What are the current hot trends you're seeing in video?
As a person coming from a company dedicated to TV (and because our clients have a lot of fantastic video content), I'd say the most amazing thing to watch recently is the idea that content is king again! It's about time! The ecosystem in which we operate now is incredibly complex and rich. Our audiences are media multitaskers who are reachable on multiple screens but are discerning about the media they consume. We as marketers need to be cognizant of the context in which content is being viewed — we can't just plan on being on three screens and call it a day. It's imperative that we develop an understanding of how the screens are used and how to leverage their synergies as well as their individual strengths.
Do you feel that lifestyle video is an effective vehicle for brands to increase awareness and consideration or drive purchase? Can you provide an example?
We're a direct-response shop first and foremost — so our primary responsibility is to immediately establish the benefits of interacting with our messaging. It seems a lot of female audiences in particular are sensitive to this value exchange, and we're finding the same things that your study has underscored: positive authenticity, credibility, and a compelling storyline are key components of driving a mutually beneficial experience. The thing that we're excited about is something we've labeled "transactional brand building," which in a nutshell is the idea that creative and media are designed to work hard at effectively driving sales, or calls or visits, can also drive positive and measurable lift for an advertiser's brand. So, it's funny to me that we're sitting here talking about whether "lifestyle video" can drive increased awareness or consideration, because it's very clear to me that compelling content will always achieve this, provided it gets connected at scale with the right audience. The thing that we at R2C Group are trying to evangelize is the idea that compelling content is not just the purview of brand marketers — your video content can and should work harder. The fact that video effectively drives sales or response is irrefutable; what people don't always realize is that this purpose-built content can also drive movement of brand metrics. To me, a lot of the long-form TV work we do for clients like Murad and BareMinerals is proof positive of this — women engage at length with our content and they purchase products; brand and sales are not mutually exclusive.
The next layer that we as an agency partner, and really as an industry, have to solve for is demonstrating how additional touchpoints — tablet, mobile, online video — are layered into the mix and get assigned appropriate metrics for success based upon the audience use case. So is it a matrixed tablet interaction that's happening simultaneously with the TV exposure? A laptop video view casually stacked on a TV view? Or is it a smartphone interaction happening in a store? We're in the beginning stages of adequately quantifying the effect and worth of these exposures, and as we get better at that, we'll get better at tailoring formats, lengths, and content so that the net experience will follow a seamless, invisible logic that pays dividend for both brand and sales, but also be satisfyingly beneficial for the viewer, as well.
What advice do you have for brands looking to advertise through lifestyle video content?
Know your audience, your objectives, and how you're going to quantify success. You have to have a clear vision of why you're choosing this path, and it should permeate everything from your initial concepting to your media and marketing plans to your results reporting. Everyone wants a "viral video," but I'm not convinced that anyone really stops and asks themselves why they want it, and then whether the desires that surround and define that "why" really align with their key business or marketing objectives. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do this, but I do think we need to be somewhat realistic about the ratio of truly great lifestyle video content relative to the total volume of lifestyle video content out there and to be prepared for more-modest definitions of success. I'd take a lot of consistent small victories against simply defined goals any day of the week!
How do you personally keep up to date with the latest trends in video?
My morning inbox is a war zone where every media-industry newsletter imaginable competes for my attention, but somehow I sift through most of them. And honestly, you need that kind of breadth/volume — otherwise you'd never really have the picture of what's getting real traction and what's just noise. I rely on my teams to do the same thing so that I have people to informally collate the data with and discuss.
Bryan has been helping to define clients' targets and media mix for more than 15 years. He was groomed in the mid-90's at Anderson & Lembke as a "hybrid" media professional, whose purpose was to blend the rigors of traditional media planning with the fast-paced, data-centric discipline growing around digital planning. As a result, he's fluent across media channels and has spent his career innovating and integrating at a number of agencies, including Grey Worldwide, and T3 where he served as Executive Media Director. While at Grey, he was the global media director for Nokia for Business, and his clients have included Intel, Microsoft, Wellpoint, MetroPCS, MSN, SanDisk, and many others.