2015 may have been touted as the year of the video in the marketing world, but despite that, branded videos have continued earning their space within every marketer’s toolkit throughout the entirety of 2016.
While it may seem that only big companies have the resources at hand to create extraordinarily well made branded videos, you should not let the highly visual, artistically edited elements convince you that you cannot replicate a similar video for your business. You do not have to be a world-class creative mind with a massive budget to produce viable video content that people actually want to see.
If you have the time, patience, and a few great tools to get you started, your small business can create simple branded videos like a true professional.
What makes a video worth watching?
Before getting out the cameras and writing the scripts, you have a few questions to address. What are some shared qualities of videos with high view counts? What elements of a video make it different from the rest?
The best videos are not always the ones you would expect, nor will they always manage to generate a mass appeal. The most important element of a video is that it connects in some way with the right target demographic. Good music, special effects and creative elements all play an equally important role towards achieving this goal, but they too can end up on the wayside.
Ultimately, the best video is the one that is watchable and has some sort of replay value. It is up to you to look beyond sheer cinematography and examine how much intrinsic value your video has the potential to bring to the viewer(s).
For small businesses, the best marketing videos typically have attributes regarding one of the following prompts:
Teach the viewer how to do something
Give viewers a simple, easy to digest video on how to do something. Better yet, show them how doing an everyday task is made substantially easier by using your product. How-to videos have succeeded wildly.
Take Tasty for example. This youtube channel has proven the effectiveness of short how-to videos. By showing different recipes, Tasty has garnered millions and millions of views. As of now, they have nearly 40 videos with a million views or more, and plenty more on the verge of the million mark.
Tug at the heartstrings of viewers (invoke an emotional response)
Invoking an emotional response of any kind within a viewer is a good thing (except maybe anger and hatred of course). By tapping into people’s emotional impulses, you are managing to associate your brand and product with special memories people have.
Whether it be about their kids growing up, losing people close to them, or any other special pastime of theirs, you can tap into this aspect of the consumer mind and make positive correlations in the minds of people and your product. For instance, this Chevrolet commercial taps into the dog owner’s hearts with relative ease (who’s cutting onions on this post?) The effectiveness of these types of video ads goes without saying.
Demonstrate the use of a product
There is nothing like showing your product at work, doing what it is intended to do. Without a doubt, it is the foundation of infomercials. Despite that, if your product is interesting enough, this route is certainly an option. It is just a matter of the product having the ability to sell itself.
You could even put a funny twist on the more mundane products like soap. See this feminine body wash advertisement as a frame of reference. Somebody uses the product, then has to justify its use afterwards. It is a fun twist on the use-of-product model.
Take the viewer behind the scenes
Showing your viewers what it looks like within the underbelly of your company can pay off big time. The advertisement does not have to be everything at face value either.
Dollar Beard Club showed how you can emphasize the happenings in a company’s backroom, combine it with great ad-copy, fun camera work and exaggerate the whole process just a little bit, and you have yourself a really fun advertisement that garners view counts that eclipse the million mark with ease.
Solve a problem
A lot of these come in form of Public Service Announcements. They can also come in the form of product and/or business advertisements.
Kmart showed a good example of this. They came up with a play on words with a real problem and created a fun advertisement out of it. Being a company that solves problems, no matter how big or small, puts you outside of the realm of pure self interest and allows your image to be that of a caring friend rather than just another company soliciting viewers for their money.
Simplify a complex idea
Showing that your company can simplify the process of mending complex issues and/or ideas gives you the ultimate edge when it comes to intellectual appeal.
IBM is known for using this sort of approach in their television advertisements. It gives your company an attractiveness that many others cannot generate. You put yourself outside of the companies that are after their quarterly profit margins, and your business model is predicated on a genuine desire to improve the condition of the world and the way in which we interact with it.
Having said all that, it should still be noted that no one or two types of videos will be the right fit for each business. No matter your business or industry, it is essential that your focus is on producing quality content rather than a lot of content. Quality over quantity is the mantra here. If you want a steady supply of high caliber videos, there are plenty of resources you can tap into such as:
- Website FAQ’s: Use explanation videos to answer frequently asked questions or complex ideas about your product. It is a good way to address any general inquiries or concerns that a potential new customer may have.
- New product announcements: Compose new product snapshots and add text that talks about product features and benefits. It is a good way to give a quick glimpse and instill a “I want to know more about this” sense of curiosity in viewers.
- Behind-the-scenes: Give viewers exclusive access to events or the production process of a best-selling item. It personalizes your brand and allows customers to feel like they are with you.
- Demonstrations: Show viewers how your product works, what types of special features it has, and how it can be used in different ways
Put an emphasis on creating quality content
In the past, professional video creation was something reserved exclusively for big brands. However, fast forward to now, and small businesses and/or individuals are capable of creating premium quality content that can take their business to the next level, and it can all happen without them having to break the bank. Creating premium quality content is important for any business that wants to get noticed for its services and products in an industry with hundreds, if not thousands, of competitors.
Obtaining such content used to be saved for big companies that were able to shell out the big bucks, but that is no longer the case. From platforms that can do the creative work for you to somewhat less professional attempts to create videos on your phone with the help of a few add-on apps and accessories, anyone with can create a quality content video, assuming they have the motivation and good ideas to go with it.
A Few Best Practices
There is no foolproof formula when it comes to branded videos, but there are a few things you can do to boost viewership:
Hook First, Brag Later
You’ve got about 15 seconds to prove your content is worth watching. It is a lot like an elevator pitch, especially considering how short the average person’s attention span is now days. Taking that into consideration, do not waste the first five precious seconds of your video just flashing your logo across the screen.
Hook the customer. Make them want to see what is next. Give them a reason to stay focused. Save your logo or company information for the end credits. At the very least, wait until you have given the viewer enough reason to feel compelled to act on the information you are giving them.
If the viewer does make it all the way to the end, then you have well earned your bragging rights. More importantly, you have hopefully gained a new customer, best case, and at worst, planted your company’s name in the minds of future consumers who will associate a positive connotation with your brand.
Make it Quick
Unless you are composing an hour-long infomercial for late night television (not many people take those things too serious beyond channel surfing, anyhow), keep your videos short, succinct and impactful. There are two reasons for this:
- Most people simply do not want to watch a full-length documentary on your product or service, nor do they have time. Hate to break it to you, but that is the truth. Keeping the reel within a 2-3 minute time span at most is ideal. Even less is better, so long as it gets your message across. It gives the viewer the information they can relate to and value quickly, while accurately covering the pertinent information they need to know. Only give them the core essentials. The details and intricacies can come later when they look into your product further. The video advertisement is merely planting a seed which you want them to decide to grow on their own (aka convert to regular customers).
- Working within a time constraint forces you to get to the point quickly and more effectively, eliminating fluff and unimportant details. These details can be pursued personally by the people you captivate in the short time you use.
Keep it Simple
The simpler is better. Think of it like this: somebody decided to designate a few minutes of their time to watch your ideas come to life in form of a video. That is a blessing in and of itself, so do not take it for granted.
As much as you would like to tell them the entire lineup of what your company offers, do not. Keep it in line with one product or service per video. Granted, you can suggest the viewer take a look at other videos you have created, each video is better off revolving around one idea. The less you say, the more the viewer will be able to retain and call upon later. It is with good reason Shakespeare called brevity “the soul of wit.”
Organize your complex ideas into simple, easily digestible pieces of information. It goes a lot further than a long-winded and drawn out rant about how great your company and products are.
One Final Step
All those meticulously crafted videos will go to waste if you do not have a constructive, well thought out plan to distribute them. You can establish your own YouTube channel to start, or you can host them on your company website, although doing both is probably best. Additionally, share your videos on your social media platforms, embed them in your email campaigns, or include links in all your digital correspondence. Even better – if you have a brick and mortar location, set up a monitor and play your content for your live audience.
Regardless of how you choose to distribute your videos, the most important details coincide with the value it offers the viewer. So plan carefully, focus on quality rather than quantity, and keep it relevant to your customers, especially your target demographic. Once you start, you might be surprised at how effective video marketing can be, and wonder why you did not undertake this method sooner.