The Interview Series – Tim Shaw, Modus Analytics

Successful businesses have always relied on some form of data to make decisions. Leveraging data properly is becoming increasingly important with more and more small organisations finding themselves pitted against established players, whilst using small teams with very modest margins.

According to the UK government, data will benefit the UK economy by up to £241bn by 2020, and much of that will be going to small businesses.

With data analysis proving to be vital to the success of so many companies in the future, we chatted with our client Tim Shaw, founder of Modus Analytics, to find out more about how data is changing decision making and how smaller and medium sized companies can be utilising data analysis to give them a leg up as they grow.

Tim Shaw CEO Modus Analytics

Tim Shaw – Managing Director, Modus Analytics

Established in 2018, Modus Analytics was created to help small businesses to utilise data and make smart decisions. Tim’s passion for data was born out of  experience developing systems that utilise data in organisations that he has led combined with the normalisation of data in everyday society.

‘For example, if you think of Amazon’s Alexa  or Netflix and how they reference what you want to watch next, these tools are using data analytics or some kind of machine learning software to make your life easier and also generate increased profits for those businesses’.

According to an IDC whitepaper, by 2025 the global datasphere will grow to 163 zettabytes which equates to over ten times the amount of data generated in 2016.

“The amount of data that we collect now is billions times more than we have done historically. Microsoft and other companies provide data analytic software which anybody can access and use extremely cheaply.”

So, what is putting businesses off using data more readily? Part of the problem is a misconception around data itself; what data is available and what is involved to interpret that data properly. Many businesses are dazzled by the term ‘big data’ – the phrase used to reference the amount of data which exists in the world. It is this same term which can make some small and medium sized business owners feel uneasy about using data, sensing it is inaccessible to them. They can also be daunted by the scale of the data they think they already hold.

Unfortunately at the moment people see “big data” as data that is relevant to large companies, and this simply isn’t the case. It is absolutely accessible to them as long as it is approached sensibly.

As it turns out, many businesses don’t have a complete picture of how much data they’re collecting. According to the latest annual Data Security Confidence Index from Gemalto, 65 % of companies have too much data with just 19 per cent of UK organisations being able to perform data analysis effectively.

For companies looking to get started, it is critical to ask the right questions first. By understanding the goal, it becomes easier to identify what the right data to gather is. More often than not, business won’t be aware of what data they have.

‘The owners and senior managers should sit down and think about the challenges they’re facing and what are they trying to achieve over the next couple of years. Answer those questions first and then ask yourself are we collecting data that allows us to answer these questions’

If you’re reading this and thinking data in isolation sounds like a dangerous thing then you’re in good company. As Antonio Damasio‘s, research in neuroscience has shown, emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision-making and this is the difference between being data driven and being data informed.

Data driven businesses will use data to make decisions where as data informed businesses will utilise data to inform their thinking.

In our opinion a mix of perception and the right data is the ideal position to be in which is why on our website we have created 2 or 3 very simple human behavioural tests to prove a point that if you rely on intuition alone you might make the wrong decision.

Part of the reason Modus Analytics decided to commission a video to accompany the launch of the business was to address the range of understanding around data.

Some businesses had a sense of the topic, whereas others really had very little awareness. The critical outcome of the video was to get their prospects thinking about the information they are already sitting upon and what they could be doing with it.

‘One of the reasons why the video was so important to us is because you get a range of responses from – yes, this is something that the Amazon’s of this world do, but I had no idea we could be doing the same thing too, we had thought about how to use our data but had no idea where to start”.

If you would like to get on top of the data your business is already gathering or would like to explore new ways to exploit data to meet your goals, we recommend you get in touch with Tim and his team at Modus Analytics at info@modusanalytics.com

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

When To Use An External Video Agency?

A recent article in Forbes says: “Video lends electroshock therapy to flatlining marketing strategies”. We couldn’t agree more. In this blog, we look at the pros and cons of producing video in-house and outsourcing to an agency.

'Video lends electroshock therapy to flatlining marketing strategies.

Forbes

As I’ve said in previous posts, video is an indispensable business tool. In a recent survey by HubSpot, 81% of businesses now use video as part of their marketing mix, up from 63% last year. I expect this to continue to increase in the years ahead.

How will all this video be produced? The fact is, many businesses simply can’t afford to outsource every video project to a professional agency (like us). Some will have to be produced in-house. We don’t mind that. Part of our work as consultants means helping businesses make good quality videos, even when we are aren’t directly involved in the production process.

Companies will need to pick and choose. The question is: when should they use their own resources to make a video project and when should they use a professional agency?

In-house video production

Due to time saved engaging an agency and planning and organising a shoot (not to mention cost), in-house videos can typically be produced much faster than professionally shot projects. So, in-house is great for projects where several videos need to be produced, such as employee training, recruitment, or engagement.

There are also times when videos are better when they aren’t professionally shot. Viral videos are almost always shot on a shaky, muffly camera, and yet clock up more views than many professionally shot videos. Don’t believe me? ‘Charlie bit my finger – again!’ has over 800,000,000 views on YouTube. 



Similarly, on social media you’ll often want to be more informal. Facebook knows this. Last year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Instagram’s new face-filters features in a video casually shot from his phone.

Lastly, it makes our job easier in the long run, too. Businesses with experience creating their own videos often understand the challenges involved, and know the right questions to ask when they do outsource a project to us.

Agency production

In-house has its downsides, though. Unless companies have a dedicated creative team, a video production studio, and all the right equipment, their videos simply won’t have the professional cut that agencies provide. Like I said, this is fine for when videos are meant to appear natural, but often this isn’t the case.

Take adverts, for instance. This is how consumers and other businesses see your company, so a professional, polished look is important. Indeed, all of the top 10 most viewed adverts on YouTube in 2017 were professionally filmed.

There are some things that agencies can do that companies working in-house can’t. Take animation for instance, which requires teams of artists. Or, there may be times when you need professional actors, something that won’t be possible on an in-house project (unless you have some exceptionally talented staff).

Lastly, video agencies are experts in postproduction processes, such as editing and colour grading, that give the final product that extra polish and edge.

To wrap up

In-house certainly has its place for informal social media campaigns, or on larger projects where the sacrifice in quality isn’t too important. And, the experience a company gains from producing its own videos is invaluable in a business world where video is becoming more important by the day.

If you are looking to produce in-house content, check out this blog, which sets out tips on how to set up your own production studio.

Video-Production-Studio

On larger projects, where your company’s reputation is on the line, such as advertising campaigns, it’s best to engage an agency.

We encourage businesses to use video wherever possible, even if we aren’t involved. We know that while in-house has its place, there are times when companies will want to outsource projects and, of course, Element 26 is happy to help.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Getting Started With Animated Content

So you’ve decided you want to make an animation – great stuff! In this blog, we go through the steps for producing an animation and how it differs from conventional video production. 

First of all, the only thing that animations and videos have in common is that they’re story based. This means that whilst they both follow many of the same narrative conventions, from a craft perspective, video and animation couldn’t be more different.

Where video production moves through three distinct phases: Development, Production & Post-Production. The steps for producing animated content is opaque due to an extended development period which is where all the creativity resides. The craft of actually assembling your film into an animation is largely procedural (hate me all you want animators but you know it’s true).

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Essential in the planning stage of any animated production is the storyboard. Often the animator will sketch out the flow of the production before beginning the work of building any assets. This is a great way of getting the whole team on-board with a general vision for the project.

Whilst storyboards on live-action productions tend to be reserved for scenarios containing complex visual effects or sophisticated camera moves; animated productions are usually entirely artificial, meaning the storyboard is of equal, if not greater significance to the overall production than the script. 

'Nothing’s occurring in animation – you manufacture everything'.

Gore Verbinski

When it comes to live action projects, generally speaking you’re not looking for an exact interpretation of the planning, you’re looking for either an approximation of your storyboard close enough to what you planned or alternatively an inspired moment which elevates the project from how it was preconceived to something more fulfilling.

With animated content, the storyboard is a key reference document because it contains everything from how the characters should move, what they interact with, to the general flow of the project. There should be little divergence from this document.

From a narrative perspective your script will follow many of same conventions as live action work however, for animated productions, many of the creative decisions are influenced by the role of the voice, i.e  will the project be voiced by the characters inside the video, or will it be voiced by a narrator.

Many explainer films for example adopt a narrated approach as this is typically cheaper than producing an animation which is in time to a characters mouth movements. For more about explainer films, check out our blog called 5 Ingredients For An Explainer That Converts.

For guidance on writing an effective script, take a look at our blog entitled From Script To Screen: How To Prepare Your Script.

how-to-prepare-your-script

 

Schedule

We always want to bring our clients into the production process as much as possible, after all it’s your film we’re making and when done right should feel like a collaboration.

When considering an animated project of circa 2-4 mins, depending on the size of the team working on it, it could easily take between 3 and 6 weeks to do a proper job. We have produced animated content faster than this before, but it tends to depend on the type of animation you’re considering.

Revisions

All too often revisions are seen as a dirty word in the animation world, and for good reason too, redoing work once it has been animated holds things up and can be frustrating. That said, we live in the real world and get that things come up, which is why we don’t cause a stir over tiny revisions and have put in place a robust process by which to reduce the chance of requiring further changes.

If you need any help producing an animated film for your business contact us today on this link here.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Why LinkedIn’s Video Updates Are A Major Leap Forward For The B2B Platform

LinkedIn embraced video for the first time last year by allowing users to post native videos. Now it has gone a step, in fact, two steps further. The B2B platform has launched two updates that will allow in-feed video ads and video on company pages.

LinkedIn says nearly half of B2B advertisers surveyed by it said one of their top challenges was finding the right environment in which to run video campaigns. LinkedIn believes it is the answer as it tries to head off competition from other platforms, such as Facebook, who are trying to muscle into the B2B space. 

Even though their native video capability was only launched last year, according to LinkedIn’s Peter Roybal when people watch a video on the platform they are 20 times more likely to share it than any other type of post.

We're seeing videos being shared 20 times more than any other type of content across LinkedIn

Peter Roybal

I can’t help thinking this is excellent timing from LinkedIn. If you are anything like you me, you are suffering from GDPR opt-in fatigue as businesses race to make their email lists compliant before the May deadline. There’s no doubt the new GDPR rules are going to have a negative impact on B2B email video marketing. For many businesses, LinkedIn will be an indispensable alternative.

Video ads

 LinkedIn sees video ads as an evolution of their sponsored content. Video for Sponsored Content (as they are calling it) sits on news feeds as a standalone post. This can be used to build brand awareness, collect high-quality leads and drive qualified traffic to your website.

LinkedIn’s big selling point, (and it’s massive), is that its targeting abilities allow you to identify:

  • A defined audience by reference to job title, company name, seniority, skills, etc.
  • Specific accounts using account based marketing campaigns.

LinkedIn has high hopes for the new service and says data from beta trials of 700 advertisers shows that members spend three times more time watching video ads compared to static sponsored content.

This is all well and good, but the key is whether it delivers greater ROI. LinkedIn believes its integrated Conversion Tracking tool gives advertisers the metrics they need to find out, such as leads, website visits, and detail about the types of people watching and engaging with the content. 

Company page video

It was only a matter of time before LinkedIn extended video from members to company pages. Interestingly, from our point of view, LinkedIn’s marketing blurb talks about how you can use video on company pages to show a company’s:

  • Culture
  • Products
  • News
  • Events

This covers much of what we talk about in our White Paper, and the importance of having video content for each step of the sales funnel. Data from LinkedIn’s beta programme shows that video on a company page is five times more likely than other content to start a conversation between members.

LinkedIn started as a recruitment website and I believe videos showing a company’s culture and values will be especially effective on the platform. 

To discuss using video on LinkedIn for your B2B marketing, contact us now.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Why Your Business Needs To Become A Content Company?

Whilst success tends to be subjective, I’ve long believed that the businesses which excel tend to be those with the most compelling story. In many cases, it is this same story which binds a business to its audience that sets them apart from their competition. It is this essence of ‘brand‘ which keeps customers returning and defines successful content.

Depending on how long you have been in business, the means by which you convey your story may have changed. Where once the Yellow Pages was the go-to destination for reaching your audience; social media and search have all but transformed how content is found.

Whilst TV remains a primary channel, the prescriptive schedules of the traditional broadcasters have been disrupted by both a technological and a social layer. The technology is always-on and constantly connected whilst the social layer attempts to infuse a sense of community into the connected experience.

Collectively, over-the-top platforms (OTT) such as the Chromecast, Amazon Firestick or the AppleTV run many of the channels we find on our mobile devices i.e, Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. This means that the sit-back experience of the living room has become an organic extension of our mobile lives and vice-versa.

This represents a tremendous opportunity for today’s businesses. The power has been democratised, we can reach our target audience wherever we choose but first we have to accept that to do so, we must meet the prospect on their terms,  be it on either social media or out there in the wilderness of the open web. For more on what social channels befit your business, check out our blog ‘Choosing The Best Social Channels for your B2B Video

The customer is empowered to opt-in to your brand – or not as the case may be. This is why we must be producing content with a deeper understanding of personalisation, relevance and intimacy. Maybe a good place to start is to ask ourselves, ‘how well do we know our customer?’

So, why is Social, the Open Web and OTT so important? Because the customer is ageing. It should come as no surprise that millennials have arrived in positions of influence within the enterprise and millennials inhabit the social layer like no other demographic in society. Successful content today will entice its audience to participate in its reach.

If you look at how millennials engage with social media, it can be incredibly intimidating. There are multiple channels, speaking to different audiences with those users often rifling through their feeds at a pace which could be best compared to a treadmill for thumbs. Each moment is transitory and absolutely nothing feels permanent.

Daniel Ek – Spotify CEO

Spotify owner Daniel Ek, recently proclaimed in a letter to investors that Spotify wasn’t in the music business, it is in the moments business. I get his logic but by that definition, we’re presumably all in the ‘moments’ business.

The question remains, how do we enrich that moment so that our audience cares enough to be truly engaged. Successful content has to be powerful because online interactions need to stick almost immediately or risk not sticking at all.

As it happens the channels have been giving us a clear indication of the direction of travel for some time and it’s fairly widely accepted now that video is the most effective medium for capturing and retaining attention in social. Even LinkedIn has finally caught on, adding video to both personal profiles as well as company pages.

As business owners, it is our job to shape these conversations. To do that we have to be the creators of content which adds value and capitalises on the zeitgeist. Successful content is relevant, not spam. Not only that but we also have to do it with a certain level of scale because at the top of the funnel, our audience is only tapping into us for moments at a time.

We need lots of moments with our prospect for them to begin to notice us, even more for them to get a sense of our offering. More still to turn them into fans. Is it any wonder that we’ve witnessed a content explosion over the last few years. Further down the funnel, the moments we share tend to be longer because the engaged prospect will want more from us. 

If you haven’t done so already, step back and ask yourself ‘What is the story of your business? Why should your prospect care?’ The successful businesses of tomorrow won’t just have a fantastic story but they will weave their audience into the narrative and make them feel part of it because after all, what is a brand without loyalty?

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Join Us For An Exclusive Breakfast: Mastering Video in The Enterprise

On Thursday 19th April, I’ll be speaking at a breakfast event at the Soho Hotel titled  “Enterprise Video: Best Practice”. Element 26 is one of four companies taking part, the others being PGi, Hive Streaming, and 27partners and you can find out more about each of these companies below. The event is free and we would love you to join us. You can register for the event here.

What does it take to run a successful video project in the enterprise?

It starts with the production of a great video and that’s where Element 26 comes in. As a video production company, we tend to be the first port of call when a business decides it wants a video.

That’s good news for us but it is by no means the whole story. There is no point us working hard with the client to create a fantastic video unless people are able to watch it. Our creativity is vital in helping enterprise clients tell their story – and this is what I will be talking about at the seminar – but so too is the practicality offered by our co-hosts.

As much as I firmly believe that content is king, the successful delivery of your video is queen and cannot be ignored.

Corporate clients often don’t want to hear or don’t believe that their networks can’t support the new video they have just completed. They assume that because they are a large or multi-national corporation their networks can handle it. Often this isn’t the case.

The event’s host, 27partners ensures that an organisation has the right infrastructure in place to make video effective for their business. You might be thinking: “Why do they need to worry about infrastructure, it’s all in the cloud, right?”

Often, this isn’t adequate because enterprise clients are required to keep their media in locations under their own control. They can’t use video platforms such as Brightcove, Wistia, etc. A practical example of how 27partners might help is by enabling a field salesperson with poor access to cellular reception to access the content they need to do their job.

In more every day uses, 27partners will go into an organisation and evaluate the technology they have invested in over the years to see if it is up to snuff for their future growth plans.

Hive Streaming has a different proposition. It is a software-only video streaming solution for organisations. Companies are increasingly embracing video communications with the result that often their networks are unable to cope with the demands placed on them. Hive’s clever software uses excess network capacity that enterprises already own to deliver high quality live and on demand video to users in an organisation.

PGi is the world’s largest dedicated provider of collaboration software and services. Its products include web, video and audio conferencing. In the past five years it has hosted 1.2 billion people from 155 countries in nearly 300 million virtual meetings.

I am really looking forward to the seminar and learning more about what these experts have to offer. We all work together to help enterprise clients get the most out of their video and I expect the event to be invaluable for any companies that use video.

As well as content creation, topics covered will include storage and management, distribution and delivery, presentation and access, reporting and analytics, plus how to evolve your video projects.

The speakers will be:

Nathan Haines (www.elementtwentysix.com)

Greg Holt and Owen Shackman: 27 partners (www.27partners.com)

Mark Coomber: Hive (www.hivestreaming.com)

Stephane Barnatt: Pgi (www.pgi.com)

Enterprise Video: Best Practice is taking place at The Soho Hotel, 4 Richmond Mews, London, W1D 3DH on Thursday 19th March from 8.30 am to 10.30 am. The event is free – please join us by registering here.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

A Lesson In Video From 2017

Now we have entered 2018, I thought, instead of embarking on yet another blog containing predictions for the forthcoming year, it might be more interesting to share a lesson from the previous 12 months. A big thank you to Jane Trill for being kind enough to let me tell her story. 

Jane runs a growing online fashion design business. A year ago she had five employees, in 2017 she took on another 2 and in 2018 she hopes to employee at least three more people. Two of which will be going into her marketing team. 

A couple of years ago, I met Jane at a networking event in the City. She explained to me that she had built her business on networking but she was beginning to find it tiresome as it wasn’t scalable. Jane had accomplished many things in her career but the ability to be in more than one place at a time was still evading her.

Jane & I went for coffee a few weeks later because she wanted to pick my brains about video marketing. Like many business owners I speak to, Jane had heard the hype around video but her previous attempts hadn’t gleaned the results she was hoping for.

The first thing I wanted to clarify was her expectations. What was it that ‘everyone else’ was supposedly achieving that she wasn’t? As it turns out, a few friends of hers had utilised video within their marketing and had seen success growing their database. For Jane, she was lucky if she even got views, despite paying for engagment.

As it tuns out, Jane was victim of a two things; changes in the way social platforms prioritise content and crucially, the content she was making wasn’t really fit for purpose.

 

 

1) Changes In Social Platforms

Organic reach has been undergoing a slow and painful death. According to a study from EdgeRank checkerbetween February 2012 and March 2014, organic reach for the average Facebook Page dropped from 16% to 6.5%.’ What does this equate to in real terms. Well if your page had 100 fans, then in 2012, 16 of them would have seen your post in their feed. In 2014, that was as low as between 6 & 7.

In many ways, the decline of organic reach has been borne out of necessity. If you look at the average Facebook feed these days, it is an incredibly busy place. There are simply too many Pages, producing too much content for too many fans. What that means in a nutshell is, competition for visibility within the News Feed is incredibly high.

If the writing wasn’t on the wall for organic reach by 2014, things took a turn for a worst in October last year when Facebook introduced the Explore tab. In doing so, they subsequently moved a lot the organic content into this view freeing up the main News Feed to be exploited by paid content.

It was Jane’s understanding, that Facebook prioritises posts which include video. This is only the case when the videos are published natively to Facebook. Jane was publishing her videos to YouTube and then sharing the links onto her company page on Facebook. A common mistake we see regularly. As soon as we published these videos natively, a combination of video on the platform and some tweaks to her paid targeting engagement quickly increased.

2) Content Type

Producing fashion lines for both younger and older women, from the outset it was obvious that Jane had more than one audience. Using one film to speak to both of them was unlikely to succeed. We have a principle at Element 26 of 1:1:1, which essentially represents one film, for one audience with one message. Adopting this policy has been a great way to make sure our videos stay focused.

Whenever I am asked to take part in speaking engagement, I invariably ask the audience how successful they have been with video marketing. The response is often a mixed bag and a lot if it comes down to a misunderstanding around the role video can play on the web. I have come to the conclusion that video has an identity crisis because almost everyone I speak to, presumes that video is purely for advertising purposes; aka top of the funnel. In reality, there is a versatility in video which should be embraced from everything from advertising to sales enablement.   

Jane’s goal was to turn more of her customers into advocates but she didn’t have the budget to create videos out of all of her lines. What we proposed was a mixture of branded content (telling stories about how the fabrics are ethically sourced to the relevance to the community) and also user generated video. Thankfully Jane already had a number of passionate fans who were easily motivated to make their own films. Your possibly thinking that this sounds expensive when in fact it was highly cost-effective. To begin with, to test the waters, we repurposed the footage she already had; changing the messaging depending on the audience. It was only when this was proven to be effective that we created any new videos.

3) What is Jane going to do 2018?

The content plan has evolved somewhat now that Jane’s database is up and running. We have a monthly plan dedicated to creating content that is focused on nurturing her database and converting those prospects sending us a hand-raiser. Jane isn’t completely free of networking but she does have one more evening free to spend with her young family. 

So, rather than publishing predictions for the year ahead, I thought it would be more helpful to focus on the timeless principles of marketing. Tell a meaningful story and you will form an emotional bond.

If you’re interested in learning about the story types which are proven to connect with audiences we have produced another blog on the seven basic story types. They’re all top of the funnel and designed to move your audience emotionally. You can find the blog on this link here.

 

seven-story-types-for-your-advertising-films

If you’re interested in taking video marketing more seriously in 2018, let’s grab a coffee or maybe some lunch? If you’re not in London or would prefer to have a quick chat then there is always Skype. All the best for 2018.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

The Best (And Worst) Christmas Adverts of 2017

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without… well, without Element 26’s round up of the year’s festive adverts

This year’s Christmas adverts bring us a variety of bears, animated carrots, a monster and a host of feature film references. There’s also plenty of slush, as you would expect at this time of year. Here’s our take on 2017’s Christmas adverts.

John Lewis

We can’t help feeling underwhelmed by John Lewis’s advert this year. Directed by Michel Gondry (who won an Oscar for the screenplay of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), it features Moz the monster hiding under the bed of seven-year-old Joe.

To a soundtrack of Elbow’s version of the Beatles’ Golden Slumbers, Moz keeps Joe awake at night having fun and playing games. With Joe’s sleepless nights taking their toll, Moz gives Joe a night light for Christmas allowing his young friend to catch up on his zeds. The advert is sweet enough but lacks the emotional kick of previous years or the humour of last year’s Buster the Boxer. Not a John Lewis classic.

 

M & S

Paddington Bear stars in this year feature film style ad, which was released to coincide with Paddington 2 hitting cinema screens at the end November. In it, everyone’s favourite Peruvian (voiced, as in the film, by Ben Wilshaw) rescues his neighbours’ Christmas by helping a person he thinks is Santa hand out presents.

It turns out the bearded man in red is a burglar. No matter, deliveries completed and marmalade sandwich in hand, courtesy of Paddington, the burglar sees the error of his ways. “Thank you little bear,” he says. At least that what we think he says. Some less charitable folk on social media have suggested it sounds suspiciously like the burglar’s parting words are, “F*ck you little bear.” If only it were true. Still, a beautifully made ad by M & S, cleverly cashing in on Paddington’s popularity. (He’s not our favourite bear this year though, as you’ll find out later.)

Asda and Aldi

At the lower end of the supermarket food chain both Asda and Aldi have taken inspiration from classic movies. Asda’s ad features a child and her grandfather visiting Asda’s Christmas factory, called the Imaginarium. It takes no great leap to see that Asda has borrowed heavily from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory as a means of showing off its Christmas food range.

Aldi meanwhile has returned to Kevin the Carrot, star of last year’s ad. This time round it’s love at first sight as he’s joined on his quest to find Santa by Katie the Carrot. There are nods to Murder on the Orient Express and Titanic on the two Ks’ journey, narrated by Jim Broadbent.

It may be me, but I find carrots a lot less lovable than bears. Plus, all these film references seem dated (even if Kenneth Branagh’s lame remake Murder on the Orient Express was out recently).

Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Co-op

If the idea behind Christmas adverts is to create a festive feel-good factor, it looks like Tesco has scored a spectacular own goal. The supermarket giant’s theme this year is ‘Everyone’s Welcome’ and has made five adverts that, in its words, “celebrate the different ways millions of UK shoppers enjoy Christmas, and how great food sits at the heart of it all”.

Their advert Turkey, Every Which Way feels like ‘Gogglebox does Christmas’ as we enter a kaleidoscope of British homes. As you may expect, this includes a Muslim family celebrating Christmas. And this is where trouble has arisen. Some people stormed onto social media to say they were boycotting Tesco for being disrespectful to the Christian faith. A few Muslims complained too, saying Tesco doesn’t serve Halal turkeys so the advert is misleading. Others though praised Tesco’s approach to multicultural Britain by including Muslims, Sikhs, and gay dads in their advert.

Special shout-out to our friend Billy Wright who made it into this ad. Way to go @billygilwright!

Sainsbury’s theme is remarkably similar to Tesco’s in the sense there is no story and it cuts between different faces of Britain under the slogan ‘Every Bit of Christmas’. Again, it’s all a bit Gogglebox. This advert is partly shot in black and white (presumably to accentuate Sainsbury’s orange) and is easily the most annoying one we viewed.

 

Waitrose has taken things a step further and gone entirely black and white. Its advert sees villagers snowed in at a remote local pub and having to pull together to make Christmas lunch under the slogan ‘Christmas together’. They’re having so much fun they don’t want to be rescued. This is beautifully shot and has a quality feel, in line with Waitrose’s brand.

Co-op continues the ‘look at how diverse Britain is’ by featuring seven communities in northern England as they sing Blur’s Tender. We see rehearsals from a rugby team, a pensioners’ choir, some urban beat boxers and more before they all come together at a big party and eat lots of Co-op food. This is a tad more authentic than Sainsbury’s contrived effort but both made me feel slightly sick in my throat – perhaps that was the true Christmas feeling they were trying to capture.

House of Fraser and Boots

Now here’s a strange thing. What are the chances of not one but two Christmas ads showing a pair of sisters as they were as children and as they are now? Yet, that’s what’s happened (no doubt leaving a couple of creative directors feeling a distinct absence of festive cheer).

In the House of Fraser ad, ‘Bring Merry Back’, we cut between two sisters laughing, squabbling, putting up decorations and generally doing Christmassy stuff as they were in the 1980s and as they are now to a soundtrack of the Staple Singers’ Who took the merry out of Christmas. This is a fun, energetic and endearing advert that shows the special bond between siblings.

Then there’s the Boots ad, “Show them you know them”. In this advert, we cut between two sisters … you get the drill. The soundtrack to this is Alison Moyet’s Only You and compared to the House of Fraser ad is more poignant and nostalgic, and less fun. Look out for brothers next year (presumably beating the crap out of each other).

Finally, more bears, and possibly our favourite ad of the bunch. Heathrow’s Mr and Mrs Bear won a lot of hearts last year and they’re back this year with another tearjerker. Like the Boots and House of Fraser ads, this is a flashback advert. The two-minute ad shows the start of their romance in 1967 when Mrs Bear chases after Mr Bear to hand him the hat he left on an aeroplane. (Spoiler alert: I would never have had Mrs Bear down as an air stewardess but she’s full of surprises).

We then follow them across 50 years as their children grow up until we see them again at Heathrow with their children and grandchildren in 2017. This year’s song, Petula Clark’s I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love gives it the perfect period setting. A sweet story, beautifully told. What more can you ask?

 

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Choosing The Best Social Media Platform For Your B2B Video?

Let me start by saying you shouldn’t even think about posting a video on social media unless it’s a good one!

The days when B2B companies got a free pass and were able to choose dullness over creativity are long gone. Intel, for one, got that memo, as you can see from its campaign ‘If cables were people’.

Intel has cottoned on to the fact that the name of the game for B2B video is the same as it is for B2C video – make the viewers feel something. In this case, it aims to raise a smile. But it could just as easily be to make them cry or even scream at the screen, so long as it creates a gut response in those watching.

Video’s ability to generate emotion is the reason it works so well on social media. In fact, video on social media generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined (Adelie Studios). So, it’s no surprises that in 2016, 62% of B2B marketers rated video an effective content marketing tactic (Content Marketing Institute).

Which begs the question: with so many social media platforms to choose from, which ones are best for you to post your B2B video on?

Video And The Buyer’s Journey

To answer that question, we need to take a step back and think about why you made your video. In other words, where does the video fit in the buyer’s journey for your business’s goods or services?

That journey starts when a potential buyer becomes aware of what you offer. A video at the awareness stage needs to grab people’s attention about what you sell or do. It should create an emotional connection with the viewer in the way the Intel video does. The more a video gets people talking, and sharing on social media, the more people it is going to reach.

One B2B company that does this brilliantly is Adobe. It’s Secret Agent: How’s Your Customer Experience? video promoting Adobe Marketing Cloud is one of a series aimed squarely at making potential customers aware of its product. There’s no explanation at all about what the product does or how it works.

Other types of videos along the buyer’s journey include:

  • Product or services videos that show how your products or services work. Buyers will watch these when they have moved beyond the awareness stage and are actively considering whether to buy from you.
  • Culture videos. These show your business’s culture, with the aim of transforming you from a faceless corporation to one that has a human side. I love this example from Schneider Electric, Llama Superstar, which has bags of personality.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfrPFc5mK3o
  • Testimonial videos that act like old-fashioned word-of-mouth endorsements.

Which Social Media Channel Should You Choose?

Where your video fits on the buyer’s journey will help inform your decision about which social media platforms you can use for your videos. You also need to consider how the platform functions and its audience. In most cases you will want to take an omni-channel approach with your video marketing and place different content on different platforms. Let’s look at each social media channel in turn.

Facebook

Video on Facebook generates around 32 billion views per day. If each video were watched for only three seconds, Facebook would generate over 3,000 years’ worth of watch time every single day. 

With staggering statistics like this, you may think that posting your video on Facebook is a no brainer. And it’s true, if you are looking to raise awareness, Facebook can be an excellent platform. It’s easy to ‘like’ video on Facebook and the more likes your video gets the higher it will appear on people’s timelines. It is also very personal so you can engage with people directly.

It has downsides, though, one of which is due to the way Facebook works. You are only relevant for so long as you appear on people’s timelines. Once you drop off you are nowhere to be seen. Also, because Facebook content is within a ‘walled garden’ it is all but invisible to search engines. Plus, you can’t embed calls to action in Facebook videos in the way you can on YouTube (see below).

Videos that work best on Facebook are snappy lifestyle pieces, news items and funny meme-type videos. Anything too corporate will get ignored, so your video needs to be authentic and preferably either shocking or amusing. Remember video published natively to Facebook will out-perform embedded video content so if you decide to use Facebook to reach your audience you will see better results by publishing that video content directly to Facebook itself.

YouTube

One billion hours of YouTube videos are watched every single day. Content on YouTube tends to have a broader range than it does on Facebook and includes videos that inform and educate as well as those that entertain. 

As a result, people search for videos on YouTube – something you can’t do on Facebook. And, as YouTube is owned by Google, videos hosted on the platform rank higher in search results than ones hosted elsewhere. Also, YouTube allows you to annotate your videos and add ‘Cards’ – clickable hotspots – that link to other videos on your channel or back to your website.

YouTube gives you the potential to reach a vast audience and because of its versatility works well for all sorts of videos: awareness, culture, testimonial, etc.  

On the flip side, your video can easily get lost in such an enormous sea. Plus, if you post a video both on your website and YouTube, people searching online are likely to be sucked away from your site and onto YouTube. Once there, it may be hard for them to stay focused on your video and they might be distracted down a YouTube rabbit hole. We’ve all done it!

Instagram

Instagram has more than 500 million active monthly users who on average share 95 million photos and videos per day. These are several million reasons why you should consider Instagram, but there are drawbacks.

The platform only allows videos of up to 60 seconds, although its Stories feature allows you to post a series of videos that will play like a slideshow. These disappear at the end of the day though, so there is no permanence as there is with YouTube.

Bear in mind Instagram’s demographic when considering it for your B2B videos. Unlike Facebook and YouTube, which span the generations, Instagram’s audience tends to be younger. I would say it has uses for awareness videos so long as they are short and breezy but doesn’t work so well for other types of video content on the buyer’s journey.

Snapchat

Like Instagram, Snapchat’s is mainly aimed at a younger demographic, with 18 to 24 year-olds making up 45% of its audience.

Two weakness of Snapchat stand out for the B2B market. First, it has no hashtag feature so it can be hard for new people to find you. Second, the content only lasts for 24 hours and once it’s gone, it’s vanished for good.  It can be a good platform for edgier original content that raises awareness of your business but beyond that its use for B2B videos is limited.

Twitter

Twitter claims that a tweet with video is six times more likely to be retweeted than one with photosThat means it should be an excellent platform for raising awareness. However, one downside of Twitter is that you don’t know who your tweet (and video) is going to reach (beyond your own followers) as its journey is at the whim of the audience. Like Facebook, the ‘feed’ nature of Twitter means that any tweet you post has a limited lifespan.

Twitter lends itself to sharp, original content and whilst it is good for awareness video, it really comes into it’s own when tied together with events. The best use cases for for video on Twitter comes in the form of reportage content. We’re live from this or that event.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn only jumped onto the video bandwagon this summer when it allowed users to upload video for the first time. This should be of great interest to B2B marketers given that 80% of leads sourced through social media for B2B marketers come from LinkedIn

It’s too early to say how effective video will prove to be on the platform but I think the fact that the audience is so clearly defined makes LinkedIn a ‘must-use’ for B2B videos. Videos can last up to 10 minutes though LinkedIn recommends videos of between 30 seconds and five minutes.

Drawbacks of LinkedIn are the fact that although it has more than 500 million members, only 23% use the platform on a monthly basis and when they do they average just two minutes a day on the site. I for one will be watching how video fares on LinkedIn with interest.

Conclusion

As with all your B2B marketing the starting point is to make great content. I encourage all my clients to have at least one video for each stage along the buyer’s journey and place these strategically on the social media channel that suits it best depending on the nature of the content and the target audience.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk