Okay, let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first. Why does a business need a brand video? Aren’t daily social media updates, product photography, creative marketing strategies and good content enough? Do we really have to add brand videos to that list as well?
I know it seems like a lot of work, but the facts support the effort. According to a white paper on visual networking methodologies and forecasts by Cisco, video is the inevitable future of content. The paper estimates that by the end of 2017, 69% of all consumer traffic on the net will be driven by video. Video-on-demand users would have trebled. Market surveys by Nielsen and other industry leaders have shown that almost 64% of global marketers love the idea of using videos.
YouTube receives more than 1 billion new users every month; matched only by Facebook. And talking of Facebook, in January 2016 the company reported 100 million hours of video being watched on its platform every day.
So, why isn’t every brand creating a video?
Nice question, this. There are over 40 million brand pages on Facebook, but only 1.5 million of these SMEs use video content regularly. There is a historical misconception that brand videos can only be used by large companies. That it requires agency magic and moolah; both of which are hard for a small businessman to acquire. However, with cloud-based video making tools like Animoto, it is easy even for a small business to make engaging videos. Forget hiring agencies and spending lakhs for a good brand video. With just a few good product photographs and some imagination, you can easily do this on your own. So, let us get on to the basics of creating a good brand video, shall we?
Brand Videos – the Checklist for Greatness
We are all about being creative and creating awesome videos that help your brand every step of the way, but let’s be real for a moment. Wild creativity can only get you so far. A good brand video needs to have some staple ingredients in place. What your brand ends up creating with these ingredients depends on your brand’s TG and your own imagination.
Start by defining your audience first.
This is the most important step of the entire process. Are you selling to a B2C audience or back to the business community? Do you know the targeted USPs to sell to each group? Marketing is all about precise communication, designed to reach a specific audience. Once you know your consumer, it becomes easier to think about meta topics like brand voice, style, tone etc.
It is a slightly tricky process; carving out a specific TG from the vast universe of consumers. Tailoring your message means leaving things out. The only thing worse than that is leaving everything in. Your brand is awesome, we get it. What your consumer needs to know, more than anything else, is how this awesome eases their specific problems. Take a leaf from these videos from Queen’s University, UK. To promote their International Study Centre, the university created two sets of videos – one targeted at the parents, and one specifically for the student community.
You can tell which is which because the video for parents talks about the opportunities that students in the program enjoy (going to Cambridge, good jobs etc.). The video for students depicts the life of an average student in the college.
Find the emotion.
Human beings are ruled by emotions. Even our rationality is tinged with feelings. Psychological studies have proved that emotional reasons are linked with consumers’ preference for brand name products or the power of social media influencers. And marketers know that there are 8 different kinds of emotions that drive purchase decisions online – all you need to know is where you fit in.
Many ‘boring’ brand videos recite only facts and features. But many a time, all this clever brand positioning can backfire. Customers are overloaded with information from all corners and every brand claims to be better than the first. Promises don’t always sell – emotions always do. Whether it is humour, empathy, validation or advice from a peer; your audience will lap up emotions that help them make a purchase decision.
An Indian brand that does this really well is Paperboat Drinks. The brand loves to remind us that our favourite drinks are linked to our memories, and their YouTube videos take this theme forward every single time.
However, it is also important to note that brand videos that create a stable emotional state do not fare well in viewership. The goal is to create an emotional roller coaster for the audience by terminating feelings of surprise and joy and quickly restoring them. All the Budweiser Superbowl ads featuring the Clydesdale horses are amazing at doing this. Proof below!
Think beyond Influencer Marketing.
Influencers are necessary for viral marketing. But, it is not the only thing. So, if your brand is holding back on making videos because you assume they will not go ‘viral’, think again. A recent study by BuzzFeed and StumbleUpon says that true virality comes from large numbers of people sharing a brand video or content to smaller groups. In the same article, BuzzFeed and StumbleUpon noted that “Content goes viral when it spreads beyond a particular sphere of influence and spreads across the social web, via ordinary people sharing with their friends.”
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your video content needs to appeal only to the influentia. It’s every single person in your network, and in their network, who counts. Friends, colleagues, family – their friends, colleagues, and family… the chain is long and winding. Influencers can help, yes. But they are not the be-all-and-end-all of marketing and viral videos. This also connects back to our previous point about finding the right emotion to connect with the masses. Once that is done and you have spent some time asking (begging, really!) people you know to share your work, you will begin to see the fruits of labour.
Pulse your story into your brand video.
Brand presence in a video is a big concern for all marketers. How do you sell without selling? No one likes seeing a brand’s logo lighting up their screens, and subtle positioning is not always noticed. Brands need recall value, and customers need to feel like they are not part of yet another sales gimmick.
A research from Harvard shows that prominent brand positioning puts off viewers. The solution that the pointy heads have come up with is called ‘Brand Pulsing’. In layman terms, it means that you should weave your brand image subtly throughout the story instead of a single logo image or in-your-face branding. The research claims that pulsing can actually increase viewership by up to 20%. Think of the best video ads you have seen? Do you remember them for the brand or for the story?
Let’s take Volkswagen’s ‘The Force’ commercial as an example. We don’t see the brand until halfway into the video. The car that the kid tries to move with his Jedi powers could have been any other brand. The video is memorable not because it showed us the wonder of Volkswagen’s engineering, but because it created an emotional connect by playing on the father-son relationship. Also, the brand positioning is very subtle and doesn’t take away from the story. Replace the car in the ad with any else and the video still would be as powerful as it is now. There is a reason why Time magazine has called this Volkswagen video ‘the ad that changed Super Bowl’.
Don’t worry about the length.
A good video performs regardless of the size (pun intended). The Old Spice commercials that made waves couple of years ago were in the 30-second safe zone. But there have been other videos that have safely crossed over to the 2-minute-and-longer territory and have still been watched by millions.
Case in point: the Purina ‘Puppyhood’ ad that went viral in all its 3-minute plus glory.
Length can be an important asset, as it allows an immersive brand story to unfold. StumbleUpon’s research shows that videos between 2 and 3 minutes generate a discernible spike in social sharing, whereas those that are in the 4 minute or longer see a 5x increase in direct sharing. However, this does depend on the quality of content, too. Make your content your primary focus and everything else will fall into place.
So, now that you know the basics of creating the perfect brand video on your own, do let us know how it goes. Or if you have any tips and tricks you would like to share with fellow DIY-ers, we are all ears! In case you run into trouble with the video, remember our expert freelancers are only a shout-out away!
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