Producing and distributing video has become critical for brands and artists. But if you are new to digital marketing it might help to start with the basic concept of “Lemonade Stand Logic.” Even little kids soon realize that if you can move your stand where there are lots of thirsty people, you will sell more lemonade. That’s digital marketing in a nutshell, go out and find the people thirsty for what you do.
As moderator I was charged with leading a discussion to “elaborate and teach about the success of creating video content in the music space to expand a band/brand’s message and the tools used to make that happen.” Being blessed with inquisitive, experienced and thoughtful panelists helped make the experience entertaining and hopefully as you read below you will agree the mission was a success.
The following is an edited discussion from our recent Leadership Music Summit panel (9/10/13) titled, Bringing Content To Fruition. Featured panelists included Dez Dickerson (Pavillion Group), Jamin Guy (Streamweaver), Brody Harper (Skorinc), Stokes Nielson (Stokes Tunes) and Jared Scheel (Populr.me). Moderator, David M. Ross. (Complete bios HERE.)
David M. Ross: Panelists please introduce yourself briefly.
Stokes Nielson: I have a brand marketing company called Stokes Tunes and also work with Country Now, a YouTube country music channel. Primarily we help in the new artist incubation process with the goal of creating and exposing compelling video content. I believe YouTube is one of the greatest ways that a new artist can get heard.
Jared Scheel: I’m co-founder and chief product officer at Populr.me. We are a micro publishing platform that allows people to create one page web sites for all their marketing and business communication needs. I come from a digital agency background. We try to help people upgrade their communications beyond boring, hard-to-read emails by enabling them to easily build single page web sites without needing any technical or design knowledge.
Brody Harper: I own a web company, SkorInc and video company TwoSevenTwo Media. I have experience being on the road with artists and helping them to create content. Getting to know the artist and the brand they project is a critical part of the process. We also work with labels and management.
Jamin Guy: I’m the Director of Product Development at a local video startup called Streamweaver. We have a split screen mobile application that makes it easy for up to four iPhones to create a multi-perspective video. We also have an app coming out in a few days that allows people to interact with each other using video conversations.
Dez Dickerson: I’m the owner of the Pavillion Group.The company includes Pavillion Entertainment (artist management, label services) and Pavillion Synergies (strategic social media marketing). We multiply, manage and and monetize brand audience. We believe that audience is the only metric that matters. You just need to know what to do with it.
David M. Ross: Why video?
Stokes Nielson: It’s simple, being able to read facial features greatly improves communication. We are seeing this play out in the online news media where everyone is realizing that video is the most effective way to communicate with other human beings. The majority of CNN.com is video. We live in a sound byte society so artists need digestible video pieces that can get their message across immediately.
Brody Harper: We live in a skeptical society. Everyone knows that often times someone else is speaking for many of the artists on Twitter. Video validates. We’re hearing and seeing what they are saying. It’s a more complete communication.
Dez Dickerson: Video is an important part of the tool kit, but ultimately we’re about making social platforms human and building relationships. We believe that video, when matched with the DNA of the brand in question can be very effective, but we have to understand the brand’s core audience in order to make sure the video is a proper fit. Marketing is about providing moments for people to re-live that initial moment they had with the brand, an artist or song. Video for the sake of video doesn’t serve a purpose.
David M. Ross: How do you quantify the brand’s DNA?
Dez Dickerson: The three most important questions every artist or brand needs to answer are Who are we?, What do we do? and Who are we here to do that for? By taking those questions and getting granular with the answers you can literally map the DNA of the brand and what matters most to our core audience.
Jared Scheel: Dez is really hitting on it. Video is this incredible storytelling platform and has the unique ability to evoke emotion. Storytelling is as old mankind and the best storytellers are those who can bring you to tears, cause you to laugh or draw out some kind of emotion. Your video has to do that as well. When you create that moment for somebody you create a connection that almost nothing else can do. Video has benefits well beyond text or even just audio and spoken word.
David M. Ross: How do I know what kind of video approach to take?
Jamin Guy: Authenticity is really important. When you look at the networks growing today—social networks and mobile application platforms—they are branching off in two directions. There’s private and anonymous and then there’s public and personal with personal interaction. MySpace was just about the profile wall whereas Facebook is about interaction between people. That’s why Facebook beat MySpace. Video is personal and authentic because you can see somebody. The interaction piece is important, but a lot of the really popular YouTube channels are just people talking to the camera, almost like a diary, or expressing themselves in a conversation. The audience interacts through comments.
David M Ross: What about production values? Do I need a six-camera shoot, or is a laptop sufficient?
Brody Harper: Know your budget first. Be realistic about what you are willing to invest because it can be really expensive or really cheap. Both ends of the spectrum can be effective, it depends how polished you want to look to your audience. Does your audience respond better to polish or are they more reactive to raw authenticity?
Jamin Guy: Often that is dictated by the artist. A simple singer/songwriter can start with a Macbook on the back porch.
Stokes Nielson: Agreed, but one of the biggest killers is when really talented people put out bad YouTube videos. Some guidance and investment in simple things like proper lighting, keeping the camera still and having some panning action will raise your production values and help your videos compete. Awesome companies like CMT and GAC are looking for great content and will play it if it’s truly reactive. But production values are important. You can be the greatest artist in the world, but if it doesn’t look good you’ve lost your chance. First impressions are so important in this industry. Your video is going to be your first impression to the whole world.
Dez Dickerson: There is a misconception that the more money you spend on a video the more effective it will be. Some of the most effective clips aren’t complicated or expensive, but the concept fits the brand. I need a clear understanding of who I am, what I do and the people to whom that matters so I can draw straight lines between us. Otherwise I can make the best content in the world, but it is going to be useless, like a billboard in the middle of the mojave desert.
David M. Ross: After matching the brand’s DNA and production values to create a perfect video vehicle, what about fan engagement, acquisition and getting it seen?
Stokes Nielson: A new artist has limited options. But one cool way is to collaborate with other artists (influencers) who already have a YouTube following and share the same DNA you do. Do a little bit of research to find and make connections with those people because they can blow your video up. The audience you can reach is super huge. There are a bunch of very accessible kids out there who have 150k or 200k YouTube followers and would love to help you get your music out.
Jared Scheel: Share your video everywhere and get it in front of as many eyes as possible. Utilize every possible outlet. At Populr.me we help create a single landing page for your video perhaps with additional content to drive your viewers to. You can post it on forums, Facebook, print it on your business card, etc. Then you have a single place where you can track your progress.
Brody Harper: Whatever you share across these networks, make sure it is consumable in the context you place it in, and can be played without having to go anywhere else. For example, if I tap to play something that needs flash and I don’t have flaash, it won’t play.
Dez Dickerson: We’re big fans of starting things off in an aggregate audience pool of people we know care. Passionate people make the best marketing team you’ll ever have. If we can sequentially move from deputizing our core group, to spreading the engagement proliferation outward, we stand a better chance of monitoring and somewhat controlling the influence as it grows.
David M. Ross: How important is data to measure what is happening, to know if something is catching on?
Dez Dickerson: We believe in being data informed but not data-driven. Data is like looking at your speedometer or a GPS to see if you’re headed in the right direction and how quickly you are getting there. What we want to do is make sure that first we are making it human, a relationship. Then we utilize the technology to track what we’re doing on that basis.
Jared Scheel: Did anyone see the new Yahoo! logo? Marissa Mayer is notorious for being a data driven person. She wrote about the new logo and how mathematically perfect it is. But when you take all of that away you realize the data-driven design missed the brand’s heart and core. So, data is important because it helps you know if people are responding to what you are putting out. But you still have to stay true to yourself. Identify two or three overlapping core values and anything that takes you outside those core values is either wrong or it means you should re-evaluate those core values. Either way, data should never take you away from the humanity of you and your brand.