A Tale of Two Cultures

74% of consumers said there was a connection between watching a video on social media and their purchase in decision-making process. *

Marketers love stats like the one above and have taken video very seriously over the last couple years. With the increase in bandwidth and marketing tools available, video is crowned the effective way in increasing reach, targeting customers and creating engagement.

From the lofty, branded campaigns and commercials handled by the creative agencies, video has quickly moved further down funnel. Camera kit has become relatively cheap meaning anyone can run a production company or become a ‘one man band’ production. Where expensive camera kit, and broadcast experience used to be what distinguished companies, production quality no longer does. Everyone has high ISO cameras, knows depth of field and can afford the glass to do it (sorry DoP’s)!

Equally, the people that have the good ideas have a phone or a selfie camera and can make the videos themselves. So this no longer acts as a point of distinction either…

Marketing have learnt how to master digital tools such as PPC to take advantage of search, how to add rich media to optimise websites, how to serve display to catch eyeballs. But marketers have no real idea how to use video, how to value proper narrative when their business model is ‘stack it high, sell it cheap’. The traditional performance digital marketing model will never work or support quality filmmaking or storytelling.

So where does this leave us?

From my experience, marketers aren’t equipped and don’t have the business model to support strong, durable, flexible narrative that can be supported through a campaign, this was always the role of creative agencies. In the same way, if video comes out of broadcast, TV companies only think in a linear way, they can’t imagine having to gain an audiences attention in the first five seconds or lose it entirely. They think in verticals; if I make another cooking channel, there will be lots of people who will want to watch it… Wrong! Both marketing and video are steeped in tradition, both of which are valid, and proven as successful in their own fields, but we are now at a time where rules need to be broken and cultures need to be changed.

The Third Way
Neither marketing nor traditional video is equipped to make use of video in the way growing audiences are demonstrating they are hungry for. The gap currently is in knowledge around how to market using video (or how to make video for marketing). So the simple solution is we need digital video experts who are happy pioneering new ways. Like the majority of mainstream culture, it is first seen among young people. YouTuber/ Vlogger culture is now mainstream. Live video is now mainstream. Video stories are mainstream. Digital video is still the awkward teenager at this very very popular party.

The only way our generation of business can be culturally relevant is for creatives/ video producers to drop their cultural prejudices of marketing, of selling out, and the marketing cultural prejudices of creatives as being slow and not business minded. It’s time both learned from one another, and adapted, and became flexible towards what our audiences expect and are already engaging with and how to effectively use the tools available to us.

Within this framework, video can be used effectively, not as a tool for marketing, but simply as a way for brands to engage with audiences successfully.

Brands, agencies and organisations are developing new roles weekly as they learn they need to be publishers themselves, looking for heads of video, content creators, audio visual producers, and place them in their existing communication or marketing teams. These often-young people are feeling culturally removed from the business, not understanding how their abilities can be used within an archaic strategy. This leaves them disenfranchised until my suggested ‘third way’ is actually implemented. For the video people, it’s likely to be a stretch and challenging to think about using video differently and in a targeted way and for the businesses it’s likely to require adaption, an investment and require a risky new approach.

Once both cultures are ready to adapt only then will video become useful, engaged with and of higher value. Hopefully it won’t require a revolution…

*Brightcove November 2016

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