Companies typically spend thousands of dollars paying experts to help them nail down their brand voice, brand personality, and brand tone. The larger a company is, the more voices are typically included in the process, and the longer it typically takes.
So now, after hours of workshops and surveys, your company has a specific brand tone and personality. It’s been emailed out to all of your employees. Maybe you even use it in your email signature, or have it tattooed on your arm. You work hard to make sure that every piece of written content fits with your brands persona, but now you want to try your hand at video.
Where video was formerly considered an extra tool to be used whenever time and budgets permit, more and more companies are starting to understand that video is the primary method that many millions of people consume content. So, as companies are consuming increasing amounts of video, content marketing managers are faced with a big question:
As you develop a video marketing program, how do you clearly communicate your brand’s personality in every piece?
An important step in creating unique videos that get attention is producing them with regular frequency and with a brand voice that’s just as consistent. That way, viewers know what to expect from you both in terms of quality and tone. But being uncertain about whether a certain video or concept fits in with their established brand is a major psychological hurdle that prevents some companies from getting started with video altogether. In this post, we’ll show you how to avoid that analysis paralysis by walking you through best practices for brand communication according to personality type, and by providing plenty of examples from companies and individuals who are doing it right.
Informal, Fun Brands
It’s hard to go wrong with a fun ad, unless your target customer prefers content that’s more serious. But if your brand identity wholly aligns with a more relaxed, “everyman” tone, this likely isn’t the case (and if it is- maybe it’s time for some rebranding). Here’s an origin story video from Vans, a skateboard shoe and apparel company that’s all about fun.
What we like about this video: The mix of stop motion and hand-drawn animation provides a fun, visible frame for explaining the evolution of Vans’ corporate identity and line of products. The narration paints a clear picture not only of where Vans has come from, but where it’s going in the future.
Adopting an informal style can also humanize an otherwise serious brand. BMO Harris, a bank that needed to market its mobile app to a millennial audience, hired The Onion to make a series of hilarious video that highlighted some very fake features.
What we like about this ad: While some of the other ads in this series had a few people fooled, BMO Harris did a good job of making a video that was so absurd that most could correctly interpret it as parody. This—along with hiring a parody site to develop and promote the content—allowed BMO Harris to create a great campaign that could clearly stand apart from its other marketing materials.
The irreverent brand personality goes a step farther than fun, thumbing its nose at the status quo and the seriousness of other brands in the industry. Most brands err by either going too far in this dimension or its opposite, by being too serious. But whether or not your brand can afford to appear irreverent is going to depend largely on your buyer and user personas. This is more appropriate for a sneaker company, for example, than for a business that offers retirement planning.
The king of irreverent humor, Ryan Reynolds, has become an expert in creating hilarious tongue-in-cheek videos. He uses each one to poke fun at himself and the properties he’s promoting. Watch him ham it up for his company Aviation Gin below.
What we love about this video: Not only is it cinematically gorgeous, but it also does a decent job of communicating what makes Aviation gin different from similar spirits on the market—its smoothness. If your brand is irreverent, don’t make the mistake of being more focused on entertaining people than talking about your competitive advantages. You might just end up with a viral video, increased traffic, and no sales.
Traditional, Serious Brands
Many brands make the mistake of believing that just because their company has been around for a long time, that must mean that their brand personality needs to be traditional as well.
Rolex, the epitome of luxury watch retailers, is a great example of company with a traditional brand voice. The company has been around for almost 120 years and today, according to Business Insider, the average Rolex buyer is 40-45 years old. Here’s a look at how they communicate that heritage:
What we like: Visually, this video takes every care to highlight the traditional. From reels of old film stock, to showing titans of the movie industry hand-writing letters, this piece is more about handing off a piece of a cherished legacy to the next generation than trying to pander to them.
If your brand personality is traditional, make it a point to show similar care for high end visuals that bring timelessness to mind. Stay away from illustrations that are too cartoonish. If your brand is traditional, those whiteboard explainer videos probably aren’t for you.
While Rolex is an example of a brand that’s both traditional and upscale, these traits don’t have to accompany one another. A great example of this is Forbes, a brand that’s both high end and cutting edge. Forbes is a company that is about highlighting the best of the best. From the Forbes 30 Under 30, their annual cross-industry list of the top movers and shakers under age 30, to Cloud 100, which highlights the top companies in cloud computing, it’s clear that accessibility is not one of their goals. Here’s a video in their 100 Seconds of Advice series.
What we like about this video: Forbes is great at painting a consistent picture of successful professionals. In their videos, most of Forbes’ interviewees will be dressed in business attire. This is often juxtaposed by a rugged background. While this is a creative choice I personally wouldn’t suggest to a client, it does help to spotlight the subject’s elegance and refinement.
Other stuff: Notice that Forbes’ videos are also intellectually upscale. They don’t dumb anything down, as their target audience is experienced business professionals. The same is true for all of their content, ensuring a consistent brand voice that’s both aspirational and inspirational.
By focusing more on protecting their brand than on creating engaging content, some companies end up creating video that’s so serious it puts people to sleep. But it’s wise to use discretion here. If your site is granted “your money or your life” status by Google, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution concerning your brand tone.
Modern, Cutting Edge Brands
Many companies developing innovative or disruptive technology feel that their brand needs to be serious so that people will take them seriously. But companies that think this way run the risk of not being able to communicate the unique impact their products have on individuals, other companies, and the world. Take Warby Parker for example. They’re a great company that has disrupted the prescription eyewear industry by making glasses more affordable. So, their brand is cutting edge but accessible, (i.e. not upscale). They’ve done a great job showing both their technological innovations (video 1) and the impact that they have on the end user (video 2).
And here’s a cute video by Tesla—a cutting edge, upscale brand—highlighting a feature that you probably didn’t know you needed until now: a way to keep your pets cool when you’re away from your car while letting passersby know that they don’t need to worry.
Tesla has always done a great job explaining how groundbreaking their products are scientifically while also making it clear how the company is positively affecting people’s everyday lives.
Let’s Get Creative.
Interested in creating more effective content? Over the past 20 years, Brainbox Intelligent Marketing has helped dozens of brands create meaningful experiences online and in the real world. If you’d like to chat about your brand’s personality, give us a call or drop us a line today.