Friday, February 15, 2013

Ride the Wave: Elevate Your Brand with Video Marketing

1.3 billion. That’s the massive number of hits the viral-epidemic music video, Psy's "Gangnam Style," has accumulated on YouTube. The video has captured the mobile and desktop screens of viewers worldwide, and has infiltrated nightclubs, commercials, and radio stations. Not too shabby for a parody video about living the high life in South Korea.*

It's hard to imagine a world without YouTube and its astronomical effects now. It seems to be at minimum a once-per-month event where the next great video release spawns chain emails, dons Facebook posts, and results in a cultural phenomenon. Indeed, the 4 billion hours per month—the time allotment citizens of Earth are tuned in to YouTube*—has produced one of the most massive social swimming pools in our planet's history.

And the addiction is only increasing. Forbes reports that the 72 hours of video uploaded every minute in 2012 is contrasted with 23 hours uploaded every minute in 2010, and 50 hours per minute in 2011.* It's safe to say that, bar a colossal hack-attack, YouTube is here to stay.

And it's not just YouTube that's delivering motion to the masses. Individuals and organizations are offering video on their websites via YouTube or some other platform and have either made out like bandits, wasted their efforts, or fallen somewhere in the middle. Some successful big brand marketers leveraging video are Red Bull, Nike, Ford, and The Home Depot. Examples of smaller brands are Rekonbok, GoPro, and Six Pack Shortcuts. As for brands that are doing it wrong, well... we've all seen them. No need for examples.

But that's the main point of this article: I want to offer a few pointers to help you land your brand at the top in your video marketing endeavors, whether it's being broadcast from your website or on a third-party site. Following are four foundational principles for moving you in the right direction to producing your video: Differentiation and creativity, benefits orientation, quality production, and professional editing. Implement these four, and I know you'll be off to a great start.

1. Differentiation & creativity

The information highway is cluttered with the good, the bad and the ugly, so differentiating your brand through telling your own unique story in a creatively compelling way is critical for your success. Certainly “unique” and “quirky” earned the South Korean rapper, Psy, a place in video history. But it didn’t happen without creativity and strategy. First of all, Psy combined enhanced technology with his keen understanding of the public to deliver humor with a techno bent. His horse-riding, “getty-up” dance was the winning entry from a choreographer’s contest. Additionally, social media and celebrity tweets played a large part in its success. A key strategic move, however, was the purposeful waiving of his copyrights claim, which enabled parodies (such as “Hongdae Style” and “Church Style”) to fuel the fire of his catchy, hilarious song and aid in its virality.* "Gangnam Style" is certainly different and creatively stands out from the rest of the videos with a story of its own, and he’s got the numbers to prove it. 

2. Benefits Orientation

Be sure to create a concept that speaks to your target audience. Obvious, right? Maybe, but it can be hard to do. This is where the elusive "benefits-orientation" principle comes in. To be successful, each and every video must provide unique value to your target audience. All famous brand videos online have at least one thing in common: they appeal to the viewer through the benefits and value they offer, and they do this creatively through humor, inspiration, or social validation. If your video marketing is to be successful, you'll want to hire a professional agency, who will analyze your target, see what interests them, and tell your story in a way that engages the viewer in his/her own sphere. For example, if you're a manufacturer of cribs, then your agency should create a nurturing appeal to pregnant mothers. Promote benefits through story appeal. This will launch you into the video marketing stratosphere. 

3. Quality Production

To prevent your video from looking like a shaky, grainy “America's Funniest Home Video” rerun, hire a professional agency or videographer that has the know-how to provide high-quality video and audio so that your audience can have an enjoyable experience. Having good quality production means that more people are going to invest their time watching your video, share it with friends, and respond to your call to action. 

4. Professional Editing

Around the workshop here at Hornsby Brand Design, we like to remind ourselves that "we live in a time-poor and media-rich environment." While there are some instances where a long video is necessary (for example, an instruction video), cutting to the chase and giving people concise and well-scripted video that tells your story in 2-5 minutes will win more views and shares. Editing makes or breaks a video story. Remember that the ultimate goal is to communicate effectively.

Successfully bringing your services to market via video takes investment and patience, but it’s an effective medium once the stars begin to align. If your message is creative, valuable to your audience, a quality production, and edited professionally, you’ll hit the fast track sooner than you think.


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