Why Brands Need Video

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Red Bull Media House should be blushing.

This week it was reported that hotel chain Marriott International is launching its own in-house content studio modeled after the beverage brand’s media company. Ostensibly, Marriott plans to produce Web series, short films, TV shows, and movies. The company has also partnered with a YouTube star and travel vlogger to source additional video content.

We know that consumers are watching more videos through social media all the time, and that this creates marketing opportunities for brands. Increasingly, though, Internet users are expressing an interest in branded videos of all kinds. Last month, media software firm Levels Beyond published a survey titled Brands Not Meeting Consumer Desire for Video. The report outlined the results of a survey that probed both consumers and marketers on their attitudes toward branded video. Here’s what that survey found:

  • 59 percent of consumers say they would watch a brand video on a brand’s site.
  • 61 percent watch branded videos when they’re shared by a friend.
  • 42 percent like when brands share a video online.
  • 67 percent of consumers like how-to product videos or tutorials, while 42 percent like funny content.
  • 75 percent of marketers say they “rarely or never” produce videos to share with their followers online.

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That last bit is alarming. Red Bull, Marriott, Chipotle, Jaguar, GoPro, and countless others are creating online videos. Isn’t branded video production on the rise?

As it happens, most of the videos deployed today come from Fortune 500 brands with deep pockets and access to creative agencies specializing in branded content. The majority of advertisers aren’t equipped to make that kind of investment, and more often than not, that equates to sitting out the video party. Marketing research firm Demand Metric says four out of five B2B marketers report video marketing success, but “resources and the ability to produce quality content continue to get in the way of good work.”

The problem here is that in the meantime the big brands will continue to market with video. With each quality video they produce and release they’ll raise the bar. Consumers are already showing a great deal of interest in this form of advertising. It won’t be long before they come to expect it from brands. And when they come across a brand that isn’t engaging them with video, what will they think?

Happily, online video needn’t be overwhelming – after all, brands have access to tools like Vine and Instagram video. They may not be in the same league as branded films, but they can still make an impact, whether you use them as part of a broader video campaign like Volkswagen, Virgin Mobile, NASA, and Red Vines, or on the fly to create a one-off product demo like that made by California-based lifestyle design and event business OneNine Design. Both Vine and Instagram are well matched to brands keen on breaking into the social video space and unsure of where to start.

Companies that have been biding their time and are ready to enter the market with a splash can also leverage platforms like Brandlive, which facilitates live, interactive video events. Boat manufacturer MasterCraft uses the company to broadcast live chats with its dealers, incorporating interactive features like dealer locator and pricing tools. Ball, a canning supply company, promotes new products via video during the fall harvest season.

According to Brandlive, 70 percent of consumers surveyed say they’re “more or highly likely” to purchase a product after interacting with it through a Brandlive video. “Video is the most powerful medium for brand and product storytelling,” says Fritz Brumder, founder of Brandlive, adding, “the events are easy to set up and produce.”

Let’s take a look at that study statistic again: 75 percent of marketers rarely or never produce videos to share with their followers online.

Video has the unique ability to charm its viewers, whether the content’s comprised of home movies or branded product tips. There’s an audience out there for most every kind of video, including those that come from brands. So when potential customers confess that they’d happily watch them, maybe it’s time to change that “rarely or never” to “often and always.”

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