Video has become part of corporate Internet content strategies and online marketers who don’t pay attention to that, are wholeheartedly ignoring YouTube as the second most important search engine behind Google. “To YouTube” is “to Google” and for brands there is no way to get around that. Having said that, there are many different strategies and ways to use video; a YouTube channel to communicate with your clients is just one of many formulas.
One option – and without any doubt the most challenging in terms of strategy, implementation and maintenance – is to set up a branded web tv. In the last 12 months we have seen how difficult it can be to keep a branded web tv alive. Bud.tv (Budweiser Beer) closed. “Jen and Barb mom life” , originally sponsored by Kraft Food, had to downsize its activities drastically and instead of talking about food and health they now talk about connected living as Kraft Food dropped out and Verizon Wireless came in as a new sponsor.
But let’s look at some branded web TV success stories: take Mercedes Benz TV, a Web TV platform of the German carmaker with films and stories about cars, motorsport, lifestyle and music. The idea is simple: using entertaining contents to present the innovative drive of the brand.
Or enter at Vacacions Canada TV, a great example of how to sell online while entertaining the audience / users. The site is based on video content and they way it’s done seems so natural. All that Canada has to offer as a vacation destination is intelligently packed into short episodes which relate to holiday offers that can be booked online through the site. All video content can be e-mailed, shared, embedded and downloaded.
On the other hand there are example of brands like Nestlé Spain that have launched their idea of web.tv. But unfortunately there is nothing “webby” about the site’s value proposition. But let’s be fair: At least, Nestlé Spain at least calls the thing by its real name: “Nestlé online television”. Take a quick look and you will see what I mean. This is TV content (including Nestlé’s outdated TV spots) made available online without any obvious relation to strategic marketing objectives.
So, when does branded web tv = entertainment that helps to persue a specific online marketing strategy, make sense in the first place? In my opinion, branded web tv can be a powerful marketing tool…
1. … if you are able to produce and offer useful and unique contents that are not available elsewhere. Sometimes it feels that brands think of web tv as a channel to recycle their tv spots.
2. … if the site is part of a bigger online strategy and related to branding, converting and ultimately selling you product or service.
3. … if you can create community around the contents and target it to o users / customers with specific needs and/or interests.
4. … if you provide an interface / player that allows the user to truely interact with the content.
5. … if you are aware of the resources necessary to maintain the site alive and know how to distribute the content on the web. Those are costly projects which need to produce ROI at some stage, through cross-selling with other site of the brand or affiliated sites.