Why Video? Why Now? Pt II

Last time we talked about Why Video? Why Now?, this time I’m going to discuss the WHAT and the HOW – although the HOW might get bumped to another post depending on how long I ramble on about the WHAT. To keep us from getting confused lets jump right into the the WHAT – what kind of online videos are there? This is a tough question to answer and lots of people will have lots of different answers. For our purposes – which is harnessing the power of online video to promote the brand of your small businesses – lets narrow it down to three types.

By traditional I mean the tried and true video advert or commercial that we see day in and day out on our televisions and increasingly before the YouTube videos we watch. There is nothing tricky here about traditional advertising – the point is to raise brand awareness by broadcasting your commercial in high levels of saturation. Even though we may get sick of seeing the same commercial again and again – we won’t forget that brand and that’s the point. The messaging should be direct and clear. Buy my product, buy my service, here’s my website, here’s my phone number.

Prior to the advent of online video the only way to get eyeballs to watch your commercial was to pay big bucks to get it shown on television channels during our favourite shows. The more popular the show the more it cost. But times have changed and although advertising through television might still achieve the highest saturation levels – advertising online is a heck of a lot cheaper and can be much more targeted. So your ROI can be much greater and its a great place to start for small businesses. The obvious place to advertise online is on your website for starters – you can have it right on your home page. The next place to advertise, and maybe the best, is on YouTube. You can get your commercial to play before videos for a very reasonable price and it’s a great way to get the word out and raise brand awareness in a very targeted manner.

Viral video is the golden goose of the online video world. But like finding a golden goose it’s incredibly difficult and success is far from guaranteed. But when it works, it works so well! Instead of paying to get eyeballs to your video it gets spread around for free and is a great way to gain brand awareness and traction. Lots of people proclaim that they can make your video go viral – but they are lying. The only thing they can do is TRY to make it go viral and no viral video company is going to give you a money back guarantee. Viral videos can be very fickle and to quote Robbie Burns – “the best laid plains often go awry.” Usually viral videos rely on comedy or shock value and then people share it around and views rack up and then it snowballs from there. For the snowball effect of more views begetting more views think of that awful song from last year, Friday, or the Kony 12 video. The current viral video du jour is the Kmart video Ship My Pants which has racked up an impressive 12,608,121 views (*as of publication) in only a few days. You can watch the video below or by clicking the title above. It’s a good little joke that appeals to the juvenile in us all. “Ship My Pants” becomes “Sh*t My Pants” and we all have a little giggle and post it to Facebook and Twitter. Viral videos are all about the soft sell – unlike traditional commercials, think car dealerships, that give you the hard sell to come on down for SAVINGS SAVINGS SAVINGS! That kind of video is never going to go viral.

And lastly we have videos that tell the story of your brand or tell stories that improve your brand value. These videos are probably the most effective at building brand loyalty and a deep connection to your audience and customer base. The point here is to tell feel good stories about your brand, about yourself, about your expertise and about your happy customers. Although Aristotle tells us that tragedy is the highest form of storytelling we want to aim for comedy here (and by comedy I mean the traditional sense of the word i.e. the story has a happy ending). A good story video has the potential to go viral – especially if it has a great story! I happened to stumble across a video featuring two chocolatier brothers from Brooklyn – The Mast Brothers. They were profiled in a nice little video from The Scout, and it proves to be a great example of brand storytelling. In the video we meet the brothers and find out the story behind their brand. You can watch the video below:

It’s racked up 341 000 views. Talk about great advertising for a small chocolate shop! After watching the video you immediately feel a connection with the Brothers Mast and if you happened to be in Brooklyn you just know you would want to stop by and check out their chocolate shop and support their brand. But the Mast Brothers haven’t stopped there, buoyed by the success of first video they’ve gone on to produce their own video content to continue telling their brand story. You can watch one of their videos below detailing a visit to one of their cacao suppliers in the Dominican Republic and they’ve even made a feature documentary about their sailing voyage south to get their cacao directly from the source.

This idea of using storytelling as advertising is quickly becoming the next big thing and even the big brands are jumping onboard – especially Coca-Cola. Now you probably aren’t associating Coke’s brand story with the feel good messaging from the Mast Brothers but that isn’t stopping Coke from trying to woo you with story. The big difference is Coke is trying to change and redefine their brand image, which most would label as a negative one, with the power of storytelling and engagement. They hope through creating high-end content, which mostly has nothing to do with their actual product, they can convince viewers that Coke really is a feel good brand worthy of their support. You can watch a video below detailing Coca-Cola’s new marketing shift towards storytelling called Coca-Cola Content 2020. It’s filled with a lot of marketing speak but its worth a watch – especially if you have any interest in marketing. You can also read an article about Coke’s shift to story in The New York Times HERE.

Okay, I’ve rambled on far too long to get into any detailed discussion about the HOW. So for my next post I’ll go through some simple tips and ideas to create your own video content. As always please contact NetVerts to find out how we can create high impact, cost effective videos for you and your brand.

Written by Daniel Thomson.

Daniel Thomson is a gemini nominated and award winning documentary filmmaker who specializes in using documentary storytelling techniques to help companies tell their brand story.

Follow Daniel on Twitter @dannothomson

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