Starting your brand's video journey

December 7, 2020

Video is a digital marketing trend that is here to stay, with online videos making up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2022 (Cisco). So, how do we get started?

There must be a reason why a photo-sharing app such as Instagram ventured into videos and now to reels. And, if you remember, Facebook didn't start with videos to begin with. It was only in late 2013, did they add the feature to upload videos on the platform; after onboarding one-seventh of the World population (a whooping billion users). LinkedIn, a professional networking platform, too got bit by the bug and joined the video bandwagon in 2017.

After first allowing video uploads in August of 2017, LinkedIn has since discovered that video generates some 20x more shares than other types of content on its platform. (Source: Social Media Today)

Numerous research findings have concluded the towering influence videos have on our cognitive abilities. Fundamentally, they are a great tool to keep users engaged. But, amidst all the clutter, how do you make your video stand out? You don't necessarily need a large agency to help you with doing those high production ads (like the ones you watch on TV).

The video dilemma

If you are an early stage organization or a bootstrapped startup, you probably may not have budgeted videos in your marketing spend or have probably earmarked a small sum. You have assumed videos are expensive and going to an agency is out of your league at this stage. And it is likely that you are trying your own hands on making these early videos for your brand, using an online video creating softwares, and with a bunch of stock footage. Sounds familiar? I've been through a similar phase myself, a few times in the past.

The problem with this approach?

  • You are doing something for which neither do you have the time nor the core skill.
  • You believe videos is all about capturing footage in some form (shoot/stock) and stitching it using a software adding music, text etc. But, are forgetting that the foundation for an engaging video/creative is the story it carries and the concept.

This is your brand's first exposure to the world. And first impressions matter. More so today, when we have the attention span of a few fleeting frames. While, it needn't be perfect, it is important that it is right, presented well (aesthetically) and stands for what you and the brand believe in. You have toiled hard for months together to bring out a stellar product/service. Don't you think it deserves a little bit of effort in marketing it the right way? What do you do?

Few things to keep in mind anytime you are at this junction:

  1. Articulate your story - Get somebody independent to  help you with your messaging and pitch. Often, our passion makes us go on and on and blinds us from taking our audience's viewpoint. Getting somebody to question, push and challenge you is always a good idea. The more objective and unbiased this is, the better it is.
  2. Find references/inspiration - It may help looking for references on the internet to see what inspires you. You'll most likely end up loving that established brand's ad and tell yourself that you aren't there yet or can't afford doing something similar. Don't. Use that inspiration and chalk out why you liked it (was it the visual appeal, crisp messaging, design elements, tone, music?) and what you'd like to take away from it.
  3. In-house vs. outsource - With the pitch and inspiration in place, identify if you have the capability to execute your idea in-house. If yes, get your team/person in place, set a timeline and get started without any delay. Hit the iron when it is hot. If you think you can't do it in-house, find a freelancer or studio or a small agency who can help you.

And, if you decide to go with an external agency, things to remember:

  1. Business understanding - Do they understand or show interest in understanding your industry/business and the nuances it entails?
  2. Responsiveness - You need people who'll respond to you, in reasonable time and those who stick to their commitments. Agencies are notorious for their commitment to timelines. Be aware.
  3. Measure ability - They may not have done something exactly like what you want. But, see if they have the ability to do what you want and are willing to go the extra mile to accomplish it.
  4. Storyboards - Push for documented story briefs once you've had your discussions. Look for their take on how the video will be treated visually, references for treatment, thought process on how they'll execute the project and timelines.

You are all set. Go ahead, get that video you've been meaning to do for long, done!

- Sriram Sabhapathy | Founder, LastBench

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