3brandedIn the past several years, the lines between traditional paid, earned and owned media have blurred significantly, with more and more marketers having to focus more on creating content designed to direct-to-consumer channels and social media outlets. A new breed of “content marketers” has emerged, and brands of all sizes are developing new strategies for engaging with their customers.

Television may still be the favorite media for Asian consumers today, but the staggering growth of online media consumption is set to challenge this longstanding reign. In a recent survey on the available online media types, 55% of respondents ranked watching videos as their most favored online activity, when compared to others such as reading customer reviews, reading blogs, or listening to music. To complicate the space even further, the ability to connect via multiple devices, such as PCs, smartphones, and tablets introduces a new phenomenon of media multi-tasking.

For some marketers, video might already be a part of their brand’s marketing strategy, but most applications of online video marketing today rely primarily on in-stream advertising. However, online video content itself – and not just pre-rolls or video banners – actually provides an increasingly effective marketing opportunity. In fact, the impact of online brand video content can be utilized to increase user engagement, similar to display advertising and search engine marketing.

A growing challenge is also how brands can interact and create value-add to their consumers - something in-stream advertising has not successfully done. The sheer volume of advertising messages has reached a point of saturation, and consumers today have learned to expect no more than mere advertisements. This is where branded video content comes into play. Videos have additional elements of personalization, emotion, and a strong link to the brand’s identity, with which the brand can use to its advantage.

Targeting customer lifecycle touch points

Branded video content is expected to grow as it works for all stages of the customer lifecycle, in comparison to display advertising, which pinpoints only one area of marketing. Video content can be tailored to speak to a user’s needs along the purchase path, and to drive marketing actions related to the consumer life cycle. It offers reach when customers first discover the brand, depth as customers explore and buy from the brand, and most importantly, deepens engagement as customers seek to interact with the brand.

In essence, this comprehensive user experience helps to build customer loyalty to a brand. Video can aid a customer’s understanding of a brand’s products and services. This awareness and interest can then drive customers towards the purchasing end of the lifecycle. In real-life executions, product videos have proven to increase shopping cart size conversion rates by as much as 200%.

Achieving marketing goals

Besides engaging customers at different points of their lifecycle, video is an essential part of the marketing mix due to its ability to work for multiple marketing goals. Online video content can be used as a product brochure, for a demonstration, as a destination site, or as a game, among other applications. Mapping marketing objectives to a specific video use case can give content purpose and create opportunity to refine messages.

Today’s products and services are complex and require more than a tagline to fully illustrate its capabilities. In the case of new product launches, video can function as a medium to provide product information.  Beyond product launches, marketers also need to focus on engaging their customers to increase awareness and to drive loyalty. Video can deliver such marketing results by sharing video content related to the brand’s history, initiatives around corporate social responsibility, customer testimonials, and the promotion of thought leadership.

To conclude, branded video content is not independent of the rest of the marketing strategy. It must be aligned with the key messages communicated through all marketing channels, to ensure that the brand is effective in delivering a strong message to its audience. In today’s dynamic media environment, marketers must learn to identify specific goals of using online video. A sustainable branded video content plan is essential in building long-term marketing strategies, allowing every brand to engage with customers across their lifecycle and to achieving various marketing goals.

by Dennis Rose, Senior Vice President, Asia-Pacific and Japan Brightcove