Typically, the goal of branded video is to educate or create a narrative, all while hiding the fact that it is an advertisement. Branded video is all about the viewer experience and not the product itself.
One study by IPG Media and Forbes found that branded content leads to 59 percent better recall than other digital ads. People clearly prefer the idea of not being directly sold to, but why is this the case?
Branded video is about storytelling. Storytelling is the single best way to convey a message to an audience, and it should be a priority for marketers.
Storytelling provides marketers the ability to create deeper connections with their audience, and creating a deep connection is about evoking emotions. Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman found that 95 percent of purchasing decisions are subconscious and driven by emotion. Therefore, if you generate a positive emotion through branded content storytelling, you will create that same positive association with your brand.
Think of products commonly sold in marketing campaigns. Diamonds, for example, are practically useless, but when sold as an expression of love, they become something desirable for millions of people. Coca-Cola sells fizzy sugar-water, but in reality, they sell an emotional experience of fun and happiness.
Emotion drives marketing. Branded video is just another way for brands to appeal to the emotional side of their customers.
Social Platforms and Branded Video
If there is one undercurrent in social media, it’s emotion. People comment, like, tweet, post, and share content on social media sites because it elicits an emotional reaction. Branded content is perfectly suited to build on this foundation, and you can use it to your advantage as a marketer.
Great branded content can produce a powerful response and lead to more engagement with your brand. Facebook changed its algorithm back in 2018 to put more emphasis on posts with more active and thoughtful interactions. This means engagement is crucial to gaining more reach.
Where does branded video come into this picture? Video is the most engaging form of content. In fact, it is 12 times more likely to be watched than text is to be read. Every social media platform has placed video as its primary focus, and social media video is set to explode in growth in 2019.
Sharing is a big part of that social media video explosion. There is a strong correlation between emotional reactions to content and the level of shares it generates.
CNN owns a cinematic storytelling branded video company called Great Big Story. They produce emotional video series such as “Fighting Transphobia with Nail Art” and “Great Big Planet” to name a few. According to AdAge’s research, GBS generated more shares than its competitors—“beautiful” reactions to its content appeared five times more than the industry benchmark.
Quality content matters. Branded content that taps deep emotional veins connected to popular intellectual property and genuine human stories can drive the biggest emotional responses.
The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Videos
There are many types of videos you can create to promote your brand on social media. You can create an explainer video that shows how your product is used. You could do an interview-style video that tells the stories of your customers and how your product or brand affected them positively. You could create a documentary video telling a story that relates to your brand’s ethos and pathos.
The point is that you are not selling directly to the viewer. You are providing valuable, emotional content first and associating your brand with that content second. Here are four guidelines that can help you formulate the best branded content.
1. Think Creatively
Take a look at examples like Warby Parker’s “How Warby Parker Glasses Are Made,” Burt’s Bees’ “The Nature of Burt,” or Chobani’s recipe video series. Each one of these brands takes a rather mundane subject and transmogrifies it into an interesting story about their brand.
Creativity comes in all forms. Brand videos are a great way to stand out from the crowd by looking at your product in a creative and new way.
2. Show Real People with Real Stories
People want to see people. They don’t want to see perfectly manicured corporate spokespeople telling made-up stories.
Human stories trigger our emotions and make people associate positive emotions with your brand. The beauty of a video that shows someone’s adversities or perseverance is that the viewer becomes invested enough to finish the whole video.
Video is a visual medium, so remember that the people in the video need to be doing something visually engaging. If your video could easily be made into a radio voiceover or podcast, it’s not worthy of being a branded video.
3. Focus on Quality Across the Board
Quality is everything. There’s no room for bad video and sound quality, poor conceptualization, or awful direction.
To avoid these mishaps, you need to hire a professional video production team to get the job done properly. If you produce it yourself, you will spend far more money than you expect, and the video will be of lower quality.
4. Make It Entertaining
Some marketers think that just because video is this magic bullet for audience engagement, people won’t click away. Your video is not automatically interesting. You need to make it interesting by telling a compelling story and giving the viewer something they need.
People will lose interest if you don’t capture their attention within the first 10 seconds. Make those seconds entertaining!
Think about why your brand has to tell this story. What makes your brand authentic and unique? Focus on answering that question before you enter production.
Whether it’s friends’ photos, political ramblings, or emotional stories, everyone is just sharing their human experience on social media. Connect your brand to their human experience, and give them something positive before you ever even think of selling.