How to build storytelling into your video strategy

With predictions that video content will make up 69% of all internet traffic by 2017 brands need to take on the challenge of making the format an integral part of their communication strategy, while remembering that telling a compelling story is key to success.

We are witnessing an explosion of video across the digital sphere, a startling trend reinforced by Cisco’s prediction that 69% of all consumer internet traffic will be video-based by 2017. Brands therefore need to consider their video strategy carefully.

Home appliances brand Bosch has put video storytelling at the heart of its brand engagement strategy for its power tools range. The brand has just launched the second iteration of its TV and online video series ‘Don’t do a Dave’, which plays on the common mishaps people face when tackling DIY and household chores.

“We often forget the public likes nothing more than a good old engaging tale,” says Joao Barufi, regional brand manager at Bosch UK. “We have incorporated a number of scenarios in the campaign – things you wouldn’t necessarily do yourself but you know someone who would.”

The latest video produced with digital agency Media Bounty, shows a man struggling to clean his car with a toothbrush and a sprinkler system in a field before his wife finishes the job using Bosch’s high pressure washer. The video campaign is supported by an integrated social app inviting people to share their own DIY disasters or successes.

Mark Brayton, interactive marketing director at Barclays, believes the medium can be used to solve consumer challenges across most categories, in everything from DIY to financial services. “Being able to describe what we do via the accessible format of video means there is a much greater willingness to engage with it,” he says.

Areas of activity

Barclays breaks its video strategy into three key areas of activity: brand metrics and engagement; retention; and education and information. The latter is a much more regular, always-on approach to video creation, which comes off the back of its editorial process. Every Tuesday, Brayton’s team brings together key representatives from across the business for around an hour, taking in data from social listening, search and online helpdesks.

“We respond to everyday topical issues that we feel Barclays could and should have a point of view on and do it within 48 hours of that meeting,” explains Brayton. “We [then] create a video quickly to address a particular challenge or concern our customers have.”

EE outsourced much of the production for its ten-part online series ‘The Wembley Cup’ because if its scale and size

Barclays has the ability to create video in-house, but across its three strands of video work there are different needs for creative partnerships. Brayton believes that the mix of in-house providers, production agencies and creative agencies will become even more important in the future. “We will be spending more on video going forward as every brand will,” he predicts. “It is therefore incumbent to find the right creation and production process so the brand can get enough out of it.”

The banking sector is not the only one using video to position itself in a different light. Gallery organisation Tate is using video as part of a wider strategy to change the way people both perceive and consume art (see their Antony Gormley video, below). At present, Tate’s highest viewing figures are from Facebook and the appetite for video on its Instagram channel is its fastest growing.

“Film brings us a broader growing audience. It can tell a story of what we’re trying to promote in a way that is immediately engaging or inspiring,” says Jesse Ringham, digital marketing manager at Tate. “A major factor for us is that video provides a short, sharp shot of emotion, inspiration or information that is geared towards our larger percentage of mobile viewers.”

Telling a compelling story around the brand and leveraging the video format are key elements of its marketing strategy. The gallery operates with a small in-house media team, producing around two videos each week. It has recently added a new role within the marketing team to specifically manage content marketing with a focus on distributing films to third parties.

Live streaming

Ringham is interested in the future potential of live streams. Tate has previously executed live streaming in partnership with BMW and Tate Live Perfomance. “Periscope really interests us with its connection to Twitter, great user experience and accessibility to broadcast instantly,” he says. “However, it’s worth remembering that no matter how good the camera and direction, it’s the story or message that’s central to the success of your film strategy”.

Turkish Airlines believes customer stories are the most authentic way of illustrating its service. “Combining video with influencer marketing – which invites influential creatives to tell stories in their own style – creates the best visual representation of Turkey with super-charged, word of-mouth marketing, which is particularly important in the travel sector,” says Neset Dereli, interactive marketing communication manager at Turkish Airlines. “Video content is part of how we are moving our business further into the digital world.”

Turkish Airlines uses customers’ stories to illustrate its service

Working with digital video network Rightster last year, the airline identified appropriate YouTube influencers to create compelling video content and challenged them to create three videos documenting their experiences on the Turkish Airlines ‘Fortune Traveller’ journey, which incorporated Istanbul and 10 other global destinations. To date, the campaign videos have received more than 10 million views, 27,000 shares and 33,000 comments. Perhaps most compelling is the fact that general sales increased by 14% during the #FortuneTraveller campaign period.

The brand has just launched the second iteration of the campaign, which this time focuses on more emergent talent and platforms. Working in partnership with the Turkish tourist board, the airline is sending vloggers such as Jérôme Jarre of SnapChat and Vine fame, to various destinations in Turkey helping to extend its reach beyond YouTube.

Authenticity is key

The work contrasts to the more prescriptive brand-led characteristics of ad production and has been an interesting journey for Turkish Airlines, says Dereli, adding that the key to working with influencers is authenticity. “Video is an incredibly exciting and powerful medium – it represents a new kind of thinking and process that marketers need to look at,” he says. “Brands should be very careful about how they brief the influencers, then hand over the creative reins and leave the content organic.”

Consumer habits are changing, so brands have to adapt and find new ways of reaching them. There is no definitive answer with video just yet so the best way to do that is to test a range of formats, from short Vine-style ads to longer-format interactive videos and learn what resonates most with viewers in the process.

Q. How did you originate and develop ‘The Wembley Cup’ online series idea?

Spencer FC, one of the YouTubers behind the series, approached us with the idea of a ‘road to Wembley’ journey, building a team of fellow YouTube stars to take on rival web personality Miniminter. These guys are known for their videos and FIFA gaming skills, which meant their audiences would be interested in their real-life football skills.

It was new for us to be approached like this. It felt novel to be working with Spencer and other YouTube content makers. In addition, making a ten-part series was different to the single videos we have done before.

Q. What were the drivers behind ‘The Wembley Cup’ series?

We have been a sponsor of Wembley Stadium for over a year and were looking for an idea that could activate the sponsorship. In addition, the very nature of our sector means we are always interested in addressing that young, tech-savvy, data-hungry audience. Those two factors came together rather elegantly in ‘The Wembley Cup’.

Q. How successful has the campaign been?

The series was designed to be viewed both on EE’s own website and Spencer FC’s YouTube channel. We had more than 35 million views and the level of engagement was even better: 600,000 likes on YouTube, 55,000 comments and 70,000 tweets. The amount of positivity around the series made it easy to engage people in conversation around products and services. In terms of return on investment, it stacks up against many of our other investments.

Q. What investment is required to embed videos in a brand?

With our agency Poke, we outsourced a lot of the production because of its scale and the size. In the future, we have to think about doing things differently and adapting to the huge increase in the amount of video that we are producing. That means working directly with production companies but also building our own in-house capabilities, which gives us a greater degree of flexibility.

The pace at which online video is growing as a medium is staggering. Cisco predicts that more than 80% of all mobile traffic will be video-based by 2019, and it is already fast becoming the go-to method for reaching consumers. If you want to replace the oil in your car, use new software, or bake a show-stopping cake, chances are you’ll view an instructional video online.

Video content must therefore be an integral part of any communications strategy. Video is a much more effective way of getting through to consumers and it can also enhance internal activities such as training and corporate communications.

Not only can brand values be conveyed more easily with video content, the quality and provenance of business processes, such as compliance within the manufacturing and utilities industries, can also be demonstrated.

It is a powerful and emotive medium, giving consumers a reason to tune in to brands. For example, Imagen works with a number of clients which store their entire video content libraries online for consumers and the media to access.

However, the opportunity isn’t without challenges. Because of the ubiquity of video now, businesses need to think about how to manage video being created by different and diverse departments all around the world.

They have to tackle a range of significant issues, including how content is going to be stored, how it is going to be accessed and how it relates to the brand. Collation, curation and secure access have become the business priorities.

All brands are beginning to own vast amounts of media. Organisations of every size, from small businesses to archives of national importance, are waking up to the importance of video management and the opportunity for communication, PR and monetisation.

Brands need to consider how to maximise the return on their investment, so while marketers embrace the creativity of the medium, they also need to think carefully about how to store it correctly and access it easily so they can get as much value out of video content as possible.



There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Elisa 30 Oct 2015

    Maybe the video ads are the ones that are more useful for brands, but they are also more expensive. The evolution of the technology and web pages like Youtube or Vimeo have lead to a huge increase of video sharing, but I would have never guessed “that 69% of all consumer internet traffic will by video-based by 2017”. This is a very useful information for the brands, that now should concentrated a bigger part of their marketing efforts into making videos, especially storytelling and live stream videos. It’s easy to get the attention of the public with visual ads, and you can keep that attention by engaging the public with an interesting tale. Also, live stream videos are more actual, more authentic, so the people can feel more connected to the brand thanks to it. This is something all brand should take advantage of, no matter if they are selling a product or a service.

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