How do real businesses use video to promote their products and services? Of course, video is a natural fit for consultants and trainers like myself who give advice for a living. But what do ordinary businesses do with video and what can you learn from them?
Especially if you’re not a consultant and actually ‘get your hands dirty’ for a living!
Those are questions I’ve been giving some thought to as I launch a new video course, Budget Video Production (only $10 with this link), made in partnership with video producer and advertising specialist, Tosh Lubek.
After an hour or so of research on YouTube, I came up with 10 examples of companies who were doing some fantastic stuff – a clothes retailer in New York, a Scottish cheddar cheese company, a craft brewery, a car mechanic, a razor blade company, a copywriter, a software service company, an outdoor clothing supplier, and mountain bike manufacturer…
All of them have done great creative work and provide a ton of inspiration if you want to up your game on video production. Or even if you want to start making video for the very first time.
I don’t feel there is a formula you have to follow or consultant’s 10 point plan to implement. To start all you have to do is watch these videos and try to understand what makes them work – how they present their business, how they try to reach their customers – and think how you could do the same for your business.
If you got any comments or questions just leave them in the comments below.
Video #1: Modcloth presents: NYC street style
ModCloth, a clothes retailer based in New York City has over 11,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel. This is a great video because they just go out to the streets of New York and interview people who seemed to be within their target market.
The video is short, the questions direct and funny and the overall impression is that the shop would be a fun place to visit.
Interviews can create engaging content and the great thing is that your customers do the work – a model many businesses could get inspiration from!
Video #2: Seriously strong cheddar
Seriously Strong Cheddar is based not far from my home in the West of Scotland and I am very familiar with their excellent cheese 🙂
I love this video because it shows what can be done when the people behind the company just talk to camera. It is a great way to show a family business that is obviously proud of what they do.
Video #3: Brewdog
Not only do the guys at Brewdog understand how to make awesome beer, they also know a lot about online promotion and how to engage with their audience.
Browsing their YouTube channel is an education on what can be done with video. I love the ‘Dog’s Life’ videos that feature individual team members talking about their jobs and themselves. It shows a company that is all about people.
The ‘Live Beer’ videos are great examples of what the founders of the company can do when they plonk themselves in front of the camera. This is great stuff in more ways than one!
Video #4: ChrisFix
The ChrisFix channel on YouTube has over 1.1 million subscribers and this video, ‘How to inspect a used car for purchase, has had over 800,000 views.
ChrisFix publishes videos on how to fix cars – he films, edits and publishes everything himself – and has amassed over 1.1 million subscribers with his brilliant, no nonsense, practical videos.
In this video, he assesses a car that he saw marked for sale along the side of a road. The video is brilliant, first of all because of the excellent information he gives: and second, it gives a strong idea of what the man behind the channel is all about.
There is nothing technically challenging in this video, but what Chris has done is develop the confidence to talk directly and without BS it to his audience. We never see him on screen – but the voice commentary, useful checklists and simple video make this compelling.
This is a model many businesses could follow to great effect.
Video #5: Dollar Shave Club
This video from DollarShaveClub.com made me laugh out loud when I first saw. It’s a launch video that introduced the company and their CEO, Michael Dubin who wrote and stars in the video.
The video features Dubin speaking to the camera. It is funny, direct and compelling – and gives an experience what the company is about, the quality of the product and the people he employs. As he says, “Why give $19 out of $20 that you pay for razors to Roger Federer? I’m good at tennis!”
The video has good production values and the CEO plays his role to perfection. People in advertising used to say that putting the CEO in a promotional video was the very last option. This video shows that’s truly is not the case!
Video #6: Purple Feather – The Power of Words
This is a compelling story from copywriter Andrea Gardner of Purple Feather, based in Glasgow City. It shows in a dramatic way, what every copywriter would like to get across – the power of words. This is great storytelling with a wonderful twist at the end.
The video was published in May 2013, and became a viral sensation – attracting almost 25 million views.
Can you tell a story around one of your products or services?
Video #7: Guess how much money I made in 2016.
Shopify provides entrepreneurs with the software platform to easily create and manage their own online retail shop. And they hit upon an unusual way to use video to engage with their audience. They employed entrepreneur, Jane Lee to join the company full time, set up a Shopify shop, selling Shopify products and report on her experiences, warts and all, through regular video updates.
The videos were an immediate hit and after about 2o episodes on the YouTube Shopify, she was given her own channel, Stockroom.Shopify plus another staff member to help her cope with the rapidly growing channel. This is a great, authentic video initiative that talks directly to the Shopify audience. The fact that it features real employees talking about their jobs is what really makes this video.
Video #8: Patagonia – The Stories We Wear
Outdoor clothing company, Patagonia have over 67,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel. The company has a strong ethical ethos to their marketing – including encouraging people to repair their clothes rather than buy new ones.
The Patagonia channel features excellent video with high production values and it’s clear they allocate a good budget to their filmmaking. However, much of the video content features real customers talking about their favourite pieces of Patagonia clothing.
This video follows Patagonia climbing ambassador, Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll on the road in Northern Scotland.
The video gets one of Patagonia’s core messages across – “the stories we wear are worth hanging onto, repairing and using as long as possible.”
Video #9: Specialized Bicycles – Destination Trail
And mountain bike company, Specialized Bicycles takes featuring their customers in video even further with their series of videos, “Destination Trail” that features wonderful videos of their mountain bikes being used in locations throughout the world.
Production values are high and they contain so much detail on the company’s riders and the global journeys they make.
Video #10: Johnnie Walker – Dear Brother
This video wasn’t created by Johnnie Walker themselves, but by two German film students who use the video to pitch their creative services to the company.
The video, “Dear Brother” tells the story of two brothers making a visit back to their now derelict home on the Isle of Skye. It is a wonderful, emotional story that shows the power of clever storytelling.
And the end is simply stunning.
Making videos that are ‘Good Enough!’
These examples show you what can be done with video. Some had high production values, others didn’t – but that doesn’t matter – all of these videos were ‘good enough’ to attract multiple views, channel subscribers and yes, even sell products!
That’s a very important phrase – ‘good enough’. Too many businesses who think they could profit from promoting their companies through videos, decide they need to be perfect in everything they do. But if you try to be too perfect, you’ll end up publishing nothing.
Both Tosh and I have made mistakes in the past and we’ll make more in the future.
But that’s not the point. The point is to make good videos and build your audience.
So don’t obsess about getting everything perfect – it is not necessary. It is much better to get your videos live and out there – so you can get real feedback from real viewers.
Any mistakes can actually help you build rapport with your audience. So get started and have fun!