SPECIAL FEATURE STORY: Online video channels the new branding battleground

In this special feature story, Drew Doolan explains why online video channels are the new battleground for branding and marketing for SMEs.

In this special feature story, Drew Doolan explains why online video channels are the new battleground for branding and marketing for SMEs.

As a small business owner, the challenges are many. Somehow we need to be at the forefront of it all, the first to do everything and anything. We need continual ways of making sure our brand is in the forefront of people’s minds.

But the question I ask myself as a business owner is: do I really need to be at the forefront of marketing? Or do I need to just get good, solid mechanisms in place and just continually optimise? I often wonder, are people going to stop opening mail? Are they going to ignore everything in their letterbox? Are they going to stop listening to the radio? Are they going to stop watching TV?

In the good old days, there were very few options. Today, there are practically unlimited options. So where do you bloody start? I always say that the best time a business owner can spend in their business is working on their core product. Obsessively crafting and fine-tuning and being involved with what they enjoy – the reason they started their business in the first place.

I am constantly amazed at how businesses we are in touch with manage to master the online realm. But is it really necessary for business owners passionate about, say, cupcakes, for example, to know all and everything about Facebook? Do they really need to know the inside scoop about Google SEO, Google PPC, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or even Pinterest?


NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT
As I write this I see on TV that Twitter is starting to stream live events on its platform, and I know a number of other massive platforms are stumbling over each other to make sure they are at the forefront of anyone's mind.

I don't think there has ever been a better time than right now to be getting your brand out there. There are so many ways to get people to notice you and make your business accessible. You can practically reach through your computer and slap potential clients on the face in order for them to notice you. And if you have anything to do with YouTube or Vimeo, you most definitely will find people slapping each other on the face in order to gain attention.

You can do almost anything to get a potential client’s attention. It can always be classed under the "entertainment part of your lead generation" in order for you to get noticed. Obviously you'd still comply with you company's core values, and, voilà, you can have the dream: job-building brand value.

Remember when you used to dream of being a fireman, a trapeze artist...no? How about being a recording artist or hip coffee shop owner? Where am I going with this, I hear you ask. I’m going to Youtube, of course.

I was lucky enough to be invited to Brandcast a number of weeks ago and it really opened my eyes to where business is going in the near future. For those of you who don't know what it is – as I didn't – Brandcast was Youtube's call to the largest brands in the country to start using their resources more.

I was excited by what I saw. Never in my life had I been to an event like that. It felt like the online world’s equivalent of the AFIs or some large-scale music awards like the Grammys. There were live acts and speeches from all sorts and all ages, but the one thing they all had in common was a massive YouTube following.

It got me thinking how important of a marketing tool YouTube is and just how easy it would be to create a TV network. Look at Vice Media (Vice.com.au) and you see what I mean. It is predicted that they will dwarf NBC by a factor of 10. Impressive was my feeling, and as I was reeling at the potential of it all it dawned on me that the entire planet Earth has access to this amazing platform. And access to practically an unlimited number of potential clients, if only you get them to notice you.


START THINKING FILMICALLY
How do you get your brand up there and noticed? Stay with me. Video. The one single thing that I believe to be important for business over the next 12 month is to start learning how to tell stories by video. Everyone knows video has an important place, but I think everyone needs to step it up a bit and understand how important it is for your business. Small business owners need to start thinking filmically (is that a word? Film-like? In images, moving images).

There is no better way to get someone interested in you than to tell a great story – that's my argument, anyway. If you can tell a great story or give some great training, move someone emotionally, entertain them or inspire them, then you have slapped them on the face through the computer screen – in a good way. You have made them notice you and your brand. The old adage that people buy on emotion and justify on logic reigns true here.

You need to get people justifying, folks! I guarantee if you can tell the stories of your brand in video format then you have the key to success. With a platform like YouTube, you can have your brand noticed overnight – and by literally millions.

There is a massive gap in this country of good storytellers, good yarn spinners and there is no one better to do it than us small business owners. We are the magnetic ones, the ones bringing people towards our business, the salespeople, the one who knows your product and business better. My advice is to start trying to find a video producer, a team that will help you to tell your stories. But just remember to tell them in a lot of different ways. (Image credit: Inside AT).

Any social media platform is just waiting for quality video to send out to its followers, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. Each of your platforms would send particular stories to each of its respective followers – the demographics of the followers should be easily definable and the story should match their interests.

With words becoming less and less important in our daily lives and image-based media bombarding the potential customer, small business owners need to be engaging as quickly as possible. Big business gets it (because they can afford it). Take a look online and see what they are producing. See just how many videos they are producing. Coupled with the fact that the internet doesn't censor, they are able to tell stories in any way they see fit, including ways which may not be allowed on TV. It’s perfect for anyone’s brand to be perfectly in control.

So where do you start? Grab an HD camera, your Samsung Galaxy or your iPhone 6+ and start shooting. Start filming things. Get some lessons from your kids and start understanding the idea of story. Whoever doesn't start being able to do this will get left behind – way, way behind!


OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW?
But if you are left behind, there is still a big upside: those businesses left behind in the rush to document their business’s every story will have the pleasure of continuing to email, send newsletters, posting flyers (I still love getting my physical mail) and even attending the nearest networking event.

Calling on the phone will continue and will be twice as effective as clients marvel at the idea that you are still willing to talk to them and spend time with them. The last few years as marketing automation has increased, if you are one of those left behind using your good old-fashioned stock standard customer service, I reckon you will be few and far between. That is to say, a rare gem.

As I look at all of this it's clear to me what this year is going to be all about. The year 2015 as we will know it will start to be all about video. Social media will take another giant leap forward as we learn to live stream to our clients, but more importantly YouTube is going to have massive growth. Don't worry though – because if all of this scares you, your existing marketing channels will be very safe with everything old, because mark my words: in with the new isn’t necessarily out with the old.

This feature was originally published in the January 2015 print issue of My Business. To read more in-depth features for SME business owners immediately upon publication, subscribe to My Business magazine now. 

 

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