Video

Second Place Is A First-Rate Strategy

With almost 20 years in this business, it’s not that often that I come across a TV commercial that actually gets me excited, but Classico’s pasta sauce competition commercial has done it. It’s not because of the creativity or the out-of-the-box thinking, but because of the strategy! The commercial establishes a pasta sauce competition, the opponents being a group of Italian “Nonnas” and Classico pasta sauce chefs. When the winners are announced, the Italian Nonnas take home the gold, while the Classico group stands cheering. It ends with a voiceover that says:

“Homemade pasta sauce will always win, but with inspiration from the regions of Italy, we’re a close second.”

WOW! I wasn’t expecting that ending! And that is why the commercial is so effective. The commercial has the ad sponsor, Classico, celebrating the fact they didn’t win a pasta sauce competition, and promoting the fact that their brand was, indeed, second place in the pasta sauce game.

Brands usually don’t take this type of risk by admitting defeat, but by doing the unexpected and taking this risk, and creating a strategic approach, it’s a win-win.

Classico hasn’t created a major marketing campaign for over 10 years, so this ad needed to create some serious dialogue. After conducting some market research, Classico found that their consumers frequently make homemade pasta sauce on the weekend and believe that a store-bought pasta sauce will never live up to something made from scratch. They also found that; while their consumers appreciate homemade sauce more, “for those nights when they want to deliver a great meal, but don’t have a lot of time, they want a high quality pasta sauce alternative.”

Knowing this, Classico launched their “Second only to yours” campaign. Admitting their sauce will never beat a delicious homemade sauce appeals to consumers looking for brand honesty, and as I discussed in last week’s blog, honesty is key in a marketing campaign. Classico knows their consumers value high quality sauce, so by informing them that while they are not going to beat their homemade version, they are still a close second, appealing to this busy target market.

In 1962, this strategy was also met with great success when Avis embraced their second-place status as a way to hype the brand’s customer service with the tagline, “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder.” They retired the slogan last year after finally slipping into third place behind Hertz, 50 years after the tag line was created.

As we can see, this risky strategy worked well for both companies. Classico’s ad has now become a viral video, and Avis produced a popular slogan that was used for half a century. However, if everyone started a marketing campaign claiming they were number two, we might be in trouble. These two case studies are great examples of how well-researched marketing strategies can go against the grain and pay off big time.

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Super Bowl – Promoting A New “Good Dad” Image

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 12.03.53 PMTo say the Super Bowl attracts a huge audience is an understatement, but for advertisers the Super Bowl’s massive reach and potential to raise brand awareness with about 112 million people tuning in to the 2014 game, the Super Bowl remains not only the biggest televised sports event in the U.S. but the year’s most anticipated advertising showcase.

On one level there were some notable differences this year in costs and advertisers: a 30-second spot ran for an unprecedented $4.5 million, and we saw fewer auto ads, notably none from Honda and Volkswagen, and incredible film-quality ads with highly-paid celebrities like Pierce Brosnan, but we also saw more opportunities for first time advertisers like smartphone accessories-maker Mophie, and web development platform Wix.com.

On a deeper level, this Super Bowl is unlike any other not because of the deflated balls scandal, or the non participation of a few auto manufacturers to renew their ads, but because of the sheer number of NFL players in the spotlight for sexual assault charges. You may recall a few months ago, when we saw video footage of Ray Rice assaulting his fiancée and subsequently receiving a mere slap on the wrist for his crime. This incident, and the previous track record of many NFLers who have also been accused of assault, including Ray McDonald, CJ Spillman, Darren Sharper (and many more) caused a media stir, outrage and a demand for justice – spelling bad press for the NFL. So in an unprecedented move, the NFL created some powerful spots (PSAs and commercials) aimed at raising awareness of domestic violence. Then other advertisers leveraged this sentiment, and launched their entire Super Bowl campaigns around being a better Dad; from Nissan, Toyota and Unilever with grass root-type style videos aimed at how to be a better dad, even featuring current and former professional football players and their children discussing their relationship with their fathers, the focus was less on beer drinking, physical strength, and fast car driving and more on the “how to be a better man”. These brands built buzz online by promoting hashtags like #withdad, #realstrength and #oneboldchoice.

Sincere or not, we will never really know, but as a dad of a couple of young boys, I am thrilled to see change afoot with where advertising is going; a chance to bond with this “man’s” game and watch ads that reflect strength in character; that no longer reiterate the old 1950’s approach of how to be “a man’s man”, but showcase something much richer, something that more closely reflects the values of I want to instill in my boys – love and mutual respect – after all isn’t that the #realstrength of a man?

Up for discussion this week is how did the new breed of ads affect you? Do you think this type of ad will become the norm or was this just a one-off and a simple money grab due in part because of the criminal cases facing the NFL? I look forward to your feedback.

Why You Need Video in your Strategy…Now!

Consumers have become wary of traditional marketing in terms of direct promotional materials and content. We know that companies want our money and will try to convince us we should spend it with them. This is why peer marketing has boomed in the past few years, where social media platforms have become a venue for consumers to recommend (or criticize) brand products and services to their social networks.

When it comes to B2B marketing, companies will find many ways to convince you they are the brand for you and, in the past, those with the most money to spend on marketing and advertising had greater influence on their audience. YouTube and social media equalize this playing field because there is a cost-effective opportunity to reach your target market if video marketing and social media are used the right way.

Successful marketing relies on trust – consumers trust their peers and trust what they can see and hear, which puts video marketing in an important position. Entertainment has become vital to successful video marketing, where one could argue that companies are looking to entertain first and promote second. Take, for example, a video that went viral a few weeks ago, “First Kiss” where strangers were asked to kiss each other after only meeting a moment before. The awkwardness and hesitancy in the encounters appealed to such a widespread audience with over 69-million views on YouTube, and countless parodies. Only later did the world find out this was an extremely clever marketing ploy by a ladies clothing brand in L.A.

With almost double the number of visitors converted into leads when a video is embedded in a web page, we know that video marketing is effective…but why? Let this infographic shed some light on why videos, a visual, audial and potentially emotional experience, make a difference in marketing.

DCustom_Content-Marketing_Video_Infographic

 

How often click on a YouTube thumbnail when visiting a website? Does this help you make your decision about a company? I look forward to your thoughts below.

How Will You Tackle 2014?

With the year 2014 on the very near horizon, many of us have started thinking about the upcoming business year and deciding how to keep our business competitive and profitable.

As a marketing expert, one of the best ways I find to keep ahead of the cure is to educate myself on what trends are developing and how they might help me reach my target audience.

I’d like to share with you the following infographic as it highlights the increased use of tools like company videos and social media, but also communicates three overarching trends you can implement in your marketing for 2014:

2014-Marketing-Statistics1. Visual marketing is a must: With so much virtual noise competing for everyone’s attention, consumers want to be able to understand your message very quickly, rather than reading through paragraphs of text. And, as large portions of your audience are visual learners, you can safely guess that all of your audience would appreciate being engaged, if not outright entertained, by your marketing.  Think about how you market your business, could you implement promotional videos into your marketing plan and adjust your website to enhance the visual experience?

2. Your audience wants to feel connected to your brand: Consumers don’t just want to know your product, they want to feel like they know YOU as a business and as a brand. If companies with blogs and customer testimonials see larger traffic than counterparts who don’t employ these tactics, an argument could be made that there is a disparity in consumers feeling personally connected to one company’s brand over the competition.

3. Your audience has to be able to find you: People have so much access to information via the internet, smartphones and social media. Many consumers do their homework prior to making any decisions around where to spend their time and money. Your brand has to not only communicate your message very quickly, but the message must live where your future customer will find it. So get listed, get social and be easily accessible.

Do you agree with these trends?  If so, are you already using these tactics, or plan to in the New Year?  How can you leverage them further to reach your audience? I look forward to your comments below.

Top 10 Marketing Mishaps – A Play Back

This week I’d like to share with you this entertaining short video from WatchMojo that counts down their top 10 worst marketing mistakes in history.

I hope that this video provides a humourous look back and serves as a reminder that we don’t always get it “right” and that even the “big guys,” “the untouchables” and “the big kahunas” like McDonalds, Coke and Ford get it wrong sometimes, too!

Consider that when you’re a big brand like these guys and you get it wrong… everyone is watching!

How many of these mishaps do you remember? Does it help bring perspective to your own mistakes? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.

Video Production – Are You Getting What You Paid For?

Doug&Roy3With a combined visual and verbal message, your message is 70% more memorable on video than it is in print alone.  With an influx of demand, there has been an increase in individuals with basic camera and editing skills, and possibly even some college or university training, who call themselves “video production companies”. Like any industry without regulations, it is up to the consumer to do their due diligence before deciding to hire a video production company.

As the owner of a marketing agency and full service video production company with over 14 international video awards and 20 years of production experience, I’d like to outline a few tips to help you make sure you get quality and value from the video production company you hire.

Video is a Marketing Tool

As with any marketing tool, you’ll need to consult with your marketing department or agency to ensure you set the video’s objectives, position its message, and determine the measurement and ROI you hope to achieve.  If your video production company simply shoots video without understanding the broader context, your audience may not understand your message and your video objectives and ROI will not be met. The result: a poor investment and a mixed brand message in the marketplace.

Hiring Professionals

Look at their past work to make sure it is compatible with what you want.  Ask them to give you details of their involvement in the video.  E.g. Did they just show up on a certain date to shoot it or were they involved in the planning, offer insights and provide advice.  Make sure they know your industry and understand your marketing goals.  Ask them about the crew, equipment and editing experience.  E.g. To simply ask if they shoot HD is not enough, as even hand held devices are able to shoot HD.  It is the shooter’s experience and their professional equipment that will give you the high quality work you want.  Ask them to share insight with you as to how your video will help you accomplish your specific marketing goals and objectives.  Note: You are looking for a concrete answer here, not a broad “it will increase brand awareness” type of answer.

Asking Questions

Part of hiring professionals is making sure they ask you the right questions. When you contact a video production company inquiring about a video you’d like to have produced they should ask you a million and one questions about your company, such as your goals and objectives, and then be able to recommend what type of video will best help you reach those goals. E.g. They should be able to tell you what they recommend and why, again highlighting their expertise.

Beware of Sticker Price
If you are only thinking about costs when planning your video, then perhaps video is the wrong medium for your message. When done right, professional videos are not cheap, but can be extremely successful in increasing your ROI. If cost is a huge factor, a professional video production company should be able to advise you as to what, if anything, can be done for your budget.

I hope I have helped increase your understanding in how to prepare and gauge the quality of the video production company you are considering hiring.  Remember, video production (non-union) is not regulated and it has never been truer than in this industry that “you get what you pay for”.

Have you used, or are you considering using video?  Please share your questions and stories about your video production in the comments below.

Online Video: Costs to Consider

(A follow-up to It’s Not Only Video Production – It’s Marketing)

In last week’s blog, I discussed the advantages of using video in your marketing efforts, including outlining the video process, and how long a production may take to create.  As a follow up to that blog, I have dedicated this week’s blog to answering questions regarding budget-related costs associated with video production.

As the owner of a marketing agency with a full service video production company, and over 13 international video awards, my clients often ask me how much producing video costs, and how these costs are determined. I’ve shared my answers to those questions below.

How much does it cost to make a video?

Costs are very much dependent on your needs. Every video is customized and unique, and as such, production costs vary widely according to the video style, and the time spent writing, shooting, and editing the final product.

If you plan to buy TV airtime, or buy online advertising to showcase your video, this will also add to your costs.

Have a budget in mind, and then discuss it with your agency to see what type of video can be produced based on this budget.  You should be able to reduce your budget if you can share some of the responsibilities, like writing the scripts, or providing images.

Be realistic about your expectations.  Do not expect to pay a semi-pro rate and get a professional product. Cheaper is usually not better.

What Drives the Cost of Video?

Understandably, I get this question all the time. There are three basic factors that drive productions costs.  These factors eventually get reflected in dozens of budget decisions that impact the quality of the final product.

  • Time.  Time spent increases costs. The more time that is spent in pre-production, scripting, location scouting, camera and equipment used, number of locations, days shooting, size of crew required, special effects, and editing, the better the final product will be.   Reduce the number of locations, for example, and this is reflected in the cost.
  • Talent.  The greater the talent of the people working on the project (crew, director, producer, editor and on screen talent), the better it will be.  In online video production, as with most things in life, talented and experienced people tend to cost more. Use in-house talent, for example, and this will be reflected in the cost.
  • Tools.  Understand what type of camera is best for your shoot requirements. Small DSLR cameras make beautiful footage, but they fall short in many areas, and therefore may not be right for your shoot.  High-end cameras with professional lighting kits, sophisticated post-production motion graphics, and animation will also add to your cost.

If I only want a 30 second video, is that cheaper?

The truth is that the final length of the video is not directly proportionate to the cost of the production.  Consider TV commercials, which are usually created in 30 second time blocks: the production cost alone may be well over $25,000, even though it is only 30 seconds long. Why? Because the project still required planning, scripting, a talented team, professional tools, etc.  So even if you reduce the final video time to 30 seconds, it does not mean the costs will be lower. That being said, you would be able to save costs in the “time” side of things as outlined above.

What is included in the production costs?

Production costs will be itemized in any video proposal sent to you, but they can include everything from initial research and concept development to scriptwriting, shooting, editing, graphics, music and narration. Duplication of CDs, DVDs or USBs is usually not included. Again, discuss what items you will be responsible for and what you need your agency for and then they can send you the itemized costs and responsibilities in their proposal.

I have outlined for you what you can expect from a professional and experienced video production company. Although you can produce videos from an iPhone, or use free editing software on your computer, please be aware that you do get what you pay for.

As a business professional, consider video to be yet another professional service, as you would your accountant.  Video is a powerful medium, as I have said many times: it has the power to influence clients by going viral and driving your brand and ROI. However, if done unprofessionally, it also has the power to leave a negative impression in the minds of your potential clients.

Do you have any questions about using video in your marketing? Do you have any other costing questions for me?  Please share your questions and stories about producing video in the comments below.