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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
In the fast-evolving world of digital marketing, the way we consume content is changing. With less reliance on desktop and laptop computers and rapidly expanding mobile technology, consumers can choose exactly when, how and where they access the internet and interact with online content. To grab the attention of this busy on-the-go audience with a short attention span, only the most engaging, flexible and value-adding content formats will continue to make the grade. With recent research showing that 1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million words (Forrester Research), now is the time to say goodbye to text – and welcome to a golden age of video marketing.
This is all very well for the large global brands, but what if your brand is small, or new? Smaller businesses can be put off by the perceived expense and technical issues involved in creating regular quality video content, so is it really worth the effort? The stats would seem to suggest that it very definitely is.
A Cisco report predicted that by 2018, a staggering 78% of global consumer internet traffic will be video. Adding video to your website landing page has been shown to increase conversions by 80% (Invisia), and to engage audiences to reduce your bounce rate. The average user spends 80% more time on a website with video (Mist Media). What’s more – looking at the the ultimate metric, 76% of businesses report that video has been good for their ROI (Wyzowl).
The numbers speak for themselves, but if you still need convincing have a look at our top reasons why video content is king in brand marketing:
- It can provide useful information on your products
Consumers want enhanced information on products and services – particularly new ones. Explainer videos are a brilliant way of adding value to the customer experience whilst at the same time positioning your brand as helpful and knowledgeable. Your brand becomes not just a service or product provider, but also an expert information resource. And that’s good for sales. 74% of viewers who watched an explainer video went on to purchase the product or service (Wyzowl).
- It can shape and reinforce your brand identity
As part of an integrated branding strategy, video content is the most effective way of getting across your your brand identity and story. Video appeals to all of the senses – you can use sound, music, attractive visuals, narrative, emotion, humour and mood to convey what you want people to ‘feel’ about your brand. And how they feel has a huge impact on their consumer behaviour. If they feel connected to your brand through your authentic use of video, they will develop trust and form a relationship with your business.
- It’s the most engaging of all content formats
Research at Diode Digital showed that 60% of online viewers will watch a video before reading any text. Video advertising also has the highest CTR of all digital format advertising and consumers are much more likely to click on video than static banner ads (Sizmek). Social media platforms are increasingly being optimised for video content, and video is shared a huge 1200% more than links and text combined on Social Media. (Simply Measured). It’s also beneficial for brand recall. 80% of consumers can remember a brand video they’ve watched in the last month (Hubspot).
- It’s great for brand SEO
Google owns YouTube so it’s not surprising that video content often comes high up in searches. In fact, your brand is 53x more likely to be at the top of Google search results if you have video embedded on your website (Moovly). Make sure your videos are SEO optimised to aid this, using keywords, SEO titles, and back-links to your products and other pages.
- It can revolutionise your emarketing
Embedding video content in your enewsletters can transform their impact. Hubspot reports that click-through rates can be boosted by 200% – 300% by the addition of video content.
- It’s flexible and works well on all devices
Video content works equally well on everything from PCs and laptops to tablets and smartphones and is particularly suited to a dynamic, out-and-about audience. With increasing mobile device usage and the growth of m-commerce, video is the perfect medium for reaching the mobile generation.
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. Contact us here.
How brands can use documentary-style video in content marketing
But what is documentary-style video content exactly?
Imagine a documentary you see on television about a subject you are passionate about… it could be anything from rock climbing or emerging music artists to disaster relief or homelessness. Now imagine a brand has taken the initiative to create that documentary content and distribute in online for free without a strong advertising agenda. It’s the newest form of video content that is emerging and there’s a very good reason why it is so successful. Rather than creating a commercial that relies on a big advertising spend to distribute it successfully, by creating free, short-form documentaries, the brand will not only have the potential for massive organic sharing on social media but also to lift its image in the eyes of its customers.
But why is this style of video content suddenly becoming so prevalent?
Video is King
It’s old news that video is the undisputed King of content marketing. Research shows that 60% of online consumers will watch a video before reading any text and video has the highest click through rate of any form of digital advertising (Sismek). Video content is also highly engaging – it is shared across social channels a whopping 1200% more than just links and text combined (Simply Measured). The stats say it all. Any business that is serious about marketing will be taking advantage of video’s many benefits, particularly when it comes to communicating their brand identities and stories.
Cut through the clutter
But in an online world where the moving image increasingly dominates, how can brands cut through the visual clutter and stand out from the crowd? This year, almost 80% of internet traffic is predicted to be video (Cisco). As the quantity of video increases, consumers are becoming more discerning and selective about what they choose to watch, and social media algorithms are changing to weed out the more spammy branded content and click bait from our news feeds. The average modern consumer is advertising savvy and likes to consume media proactively. Consumers are now deciding how and when to interact with their brands of choice and are increasingly rejecting traditional overt marketing and advertising methods.
Quality over quantity
Brands then, need to keep on their toes to reflect the changing online consumer environment when it comes to creating content that their audience will want to engage with. Video is great – but just producing lots of standard video content is no longer enough. The challenge now for brands is to achieve quality over quantity. Video content creation is moving into a more strategic and thoughtful phase. As the emphasis shifts towards longer form, more meaningful and memorable content that consumers actively want to watch, and that social channels reward, documentary-style branded video is coming into its own.
The rise of the documentary-style branded video
‘Storytelling’ is the marketing buzzword du jour, and video content naturally lends itself to this method of communicating brand identity. The documentary-style branded video takes this idea a step further. If stories are universally appealing to audiences, a short film or documentary style video offers a bigger and better vehicle for delivering them than a traditional short-form video. Reflecting the move away from overt marketing, documentary-style video provides a way for brands to use other people’s stories to indirectly communicate something about themselves. By using the longer-form story-centric format, they can make the most of dramatic and emotional elements thereby attracting and retaining viewers. It gives brands a chance to be creative, to target particular audiences with specifically tailored content, and above all, it helps them stand out from the crowd.
The brands leading the way in documentary-style video
These forward-thinking brands are showing how the investment can really pay off in terms of profile and engagement:
Volvo – Human Made Stories
Documentary-style content is an effective way of aligning your brand with certain values. Last year Volvo partnered with Sky Atlantic to produce a series of inspiring short films centring on the emotional impact of human innovation. ‘Nemo’s Garden’, the first in the series, tells the story of an Italian father and son who come up with a system to grow crops in the ocean in response to the problems caused by climate change and the declining viability of existing farmland. The stories have compelling emotional and dramatic impact – and effectively communicate Volvo’s commitment to innovation, along with its human and progressive values.
The beer giant recently moved into documentary-style film to differentiate itself from other similar popular beer brands and to shift away from its light and jokey image. In a series of real-life stories celebrating diversity and focusing on overcoming adversity, Coors have been trying to assert their authenticity and market their product ‘in real-life settings and scenarios’. The first spot, ‘My Climb. My Story’, features Shezi, An LA Based fashion designer who is battling a tumour. The film documents his fight back to fitness and the re-launch of his business. The Coors branding is subtle and the product only appears in the final launch party scene reflecting the move towards more indirect forms of marketing content.
Stella Artois – Our Dream of Water
Documentary-style film making allows brands to tackle serious issues and communicate ‘socially-conscious’ values. Having been collaborating with water charity water.org on the Buy a Lady a Drink campaign, Stella Artois then partnered with National Geographic to commission an award winning film director to make a documentary highlighting the impact of the global water crisis on communities around the world, particularly focusing on women.
They further invested in documentary by then sponsoring the Women in Film organisation to provide four $25,000 grants to women film-makers making socially conscious documentaries, especially those focusing on water. This socially conscious branding is great news for charities of course, but is obviously primarily a shrewd marketing move by Stella Artois. Female beer drinkers are occupying an increasing share of the market and research shows that women are more ‘socially minded’ than men. Stella has clearly adopted a female targeted marketing strategy and is using documentary film successfully to achieve its goals.
Patagonia – Worn Wear
Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia uses documentary film brilliantly to express passion and authenticity through compelling storytelling. One notable film they produced is ‘Worn Wear’ – a documentary with a simple premise – the ‘stories we wear’. Starting with the founder explaining how his love for mountaineering led him to turn his passion into a business, the film goes on to feature Patagonia customers talking about the clothing they have bought, and how it has served them over the years and through different adventures. The whole film is beautifully shot, and emphasises the company’s integrity. They are not giving the hard sell – just illustrating the quality and durability of their products through honest human stories, whilst also communicating their brand values of wholesome outdoor activity and environmental awareness. A perfect piece of inspirational documentary marketing.
Documentary-style content without the price tag
There’s a common misconception that only the biggest brands have the budget and resources to create documentary -style content. That couldn’t be further from the truth. With advances in affordable camera technology and the growing talent pool, video is cheaper to create today than it has ever been in history. It means video production companies can create documentary-style content for any small to medium size business. For now, its mainly the big brands who have cottoned on to its value as a marketing tool.. watch this space as the smaller brands start to catch up.
Small Films’ founder George Hughes spent 15 years producing and directing content for TV broadcast including serious documentary. For more information about how Small Films can help you with engaging documentary marketing content, contact us here.
Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with the 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.