The Power and Influence of Video in Branding

The explosion of streaming services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime points to the obvious: video is a much-loved mode of storytelling for the 21st century.

In the Estuary
Photo provided by Media One

Last spring, I willingly sat through an entire two-minute ad on YouTube. While usually I perch breathless, waiting for the “skip ad” message to show up as I watch YouTube, this time was different because, not even five seconds into the ad, a major national bank had gently snared me in its web of emotional heartstrings.

As I watched, I learned about a man who, after years of building airplanes for others, was able to enjoy retirement, flying his own airplanes because of prudent retirement saving. It was a wonderful ad: full of emotion and story, aspirational music, interviews and B-roll of the man puttering in his workshop.

I liked it so much that I tweeted it — which is exactly what CIBC wanted me to do. I was one of hundreds of perpetrators in the ad’s climb to 2.53 million views and counting.

The Power of Video

Your video story — like CIBC’s — works to convey your particular belief system, both internally for your employees and outward into the world. As the fastest-growing segment in marketing, video is one of the most powerful ways to get your story across to your audience.

Here are a few more reasons why video is a next-level idea for your business:

Better emotional connection. A video sells your product or offering by reaching viewers’ emotions. “If it’s shot well, and if the story comes through and you connect with somebody, you’ve made the connection that actually matters,” says Cody Graham, founding partner and executive producer of Media One.

Humans are notoriously led by our feelings. We make decisions based on emotions. Sometimes they’re impulsive and irrational. Sometimes they’re sound. But they’re rarely taken in an emotional vacuum.

Accessibility of information. What would it look like to condense your 300-page annual report into a 10-minute video for your employees or shareholders to watch? It would look like a great way to help people understand what your organization has accomplished over the past 12 months, and gain a deeper resonance with your brand offering and message.

Making complex information accessible to everyone is what has placed Khan Academy and TED Talks at the top of the heap when it comes to cramming a lot of information into a teeny tiny — and memorable — bucket.

You control your message. This is huge for business. With video, you have the opportunity to craft your story to deliver the exact message you want viewers to take away. It gives you a level of control that you don’t have in a television interview. A well-shaped video that tells a compelling story makes it easy for your audience to share that story with others, either on social media or through conversations. That’s the silver business bullet we call word of mouth.

So is Video Right for Your Business?

Are you in business? Do you offer a product or service? Do you have a story? Okay, then. End of section.

While large organizations like RBC, BC Hydro and TELUS have hefty budgets for visual storytelling, it’s different for small to medium-sized enterprises. If hiring a media production company is too costly, you can go it alone or with well-timed assistance from a freelance videographer (e.g. calling in the cameras only once you’ve got your story developed). Similar to web design, you can make it as complex and costly as you want it to be.

If cost is an issue, shoot and produce the video in-house. This is very useful for social media posts, which depend on regular scheduling. If you have the beans to invest more, do sit down with a media company to work out how video fits into your strategic branding.

My favourite local video at the moment belongs to Caorda Web Solutions, which offers up an informative, fun, in-house-produced video right off the top that gives you a great sense of the company’s team and its work.

Businesses that use video content for marketing enjoy 40 per cent more organic web traffic than those that don’t, plus research shows information retention rates of up to 95 per cent (versus 10 per cent for reading). This information, along with all of the reasons I listed above, make a pretty compelling argument for video.

So get rolling.

Alex Van Tol works with organizations to shape and communicate their brand stories. From real estate to tech, she uncovers what makes organizations tick — and what can help them grow.

This article is from the June/July 2019 issue of Douglas.