“62% of 18 – 32 year olds prefer to check their smartphone if they have any “downtime” rather than just sit and think. 37% even check their smartphone if there’s a short lull in conversation with friends.” (Dr Simon Hampton, Psychology lecturer at the University of East Anglia)
These habitual moments of checking digital devices give marketers a new window of time in which to reach their audience. The weapon of choice for many marketers is video. But in an era when 1 hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds how do messages cut through and become a success?
Now more than ever brands must think of themselves not as advertisers, but as publishers. Advertisers push overt sales messages, whilst publishers engage, enthrall and entertain – which is exactly what the modern mobile viewer wants. Publishing engaging content that genuinely connects is the key to winning in a cluttered marketplace.
But what makes engaging and successful content? Creativity, wit, shock, stunts and sex are all used successfully, but the governing principle can be summed up in three words : Emotion / Logic / Emotion (and two of those are even the same).
But what does ELE mean? To connect with an audience brands must engage viewers emotionally – if they don’t care about your film they won’t care about your messages. Once viewers are engaged emotionally, they are open to having logical arguments put to them, key benefits and how things work are far more relevant when a viewer is engaged. Finally, a dry call to action is unlikely to elicit any response, whereas an audience that has their emotions tugged are more likely to engage. Thus successful films follow a clear narrative curve of emotional engagement, a logical debate and a final emotional call to action…ELE.
Emotion in this context doesn’t just mean tears or laughter; whilst a cat on a skateboard is funny it’s not really a helpful marketing message (unless you sell cats or skateboards). Emotions can be so much more: the admiration of peers, better promotion prospects, being able to show off in the pub or just the joy of inside knowledge are all powerful motivators that marketing videos can tap into. Finding the motivator of your desired market and connecting with that are the start of a successful video campaign.
You can see this in action within a film we created for Astrium Services (now Airbus Space). We identified that the cluttered space tech market relied heavily on statistics, pictures of satellites and technical data. It never connected emotionally with its audience and the prize was there for the first brand that did.
We opened the film with a strong emotional hook, tying the technology to the planet and the future of its people. With that in place we then went through the logical points that were important such as history, pedigree and capabilities. Finally, a strong positive image and uplifting music drove a positive emotion at the end of the film and created a great click through rate to the Airbus Defence and Space website.
The ELE trinity can run though a film as in the Airbus example – but also across campaigns and even YouTube channels.
ELE across a campaign
With average viewing times falling and the growth of short form video platforms like Vine and Instagram it may simply not be possible for some brands to get the ELE formula into a single film. But that’s OK, as it can also run across a campaign.
Consider this film for Mazda that brings a funny twist to a new technology. Sent out as a viral campaign it attracts people to the brand.
But further to this emotional content Mazda created a series of more in depth films that highlight key features of the car for those nearer to purchase. The later films addressed the Logical side of the formula but also drew people into an emotional call to action by leading them towards a test drive.
ELE within a YouTube channel
The typical click through rate from a YouTube video to a company website is below 1 percent. YouTube channels are therefore not a stop over on the way to somewhere – they are the destination itself. When brands get a viewer on their channel they need to think like a publisher and ensure the viewer has reason to stay there. Regular, topical and engaging content is the only way to drive brand engagement through a YouTube channel.
Successful YouTube channels feature a range of emotionally engaging content. These can be considered the attractors that pull in viewers. But emotional content on its own won’t close a sale so good channels put logical, information heavy content on the channel to answer follow up questions and keep viewers engaged.
We have been working on the Credit Call YouTube channel and its structured in just this way. A funny viral backed up with Digital PR and a YouTube ad campaign attracted new viewers to the channel where they were greeted with more in depth videos on the company’s technology and approach.
YouTube channels should be clearly structured with a punchy and emotionally engaging film as the featured video and then well organised layers of information ( with good tags and signposting that can easily be navigated by visitors). Brands that use their YouTube channels as a catch all bucket for outdated and badly organised videos will never succeed in the current market place.
Video has a powerful role in the marketing mix, but in a cluttered marketplace it the combination of emotional and logical messaging that will drive new business for brands. The ELE formula works across films, campaigns and channels to create a holistic framework for viewer to explore brands and their products.
By Jon Mowat