A Guide to Branded Video Content
The numbers behind video as a marketing tool are staggering. A whopping 91% of businesses use video content, and 96% of marketers who do say that it's an important part of their strategy. More than 2.7 billion people use YouTube each month, making it no secret that video is a powerful way to reach audiences.
So, yes, video is popular, but just because brands use it and people watch it doesn’t make all video effective. Video for the sake of video won’t cut it, which is why the savviest marketers use branded video.
What is branded video?
|Branded video is marketing content sponsored or created by a brand with the goal of sharing brand values, promoting company solutions, and displaying products. It aims to monetize positive associations with a brand and shares the same end goal of sales.|
Branded video content examples
Think about the Barbie movie. Technically, it’s a branded video by Mattel — albeit a billion dollar branded feature-length film (with not-so-subtle product placements played by A-list actors) but still branded.
Cookware brands that create recipe tutorials? Branded video.
Productivity apps that publish video interviews with successful entrepreneurs? Branded video.
Outdoor brands like Yeti and REI that enthusiasts and influencers create and distribute video content for? Branded video.
These examples highlight organizations that do branded video right, and for that, they’ve reaped vast rewards. Let’s look at a few of the most common types of brand videos.
Types of brand video
There’s no one brand video type to rule them all. They all work together within a greater video strategy that’s meant to explore different goals, viewer intent, and business units.
1. Product videos
Product videos can serve several purposes, but the central point remains the same: They show what your product is, what it does, or how it works. We can separate these into a few different categories:
- Overview: This is an overarching look at what your product is, along with its purpose and defining features.
- Demo: This is an inner look at what your product does by showing it in action.
- Explainer: Otherwise known as tutorial or how-to videos, an explainer seeks to show how to use your product as a whole or in bite-sized parts.
Each of these has a place in the product video ecosystem because each displays a different angle of your product. Still, these can look different between B2B and B2C use cases. For instance, a how-to video about creating a campaign in Google Ads won’t look the same as a how-to video for a Ninja airfryer. However, both are branded ways to show you how to do something.
Regardless of whether your organization is B2B- or B2C-oriented, product videos give you the chance to create excellent visual content that gives a holistic look into what you’re selling. We’re in the TikTok era, and, with attention spans at an all time low, succinct product videos are a powerful competitive advantage.
2. Case studies and testimonial videos
The best marketing possible is other people talking positively about your brand. Branded case study videos are a great way to show how your product helped solve an actual problem for an actual customer. It’s living proof that your product works, people bought it, and it gets results. Case study videos should focus on a particular problem that your company solved for a customer and highlight tangible value through data like time or money saved.
Testimonial videos, on the other hand, are more broad. They feature praise from a partner or customer for your product and mean to draw prospects in to see what people are talking about, ideally magnetizing those prospects to see for themselves or explore deeper. The best marketing is having people outside your organization say good things about your products.
3. Recruitment and company culture videos
Your brand isn’t purely a product or the problems it solves, but the people behind it. Company culture is the human face of your organization and shouldn’t be ignored, lest you run the risk of looking like a rigid corporate entity devoid of personality.
Instead, showing the people who comprise your organization — whether that’s running a 5K together, helping out around your HQ’s city, or just daily office antics — allows customers to connect with something beyond what you’re selling. There are enough faceless corporate conglomerates that run shadow empires.
Recruitment videos break that mold and celebrate the human beings that are trying to bring you products that make your life easier. One of the best marketing (and business) strategies is happy employees. It’s even better when they’re willing to hop in front of a camera to tout their workplace.
4. Brand film
Another example that focuses on the human elements of your organization, a brand film seeks to make deeper connections between your company and the world around you. Whether this involves recording your organization's unique founding journey or focuses on your ESG initiatives, a brand film shows your company’s commitment to something more than the bottom line.
We should highlight an important distinction that can be slightly misleading: video sponsorship versus video commissioning. Whereas commissioning a video production company or filmmaker results in branded video content, sponsoring a video means financing someone else’s video — perhaps your name is featured in it (corner logo or credits), but it’s not wholly branded by your organization.
There’s also branded documentaries, some of which might include the name of a brand or feature it in the film, while others don’t. A great example of branded film in every sense is Red Bull. From feature-length documentaries covering some of the most extreme feats on the planet to social media video shorts scoping up-and-coming talent, Red Bull’s brand film strategy is strong.
There’s no real formula to making a brand video a success, but honesty, humanity, and good storytelling have to be front and center. Be honest about what your organization does and highlight your values! People don’t need your company to be Mother Teresa reincarnate or a duplicate of Red Bull’s output, but an honest look into something that makes your organization shine — no matter how small — is a drop of authenticity that the corporate world is everly lacking. Light the way!
Advantages of branded video content
With the growing popularity of digital video, brands must find fresh, effective ways to reach their customers. Branded video content helps businesses break through the noise and win the attention, loyalty, and (ahem) spend of prospective buyers. When done right, branded video offers the following advantages:
- Non-disruptive: By contributing to the experience, rather than disrupting it, brands are less likely to annoy viewers. Instead, they add value and contribute to a two-way digital conversation between brand and customer.
- Emotive: Many branded videos are narrative-driven. They use storytelling to entertain, inform, or communicate a brand’s values, which is an effective way for brands to build more authentic, memorable connections with audiences.
- Engaging: With the staggering amount of content on the web, many consumers develop a blindness to it. However, marketers who create the kind of branded content — be it funny, entertaining, or educational videos — that their target audience wants will hold viewers’ attention and keep them coming back for more.
- Authentic: We’ve all seen companies try too hard in brand videos that end up coming across as cringe-y. Authenticity is the beating heart of brand video (and a huge part of marketing), and when marketing to digital natives — that’s millennials and every person after them — they can sense something fake very quickly. It pays to be yourself; same goes for brands. The moment you start video dressing as something you’re not, prospects will see right through it and wonder what else is fake.
- Shareable: Outside of a Super Bowl ad or a particularly timely promotional video, people don’t typically share videos where the brand — not the content — takes the spotlight. Branded videos flip the dynamic, giving viewers a reason to share a brand’s content with their friends and colleagues.
Tips for creating branded video
The sight, sound, and motion of video gives it a winning advantage out of the gate. However, there’s a lot that goes into creating branded videos that are actually effective. There’s no template or magic formula (that would be too easy!), but brands can benefit from following a few tried-and-true best practices.
Think about the audience first
Just like when you create any content, you need to first know who you’re talking to. When brands don’t understand the unique motivations, passions, needs, and wants of its audiences, it’ll struggle to produce effective content. And, no matter how slick or inspiring the content, it will fall flat if it doesn’t speak to the right people.
Don't be afraid to outsource
With a cell phone in nearly every pocket or purse and the growing acceptance of live and rough-cut video, “producing” video content isn’t nearly as difficult as it used to be. Even so, not every business has the resources or time to create branded videos in-house. For this reason, many brands sponsor existing content or turn to agencies, freelancers, publishers, influencers, and user-generated content. No shame in this game!
Plan for no audio
With around 90% of video consumed on mobile phones, it’s easy to see why sound isn’t always the default for viewers. In fact, the major social platforms have switched to automatically presenting videos with the sound muted as viewers scroll through their feed. If someone watches a video in public or on the couch next to a friend, it’s sometimes more polite to just enjoy the video sans sound. So while branded video can have audio, many brands make sure the message is delivered even if it can’t be heard. They do this in many ways, like incorporating subtitles — which should be a given to support better accessibility anyway — or leaning harder on visual storytelling where sound acts as background or mood music.
Stick with what you know
Creating branded content for its own sake won’t get marketers anywhere. In other words, stay in your lane. Brands must produce content that aligns with their values and the products, services, and lifestyle they sell. Imagine if a cloud software company started publishing meteorology videos as a tie-in to cloud expertise. Trying too hard? Definitely.
To CTA or not to CTA?
That’s the question. Videos might have a middle, end-of-video, or, present-throughout call to action (CTA) — just ask the Instagram ad that I clicked on earlier. They’re more common now with platforms like Wistia that allow advertisers to add in-video CTAs, but they don’t work everywhere. Your organizational goals will help define when to add a CTA and when to leave it out. While it might work wonders for a video on social media, it might not strike the same chord for a team that’s shopping for software. For instance, where a “shop now” button might work in a retail product video CTA, there might be a “try a demo” button in a software video. The point remains that any CTA drives users toward moving closer to purchasing your product, whatever it may be.
Modern consumers hold brands to higher standards, meaning you’ve got to build video content with purpose. Businesses must rise to the occasion and use value-bearing, problem-solving, interactive media to win the attention, trust, and advocacy of audiences. Without purpose-driven video, brands just add to the noise.
We can help you make sure that you’re not just another voice in the clueless video content cacophony. We’d love to show you how our video management solution, Acquia DAM, can help you get more value out of your branded video content.