Things have certainly changed in the video marketing industry. If you’re old enough to have been witness to the evolution of video marketing over the last three decades, you understand how drastically a brand’s needs and customer expectations have changed over this period. If time travel was at all possible, a brand storytelling agency back in the year 1990 would be blown away by the vast opportunities for business storytelling using video as the primary medium in the 2020’s. I wonder if such an agency from the ‘90s would know where to start when it comes to video marketing today. The attention spans across age demographics are simply not what they used to be. Brands with their large ad budgets still need to make their standard commercial ads for broadcast. However, social media and Google have altered the style, tone, and sheer volume of a brand’s online video content that now needs to get produced to capitalize on the public’s insatiable appetite for video content.
Nevertheless, as much as things have changed, the fundamentals of branding, marketing, and advertising have remained relatively the same. The importance of clarity in brand image, brand voice, and maintaining brand consistency has never diminished regardless of the changes to the tools of the trade and methods for reaching an audience with video. A good story strategy was and should always be the top priority. It doesn’t matter if you have a $50K annual ad budget or a million-dollar ad budget, buying eyeballs to watch a poor video story is simply irresponsible and potentially brand-damaging. Unlike a brand photo, a brand video that respects the intelligence and every precious second of a consumer’s life might receive ten times the value of your ad dollars due to reaching targeted people who go on to share these videos with family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or whomever they feel would be most interested in this content. The social share might be motivated by the video’s humor, inspiration, message, or for the simple reason that the person who saw the video shared it with someone they knew needed or was presently shopping for the product or service featured in the content.
Being human beings, we’ve been trained to be magically drawn to watch storytelling on a screen. It’s in our DNA. Turn box on. Stare at box. Box show us things. The size of this box has either shrunk to the size of a smartphone or grown to the size of our insanely large TV screens in our homes. Every company should take some time to peruse its own social media streams. After watching any videos, if any, that exist on their social media channels, what do they communicate about the soul of their brand? If you’re dissatisfied with your answer to this question, don’t worry. Let’s delve into some of the key fundamentals of video marketing.
Video Marketing Strategies Depend on Your Marketing Objectives
Most industry leader are confident in their understanding of who their customers are and what their marketing objectives on social media should be. The range of objectives for wanting video marketing can range from pure brand-building and brand awareness to driving more web traffic and online sales conversions. More times than not, companies reach out to our social media agency only knowing that they want a stronger social media presence that better matches the size and scale of their brand. That’s all fine and good, but that’s not a marketing objective. A brand having a strong social media presence is usually the result of having specific marketing objectives based on having a clear understanding of the soul of the brand. In other words, what is the primary pain point that your brand hopes to alleviate, and what is the desired brand identity the brand wants to communicate through video marketing? Are you a legacy brand that once dominated your industry for decades before losing valuable market share to new entrants that seemed to come out of nowhere? Or is your brand one of those hopeful new entrants that want to disrupt the status quo in an industry? Maybe your brand exists somewhere in the middle. Long before the first on-camera participant is chosen, shooting location secured, a script written, or storyboard drawn, clear marketing objectives based on a clear brand storytelling strategy must be established. Jumping right into creating any form of social media content without the proper time and attention spent on idea generation and strategic planning, especially video marketing stories, more likely will lead to an underwhelming and possibly regretful result.
Video Marketing for B2B versus B2C Audiences
Video marketing requires more than simply hiring someone to hold a video camera. Far too many production companies send out a video team that might be great at technically capturing the footage they are tasked with getting but are not strategic storytellers for social media nor are strategic marketers. Unless your internal marketing department has the experience and wherewithal to direct a production company and its crew into the intersection between marketing and storytelling, your video marketing strategy will probably benefit from having a social media audit conducted. The deeper the dive into exploring your competitors and obtaining customer insights, hopefully more relevant and powerful story opportunities will reveal themselves. Armed with a video marketing strategy based on comprehensive data and insights from a B2B and B2B perspective, brands can avoid unintentionally neglecting or alienating an important audience segment. We’ve found this to be more the case when it comes to large, legacy brands that have been doing things the same way for too long without having yet invested in an authentic social media marketing strategy. This is true whether we’re focused on marketing to a B2B or B2C audience. While not mutually exclusive, the platform, content, messaging, style, and tone can be drastically different depending on whether we’re communicating to one audience over the other.
Video Marketing That Feels Professional and Polished or Raw and Authentic?
Video marketing, especially video marketing created specifically for social media, can take on any style, tone, or story format, depending on what resonates with your consumer audience and your overall marketing objective. There are general guidelines for what typically works for most audiences on social media, but what works for one brand will not always work for another brand competing in the same space. Many small businesses, from local brick-and-mortar shops to e-commerce brands with a niche product offering, may not have the marketing budget to splurge on agency content with more complex video stories that have a polished look and feel. In many cases, the smaller the business, the smarter strategy would be to keep the content simple and raw. This means utilizing the benefits of connecting with your consumer with live video or sharing quick smartphone-shot videos with little to no editing. This is especially important for smaller brands garnering support from customers who take great pride in supporting smaller, local companies. Authenticity sells.
On the other end of the spectrum are two groups: First, there are those national and global brands with consumers audiences that have higher expectations for the video marketing they’re exposed to in their social streams, and second, those mid-size companies or new entrants trying to carve out some market share scraps from the giants in their competitive landscape by having video marketing produced that makes their brand appear on-par with what their customer prospects are most familiar and comfortable with. In many of these cases, video marketing should be the next level in their story strategy. The messaging and story theme needs to have strong positioning, and consistency throughout the year and holds value to the viewer in the form of entertainment, education, or ideally both. The content requires professional agency teams to develop, produce, and manage this content. The genre of the content can be dramatic, it can be silly, and it can be inspirational. The content can be scripted with actors. The content can be documentary-style with production teams capturing testimonials, user experiences, or product demonstrations across the country or world. This level of content requires a substantial video marketing budget, but in this world, you usually get what you pay for.
Video Marketing Builds Social Media Communities
Younger professionals still perceive their senior professional colleagues as “old-school” and not working as smart as themselves. The cycle of life. It won’t be long before the Next Generation will be making these same claims about today’s professional Millennials currently on the path or already integral members of the C-suite. The tools of the trade used for creating content and marketing this content are unrecognizable to a marketer from the 90s. Digital equipment, streaming, and social media compelled innovation.
Gone are the days of solely relying on brand awareness through the endless playing of a television gimmick during primetime. DVRs, on-demand, and the overall cultural shift in consumer behavior, online and off, have forever changed the video marketing assets agencies create to help companies become stronger brands, and for many, create online revenue streams the C-suite never imagined were possible