Look who’s making appearances!
Video content is one of the most effective mediums of communication currently used by brands and agencies - after all advertising and market a product or service offering in an efficient, engaging, and creative manner is the penultimate goal of the industry.
Video content strategies have revolutionised the way in which brands can interact and communicate with their consumer markets. Print ads and billboards might be visually appealing - but are static and fixed in one space. Radio is engaging on one primary sense - but leaves the others unstimulated. TV ads come close to the prowess of video marketing - but comes with limitations of time, interactivity and costing. Video content is timeless, interactive, appealing, and can be shared by viewers on multiple platforms and devices.
As the average human attention span has become less cognitive (we’re getting close to that goldfish paradox), video communication has to entice, attract, and keep eyes locked on the screen of eye candy. This is where the freedom of video content can claim the first prize of effective communication - the freedom of storytelling. This is the pinnacle level of engagement that brands should equip themselves with.
The result? Consumers in the palm of their hands, having surrendered full spectrum of their attention, enraptured by each and every second of visual and auditory stimuli. We’ll get back to that later. For now let’s explore the frameworks of video content, the most popular platforms, and what trends are prevalent in the brand communications industry today.
THE BACKGROUND OF VIDEO CONTENT
Originally, video content was typically used for the primary method of delivering explanatory information - nothing too exciting there. We’re talking about those annoying CEO’s and managers who would waltz onto your computer screen, with cheesy grins and promises that they couldn’t really keep. Also, those plain and boring walkthroughs, where managers would “surprise” their websites visitors by displaying the “quality USP” of the latest addition to the product line. Well, nobody liked to watch infomercials then and nobody likes to watch infomercials now…
Over the last ten years, advertising and branding digital video content has become the fastest growing medium of communication in terms of eyeballs and ad dollars - climbing the industry at a rate of 40% each year for the last five years. Impressive numbers, something to make online publishers allowing video advertising smile. But this should come as no surprise when we think about the organic link that is shared between advertising and technology - and consumer lifestyle trends.
Video content has become so heavily invested in as the years of the progressed because:
- Consumers love to sit back and “watch” things.
- More information can be shared in one minute of video content than in any other medium.
- The trend of user-friendliness is at an all time high, which has lead brands to facilitate an uncomplicated medium where consumers can engage with communication - literally at the click of a button.
- The production value is derivative of the expenditure - this is why video content marketers can work with any budget, as long as the core value of the company/service is effectively portrayed in a concise manner.
It could be that consumer markets have gotten used the couch potato life, or rather that they are too used to having access to video content for entertainment and p2p communication purposes, but the medium has officially been branded. Nowadays, the context of video content has evolved to the point of commonality, and many competitive, well-known companies are going crazy for a good mix of video content and standard content - creating a whole new line of work for thousands of people.
VIDEO COTENT VARIETY & INDUSTRY APPLICATIONS
TV SHRUNK VIDEO CONTENT
“TV Shrunk” is the form of video content that is a literal reflection of its television based counterpart - like the compact version of an SUV. Retrofitted for those who prefer computers than TV’s, this form of video content is intrinsic in keeping up with consumer trends. TV ads are arguably having less of an effect on audiences these days, unless masterfully produced with the right copywriters, art directors, designers and multimedia specialists on the job. Brands and agencies are well aware of this - and like to target the markets that may not have access to a TV but do have access to a computer and the internet with this type of video content.
PROSUMERS - THE RISE OF HIGH QUALITY VIDEO CONTENT
The prosumer is a consumer that makes complex purchase decisions based on his/her preferences. For example, a sports car enthusiast with at least one or two babies locked up in the garage only to be taken for a spin on weekends. Premier car brands like Ferrari, Mazda, BMW and Bentley could strategise to distribute video content to the clients who like to do more than just appreciate their purchase - how about a 5 minute video content based tip from Ferrari about the best tools to customise your carburetor? The context needs to be spot on, and the visuals need to be crystal clear, rendering 1080 pixels at least - but it can be done, and such content will be heavily engaged with by these niche markets.
VIRAL VIDEOS - THE BEST OUTCOME OF ANY VIDEO CONTENT STRATEGY
The difference between a good video and viral video is that brand strategists, the production logistics people and everyone else involved in the curation have nailed their market - first and foremostly with context. We quote Gary Vaynerchuk on this one: “If content is king, then context is God.” Viral videos, for whatever reason, are viewed on a video content based platform, shared on social media, and picked up in consumer conversation on a megalithic scale, are in essence a brand’s best friend. They have the power to amplify brand presence tenfold, drive sales through the roof and the best positive of all - build and sustain relationships with consumers (new and old). What makes a viral video viral, you may ask? Two cups of humour, followed by a pinch cuteness and a dash of surprise. Bake well and season with emotion. Ta-da!
WEBISODES - THE ENTERTAINMENT ELEMENT OF VIDEO CONTENT
Remember how we mentioned the strategic storytelling aspect that video content can offer to brands? Well, this is no better witnessed than via a series of webisodes. Why not portray the core value and USP of a company by imparting a continuous stream of videos released on scheduled basis? It’s important to value the anticipation factor of a consumer market. If kept in the dark for just a little bit of time, the buzz and hype will occur organically - first prize is an uninterfered and consumer-created #hashtagtrend. This is especially effective for brands that want to draw out a synopsis for a product, and finish off their story with a clear conclusion as to why the brand “is what it is”. A great opportunity for copywriters to showcase their skill and command of the english language, the returning comments and share count can give marketers great insight into who’s engaging with the brand.
REAL-TIME VIDEO CONTENT
The real time video content platform is essentially live streaming. The potential for brands to partner with companies like Meerkat and Twitch (a live gaming steam platform) is phenomenal. Any real-life event that has a branded insignia attached to its platform can subconsciously expand brand awareness, and allow for a tracking of how many participants were involved, for what reason, etc. There is an untapped market for brands to get involved with communities, and by using a branded “moderator” interact with spectators as the action unfolds. How about a Google marathon live stream, or a Wikipedia debate, or even Universal Studios movie sneak preview online.
VIDEO CONTENT - ANALYTICS
Consumer engagement aside, there are many significant applications on the analytical elements of consumer research. The measurable outcomes can be linked to the real-time movements of in-store consumer purchases, social media commentary and of course predict a foundation of future website visitation. Video content marketers and researchers can also strategise campaign optimisations and personalisations based on the reach and response that the communication returns on the consumer front.
VIDEO CONTENT BASED COMPANIES
To place the context into a South Africanised one, there are a couple of companies that are putting the “cutting edge” factor into this industry trend of video content. We recmoned checking out Flick and Holy Cow for a scope of video content innovation on local, homegrown soil.
VIDEO CONTENT - THE FUTURE
The video content trend will continue to grow in dynamic ways. As brands partner with the latest in technology, and market researchers gather insight into consumer lifestyles, video content will probably become more personalised and niched. There is a strong possibility that we will be seeing more brands converge their video content strategies into brandhouse videos - and essentially rely more and more on this platform to engage with consumers in new and interesting ways.
For now, I think it’s safe to say that future video content consumers will be privy to a lot more mouse pads and fewer remotes…
Besides, you can’t “scramble” the internet.