Video is not a new way for companies to market their products and services to customers. Commercials have been allowing us to do this for quite some time! But something that once may have been viewed as a tool for larger companies with more robust advertising and production budgets to aspire towards has rapidly evolved into something much more fundamental.
Video Is Powerful
Why do we choose one brand over another? Is it because of actual past experiences, or because we are shaping our experiences based on influences and marketing? It’s possible in many cases to be a combination of these things, but certainly the way in which a brand is positioning itself can significantly influence customer behavior.
This is why it’s more important than ever to carefully craft and tell your brand story. A brand story helps build a mental connection with your customers and encourages customer loyalty. So in a very real sense, your brand isn’t about you or what you think. Your brand is about what the customers think about you.
Few media channels allow you to tell these stories as effectively as video. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then moving pictures and actual scenes must compound that by an incredible magnitude. Seeing real human beings on our screens and being able to process their body language and facial expressions offers the ability to convey emotions and create human connections much more easily than we can achieve through other channels.
Video Doesn’t Have To Be Hard!
Most of us are intimidated by the high production barriers and cost for producing great video. It takes special teams with high-end equipment to produce the caliber of video that’s worthy of bearing the name of our brand, right?
Well, sure, in a perfect world that’s the goal. But don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good (or even of the great)! With a modern smartphone and a decent audio recording device, most of us have the ability to create quality videos at affordable prices. We may have to postpone exotic locations and hordes of paid actors for later, more ambitious projects. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get the wheels turning!
Simple videos with single team members in well-lit settings, along with some simple royalty-free stock audio can help us start experimenting right away. Like with any strategic marketing campaign, depending on your budget it may be a smart idea to start small, measure your results, and gradually increase your investment over time once you begin to collect some evidence that your campaigns work.
Focus On Your Messaging & Brand Story
If you have a smaller video budget, this may be an opportunity for you to get creative. It’s easy to get caught up in slick production campaigns and lose sight of our basic messaging. But when we’re forced to keep production simple because of budget constraints, the upside is that our teams can focus more on the messaging.
Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind as you begin to plan your first campaigns, or even to keep in mind as you evaluate a long-standing video marketing initiative.
A) Research Your Customers
Make sure that you’ve researched your customers and audience. You can dive into demographic and psychographic information, but at a minimum you want to have a basic sense of who your customers are so your messaging can connect. What do they care about? What motivates them? What do they like and dislike? How do they communicate?
For more information on identifying your target market, Inc.com has a great guide:
B) Differentiate Your Content
Differentiation is also critical. Unfortunately, you can’t just differentiate for the sake of it and call your brand special. Differentiation has to be meaningful to your audience and genuine to your brand, otherwise it doesn’t count. Gatorade is not all that different from other sports drinks, but they sure have the “performance enhancement” thing locked down, don’t they?
C) Distill Your Message
Don’t get overwhelmed trying to tell everything about your brand to everyone all at once. Instead, distill your story into smaller messages that resonate with different groups of your audience and create shorter, authentic videos for them. This can dramatically increase engagement because the story’s message really connects.
D) Think Beyond Just “Commercials”
If video is such an excellent way to communicate emotions and build meaningful connections with our audience, why limit ourselves to only doing this with our advertising and social media? Wouldn’t our sales teams, support centers, and even internal business divisions all benefit from this sort of enhanced human engagement?
Consider incorporating video in some way into more elements of your company than just a few commercials throughout they year and you may discover that your organization will begin to exponentially increase the strength and visibility of its brand story.
Getting employees involved in video production can go a long ways to telling the story of a brand. After all, the employees are the ones actually building the brand behind the scenes. The below video does a great job using employees to tell a compelling story about the kind of people they are, and the sort of company culture they have.
This is a great example because it serves its purpose as a recruiting tool— attracting great people to work for them. It also has a secondary purpose of being an example of how well they run their business. Prospective clients can aspire to be like them and make the mental connection with their brand and software.
Will You Lead The Charge?
With the ability to produce HD video using only a smartphone, and the ubiquity of social media networks for sharing multimedia content, it’s easier than ever for you, your customers, and even your competitors to create video content that can have a dramatic impact on your brand’s perception in the market.
Remember Zune, the mp3 player by Microsoft? Even if it didn’t offer revolutionary design like an iPod, it cost less, featured some impressive tech, and arguably had a niche in the marketplace.
While Microsoft held a strong position in the enterprise software world, it failed to tell a compelling brand story about the new product. Without it, Apple stepped in and defined the Zune as a cheap knockoff instead of it’s potential as an economical alternative to the iPod. Those “Mac vs. PC” ads certainly didn’t help, either!
Examples like that are starting to play out on much smaller scales through social media as individuals now have the potential to generate a plethora of video content about your products or brand.
This is why it is critical to tell your brand story early and often. By incorporating video, you’re using the best medium to connect with your audience and defend against your competitors.
There’s a clear business case to get with the video program, and so many creative ways that companies can use the medium to tell their brand story. Videos can be informational, inspiring, useful, and narrowly targeted for maximum strategic benefit.
You don’t necessarily have to wait until you have a major dedicated budget to get going with this, but it certainly will require a bit of planning and commitment from your team in order to plan and implement a successful campaign. So start small, get your team on board, and have some fun!