A couple weeks ago I was at General Mills speaking to marketers along side the Pillsbury Doughboy. Come to think of it, it was a lady who marketed the little fella’s crescent rolls. But I prefer the first way I recalled it, so roll with me.
Somehow along the way I stopped using “entertaining” and “educational,” and started using the term “value.” It seemed to be a core tenant of good brand videos online, and a far cry from most advertising. When we have the option to watch (or not) valuable content will always trump advertising. There are a handful of Crescent videos that show how to cook home made meals using the rolls. Hey let’s teach people a skill they see as valuable (which favors our product), instead of beating forever the “reach, frequency, single minded proposition” drum.
The idea of value (for viewers and the brand) kinda stuck. Just this weekend I shot some video for MSNBC Small Business that asks businesses to think less about “going viral” and more about how to create value. While conventional wisdom says “value” is entertainment (cute, funny, twisted, surprising, bazaar, outrageous, dancing, babies, music), a lot of companies are going the simple “how to” route, and search-engine optimizing their video content to answer customer questions.
Go looking for a cake recipe and you’ll probably find a video that was produced for Betty Crocker. It’s content supported by ad dollars and it’s smart. Yesterday I went searching for a replacement for my digital SLR that died from a son-induced tripod spill, and I would have been thrilled to find an objective shopping guide. If it was produced by Canon, Olympus or Panasonic/Lumix I might have been skeptical. But if a manufacturer did produce it objectively it would have meant a lot to me.
In keeping with the “value” over “viral” theme, check out Revision3’s Jim Louderback identifying 7 opportunities you might have overlooked about online video. He talks about tapping YouTube stars (I was quite influenced in my camera purchase by the choices of my favorite YouTube personalities) and about the power of how-to. His seventh has an acronym “OTT,” which I believes he means as “over the top.”
Hey that reminds me. I have a digital camera blog I forgot about.