We meet with many marketing executives who say they are creating video because they think they “should”. After all, their competitors are doing it. And, they claim video is ubiquitous and participation is no longer optional. We understand that. But, it is not enough just to participate for the sake of participating. Brands have to participate with intent and focus. To do that, brands need a video strategy.
A video marketing strategy allows brands to create video content that addresses real business objectives.
Crafting a video strategy is the first step in realizing ROI, building an audience, and creating effective video content that moves the needle. A video marketing strategy allows brands to create video content that addresses real business objectives.
Every video strategy Tippingpoint Labs creates is distinct. We approach each initiative based on the unique characteristics of the brand, but typically there is a baseline where we begin. We start by defining objectives, goals, KPIs, target audience, positioning, key messaging, tone, distribution, budget and timeline. We employ an academic approach using research and competitive analysis, and infuse it with intuition and experience. These are similar elements to what you would find in any strategy for any marketing initiative. But, they are often overlooked for this form of media.
There are elements unique to a video strategy—video type, production style, production approach, design aesthetics, duration. Additional elements like music or editing style should also be a part of a video strategy. These elements can be unique to a single video initiative or can be looked at in the context of the video program as a whole. Below are some of the key areas of building a video strategy.
Crafting a video strategy is the first step in realizing ROI, building an audience, and creating effective video content that moves the needle.
If a brand does not know what they are looking to achieve then it is very difficult to achieve anything. When we ask clients about video objectives, we often hear “to increase awareness AND further solidify relationships with current customers.” These objectives, while both important, are not necessarily aligned. Prospects and customers think about the brand from varied points in the customer lifecycle. Outlining a focused objective statement must take into consideration the audience’s stage in the marketing journey or funnel. Hone in and be thoughtful about priorities and goals.
As marketers, we understand how to review the numbers and tell a story about our campaigns. KPIs must be aligned with the focused objective. In some cases, that means that awareness may be measured by number of video views and new leads, conversion by video engagement rates (length of video watched) and increased sales, and loyalty by how often a video is shared and repeat sales. Concentrate on the “KEY” element of KPIs. What data point is the key to understanding if the goal has been met?
As with objectives, narrowing the target audience can be triggering. Many companies want to reach a broad base in order to justify the investment in video. Going back to earlier in the post, I mentioned that brands often want video “to increase awareness AND further solidify relationships with current customers.” That’s two distinct targets: prospects and customers. Further, there are many stages for a prospect and many stages for a customer based on customer lifecycle, so, again, it is important to keep segmenting these broad categories. Building personas, understanding the mindset of the audience based on where they fall within the marketing funnel, and having a deep understanding of your product and service (and who it benefits), will help to create an effective audience segmentation strategy.
Brands need to understand consumer behavior and the “ask” at each stage of the buying journey and address it at the exact right time in order to keep the target audience engaged.
Positioning, key messaging, and tone
Armed with a focused objective, clear KPIs, and a well-defined target audience, brands can now turn their attention to positioning, key messaging and tone in video.
Look at a simple comparison of two video projects:
Target Audience: Prospects early in the journey
— versus —
Target Audience: Prospects later in the journey
It may be more appropriate for prospects earlier in the journey to watch a video focused on brand attributes shared with an educational tone of voice that will encourage them to keep learning about the product. Whereas, for the prospects later in the journey to watch a video focused on specific product features shared with a more persuasive tone of voice that will push them towards point of purchase.
Throughout the buying journey, the audience has different questions that need to be answered and different information they want to learn. Brands need to understand the behavior and the “ask” at each stage and address it at that exact time in order to keep the audience engaged. Positioning, key messaging, and tone all factor into that buyer progression.
“We will put the video on all of our channels—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, our website, upcoming email campaigns, display, etc etc etc.” This is an oft-heard approach to distribution in our conversations with clients. The harm with putting every video every where is that distribution platforms also need to be segmented based on objectives (awareness, conversion, loyalty) and audience (personas, funnel, journey stage, lifecycle). Without a strategic distribution approach, the message to the audience becomes muddied. Keep distribution points streamlined. Understand which platforms attract the audience you seek, and focus efforts there.
For example, Facebook is probably best used to showcase exclusive content for those who are already fans of your brand. Brands might choose to use Instagram for eye-catching product demos or behind the scenes reels to showcase your brands personality. TikTok is a great opportunity to produce video content that targets a younger audience in order to showcase the essence of your brand in a more fun and appealing way. LinkedIn is best for thought leadership content or HR recruiting content. And YouTube is a great way to share instructional videos, product demos, and brand videos.
Elements specific to video strategy
Brand videos, explainers, testimonials, thought-leadership, how-to’s, teasers, mini-doc, lifestyle, animated. These are just some types of videos that brands can create. They type of video created should, of course, tie back to objectives and audience and production style. Often, many types of videos need to be employed in order to propel the viewer through the buying journey. Determining the right type is critical to making a connection with the audience.
Ranging from live action to animation, there are many production styles for videos. Choosing a video style means thinking about the type of video you’re making and your objectives. We produce a lot of video in the culinary space and just in that space alone, there are myriad ways to create a recipe video.
- Overhead videos that feature the mise-en-place on a cutting board. The viewer sees hands coming in and out of the frame, adding ingredients to a pot. Graphics depict measurements and cook times.
- Stop-motion recipe video with voice over.
- ASMR and the viewer clearly hears the tomato being sliced.
- Chef hero-videos with the chef centered in the frame taking the viewer through the recipe step-by-step.
- Teaching recipe videos featuring two people—a teacher and a student.
- Anime-style cooking videos.
And that’s just the start. Other style considerations include if the videos are going to be 16×9 ratio, square, vertical? All of the above? Do they employ captions? For any video, in any industry, there are multiple shooting and filming styles that can be employed. Reviewing competitors and analyzing successful videos that reach a similar target audience is a great way to start to refine the style that is right for your brand.
A typical video schedule has three main stages: pre-production, production, and post-production. Armed with a video strategy, brands have the opportunity to find efficiencies in these stages. With a video content calendar, a savvy brand can separate these three stages so that they are not tied to any one video being produced.
For example, rather than producing one single video from start to finish and then moving onto the next video, brands can look at the videos planned for the next six months, and decide to do all the pre-production work in a six-week period. All the messaging, the scripting, the graphics work, scouting, talent management, etc. can be bundled in a sprint-like fashion. This allows for the team to focus on those elements exclusively.
Then, the team could move onto the production. If all videos use the same basic style for execution then huge efficiencies can be realized in the time-intensive and expensive production days. Brands can take advantage of that by creating an organized approach to multiple production days that yield multiple videos.
And finally, in post-production, brands can space out the editing and finishing work based on the release/promotional calendar and not worry about last-minute, late night editing sessions the day before a video is meant to be released. This an amazingly advantageous way to work. It can only succeed with a well-crafted video strategy and content calendar.
Armed with a video strategy, brands have the opportunity to find efficiencies in the pre-production, production, and post-production video stages
Video is unique in that it is a moving picture layered with other elements that help to round out and build the story. Design and graphics are a big part of that. Some brands choose to have a highly-stylized and arresting graphics package for videos that include title cards, lower thirds, logos, animated text on screen, full screen visuals, and more. Whereas some brands choose simpler designs. Graphics make a statement, even if subtle, and it is important to think about them as part of the moving picture as well. These cannot be the same graphics used in static collateral and papers, but rather they have to be appropriate for the medium of video.
We hear a lot about viewers attention spans shrinking and how videos need to be short to be effective and capture the viewers attention in the first 0:02-seconds. We agree that videos needs to be captivating, of course. But if your objectives, target audience, distribution platform, and style are aligned you may have a bit more leeway than just 0:02-seconds.
Having said that, duration is an important element to any video strategy. Creating a brand standard around short and punchy (e.g. 0:30-second) videos is quite different than creating a standard for a 3-minute video. It’s important to consider duration as part of a strategy and not as a one-off decision. Versioning videos for various lengths based on audience, lifecycle stage, and distribution platform can be an effective way to test out what video duration is the most effective for your brand.
The benefits of a video strategy
Building a video strategy takes time. It’s much easier to simply say, “We should do some video, let’s come up with some ideas and go from there.” And video can be approached in that manner. What that does not allow for, though, is cohesion between video initiatives and campaigns, the ability to create a building story that propels the audience to action, and efficiencies with budgets and timelines. A thoughtful approach to video moves brands from being reactionary about creating video simply because they “should” to creating effective video that can deliver results.
Want to talk about creating a video strategy? Email me, Rebecca Garnick Ast, at rgast – at – tippingpointlabs dot com. Or call me at 617-332-8261.