Beyond PR

May 02, 2012

Brand TV: Using Video to Engage Audiences

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Today’s communication professionals are well aware that social media and video both have a major impact in marketing strategy.  The question that many of us ask is how these tools should be harnessed and when are they most appropriate?

In 2011, we hit an important tipping point: fully half of all web traffic was accessing online video. Clearly, audiences of all kinds are watching video and on any one of a plethora of devices that are available.  Did you know that as of the beginning of 2012, there are more mobile devices in existence than people on the planet?  That fact alone is mind-blowing. There are now an infinite number of combinations of platforms and devices where content can be viewed and experienced, along with the different browsers used along with them.  Ignoring the fact that this combination exists is, the biggest mistake that marketing professionals can make.

The Content Marketing Institute recently held a webcast that focuses on this hot topic entitled “Jumpstart Your 2012 Content Marketing Strategy with Video + Social Media,”  with a presentation from Steve Rotter, VP of Marketing for Brightcove, who declared that the best way for marketers to learn is through customer examples, starting with our own viewing behavior.  Audiences in 2012 “want options,” he said, along with “living room content everywhere.” As usual, I thought of my own short attention span, and translated that to mean that companies should keep their content short (2 minutes tops), entertaining and of good quality.

For more examples of how brands are using video, click the the image.

Branded video applications:

One tactic that was discussed was “brand TV” – the development and display of branded videos.  Considered a video engagement best practice, brand TV is a proactive format that is great for branding, education and it can also cut down customer service costs.

  • Kohler, a company known for making bathroom fixtures, has developed “The Kohler Network” their own TV channel on their web site.
  • Hoover uses video to address popular customer issues and provide instruction guides presented in short videos.
  • Citrix TV utilizes videos between 30 seconds and 2 minutes utilized in a “bite-sized” fashion.  This type of visual experience with a brand, according to Rotter, strengthens customer loyalty, which is a goal for all marketers.
  • Phillips, Oracle, McKesson and even the US Department of State utilize live video in some way, causing what Rotter labels the “halo effect,” making sure that people will come back to the site due to past live content.

It’s interesting to note that the most popular question from marketers typically has to do with YouTube, and how important it is in social media strategy.  While having a presence on YouTube is pretty much necessary these days, Rotter says to be careful when looking at the search stats on the site.  While it does garner a large amount of web traffic, the searches performed on YouTube are a lot more topically specific than Google.  A company’s own website is still very important. Thus, a “blended distribution strategy” is the ideal set-up, where a company has some video on YouTube, as well as their own site.  This offers more control over the entire user experience.

There are plenty of options for a marketer to consider when putting together their strategy, and it is quite evident that social media and video are requirements for that strategy.  It was astounding to me when 67% of the webinar audience claimed that their company “doesn’t have a mobile strategy.”  This is where the eyeballs are, and where even more of them are going.  Harnessing this fact by creating and distributing your content to work on these devices should be a priority.  As Rotter explained, “With video compared to standard web stats, you get more statistics and information about your user.”  That information is a fundamental requirement for all marketers.  As technology continues to fragment, conversion will become more complex.  It is our responsibility to build marketing strategies that keep up with these changes.

Author Gena Sabin is director of multimedia business for PR Newswire/MultiVu.

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