Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Importance of Professional Online Video

We have seen video grow from a “frill” some businesses occasionally include on their websites, to an essential, competitive differentiator that drives SEO and increases brand identification.

Knowledgeable companies embraced this shift and made video a central part of their online offerings. Videos grab attention, engage viewers and, if executed properly, can succinctly communicate your entire value proposition in as little as two minutes.

There are many new techniques people are using to promote and increase the sales on their website. Videos are considered as one of the best methods for communicating with audiences. A fact that all of us know is that it’s much easier to consume the visual image than to read something. The visual impact created by videos can often be creatively used to reach out and capture the imagination of a wide audience. Video’s use of real people, animation and music are valuable when motivation is a key ingredient in your message.

Video is best for the communication of a simple, convincing message. We can feel an emotional connection more readily with video’s moving images and sound than other communication mediums – to an audience it is the closest medium to reality.

Streaming videos over web pages has caught on with an increase in the available bandwidth and connection speeds in the last couple of years. Often a good video can double or even triple the ’sale ability’ of the product. The impact created by the video partially depends on the quality of the created video.

Here is a video on my media training work that I did in one take, having a friend hold my Flip video camera.

And here is a video that was professionally done and edited at the BRANDit Workshop.

video

Do you see the quality difference? Would seeing one video versus the other one make a difference in your decision to hire me to do media training?

Now add your video into an online magazine and you have even more impact and a variety of ways to reach people.

A good video, bundled with the right support material, will definitely prove to be one of the most effective ways of reaching out to a worldwide audience 24×7.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Branding: Making an Emotional Connection

When talking about branding, we most often have to start with a definition—what is a brand?

A brand is a name that stands for something in the mind of the customer. Your brand is your most valuable asset. The goal, therefore, is to define a brand that creates an emotional connection between you and your customers.

What emotions do you want others to feel when then think of you?

Maya Angelou said, "At the end of the day people won't remember what you say or did, they will remember how you make them feel."

We are overwhelmed by thousands of product choices, and we’re all short of time. That’s why the emotional connection is so important. People want the facts (why is this better?) and the emotional connection (why is this right for me?).

The power of appealing to emotion is detailed in Wharton professor Deborah Small’s groundbreaking research. She shows how the use of statistics by non-profits, as opposed to a vivid “identifiable victim,” results in lower giving. People want to hear and be moved by real stories.

You want to unite an idea (your brand) with an emotion. But how do you do that? The best way is to tell a story.

You use a brand, both visually and verbally, to educate your prospective customers about who you are. You tell them both visually (with a logo) and verbally (with a short message that best describes your business and its benefits). The key to creating a strong icon or logo is to paint word pictures. Then compare the word or visual pictures with your description of your business and what sets it apart from the rest of the business world. Think unique, think independent, step outside of your marketing mindset and get creative.

Everything you do stimulates an emotional response whether you want it to or not. Even if you don't know it, you leave every encounter with someone feeling a certain way, whether you meet in person, via social media, or simply by them viewing your business card, flyer or web site. So knowing that, why not be proactive about this and work to stimulate the emotion you want others to feel instead of leaving it to chance?

To take an active role in the emotions you make people feel, start by being aware of what you want to portray and sprinkle it in here and there. Do you use inspirational quotes on social media? (I specifically make sure I do NOT do that since so many others are). Or if you want people to feel excited and alive, do you send out samples of music and music videos that you like?

I send out research, relevant articles, to friends, clients, past clients, potential clients and colleagues. Thus, an emotional connection with me is one of networking, a strong resource, and someone who stays on top of current events and trends. In the online marketplace, it can be easy to get trapped behind a monitor and keyboard.

You have to remember that business is about people, not numbers. It’s about relationships, not computers. In our rapidly evolving business environment, the entrepreneurs who are going to thrive are the ones who engage their clients and build long-term relationships. So get out there and develop your cheerleading squad, refer business to others, join groups and tell your story.

You can purchase my webinar on The Brand Called You or sign up for the BRANDit weekends coming up in Santa Barbara or Iceland. Watch this video from Harpa Georgsdottir, Manager of Rain Deer, who attended our BRANDit workshop in Iceland in October 2010. She talks about the importance of the emotional connection.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Online Video Ads Reign over TV Ads

Since I became involved with the BRANDit program (www.maryschnack.com/brandit or www.brandit.is), I have become more and more aware of videos on the web. Besides training on re-invigorating your brand, The BRANDit program offers attendees a new marketing kit-which includes new head shots and a video for their website.

Being a trainer and speaker, I've been "trying" to get videos up on my website for three or four years--and just wasn't successful in getting it done. Now I have four on my home page--which all tell the story of what I do much better and more succinctly than all the text on my site!

I notice other articles about the power of video on the website. For example, according to Forrester Research, you are 53 times more likely to appear on page one of Google's search results with video on your website. Video raises click-through rates up to 200 percent.

The story I saw today about online video ads versus TV ads doesn't totally apply to our individual business websites but its still interesting. In a research conducted by The Nielsen Company and Microsoft it was found that video ads shown during the full episodes of TV shows shown on the Internet have deeper brand impact on the viewers than has TV ads during the same show when relayed on television, because there is greater brand recall. The over-arching reason for this, that does have influence on why we should videos on our websites? "The research showed that people are more engaged and attentive while watching on the Internet, which assists in brand recall."

I'm working with my clients to get videos on their websites. The more professional the better. The Flip cameras are great, but you can't fill your site with amateur videos. As more and more business goes online this is an important marketing step to take.