Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by MSLGROUP’s Anne Erhard and is the first of two posts focusing on effective use of video in cause marketing initiatives. Anne will be leading a session at CMF2014 on this subject – be sure to check it out!
When I pen a piece or give a talk on cause or CSR marketing trends, I always ground it in the same concept: cause marketing simply follows overall marketing. And, these days, when you talk about brand marketing, you are likely talking about content marketing. 78% of CMOs believe the creation of custom content is the future of marketing. And – as any marketer will tell you – video is one of the hottest types of content brands are focused on right now, for good reason. Studies show internet users interact with video content at twice the rate of other digital content. The vast majority of brands are responding by increasing video ad spend in 2014.
The Evolution of Video + Cause
So, it is no surprise that we are seeing an uptick in video usage within cause marketing campaigns. Video is not new to cause or CSR; what is evolving is the explosion of formats from short-form TV spots, viral videos or infographic style “explainer” videos, to long-form documentaries or series, all the way to the 6 second Vine. Plus, there is so much strategic promotion being done across traditional and nontraditional channels that helps maximize your storytelling reach, ensuring more bang for your buck.
Halo Award Video Finalists
In anticipation of our breakout on cause + video at CMF 2014 exploring both the style and promotion of cause video content, I took a look at the Halo Award video finalists, announced several weeks ago. One of my favorite opportunities with video is the potential to “show, not tell.” Video has a way of invoking emotion that the written word can’t come close to. Two examples of this are CIBC’s “The Moment” and Harley Davidson’s “Stories of Hope and Freedom.” Both campaigns are breast cancer-focused, though they have a very different approach, feeling and end goal.
Please take a moment, for “The Moment.”
I cried. Did you? Not a single word was spoken, no audio outside of music. There was simply one written line used to tell a very powerful story that truly connects with the viewer. Even if you’ve never been in that situation personally, you relate to it – you see your own friend or family in the story. You have empathy for that family’s struggle and triumph with cancer, but you also see yourself somewhere in the story. I love that this video is strong enough to live on TV, and shareable enough to live in perpetuity on social media. The story is smartly used as a gateway to the connected call to action – to join the fundraising event.
Now, check out “Stories of Hope and Freedom.”
This video series has a different goal, to comfort cancer patients, survivors and families as part of a broader storytelling campaign and online network. What I love – again – is the visual story told that the words alone cannot – the juxtaposition of these tough, cool biker chicks with their moments of vulnerability, unlocking this powerful tension. In doing so, it also connects a seemingly unlikely brand with the breast cancer cause in an authentic way. I love the representation of different ages, stages, passion and pain points – a young woman, a mom, a family member. It also exemplifies how the brands took advantage of an event gathering hundreds of people to capture participant stories to live beyond that singular moment in time.
Coming soon: my next piece on Mastercard/Stand Up to Cancer and Walgreens/UN Foundation and the power of integrating cause marketing video into your existing brand campaign. And, come join me for an interactive breakout at CMF 2014 in May!