can Use Documentary Style Video in Content Marketing.  

Blurred Lines. How Branded Content is Transforming Traditional Broadcasting. 

 

As recently as 5 years ago, the vast majority of us would have tuned into our favourite show via our TV sets… at home… probably on the sofa. Today, the picture is very different. Almost half of adults aged 22 to 45 are not watching content on traditional TV platforms (AdAge) and 64.8 million people born between 1981 and 1996 will watch streaming videos or downloaded videos on a device at least once a month (Forbes). TV as we know is dead. Long live online streaming! Of course, TV isn’t actually dead. But the way we consume it has changed forever. Many people will still flick the TV on to catch their favourite series as it is released whether that’s X Factor or Silent Witness, but for most of us, on-demand has replaced live viewing as our preferred method of consuming any type of television content. And for Millennials and Generation Z who have come of age in a digital world,  BBC and ITV are increasingly shunned in favour of subscription based services like Netflix or Amazon or user generated content sites like Youtube. 

 

The writing has been on the wall for analogue TV for at least 2 decades and when the analogue signal was switched off in 2017 forcing every individual to access television via a digital box, it wasn’t a great surprise to the industry. The emergence of super-fast broadband that removed the need to have a sky dish or cable TV to access more than 5 channels of television was one of the biggest driving factors behind the shift in the television landscape. That… and the arrival of 3G and cheap mobile data which has allowed video streaming in the palm of your hand.

 

 

It’s surprising to find that Netflix has actually been around since 1997. It started life as a DVD rental business but began streaming online video in 2007, just 2 years after Youtube was founded. Today Netflix has 139 million paid subscribers worldwide and on Youtube, one billion hours of content are watched every single day. YouTube is ranked as the second-most popular site in the world after Google (Alexa Internet). And, whilst Netflix and Youtube may have paved the way for online video, there are now dozens of different streaming platforms from Disney+ to Apple TV, Now TV to Facebook Watch, TikTok, Instagram TV and Amazon Prime.

 

 

There’s huge money behind these platforms. Facebook will spend a “measly” $1 billion on video content this year compared to Amazon’s $4 billion spend last year and Netflix’s projected $8 billion spend for 2019 (Media Post). Also this year, Amazon and Netflix have said they will be investing in UK TV production, and will help to promote these shows on both platforms (Video News). However, the question is, will this bring traction to TV broadcasters or, will audiences be tuning into their SVOD (Streaming Video On Demand) services to watch the shows? An Ofcom report released in the summer found that huge investment in original content by digital players has seen subscriptions to SVOD services in the UK overtake subscription to pay-TV services. Ofcom also found that last year that after a period of sustained growth, pay-TV subscription revenues fell in the UK for the first time, falling by 2.7 percent to £6.4 billion. Unsurprisingly as UK consumers turn their back on conventional television viewing in favour of subscription based streaming platforms, they also turn their back on advertising. TV advertising income fell significantly last year, declining seven percent year-on-year in real terms to £3.9 billion (Video News).

 

 

So what does this mean for brands who have, in the past relied on TV advertising to reach their customers? You guessed it, they’ve started to pump more and more of their budget into online advertising. Last year, digital advertising increased by 9.5% in the UK (emarketer) with video being the fastest growing medium. The exciting thing is that marketers looking to get an edge over their competitors are putting budget behind incredible branded content that is shining a spotlight on their products and services. Volvo, Heineken and Dove are not only running heavy hitting multi-channel campaigns with a hero piece of video content at it’s heart, but many like Patagonia, Red Bull and Nike are becoming publishers in their own right with Youtube channels that include regular, engaging video content that is enjoyed by millions of people.

 

 

As we, the consumer, become accustomed to subscription TV viewing, the days of sitting through 5 minutes of TV adverts seem like a distant memory. No surprise then, that we actively avoid spending time online in places where we are being hit with constant adverts. With Youtube releasing its own subscription service, it begs the question how long we will have to wait before Facebook, Instagram and other platforms follow suit? Moving forward, brands will have to work harder and harder to get their message seen by their audience and commissioning branded content will be one of the best ways to do that.

How Food and Drink Brands Can Use Online Video in 2019

The food and drink industry is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the UK contributing £28.8bn to the economy and generating £22bn in export sales (FDF). In recent years we have seen new brands popping up left, right and centre, food networks dominating the online space and “How To Cook That” becoming one of the most searched phrases on Youtube. (OneSpot)

In 2019 food and drink brands should look enthusiastically to content marketing, and choose carefully the best avenues to take in order to achieve sales and growth. Amongst the many marketing opportunities available to food and drink brands, online video is consistently showing the best results and helping propel new brands into the spotlight. We’ve seen food channels like Twisted, Tasty and Tastemade take the industry by storm with their recipe videos. Also, with the popularity of online platforms like Youtube, Facebook and Instagram, it’s never been easier for brands to share content and spread their messages.

So, what are the best ways a food and drink brand can use video online?

Online Advertising

The great thing about online advertising is that it’s affordable, it takes advantage of the internet’s wide and global reach and can be accurately targeted when engaging customers and audience. According to Forbes, because of the visual nature, 80% of users can recall a video ad they’ve seen in the past 30 days. (Forbes)

Instagram and Facebook allow you to create sponsored or promoted video ads and carousels that can be targeted to only appear on specific audience’s news feed. These adverts can be targeted by demographics, geographical region, interests, job roles and lifestyles. So, you can produce a video that is specifically made, for example, for females above the age of 50 who work in London, and are interested in fine dining. You can then target these females with a promotional advert for a competition to win a fine dining experience at your restaurant.

Youtube offers a similar experience where you can host a “pre-roll” advert before a video and an “in-video” advert during the video. These adverts have the opportunity of being highly targeted as you can choose the best Youtube Channels to advertise on to suit your company’s products. For example, Asda do pre-roll adverts that run before popular food Vlogs, which look like this.

It’s short, simple and resonates with the audience of foodies as it’s about food and has a similar look to a recipe video. This type of advert maximises on engagement as it’s quick and relates to the audience’s interests.

As well as targeted ads on Youtube you can also advertise via Google on relevant platforms including food channels and forums like the Food Network and Delish, popular food magazines like Olive Magazine and Plant Based, or food blogs like Cookie and Kate.

Simply Cook have a banner ad at the top of a Delish recipe blog. It’s bold and engaging, with clear branding that fits seamlessly across the overall site’s style.

 

Branded Content

Branded content is regular videos for social media channels churned out daily or weekly, that promote a brand’s products, personality and encourages consistent engagement from their customers.

You can use Youtube to create long form branded video content like recipe videos, videos of your company like “Meet the Team”, “Meet the Chefs” and “Inside the Kitchen”, or cooking shows. Videos like this highlight your company’s personality and gives your audience something insightful or useful to take away. It’s one of the best ways to drive engagement with your brand.

Mindful Chef filled us in on what they had been doing over the Christmas period, collecting food from customers and audiences to give to the homeless.

And Absolut Vodka have done videos on their Youtube channel showing how to create alcoholic cocktails like this one.

Longer form Youtube videos can be easily shortened and included in your social media feeds like Facebook and Instagram Stories. This offers people eye-catching and bite sized content.

These videos are effective at engaging audiences during their on-the-go activities, whether on their lunch, at the gym or on a train, it encourages them to stop and watch what you are up to because it’s exciting.

And seriously think about using Facebook or Instagram Live for highly dynamic videos that will really engage your followers. You can film events, talk shows that you host, something that’s happening in your company or a behind the scenes of a shoot. Because it’s live, people will stop and take notice.

 

Collaboration Videos  

Collaboration videos are a great way for food and drink brands to come together and promote a like minded message. If you’re a cereal brand you can collaborate with a milk brand to create different breakfast recipe ideas. Or, both brands could create a video to promote a trendy activity like Veganuary. You can also collaborate with like minded food bloggers and vloggers to promote your brand. Send them your products to feature on one of their videos and receive direct engagement from their loyal fans.

Spoon Cereal did a collaboration video with Liberte Yogurt UK and made a 2 minute recipe video on Youtube that they marketed on Instagram story.

Food and drink brands can also do paid partnerships and collaboration videos online with food channels like Tasty and have products featured in a Tasty recipe video on social media. Tasty recently did one on Instagram with Ciroc.

 

Influencer Video Marketing

This is a great way for food and drink brands to market their products. Influencer video marketing has become extremely popular in the last couple years. Because of the increasing popularity of social media, we have seen the proliferation of  “influential people”, a person with a wide or large network of fans and followers. We have “Public Figures” on Instagram, famous Vloggers on Youtube, bloggers who have turned into celebrities and celebrities in the “traditional sense” like TV chefs. If you can get Kim Kardashian to upload a picture of your product on her Instagram, you have instantly hit 1 million customers. It offers you reach, it has strong promotional value and advertises your products direct to your ideal customers. Just be ready to pay as these guys don’t come cheap!

The Goat Agency used their influencer network to promote Graze the healthy snacking brand. They selected female influencers with a large female following in the UK and got them to post videos of the Graze products with a promotional code on their Instagram stories.

There are also micro-influencers that won’t have the same 4M followers that a Kardashian has but they do have a solid 10K of loyal fans and followers. This could offer you a better return on your investment as you have more choice and you could spread the sponsorship across a different number of relevant influencers. If you’re a vegan milk brand who wants to break into the Australian market, you could send your products to a vegan lifestyle Vlogger in Australia.

 

Multichannel Campaign

Once you’ve mastered all those different forms of online video you can then begin to tie it all together and create one big multichannel campaign. These work extremely well in the lead up to an event or when promoting a new product or trend. For example, Veganuary is upon us and it happens every year. Greggs just launched their Vegan Sausage roll and promoted it online with a video that looked very similar to the IPhone advert.

For a whole month you can create a multichannel campaign of online videos, advertisements and events that all relate and compliment each other. You can post vegan recipe videos on youtube, post short versions of the recipe videos on social media, run online advertisements of the vegan products, and send out promotional videos of your products – all with the same look and feel. Finally, you hold pop ups around town or in supermarkets allowing the public to taste your product. This all ties together to create one big multichannel campaign that can receive a lot of audience engagement.

Over Christmas, Baileys spent 4.3M on a multichannel campaign called “It’s Not Christmas Without You” comprising of a TV ad, Outdoor ads, social media content and Pop up stalls, samplings and events in shopping centres. (The Grocer)

There are a lot a different ways food and drink brands can use video online but these are some of the ones that will really help push your brand into the limelight in 2019. And, as the number of people watching videos online only continues to grow, with video predicted to make up to 80% of all global traffic by 2019. (Tubular Insights) Why wouldn’t you be looking to creating video this year? Give some of these a go and really spice up your food and drink marketing this year with some awesome video content.

3 Easy Steps to Get Sales with Video

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.

1. Inform

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)

2. Educate

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.

3. Offer

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 info@smallfilms.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 info@smallfilms.com