These are indeed amazing and volatile times for online video. Every day there's a new study showcasing the accelerating growth of online video; the never-ending demand for video content by brands; and a prevailing gold-rush mentality by media companies (both new and old) to get their piece of the pie.While the old saying that a rising tide lifts all boats might be true, all of us in the online video sector should periodically take a deep breath to ensure that we're not losing track of some important fundamental truths about online video in the midst of all this excitement and activity. Truth #1-- Quality still matters: There's currently an understandable obsession in the marketplace around developing online video content quickly and repurposing it in as many ways as possible, whether on YouTube, Facebook, microsites or elsewhere. However, quality content is critical to the success of your brand. It always has been, and on that point nothing has changed.
While the tone and style of the creative work you fill your Facebook and YouTube pages with may be significantly different from what gets put on prime time TV, we can't lose site of the fact that every piece of creative you put out there reflects on your brand, and no one in today's economy can risk releasing a bad image of the brand you've worked so hard to develop and position.Truth #2-- There's still room and necessity for the "old way" of doing business, too: Creative briefs, strategic input from agencies, and media planning still matter and in many ways are more important now than ever.
Those of us on the front lines of video production should spend an inordinate amount of time on fine tuning the creative briefs for each of our creative assignments to ensure that the videos we produce are not only of the highest quality, but dead on target for the expressed needs of the brand. As part of this we rely heavily upon ad agencies for solid input and direction, as agency media planning helps our creative teams understand the exact target demo we need to address in our videos.Truth #3--You never get a second chance to make a first impression: The folks at Head & Shoulders had it right a couple of decades ago with their TV campaign and it is just as relevant to us today. For many newer brands, online video will be their introduction to the masses, so making a good first impression is as important as ever.
A ton of new companies are making their first foray into video advertising. These are often smaller brands that haven't had the luxury of affording expensive TV spots, but now thanks to vehicles like crowdsourcing they have the opportunity to dip their toes in the water with quality videos that tell their brand story. Again, now's not the time to put a video out there that misses the mark or tells an incomplete story.Truth #4-- Going viral for the sake of going viral is rarely going to work. I've written about this in the past here in MediaPost. Developing a video strictly with the hope of getting your brand a couple million views on YouTube is a risky proposition at best. That's not to say you shouldn't be out there trying to stretch your brand's persona to the masses.
I recommend to brands and agencies that they look more to creative and unique representations of their brand that will resonate with the audience, and that are quite different from what they are used to seeing from the brand on TV or online. Push the envelope. Encourage creative expression for your brand. Let loose the reins of control and tradition, and let the creative community embrace your brand as they see it. You'll be pleasantly surprised with the results. These are exciting times for all of us in online video.If we all take a periodic breather to calibrate what we do with some core truths, the good times stand a greater chance of having genuine staying power.