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The Road Map to Becoming a More Video-Focused Brand

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Do you say “Kleenex” when you want a tissue or “Band-Aid” when you need an adhesive bandage? Yeah, us too. Even just uttering these names probably stirs up memories of childhood scrapes or times when a friend helped wipe away tears. And that’s because building a brand people love sort of feels like magic — it’s the secret recipe for a successful (and memorable) business.

These days, video is a key ingredient in that recipe. Video can help businesses quickly differentiate themselves in a crowded space, retain customers, and unlock growth. Plus, now that video is more accessible than ever, more and more marketers are being empowered to think like media companies, striving to build super-specific, highly-engaged niche audiences.

We’ve written about why you should build your brand with video in the past, but in this particular guide, we’re going to give you the lay of the land and teach you how to actually do it. Read on to for some tips, tricks, and best practices that’ll keep your brand moving in the right direction!

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The human brain can process visual information in as little as 13 milliseconds. That means we’re interpreting information and building connections in our minds at an alarming rate. As you can imagine, when it comes to integrating video into your brand strategy, there’s a lot to consider.

But don’t throw in the towel just yet! There are a few key steps to follow right from the start that’ll help you create a more video-centric, memorable brand. Here at Wistia, we’ve learned quite a bit as we’ve grown our brand over the years, so here are some of our favorite tips that’ll help you get rollin’ on your journey.

Create a style guide

First things first, you’re going to want to create a style guide. Brand guides aren’t just for copywriters anymore. In fact, as businesses start to communicate on more diverse platforms using video, having a strong style guide in place for what your company talks about and how it sounds is super important. Stay true to your brand by incorporating your company values, the tone you want to establish, insider lingo for your industry, or humor into the videos you create. By defining your voice, you can create a process that allows your video-production efforts to scale up without diluting the brand.

Now, break the rules

Just kidding, don’t break all the rules. Style guides are great for helping people recognize your brand, and when you’re just getting started with video, it’s a crucial asset to have. However, you don’t want a style guide to limit your expression. Does your marketing team stick to a rigid set of rules, only using the same colors, fonts, and “voice” for everything?

When you think about building your brand with video, start by thinking about your company values and the different ways you can communicate them. Patagonia does this particularly well (check out this post for some examples), proving that while style guides are super important, but there are also some instances where you can break the mold. It may sound like a tricky, but it’s an important balance for all brands to maintain!

Do some preliminary research

MailChimp is one of the top brands in email nowadays, but the famously bootstrapped company didn’t start out that way. Over the years, MailChimp learned that sometimes the best results when it comes to branding are unmeasurable and that it’s OK to give up data for a better user experience. There are going to be brands who use video strategically that you and your team admire, so dig into their story a little bit more to uncover how they got to where they are today. Chances are, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from their successes and failures that are worth taking into consideration for your business.

We break down the most useful points of an AMA we held with MailChimp a few years back, like their breakthrough moment with sponsoring the podcast Serial, in this post. Check it out and get inspired!

Experiment with different types of video

Two minutes or less is all you need to make a video for business, right? Not necessarily. Long-form videos, including video series like One, Ten, One Hundred, require a bit more investment up front, but they can pay off significantly in the long term. If you’re just starting out with video at your business, we definitely recommend going the short and sweet route at first. It’s important that you don’t bite off more than you can chew by going all-in on a certain style or tone without testing it out first. Afterall, it’s only by putting your work out into the world that you’ll know what direction you want to take with your brand’s video strategy.

Lately, we’ve been really excited by long-form video content and the potential it has to help grow audiences for businesses. So, if you’re looking for some inspiration in that vein, be sure to check out these 20-minute-plus video examples from Dollar Shave Club, Unbounce, and more and learn how you can take the leap into long-form video.

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Now that you’ve tested the waters and experimented with some different video lengths and aesthetics, it’s time to show your audience what you’ve got! Your customers have a different understanding of who you are depending on where they are in their own journey with your brand. And how successful your brand becomes depends on how well you tell your story throughout that customer journey.

Branded videos will help viewers learn more about your business, building trust and setting the stage for a fruitful relationship with successful, happy customers. And who doesn’t want that? The next stop on your journey to becoming a more video-focused brand is all about meeting your audience where they are. Here are a few ways you can work on reaching the right folks throughout the entire customer journey.

Start with what matters most — your product

Your brand is nothing without your product, so creating an effective product video is a great place to start. These videos explain your product’s features and benefits, while including examples and visuals of how it actually works. Product videos are great for consumers who are in the awareness or consideration stages of the buyer’s journey, and should be clear, yet comprehensive.

In this insightful post from TechSmith’s Sherri Powers, she breaks down how the marketing funnel is organized by how well people know your product (borrowed from Eugene Schwartz’s classic book Breakthrough Advertising). Luckily, videos are a great medium for top of funnel engagement, so they’re a super valuable investment to make when it comes to becoming a video-first brand.

Then, focus on building your customers’ knowledge-base

The middle of the funnel, or the consideration phase, is when you start to educate your potential customers with helpful, useful content. From testimonials and case studies to webinars and team intros, mid-funnel videos are a fantastic tool for showing prospective customers who you are and what you care about. These videos are a vital step to becoming a brand that people love for a long time.

Here at Wistia, we’ve found that high-quality video testimonials that showcase real customers (not actors!) who are representative of your audience are super effective at portraying an authentic brand. Start by presenting a specific problem that your product can solve, back up that brand promise with evidence, and demonstrate your key benefits in action.

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Put an emphasis on credibility and customer trust

Trust is an infinite resource — you can never have too much trust in your brand. The more people that trust you, the greater freedom you’ll have to experiment and take risks with your marketing (remember how we told you to break your style guide rules before?). But, as marketers, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the wrong metrics and lose sight of the future.

That’s why we recommend creating thought leadership content that can help position your brand in a positive, authoritative light. While the impact is not as easy to measure as say, a product video, thought leadership videos do something product videos don’t — they build credibility for your brand. And when it comes to building a brand people know and love, that innate trust is invaluable.

If you’re interested in learning more about building authority with video, check out this presentation from CouchCon 2018 by Nick Dujnic, who makes the case for investing in thought leadership content.

Try thinking like an influencer

Is influencer marketing all it’s cracked up to be? In a word; probably. Influencers have worked hard to deliver content that consistently engages a key, specific group of people. Businesses stand to learn quite a bit from influencers about the way they make strong, personal connections with their audience. And while it’s true that influencers produce a ton of content (often at a super-speedy pace) to keep people coming back for more, there are still some things marketers can take from their strategy and apply on a smaller scale.

Influencers create content for their entire audience — when they find something that works for the masses, they double-down on it. The bottom line? They aren’t afraid to get real, and that authenticity is what makes their videos so engaging. Steal some of their tactics, like using a repeatable video format and collaborating with other like-minded companies, and adapt their tactics to your own brand strategy.

Don’t leave any gaps in your brand touches

Video is an amazing tool because it can be used effectively in so many ways. Marketeres can easily incorporate video into all of their promotional efforts, from ad campaigns to blog posts, and those videos can play a big role in attracting new customers, educating leads, and converting them.

If the notion of using video across your entire business feels a little daunting, don’t sweat it! You can easily break down what types of videos work throughout the traditional marketing funnel and use that as a framework for thinking about what videos to make. Itching for some specific examples? We identify the key metric for each stage of the funnel (i.e., sign-ups) and show stellar video examples in this post. Shout-out to brands like ProfitWell, Sticker Mule, and San Diego Surf School for the inspiration!

The next stop on your video journey? You guessed it! It’s time to polish up that act of yours. There’s a lot to learn about cultivating and expanding upon your brand with video, but we’re going to take it one step at a time. You might make a few mistakes along the way (you’re only human after all!), but these learning experiences will only make your brand stronger.

In this section, we’ve gathered some of our best advice based on Wistia data and our experience building a brand with video, from presenting your content to creating a beautiful experience. With these resources in hand, you’ll be well on your way to developing your own video best practices in no time.

Make a great first impression

If you’re embedding a video on your homepage, it’s your most prominent piece of brand marketing, by far. Luckily, these days there are tons of ways you can easily craft a more delightful, positive experience for site visitors while also driving conversions thanks to the help of video. From nailing your value proposition to testing out autoplaying videos, there are a number of do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:

Do:

  • Make your value prop clear
  • Speak to your audience’s interests
  • Test out autoplaying video
  • Put your video front and center

Don’t:

  • Set extremely broad goals
  • Try to squeeze everything into one video
  • Sacrifice good copy
  • Get in the way of your user

Naturally, video is just one of many essential elements that make up a successful homepage, but creating a memorable one may be the reason your business stands out from the rest.

Don’t overlook the video player design

Sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest impact on your video’s success. And when it comes to your player design, you might think that something as simple as player color is unimportant. But when it comes to building a video-focused brand, these little details matter. You have to think about the overall experience your viewer has with your brand across channels and platforms.

A few years back, we dug into Wistia data from millions of videos to see if there’s a correlation between player color and video play count — and you might be surprised at the results. We found that there was a 7% improvement in play rate for the non-default colored players, ie. businesses who were more intentional about their player design. The main takeaway here is that small, intentional efforts to make your videos look professional and put-together will evoke a more positive response from your audience, thus creating a more cohesive brand experience.

Learn from the mistakes of those that came before you and save yourself some headaches along the way. Want to dig into all the nitty gritty data from our test? Check out this post!

Give your videos a good home

Social networks like YouTube and Facebook (and newer services like Twitch) are great for getting your content off the ground. But eventually, if you’re interested in building a brand for the long run, you’ll want your videos to live on their own page that’s unique to your brand. When you graduate to a professional hosting service, you’re able to keep creative control while also protecting viewer privacy.

We recently launched a new feature, Wistia Channels, that gives users more control over their overall viewing experience. Because we know how important branding is when it comes to video, we made it easy for marketers to transform a group of videos into a highly engaging, immersive collection that lives right on their site. Again, at the end of the day, it’s all about paying attention to the small details that lead to a bigger, more positive brand impact.

Break free from basic marketing videos

Homepage videos, explainer videos, and product videos are all important for building a brand, but at some point, you’ll want to try out something new. And nothing says leveling-up your brand like creating videos that don’t scale. What do we mean by “don’t scale,” you ask? Think Snapchat and Instagram Stories, 1:1 video emails, and just-for-fun company culture content. These are all examples of videos that don’t scale but still add value to your brand. When you explore your more creative side, you’ll find that there are many different yet equally engaging ways to spread your message in way that feels fresh and authentic to your audience.

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You know what they say — it’s all about the journey, not the destination. But, we have reached the end of our post (wink, wink). It’s safe to say that every marketer dreams of creating the type of brand that people turn to first when they need a particular problem solved. Luckily, incorporating video into your marketing strategy can help you reach those goals.

Video is your ticket to making a brand that people remember and love. From goofy outtakes and informative webinars, to an original long-form series, videos are the best way to tell your company’s story. Follow these three steps to becoming a more video-centric brand by starting with your aesthetic, creating content for your entire audience, and keeping it nice and polished, and you’ll be poised for success!



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Video Marketing

2020 Video Trends & Usage: Consumption is up 120% During COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic has completely shifted the way the world works — including how businesses function and how employees do their jobs. Here at Wistia, we immediately noticed an uptick in content creation and video engagement this March when the pandemic began to sweep the nation.

Now, several months into this “new normal,” we’re ready to pull back the curtain and share some data and trends from our platform in true Wistia fashion. After all, we do have a track record of being super transparent with our business decisions, successes, and even the occasional flop.

Below, we’ve outlined the top three trends related to video engagement that we’ve seen during the pandemic and tips for how to use this information to implement a more strategic video plan this year. All data referenced is compared to Wistia data pulled from the prior year, 2019. Let’s dive in!

Video consumption is more ubiquitous than ever — and our data clearly supports this trend.

Before March of 2020, Wistia saw an 18% increase in hours watched per week from 2019 to 2020. Hours watched represents the average number of hours of video content consumed per week across all of our customers.

We started 2019 with an average of 2.2M hours watched per week. This increased to an average of 2.6M hours at the beginning of 2020.

Since early March of 2020, we’ve seen a year over year increase of 120%. The average weekly hours watched increased drastically from 2.6M to 4.6M — peaking at 5.7M during the week of April 27th.

This increase means that people are watching more video content on our platform than ever before.

Additionally, before March of 2020, Wistia saw a 31% increase in weekly video plays from 2019 to 2020. This represents the number of times a video was played in a given week.

The number of average weekly video plays was 1.6M at the beginning of 2019, which increased to 2.1M at the beginning of 2020.

Since early March, that number has increased by 65% compared to the same time last year. This means that viewers are actively engaging with video content at a much higher rate than they were before the pandemic.

This increase in engagement has created a huge opportunity for SMBs to connect with consumers through well-marketed content. How can you engage your audience with video? From video voicemails for personalized sales outreach to teaser videos on social media — the options are only limited to your imagination. If you’re looking for where to get started, check out these 15 business video examples for inspiration.

Many organizations and industries have pivoted to relying heavily on video for communication and other essential business functions, which has leveled the playing field for SMBs.

Quarantine and work-from-home mandates have forced marketers and non-marketers alike to become creators and embrace constraints to produce great work — and many have realized that you don’t need a professional set up to produce high-quality video and audio content. Just look at Saturday Night Live — a highly planned and produced comedy show that pivoted to creating the entire weekly show from home.

Businesses have embraced these challenges with video content from home, conveying a level of authenticity that’s been quite welcomed. This trend of making video more accessible has led to an increase in the total volume of video uploaded to Wistia.

Before March of 2020, Wistia saw a 42% increase in weekly video uploads from 2019 to 2020. This number averaged 121K at the beginning of 2019 and increased to 172K at the beginning of 2020.

Since early March, the year over year increase has jumped to 120%. We’re now seeing an average of 280K videos uploaded to Wistia each week.

If you’ve been considering dipping your toes into the video waters, there’s no time like the present. Check out our free Beginner’s Guide to Video Production series to get started.

Small business leaders are some of the savviest and most resourceful leaders out there. When an opportunity comes knocking, they answer the door.

Before March of 2020, Wistia saw a 17% increase in weekly account creations from 2019 to 2020. This number averaged 2.9K at the beginning of 2019 and increased to 3.4K at the beginning of 2020.

Since early March, the year over year increase has jumped to 85%. We’re now seeing an average of 5K Wistia accounts created each week.

When signing up for Wistia’s services, a majority of small business leaders have noted they have more of a need to store and share videos since the pandemic began. These types of customers tend to be starting their video marketing program from scratch, recognizing that every business moving forward will have some aspect of digital engagement.

For example, SMBs can now host well-produced virtual events that are much more affordable and easy to execute compared to a live, in-person event. From small-scale webinars to large-scale conferences, we’ve seen the full spectrum of virtual events.

In addition to events, many companies are getting creative with how they reach their audiences. We’ve seen an uptick in sales teams using video as an outreach and communications tool versus in-person meetings. We’ve also seen creators of all kinds — school teachers, exercise instructors, entertainers, and more adopt a video-first strategy.

Creativity doesn’t stop just because marketers are working from home. As we create a new future, brands are in a position to reach their audiences in new and authentic ways.

Our data confirms that marketers are working harder than ever to create content that is appealing to their consumers–meeting them where they are through well-executed video content.

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How to Promote Your Podcast With Email

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When it comes to growing an audience for your brand’s new podcast, tapping into your email and marketing experience is the best place to start. If you’re building a new list from scratch, you can grow your email subscriber list by utilizing your existing marketing channels to spread the word.

On the other hand, if you already have an existing database of people who love the content you create, you can hit existing relevant lists while also growing a dedicated inventory for your show!

In this post, we’ll share how you can leverage your audiences differently and give you best practices for promoting your podcast via email. Let’s start getting your podcast in front of the right folks!

Your show’s subscribers are the folks you’ll email regularly about teasers, new episode releases, exclusive content, and more. These people are highly qualified because they have opted-in to receive news about your show! We’ll cover how you can grow this type of list where your podcast lives, on your actual podcast with a call to action, and across your social media channels.

Ask people to subscribe wherever your podcast lives

If your podcast is on streaming sites like Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Overcast, you should include extra information about your show to help build a direct relationship with listeners. Profiles about the show hosts and guests, show episode notes, and full episode transcripts are just the beginning!

Including information on your website about your podcast doesn’t hurt either. Get creative and think of different ways to provide value, like with a show “starter kit” for new listeners or by including other content formats, like related videos and blogs, on the same page.

Be sure to focus on the value your show will provide your audience, and include an email collector for listeners to subscribe to stay in the loop about future releases, show news, and exclusive content.

Include a CTA on your show

Another great place to remind listeners to subscribe to your podcast? During your actual show! If you include a call to action at the end of your podcast, you’ll catch listeners who made it all the way to the end of your show — folks who are already super engaged and the most likely to want more. For listeners who found you on streaming sites instead of your website, suggesting the next step during your show might be the only opportunity you have to get them to subscribe directly.

For example, at the end of our new original podcast, Talking Too Loud, we say, “Listen to Talking Too Loud wherever you listen to podcasts. And hey, rate and review us wherever you listen. And check out more content from Wistia Studios at Wistia.com.”

Another example of a podcast including CTAs on their show includes How I Built This with Guy Raz. At the end of his show Guy says, “To see our full interview you can go to facebook.com/howibuiltthis. And if you want to see all of our past live interviews you can find them there or at youtube.com/npr.”

To sum it up, your CTA could be any next steps you’d like your listeners to take. Both of these examples don’t outright tell folks to subscribe, but lead people to places where they can discover more about your brand (and where they can take the leap to subscribe for more content).

Spread the word on social media

You should also use your existing social media channels to promote your podcast and find listeners who could lead to new subscribers. Use clips and content teasers to give people a taste of what your podcast is about — pique their interest! Social media is a great way to drive people to where your podcast lives and entice them to subscribe to your show.

Here’s an example of a Twitter post on Wistia’s account promoting Talking Too Loud:

Some social media platforms, including Facebook and LinkedIn, even offer direct integrations with email marketing and CRM providers. These connections make it easy to build and nurture your lists without manually exporting and uploading contacts across platforms.

What should you send these folks?

Remember, email subscribers for your show are different from folks you include in your general marketing sends — it’s important to differentiate these sends and be hyper-targeted about your content. For the podcast email subscribers, focus primarily on promoting your show. To sweeten the pot, include exclusive content like behind-the-scenes clips and additional show content to this show subscriber list.


While you’re building a dedicated list of raving show fans, keeping your existing database informed is also important. Whether these marketing lists exist for product updates or blog content, folks in these audiences might also be interested in your podcast’s unique content.

Your marketing automation and onboarding sequences can be a great place to start plugging your podcast — just make sure you’re not promoting your show right off the bat. Showcasing your podcast too early or too often in your email campaign could distract and take away from someone’s learning experience with your product.

Here’s an example of a callout we used in one of our blog content email newsletters for The Brandwagon Interviews podcast. Since this was a more broad list, we kept this section short and sweet and allowed the creative to steal the spotlight and drive traffic to our podcast page.


So, now you’ve got a solid plan in place to promote your podcast via email. But what does a great podcast email look like? And what types of emails should you be sending for your show? Check out a few examples of emails we’ve sent to support our very own shows!

New Show Announcement

Build excitement and anticipation for your new podcast by sending out an announcement email. This is a great place to leverage your existing email lists — either by sending a dedicated email or by including the announcement in a newsletter-style send.

Alternatively, you could get ahead of the curve by collecting emails before launch and then send an announcement to your dedicated show list.

Here’s an example of an email we sent to announce Talking Too Loud:

New Episode Announcement

Keep your listeners in the loop on an ongoing basis by sending out emails for new episodes. These emails can be short and sweet. It’s also important to send these emails consistently to your audience. The email cadence for announcements should follow your show cadence. Showcase your show guest (if you have one), craft a compelling preview for the episode, and drive folks to listen.

Here’s an example of what we typically send for Talking Too Loud:


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5 Brand-Building Lessons from The First Audio Conference for Marketers, “Built to Last”

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What does it take to build a brand that stands the test of time? How do you make someone fall in love with your brand? Is it possible to build lifelong audiences and advocates for your business? There’s a good reason these questions still remain at the forefront of marketer’s minds today. And that’s because, in 2020, your brand has never mattered more.

That’s why we teamed up with Buffer to bring you Built to Last, the first-ever audio conference for brand builders. Throughout the event, attendees received exclusive access to a private podcast feed where we released six episodes over the two-day conference. Each episode featured lessons and key insights that can be applied when crafting memorable content and campaigns that build engaged audiences.

We heard from marketers and creatives behind some of the world’s most-loved brands and learned a ton of valuable lessons when it comes to building brands that thrive. In this post, we’re sharing our top five takeaways from the event. But we’re curious — what lessons did you learn? Be sure to share them with us in the comments!

Did you miss out on Built to Last but still want to hear what all the fuss is about? Good news: You can still sign up to access the podcast episodes on-demand right here.

Throughout Built to Last, one theme that consistently rang true for our speakers was the power of focus. From picking very specific target customers and understanding exactly how your business fits into their lives to prioritizing building a community and crafting super-specific content — when it comes to building lasting brands, focus is key.

Emily Heyward, Co-Founder of Red Antler and author of the book Obsessed — Building a Brand People Love from Day One, pointed out how important it is to consider the context of the world we live in today when it comes to getting people to care about your brand.

“Consumers have more choice, more information, and therefore more power than ever before. Think about how what we used to buy was controlled by gatekeepers. We were only able to buy whatever was available at the drugstore or the grocery store. We only learned about brands through national TV campaigns. Now we learn about brands through Instagram. We can Google exactly what we’re looking for and access niche brands that have millions of consumer reviews and are being written about on forums that contain people who are similar to us and have similar needs.”


Emily Heyward

Co-Founder, Red Antler

Emily recommended that brands come forward with a simple, clear offering right out the gate so they can spend more time focusing on what they stand for and what it matters, rather than getting bogged down by every detail of their product offering. This can help businesses more clearly articulate the value they bring to the table, rather than having to explain away a ton of complex features of variations of their product.

Ben Witte, Founder of Recess, a consumer wellness brand in the beverage industry, touched on a similar concept throughout his episode. He noted the importance of staying focused when it comes to attracting the right audience.

“I think you want to identify who you’re speaking to very early on. I think [Recess] is relevant to all age demographics and psychographics. But your content strategy has to be very specifically defined. And if you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one.”


Benjamin Witte

Founder and CEO, Recess

Another, perhaps, not-so-surprising thread that was woven throughout the conference? The marketing evolution from focusing on brand awareness to actually cultivating brand affinity. Businesses are doing this today by investing in high-quality, narrative-driven content like video series and podcasts (just like Built to Last).

Wistia’s very own CEO and Co-Founder, Chris Savage, spoke to this concept throughout his talk and explained how Wistia ended up on the journey towards creating this type of binge-worthy content with the goal of building brand affinity.

“We started to ask ourselves the question — we’ve been trying to go wider and get more awareness, but what if we go deeper? What if we go above and beyond for our customers and our audience members who are still engaging with us? What if we try to use the audience we have to grow an existing audience? How do we do that? And what we settled in on was we would go bigger on the scale of the content. We would try not just a blog post, we would try something much larger and more impactful and see how that would work.”


Chris Savage

Co-Founder and CEO, Wistia

As brands continue to build niche audiences of people who love their content and the experiences they provide, these people are more likely to recommend that business and share that content with the people they already know and trust. This creates an incredibly powerful organic growth for your brand, which Helena Hambrecht, Co-Founder, and Co-CEO of Haus, a modern aperitif brand, spoke to throughout her episode as well.

“Our theory was if we put 100% … 200%, everything we have into the product and the customer experience upfront, the customer will be delighted enough to share that experience and share it with their friends. Put everything that we can into the experience up front, and we will grow the word of mouth. Those were the bets that we made, and it worked. All of our growth — we grew a ton in the first six months — was 100% organic.”


Helena Hambrecht

Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Haus

“My biggest advice to our founders creating consumer brands is that your brand better have something to say.” Ben Witte shared some words of wisdom for brands during his talk that seemed to ring true for many other brand-builders throughout the conference as well, which doesn’t come as a huge surprise. After all, consumers these days are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on what a brand says, how it acts, and what it stands for.

Certainly, the pressure is on for brand-builders — why does your business even exist? What are its purpose and mission? Your values and what your brand cares about can play a huge role in shaping how your brand is perceived and the direction your business takes in the long run.

Madison Uttendhal, Founder of Utendahl Creative, a branding, content, and social media storytelling agency, highlighted why she believes it’s so important for brands to take a stand.

“In order to have returning customers and ones that are loyal to you, that have genuine brand affinity, it means that they really have to believe in you because they stand with your values. For me personally, as an African-American woman, brands that have taken stances on Black Lives Matter, on supporting marginalized groups, I’m going to continue to purchase from them. And I’m going to go out of my way to make sure I am purchasing from them rather than purchasing from a brand that isn’t saying anything at all.”


Madison Utendahlt

Founder, Utendahl Creative

Joel Gascoigne, Buffer’s Co-Founder, and CEO, also shared his thoughts on the importance of authenticity when it comes to building brands that stand the test of time.

“I do believe that modern consumers expect more transparency and authenticity from brands. I would say, in a lot of ways, they’re even demanding it. I think that they’re demanding that companies take a stance and become an aim to be a net positive for society.”


Joel Gascoigne

Co-Founder and CEO, Buffer

And last but not least, Helena shared some pretty telling insights around her modern aperitif brand, Haus, and some of the data they’ve uncovered around purchasing behavior. “I encountered a treasure trove of Nielsen data and consumer trends around millennial and Gen Z consumers and how they’re looking for something that alcohol wasn’t providing. They’re concerned about their health and their image, and they care deeply about authenticity, transparency, convenience, and quality. And you see proof of that in other industries that have been disrupted by more millennial-leaning brands that represent their values.”

Another trend that came up across several episodes was the idea that content is one of the best ways to showcase your brand. We’re not just talking about any old content though — a one-off blog post or Instagram Story won’t do. For brands to last, they need to understand their audience to the core and then create entertaining content that speaks directly to them.

Ben Witte called out brands like Red Bull, Gatorade, and Monster Energy, commenting on the fact that they are effectively media companies that monetize through “selling cans.” He also noted that the era of being able to launch a brand through ads alone on Instagram is over, and that “You should use paid as an accelerant, not to establish yourself.”

Chris Savage also spoke to this idea of creating and promoting content like a media company, just like Red Bull does with their extreme(ly dangerous) looking content. “With Brand Affinity Marketing — making podcasts, making video shows, and longer-form content — you’re making content that you are marketing like a product and treating like a product. And so just like when you’re doing product development, someone goes and asks customers, ’What do you like about this and what don’t you like?’ You just have to do the same thing with your content.”

Other speakers commented on the importance of solidifying your story and the content you are going to use to share that story, rather than focusing all your energy on racking up empty impressions. In other words, getting your messaging down and establishing what your brand is and what it stands for before you start hunting down exponential growth.

Madison also puts a finer point on the age-old quality vs. quantity debate. “I believe that quality wins over quantity any day. It is more impactful to have three posts a week that are beautifully done — thoughtful, intentional, informative than it is to have seven posts in a week that look half-hazard and a mess. Taking the time to create beautiful content and letting that project marinate so that it can be the best it can be is really important.”

Finally, and this one is sneaky because it might seem super obvious, but businesses need to remember that their audiences are made up of real people, just like them. An endless sea of demographic information, tracking pixels, and retargeting campaigns have made marketers forget just how important each individual in their audience really is. For brands to make it for the long-haul, they need to get back to the basics and remember what businesses are built on — people.

“In order for brands to make it for the long-haul, they need to get back to the basics and remember what businesses are built on — people.”

“I think that people like to forget that humans work in businesses,” says Chris Savage. “I think it’s kind of that simple. We talk about people’s job titles and we’re like, ’I’m trying to market to the VP of Marketing, I’m trying to market to the Director of Customer Growth and Acquisition.’ As opposed to, ’I’m trying to market to Kelly, I’m trying to market to Chris, I’m trying to market to Kristen.’ And they’re a person, and they watch Netflix, and they watch YouTube, and they have all these interests and all this richness. And their job is part of their life, and their career is part of their life, but they’re a human being. It’s just that simple.”

Thinking about your audience in this way can also help you unlock some of the core tenants of your brand. For Joel, Buffer’s brand evolved over time thanks to how they approached sharing the story of their journey as a business. “We always wanted to focus on sharing our journey, gaining insights by sharing a lot of the details of things we’re trying, things that are working, things that are not working. And so all of those things formed our approach and formed the brand.”

Madison spoke to the importance of building a strong community when growing a business and shaping a brand as well. She noted that businesses can’t lose sight of the fact that there are people behind every single dollar that goes into your bank accounts. “Ultimately, if a founder has the ability and balance to reach out directly to top purchasers, it’s a beautiful, incredible, and impactful way to build community and makes people feel that you see them and you value them for their loyal service.”

We heard from so many great speakers throughout Built to Last and took away a ton of learnings about everything from how to increase the lifetime value of a customer to unique tactics for creating thumb-stopping content on social media. But, believe it or not, there’s still so much we didn’t cover in this post.

If you missed this first-ever audio conference while the episodes were dropping live, don’t sweat it. You can still sign up to get access to all of this amazing content on-demand, right here.

And like we said before, we want to hear from you! Leave us a comment below and let us know what jumped out to you throughout Built to Last. What new strategies are you going to employ at your business so you can build a brand that stands the test of time? We can’t wait to see what you come up with.



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