Of course you want your marketing to have high impact and far reach. You want your work and efforts to reach the stars. Great! Simply saying “make it viral” is not a technique or plan. So don’t let the usual traps hold you back from creating great content.
Think With Google has some great insight for businesses to improve their marketing. Check out this video from them: “We created the “Behind the Scenes” series to explore the challenges that agencies and brands face when making digital videos (and YouTube ads, specifically) and to see how they’re solving them.”
Let’s dig in. Hit play to watch the video below.
Sal: Hey I’m Sal Masekela and I’m about to take you behind the scenes for a conversation, right here, with Emily Anderson [Creative Director]…
Emily: For me being part of that content creation industry is so exciting. And I also feel that it’s a huge responsibility to do it well.
Sal:… and David Droga [Creative Chairman].
David: We’re not there to take the take. We’re not there to give the client what they want; we’re there to give the client what they need.
Sal: We’re going to talk about pros and cons of digital versus television. We’re going to talk YouTube. Come. Sit with us.
Sal: Welcome. Have you guys met?
Emily and David: We have.
Sal: You guys just crossed your legs at exactly the same time.
Emily: We planned it.
David: We practiced. We rehearsed. That’s all we got.
The first question is one that people ask all the time. What is the difference between digital and television space?
David: TV is like an Indie track or a 4 in 1 track. It’s predetermined. You can still put a piece of shit or you can put a high-performance thing on it. But it’s kind of set. And digital is like the streets out there. You can take a coastal road, or you can take an off-ramp to there or there or there, or you can end up driving to a dump.
Sal: What would be some of the differences in the way you craft?
David: Context is a word that I think is under-utilized in this industry. Everyone is so obsessed with the content. Content is the base of the storytelling. And then everyone became obsessed with the canvas. Canvases: is it going to be on television or is it going to be online? No one ever talked about the context. What’s the context in which this is going to be consumed?
Emily: But it’s funny because, and it comes down to lots of creative – there’s so much that you do not know and that you can’t control. I just made a piece that had some really deep rumbling sounds in it of oceans crashing and in the end it sweetly sounded amazing so that everyone was there clapping. The sound design was fantastic. And then we pulled out the plug and listened through my laptop and it just sounded terrible.
Sal: In the ten years of YouTube, how are brands doing?
Emily: What it’s done well, it’s so much more powerful than TV because people take it on, and then it just gets big.
David: One of the biggest killers in our industry is when a client says “I just want to do something that goes viral,” whatever the heck that means.
Sal: I want double rainbow.
David: Exactly, that’s what they’re like.
Sal: Give me double rainbow.
David: And then people think, that to make it viral it has to be crazy, or I have to do something that’s – blow up the moon. They’re not thinking of what the strategy is.
Emily: I guess brands should look to other brands that have found success and kind-of their tone of voice.
Sal: Obviously whatever you guys make, you want to succeed. But do you ever find yourselves rather surprised by the types of things that really hit?
David: The story-telling has changed. Television used to be that there was a beginning, middle, and end. A digital campaign – there is no real end. Once you put it out there, what it becomes is a part of the idea. And you can nudge it and iterate, but thinking about this thing is not this contained thing. And I feel that that helps it. There is no guarantee in that, but it makes you look at this in a different way.
Emily: I think it’s so flabbergasting that some brands will put content on YouTube and then switch comments off, and that I think is so weird.
Sal: Isn’t that like real life?
David: You’re a single guy and you go walk up to a girl in a bar and you have your entire shpeal rehearsed. You’re going to say the exact same thing no matter what comes out of her mouth. Or you’re going to respond to what she says and change tactics. It’s not going to change fundamentally who you are as a person and what your belief system is and your character. But the nuances of reacting to the person in front of you.
Sal: I’ve never put something up on YouTube before. What do I do?
Emily: The number one thing would be who do you want to watch it? And then start there and work backwards.
Sal: My piece of advice is similar to yours: people who want to create should create what they know instead of trying to chase after what’s popular or what they see other people doing.
David: Emulation is very different from inspiration. I mean if you can find something that inspires you and do your own thing that’s true to who you are, as oppose to copyright. That’s great advice.
In review, the four insights from Emily and David on avoiding video pitfalls and making great video content are:
- Make it “viral” is about as clear as ordering a “double rainbow”. It’s not about the “one-hit wonders”, it’s about connecting with your sustainable audience, knowing who your audience is, knowing what your best measurement tools are, and setting time goals that are challenging but real. “Think about building a library of content that maximizes engagement opportunities all along the consumer journey,” notes Think With Google.
- User Experience is a Mindset, Not a Department. Success is found with user experience experts, because they go out of their way to know what their audience experiences. The context your audience watches your content can be just as important as the content itself. More insight gained: “Google’s Art, Copy & Code recently launched Unskippable Labs to experiment with what mobile context means for video ads. Its first experiment with Mountain Dew® Kickstart™ suggested that mobile video ads don’t necessarily need to be short and sweet; they can be longer, richer, and less linear than traditional ads and still positively affect brand lift,” continues Think With Google. “Mobile viewers might surprise you, so try to leave room to learn from what they like and adjust your video campaign mid-stride.”
- Engage your audience in conversation. Don’t turn off your comments! They are sources of inspiration, not frustration. “Grace Helbig recently said that she thinks of her audience as her “boss,” guiding her content creation and giving her ideas. Anderson agrees. Turning off comments? “Flabbergasting,” she says. Think With Google Illustrates, “After Honey Maid released its “This is Wholesome” ad showing diverse images of the modern family, it got some negative reactions. Rather than running from the controversy, the brand team wrote the next chapter. In a follow-up video, Honey Maid transformed messages of hate into a message of love by inviting two artists to create a sculpture out of printed versions of negative and positive comments. The response was overwhelmingly positive and hey, Honey Maid racked up a Cannes Gold Lion as a bonus.”
- Evolve your digital storytelling from a strict storytelling “arc” to a never-ending story. Storytelling has changed. It’s no longer about one story. Don’t prematurely “contain’ yourself and your business. Write the next chapter. And then, the next. You have a “canvas of unlimited possibilities,” says Think With Google. “There are more formats, options, and tools at our fingertips than ever before. But that means you can expand beyond the traditional story arc. Flex the 30-second spot. Ditch the word “viral” forever. You’re shaping the future of video; what stories do you want to tell?”