Managing Director of Bristol based Aspect Film & Video, creators of the famous Nationwide ‘Lost Scarf’ ad, Evelyn Timson, talks to FSE Digital about video marketing, emotional hooks and just what on earth ‘help, hub, hero’ is all about when it comes to planning your YouTube strategy.
The digital landscape is changing all the time. For businesses and brands, as well as the digital agencies they work with, it can be hard to keep pace and adapt their marketing strategies accordingly. There are some wider trends that seem to inexorably drive so much of how the web is evolving. One of these is the growing dominance of video.
With video expecting to account for 82% of global internet traffic by 2020, according to CISCO, and numerous studies showing the power of online video to influence consumer behaviour, it’s becoming harder for businesses to discount video as an integral part of their digital strategy.
With that in mind, I want to look at how we at Aspect approach the video marketing process.
Aspect’s Three Tiered Approach to Video Marketing
However you want to divide the process of video marketing up, it really comes down to three core elements. Broadly speaking these processes take place before, during and after the actual production process itself – although that is too simplistic a way of looking at them.
Let’s break them down in turn:
A video is only as effective as the marketing strategy that gave rise to it. Good planning means doing the groundwork before you start the creative process by mapping out your objectives, profiling your target markets, looking at what your competitors are doing and what is trending in your niche. A proper creative framework can then be formed off the back of this work.
The approach you take to your marketing video can comprise of any number of techniques and styles with a vast range when it comes to budget. Understanding what works best will come down to how well you have planned, but the success of the creation phase will ultimately come down to the experience, marketing acumen, in-house capabilities and raw creativity of the production company you work with. Post production considerations like sound, music and editing will also play a big part in the final look and feel of you video.
Also known as ‘seeding’ this phase is where the actual marketing bit comes in. Activation can be seen as having several stages and some of it will be addressed in the planning stage. The first is making sure your content is properly optimised and can be found by your intended audience. This involves keyword research for Google and YouTube search, as well as placement into the right digital channels. You must then push the content to your audience through the campaign assets you have identified (paid, owned and earned media). This might mean paid promotion, it might mean PR or it might mean just mean utilising your followers and brand advocates to share and promote your video for you. All activation efforts must be monitored for audience traction, interaction and reach.
Segmenting Your Video Content
When planning your content strategy, it helps to think of what your content is trying to achieve. Unlike the linear marketing tactics of big television commercials, digital marketing requires a more sustained and varied approach. At Aspect, we will fit content into the Help, Hub, Hero spectrum (see below), which will helps us determine what the content is for and where it falls in the marketing funnel (ie is it designed for maximum impact to drive brand awareness or answer common questions amongst your core audience?)
We can understand Help Hub Hero by looking at examples of each. The successful Nationwide ‘Lost Scarf’ ad, which we helped develop with the company, was a piece of hero content designed to drive maximum exposure (the advert was first aired within the ad break of the Britain’s Got Talent final) and redefine the bank’s brand image through emotional appeals.
The Power of the Emotional Hook
The Lost Scarf ad is a good example of the power of emotional content to attract viewers and establish brand identity. Emotional storytelling often works well in hero content, which is designed to sit at the top of the marketing funnel (in the awareness stage) and quickly establish a positive impression of the brand in the mind of the consumer. It’s important to remember though that emotional content like this needs to be appropriate to the brand if it is to convince and bring the audience along for the ride.
In the case of charity campaigning, the emotional message is often obvious but the way it’s conveyed is crucial to create a memorable campaign and increase efficacy. In the Safer off the Streets video we produced for the St Mungos charity we created a dichotomy between the positive and negative aspects of our own city of Bristol, through the use of juxtaposed voiceover and imagery. The effect is to boost the emotional impact of the appeal and contextualise the final message.
Emotionally resonant content doesn’t just have to be poignant or sad. Some of the most effective video marketing has used humour to create successful viral videos, without compromising on messaging. One of my favourite examples of this is the viral smash from Polish company Allegro.
Of course the emotional sucker punch isn’t always the right method. Sometimes a more subtle and refined approach is needed, which is exactly how we approached the British Library collection video. With the video being used within the British Library itself to showcase the collection, the audience was already a captive one. We decided therefore to convey the elegance and sheer variety of the British Library collection through a distinct and seamless animation style, with the emotional resonance coming from the sincerity and sense of awe conveyed by the voiceover.
I’ve only really touched the surface of our approach to video marketing and production in this guest post, but I hope it’s given you more of an idea of the various stages and considerations we go through with our clients when it comes to producing videos of all scales, scopes and budgets. Whilst I’ve focused very much on hero content here, there is a wealth of hub and help content that goes alongside it, from how to videos and product demos (help), to video diaries, behind the scenes and magazine content (hub).
When brought together a good video marketing strategy that includes help, hub and the occasional hero video, needn’t break the bank. As a growing business, the question on your lips should really be: can you afford not to invest in video.