What is a brand? How is it different from just another company, churning out widgets? And why, in the digital age, is it important to start behaving like a brand and building the prestige and influence of that brand with video?
Words by Mark Blair, SVP international, Brightcove
Mark Blair: Every business is now a media business. There’s no excuse for not building engagement with video.
Flexibility and agility are two of the powerful benefits that have sprung from our digitally connected marketplace. Innovation can now happen at lightning speed. But this environment does present a challenge – things can change so quickly that the product or service you relied on for the core of your business last year might become obsolete or out of fashion this year. Companies can no longer rely on their products alone to define who they are. Those who want longevity need to graduate to being brands.
But what is a brand? How is it different from being just another company, happily churning out widgets? Brands are emotive; they are associated with ‘feelings’ and they have a lifespan outside of the financial transaction between company and customer.
The challenge now for companies is to create brands which consumers care about and deliberately choose – or indeed advocate – and are happy to pay more for because they fulfil an emotional need in addition to a functional one.
Today, digital experiences are at the forefront of creating connections between brands and consumers. They can have an even greater influence on brand perception than real contact with the brand itself – both positive and negative.
Set Your Strategy
The most important thing your brand needs when it approaches video is a holistic strategy. Video is something that can be used throughout the life cycle of your relationship with your customers or your partners and suppliers. It’s not only about the selling part of that relationship – and even within the selling part, there are other phases, from acquisition of potential buyers, their education, conversion and when they become users of your product, how do they get the most out of it.
You need to think of it all the way through the journey. And your video strategy isn’t just about your customers, it’s also about your suppliers and partners. And it isn’t just for sales, it’s for education, training, product information, and loyalty. And there’s entertainment too, of course. One of the things video allows you to do is to find the emotive story in something that on the surface may look quite opaque or dull. A talking head delivering details about mortgages may not get people excited, but showing how one of your loans transformed the lives of a real family could be very powerful.
“One thing you need to bear in mind when distributing video on social media platforms is what you might be signing away in terms of rights.”
When media is not a company’s forte, it might not feel confident about its content development skills. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The best results seem to be brought about by a collaboration of internal marketing departments, external agencies and partners. You want to build a diverse pool of contributors for your video content and leverage these contributors for different parts of the strategy. Use the expertise around you and don’t assume you know the best way to show off your own business.
A great example we recently saw was the content created by a data warehousing vendor, on the surface not exactly the most exciting or romantic business endeavour. What the company came up with however was a story of how their systems and data allowed them to source a bunch of corrugated steel that rehoused people who had lost their homes in massive rainstorms in South Asia. Showing how their technology transformed the lives of these unfortunate people was much more effective than a detailed description of their data services.
But what is the best genre of content to serve? Is it a vlog, a documentary, advertorials, corporate events?
This will depend on your overall strategy. Once your strategy is clear, then what to create and who to put it in front of may become obvious. We have learned from talking to customers and looking at the data, there are certain types of content that definitely work best in certain types
We’ve found that, for marketing purposes, blogs with embedded videos can be very effective for lead nurturing. You might have a blog article about a product or service, accompanied by the video which goes into greater depth and highlights. Each type of content encourages exploration of the other.
Or for long-tail training what we’ve found in our own business that recording parts of our user conference and making them available through our video portal is a great way of leveraging all the effort we put into our events. It allows you to attract a wider audience of people than those who attended the conference.
Hitting the Right Target
How and where you are offering your video to customers is also something to consider, and it’s not always the most obvious what is the best. For example, many people might be tempted to send a single-page video directly to their email database, with a video player embedded in the email.
We have actually found that’s not always successful. Your customers are all using widely divergent email browsers, in different versions, each with their own individual different settings, which can be quite a gauntlet for an embedded video to run through successfully. We recommend simply inserting a video player image, which when clicked links out to the video on an external player or platform. When done in this way, offering video content directly to your email database can be very successful. Simple solutions like this, which take just a little bit of imagination and planning, can make all the difference.
Engagement with your content will also be dependent on the tastes and habits of the consumers who want to interact with your brand. You may have a lot of assumptions about these, but doing A/B testing and using the analytics of a quality video platform will help you to tune into what is the best type of content to present and the best place to present it.
“Blogs with embedded videos can be very effective for lead nurturing.”
Clever About Social Media
Social media can be an essential part of the toolkit in forming a relationship with your customers and building a community around your brand.
But again, what’s your strategy?
We’ve found that social platforms are typically about trying to attract new eyeballs and new audiences rather than customers that are deeper in the buying cycle and already have awareness of the brand. What works best for that is short, snappy content to entice the audience seeing you on a social platform to engage with you at a deeper level.
When you can get them on to your own site, you have much better control over brand experience and can capture a lot more data.
One thing you need to bear in mind when distributing video on social media platforms is what you might be signing away in terms of rights. Be sure that whatever agreements you have to
click through when uploading content don’t put you in a position you might regret later.
Some platforms may have redistribution rights or some kind of ownership rights over the content you post. Depending on what your content is, you might want to exercise some caution before stampeding through a bunch of “accept” buttons and automatically agreeing to all terms.
Most of the time that isn’t going to be a problem for you, but there are some highly compliant industries – in the financial sector – who are proceeding with caution about uploading their video content onto certain platforms.
This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of FEED magazine.