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Live action video is fun, dynamic, and engaging and enables brands to tell more inclusive stories to connect with online audiences. It is an easy-to-digest visual narrative that captures attention and gives our eyes and brains a rest from the superabundance of textual information there’s online and offline.
How Information Overload Obstructs Standard Marketing Efforts
Information overload, from the opening hours of your neighborhood store to celebrity gossip and world news, is the new disease of humanity. The explosion of information has resulted from two factors. One is the incredible speed with which societies change and the acceleration of change with technological advances.
It was back in 1970 when futurologist Alvin Toffler examined this emerging phenomenon and predicted that it would cause serious mental disturbances or what he described as the “future shock” syndrome. Much like war survivors who experienced traumatic events and feel estranged and detached, people who feel overwhelmed by rapid change develop a state of helplessness and mental fatigue.
Second is the role of modern media, with thousands of journalists going after events from many different angles and reporting in real time. Such a widespread press coverage and access to information, including all sorts of newsworthy events, has no precedent in human history.
Adding to the problem is constant consumer bombardment, with brands using every possible information channel – magazines, newspapers, television stations, and social media – to get their message across.
Understandably, the public is fighting back by erecting self-defense filters, and businesses need to be super-creative in approaching fed-up audiences. We have reached a point where it has become pivotal to develop new approaches to consumer engagement.
Creating a powerful narrative is one of them. There are various appeals to make a story newsworthy – financial ramifications, environmental issues, proximity, originality, usefulness, and uniqueness. Dressing up valuable and engaging content so that it’s fun and easy to digest can have robust audience effects.
And here enters video. Capturing attention with color, movement, sound, and a powerful story that can be remembered and understood is a way to stand out from the crowd by offering a fully immersive, narrative-led, visual experience. Offering engaging video content is how successful brands move audiences to the next step of the marketing journey. Using visual content is a highly effective strategy, and here is how brands can maximize video marketing to promote their message.
1. Use Social Media Networks
Sharing video content on social media is a way to increase brand awareness and bring more inbound traffic to your website.
A study by Biteable, for example, looked at text and visual ads on Facebook and found that video content got 480 percent more clicks. Not only this but it costs 280 percent less per lead and 497 percent less per click.
Video is scroll-stopping and more engaging than text, and it is precisely social media that you can use as a gateway to your website.
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Credits: The Honest Company – product use video
This is because networking sites are like a melting pot that brings together all kinds of folks with various interests, needs, behaviors, lifestyle, and backgrounds. They use social media for different reasons and the motivations they have are mainly related to networking.
According to the Global Web Index, the main social media motivations are meeting new people (25 percent), sharing videos and photos (32 percent), sharing daily life events (20 percent), and staying in touch with friends (38 percent).
Notably, the share of users who are looking to buy products has increased from 24 percent in 2014 to 31 percent in 2019. Brands have also seen an uptick in engagement over time, with a 45 percent increase of users visiting a company’s social network page.
2. Start Narrowcasting
Unless you are a mega brand with a multi-billion dollar budget, you don’t really need video that appeals to everyone. If your target market and audience are smaller, you need a highly focused message to reach a specific group defined by demographic factors, preferences, lifestyle, and values.
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Credits: House of Flowers London
In essence, this involves tailoring your video content and message to specific buying personas. Think of details such as their interests, work, personal and professional goals, what channels they use to watch videos, and what pain points your product or service solves that are worth highlighting.
3. Show Your Video at an Event
There is hardly anyone who never sat at a long dull speech at an industry event, be it a conference, seminar, training workshop, or product launch. Worse than that is being on the other end and watching your audience scrolling through Facebook and Instagram feeds or just staring into space. What you can do is give people a break by playing a video at your event to create a captivating experience.
4. Choose the Right Type of Video
One way to reach wider online audiences is to create video content that targets customers through the different stages of the buyer’s journey. At the top of the sales funnel are consumers who have never heard of your product, and your main goal is to raise brand awareness.
At this stage you can create educational videos that offer useful information and show how your product helps solve a specific problem.
Other types of content and formats that you can use are webinars, infographics, online classes, and blog and social media posts. The middle of the funnel is where consumers already know about your company and product and are ready to engage and learn more.
Here you can use an explainer video to explain and not simply show how your product or service solves the problem. Other types of content to focus on are whitepapers, your newsletter, and e-books.
Once you have reached the consideration stage (the bottom of the funnel), you have prospective customers who are more willing to learn about your products. You can offer testimonial or animation explainer and demo videos and share customer feedback or a step-by-step guide. This way, prospects can get a good idea of the experience your product provides.
5. Position Your Brand as a Trustworthy Source
Video content makes for a great platform to inform and educate consumers and position your business as a trustworthy and credible source. There are different ways to go about this like creating a video that highlights your company’s expertise and mentions awards for your work to show viewers how you have been recognized. Or you can film your response to a controversial event or topic or a sensitive issue to showcase the values that your brand stands for.
6. Empathize with Customers
Most people trust others who understand them and can truly empathize. While brands have the technology, content, and sales channels to reach potential customers, it is more important /and harder/ to build trust and connect.
If you’ve hit a plateau while offering best practices, expert recommendations, and the like, you may want to try empathy-based marketing and show your prospects that you feel for and understand their frustrations and pains. To make sure that your video has that personal touch to send out the right message, use empathic statements and wording like: “Like you, we are frustrated by” or “Nobody should have to experience”.
7. Treat Customers as Users and Not Buyers
You need an engaging storyline that first introduces the characters and their struggles and pain points. Then your brand enters to save the day by solving your customers’ biggest problems. This is how you engage with your prospects as users instead of buyers by positioning your brand in the lives and not just the minds of consumers.
One study to explore this issue divided companies into two categories – usage and purchase brands. The researchers found major differences in how the two categories approach customers. Purchase brands aim to create demand to buy by sharing audio messages, offering product samples, or giving away loyalty discount coupons.
Usage brands, on the other hand, aim to create demand to use their service or product. This can be done by offering instructions or guidance to influence how consumers experience the product and brand.
Second, purchase brands focus on promotion while usage brands leverage advocacy. The strategy that Veil Resorts adopted is a textbook example of how brands can put advocacy marketing to good use and make customers talk about their products. What Veil Resorts focused on is a social network for skiers that uses photos, performance data, and gamification as social currencies that can be shared with other users. Unlike them, traditional brands offer lift ticket discounts or try to showcase their snowmaking capabilities.
8. Forge Positive Perceptions and Associations
Video content is a great tool to forge a positive association with your business and brand. One idea to create a memorable association is to showcase a video showing how your brand supports community or social issues.
Cause branding can help your business in many ways. The most important point, however, is that people actually expect companies to get involved in solving major social problems. Such are, for example, homelessness, poverty, starvation and food insecurity, and climate change.
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There are many examples of cause branding that focus on domestic violence, overconsumption, and the need to examine outdated stereotypes. Clothing and gear manufacturer Patagonia, for instance, launched a Black Friday campaign to donate its sales revenue to environmental non-profit organizations and raise awareness of the issue of consumerism. Coca Cola partners with the World Wildlife Fund to address global environmental challenges such as sustainable energy and water management.
9. Little Things Matter
The devil is in the details, they say. Creating an engaging video may look simple at first but can take more effort and time than expected. There is a lot of prep work to ensure that all elements of your script fit well together, including dialogue, character names, action, and suspense. Little things like the tone of voice and speaking style also matter.
You want to choose a speaking style based on factors such as noise levels and distance, monologue vs. dialogue, and theme. The tone of voice you choose is also important and can be casual, conversational, cheerful, caring, or authoritative depending on the message you want to convey.
\The most important thing is to use a tone of voice that sounds natural and not forced or bossy. On a side note, it is best to avoid overly technical terms and jargon like “accomplish”, “optimal”, or “core competencies”. Use simple-to-understand, plain words instead of purple prose, business jargon, or corporate speak. Also avoid expressions that are too subjective, exaggerated, vague, and formal.
Use sentences without adverbs and adjectives whenever possible. As English novelist Kingsley Amis once said, “If you’re using an adverb, you have got the verb wrong”.
10. Tell Your Viewers a Good Story
A good story is one that has a powerful message and entertainment value and triggers an emotional response. We all have stories inside which can engage, inspire, and connect with others who have similar life journeys and experiences.
In fact, we have many stories that we can tell. They bring purpose and meaning to life and connect us emotionally. We all share this collective human consciousness – the set of moral attitudes, ideas, and shared beliefs, and we all experience the full range of emotions. Stories connect us through sadness, joy, anger, pain, excitement, deception, admiration, and triumph – all the emotions that shape the collective human experience.
Telling a personal story is the best way to reach others who are travelling the same journey. And if you want to lead, motivate, influence, and inspire with your authentic voice, then you need to tell your personal story. When you are selling goods and services, you should tell your brand story in a way that engages, moves, and elicits emotion. As Seth Godin said, what people buy is “relations, stories, and magic” and not just products and services.
Tip: Hundreds of growing businesses use Socialfix to tell powerful video stories and showcase their products and services.
11. Choose the Right Type of Narrative
Choosing the right type of data narrative will help you to convey your brand message in a way that resonates with viewers. The different formats that you can choose from are betrayal, redemption, underdog, discovery, struggle, prophecy, origin, tragedy, and victory.
A tragedy story can be incredibly moving and compelling. The plot follows the hero’s journey from greatness to destruction. His tragic fate makes people think what could happen to them if they don’t change. There are plenty of clever ways to use tragedy like in this 2004 ad saying that “there was an ambitious young man who didn’t read The Economist. The End”.
A victory story is the opposite and a narrative of progress, success, and triumph. Telling a story that shows people the obstacles you overcame on the path to creating a great product is an example of a victory story to tell. It can also be a story like Rags to Riches where the character acquires popularity, wealth, and power, loses it all, and gains it back by pushing through adversity. Marketers can use this type of story to tell people what they learned along the way. They can show how and what they learned from mistakes to become better and more successful. Think of HSBC’s The Elevator ad which focuses on entrepreneurship and the ups and downs that businesses weather.
There are plenty of ways to maximize video marketing to promote your message and show people how what you do is a quest for a better planet. From narrowcasting and positioning your brand as a trustworthy source to choosing the right narrative and telling a powerful story, you can use different approaches to reach and connect with customers. Knowing what story you want to tell people is only the first step. You also need to understand your customers and know who they are, what they need, and why they need it. Then you can choose a narrative to communicate your message, be it The Quest, Overcoming the Monster, Rebirth, or Journey and Return. Telling a powerful personal story is the best way to connect with customers emotionally by conveying a message that they readily internalize. The type of narrative that is best depends on your facts, your product, and brand mission and values. But you also need a story that engages, entices, moves, and encourages people to get to know you and build a lasting relationship with your brand.