From tactics to taglines, Wistia’s CEO, Chris Savage, chats marketing with the brains behind successful brands on our new video series, Brandwagon. Last week, Chris sat down with Lauren Fleshman, Co-founder and CMO of Picky Bars, to learn why she believes strategic rigor is essential to building an effective brand. Today, we’re excited to share our extended interview with this week’s guest, Brendan Gaul, Global Chief Content Officer and Head of UM Studios at the full-service media agency UM Worldwide.
Check out the episode to hear Brendan talk about the agency’s award-winning documentary film, 5B, and discuss how brands are shifting their strategies to create original content as traditional advertising platforms disappear.
Or listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher
Watch the actual Brandwagon episode here!
UM Worldwide works with some of the world’s largest business-to-consumer brands like Coca-cola, Spotify, BMW, Sony Pictures, and Johnson & Johnson. When Johnson & Johnson wanted to find a way to elevate the image of nurses around the world from doctor sidekicks to the heroes of healthcare, Brendan pitched the idea for a documentary film called 5B.
Flashing forward — 5B won the Grand Prix for Entertainment at the 2019 Cannes Lions Festival for Creativity, which was the first time a media agency has ever won the award. For Gaul, this win validated that brand-funded content can be accepted by audiences and industries.
On this episode, we hear more about how other brands are creating content in ways that offer value for their audiences, and Brendan shares exercises smaller companies can do to help define their brands, too.
On this episode of The Brandwagon Interviews, Brendan Gaul explains the decision-making behind UM’s unique piece of branded content and advises how brands, both big and small, can approach creating content humbly.
Here are some of the lessons learned throughout the episode:
- Think of innovative ways to reach customers who’ve moved away from ad-free platforms
- Create content that offers value for your audience
- Don’t try to reach the “average customer”; reach your high-value audience
Short on time? Check out some of our favorite moments during this interview between Chris and Brendan.
2:51 – A non-traditional career path
After chatting about Brendan’s favorite dessert and the current state of New York diners, Savage and Gaul talk about Gaul’s winding career path to working with some of the world’s biggest brands. Brendan talks about getting his start in film school at Pratt in Brooklyn, but quickly found himself immersed in the world of fashion retail when he took a job (to pay for off-campus housing) at the first Armani Exchange in NYC. Brendan learned about brand experiences through his work with luxury brands like LVMH, Sephora, and Donna Karan. With these brands, he saw first-hand how brands created immersive brand experiences that tapped into all five senses. He also got a sense of how different brands relate to one another in commercial environments.
12:21 – Moving into advertising
After the attacks on New York on September 11, Donna Karan underwent a restructuring that left Brendan without a job, giving him time to reflect on what his next steps would be. During this time, he was introduced to the world of advertising. He leveraged his experience from film school and consumer-experience design to art direct several commercials for Lowes. The work got him a job at then McCann Erickson. Brendan shares how his career has advanced from there and what he does today at UM Worldwide.
17:38 – Changing to survive
At UM, Brendan works with some of the biggest B2C brands in the world, including Amex, Coca Cola, Levis, BMW, Johnson &Johnson, and more. He points out how changing media landscapes are forcing these iconic brands to evolve and change the ways they do things. Savage asks if this is the challenge for big brands today. Brendan talks about how consumers are moving to ad-free platforms, so brands need to think of innovative and interesting ways to reach those customers. The two discuss Facebook’s recent acquisition of WhatsApp and their declaration that “the future is private” as examples of diminishing advertising space, and Gaul shares the benefits of working with big brands in big media.
22:57 – 5B
UM worked with Johnson & Johnson to create the documentary film 5B, which was shown at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The idea for the documentary came from Johnson & Johnson’s efforts to elevate the image of nurses around the world from doctor sidekicks to the heroes of healthcare that they are. The documentary had an impressive showing at Cannes, winning the Entertainment Grand Prix at the show among other awards. Savage and Gaul talk about how the film came to be, and the decision-making behind this unique piece of branded content.
41:09 – “If you’re putting content out there that’s solely based on trying to sell more stuff, the consumer smells it.”
How do brands know whether they can do something like what Johnson and Johnson did with 5B? Gaul talks about how brands need to know that they have — or need to earn — permission to be a part of cultural conversations. Savage and Gaul discuss how brands can approach content humbly and note examples of brands trying to act in spaces where they aren’t welcome. They go on to discuss other examples of brands who are creating content in ways that offer value for their audiences.
51:06 – The big-brand playbook
While it’s relatively easy for the biggest brands to create powerful content, Savage wants to know what smaller companies can learn from this type of content strategy. Brendan admits that it can be easy for smaller companies to be overwhelmed by the need to create content, but offers some practical advice and exercises smaller companies can do to help define their brands.
55:23 – “You had me until you said ‘average consumer.’”
How can B2B companies reach average consumers like B2C brands do? Brendan points out that the goal isn’t to reach an “average consumer,” but to reach your high-value audience and goes on to describe how smaller, B2B companies and local businesses can think about their products. He offers some ideas on how to position themselves for their best audiences.
The Differences Between Wistia Channel Subscribers and YouTube Subscribers
Last month we launched Wistia Subscribers, a new feature that adds a simple subscription form to your Wistia Channel, allowing viewers to subscribe just like they would on…well … YouTube.
While on the surface these two features may seem a lot alike, there are some critical differences between YouTube Subscribers and Wistia Subscribers. Here’s what you need to know about Wistia Subscribers (and why this data may be more valuable to your business).
When someone subscribes to a Wistia Channel, you, the content creator, receive their email address. When someone subscribes to a YouTube Channel, on the other hand, all you get is an extra number on the subscriber counter.
With YouTube, you have no idea who has subscribed to your Channel and no way to reach them directly other than via paid advertising. YouTube controls the communication with your subscriber and keeps all the details of who they are locked away.
This is a problem, because with both B2C and B2B marketing in the modern world, an email list of engaged subscribers is one of the most valuable assets you can build. Once you have an email address, you can communicate directly with potential customers, build remarketing lists, encourage word of mouth, or use email enrichment to understand more about who your subscribers are.
With Wistia Integrations, it’s a 5-minute job to ensure all of your new subscribers are integrated directly with your email service provider or marketing automation platform. This means that every new Channel subscriber you have automatically gets sent to your database of leads and subscribers, where you can bring them into your wider email marketing and lead nurturing workflows. With YouTube subscribers…you can’t do any of those things.
“With Wistia Integrations, it’s a 5-minute job to ensure all of your new subscribers are integrated directly with your email service provider or marketing automation platform.”
If users subscribe to your YouTube Channel (and have notifications turned on) they’ll occasionally get an email that aggregates recent updates from all the channels they’re subscribed to. If you’re lucky, your video will be front and center in this email.
If you’re unlucky, your update will be buried next to a review of an unappetizing looking chicken burger…or worse.
However, with Wistia, you can choose to notify someone the moment a video is published, with your own branding, customized subject line, and copy, stipulated by you.
The core difference between the two platforms is, ultimately, control. With Wistia, you pay for the product, but you retain all the value from each new subscriber. With YouTube, the product is free, but Google owns your audience and charges you for the privilege of trying to speak to them.
Social media can be a risky place, and YouTube is prone to changing its terms and conditions very quickly. The only way to futureproof your business from the whims of the biggest company in the world is to build the audience yourself.
4 Show Title Structures That’ll Help You Name Your Next Video Series
There’s an old adage in the world of copywriting that states, “The sole purpose of the first sentence in an ad is to get you to read the second sentence.” When crafting binge-worthy content, the same principle applies. In this case, your first sentence is your video series’ title, and your second sentence is your trailer.
Coming up with the right name for your show can be the difference between your audience tuning into your first episode and scrolling right past it. So to help you craft the perfect title that’ll grab your audience’s attention and convince them to hit play, we’ve analyzed seven popular TV show names and shared some key takeaways that you can apply when naming your next binge-worthy show. Let’s get going!
“Coming up with the right name for your show can be the difference between your audience tuning into your first episode and scrolling right past it.”
The showrunners of Black Mirror have created a futuristic (yet all too realistic) universe where society completely depends on technology to lead their lives. Each storyline features a visionary piece of technology that seems strictly utilitarian at first. But by the end of each episode, the tech ends up revealing a profound insight into human nature. And that’s exactly why Black Mirror is such a great TV show title. Your device’s black screen reflects much more than your mirror image.
When naming your video series, consider using a metaphor to shed light on what it’s going to be all about at its core. By doing so, you’ll help viewers quickly make the connection between the name of your show and its overall theme. Your show’s title is a great opportunity to give your potential viewers an idea of what’s to come if they tune in.
Image Credit: Medium
When you initially come across a title like Once Upon a Time, chances are you conjure up some images of a magical fairyland. But, for this particular show, that’s only half the story. Yes, it is a show about a group of fairy tale characters, but the catch is that they live as regular civilians in small-town Maine. Yep, that’s the premise.
Once Upon a Time’s title pulls you in with the promise that you’ll experience a fairy tale adventure, but it doesn’t reveal the other side of its story, which is just as compelling. Adding some mystery into your title by playing off a familiar phrase or common troupe gives people just enough clarity to understand your show’s general premise but not enough to figure out its entire concept.
Image Credit: Deadline
Similarly, the ever-popular Orange is The New Black relies on a popular phrase to pique your interest. “X is the new black” is a common phrase used to describe a cool new trend or cultural change, so when an unexpected color and associated meaning like “orange” and “prison life” are thrown into the equation, it immediately grabs your attention and builds intrigue.
An added bonus? Neuroscience actually proves that creativity and novelty trigger the neurochemicals that prompt people to pay attention to things. So, if you add a creative twist to a popular phrase and make it your title, you might just pleasantly surprise your audience and command their attention.
Coined by the advertising men who worked on Madison Avenue in the 1950s, the term “Mad Men” was just a clever play-on-words they used to refer to themselves as. But the brilliance of this show’s title doesn’t lie in its historic roots — it lies in the irony that the ad men of Madison Avenue (or at least the ones that are portrayed on this show) actually live their lives like madmen.
The creators of Mad Men placed a hidden meaning behind the show’s title as it subtly hints at one of its most important themes. If you can do the same, your audience will immediately understand the double-meaning of your title after watching the first episode of your video series, which can play a big role in persuading them to keep coming back for more. Who wouldn’t want to tune in to see how mad these men really get?
Image Credit: Shrink Tank
Another example of a show with a pretty explicit double entendre for a series title is the classic medical comedy, Scrubs. The show portrays the lives of young, ambitious doctors who are trying to climb the medical ladder at a bustling hospital. But even though they’re eager to succeed, these rookies’ inexperience leads to countless blunders and antics. They don’t just wear scrubs — they are scrubs.
Using a double entendre to highlight your video series’ external and internal narrative in your title is a clever way to grab people’s attention and retain it after they start watching your video series. For instance, when you see the title Scrubs, you immediately understand that the show is about being a doctor. But after you watch the first episode, you start to realize that the show is more about the struggle of being a young doctor than purely just saving people’s lives.
Image Credit: Next Episode
Sometimes, straightforward titles are the best titles. For instance, How I Met Your Mother is exactly what it sounds like: A show about the lead character, Ted Mosby, meeting the mother of his children — his wife.
Clarity is one of the most effective ways to get your audience to understand and visualize your video series’ concept. So when naming your next show, consider starting with a working title that clearly describes your video series’ premise. From there, you can spice it up a bit, but, sometimes, the most straightforward title can be your best title.
Image Credit: Den of Geek
Regardless of whether or not your video series can compete with a big-budget Hollywood production, your show title still needs to be compelling enough for an audience to want to give it a shot. So be sure to give your video series’ title some serious thought before slapping it on there and calling it a day. Remember, you only have so many opportunities to grab your audience’s attention, so make sure you step out of the gates with your best foot forward!
10 Ways to Grow Your Audience and Get More Eyes on Your Video Series
Building an audience for your video series might feel a little daunting — how do you get people to actually sit down and watch the show you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into creating? The truth is, distributing your series and getting people to pay attention to and talk about it is a huge part of Brand Affinity Marketing. It’s also something you should actively pay close attention to throughout the entire production process. Don’t just worry about promoting your series once the entire series is made — there’s plenty you can do while producing your content to ensure that the right audience is tuning in.
So, whether or not you’re a few episodes deep on your business’ first video series, or if you’re just in the ideation stage of the process, check out these suggestions for how to grow your audience over time and get more folks interested in watching your show!
You went through all the trouble of sourcing guests, nurturing your relationships with them, and sending contracts back and forth, but you didn’t follow up with them when their episode actually aired. Oh boy, that’s a big no-no! You don’t want to miss the opportunity to engage with your guests and encourage them to spread the word. Make it super easy for them to share the episodes they’re on with their personal networks by giving them exactly what they need to get going with just a few clicks. Here are some suggestions for what you can share:
- Pre-written tweets and posts with short links to their specific episode
- Different cuts of their episode that features them prominently
- Images and other unique media with quotes and headshots of the guest
This is a great way to get more people to watch your content, and the good news is, you can encourage this type of behavior from your guests without coming off as needy or demanding. Be sure to word your communication in a way that lets the guest know that this isn’t mandatory (it’s the truth after all!), but it would be really great if they were able to give it a share on social media, for example. The main takeaway here is to make it so easy to share your series that your guest would be hard-pressed to not want to do it.
“The main takeaway here is to make it so easy to share your series that your guest would be hard-pressed to not want to do it.”
This is another simple marketing tactic that can be easily overlooked when hyping up a video series — promoting your show internally! Sure, you might work closely with the people on your team who are responsible for creating the series themselves, but people across the organization might not be as in-tune with it. Send a team-wide email every time you publish a new episode and be sure to include pre-written tweets and posts (similar to the ones you might share with guests) so your teammates can encourage their own personal networks to tune in. If you have a big projector in your office, you can even screen each new episode during lunch to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to tune in.
Also, be sure to think about who on your team has the biggest audience and personal network. Here at Wistia, our CEO has a pretty decent Twitter following, so whenever we release a new episode of Brandwagon he shares it along with a little friendly tweetstorm (it doesn’t hurt that he’s also the host of the show, but you get the picture!).
If you sense that folks on your team are a little reluctant to share about your series, you can always point out how getting more people to watch the series will help build brand affinity, turning passive viewers into active fans of your business. It’s a win-win for every team!
While we’re talkin’ email, your video series can also benefit from being featured in the email signatures of public-facing employees at your business. Adding your show’s logo to your email signature won’t cost your marketing team a dime and the impact it can have on how many people hear of your show can be huge. Here’s an example of an email signature that a lot of folks on our team have right now to promote our talk show for marketers:
Plus, for those folks in sales, it can be a great conversation starter! Just read out to teams at your company like sales, customer support, and human resources and give them what they need to get set up. Hopefully, you’ve noticed a trend by now — make it as easy as possible for people to help spread the word about your video series.
You’re going to want to order yourself up a nice plate of supporting content when promoting your new video series. One of the best ways to attract new viewers to your long-form content is by getting them in the door with content that already speaks to their interests. For example, a viewer might not only become interested in watching our docu-series One, Ten, One Hundred, after they’ve read a blog post about how to make a beautiful set based on lessons we learned while shooting it. That’s why we recommend creating and promoting other content related to your series — you just never know who might show up to watch your show!
There are a number of angles you can take to creating this content depending on the type of show you’re making. Here are some examples to get your creative juices flowing:
- Share an extended interview with a guest
- Dive deeper into a topic you only covered briefly
- Pull and share key takeaways from an entire season
- Take a segment from your show and expand upon it
- Craft thought leadership content based on overarching themes
Raise your hand if you’ve ever entered a contest or giveaway on social media. Is your hand raised? I’m (somewhat) embarrassed to say mine definitely is. From t-shirts and socks to stickers and pens, there are tons of different giveaway options out there that you can consider when promoting your series — and they won’t break the bank. Often it’s less about the quality of the prize (no one’s saying you should give away a car, though that would’ve worked well for Brandwagon), but you should offer some sort of prize or incentive for engaging with your content if you can.
For example, we ran a t-shirt giveaway on our Instagram Story where we had folks answer a series of questions related to the content in the most recent episode of our talk show. The first three people to get all the questions right got a free t-shirt — easy peasy! When you send the t-shirt to the lucky winners in the mail, be sure to ask them to post a picture of them with their prize and tag your business in the post. This will help you reach an entirely new audience, and chances are if this contest winner liked your series, some of their friends might too.
Pay attention to the people who are actively engaging with your content, plain and simple. These are your early adopters, the folks you want to find more of so you can grow your audience. Tactically, you can create polls on Twitter to get them to engage with your brand and share countdowns for when new episodes drop on Instagram so they never miss a beat.
Read and reply to their comments, ask them questions about your show, show them gratitude for tuning in, and above all else, be human. Thank them for their feedback and commentary, and then apply these insights when crafting future episodes of your video series. Letting your audience know that they’re making an impact can turn passive viewers into engaged fans, and who doesn’t want that?
Now, you might be familiar with podcasts that are recorded (video podcasts), but have you thought about flipping that concept on its head and starting with a video series first? Depending on the type of show you’re creating, you may want to consider turning your series into a binge-worthy podcast so more fans can enjoy your content. This tends to work particularly well for interview-style video series, as a lot of great content often gets left on the cutting room floor in order to keep the video watchable, engaging, and not too long.
Creating a podcast version of your show is also a great way to help get your series discovered — folks in your audience may actually be bigger podcasts-listeners than video-watchers. By turning your series into a podcast, you can meet your audience where they already are, and then ultimately, cross-promote your video series for a deeper, more robust content experience. Remember, though, there are tons and tons of podcasts out there, so you have to make sure your content is actually really good and provides value. In other words, don’t just rip the audio from your episode and slap it on Spotify. Take the time to create a really good podcast that can stand on its own, and then use it as another opportunity to talk about your show. Use your blog to write recaps and synopses of what you covered and include links and relevant time staps directing folks to interesting moments throughout.
Here’s an example of a podcast we created called The Brandwagon Interviews that’s based on our newest video series, Brandwagon.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to promoting your series. Think outside the box and try new tactics to see what gains traction with your niche audience. Why not make a Spotify playlist that features songs that match the theme of your series? Hang out on Reddit on relevant threads to see what people are talking about as it relates to your series, and if topics or concepts overlap, share an episode there (but make sure you don’t sound too self-promotional or spammy!).
Another way to get creative with your promotion is by finding other video series or podcasts that are targeting a similar audience and trying to get on their show. Many podcasters are already masters of this, which is why you may hear some of your favorite podcast hosts doing the rounds as guests on other podcasts you already listen to. Take advantage of the amazing content you’re investing your time and resources into creating and try to think about how your favorite streaming platforms promote their content. Rip a page out of their book and start promoting your content more creatively with clips, behind-the-scenes content, extras, and more!
This may sound obvious, but if your content is relevant to your core customer base in some way (which it should be!), send them an email to let them know about your new series. Of course, you don’t want to spam them, so refrain from emailing them over and over about your show. Instead, let them know when and where they can watch your series, and then give them the opportunity to sign up for updates. That way, they can opt-in for further updates and communication about your specific series.
You can also add a notification within your product if you’re a SaaS company, or simply update your website or homepage with a call to action to watch your series. You may feel like you’re doing everything to promote your show on social media, email, and beyond, but remember that not all of your customers might be following your business on social or subscribed for email updates. So what are you waiting for? Start growing your audience and getting more eyes on your content with these ten tips for promotion!
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