TikTok: The Ultimate Guide for Brands

16th May 2019

written by Lissie Archer

Every now and then something explodes onto the scene and captures everyone’s attention, instantly inserting itself into the cultural lexicon. That’s certainly the case with TikTok, a social media platform that’s taken the world by storm. 

You might know it as “those short videos of people doing entertaining things”. But in reality, it’s so much more. 2019 saw TikTok become the second-most downloaded app globally behind Whatsapp, and it currently has one billion users. 

TikTok’s rise to prominence hasn’t gone unnoticed in the marketing world. A growing number of brands are looking at it to see how they can reach new audiences. And it should definitely be part of your marketing strategy, especially as there are so many active users on the platform.

Another bonus is that, unlike Instagram, TikTok is a platform where it’s possible to achieve organic reach. However, you’ll need to get involved in the TikTok revolution soon because it’s highly likely the algorithms will soon change and make it harder for people to go viral organically. 

In order to help you better understand the world of TikTok from a marketing perspective, we’ve put together this ultimate guide for brands. So, read on and find out everything you need to know about TikTok. 

How did it start?

What started as an app called Musical.ly became TikTok when Chinese company Bytedance acquired it. The video-sharing app’s primary audience consisted of Generation Z, younger demographics who were instantly drawn to its short and snappy video clips. 

These initially came in the form of people lip-syncing to music artists. Much like any trend on the internet, however, creativity took over, and users started experimenting with the app to create everything from viral challenges to comedic clips. TikTok (or Douyin as it’s known in China) has more than a billion users in China, with a further 800 million in the rest of the world. While the audience currently sits on the younger side of the spectrum, like any platform that gains huge popularity, the age will increase as it appeals to older generations and goes more mainstream.  

How does TikTok work?

After signing up for an account, you’ll be able to change your generated username, add a profile picture and a short bio. This part may seem somewhat mundane, but all top brands know the importance of making profile information snappy for people who come across their profile. Don’t worry, you can also change your username later if you aren’t sure what to choose.  

The app is divided into two primary feeds: For You, which is an algorithmically generated stream of videos; and Following, which is the accounts you follow. You can like videos much in the same way as you do on other social media networks. Sharing a video is pretty straightforward too. Tap the plus sign at the bottom of the screen and start recording.  The brilliance of TikTok lies in its short video bursts that last for 15 seconds, though users can blend those clips together to create 60-second content. 

How TikTok works for brands

The success of TikTok with younger audiences is no surprise: Gen Z is a video-first generation. By 2022, online videos will make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic. TikTok is part of that revolution.

Brands quickly saw TikTok’s reach and wanted in on the action. After all, Generation Z is set to command 40% of all consumer shopping by the end of 2020. Major players like Google, Nike and Coca-Cola have all embraced TikTok and created content for the platform.

Here’s how to make it work for you…

Advertising

Advanced targeting and unique creation features make TikTok Ads particularly appealing to brands who want to create compelling campaigns. If you’re struggling to build an audience, TikTok Ads can provide a boost to get you up and running on the platform.  

Sponsoring influencers

Much of TikTok’s beauty lies in the creatives who continuously churn out content. Tapping into their fanbase can be a great way of getting your brand in front of thousands (perhaps even millions) of followers. Of course, it’s necessary to have synergy with any influencer, but it’s certainly a route worth exploring to gain exposure. 

Starting hashtags

Like any other social media platform, creating hashtags can increase your visibility and reach. They’re also beneficial for recognising competitors and collaborators (see above). You might even get great content ideas from similar hashtags to yours and notice important trends that can propel your brand forwards. Oreo hit the mark with #cookiechallenge, Guess found success with #InMyDenim and Samsung successfully promoted their Galaxy A smartphone with #GalaxyA. 

Take the #CookieWithACause challenge on Tik Tok. Post with the hashtag and OREO will donate to Save The Children for the…

Posted by OREO on Sunday, 5 April 2020

 

Brands who have cracked TikTok

If you’re after proof of TikTok’s appeal, then look no further than these brands who have successfully marketed to new audiences on the most addictive social media app. 

NFL

America’s favourite sport, the National Football League appeals to a variety of different demographics. And it tapped into TikTok to tell a multitude of stories, from heartfelt player profiles to fan-player engagement.

Chipotle

Chipotle has always been a trendsetter when it comes to marketing, and it carried that success over to TikTok. The Mexican food brand placed emphasis on engagement, creating fun challenges like #ChipotleLidFlip. The video currently has over 300 million views.

Fortnite

Video Game Fortnite has always had its finger on the pulse when it comes to interacting with audiences. Its most recent venture into TikTok asked fans to create a bespoke dance move, with the best ones ending up in the game.

Sony Music

Sony went down the route of influencer marketing for its TikTok campaign. Working with Nicky Jam x Sch to promote the song Atrévete, Sony contacted 12 influencers on the platform to create TikTok videos set to the backdrop of the track. The result was eight-million engagements, 1.2 million likes 10,300 user-generated videos.

@poki

i can’t believe i’m saying this but i have my own @Fortnite Emote! 🤯🥳 you can get one too by entering a dance with #EmoteRoyalecontest #EpicPartner

♬ original sound – poki

Top Tips
  • Don’t make your videos too polished; it’s better for them to be shot in the same style as user generated content, using a smartphone. 
  • Break your videos in half with the first video teasing the next in the series. 
  • Look for what’s trending and jump on the bandwagon.
  • Use hashtags effectively. Putting hashtags in the comments of your videos will help with visibility. 
  • Like other people’s content who are in the same space as you
  • Interact with other accounts where possible and leave comments

Tik, tik, tock

There’s no doubting TikTok’s power. The app is proving to be popular with all ages, and will only become more embedded into the cultural zeitgeist. As a brand, you have the potential to master the platform and create engaging and fun content for your audiences. 

George Hughes is a former television Director and the Founder of video marketing agency Small Films. His company helps brands to communicate with a wider audience using strategic video content.

Want a professional hand in creating compelling, authoritative video content as part of your marketing? Get in touch today.

 

The future is already here, and it comes in the form of artificial intelligence. While Replicants might not yet be wandering the streets, the world is being shaped by AI – and 80% of emerging technologies will use the tech by 2021.

From image recognition to instant access to analytical data, many facets of the marketing process have felt AI’s impact in some capacity. Take video, for example: the art form that very much requires the human touch is now also benefiting from AI.

We might not be at the stage where artificial intelligence is creating feature-length films (though it’s certainly had a go at writing them). Still, its presence is being keenly felt – as noted by movie studio Warner Bros. recent foray into the world of artificial intelligence.

Away from the Box Office, the efforts of AI are proving to be decidedly more influential in the video marketing landscape, where the real-time impact is starting to take shape.  

Read on, and find out how AI is helping both marketers and production teams achieve better results with their video output. 

It’s all in the data

Artificial intelligence’s rise to the mainstream has come about through its ability to make sense of large amounts of data in seconds. Video marketing is already proving to be one of the key methods for brands to connect with their audiences. But AI is adding another layer when it comes to understanding audience needs.

Businesses can now make improved data-driven decisions, which leads to more personalised services and an increase in relatable content. The implementation of AI analytics means that brands have a better profile of their customers than ever before and can turn the information into actionable insights.

Drones

The introduction of drones is one of the most significant advancements for creating video, with the latest models having the capability to follow their subject while keeping them centred in the frame. Using facial recognition, which is powered by AI, they can react to gestures and actively track film subjects without any issues. 

Drones won’t outright replace the need for a director. But they can help achieve shots that were previously difficult or expensive for humans to film – such as aerial views that, in the past, might have required aerial transport. 

Video indexing

It’s common knowledge that Google indexes the written word, which has a profound impact SEO (search engine optimisation) for websites. Now, smarter algorithms mean video will also start to be indexed. People browsing online will be able to enter a search term and Google will identify specific parts within videos (as well as writing) that relate to the keyword. 

For example, someone might search for a celebrity, and Google’s algorithm will find exact points where a celebrity appears in a video. The result could be video content with specific keywords mentioned in the script, as companies start to leverage the spoken word – as well as the written one – to try and build their SEO rankings. 

Self-generating video

The improvement of AI means it can go as far as generating moving images solely from a phrase typed into a computer. This is known as Video prediction, which involves AI predicting the actions that come next in a video

So far, research has used specifically defined actions that focused on elements like sports, such as playing hockey and biking to create self-generated videos. Video Prediction won’t replace humans for creating video, but it can aid and help streamline the process. 

AI and video in the future

There is no doubt that the future looks promising for video and its relationship with AI. Access to high-quality data will lead to improved video content that is more personalised. In the future, we may even see the robots creating full-length videos. 

In the meantime, however, it might be a safer bet to rely on strategic video creation from video marketing specialists that know how to bring their brands into the spotlight. 

George Hughes is a former television Director and the Founder of video marketing agency Small Films. His company helps brands to communicate with a wider audience using strategic video content.

 

Want a professional hand in creating compelling, authoritative video content as part of your marketing? Get in touch today.

 

Youtube Marketing is a great tool for driving your business forward. So here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about why it works so well and how to use it…

Did you know that after Google, YouTube is actually the second biggest search engine in the world? With an average of 5 billions videos being watched on the platform every day.  

Its an impressive statistic and reinforces the idea that people love to acquire knowledge and entertain themselves through the medium of video.  Whether we are learning to cook, checking out movie reviews or laughing at funny cat videos, video offers an engaging and easy way to digest content.

With so many people using YouTube in their day-to-day lives, it offers businesses a fantastic opportunity to reach their customers and grow their audience.

 Why YouTube Marketing?

Many businesses turn to social media channels like Facebook or LinkedIn before they embrace YouTube marketing. They underestimate the potential that YouTube can offer.

 So how effective is YouTube Marketing and why should businesses be making more from this platform? Let’s look at the facts:

Put simply, YouTube offers you a way to reach your target audience in a way that other channels cannot.

Marketing on YouTube

 YouTube marketing is a deep subject which spans from the tiny details of profile optimisation to reaching vast audiences through running YouTube ads. In this section, we look at the fundamentals of how and why you should be marketing your business on YouTube. 

Develop Authority

Representing your business on YouTube offers an opportunity to build trust and grow authority by creating content that educates and resonates with your target audience.

The medium of video allows you to add a level of personality to your business that is otherwise very difficult to achieve outside of face-to-face meetings with clients. It provides a platform where your business can communicate their position and views in a concise and engaging way.

Remember that YouTube is a social media platform. Your content should provoke conversation and generate interest in your business offering.

Increase Reach                  

Given the stats we gave at the beginning of this article, it should be fairly obvious that your target audience is very likely to be using YouTube in some way. The potential reach is huge, but this doesn’t mean that you can simply demand attention.

By working on creating an entertaining, authoritative and engaging presence on the platform, you put yourself in the best position to earn your audience’s attention.

YouTube enables you to reach new demographics that you might otherwise struggle to reach.

Boost SEO

Producing high performing YouTube videos is a great way to get your business found on search engines. The first and most obvious reason for this is the fact that YouTube IS the second biggest search engine, therefore if you are ranking high on their search results you are going to see high levels of traffic.

In addition to this, search engines like Google know that video is the most engaging type of content and in most cases serves YouTube videos near the top or first in their search results (after paid ads obviously). Just look at the results for “How to make YouTube marketing video” below…

So, if you are ranking high on YouTube, you will likely rank high on Google as well.

YouTube Marketing: Top Tips

  1. Know your audience. Understand who you are trying to target and create engaging, compelling content that they would want to watch. Just using YouTube videos to highlight the benefits and features of your products and services will get you nowhere.
  2. Target keywords. Just like on other search engines, YouTube returns results based on user search terms and matches them with the most relevant content. Make sure you are using the best keywords possible in your title and descriptions.
  3. Keep it fresh. Just like on all other social media, posting regular, quality content is the best way to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more. It is also likely that the search algorithms on YouTube place importance on up-to-date content, so don’t shy away from updating older content when new information is available.
  4. Use explanative, engaging cover images. Imagine your video is like a mini advert in the YouTube search results. Your video preview should be highly engaging and help people understand what they are going to get. Check out the covers below to see how this is done.

Smart YouTube marketing can offer businesses a great way to reach their target audience in an authentic and powerful way. Getting started is as simple as creating a branded account, developing a strategy that aligns video marketing to your business goals and creating your first few videos.

Want a professional hand in creating compelling, authoritative content which can be used on YouTube? Get in touch today.

 

Interactive video is a digital or linear video that supports user interaction through clicks, touches, taps and movement and goes beyond the ordinary play and pause technology.

Viewers become the creator and navigate themselves through the video choosing the narrative, selecting the storyline and making decisions based on their interests.

Interactive video for online advertising can be extremely rewarding. You can achieve a much more detailed and personal account of your viewers personality and it has the potential to be worth a lot more than linear video or targeted marketing combined.

 

Interactive Video first started as a simple click on a video advert that would play before an online TV show or on a pre-roll ad on YouTube. The ad would ask the viewer to click on the product or image that they would like to learn more about and this information was then captured by the brand.

Brands like Maybelline, Burger King, Mcdonalds and Volkswagen are already using interactive video in advertising to better understand and engage their customers. But there should be a lot more brands using it, especially in 2020.

Interactive video offers a lot of opportunity and creativity. And it’s not just online but also out of home devices where interactive video can be used. For example, McDonalds are constantly doing outdoor interactive advertising like this Poster Puzzle display that encouraged the public to solve the puzzle in order to “sort their heads out” which promoted their €1 large coffee.

 

Interactive video online is still new territory for many brands and with just a few early adopters.  However, this does not mean that interactive video doesn’t work – it just means that it is not a well trodden path. And because the internet isn’t saturated with interactive videos this means that there is a lot of space and opportunity to harness this medium and gain some great engagement.

Here are some examples of interactive videos from brands that have worked well.

This is an interactive video Deloitte made for their recruitment scheme. The viewer is taken on an interactive experience of someone’s first day at Deloitte and they need to make important decisions throughout the day that will reflect whether you will fit in at Deloitte.

This is another example of an interactive video made by Maybelline New York. It’s a tutorial video to help people use and apply makeup in the right way and allows the viewer to choose which type of makeup style they are interested in learning about.

As well as allowing the viewer to choose the video’s narrative based on their personality you can also create interactive videos that allow viewers to select products to purchase or learn more about.

You can also use interactive video to understand your viewers touch points, interests and needs. A video made for GSK by Wirewax where the viewer can choose what part of the body they are having athletic difficulties with. From the choice made the video will show the viewer a workout routine to help that area of hindrance.

Do these videos work? They definitely help to engage viewers and get them to pay more attention to the video, the brand, the products that are on display and the message of the video. But, do they work at capturing information and converting a viewer into a customer?

We know that 82 percent of all web traffic is predicted to come from video this by 2022 (Cisco) so, the need for video content that stands out from the crowd has never been more poignant. We also know from research that Interactive video content generates 2x more conversions than passive content (Kapost), 4-5x more page views than static content (LinkedIn) and, 93% of marketers say interactive content is somewhat or very effective at educating the buyer, versus just 70% for static content (Demand Genreport). A study by Wyzowl found that 23% of video marketers have used Interactive video as a channel (up from 20% in 2018) and out of those, 83% say it’s been successful for them (up from 78% in 2018).

Interactive videos work great as internal videos for recruitment, induction and training, B2B explainer videos and B2B marketing videos, and they work well as B2C online advertising and social media marketing. The best thing about interactive video is the amount of data you can capture and how precise that data can be. Because you are leading the audience into a set of options and based on their decision you are able to understand them on a more personal scale. With every click you learn more about your audience. You can then group them more effectively into categories based on interest and values and then better market to them at a later stage (Kaltura). Because your audience is in control of their video experience and their experience with your brand, they are a lot more receptive, open and ready to engage, making them more willing to give up their time and information. 

If you are thinking about interactive video then have a play around with the ones that are out there already and see whether you can imagine your brand using this form of marketing. If you don’t want to go straight into interactive video then do something similar to Buzzfeed on Youtube and try some interactive quiz adverts that ask the audience a few simple questions about the market. Buzzfeed gets over 75% of it’s Quizz traffic from social media and a lot of quizzes used in marketing work exceptionally well at engaging and capturing customers (Mashable).

To find out more about using interactive video contact us.

7 Vital Stats That Show Why Video is the Medium of Our Time:

 

Video killed the radio star, and then obliterated everything else in its path to become the de facto method of engagement for consumers, businesses and marketing outreach. 

The evolution of video has seen it become a prominent player in every industry, from the entertainment business to pharmaceutical companies and everything in between. It’s now the most effective way for businesses to share content. 

81% of brands now use video as a marketing tool, which is up from 63% from previous years. The digitisation of, well, pretty much everything, has only increased video’s influence. Simply using the word “video” in an email subject lines boosts open rates by 19%, while 83% of businesses say it brings them a high return on investment (ROI).

But just in case you’re not sold yet, here are seven more vital stats that show why video is the medium of our time. 

1) 10x the engagement levels

Video is essentially immersive marketing, as it has the power to increase engagement levels beyond other methods. Audiences are 10 times more likely to engage with video content than they are any other medium. Whether you’re turning video into snippets for social media or filming customer testimonials, it offers an array of methods for telling stories. It’s a versatile tool that captures a range of imaginations, which helps to increase engagement levels.  

2) 92% believe sharing is caring

A whopping 92% of people share a video after watching it. Going viral is all the rage, but getting people to share content is one of the hardest things to do online. Fortunately, video increases your chances of creating popular content that gets routinely shared online and off. 

3) 65% watch video on your website

The power of words have their place in the realm of content, but when it comes to keeping people engaged with your website, video is the primary driver. 65% of web users watch more than half of a video on a website. If you’ve got a story to tell, you’re better off doing it with moving image. 

4) 49% of business grow faster with video

Brands that use video are growing faster than those that aren’t, with 49% of businesses seeing an uptick in fortunes when they implement video marketing into their strategies. Deciding against using video marketing can be a costly error, leaving brands to play catch up in a [digital] world where everyone is already competing to put their brands in the spotlight. 

5) More than 50% of consumers want to see branded video content

The age-old saying “the customer is always right” will always ring true, and video allows you to give the people what they want. More than half of all customers wish to see branded video content, which they demand more than any other content type.

6) Conversions increase by 71%

Put simply: video is easier to monetise. Conveying your message through video converts more customers, with conversions increasing by an impressive 71%. People like to see things in action, whether you’re showcasing an event demo, providing educational “how-to” guides, or creating personalised messages. The easily digestible nature of video makes storing information that much easier.

7) 95% information retention rate

Getting your message across is one thing, but convincing people to store that information is another. We retain around 10% of all text (unless you’re reading this post, of course), but remembering video information increases to a staggering 95% retention rate. With such staggering numbers, it doesn’t come as a surprise to see brands using it as a primary method for relaying messages. 

Long live video 

Video has become part of the cultural lexicon across so many different platforms. The options to express yourself through video are vast, and brands are embracing it in their marketing strategies. By the end of 2020, 84% of all internet traffic will be video-based. The business of video is booming, and there’s no doubt that it’s the medium of our time. 

Follow us on Linkedin for tips and tricks on creating the best branded video content. Or get in touch at info@smallfilms.com

 

 

 

Summer is a really important time for many FMCG brands – it’s a happy time filled with a lot of fun and excitement, good weather, holidays and late night sunsets, and is therefore a massive selling point for both businesses and consumers. Some brands depend solely on their summer campaigns and will spend the whole year working towards the months of July, August and September, where they release new products, run promotions and do big advertising online and out of home. For food and drink brands especially summer is a massive highlight of the year, it’s when all of the big food shows roll around like Taste and Lunch, and when consumers are more eager to be out and about, which unsurprisingly means they eat on-the-go a lot more. In fact, consumers are prepared to spend more on things like food in the summer because they spend more time outside and last year we saw a 5% rise in consumer spending during the summer holidays (Barclays). Because of that, the months of “summer”  are some of the best times to be making video content and getting your brand as much attention and exposure as you possibly can, so that when your customers are out and about, they will spend their extra cash on your products. 

 

Digital marketing during the summer can be very loud, fun and exciting, and your content can be as colourful and summery as you like. Using a season to help promote your brand is an easy and effective way at engaging customers and reaching new audiences And making video is an even better strategy as it can be cheaper, more versatile and a lot more engaging. Consumers already prefer watching video to static imagery and text and during seasons of fun like the summer holidays they are even more receptive to adverts that reflect the positive and happy vibes they are trying to achieve during the summer months. Here are some examples of videos your food or drink brand can make this summer…

 

Social Media Videos

You can go really basic with Instagram video ads like this one from Costa Coffee – Iced Coffee Range. 

Really simple but yet very engaging; they’ve made the coffee and the foam look like the ocean and placed it in front of a blue “sky” background. It’s eye catching because it looks like the beach and reminds you of summer holidays, vacations and calming times spent looking at blue skies  It instantly gives you a positive feeling.

These Instagram videos from Holland and Barrett work well at promoting products using a happy and summery vibe.

 

Summer Campaign Video

The great thing about a summer campaign is that they can be as extravagant or as simple as you like. They can range from a massive stunt in Waterloo Station, to a pop up shop on Oxford Street, to a simple out of home billboard or online advertisement. Either way if your food or drink brand has anything planned this summer you’d be a fool not to film it. If you’re attending an event then you should film it, if you’re handing out samples then you should film it. Even if you’re going on a work outing to the Zoo, you should film it! We did a summer campaign video last month for UpBeat Drinks for the launch of their new juicy protein water products and to promote their new re-brand. The video was a 22 second social media advert and a 6 second cut down version for YouTube pre-roll as well as a 15 second version for out of home digital display.

 

 

Filming your street sampling is one of the quickest, easiest and most effective ways at getting great customer feedback, market research and providing audiences with a first hand, genuine account of what people think of your product! We created this video for Emily Crisps last year to promote their Whole Foods front window display on Kensington High Street! 

 

 

Promotional videos

Promotional videos are a really effective way at targeting and engaging consumers and work really well across all forms of social media and online advertising. These can be as short as 6 seconds and can advertise your products online to target audiences that you really want to market to. They can be short and snappy and therefore really eye catching, like this promotional advert by McDonalds which is promoting their iced coffee range.

 

 

It’s striking and definitely takes you into a summer hypnotism. Really cheaply, you could film your cold drink bottles close up with water slipping down the side – its eye catching and reminds you of summer – great for an instagram video.

 

Video adverts

So, Boot’s isn’t exactly a food and drink brand but they do stock and promote a lot of food and drink products. This advert they’ve recently released called “Summer” created by marketing agency Ogilvy is a great example of the types of promotional video adverts you could make online. Whilst this had significant budget behind it, you can still take aspects of this video advert and utilise in your own video marketing on a much smaller budget. This is a montage of a child’s summer experience, from the school summer dresses to watering the plants in the garden. A food and drink brand could make short video content for online advertising that shows a child in the garden playing with water and mum calls them in for a snack. Or, people in a park playing frisbee and reaching for your product.

 

 

Event videos

If you are exhibiting at an event this summer then 100% make sure to film it and make sure to create some promotional content around it. Exhibitions are the perfect place to get video content for your social media pages, online advertising and even for your brand film, because you have first hand footage of consumers sampling and trying your products. Event videos make great case studies and customer testimonials. Don’t be afraid to ask the visitors what they think of your product and film their reactions. It’s great to show your audience that you are out there, attending events, making the most of your summer and keeping them in the loop. Event videos work well at developing your brand identity and personality. You can live stream these events, take videos for your instagram and facebook story or you can get a professional to film it and get interviews.

 

Be creative this summer with video and get your brand out there, show off your fun personality and engage with as many audiences and customers as you can. Summer is a huge promotional attraction to any brand, influencer and consumer, so regardless of the budget just make sure you’ve got a lot of summer related posts and videos going up onto socials, through your stories and feeds. This way you can effectively stay at the front of people’s minds and slot into their news feeds with relevant content.

 

 

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. 

Of all the brands nailing content marketing right now, arguably Red Bull is the undisputed leader. These guys have transcended from being a single product, Thai replicated energy drink brand, into a world renowned and globally acknowledged publisher of media, TV, print and film. From their up-to-date Youtube channel, to their television broadcasting, sponsoring some of the world’s most famous sporting events and having their own Sky Channel, to magazine publications, journalism, radio channels and lastly, creating high-end documentary films. They are doing it all and they have us gripped. But how?! And what’s the secret to their success?

Red Bull was launched in Austria back in 1987 by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz after a visit to Thailand where he found the energy drink Krating Daeng. At that point, the idea of a carbonated energy drink in Europe had not been heard of nor thought about and the launch of Red Bull not only signified the beginning of a new product but also the beginning of a whole new drinks category. Now, Red Bull has the highest market share of any energy drink product in the world and sells almost 7 billion cans every year worldwide (wiki).

How, I hear you say? Red Bull found their audience and customers very early on. In 1988 Red Bull sponsored their first ever sporting event “The Red Bull Dolomitenmann” one of the toughest relays on the planet. They discovered that the extreme sporting industry depended a lot on the adrenaline, energy and excitement of all people involved, and that their product was perfectly suited for this type of audience, thus finding their “niche” and their ideal customers. They then began to market the absolute sh*t out of it, making a name for themselves in the extreme sporting industry and soon becoming the thrilling epitome of youth and sporting culture that we know them as today. Red Bull got their logo out wherever they could, on TV and at extreme sporting events, and promoted their energy drink to sporting athletes who would then promote the Red Bull brand. Not long after inception Red Bull had lift off. They already had 100% market share because no other energy drink had been launched in Europe at that time, so they were very exclusive and therefore very desirable. Soon, they were not just seen as a drinks brand but as a culture and lifestyle brand.

Red Bull now own multiple sports teams across the world in Europe, USA and Brazil. They sponsor incredible sporting events from Formula 1 to the Snowboarding Olympics, work with hundreds of famous athletes, have their own Red Bull sporting businesses like Red Bull Cliff Diving and, own two F1 Teams. They even have their own track racing game on Playstation 3. It’s safe to say that they have killed it! People follow them for their content and updates on their activities like a subscription for a streaming service. They have 8 million subscribers on YouTube, 11.1 million Instagram followers, 48 million likes on Facebook and 2 million followers on Twitter. Their videos on YouTube get ½ million views at least with their most viewed videos standing at 101.4 million, 44 million and 41 million.

The secret strategy? Well let’s start with Red Bull’s audience. They know their audience intimately and always put them first. Quite simply, Red Bull from start to finish have always put their customers at the heart of their business and focus on making content that they know their customers are going to enjoy. It’s not just about filming, sponsoring or hosting sporting events. For Red Bull it’s about creating moments and experiences they can share with their audience that are really exciting and very unique. They film TV content like this Red Bull Signature Series, host events like these every year, and make them accessible to everyone and anyone.

They film documentaries for their YouTube channel like “The Fearless Swedish Free-rider” that are interesting and enjoyable to watch by anyone.

But, their most popular content is stunt videos like the “Felix Baumgartner’s Supersonic Freefall” or their most viewed video from the free running series “Last Call for Mr Paul”.

Red Bull constantly go above and beyond (quite literally) and create content that is not only mind blowingly brilliant but also better than most of the content produced by major publishing organisations. By putting their customers first and listening to their audiences, they have become the most talked about brand of our generation. Where their customers go they go, from music festivals, concerts, art shows, to reporting on the latest and trending sports, skate parks to mountain biking, free-running in car parks and paint-balling – they’ve been everywhere and they’ve done it all!

Red Bull’s marketing strategy is to sell an experience, not a product, and this is something that any business or brand can do. Creating content that is for your customer and puts the audience first is a strategy that can work for any business. There are many other brands out there that have started to adopt this Red Bull method and become publishers instead of just selling “products”. Volvo is one such brand. They created a documentary series on Youtube titled Human Made Stories: Defiant Pioneers which features 5 episodes that look into different human stories like this one titled “Nemo Gardens”, about a man in Italy building an underwater farm.

Patagonia very quickly established themselves as a publisher on YouTube, uploading interviews, documentaries, short films and long films about the planet, sustainability and people. Patagonias Workwear series on YouTube has 27 videos and is still being updated today with new videos, these feature interviews with people who wear Patagonias workwear as part of their jobs.

Nike is another brand that is identified through their content. Yes they sell shoes but they also share experiences and promote a certain identity. Their YouTube channel also has a lot of documentary content going up onto it that is interesting to watch, like this Alex Roca Campillo – Dream Crazier which has 1.3M views.

More and more brands are implementing Red Bulls strategy, becoming publishers and creating video content for use online. However, no brand has or is doing better than them. They nailed this part of their marketing very early on and have set the tone for any brand to follow and replicate. But, looking at all the brands out there that are following suit, is a good sign that the Red Bull strategy is one that works. For businesses that aren’t implementing this strategy we would suggest starting small and working your way up to it. Start with some customer testimonials or behind the scene footage of your business and factory, documenting the way you do things and the way your products are made. Just get your content out there to the customers that want to listen and see how they respond. 

If you want to know more about audience first content you can read our blog: What is Audience-First Content?

If you want to know more about audience first video content and documentary filming you can visit our other blogs:
How Brands Can Use Documentary Style Video in Content Marketing.  

Blurred Lines. How Branded Content is Transforming Traditional Broadcasting. 

 

In an article by The Guardian, Ralf Lucas the founder of Good Schools Guide said that he was noticing a clear shift when meeting parents in their opinion towards State schools, saying that “Independent schools really need to show us more, not just tell us, as we’re really taking State schools seriously”. Parents today are spoilt for choice. Not only do independent schools need to prove their value over State schools but they also need to work harder to stand out from their competitor schools. This is why a well executed digital strategy should be a top priority for any marketing team in the independent school sector, and digital advertising can play a massive role in that.

So, what is digital advertising? Digital advertising is when you run adverts online across social media, Google, Youtube, and various other websites. Last year digital advertising spend outstripped television for the first time in history (SEOworks). It’s highly effective and the good news is it’s affordable for everybody, regardless of the size of your school marketing budget.

What are the best ways to use digital advertising for your school?

1. To drive more people to your school website

A video on your school website is an extremely effective way of engaging prospective parents. But how do you get them to visit your website in the first place, especially if they’ve never heard of your school? By running adverts online across Facebook and Instagram you can reach people beyond your immediate sphere of influence. For example, if you are a boarding school based in Surrey but you want to attract more international students from South Korea, you could run a Facebook advert that only targets affluent, well educated, English speaking adults in the Seoul area. Or, if you are a school in Buckinghamshire running a bursary scheme for inner city children, you could run an Instagram advert explaining the advantages of the scheme targeting London postcode children under the age of 16 who attend a specific selection of State schools. Even if you just want to attract more pupils from the next county, social media advertising is a great way to do this.

2. To highlight the best aspects of your school

Parent’s can often get into “analysis paralysis” when comparing different schools. This is because many will have a good website, a compelling video and lots of information that positions them in a favourable light. To stand out from the competition, you need to think outside the box and that’s where digital advertising can help. You can provide parents with many more layers of information about your school to help them in the decision making process and also keep yourself in the front of their mind. By creating a series of films highlighting different aspects of your school, whether that’s art, sport or academia, you can run them as promotional videos online across social media channels, Google and Youtube.

3. Keeping you at the front of prospect minds

One of the best things you can do for your school with digital advertising is to set up “re-marketing”. You might not have heard of re-marketing before but you will no doubt be familiar with it. We’ve all been there; you look at a bit of furniture or some clothing online and then an advert for that same item starts following you around the internet. You might find this slightly annoying, but the truth is it really works! All you need to do is ask your website designer to install Google and Facebook Pixel. Once that’s done you can set up your own re-marketing campaign via Google ads or Facebook ads. The reason this is so good is because it will keep your school in front of prospect parents as they deliberate over which school to visit, or which school to choose for their child.

Digital advertising can offer you some great solutions. Instagram and Facebook are both platforms that allow you to be very strategic in your approach to reach target audiences. By allowing you the selection of certain factors like location, age, gender, demographics, interests, behaviours, connections or language, you have the potential of reaching parents and students worldwide. As well as specific people around the UK. Your main focus when advertising on these platforms is to have a very distinguished idea of who your target audiences are and how you are best going to reach them with compelling content. 

You can be even more specific in your approach by targeting your prospect parents and students on the channels that you know they are most active. For example, if you want to be targeting parents with digital adverts the best options will be Facebook, Google and Youtube. As an older generation and not so immersed in the world of social media, you’ll mainly want to target them during everyday internet activity, for example, at work or online shopping through Google, watching recipe videos on Youtube, or, staying in contact with friends on Facebook.

If you want to be targeting students with your digital adverts the best platforms for you will be Instagram and Snapchat. The younger generation is much more tech savvy – providing them with direct access to your school’s information through a well displayed advert on Instagram will add a lot of credibility (maybe they’ll even share the ad). If you want to be reaching Feeder schools with your adverts then the best place to reach them is through Twitter as it’s more of a platform for brands, businesses and organisations. Perfect for spreading a more sophisticated message about your school to other people in the same field.

Digital advertising can seem like a daunting task but once you get started it soon becomes second nature. Just be specific in your approaches and make sure to have a very clear idea of who you want to be targeting. Use the right platforms in relation to your target audience, be knowledgeable about them so that you can be precise in your targeting and, be specific in the content you produce so that it resonates and connects with the target audience.

The best thing about commissioning video for your independent school is that you probably already have a great story to tell and a lot of amazing assets to film. That’s the hardest part over. Now it’s just about creating videos that tell your unique story in the best way, connect with your audience and help you drive admissions. Coming up with those film ideas can sometimes be a tricky task, especially when you have specific objectives like changing the perception of your school, reaching a wider audience, or letting people know about a unique aspect of what your school offers. To help you get started, here are 5 types of video that can be used to tell the story of your school.

1. Website Video

The first place to start is with a video that sits on your website and tells the story of your school in a nutshell (2 – 3 minutes). It is the first thing that prospective parents will engage with when they search for your school, so it has to be broad and cover all the relevant information. It can be a lovely mix of interviews with teachers and pupils, footage of the grounds and the facilities, footage of the students and teachers in action and everything that the school has to offer like extra-curricular activities, boarding and your school’s achievements. It’s an extremely effective way of building a personal connection to your prospective parents and can be empowering, heartfelt and even humorous.

Here is a website video we made for St Margarets.

2. Departmental films

These are videos that can be about the schools different departments such as the arts, sports and science, or particular aspects of the school like boarding, prep-curriculum or extra-curricular activities. It’s great to highlight particular aspects of your school that you really want to shout about, or to let people know about a side of your school that they didn’t know about. If you want your customers to know of your fantastic theatre facilities then create a video interviewing the teachers and students, then combine that with footage of the theatre rehearsals and plays. If sport is your forté, then create a short film looking at all the different sports you offer. Or, if you’ve traditionally been seen as a sporty school but have made huge headway in academic league tables, then create a short video about academia and teaching to show a different side to your school. Departmental videos are also extremely good at giving your customers a more detailed and personal look at your school. These videos can be hosted on your website, your Youtube channel and can also be turned into great online advertisements for Facebook and Instagram.

3. Pupil Stories

Another effective way of telling your school story is from the perspective of the pupils themselves. A video of your pupils (with their parents consent) put up onto your Facebook or Youtube channel can be a great way to build an instant connection with prospective students. These videos can be highly creative and can also be a really good way at getting your existing pupils involved with some media, filming and acting activities. It can also be a great way to show the pastoral side of school life. Themes for these videos could include “A day in the life of a student”, “Boarder’s Story” or “Leaver’s Story”. Your pupils are perhaps the best ambassadors you have for the school so make sure to feature them in your videos.

Here’s a video we made for Moulsford Boy School to sit on their website which followed a pupil throughout his day.

4. Message from the Head

Many schools have a “Head’s Welcome” message on their website so why not turn this into a video? Parents will always be keen to know who the Head of the school is and to get a feeling for what outlook they have. This would be an interview with the Head giving their personal story and connection with the school, outlining their experience, capabilities and everything they hope to achieve for your child. It’s a personal way for the Head teacher to tell their story and connect with parents directly.

We made this video for The Oratory Prep school to house on their website which has an interview from the headmaster. We filmed the interview and created a separate, longer film for other marketing activity.

5. Short form stories

These are videos that tell a story of your school in under 20 seconds that can be very easily marketed across the internet through your social media channels. They are a great way of regularly getting your school message out there to your potential audience. These videos could feature quick vignettes of school life like boarding, extra-curricular activities or after-school clubs. They could also focus on individual aspects of the school and its facilities like the sports hall, theatre or grounds. Or they could highlight a different side to learning at the school like using smart boards in classes, school trips and outdoor learning. The great thing about short story videos is that you can easily create a large volume of videos from a single shoot and each video can tell a different story about your school.

We made this video for Priory Academy LSST for their digital advertising campaign to increase boarding admissions and international student intake. We made short form videos that looked into each international students life boarding at LSST.

These are just 5 ideas for videos to tell the story of your school but this really is just the tip of the iceberg. When you start to get creative with your videos, there’s no end to what you can create from mini-documentaries filmed by the students themselves to ex-alumni films and even 360 videos of the school grounds and facilities.