Brands Must Create Video Campaigns That Stand Out

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If you’re a marketer, you’ve no doubt seen the latest trends around branding and video. Almost literally, everyone is doing it. If you work for a brand, it’s all but certain that you’ve created, commissioned, or co-opted a video featuring your brand’s product or services.

Spoiler alert: This trend is not going away.

In fact, 99 percent of marketers claim they will continue to use video in their approach, according to Social Media Week. But instead of looking to what other marketers are doing for proof, listen to your audience: Consumers told Animoto that video ads were the No. 1 way they discovered a brand from which they later purchased. Despite the sheer volume of video to be found on the internet in general, and on social media platforms in particular, visual media tends to resonate most with customers. After all, the best visuals inspire us, move us, and elicit feelings, emotions, and memories.

The imperative for the modern marketer, then, isn’t simply to create video. It’s to create video content that stands out. Because separating your video from every other brand is going to make or break the success of your campaign. This is no tiny task.

Engaging, arresting, thought-provoking, clever. Video that meets any of these standards has a solid chance of grabbing widespread attention, which is a fine first step. But which approach is best for your brand? How do you accurately target the right audience? Do you have a solid video strategy in place? And who should you enlist to create this content? How much should you budget for video? These are just a few of the questions that must be answered by marketers diving into video. There are a gazillion others to consider, too.

You might not have all the answers right now (or any of them). But you can relax—you can still start using video in your marketing and social media campaigns. There are general principles to follow that will steer you in the right direction.

Much of what guides these decisions will depend on your brand positioning and voice. A gritty, gonzo-style video shot by a user on his smartphone probably isn’t the smartest choice for, say, a fund management company. The financial services industry is very traditional, old school, and professional. So taking that unconventional approach is a no-brainer way to turn off customers and stakeholders.

At the same time, marketers of an energy drink likely won’t reach their intended audience with a highly produced video featuring an expensive celebrity spokesperson who soberly explains the nutritional content of the product. That’s not the vibe that will resonate with an audience who’s ready to party and stay up until the wee hours of the morning.

So does that mean that both approaches are wrong? Not at all. Both can be highly effective. It just comes down to who your business is trying to reach. If the respective fund management and energy drink companies simply flip-flop their approaches, both brands would be well on their way to successful video campaigns.

This cannot be understated: Understand and have the data to prove who your target customer demographic is. You should know anything and everything about them: How old are they? Where are they based? What are their interests? What pain points are they looking to fill? If you want to establish a connection with them via video—which is the ultimate goal—having those answers will go a long way.

With that in mind, sometimes the smartest strategy is to leave your branding to the consumer themselves. Oberlo reports that an audience arriving on an e-commerce website through user-generated content (UGC) is 184 percent more likely to purchase from that brand. UGC was already on the rise—and then the pandemic happened, accelerating this trend. It offers a level of personalization, trust and authenticity that isn’t always found in brand-created content.

And because even consumers can’t always explain the precise magic that makes a video go viral, marketers would do well to consider throwing support behind what’s already working. Recently, TikTok launched Spark ads, which empower brands to sponsor existing organic content that seems well-suited for, or that already may be moving the needle with, an audience. Let’s be honest: That’s a lot easier than creating a video that’s surefire to go viral.

In any case, creating video content for the sake of creating video content isn’t much of a campaign strategy. Simply hopping on board an already packed bandwagon won’t necessarily get you where you’re going. Instead, plot out a path that makes sense for your unique company profile, and it will differentiate your video content from all the other noise out there.

Don’t try too hard, though. Often, simpler really is better. Trust your branding, know your audience, and identify interesting ways to connect the two via video storytelling, and consumers will come to you.

George Meek is CEO of InPlayer, a leading monetization and subscriber management platform with over 700 customers worldwide. Meek has almost two decades of experience selling broadcast technology and almost as long operational experience in scaling high-growth technology companies.

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