5 key insights from Vimeo’s Outside the Frame conference
Following the transformation of content creation and consumption brought on by the pandemic, video has become an integral aspect of any brand’s marketing strategy. From driving brand awareness and product education, to communicating company culture and establishing brand identity, video is quickly becoming a powerful, versatile and profitable way to really connect with audiences across various platforms.
I had the pleasure of joining Vimeo’s recent ‘Outside the Frame’ conference, which boasted an impressive roster of speakers, including Stephanie Paterik (CMO of Renegade), Heather Pieske (VP, Creative Development, Vox Media), Minjae Ormes (VP, Global Brand and Consumer Marketing, LinkedIn), Zaria Parvez (Global Social Media Manager, Duolingo) and more, including a few I’ll highlight later in this post. The speakers gave us great insights into the ideation, creation and strategy behind some of the most successful video campaigns, while also discussing how brands can create an effective and successful video marketing strategy.
The conference was a whirlwind of insights, advice and success stories, and while it is difficult to capture all the juicy information nuggets in one blog, here are 5 insights I walked away with:
The best content is rooted in what the audience wants.
When audiences consume content, they will often leave a trail of breadcrumbs that can yield powerful intuitions about what your next strategy should look like. By diving into the data, understanding audience sentiment and clearly defining who the content is for, brands can increase engagement and loyalty by really reflecting their audience in the content.
Jay Herratti (Executive Director and Head of TED Conferences) discussed how TED leveraged audience surveys to uncover the kind of impact consumers wanted from their content. He neatly packaged it into 3 Hs—Head, Heart and Hands. In addition to intellectual and informative content (head), audiences want to feel emotionally connected as well (heart). Apart from this, they wanted to have something to do with their hands, meaning that they wanted to take action and put their learnings to use. This insight was corroborated by the fact that TED videos that ticked off all three aspects tended to perform better.
Collaborating with artists and creatives is the new go-to.
Creators and artists are a coveted group. To be a cut above, brands need to understand the difference between merely hiring a creator versus truly collaborating with them to create meaningful, impactful content.
Working with creative minds can seem a bit daunting in the corporate setting, but diving headfirst into their world to understand their characteristics, creative process and unique style can lead to effective collaboration. It is also important to realize that these are not just short-term relationships. Fostering long-term, meaningful connections with creators can lead to smoother creative processes.
Julia Shapiro (VP, Marketing at WeTransfer) talked about her experience working with Babymetal, a Japanese metal band, to create their ‘Together We Make’ campaign. Navigating the inevitable tension and disagreements that arise can be tricky. But that’s where the good stuff lies; that’s where the most stimulating stories originate.
Great creative work takes a village.
One of the many duties of a marketer is to establish said village—to ensure that a myriad of backgrounds and viewpoints are brought to the table. With inclusivity and representation being rightfully at the forefront of brand messaging, it is important for brands to have diverse perspectives weigh in on the topic at hand. Otherwise, they can come across as tone-deaf, or even offensive. And with higher audience engagement, it is easy for them to be called out as well.
A great example of this type of work is OkCupid’s new global brand marketing campaign, which champions inclusivity by celebrating ‘every single person.’ They observed that a lot of people changed their identities and orientations on the app, and hence included words like ‘pansexual,’ ‘nonbinary,’ etc. to empower people to express who they truly are. The successful campaign was built out of their brand truth and ethos, where inclusivity is woven into every aspect of the experience. Along with content creators and marketers, the team worked with data scientists, anthropologists, psychiatrists, etc. to dig into each aspect of the campaign and make well-informed decisions.
Hybrid content and blended events are here to stay.
Physical events and real-life interactions capitalize on the emotional connection that people form with each other in person. Although we cannot undervalue physical human interaction and the value that this social currency holds, virtual events have enabled brands to create an extension of their physical counterparts. The hybrid model enables both the digital and physical worlds to coexist in synergy and feed off each other’s advantages.
Choosing the right medium isn’t an ‘either/or’ conversation; it’s rather a ‘yes, and’ one. It is imperative to understand what people want—are they looking to make meaningful emotional connections? Are they looking to learn and grow from the content? Are they using the content as a means to spark other conversations? Understanding what the audience wants from you is the single most important factor that should inform your content strategy. For example, a tech audience wouldn’t mind having a virtual event; in fact, a virtual medium can compound their learning thanks to the various collaboration tools available.
Whatever the case may be, the audience deserves high production value and engagement opportunities. By being purposeful and precise with all the opportunities and tools that brands have at their disposal, the questions shift from being about the medium to being about the content being consumed through said medium.
Emerging technologies like the metaverse and NFTs may not be for everyone.
The emergence of new technology is quickly bridging the experience gap between the physical and virtual worlds. Terms like AR/VR, the Metaverse and NFTs have become part of everyone’s vocabulary, and brands want to jump on this bandwagon, too.
Alex Lee (Writer, Digiday) and Lola Bakare (CMO Advisor & Inclusive Marketing Strategist, BE/CO) had a lively debate on whether or not brands need to be diving headfirst into these phenomena in order to stay relevant. While brands need to have a pulse on the cultural zeitgeist and stay in the know, clarifying why they want to use a new medium and ensuring that this aligns with their business goals will determine their success. They need to think about the contextual benefit— is it going to add to their identity or distract from it? Is there any added advantage to using new technology, or is it just being done for the sake of it? It all boils down to the fact that marketers need to have knowledge of everything going on around them, and have an arsenal ready so that if they decide to take that specific route, they are ready to dive in.
As one of my favorite marketing professors used to say, the answer to every marketing question is, “it depends.” Whether it is about finding the right content, the right collaboration, the right medium or the right strategy, there can be many right answers—and many wrong ones, too. Being intentional, well-informed and purposeful with video marketing strategy can make a world of difference and lead to engaging, meaningful and impactful content.
You can watch the full Outside the Frame event whenever you’re looking for more nuggets of knowledge by getting access to the on-demand recording here.
Photo Credit: Jesus Loves Austin | Unsplash
Anu Sindol is a Data Strategist at One North. She collaborates with clients to build and optimize data strategy programs that empower them to make data-backed, strategic decisions. Her open mind, agile work ethic and dual background in engineering and international management help her expertly blend technology and business, bringing a more holistic view to the table.