The importance and role of video channels has been increasing remarkably in the past years. Burson-Marsteller, a leading global PR and communications firm, recently reported that the average number of channels (accounts) grew from 2,7 (2011) to 8,1 (2012) per company (Fortune Global 100 Companies). It shows, that companies and brands are embracing online video as an important medium and that they clearly are offering content for a variety of target auciences. But still a lot is built on content, which is published infrequently and represents a style that is not built to live.
Infrequent publishing results in channels, that are more like campaign dumpsters. Campaign videos are not bad – they can build peaks to viewership, which usually results in more subscribers, but the again there has to be more interesting content to watch to keep the audience’s attention.
What matters is continuity. Not many of the best performing channels today were built on viral-style content, but by continuous programming, testing new styles and by learning from the data and community they have been able to build real and interested audiences.
Successful pieces of content can bring the channel to the next level. But relying only on a couple of videos an audience is hardly satisfied. After a success the viewers want more and here’s where the bold companies and brands do things right: they produce more, are willing to take risks and are keen to serve their audience on a continuous level. The value of a channel is in it’s audience. And it doesn’t watch the same episode repeatedly all year long even if the episode is brilliant.
If building an engaged and interested audience is of importance to a company or a brand, they should
* Produce content continuously and try out new styles alongside the already successful ones
* Learn what works best by analyzing the available data and community responses
* Repeat what works best but never stop testing and being curious about new possibilities
It used to be that 30 second ads were all you needed to show of your brand product, slogan or name on TV. Less is more. But TV ads are also short for another obvious reason. They cost money and are limited to the broadcasters specifications. Online however, many brands have begun to explore different options of telling their stories. One genre especially which has grown in popularity is the mini-documentary.
Mini-documentaries are generally between 5 and 20 minutes long and, in most cases, are more about stories and less about slogans, buzzwords and products. The most successful ones tend to focus very much on the people and the brands are only left in the background. Human interest stories are always more fascinating. When speaking through a character you can create a truly personal story which people can identify with. Advertisers are usually afraid of the word ‘documentary’ because it means that they are not in control of what is happening.
However, there are exceptions. The first two videos below are great examples of brands putting their trust in the characters and letting them say and do what they want, or at least so it appears. This makes the documentaries more interesting and gives them personality.
Painting Coconuts is a story about David Beattie, a miniature model maker, who is commissioned to create a miniature car track for Audi. Even though the film is essentially a promotional video for Audi, it is really the story of David. And it’s not all about success and great moments. It’s also about failure and frustration. It doesn’t feel like a promotional video, it actually has character and a personal story to tell.
Making of Makia Part 2, on the other hand, is a road movie about a couple of guys who are creating the Makia campaign. It almost acts as a extension for the Makia campaign, fitting well into the guerilla mentality of the brand.
And finally, What Most Schools Don’t Teach is a short documentary based only on interviews. Note that the characters in the video are identified only by their first name.