Align Content with your Brand’s Values, Fit into the Distribution Method, and What will Determine Your Success


By Tod Plotkin


The number one goal of any video campaign is to grab the attention of your audience, and connect with them in a memorable way. But, there are nearly 300 hours of video uploaded to Youtube per day, according to Statistic Brain. In a world saturated with media, how do you cut through all the clutter?


The simple answer is content and storytelling. That’s why so many businesses are turning to branded documentary video to get the job done. If you want to compel your viewers to remember or act, you need to do more than throw your corporate overview video on your website. A branded documentary influences your viewers with subtlety, instead of commercial messages. It fosters a community of loyal followers, instead of one time visitors. And, it gets people talking about you.


So, there’s clearly a fine line between a branded documentary and a commercial video. How do you stay on the right side of that line? Here are three things to consider.


  1. Align Your Video Content with Your Brand’s Values

As a communications professional, it’s easy to get caught in the nitty-gritty details and specifics of your brand. But, when planning your branded documentary, it’s better to step back. You’re looking to tell an impactful story; emotion is key to making a branded doc shareable and memorable.

Take a look at this documentary Green Buzz Agency produced (in partnership with Upworthy) for Cricket Wireless. One of Cricket Wireless’s brand values is Kindness. That’s why this video focuses on Fill My Basket, a group that commits random acts of kindness in their community. From the passionate members of Fill My Basket, to the emotional recipients of their charity, this video is genuinely touching. In fact, it was one of the most watched branded videos in 2016, with over 17M views, according to Brandtale.


Read the full Cricket Wireless case study here.

Now, imagine if that had been cut through with clunky product placement. It would have greatly diminished the impact of the video, and the authenticity. Branded documentary has a completely different purpose than a commercial video. You’re not trying to sell; you’re trying to create a community. That’s why big picture works best.


2. Fit the Content to its Distribution

When you create a branded documentary, you need to consider its distribution method. For instance, the Cricket Wireless video was distributed to Upworthy’s audience. That meant it needed to look and feel like the typical content Upworthy posts. Additionally, Upworthy distributes on Facebook, so the video had to be optimized for the platform.  Otherwise, the branded documentary would have felt like a jarring promotion, instead of a native ad.

When you’re looking for partners to sponsor your content, think about where your audience lives, as well as the story you want to tell. The perfect distribution partner will reach your potential customers and promote the content you want to create. With great content and the right medium, you can maximize the reach of your message.


3. Decide your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

As with every campaign, these key performance indicators circle back to your goals. Why did you create your branded documentary? Did you want to raise awareness for your brand? Did you have a call to action?

If reach is your KPI, you’ll want to consider more than just views. Every single social media platform has a different method for counting views. We cover these different methods in this Green Buzz Agency blog post. For instance, Facebook counts a view as someone who watched for 3 seconds. If your key message is at second 25, and most viewers are abandoning the video at second 7, then do you really have any viewers?

On both YouTube and Facebook, there’s a great way to track what parts of your videos are being watched. It’s called Audience Retention Report. Now remember: video views are not linear. People often rewind or skip over parts. This is all reflected in the report. So, you can really assess the content of your videos- and see who really got to your key message.

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With careful consideration, you’ll keep you branded content on track. Walking that fine line between commercial and documentary can be a challenge, but if done correctly, it can be well worth the risk.