Category Archives: B2B

A brand that is dominating the world of  content marketing right now is the notorious Nike Inc; the world’s largest athletic footwear and clothing brand. Over 55 years, Nike is risen to become a shining example of a brand that has it all; market share, $34 billion yearly revenue, contracts with world renowned sportsmen, factories in over 40 countries and selling worldwide in over 170. Nike is doing phenomenally well and shows no sign of slowing down.  Competition is fierce in this space, with brands like Adidas, Puma and New Balance all taking their slice of the market however, something about Nike and its strategy has placed them at the top of the playing field and has kept them from being overtaken or outshined. So what is it that makes Nike different?

 

Founded in Oregon in 1964 by young entrepreneur Phil Knight, Nike started off as a reseller of Japanese running shoes selling to well known sports brands across the US. Knight wrote a paper before the inception of Nike called “Can Japanese Sports Shoes Do to German Sports Shoes What Japanese Cameras Did to German Cameras?” After that Knight went on to create the company Blue Ribbon Sports, which we now know today as Nike Inc. Hard work, luck and determination were not the only forces that turned Nike into a world leading manufacturer of sportswear but also a superb and unique marketing strategy, one that encouraged people to think differently about athletic footwear and oozed the “Just Do It” mentality.

 

Nike has been a brand that always challenges the boundaries of sport, sportswear and athletic principles. So much so that today Nike is worn and bought by billions of people around the world who aren’t even interested in sports. They decided early on that their products would be constantly redesigned and reimagined with their customers in mind, pushing the traditional running shoes as far as they could using crazy inventions like waffle machines to design the soles. Very soon Nike became less about the shoes and more about fitness. They didn’t want to sell you a shoe but instead a mantra of being fit, active and staying healthy. Their shoes were sold as a way to stay in shape but the fact that they were comfy to run in and more stylish to look at was a bonus. Nike very quickly became the fitness brand selling a way of life, an image, a feeling and a lifestyle – their customers and audience then became the most important thing to the business.

 

So, in the 21st century what is it that Nike offers us that makes them so irresistible? To reach their new, digitally savvy audience, Nike put a lot of attention into their content creation, focusing on their social media channels and video production. Through their brilliant use of advertising Nike offers all generations, gender and races across the world this feeling of empowerment and energy. Their marketing strategy is to empower people through uplifting videos, advertisements that ooze culture, social freedom and restraints, fashion trends, lifestyle trends, opinions, messages and love. They test the limits of our personality by being so in tune with the world and providing their customers with a release, a safe place and the feeling that they are not alone. They now produce regular video content that speaks effortlessly to their customers through strong, moving and engaging storytelling. 

“Walk With Love” – Represent Love

 

Nike BETRUE – Nobody Wins Alone

 

“MILES” Joan Benoit Samuelson

 

For a long time now Nike has slowly started to reduce the production of TV adverts and instead focus on video content for their YouTube channel. Understanding that marketing in the digital age is changing, Nike decided that the quickest and most effective way to reach their audiences and customers with detailed, meaningful and relevant content was through online video. They dropped their TV and print advertising spend by 40% between 2010 and 2012 – but increased their overall marketing budget to $2.4 billion in 2012 (Fortune). This marketing strategy in itself shows that Nike as a brand that follows the people, listens to trends and adapts instantly to the changes in culture. TV advertising spend dropped substantially in the last few years because traditional TV viewing has also massively declined. Instead, video streaming and viewing has become a lot more selective, personal and intimate, and because of online streaming it has become hugely accessible and people prefer to binge watch shows at their leisure. YouTube is the second most used site after google (Alexa) and users view more than 1 billion hours of videos each day (YouTube).

 

Nike speak to their audiences on their terms. They provide customers with personalisation, the ability to design their own shoes, content to watch that reflects their attitudes, opinions and lifestyles, not to mention the endless creation of new styles, clothes and shoes that constantly hit our high streets and allow its customers to always feel original and stay excited and passionate about Nike. What is their marketing strategy? It’s to give the people what they want with the utmost time, attention to detail and uncompromising quality whether that’s clothes, experiences or content. 

As recently as 5 years ago, the vast majority of us would have tuned into our favourite show via our TV sets… at home… probably on the sofa. Today, the picture is very different. Almost half of adults aged 22 to 45 are not watching content on traditional TV platforms (AdAge) and 64.8 million people born between 1981 and 1996 will watch streaming videos or downloaded videos on a device at least once a month (Forbes). TV as we know is dead. Long live online streaming! Of course, TV isn’t actually dead. But the way we consume it has changed forever. Many people will still flick the TV on to catch their favourite series as it is released whether that’s X Factor or Silent Witness, but for most of us, on-demand has replaced live viewing as our preferred method of consuming any type of television content. And for Millennials and Generation Z who have come of age in a digital world,  BBC and ITV are increasingly shunned in favour of subscription based services like Netflix or Amazon or user generated content sites like Youtube. 

 

The writing has been on the wall for analogue TV for at least 2 decades and when the analogue signal was switched off in 2017 forcing every individual to access television via a digital box, it wasn’t a great surprise to the industry. The emergence of super-fast broadband that removed the need to have a sky dish or cable TV to access more than 5 channels of television was one of the biggest driving factors behind the shift in the television landscape. That… and the arrival of 3G and cheap mobile data which has allowed video streaming in the palm of your hand.

 

It’s surprising to find that Netflix has actually been around since 1997. It started life as a DVD rental business but began streaming online video in 2007, just 2 years after Youtube was founded. Today Netflix has 139 million paid subscribers worldwide and on Youtube, one billion hours of content are watched every single day. YouTube is ranked as the second-most popular site in the world after Google (Alexa Internet). And, whilst Netflix and Youtube may have paved the way for online video, there are now dozens of different streaming platforms from Disney+ to Apple TV, Now TV to Facebook Watch, TikTok, Instagram TV and Amazon Prime.

 

There’s huge money behind these platforms. Facebook will spend a “measly” $1 billion on video content this year compared to Amazon’s $4 billion spend last year and Netflix’s projected $8 billion spend for 2019 (Media Post). Also this year, Amazon and Netflix have said they will be investing in UK TV production, and will help to promote these shows on both platforms (Video News). However, the question is, will this bring traction to TV broadcasters or, will audiences be tuning into their SVOD (Streaming Video On Demand) services to watch the shows? An Ofcom report released in the summer found that huge investment in original content by digital players has seen subscriptions to SVOD services in the UK overtake subscription to pay-TV services. Ofcom also found that last year that after a period of sustained growth, pay-TV subscription revenues fell in the UK for the first time, falling by 2.7 percent to £6.4 billion. Unsurprisingly as UK consumers turn their back on conventional television viewing in favour of subscription based streaming platforms, they also turn their back on advertising. TV advertising income fell significantly last year, declining seven percent year-on-year in real terms to £3.9 billion (Video News).

 

So what does this mean for brands who have, in the past relied on TV advertising to reach their customers? You guessed it, they’ve started to pump more and more of their budget into online advertising. Last year, digital advertising increased by 9.5% in the UK (emarketer) with video being the fastest growing medium. The exciting thing is that marketers looking to get an edge over their competitors are putting budget behind incredible branded content that is shining a spotlight on their products and services. Volvo, Heineken and Dove are not only running heavy hitting multi-channel campaigns with a hero piece of video content at it’s heart, but many like Patagonia, Red Bull and Nike are becoming publishers in their own right with Youtube channels that include regular, engaging video content that is enjoyed by millions of people.

 

As we, the consumer, become accustomed to subscription TV viewing, the days of sitting through 5 minutes of TV adverts seem like a distant memory. No surprise then, that we actively avoid spending time online in places where we are being hit with constant adverts. With Youtube releasing its own subscription service, it begs the question how long we will have to wait before Facebook, Instagram and other platforms follow suit? Moving forward, brands will have to work harder and harder to get their message seen by their audience and commissioning branded content will be one of the best ways to do that.

In recent years there has been an undoubtable shift in the way brands and advertisers are choosing to communicate with their audiences and customers. Not only is there a steady decline in traditional forms of advertising and a transition towards online video content but, the way brands are using video to advertise is also changing.

Whilst video adverts that play on the immediate desires of a general target audience still have a big role to play in general advertising, advertisers and brands are starting to see the opportunities to connect with their audiences with more meaningful content; content that is relevant to their lifestyles and emotions. What we are seeing now is video being created by brands that is driven more by narrative and storytelling as opposed to the “hard sell” video adverts that has been the norm for so many years.

Take this 2018 advert by Disneyland Paris – The Little Duck as our first example.


The video was posted on Youtube on December 25th and now has 2.9 million views and is the most viewed video on Disney’s channel. It is a video led entirely through narrative that plays with the audience’s emotions. The story is relatable to both an older generation who remember Donald Duck and a younger generation that engages with high quality animation and cute animals. What works well with this video is that it sells the desire to visit Disneyland Paris through the story of the little duck, without needing to mention ticket prices, accommodation or travel. The narrative of the video helps to build an instant and positive connection to Disneyland. 

A lot of brands now produce video content solely for online use because it not only costs less than TV advertising but can also reach an equal number of people. More money can then be put into the production of the video, making them appear more like short films or TV series instead of adverts. They are longer in length, have characters or a protagonist and there is a strong storyline that has a message relatable to the target audience.  

Here is another example by Mercedes Benz – Bertha Benz: The Journey That Changed Everything.

It is a video about the journey of Mrs Benz and her first fuelled car adventure. There is a strong narrative and a main protagonist, the production quality is high with a lot of detail put into the set design and costumes, and there is a relevant and modern message about female empowerment with the tagline at the end of the video “She Believed in Herself”. It is 4 minutes long and therefore would be too long to run as a TV advert but works incredibly well as an online branded video because it’s interesting, eye catching, different from what Mercedes have done in the past and has a meaningful message. 

Creating an online video for your brand that uses storytelling can help you to reach wider audiences that you might not already engage with. The reason the Mercedes Benz video works so well is because the message it is selling is worth sharing, so audiences are more likely to share the video amongst friends and family. The story is powerful and it builds strong emotions which help aids the positive impression of the Mercedes brand.

Here is another example by Delta Airlines.

A very eye catching and heartwarming video that works well at building an emotional connection to Delta Airlines. They’ve told the story of travelling through the eyes of a child which makes it seems a lot more exciting and desirable. What works well with this advert is the brief mentioning of the brand at the end of the video. If the audience is engaged and likes the video, they will need to wait till the end to find out who the brand is behind it. Because the story has been so engaging for the audience, when they see the branding they will respond positively to it.

These are just a few examples of story-led videos from brands that have come out recently online. Videos that rely on storytelling are highly effective at engaging your audience on a much deeper and more meaningful level and they don’t always need a big budget. It is more important to have the right strategy, ideas and script. And most importantly you need to know what story you want to tell.

In today’s digital world, brands can now reach their customers with dozens of touch points from Google and Youtube to Facebook and Instagram. But there’s also a problem; with the proliferation of digital marketing, people are starting to become desensitised to online adverts – they’ve learnt how to tune out the digital ad noise.

 

As we move into the next decade of the 21st century, brands will have to work far harder to connect with their “audiences”. Conventional advertising won’t be enough. They will need to create educational, entertaining or informative content that puts their “audience-first” – putting the customer’s needs before the brand. Not only will this help them to compete for their customer’s attention, but it will also enable them to create a more meaningful relationship with their customers.

 

For consumers, this “Audience-First” video content will compete for their attention with TV programming and other forms of entertainment. The only difference is that the video content they love to watch online, will be powered by brands. For the Brands, the video content they provide will enable them to create a connection to their market and loyalty beyond anything they had experienced before.

 

A lot of major brands like Volvo, Patagonia and Red Bull already have Youtube channels dedicated to audience-first content. These include informative series about interesting people, places or topics that they know their audience will enjoy watching. Volvo run a documentary series called “Human Made Stories” looking at amazing people doing incredible things. Red Bull’s focus is on extreme sports; people snowboarding, mountain biking or surfing, where the only mention of Red Bull is a logo in the corner. And Patagonia do a series called  “Workwear” looking at craftspeople and workers doing interesting jobs. It’s not heavily branded and it’s video content that normal people love to watch.

 

So how do you get started with audience-first video content and how can you incorporate it into your own marketing strategy?

 

It’s firstly important to understand your demographic – their interests, their dislikes, their habits and their activities. You need to understand what sort of video content will resonate with them. It’s clear that a 25-year-old women in London may not enjoy watching the same content as a 50-year-old man in Leeds, unless they both share similar interests and passions. Once you’ve found a common thread to your customers, try to come up with ideas for video content that will resonate with them.

 

Social media platforms offer great tools to connect with customers and find out what they are interested by. Using Instagram stories you can directly ask your audience questions. By using “polls” or “ask me anything” tools, you can find out first hand what your audiences are interested in. So if you want inspiration for your first Youtube series then post the question on Instagram.

 

Audience-first content doesn’t have to be a massive production of documentaries or nation engaging stunts. It just has to be content that is made for your audience, whether that’s “how to videos”, interviews with experts, or recipe videos. At its core, Audience-first content should not be too heavily branded or advertorial. You need to make your audience forget there is any kind of branded message.

 

For more information on Audience-First content please feel free to give us a call or drop us an email. We always encourage our clients to explore audience-first content as we see this as the future focus for brands.

3 Easy Steps to Get Sales with Video

Video is dominating the digital marketing space at the moment and the statistics speak for themselves. According to Google nearly 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store and video ads have an average click-through rate of 1.84% – the highest of all digital ad formats. (Business Insider). But what’s the best way to drive sales for your business with video?

When it come to sales, Google describes the consumer marketing journey in its own framework “See, Think, Do”. In short, these are the 3 phases a customer goes through before buying your product. First, it is awareness of your product or service. Next, they signal an intention to buy and finally, they buy.

Whether you are a B2C brand selling a consumer product or a B2B business selling a service, you need to create a funnel of interest and leads at the start of your consumer’s journey and then guide them through these 3 steps before asking for a sale. The best way to do this is with either an online advertising campaign, an email marketing campaign or a mix of both.

1. Inform

Run some general awareness video adverts on either Google, Youtube or Social Media. This is for the people that don’t know you and haven’t even heard of you. Get them familiar with your business through targeted video adverts. Identify your audience first, decide where the best place is to reach them, then create adverts that softly introduce you to them. Don’t try to strong-arm them with a sale at this point. Brands that use video marketing grow their year-over-year revenue 49% faster than brands that don’t. (Wirebuzz)

2. Educate

Often, your ideal customer doesn’t know they have a problem that you can solve so begin to educate them. Let them know about the value of your product and why it is a good fit for them. In their buyer journey, when they are in Google’s “Think” phase, they will be seeking out information before making a decision so this is a great time to educate them. In fact, searches related to “how to” on YouTube have grown 70% year on year. (Google) Either send videos to your prospects via email (if you’ve captured their information) or re-market to them via Google or Facebook pixel. As I’ve talked about in a previous blog, think about creating videos that focus on the problem rather than the product. For example, if long distance runner is having a problem with blisters and your product solves that, then create content that unpacks “why” blisters happen in the first place, then how your product helps.

3. Offer

Buyers love a deal so run a promotion and deliver the promotion in a video. Run these videos as either 15 second adverts to the same audience you have raised awareness with, re-market to your existing audience or email them directly. Remember to have a finite time-frame on your offer and a definitive cut off point. The video should have a very strong call-to-action so prospects know how to redeem the offer. And remember to keep your videos nice and short. Nearly two-thirds of consumers prefer video under 60 seconds. (Insivia)

A recent survey by (Buffer) found that 73% of marketers said they’d create more video content if there were no obstacles like time, resources, and budget. But always consider that if you create a well-structured video marketing campaign just once, it’s much easier to then replicate it. It will be worth the time, resources and budget you may waste on less effective strategies.

If you want to talk to us about how to drive sales for your business using video then drop us a line at info@smallfilms.com

The word branded content gets banded around quite frequently but what does it actually mean? How does it specifically apply to video? And how can I use it to win more customers?

Wikipedia (always to be taken with a pinch of salt) defines Branded Content as “the practice of marketing via the creation of content that is funded or outright produced by an advertiser” as opposed to “content marketing” which “is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online.” Surely then that’s different to advertising which Wiki describes as “Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea”?

Confused? You are not alone. I’ve sat through many talks with industry leaders who often find it hard to put their finger on the true definition of “branded content”. The lines between advertising and content marketing are often blurred, but one truth remains; branded content offers value to the audience but serves the brand that created it.

If you are interested in what counts as branded content and how to define it then here’s a series of examples from the Haagen Dazs Youtube Channel…

This is their advert. No two ways about it. They are showing the product and pushing their agenda.

But then look at these three videos and their different forms of branded content.

This film was made by well-known filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. It’s a mini documentary that is sponsored by Haagen Dazs. So its branded content right? Seems simple enough.

And what about this video? It tells the story of the Jam Stand company. Seems like a classic bit of content marketing; an interesting story about these entrepreneurs, with a bit of product placement toward the end.

But then it gets slightly confusing. This video is an amazing 360 VR experience looking at the plight of the honey bee. Its a great bit of content that adds value for people watching. But it was commissioned by Haagen Dazs to shout about the social purpose work they are doing so it’s strongly pushing their agenda. So is it branded content or a clever bit of advertising?

Ultimately semantics aside, there’s one thing that unites all three pieces of branded content; they all put the “Audience-First” by offering value to the audience rather than being just a straight-up advert. And when you are creating video, this part is critical if you want to generate more interest in your company, greater customer allegiance and sales.

So how do I create branded content for my business?

Its actually quite simple to create your own branded content. It just takes a bit of planning and a strong understanding of your target audience.

Think about your customer demographics and what interests them. Then start to build a content plan around that. Remember, you are putting your “audience first”, not your company agenda. So all the videos need to be informative, educational, interesting or entertaining. Don’t push the company agenda too heavily. Give your audience something first and then be grateful when they give you their allegiance.

For example, if you are a tech company that’s developed a new app to help people find car parking spots then what content would your customers find useful? A video guide to all the different ways you can pay for parking? Videos with insider tips on parking in major UK cities? You can even start to look at concepts that are less directly aligned with your company’s purpose like “DAB Radio Stations reviews”, “How to avoid road rage” and “Cheap fuelling spots in the UK”.

If your company has a social purpose or passion that you are aligned with, then explore creating content around that. So if your Parking App company also campaigns for the promotion of electric cars or you back an environmental charity then why not start a web series interviewing interesting people about those subjects?

Back when I worked in the TV industry in the development department, we’d cook up ideas for television series in a brainstorming meeting. Once we’d considered the TV channel we were pitching to and its tone of voice, as well as the viewer demographic we were appealing to, we’d come up with ideas that we thought they might like. We’d then plan out every episode of the series with post-its on a whiteboard until we had a well-formed plan to pitch to the commissioners at the TV channel.

The same plan of action should be taken when creating a branded content plan. Think of your Youtube channel as your own TV channel and you need to create different TV series to populate that channel. How frequently do you want episodes to show? Once a week? 2 per month? And how many months will the series last before you assess its success?

Why bother when I can just run paid adverts?

The online landscape is saturated with advertising. We are bombarded with it day in, day out. People are becoming desensitised to advertising and we’re learning to tune it out. Not to say that online adverts don’t have their place; they absolutely do. They are great for brand awareness, direct calls to action and can even go viral in their own right. But if you want to cut through the noise and engage your customers on a more meaningful level then you need to be creating your own branded content video plan.

I truly believe that brands can be the driving force behind meaningful video content that adds value to people’s lives. And the good news is you don’t have to be a multi-national conglomerate to do it. In fact, for startups and SMEs, branded content can be one of the most affordable and effective ways of generating new business. So what are you waiting for?

If you want to talk to us about how to create branded content for your business then drop us a line at info@smallfilms.com

 

In 2018, video became one of the most desirable forms of digital marketing content. But whilst B2C brands have been quick to use video in their marketing, many B2B companies have been slow to take advantage of this fantastic resource. The truth is, B2B companies who do invest in video find that it is extremely rewarding. Here are 7 reasons why video can improve B2B marketing.

 

  1. Video can improve sales

    Not only has it become easier for companies to produce affordable and engaging video content, but, in a survey conducted by Tubular insights on B2B marketers “73% of them say video positively impacts ROI” and “50% are using video content for email marketing already”. Hubspot’s 2018 report revealed that 81% of businesses use video in their inbound marketing strategy, simply because the ROI is always higher then the investment made on the video. For B2B businesses, including a video in your landing page can increase conversions by 80% (Insivia). Largely due to the fact that on average people spend 2.6x more time on pages with video than without (Insivia).

  2. Videos can be both short term and a long term strategies

    People say that a picture speaks a thousand words, well guess what, one minute of video is worth 1.8m words (Biteable). The great thing about video is that you can create multiple edits from a single shoot. Leading to both long form (2 minutes or more) and short form content (5 – 15 seconds). You can use these assets in multiple customer touch points like your website and social media channels.

  3. Social media video marketing is booming

    Word on the street is B2B businesses are starting to see the positive effects social media marketing can have on customer retention and new business. A study reveals that 53% of B2B prospects say social media plays a huge role in their buying decision (entrepreneur). Luckily for you, all social media platforms prioritise video, and there are now so many ways for you to reach your target audience. From Facebook Live and Stories, to Instagram TV. Google organically prioritises and boosts any video posted on the internet through its search engines (Alexa).

  4. Audiences and customers find it easier to engage with video content

    Where both video and text are available on the same page, 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service (Hubspot). Even CEO’s, Presidents and Managing Directors would rather watch a video then read graphs, diagrams and text (Wordstream). So when you understand that a person retains 95% more information through watching a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text (Wirebuzz) why wouldn’t you be using it? In 2017, online users viewed more than 500 million hours of video each day on YouTube (Business Insider), and in the past 30 days, the amount of video uploaded to the internet equals the amount of Television produced in the last 30 years (Blue Corona).

  5. Storytelling has become more important for business owners

    With the rise of video marketing and the proliferation of smart technology, more businesses are finding it easier to connect with their customers on a meaningful level (The Drum). TV advertisements have been surpassed by online adverts. Consumers now are more conscious of “fake news”, disloyal brands, false hopes, and unprofessional marketing practices. It has become a lot harder to pull the wool over people’s eyes, and they are now searching for deeper connections with businesses. We can see it in their consumption, with nearly 50% of internet users looking for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store, and making better buying decisions once viewing a branded video (Google).

  6. Video creates an experience of being there

    80% of users can recall a video ad that they viewed in the last 30 days, simply because it offers them a unique experience that can be different every time (Single Grain). You can convey multiple messages and feelings to your audience through video, and it also offers you the opportunity to build a one-on-one, personal connection with that single viewer. People are more willing to associate with your business if they can build a human connection with it, for example, 65% of executives have navigated to a vendor’s site, and 39% have called a vendor after watching a video (Forbes).

  7. Video can cut through the noise

    In comparison to static forms of marketing, video ads have an average clickthrough rate of 1.84%, the highest of all digital ad formats (Business Insider). And social video currently generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined (Wordstream). The desirable form of content online for your customers, no matter what field they are in, is video. And brands that use video marketing grow their year-on-year revenue 49% faster than brands that don’t (Wirebuzz).

     

    It’s crazy that there are still companies not investing in video marketing. Especially when you see all of these amazing facts and statistics. Marketing and advertising are becoming more important everyday for B2B and B2C companies. By incorporating video into your inbound and outbound marketing strategy, you are not only setting yourselves to be experts in your field, but you’re also saving yourselves a lot of time, money and resource. Your competitors are probably already doing video, so why aren’t you?

If you are an SME and haven’t heard of the term ambush marketing, then you may be missing a trick. It’s a high impact, cost effective way for brands to hog the limelight and is frequently being used by the likes of Pepsi, Burger King and Nike to generate huge sales. And the good news is that you don’t have to be a big brand to use ambush marketing. It works for emerging brands too. So, what is ambush marketing and why is it so effective?

Imagine you want to hold a street party but can’t afford it. Then you find out your neighbor is hosting his own street party with a band and an expensive sound system. So you invite all your friends over and pass the party off as your own. Before you know it, your neighbour’s guests have even ended up at your house. You’ve got the street party you always wanted and didn’t have to pay a thing. #partyambush.

Now imagine you are Coco Cola and you’ve paid a fortune to sponsor the World Cup. But then Pepsi, who hasn’t paid a penny in sponsorship, decides to rebrand all their drinks cans with pictures of the England World Cup team. They win sales from Coke without the hefty price tag of official sponsorship. Catch my drift?

The most common form of ambush marketing takes place surrounding key sporting events where brands would ordinarily have to pay for sponsorship like the World Cup, Wimbledon or the Olympics. But it can also be used for other key calendar events like Movie Releases, Royal Birthdays, Festivals OR to hijack big marketing announcements from other brands like Apple or Tesla. And that marketing can manifest in print, TV, digital, radio or a brand’s packaging.

So how can emerging brands use ambush marketing effectively? And what about video – how can you use it to amplify an ambush marketing campaign?

1. Be Direct

In this game you need to be proactive and keep a beady eye on your annual calendar. There are many events that pop up throughout the year which you could create some awesome content to generate buzz. Form connections through imagery, colour and slogans whether that’s Union Jacks for a Royal Wedding, rainbows for London Pride or in the case of Blue Kitchen restaurant this year – create a social media video.
During the world cup they create this video which referenced Maradona’s famous “Hands of God”. So even thought Blues Kitchen has no official connection to the present world cup they formed a strong association that would have resonated with their audience.

Your ambush doesn’t just have to be inline with a specific event – it can stem from anything that is current or trending. You need look no further than social media for the latest meme or hot topic. Do you remember when fidget spinners first came into town and how everybody went crazy for them? Well Burger King took that trend in their stride and produced this awesome Gif…

As an emerging brand this is exactly the type of trend that could you easily to create some content around.

2. Be Fearless

To make an omelet you have to break a few eggs. So to stay ahead of your competition, you’ll have to risk putting a few noses out of joint with your ambush marketing. Look at what your competitors are doing or any bigger brands that you could ambush and then form a marketing campaign around their events. For example, in 2012, Nike piggybacked off London Olympic fervor with their own TV campaign called “Find your Greatness” despite the fact that Adidas were the official sponsor, not Nike.

And an example of an emerging brand jumping on a big brand’s bandwagon is Mous – they timed the release of their indestructible phone case with the arrival of the Iphone X. They even ambushed the long queue outside the Apple store and filmed some video content with the hopeful Iphone owners putting their indestructible case through its paces.

3. Be Predatory

Look for opportunities to have a dig at your competition. Here’s another example from Burger King where they hijacked the cinema release of the Clown horror film “IT” and used it to poke fun at their main competitor McDonalds with the slogan “Never Trust a Clown”. They created this piece of video content to promote the campaign.

And Android released this advert for their Smart watches just before the release of the Apple Watch, making the point that as an Android smart watch owner they have different styles so you can still be individual but with Apple, you only get one choice.

As an emerging brand there are so many opportunities lying in wait for you to do your own ambush marketing campaign, whether that’s piggybacking off a major event, jumping on a new trend that’s doing the rounds on social media or having a dig at some of your bigger competitors with a counterintuitive video campaign. Just look at the calendar and for anything you can take advantage of, then start your scheming! Be the predator, not the prey.

Video content is King

According to a recent study by Forrester Research, 1.8 million words of text is worth 1 minute of video in terms of impact. Whether such a comparison is really accurately quantifiable, it’s clear that video is rapidly overtaking text as the most dominant form of digital content.

In a fast-moving world of Social Media, changing technologies and ever more selective consumers, it’s the attention-grabbing, story-telling and engaging qualities of video that make it the most effective and shareable way for brands to communicate with their audiences. Indeed, by 2021 it’s predicted that a staggering 80% of global consumer internet traffic will be video. 

Social Media has changed the way we consume video content

There are no two ways about it then – consumers love video and businesses are quickly having to adapt by making video a central part of their digital marketing strategies. So far, so straightforward. But it’s not quite as simple as commissioning a video, sticking it on your website and sharing a few links across Social Media.

The evolving digital landscape is creating more and more ways for audiences to consume video content and an increasing number and variety of Social Media platforms are at the forefront of this. Each Social Media platform has its own audience, character, features and functions, not to mention technical restrictions and conventions about hosting video. Audiences have different expectations and consume video differently according to each platform. Forward-thinking brands can take advantage of this by considering these Social Media nuances when planning their video distribution strategies. You can stay one step ahead of the competition by carefully adapting your video content to have the maximum impact on each Social Media platform.

To help you get started, here are our top tips on how to use video content across the most popular Social Media networks:

Facebook Tips

The stats

Using video to get brand engagement on Facebook is more important than ever. Facebook generates more than 8 billion video views per day (source Bloomberg) and views of branded video content have increased 258% since 2016 (Tubular Insights). Square video gets 275% more views and 482% more shares than regular. 

The tone

Facebook is primarily a personal network of family and friends. Of course, businesses make great use of it for marketing purposes but consumers are largely using it in an informal way. It’s great for B2C and any video content you post should be friendly, entertaining and sit well in users’ feeds alongside casual updates from friends. Don’t post anything corporate or specialist and keep the tone light.

The format

Square video is outperforming regular video in terms of engagement, perhaps due to the increase in internet usage on Mobile phones. 

Facebook videos autoplay and the majority of people watch without sound – make sure your video is captivating in the first few seconds to stop users scrolling on by – and don’t forget to add captions or text overlay and an attention-grabbing thumbnail and title.

Videos under 2 minutes long perform best.

Upload your video natively (rather than posting links to other video platforms) because the Facebook algorithm rewards native video. 

Go live

Facebook’s algorithm also rewards live video as it is the most engaging type, and what’s more when brands post live video, it also seems to increase the reach of their non-live video content. Facebook live videos are viewed for 3 times longer than uploaded recorded video and get 10 times as much engagement. Live videos should be longer than recorded videos (but less than 15 minutes).

Advertise

Reach a highly targeted market with engaging video advertising on Facebook. Video ads receive 10 to 30% more views than other image ads (although often with a higher CPC).

Twitter Tips

The stats

Twitter is the channel for short, fleeting updates and therefore hasn’t emphasised video as much as some of the other social media channels. However, 82% of Twitter users say they watch video content on the platform (Bloomberg). Twitter reports that Tweets with video are 6 times as likely to be retweeted as Tweets with static images, and 70% of US marketers said they were confident they could drive sales through Twitter video advertising (www.emarketer.com)

The tone

Twitter is great for business networking and connecting with influencers and customers. The tone should be more professional than Facebook, but avoid overly spammy or salesy content. You can be more businesslike in what you post, but be conversational too as ‘real-time’ interactions are common.

The format

Twitter supports MP4 or MOV format video and you can post landscape, square or vertical videos. Square and vertical perform best because 93% of Twitter video views are on Mobile devices (Adweek). Films can be no longer than 2 minutes 20 seconds. Between 30 and 45 seconds is the optimum length however so the platform is ideal for posting teaser clips to longer format video content on YouTube or your website.

Go live

Live video marries really well with the real-time immediacy of the Twitter platform and posting live video via Periscope is a great way to promote business events, conferences, product launches etc. 

Advertise

Video advertising now accounts for over 50% of Twitter’s revenue and video website cards or video app cards can drive viewers directly to your website. 

Instagram Tips

The stats

While primarily a photo sharing platform, the amount of time users spend watching video on Instagram has increased 80% year on year since video feature was launched in 2013 (Instagram). The main demographic is 18-29 years old (59% of this age-group uses the platform) and video advertising gets 3 times as many comments as photo advertising. 35% of Instagram users are creating and viewing video via Instagram stories (Mediakix).

The tone

Instagram is a friendly and informal platform used predominantly by the Millennial and Generation Z demographic.  Its visual nature encourages active engagement and Instagram posts get the highest brand engagement of any Social Media platform (Invespcro). It is a really useful platform therefore for informal visual storytelling, communicating brand culture and identity, and for creating an emotionally engaged brand community. It is also very effective for showcasing products and online shopping for retail brands.

The format

Instagram video must be less than 60 seconds in length. Use vertical video in Instagram stories, and landscape for timeline video. An Instagram story video can only be 15 seconds in length, but you can add as many stories as you like, or make a longer story by posting multiple 15 second chunks sequentially.

Go live

Live video on Instagram can be up to an hour long and is available for your audience to watch (in full) in the stories and live section at the top of the screen. Live lends itself to seasonal stories and events or time limited promotions. It can also be a great way to increase engagement with your audience by means of live Q&As and chat.

Advertise

As we discovered earlier, video advertising on Instagram generates 3 times as many comments as photo advertising. As well as standard video ads between 3 and 60 seconds long including room for 2,200 characters of text, brands can now use carousel video ads by adding up to 5 videos to one ad, along with up to 2,200 characters of text.

Instagram TV

Instagram has recently launched Instagram TV, a long form video app that’s also available within Instagram. Videos on the app will be vertical in format and can be up to an hour long, suggesting that Instagram is vying for YouTube style content.

Linkedin Tips

The stats

75% of business executives said that they watch work-related video weekly (Cisco Systems) making professional networking platform Linkedin ideal for hosting business videos. 38% of marketers use video on Linkedin and 55% of business owners said they would continue or start to share video on Linkedin in 2018. Linkedin users are also 20 times more likely to share a video than any other type of post (Linkedin). 61 million Linkedin users are senior level influencers and decision makers and Linkedin is the top channel for distributing content for 94% of B2B marketers.

The tone

As a professional networking, B2B and recruitment platform, Linkedin suits a corporate and formal tone and is the place to demonstrate industry expertise and personal thought-leadership to your audience. 50% of US internet users with a college degree use Linkedin so your content should be value-adding and informative. Video can be used professionally to showcase projects, conduct interviews, show case-studies and post how to’s and demonstrations.

The format

Linkedin enabled a native video function recently and it now allows members (not businesses as yet except via advertising) to upload videos natively between 3 seconds and 10 minutes long from the app or web in either vertical or horizontal formats. Vertical videos will be cropped to square and videos will autoplay silently in the feed. The platform has also recently added sticker and text options for video. Native video will rank higher in searches than video links to other platforms. Although you can’t livestream, you can post a video as soon as you have recorded it and you can also share it to your company page.

Advertise

Linkedin has recently rolled out business video advertising in the form of Video for Sponsored Content and Company pages. Businesses can now pay to showcase their companies with video on their company pages and can sponsor highly targeted B2B video content that will autoplay in audience feeds.

YouTube Tips

The stats

The daddy of video hosting platforms, YouTube has a staggering 149 million viewers per month. (Statista). More than 1 billion hours of video are watched daily and more than 50% of YouTube video views come from Mobile devices (YouTube). YouTube also reaches more 18-49 years olds than any broadcast or cable TV network, and whilst time spent on YouTube by this demographic has increased by 74%, TV watching has decreased by 4%.

The tone

Although a lot of YouTube content is perceived as being entertainment based, it’s very much worth businesses having their own YouTube channels to raise awareness and build brand identity and engagement. Google has a strong bias towards YouTube videos in searches (as opposed to videos hosted on websites or other platforms) (Stone Temple) and 70% of people say they watch YouTube videos to ‘solve a problem’ and 86%, to ‘learn new things’. YouTube is therefore a brilliant tool for brands to use to explain how their products and services work and to educate and inform on industry issues. 

The format

As a video hosting platform rather than a Social Media platform, you can upload all sorts of format and length videos to YouTube as long as they don’t exceed 20GB. However, ComScore reported that the average YouTube video length is 4.4 minutes, and Wistia research has shown that while you will keep 60% of viewers watching to the end of a 4 minute video, you will retain 75% of viewers of a 1-2 minute video. Shorter still seems to be sweeter on YouTube. 95% of YouTube video ads are audible (Google) – both vision and sound are important on this platform.

Go Live

Live streaming is possible on YouTube (and now also from your desktop) if your ‘account is in good standing’ and is verified.  It’s a useful feature for vloggers to share live updates and for businesses to share live video of events/launches etc.

Advertise

YouTube accounts for a quarter of digital ad spend in the US. There are three video advertising options, the most popular being the 6 second bumper ads which appear before, during or after other videos and cannot be skipped. YouTube say that ’70% of bumper ads drive a significant lift in brand awareness.’ The second type of advertising is TrueView which is adverting that plays before, during and after videos, but which can be skipped after 5 seconds. The advertiser is only charged if a viewer watches for 30 seconds or engages with the video. Discovery ads appear when a viewer is browsing content on the web or YouTube and can be any length. The advertiser is charged when a viewer clicks on the ad.

Snapchat Tips

And a final word for Snapchat. Although the least used Social Media platform for video marketing, Snapchat’s popularity amongst the under 24’s should not be underestimated. For businesses targeting this demographic, they can make use of Snapchat stories to post 10 second temporary stories, and can take advantage of Snap Ads to get their video advertising content placed in users feeds.

If you would like help with producing video for different social media platforms, contact us here.

Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign.

Marketing to millennials.

As the digital landscape changes and consumers become more media and tech savvy, brands are having to adapt quickly in the way that they find customers and market to their audiences. Recent research has shown that display advertising is rapidly losing its effectiveness due to the widespread use of ad blocking software and viewers’ increasing tendency to distrust and ignore explicit marketing techniques. After sixty years of overt disruptive advertising, it seems audiences are getting wise to it. Technology is putting the power firmly back in their hands. Digitally competent consumers can now decide when and how they interact with brands and demand uninterrupted digital experiences with value-adding, entertaining content to keep them engaged.

But with more global competition and marketing noise than ever, this increasing rejection of hard-sell advertising means that brands now need alternative ways of reaching their audiences. Branded video content has therefore become the newest and most effective tool for brands to engage with their customers.

So what exactly is branded content?

It’s complicated! There is much disagreement about what actually differentiates ‘branded content’ from other forms of marketing. At its very basic level, branded content is customer focused and puts the brand’s ‘audience’ first. Rather than traditional advertising which informs and persuades customers of brand benefits, branded content takes a different approach. Treating its audience as real individuals instead of merely ‘customers’, branded content attempts to foster relationships socially and emotionally with consumers through tailored storytelling and engaging creative content rather than explicit advertising. The aim is to build customer loyalty and an authentic brand-consumer relationship rather than strong-arming people into buying your products.

The evolution of advertising into branded content.

Traditionally, brands have sought to reach new or larger audiences through paid advertising with the big content publishers and broadcasters. In the past they might have taken thirty second TV commercial spots and/or bought up display or banner advertising with print or online publishers. Of course this still happens, but brands are having to become less formulaic in order to connect with and engage their customers. Traditional advertising still has a place – but is increasingly being used as part of integrated campaigns with diverse types of branded content across multiple channels. Taking a more holistic approach to content and distribution in this way enables brands to achieve the sort of in-depth creative storytelling that viewers might actively choose to consume.

Types of branded content.

The point of branded content is that it should seem less like disruptive advertising and should integrate well into the surrounding online content and TV programming. Because of this, it can take many different forms – from sponsorship of brand-aligned existing programming to full length ad break ‘programmes’, documentary film collaborations, music videos and even feature films. It is this diversity of style and content collaboration with the big publishers and broadcasters that has led to a blurring of the lines between traditional advertising and programming and between brands and traditional content publishers. As long as this doesn’t advance brands’ agendas in a biased or dishonest way – the rise of branded content can be seen as a welcome injection of creativity and funding for traditional content publishing and programme making.

Here are some of our favourite types of branded content campaigns:

 The programme sponsor:

Wickes advertising sponsors Homes programming on Channel 4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu6w7FZmDik

The full-length ad space takeover:

Waitrose ran full-length ad break ‘recipe shows’ with Heston Blumenthal and Delia Smith between food programming and have also launched their own YouTube channel to showcase their content.

 Moving into the online space – the brand ‘hosted’ live, cross-media TV show:

Carling partnered with the Premier League and Sky Sports to host a Friday night football show,  Carling in off the Bar – a half hour live pre-match broadcast from a pub, simulcast on Facebook Live, YouTube and Sky Sports with half-time match analysis streamed live on social media and post-match analysis. An ideal cross-media vehicle for Carling to reconnect with its target audience of 18-35 year old men.

The online value-adding content collaboration:

The Performers – Gucci with GQ

Featuring 5 of the world’s ‘coolest’ guys (according to GQ), this series of films followed 5 performers as they travelled to places of personal pilgrimage to share stories of their inspirations. The characters and stories take centre stage, but Gucci accessories are ever present.

The branded content commercial break replacement:

The US Comedy Central Channel is now running a 2 ½ minute branded content series once a month instead of a traditional ad break in an effort to blend advertising with quality comedy content and keep viewers watching.

http://handytheseries.com

The documentary film content partnership:

Volvo  + Sky Atlantic – Human Made Stories

Volvo partnered with Sky Atlantic to produce a series of inspiring short documentary films centring on the emotional impact of human innovation, raising brand perception of Volvo as a progressive, innovative manufacturer and taking advantage of the increasing popularity of socially-aware content.

The Lego Movie

The best example of a brand commissioning a feature film and probably the finest and most successful piece of branded content ever created.

 

Whatever the moral ins and outs of the rise of branded content and its impact on the big content publishers and broadcasters – one thing is clear, and that is that brand influence on the digital content we consume is growing – whether audiences perceive it to be ‘advertising’ content or not. TV – be it broadcast, playback or video on demand still accounts for 76% of UK video consumption and it’s where brands want to be (Thinkbox). With other vehicles like Facebook Watch up and coming, brand-funded programming and programming agendas are definitely here to stay. The less direct approach to marketing is working – and both brands and publishers are fast cottoning on to that fact. The big brands have started the ball rolling, but surely – the smaller ones won’t be far behind?

If you would like help with creating branded video content for your business – contact us here

Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign.