Video marketing – beware the spork

16th July 2013

A fork is great, and a spoon is great – they both do exactly what you want when you want it. In fact, by doing one thing well they’ve pretty much cornered the market in terms of “food to mouth” solutions.  But some people don’t want just a fork, or just a spoon, they want both – and it was for these gadget conscious folk that the Spork was born.

Sporks sound great,  but soon after using one you realise two things, it’s neither a good fork nor a good spoon.  In fact, some people search their whole lives for a good spork – but they’ll never find one!  Doing multiple jobs with one tool means it invariably does no job well – and the same goes for video marketing.

Good marketing is clear in the message it is putting across, and with video, this is even more important. You may be able to get multiple messages and objectives in a company brochure but a short film has to be more focused. Brochure and website copy is a good starting point for messaging, but success lies in distilling this down to central truths.

Before going on, I should make clear that when writing this blog I’m really referring to videos that are being pushed out into the public arena to attract visitors or attention. Videos being watch after the potential customer is engaged have a different set of rules, which I’ll cover later.

Successful video marketing and seeding campaigns are built on strong creative ideas that encapsulate a singular vision of a product, brand or service.   If you are thinking of putting together a campaign that includes video or is indeed driven by video, think carefully about the number one objective, and make your video do that.  If you have secondary objectives these can wait for another day, or possibly another video.

My number one tip is to reduce the number of messages that your video carries, and focus on what single message you want the viewer to leave with.

Have a look at this example we developed for Peugeot. Yep, there are lots of features, and there are many other videos about the RCZ that list these at length.  But this film was designed purely to create excitement about the looks of the car – so the story is “the car is art” or “this car is creative and beautiful”.

The importance of this singular narrative extends beyond the video itself and into your wider campaign. When building our clients a digital PR or video seeding campaign around their video, we can achieve better results if the film itself has a simple, concise message. Selling a video’s backstory to a journalist or attracting viral views is much easier if the film can be summarised in a pithy sentence.

To engage, excite and attract customers you have to tell one message well, this seems obvious but often fear of committing to a single message leads to watered down films.  This can typically happen where a number of departments are involved but it’s worth working at the key message until a clear creative concept pops up.

But what do you do if you’ve been tasked to create a video that doesn’t seem like it can be one single message …. What if you have to create something rammed full of features and benefits? I’ve two points here:

Firstly, you would be best off dividing your campaign into two. Have one video that is pushed out into public to attract attention, and a second on your website that goes into more detail.

Secondly, (if you can’t do the approach above), find what all the features have in common and make that the story. You may, for example, create a dozen products that are all used by people to create something special … that’s the story to tell.

When you’ve established the overarching narrative you can easily list the services because you have a clear framework that the viewer can follow.

An example of this is the work that we did with Virgin Pure on their water machines.  They have many exciting features, but the key is that they all help people with busy lives … so that’s what we focused on in the film. This leads to an aspirational and engaging promotional video that people could relate to. In fact, Virgin Pure have told us that people watching this film are five times more likely to buy than those that don’t.

So, to take my own advice I’ll keep this to one message: Make your video effective by telling one story well – don’t make a spork!

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