Branded Content Day in partnership with BCMA members, Nemorin Film & Video returns for its third successive year on the 20th November at its new home in the heart of the UK media industry at the iconic Curzon Soho in central London
We bring you a Q&A with Graham Hayday, COO and Content Director, discussing the benefits of branded video content.
Why should brands use branded video content?
The short answer is: it works (if done properly). As more and more content consumption switches to mobile devices, video is becoming an increasingly dominant medium. According to a study from the US-based National Research Group, adults spend close to an hour watching videos on mobile, every day – up 10% year on year. With the prevalence of ad blocking on desktop and in particular on mobile, branded video may be the only way some brands can get their messages in front of their target audiences.
Adverts (if not blocked) are interruptive and therefore generally unpopular. Over-the-top subscription services such as Netflix are ad-free. Therefore producing content that audiences actually want to watch can be a far more effective media strategy than focusing on ‘spots and dots’ and digital display. Just ask Lego how far you can go with that mindset.
Kelly Mullen, the head of Unilever Entertainment, summed up the thinking behind this approach nicely in a recent interview. “Interruptive advertising is not as impactful or culturally relevant as it once was… We communicate brand purpose through content that is truly seek-out. It ‘sells’ because it is creatively desirable to consumers, who might even pay for it.”
There’s also compelling evidence that video is far more engaging on social platforms than text-based posts.
What makes branded video content so powerful?
That’s the same as asking what makes video content so powerful. Humans are visual creatures. We started telling stories with pictures long before anyone had invented an alphabet. Video is truly engaging and (again, if done properly) can produce a range of emotional responses for more quickly and effectively than other media. Research conducted by BBC Storyworks, the content marketing division of BBC Global News, found that emotions are an integral part of creating impactful content and can drive long-term memory of a brand. It’s also a myth that branded video only works at the top of the sales funnel. It’s not just about building awareness – there are plenty of ways of using video to generate leads and sales.
What stops brands creating branded video content?
The main barriers we come across are the perceived costs and complexity. Granted, the upfront cost of a video can look steep when compared with other media, especially text-based social campaigns and written blogs or newsletters. But through careful planning you can get a whole load of individual cuts from one video shoot, optimised for the platforms on which they will appear. Combine that ‘smart commissioning’ approach with a deep understanding of your audience and an ability to target them with minimal wastage, and video becomes a viable option.
Besides, surely the focus should be on ROI, not the upfront cost. If you spend £1,000 and get £1,100 back, you’ve done OK. But if you spend £10,000 and get £15,000 back, it’s a better option.
Working with the right team will solve the complexity problem. Our advice would never be to go with the cheapest quote. Meet up with a few potential agencies and find out who you have the best chemistry with. Selecting a partner on that basis is more likely to result in a successful project than using cost as the main benchmark.
How does it work best when creating content?
A single-minded objective; a clear brief; a small number of stakeholders; a truly collaborative relationship with your agency; plenty of time in pre-production; enough time in post for considered amends; and a decent budget. One other tip: you’re not making an ad, so go easy on your audience. Give them something of value, and they’ll value you back. I’m a big fan of this branded content mantra: “Help, don’t sell. Talk, don’t yell. Show, don’t tell.”
How should brands be measuring branded content?
That all depends on the objective. We receive a worrying number of briefs that are distinctly sketchy on strategy; the reason why the video is being commissioned in the first place is often opaque. There’s a lot of bandwagoning going on, so it’s imperative to be clear about the desired outcome of any video project. If you do have that clarity, your objectives are likely to be (although not limited to) brand or product awareness; a change in brand sentiment; or sales. Once you’ve nailed that objective you can begin to work out what to measure. The easy metrics are quantitative things like reach, average percentage viewed and average view duration. For more qualitative metrics such as brand awareness or sentiment, you may need to work with a panel provider to gain pre- and post-campaign insights, or invest in some social listening. Sales is the hardest of the lot, as a conversion can take many months. The customer journey can be so fragmented that it’s hard to trace a sale back to a video view. But hard is no excuse not to try. The one thing I would say is that it’s not about the amount of data (and yes you can have too much!), it’s what you do with it and how you interpret it that makes the difference.
Nemorin Film & Video, in partnership with the Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA) and The Drum, is organising a one-day celebration of all things branded content at the Curzon Soho, London on 20 November. Branded Content Day will showcase the best branded content from around the world, from print to film and everything in between, including screenings and insights from many of the best practitioners in the industry today. Topics will include technology, return on investment (ROI), the broadcast/branded content crossover, print publishing and much more. For more information see https://brandedcontentday.com