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Brands and online video- 7 new rules

March 27, 2007

Here are 7 new rules for brands wanting to play in the new landscape of online video, it’s a follow up to the previous post on big brands experimenting with online video.

1.    Creativity Rules- The bar has been raised to 11

In the past, when brands used to look at creativity, they were comparing themselves to each other, so the bar was pretty low, often anything that got people to laugh, was deemed a success.

Now, engagement has gotten so much harder. The competition is that much tougher and new modes of consumption place new pressures on content to be compelling. The switching cost is very low.

Brands are used to competing in a war that was often based on throwing lots of money going at the best talent and the best and most media. The playing field has changed. With such low barriers to entry- everyone with an imagination is now a potential competitor for your audience’s attention.

2.    Brands Must Push Boundaries

Consumers are flocking to entertainment that pushes extremes.

a.    realness and rawness- reality tv
b.    violence and language- premium cable-like HBO
c.    speed and spontaneity- user generated

Brands have to be prepared to go there; otherwise their content will always be second-tier in comparison to the competition.

3.    Give Up Control of Content

Consumers want content distributed in the places they inhabit, they don’t want to be forced to consume it on your website. Content needs to be widely distributed and consumers should be allowed to place it in their own social media environments, like on My Space pages.

4.    Study the Landscape

Brands must have their pulse on this rapidly changing landscape. This isn’t about knowing who the next YouTube is, but learning how consumers consume this new media and understanding what forms of content appear to be working best.

5.    Partner

There’s a lot of merit in what Coke did, they went directly to the source with a proven track record of viral success and worked with them. Imagine if Budweiser, instead of trying to build it’s own network, had given some seed money to dozens of people who had already achieved viral success, the result of BudTV might have been different.

6.    Encourage the User to Engage

Brands are so used to the broadcast model, that they forget the internet offers countless opportunities for the audience to interact with the content. Whether this is just simply allowing them to comment on the content or remixing it, you have to let the user in.

7.    Simpler is Better

It’s easy to get carried away with the belief that your content is so compelling you can create multiple layers around it. Make it too complex and you will end up turning people away. Think video games, the best sports games have an instant play function, where you can just play, they also have layers and added complexity, if strategy is your bag.

Overall, brands face a radically transformed landscape and in order to play, they have to be prepared to experiment and be willing to learn from failure.

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