Before beginning this article, and after directing your attention to the above graph, as a writer I would just like to say one thing: deeeaaammmn! Whatever happened to the days when traditional written content was enough? Now everybody wants complementary video content that is not only informative, but also entertaining? Sheesh. Tough crowd.
Honestly though, fair enough. I get it. I did quite a bit of video-based research to write this article, and in my fact-finding quest I discovered one statistic that was particularly jaw-dropping: video consumption increases by an astonishing 100% every year! Ergo, a video marketing strategy 100% necessary. If you don’t believe me (which you definitely should since I am essentially working myself out of a job), take a look at the below infographic that reflects some of the latest video marketing research:
I mean...the numbers speak for themselves: video is in, text is out. Even I must admit, it’s more memorable, engaging, able to convey depth of ambiance, takes less time to consume, and is more likely to prompt shares.
And the REALLY good news...
Video production is more cost effective than ever. There is a common misconception that video content must be professionally produced in order to make it stand out, but in today’s marketplace that simply isn’t true. No longer do you need state-of-the-art filming equipment, complicated editing software, or even a soundproof studio. Brand audiences are now much more concerned with authenticity. They want to follow genuine brands who align their business practices with their core values, and produce marketing content that is organic rather than polished.
A Brief Digression: Patagonia Case Study
For instance, recall Patagonia, a brand admired not only for its products, but also its commitment to the cause of environmentalism. For over 40 years— from bold initiatives, such as Worn Wear and Don’t Buy This Jacket, to donating 1% of its sales to grassroots environmental organizations— Patagonia has upheld its original principles of conservation and sustainability, which has resulted in a loyal and growing customer base.
Let’s explore this a little further...
In 2015, Harvard Business School published an article titled, “Patagonia: Accidental Success Through a Deliberate Mission.” But can you really call their success an accident? Their mission statement is indeed straightforward: “Build the best product. Cause no unnecessary harm. Use business to protect nature.” And it is precisely because of this candid intentionality that Patagonia has become the multimillion dollar brand that it is today.
Patagonia’s example, among many others, teaches us that when a brand can act on its convictions and consistently follow-through on its stated values in a way that is authentic, that’s called integrity, and integrity is what fosters trust between people, and where there is trust there is loyalty. And what is a brand if not the vision of a single person made manifest? The brand is the person, the person is the brand. The strength of the Founder's convictions and the sincerity with which he or she pursues their “why” produces the authenticity people crave and the movements people desire to join. As consumers, we frequently buy into people with whom we trust and share some belief, vision, or other commonality, not mere things.
Yvon Chouinard, the anti-consumerist Founder of Patagonia, once remarked, “If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile delinquent. The delinquent is saying with his actions, ‘This sucks, I’m going to do my own thing.’” When people buy a Patagonia fleece this is who they are aligning themselves with: a rebel with a noble cause. And they’re proud to do so because Patagonia has proven itself to be more than just a brand, it’s a community of like-minded individuals rejecting the status quo, pursuing a cause that matters, and perhaps communicating a little piece of information about themselves.
“This sucks, I’m going to do my own thing.”
Very often, we are afraid to step outside of the realm of “normal.” We like to create art and businesses that are original, but not too original. We like to express ourselves in ways that are just outside the bounds of what’s considered acceptable so that we can quickly retreat if we experience rejection. The problem with this strategy, however, is that it breeds inconsistency, and inconsistency is the number one way to sabotage your brand.
If you aren’t comfortable with your individuality, the creativity that should be fueling your brand will be stifled. At some point you just have to say, “This sucks, I’m going to do my own thing.” Trying to stand out in the marketplace doesn't mean you have to manufacture a persona for your company. The more authentic your brand comes across, the more it will attract consumers. Authenticity is an essential marketing tool for creating a brand that is memorable, emotionally engaging, and profitable. If you don’t believe me, check out Patagonia’s YouTube channel.
Putting it all Together: Authenticity and Video Content
As you consider your video marketing strategy, don’t use lack of experience or equipment as an excuse to not follow through. Today, as demonstrated by outlets such as Facebook Live and Instagram TV, smartphones are more than enough to create engaging, high-quality, high-resolution video content. Brand audiences, having become increasingly disenchanted and skeptical of extravagant productions, will appreciate this more grounded approach, especially after enduring such a long history of egregious trust violations (think Fyre Festival). So, go ahead, pick up your phone and hit record. The thing your followers want now more than ever is branded content that comes across as genuine, where they don’t feel like you’re trying to be something you’re not or trying to sell them something they don’t need.
In a recent study published by Buffer, the researchers found that highly-produced, polished video content doesn’t always outperform DIY content. They wrote,
“One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content […] With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos [...] We found that in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.”
Additionally, the researchers found that organic DIY videos resulted in a “50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view and that smartphone imagery [is] up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.” For marketers, this is valuable information because it reveals that in order to hook your audience, drive organic traffic to your site, and increase conversions you must optimize for both credibility and authenticity.
Well, that was pretty convincing if I do say so myself. If you don’t hear from me again it’s because I was replaced by a charismatic vlogger... just kidding, just kidding... *Laughs nervously while signing up for How to Become a YouTuber 101* No, in all seriousness, there is a place for blogging in your content strategy. It is generally a good marketing practice to provide your followers with options for consuming your content. However, as outlined above, there is now a much larger place, and much bigger appetite, for video content— particularly organic DIY video content.
Therefore, when it comes to crafting your video marketing strategy and subsequent content, just remember to keep it simple. No need for studio lighting, B-roll, and special effects. Rather, shift your focus and creative energies from maintaining the brand’s persona to revealing the brand’s personality. And bear in mind, brands are made up of people, and people are drawn to those who are at once ambitious, down-to-earth, and genuine.