You’ll Never Sell From Video

Online video is about branding, not selling. That seems to be the general attitude. There’s no doubt video is a great way to get people talking about your brand or products, and done properly it can generate a wow-factor that lingers long in the memory. But is that the end of the story for brands using video? What do consumers do after their appetite for a product has been whetted by a slick piece of creative? And is there a way to tie the two together?

Branding? Check

Whether you’re watching a multi-million dollar marketing effort like the Red Bull Stratos mission, or a viral video produced on a shoe-string budget like Dollar Shave Club’s, there’s no denying that video gets us talking.

When Felix Baumgartner skydived from the edge of space, 8m of us tuned in digitally, using our phones, tablets or desktops, to see him do it from a Red Bull branded spaceship, via a Red Bull branded YouTube channel. It delivered into the hundreds of millions of dollars in global exposure for the brand and associated it with a daring spectacle that is still being talked about months after the event.

Not every brand can afford to put $30m behind a space mission, but successful campaigns by Old Spice, who use irreverent humor to get people sharing their videos, or Dollar Shave Club’s ‘Our Blades are F****** Great!’, show how good creative gets eyeballs on videos.

Dollar Shave Club’s video cost $4,500 and went viral through social media channels, clocking up over 7m views. It’s offbeat, funny and subversive, ripping into established players like Gillette for their expensive endorsement deals with celebrities like Roger Federer. It perfectly positions the brand.

What comes next?

The big question though, is what do we as viewers do after we watch these great bits of creative? We might share it with our friends, but what we also tend to do is start a journey of discovery, we want to know more.

Great videos stimulate demand. I want to be like the Old Spice Man (who doesn’t?) and, despite lacking the facial foliage required for this to be a reasonable investment, I’m also interested in buying good value razors from a cool company so I can look like him too. I might subscribe to a Facebook page or Twitter account to get any new content and offers when they come out. What I might also do, and this is especially true of good product videos, is search for a product page, read some reviews and buy the product. In essence, I’ll start building a connection with the brand.

Can you tie the two together?

Winning a Cannes Lion or a Yellow Pencil award for your ad campaign is great and everything, but there’s a whole consumer journey that begins with a good piece of creative. If you can influence that journey, shape the conversation that you’ve started with a consumer, you can tap into the true potential of that video.

As Stefan Olander, VP of Digital Sport at Nike points out in the book Velocity, brands should be looking to establish a straight line connection with consumers, a direct path from creative to brand channel, whether thats a social media presence or an ecommerce site. Letting online video off the leash might tick the branding boxes, but without control over the consumer journey that follows that line will zig and zag all over the internet before finally getting to you, if it gets to you at all.

Imagine being able to define the next step from your online video, nudge an engaged viewer to like your Facebook page, follow your brand on Twitter, or even go straight to your product pages, all direct from the video itself.  Say you’re distributing a video showcasing your latest fashion lines, why not connect viewers directly with the product pages for those lines? Maybe then you can sell from video.

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