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brand messaging strategy

Every business needs a brand messaging strategy in order to create a consistent brand image in the minds of its customers.

In essence, your brand image is what comes to the mind of the consumer when they hear about and/or interact with your business. 

Here, it’s important to make a major, business-saving distinction before we go any further: What ultimately matters is not what you think of your business, but what consumers think about it. 

Thus, the best way to ensure that your brand image aligns with your perception of your brand is to deploy a uniform brand messaging strategy across every talking point with consumers. 

This, at its very heart, is a marketing message strategy that starts with two do-or-die tasks: 

  1. Acquiring a deep understanding of who your target audience is 
  2. Connecting your business with a way to solve this audience’s problems. 

Failing to know how your brand communicates to solve problems is not an option. 

“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business,” said Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Magazine. If you take Forbes advice, then developing a comprehensive brand message strategy is a prerequisite task for every successful company, whether B2B or B2C.

The absence of a branding message strategy in the world of advertising leaves your company out naked in the cold. 

"If you don’t give the market the story to talk about, they’ll define your brand’s story for you,” said David Brier, CEO of Fubu, a famed retail clothing brand. 

On the reverse side, companies that do take active steps to develop a brand message can  increase revenue by 33%, a study by LucidPress found out. 

In this article, we’ll explore the 8 elements of a successful brand messaging strategy, including: 

  1. Target audience and ideal customer persona
  2. Brand promise
  3. Reasons to believe
  4. Brand positioning
  5. Brand story
  6. Brand pillars
  7. Tone of voice
  8. Deploying brand messaging

At the end of this article, you’ll be able to define and deploy your brand messaging in such a way that your brand perception and the consumers’ perception will align.

elements of message strategy

1. Target audience and ideal customer personas

The first and primary element of a successful brand messaging strategy is a clear and precise understanding of your target audience and ideal customer personas (ICP). 

“The most important thing to remember is you must know your audience,” said Lewis Howes, author of The School of Greatness

Before you can create a brand image that matches your brand perception, you must first understand the people that will be interacting with your business. 

Your brand messaging does not need to resonate with everyone in the universe. In fact, it shouldn’t!

“If no one hates it, no one really loves it,” according to Jessica Walsh, co-founder of Sagmeisiter and Walsh, a NYC-based design firm. 

Therefore, your first task is to gain clarity about your target audience.

Understanding your target audience

For an existing business, the best way to proceed is to use the insights you already have. These include: 

In addition, you can (and should) also conduct customer interviews to supplement the analytical information you have from the three sources above. During an interview with your current customers, try to understand

Such information will help you understand the rational and emotional components of your audience’s buying decision. 

If your business is new, however, you will have to depend on brainstorming about your target audience and doing competitor research. Look at your competitors’ social media accounts and website to get all the information you can about your target audience.

Customer segments and ideal customer personas

Once you understand your target audience, consider if you can divide them into segments based on demography (age, gender, education, location, income), psychography (personality, values, attitudes, interests, lifestyles) and behaviour (purchasing and spending habits).

For example, a financial advisor that serves professionals in Malaysia can have a different segment for young professionals who have low income and another for older professionals with high income and a house. He can also have different segments for professionals in healthcare and another for those in tech, depending on the factors he believes will make them interact differently from each other. 

After this, you will create an ideal customer persona (ICP) for every segment to define what a member of each segment is like. 

A customer persona is a fictional representation of an ideal member of a customer segment (or a target audience if you don’t have customer segments). 

A typical customer persona will include information like the name, age, location, language, spending habits, interests, challenges and pain points, goals, interests, and the buyer journey of an ideal customer.

Take a look at the below examples to get a better idea of what a customer persona should include. 

Source: Brafton

Source: Brafton

Ideal customer personas and brand messaging

A detailed understanding of your ICP is essential to your brand messaging. 

First, you need to know the challenges and pain points of your ICP before you can communicate the message that appeals to them emotionally and make them “fall in love” with your brand. Consumers love brands that ‘get’ them and know their challenges and pain points. 

Secondly, you need to know where your ICP lives online and the way they speak and describe their challenges. 

Practice social listening once you discover where your ICP spends most of their time. Listen to how your ICP talks (the tone) and what they are saying -- how they are describing themselves and their problems and their beliefs, habits, values, passions, and goals.

This element of your marketing message strategy is rightly the longest because businesses today rise and fall on how well they understand their audience. Those who launch successful, viral, and contagious brands and product/service offerings are those who have spent enough time trying to understand who their customers really are. 

brand messaging strategy

2. Brand promise

The second element in a successful brand marketing strategy is defining your brand promise. 

Now that you know the challenges and pain points of your ICP as well as their goals, how does your brand help them overcome their challenges and pain points so they can achieve their goals?

In essence, what’s your brand promise? 

Gary Fox defines brand promise as the “value or experience a company’s customers can expect to receive every single time they interact with that company.”

How do you define your brand promise? 

First, make a list of the goals of your ICP and rank them from the most important to the least important. 

Second, identify the top pain points that prevent your ICP from achieving their most important goals. Now, rank those pain points from the most painful to the least painful. 

Third, consider what your brand does best to solve the most painful and urgent pain point of your ICP and lead them to achieve their most important goal. 

That is your brand promise.

Moreover, your brand promise should be stated in a way that is simple, credible (believable), unique, memorable, and inspiring. 

Below are the brand promises of some brands from the Gary Fox blog: 

brand messaging strategy

3. Reasons to believe

There is, however, a big hurdle to overcome once your promise is crafted. 

Many consumers today don’t trust companies. Research by Gallup shows that only 50% of consumers expect a brand to fulfil their brand promise.

Therefore, when your ICP sees your brand promise, they are likely not confident at first that you will deliver. 

This is why reasons to believe (RTBs) are important.

Basically, RTBs are the answers you give to the doubt that your ICP has about your ability to deliver on your promise. 

“Your RTB could be anything from your experience in the field, to proven results and testimonials, to products backed by extensive research or science,” said Amanda Paull, Head of Marketing, Certified Languages International, an interpreter and translator company for healthcare providers.  

“Your customer is skeptical because they’ve heard the promises before. Their clarion call is: Prove it to me.”

For a new business, your RTBs can be the experience and achievements of your founder pending the time you establish yourself in the industry. 

Amanda has a very helpful 7-part system you can use to define your RTBs: 

Source: Dial Smith

RTBs is one of the elements of message strategy that many brands tend to ignore. 

But in a world where customers are naturally skeptical about businesses fulfilling their promises, it has become an invaluable step to crafting a successful brand messaging strategy (to say the least). 

message strategy in advertising

4. Brand positioning

Many businesses in your niche will make the same brand promise as you. If you promise low prices, they will do the same.

What then should you do? 

The solution is not to jettison your brand promise but to say it in a way that differentiates you from other brands. And this is where brand positioning comes in. 

While a brand promise can be more generic, a brand positioning must be very specific to you -- almost impossible for your competitors to copy. 

Simply put, your brand positioning is the unique way you help your ICP achieve their most important goal by overcoming the most painful challenge. 

Before your brand positioning can be successful, you must do thorough competitor research.

Sujan Patel, co-founder of Mailshake, an email marketing software company, identifies five ways to position your brand (among others): 

Before you even think of communicating with your ICP, ensure you have nailed your brand promise, RTBs, and brand positioning. 

brand messaging strategy

5. Brand story

Now it is time to begin thinking about a company narrative. That is, your brand story -- one of the most difficult and important parts of a brand messaging strategy today. 

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make but about the stories you tell,” said Seth Godin, Founder and CEO of Do You Zoom, a research company in New York. 

Therefore, instead of communicating your brand messaging merely in a string of prosaic sentences, your company will need to craft a story around it, bringing your brand promise, RTBs, and brand positioning to the fore. 

For example, in the About Us section of the BeardBrand website, there is a story that details the pain points that led to the founding of the company. There are anecdotes that highlight how the founders grew frustrated with existing products and how they decided to make something that will solve those frustrations.

Warby Parker also tells the story of frustration with traditional products and how they channeled it to produce something better. Grado Labs does the same. 

Stories are trans-ICP (useful for every ICP). Humans love stories because they resonate with us. We put ourselves in the plot and empathise with the experience of the characters. Stories call forth our deepest emotions. When your ICP can connect with your brand emotionally, you have won. Stories can help you do that. 

What led you to start your business? Which specific reasons align with your ICP pain points and challenges? What is the story behind your current brand promise and positioning? What did you overcome along the way to creating this business?

Weaving all of these into a cohesive brand story can be a game-changer. 

Another way you can do this is by replacing yourself with the customer. Instead of you being the hero of the story, make your ICP the hero. Create an historical or fictional story where your ICP is the hero and your brand the supporting character that helped your ICP overcome the hurdles to achieving their goal.

Apple, Land Rover, and Disney have done this type of customer-centric brand storytelling in recent times.

Any of these two approaches will work well. 

6. Brand pillars

In addition to knowing your story, consumers want to know the values that drive your business. Therefore, another element of a marketing message strategy is brand pillars -- also known as core values. 

Having core values that align with your customers’ values is good for business. 

Research by Customer Thermometer shows that 13% of customers would pay up to 50% more for your offerings if they believe that your business makes a positive world impact. 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values and 43% of customers spend more money on brands they are loyal to, according to Fundera

“Your culture is your brand,” said Tony Hsieh, former CEO of Zappos. 

Your brand pillars are the core values that guide your operations as you seek to deliver on your brand promise and positioning. Like brand positioning, your brand pillars must be specific to your company. 

Don’t just copy the core values of another company. Ensure that your core values match the expectations of your ICP.

One of Google’s core values is, “Democracy on the web works.” This speaks to their brand promise and positioning. Another core value is that, “You can be serious without a suit,” which speaks to their young audience. 

A core value of American Express is, “We support our communities by backing and promoting small businesses.” In a world where there are concerns about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), they show that their values align with their ICP.

Coca-Cola believes in “Diversity: As inclusive as our brands.”

Notice that companies’ core values are now beyond “integrity, team work, loyalty, accountability” and the other vague big concepts we are used to hearing ad nauseum. 

Now, companies are taking a stand on social issues that affect their ICP. In fact, 64% of consumers around the world said they would buy from a brand or boycott it based on its position on social or political issues, according to research by PwC.

Brand pillars and core values must go beyond the regular cliches and speak to the heart of your ICP.

brand messaging strategy

7. Tone of voice guidelines

SEMRush defines tone of voice as “how your brand chooses to communicate with your audience, including the choice of words, communication style and emotional tone.”

The elements of message strategy we have considered focus on what you say to your ICP. Tone of voice focuses on how you speak to your ICP. 

Remember that when defining your ICP, one of the critical elements is knowing where they congregate online and how they speak. This is where that data is useful. 

You want to ensure that your tone of voice when communicating your brand message matches with the expectations of your ICP.

According to SEMRush, there are four key choices to make: 

message strategy example
Source: Mailchimp

message strategy example
Source: SendinBlue
message strategy example
Source: Alfa Romeo

message strategy example
Source: Mini
message strategy example
Source: Dollar Shave Club

message strategy example
Source: Gillette    
message strategy example
Source: Taco Garage

message strategy example
Source: Taco Bell

Once you have decided on the tone of voice that fits your brand and aligns with your ICP’s expectations, you will have to create a brand voice chart that includes the Do’s and Don'ts of your communication.

message strategy example
Source: Semrush

You will also include specific vocabulary and grammar rules that delineate how your tone of voice should work when communicating with your ICP.

marketing message strategy brevo

8. Deploying brand messaging

At this stage of your brand messaging strategy, you already know what your brand message is and how to communicate it (tone of voice). 

The next step is to identify some message strategy examples by looking at where your brand messaging will appear.

It’s essential to repeat that your brand message must be consistent throughout all these channels. Of course, you won’t repeat the same words throughout. 

However, the message behind the words must be consistent throughout. 

Taglines or slogans

The purpose of the tagline or slogan is to communicate your brand message in a few, catchy, memorable, and impactful words. 

AirBnb’s tagline is “belong anywhere,” a simple and memorable description of a company whose brand promise is to help people find accomodations whenever and wherever they travel. The tagline of Apple, a company whose brand positioning is innovation and creativity, is “think different.” There is an alignment between the brand message and the tagline.

Elevator pitch

Your elevator pitch is a short 15-second to 30-second description of what your company is all about. This is the place to tell a short version of your brand story through the company-led or the customer-led approach.

Hubspot has 12 great examples of elevator pitches using both approaches. Below is an example of the company-led approach:

message strategy example
Source: Hubspot

And then the customer-led approach:

message strategy example
Source: Hubspot

Mission and vision statement

Your mission and vision statement are one-sentence or two-sentence descriptions of your brand promise and positioning and what you hope to achieve with that promise. 

The mission statement of Tesla, whose brand positioning is its innovation and creativity, is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” Amazon also infused its brand positioning in its mission statement: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”

The vision statement must also be consistent with the mission statement. Tesla’s vision is “to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world's transition to electric vehicles.” The brand positioning is evident again. 

It’s the same with Amazon: “Our vision is to be earth's most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

Blog posts

When writing your blog posts, your tone of voice and style guidelines are very important. Every blog must communicate your brand message with careful adherence to your brand’s voice.

Social media posts

Tone of voice guidelines are also extremely important with social media posts. Every social media platform differs in terms of the expectations of the users. LinkedIn is a more professional platform compared to Facebook and Twitter which are more personal and fun.

It’s essential you understand which of the social media platforms your ICP prefers and the tone of voice that is popular on that platform. The way you speak to an ICP on Twitter will be different from the one of LinkedIn or Pinterest.   

Brochures

One way to use your message strategy in advertising is to create brochures that communicate your marketing message strategy simply and quickly.

Whatever product or service you are promoting with a brochure, you must not forget your brand message. With a brochure, your verbal and visual brand strategy must align, communicating the same message. 

Corporate narrative

A corporate narrative is a story about your brand promise (what you do), brand pillars (core values), and vision (future plans). The three aspects must communicate the same message. Most especially, your future plans must line up with your vision statement.  

Corporate pitch presentation

The corporate pitch presentation (or pitch deck) is a visual representation of your brand story in slides. They are important in meetings with partners, co-founders, and potential investors.

This is a good opportunity to tell your brand story in a way that combines visual and verbal brand messaging. The key is to tell your brand story and get your audience (partners or co-founders or potential investors) rationally and emotionally connected to your brand.  

Direct mail and electronic direct mail (EDM)

Another way to use your message strategy in advertising is through direct mails. 

Direct mails are similar to brochures. Whatever product or service you are promoting, ensure you communicate your brand message with a consistent tone of voice. Also, the visual and verbal message strategy must blend. 

For EDMs, ensure that every email you send aligns with your tone of voice and that whatever product or service you sell represents your brand. 

Advertising

You can also communicate your brand messaging through advertising, whether on Search or Social. Search ads on Google, Bing and other search engines are designed to match user intent. You display your ads to reach people who are already searching for something relating to your brand and products. Therefore, you need to know the keywords the searchers will use and create ads that match the queries. 

On the other hand, social media ads focus more on targeting people with certain demographic and psychographic features that are relevant to your business. These people will see your ads even though they had no intention to see them. You must quickly identify their pain points in the language they understand and form an emotional connection that will get them to click.

Aside from search and social ads, you can also use display ads on websites and mobile apps. Like social ads, display ads must quickly connect emotionally with viewers by communicating their pain points in a language and tone of voice they understand. 

Adapt your brand message to the platform and the type of ads you are using. 

Annual and sustainability reports

While all the above examples have focused on the use of your brand messaging in marketing and advertising, your brand message is also essential to other non-advertising communications. 

In addition to reporting your performance for the past year, the annual and sustainability report can be an opportunity to re-emphasise your brand identity to all stakeholders, communicate future plans to better achieve your brand promise, and reiterate your brand pillars.

Your tone of voice should also reflect your brand identity. Consistency is key!

Memos

Internal communication is where your brand pillars must shine forth most. Remember again that your culture is your brand, according to Tony Hsieh. 

Therefore, your memos, among other internal communications, must seek to build and reiterate a culture that reflects your brand pillars. 

Similarly, your internal communications must show consistency in your tone of voice. 

Press releases

Your public relations communications must also put your brand message at the center-stage with the same tone of voice and commitment to your brand pillars.

Consistently communicating your brand message through these various means will ensure that the consumers’ perception of your brand aligns with your perception of your own brand. 

Such consistent presentation of a brand has been shown to increase revenue by 33%, according to Lucidpress.  This is not surprising since 90% of consumers now expect a consistent brand experience across all channels/platforms, according to Crowd Spring.

In other words, consistently communicating your brand message is now both beneficial and compulsory. And if Steven Forbes is right that money spent on your brand is the most important investment, you should be willing to go all the way to achieve this consistency.  

Brevo is a creative marketing agency that can helps brands create and deploy successful brand messaging strategies. Contact us if you need help creating a successful brand marketing strategy. 

Takeaways

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website design ideas

Finding the right website design ideas to deploy is an essential part of succeeding in today’s digital marketplace. 

Though we are taught not to judge a book by its cover, your customers will still judge your business by the first impression they get from your website. This is why putting time into thoroughly researching website design ideas is so important. 

It takes an average visitor only 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about your website

If their experience is bad, they leave. For those who stay past the 50 milliseconds, 38% will ultimately exit if the content or layout is unattractive.

Website visitors only want to interact with a website that is attractive, user-friendly, fast, and informative.

This is partially why selecting the right website design ideas that appeal to today’s online consumers can be so challenging. 

Many companies fail at first attempts. Perhaps you have spent endless hours staring at a blank canvas or whiteboards. Or perhaps you’ve worked with designers that just don’t get your brand identity. 

Let’s look at 10 website design ideas that will get the creative juices flowing and help you better develop a stunning website your customers will love -- websites that get visitors far past the 50 milliseconds hurdle.

Inside of getting granular with our assessment of website design ideas, we’ve chosen to take a bird’s eye view of design, breaking down websites by their design types. 

Here is a quick snapshot of the website design ideas we will cover: 

  1. Panoramic hero banners
  2. Massive product images
  3. Background videos
  4. Walkthrough videos
  5. Parallax scrolling effects
  6. Color changes
  7. Animations
  8. Minimalism
  9. Typography
  10. One-page design

Below, we’ve put together a manager’s guide on how to execute these projects. 

Alternatively, you can jump ahead to the list of website design ideas here. 

Setting the stage: Some preliminary thoughts on generating website design ideas

While there are acceptable practices that websites should follow, every website is unique. An online business property should expose originality for the business behind it and the target audience that will use it.

Good website designers understand that what works for a restaurant company will not work for a financial advisory firm. 

Before diving into the following pool of website design ideas, it's important for us to note here that no project important as website design creation should be developed in a silo away from your marketing, sales, product development and advertising strategies. 

These departments will all ultimately work in unison with your online property.

Defining business goals and objectives

You should begin by identifying your business goals and objectives. What are your short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals?

A clear grasp of your business goals and objectives will help inform KPIs for your website. These KPIs will in turn drive the website design process. 

However, the website goals of an e-commerce business are different from those of a news outlet. Similarly, the website goals of a financial advisor are different from those of a restaurant.

At Brevo, we recommend that business goals follow the SMART approach -- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound -- to translate accurately to your website KPIs.

Every website must have KPIs for measuring success. What does success look like for your business? More subscribers to your mailing list? More orders? Increase in downloads? Increased traffic? More onboarding sessions?

A website designed to maximize traffic (as the primary goal) will look different from a website designed to maximize downloads or onboarding sessions.

Therefore, before exploring our website design ideas, define your website’s goals, objectives, and the KPIs you will use to measure success.   

Defining your target audience and buyer persona

A website directed at young college students will be different from the one directed towards young professionals in the financial industry. What the former considers as attractive may repel the other. 

We already said that a website should be attractive and user-friendly, but attractive and friendly to whom? The ‘whom’ makes all the difference. 

Without a good grasp of your target audience you may be acting against those you should attract. 

One of the earliest steps in the website design process is to clearly define your target audience. 

Here, we need to consider demographics, psychographics, behavioral patterns, geographic and sociographic factors. 

Once you have a handle on your target audience, create your buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. 

For example, suppose you target professionals in the finance industry (target audience). In this case, a buyer persona can be: Lucy, 34, female, reads Bloomberg first thing in the morning, works 70 hours in a week, finds it hard to spend time with her kids, etc.

The buyer persona gives flesh and blood to your target audience. Identify your personas’ pain points and define how your product or service solves their problem. 

You need to keep this buyer persona in mind when exploring website design ideas. 

How will this or that element appeal to Lucy? Will Lucy find this or that element useful? Those are the kind of questions that must be in your mind. 

Understanding your buyer’s journey

The buyer’s journey defines the step your buyer persona will take to become a loyal customer. The standard buyer’s journey moves from awareness to consideration to decision. 

At the awareness stage, the potential buyer becomes aware of your brand. 

The consideration stage is where the potential buyer evaluates your product and service offerings and compares your brand to competitors. 

At the decision stage, the potential buyer has chosen your brand. He is ready to become a paying customer.

There is a buyer’s journey for every buyer persona. 

What path will Lucy take to purchase your home cleaning service, for example? Where will the awareness take place? When is she looking for home cleaning solutions on Google? Does she find them through a recommendation from a friend? A Facebook ad? 

An essential part of your buyer’s journey is identifying when and where your buyer persona will land on your website. 

Will it be at the awareness stage, consideration stage, or decision stage? Where will this buyer persona land on your website? Your homepage, pathway page, or information page? 

You must design your website with your buyer’s journey in mind. 

Create a site structure

The first impact of your buyer’s journey is the site structure.

The site structure details the architecture of your website - how everything is linked to everything else.

Every website begins with a homepage. The rest of the structure depends on your buyer’s journey.

Start by creating your site structure on a whiteboard or in a notebook. Once you create a good site structure, choosing the best website design ideas will become easier.

Create an SEO plan

Before you start creating the website’s individual pages, ensure you have an SEO strategy that will guide the whole process. A solid SEO plan will include on-page and off-page/technical SEO. 

As you define your site structure, start identifying the SEO tips you would implement at every level of your site structure -- from the homepage to product pages to blog posts. 

10 actionable website design ideas

Now that we have reviewed how to execute a website project, let’s start by examining 10 actionable website design ideas that will help you create stunning websites that best fit your target audience and buyer personas. 

1. Panoramic Hero Banners

First on our list of website design ideas is the use of panoramic hero banners. 

These days, there is a noticeable uptick in the popularity of hero banners on websites’ homepages. 

Hero banners are big and bold, creating a visual impact that attracts website users. They also have clear calls to action that are useful for website visitors at the decision stage.

Good hero banners combined with great copywriting can turn your homepage into a direct customer acquisition tool. They help a brand communicate its unique selling proposition (USP) at the very forefront of the website -- the homepage. 

Here is an example of a good hero banner from Apple. There is a large image of the iPhone 12 Pro and a link to learn more about the phone, as well as another link to the store. 

When you get on this website, you instantly know what it is all about -- the iPhone 12 Pro text is large enough for anyone to see. 

It has enough text to communicate some features of the phone, but not too much to weaken the simplicity and appeal.

The homepage of Google Chrome is another good example. 

The bold text face and logo quickly identifies the brand behind the website. The CTA (call to action) is simple and straightforward, with a visual hierarchy that shows its importance.

Adding an image that shows Google Chrome at work is a great marketing idea that other SaaS companies can easily adopt.

2. Massive product images

If you sell a product that is at the heart of your brand, your website should reflect this emphasis. 

The days of using small product images with a large chunk of text are over. 

This is because website creators have discovered that images can create a more significant emotional impact than a block of text. 

Research by Brain Rules shows that when a relevant image accompanies a piece of text, people retain 65% of the information. They only remember 10% when there is no image.

On the ETQ-Amsterdam homepage, there is a massive product image that is instantly appealing. 

ETQ is a footwear e-commerce store. The image of the footwear dominates the page, putting the focus on the brand’s product. There are even more footwear images below and only a minimal amount of text.

Because of the nature of the business, ETQ uses an image carousel rather than a hero banner. From image to image, there are massive pictures that put the product at the center of the brand.

3. Background videos

Videos on a landing page increase conversions by 80% or more and boost the chances of a page 1 ranking by 53%. 

The average clickthrough-rate (CTR) for websites with videos (4.8%) is higher than those without videos (2.9%). 

As a result, many website creators now use videos as the background of a website’s homepage. Background videos are visually appealing and engaging. They are also difficult to ignore.

If done well, background videos can increase the time a visitor spends on your website.

For example, art studio Nowness uses a documentary as a background video on its website. It also happens to be an excellent showcase of the kind of art production work they do.

Using six-minute videos like this will quickly capture the attention of your visitors. 

After spending six minutes on the website, the chances of them further browsing the website will only increase.

4. Walkthrough videos

Next are walkthrough videos. These are instructional videos that explain how to use a product or service. 

Because videos are engaging and interactive, website designers use walkthrough videos to accompany the text on their websites. 

Showing someone how to do something is better than telling them how. 

Or, in popular parlance, “show don’t tell.”

Overflow is a SaaS product for creating interactive user flow diagrams to tell a story. 

There is a walkthrough video on Overflow’s homepage that shows visitors how the software works and what they can accomplish with it. 

Grammarly also uses a walkthrough video to show how their editing software works in real-time.

Including walkthrough videos can help you increase engagement with website visitors and possibly boost conversion rates. 

The logic is simple: We buy what we understand.

5. Parallax scrolling effects

Parallax scrolling is a technique where different elements of a website move at different speeds. 

The most common use of parallax scrolling is when the background image moves at a slower speed than the foreground when you are scrolling through a website. 

Parallax scrolling adds depth and movement to the visitor’s experience, creating more engagement and immersion. 

The Great Agency, a branding and marketing agency, uses parallax scrolling on its website. 

The first screenshot is above the fold. 

But as you scroll downwards, the foreground begins to give way to the background.

6. Color changes

Color changes are another way to transition from one part of a website to the other. 

As the visitor moves around your site, the color changes. 

This color change adds to the attractiveness of the site. 

Nick Jones is an interface prototyper and designer. And Narrow Design is Nick Jone’s portfolio website. 

Nick does a great job using color change transitions as visitors move from one section to another in his site.

7. Animations

In truth, these days animation should always be present on a website design ideas list. 

From our experience, animations greatly help improve the dynamism of a website.

For example, Your Plan, Your Planet is a sustainability program sponsored and organized by Google. 

On the homepage of this website, there are hover animations, CSS3, and storytelling animations. 

All of these elements greatly add value to the user experience by creating a more dynamic introduction to your brand. 

Species in Pieces is designed for the protection of endangered species. 

Here, the site uses transition animations and micro animations to deliver a unique and dynamic experience for users.

Animations like this are so effective because they send signals to the brain that a function has been applied.

They also add visual cues that aid the browsing/reading experience.

8. Minimalism

Minimalism is a growing trend in website design. A minimalist web design seeks to simplify the user interface by removing all superfluous elements. 

When ideally executed, minimalism removes clutter on the website to improve the user experience.

A minimalist website is easy to navigate and SEO-friendly. They also load faster and hardly break down.

Movie Mark is a digital growth marketing agency that designs and implements marketing strategies for clients. 

Their website uses a minimalist approach that allows the company to better focus on their core USPs.

Evoulve, a company that turns emerging technologies into marketable products, is an excellent example of minimalist website design.

Overall, such minimalist websites are easy for website visitors to use and recall.

9. Typography

Typography combines elements like font, color, size, and layout to increase clarity and visual appeal of a site. 

The typography of a website can also convey certain messages and elicit certain emotions better than other website designs. 

Ultimately, this is an excellent way to create visual hierarchy and improve users’ experience.

The website of Pittori Di Cinema, a cinema painting company is an excellent example of large typography. 

The large typography makes the homepage eye-catching and places the focus on the content. The use of large typefaces makes the content attention-grabbing and dramatic.

Visage, a graphics design SaaS platform, uses typography to highlight important content and create a visual hierarchy on its website. 

There is a deliberate attempt to improve the users’ experience from alignment to font type and size. 

10. One-page design

One-page websites are becoming more trendy. 

Designers love one-page websites because they are mobile-friendly and load faster. 

In addition to hassle-free surfing, it’s also easy to tell a brand story through a one-page website.

Viesus is an image enhancement software that uses a one-page website to communicate its brand story. 

Just take a look at how clear they can communicate their brand values in just one scroll.

Use these website design ideas for your business

It’s now time to create a concept from one of these website design ideas that will work best for your business. 

Brevo is a creative marketing agency that helps businesses and organizations create stunning websites that produce results. 

Contact us to discuss which website design ideas will work best for you. 

Need something like this? Work with us hello@brevo.co

social media management for hotels

For some types of businesses, being on social media is as essential as having a website

Hotels are definitely part of this group. But like all marketing activities, social media management for hotels requires planning, execution and constant revision.

In this article, we're going to break down the process of creating an effective social media strategy into easy-to-follow steps that you can apply regardless of the platforms you’re using, whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or Pinterest.

There are two distinct phases: planning and execution.

Let’s jump in to learn more about how to build social media management for hotels. 

Planning out social media management for hotels

There are three preliminary steps within a well-planned social media strategy for the hotel industry. 

1. (Re)define audience and experience

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many operators to redefine the type of guests they want to attract. 

In a scenario where international tourism may decrease by up to 80% in 2020, many hotels will have had to rely on domestic travellers to survive.

As a result, a different type of guest may be looking for a different type of experience. 

All these changes will have an impact on your brand voice and the social media content you’re going to publish, so it’s important to define them before moving forward.

2. Define clear long-term objectives

Although the ultimate reason why you are on social media is to increase your revenue, your long-term goals are also to reinforce your brand message and to stay top of mind with those who can’t or won’t travel at the moment.

Plant the seeds now and manage to keep them engaged. Your hotel will then likely be the first one they’ll think about when they start travelling again.

3. Build a crack social media team

Social media management for hotels can be a fast-paced activity: posting and engaging consistently with your followers is key. 

If you stop frequently -- usually because you’ve run out of ideas or you can’t find the right picture -- your business will look inconsistent and disorganized, with the added risk of losing engagement and followers.

Having a well-organized social media team will help make execution seamless. 

If you’re running a small hotel operation, the idea of ‘building a social media team’ may sound pretentious. But this can simply mean being clear about who is doing what, whether it’s a team of one or a team of 10. 

When building your team, there are two main task areas. 

One is management. Social media managers should have a good knowledge of the hotel's brand voice and values. They are usually responsible for the editorial supervision and for taking the last decision about what can be published or not. They also set goals and benchmarks, measure results, and reply to requests or comments.

The other area is the content creation process, which consists of: 

As you work on these three preliminary steps, it’s important that you create a written document with your findings and be ready to revise it at least once every quarter. 

This will serve as a compass as you move forward and execute your social media management for hotels strategy.

Executing a documented social media strategy 

1. Adopt a plan-ahead mindset

In the previous section we mentioned what many consider the single most important piece of a documented social media strategy: the editorial calendar. 

Although you will occasionally post about unexpected relevant travel-related events as they happen, for the most part you should schedule your updates at least two or three weeks in advance.

If you diligently keep an editorial calendar -- which can be documented on a simple spreadsheet -- you will never run out of ideas and can also have an overview of the type of updates you publish. 

This allows the social media manager to keep oversight and ensure a good balance between different topics, moods and types of posts.

A well-documented editorial calendar should also have a column where we can specify what picture goes with each post. 

Ask any experienced social media manager, and they will tell you that consistently finding high-quality relevant pictures is one of the hardest things in social media management for hotels. 

And, like all difficult things, it tends to be skipped and procrastinated until the last minute.

Finally, don’t forget to update the calendar with the posts you effectively published. 

If anything, this is the step all social media managers need to work towards. 

2. Show off what you got

Once you have a calendar template, it’s time to brainstorm ideas to fill it. The goal here is to show off all the things that your hotel can offer to your guests.

Some of them will be obvious: rooms, stunning views, a central location, special offers, facilities such as a dining room, bar, spa, and gym.

All these are low-hanging fruits, which means your competitors are also posting about them on their social media channels. 

If you want to be different, you will have to dig deeper and be more creative. Here is a short list of less obvious topics to add to your publishing calendar.   

Your local community: Your social media channels are an excellent place to talk about local events and to show commitment to your local community. This will be even more relevant if you’re mainly targeting guests from the same region rather than from abroad.

Safety measures: Now more than ever, your guests expect cleaning and sanitation in your hotel to be first-class. Hanging a ‘Clean and Safe’ certification at the door surely helps, but posting pictures that show how you’re taking the health and safety of your staff and guests seriously, is even better. When it comes to safety, transparency and a lot of details are always appreciated.

Covid-19 policies: Another important aspect of social media management for hotels during the current health emergency is to inform guests about your safety policy regarding protective masks, dining and room service. Ideally, you will have a resource page on your website that you update regularly and publish regular posts on social media with a link to it.

Life at the hotel: Cleaning and sanitation are a specific example of ‘Behind-the-scenes’ content, which tends to be quite engaging. There’s definitely more to explore in this category. By getting your staff onboard, you could show snapshots of a typical day at the reservation desks or in the kitchen, or how room service is organized.

Showcase all customer-facing departments: Getting the hotel personnel involved in your social media activity will create even more opportunities for interesting content. For example, they could use their expertise to give useful advice to followers stuck at home. We suggest creating posts or videos where:  

Pay attention to pictures and copy: ‘Content is king’ also applies to social media content, which is mainly made up of pictures and text. Here are some basic best practices to follow in order to post high-quality content: 

Engage with followers: Social media management for hotels should create conversations, not one-way broadcasts. Engagement is the soul of social media and should be your goal in every piece of content. Be creative, use interesting pictures, questions, suggestions, and calls to action. And try to respond to every post that merits answering. 

Deal with reviews: Every business has a love/hate relationship with online reviews. They love them when they’re positive, hate them when they’re negative, and hate them even more when they seem exaggerated or unfair. 

The main rule: Always do your best to respond to comments made on social media. Research from Harvard Business Review actually shows that hotels get more and better reviews when they do that.

Here’s a quick list of some tried and tested dos and don’ts for dealing with reviews on social media:

Measure results: One thing that separates brands that are on social media 'because you have to' from those with a clear objective is that the latter periodically look at key performance indicators (KPI), measure results and revise their strategy accordingly.

Simply put, KPIs are the signs telling you what in your social media strategy is working and what is not. These could be:

Measuring results is an important step, but make sure you keep it simple. Social media metrics are a huge topic and it's all too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of KPIs.

Hiring the right team to build social media management for hotels

If planning and executing a social media strategy for your hotel seems too daunting, why not leave it to the experts? 

With Brevo, you can have a team of social media professionals take care of the whole social media management for hotels process, from developing editorial calendars to providing creative ideas and knowledge of photo banks.

Need something like this? Work with us hello@brevo.co

branded content video production Brevo

For businesses that want to rise above the internet’s clutter, branded content video production is a necessity.

The growing use of ad blockers testifies to the frustration the average consumer has with online ads. People are simply fed up of being overwhelmed by unending sales pitches. Instead, customers demand content that engages, informs, entertains, and educates. 

The brands they follow have an opportunity to provide just this by building their own content. 

Today, a stunning 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content every week. 

As companies continue to invest in more and more diversified types of content, branded content video production has proven to help boost brand performance more than any other format. 

Of all the content types in the content marketing toolbox (text, images, infographics, videos, etc.), branded content videos have the greatest demand and the best performance. 

Videos on Facebook receive 135% more organic reach than photos. Eighty-one percent of people have bought a product or service after watching a brand’s video. And 85% of people can’t get enough of it, saying that they want to see more branded video content!

With the growing rise in the popularity of branded content videos, every business seeking greater brand equity and a sustainable pipeline of leads is now seriously dedicating more resources to this format. 

However, branded content video production is not enough; businesses need to also know how to create the right type of video content that will resonate with their target audience without being too pushy. Creating videos with overt sales pitches instantly defeats the benefits of content marketing by making branded videos appear like other online ads. 

Marketers tend to jump straight into marriage during the first date. But today’s customers cannot be rushed. 

Larry Weber, CEO of Racepoint Global, puts it succinctly: “People don’t want to be sold. What people do want is news and information about the things they care about.” 

In this guide, we’ll provide you everything you need to know about branded content video production and how it can be done in a way that wins the hearts of your customers. We’ll consider this in a comprehensive way, including the following topics: 

  1. What is a branded video?
  2. 4 business benefits of branded content video production
  3. How to plan and create branded videos
  4. Pro tips for creating branded videos
  5. How to keep creating branded videos your target audience will love

Ultimately, learning about branded content video production will provide strategic tools to:

1. What is a branded content video?

Let’s begin with a definition. 

A branded content video is a piece of marketing content sponsored, created, and shared by a brand that communicates its values without directly promoting the brand or its product.

Branded videos are a form of content marketing -- whereby a brand creates educational, interactive, and informative content that is useful and relevant to their target audience without directly selling them a product or service.

For example, when a notebook stationery company creates a video teaching people about the importance of note-taking, that’s a branded content video. When a company that sells outdoor sports gear creates a video series on the importance of an active lifestyle, that’s a branded content video.

But it’s important to note here that not all branded videos have an educational value. Indeed, some companies create branded content videos purely as for entertainment values or to touch upon societal issues. 

For example, the Lego movie created by the Lego Group is a great example of a branded content video created for entertainment purposes.  

In essence, there are three central features that define a video as branded content: 

Once any of these three elements are absent, your project no longer qualifies as branded content video production. 

Below is an example of a branded video that Brevo created for Century Properties in the Philippines: 

The video provides educational content that teaches people how to sign and authenticate a Contract to Sell. 

Importantly, notice that the video does not include any sales pitch or call to action. Instead, the Century Properties logo is the only overt brand message that was included. 

2. Four business benefits of branded content video production (and what the customer gets in return) 

Customers love branded content in part because they are tired of businesses treating them as a revenue number. 

Instead, they want to be treated as real people with real needs. They increasingly shun transactional relationships in favor of a mutually beneficial relationship with the brands they buy from. 

Why are 85% of consumers demanding to see more branded video content? The reasons are not far-fetched. Branded videos live out this mutual beneficial pact by offering customers several qualities: 

Because of the reasons above, customers love branded videos. And because customers love branded video, brands that want to succeed must invest in branded content video production. 

Successful businesses are the ones who recognize what the customers want and act accordingly. Give customers what they want - relevant, engaging, authentic, memorable, emotional, and remarkable content- and they will love your brand. 

When customers love your brand, the business results are numerous. When you produce branded videos that your target audience are asking four, here are four essential business benefits: 

branded content video production

3. How to plan and create branded videos

To create successful branded videos, it’s first and foremost important to outline a strategy that measures the results your brand wishes to achieve with the project. 

Here are some things to consider. 

Branded content video production success factors

So what does success mean for a branded content video these days?

First, a branded video is successful if it gains attention. With 400 hours of videos uploaded on YouTube every minute worldwide, getting attention is a priority. However, gaining attention is not sufficient -- you must gain the attention of your specific target audience. 

Second, a successful branded video retains the attention of your target audience. Gaining attention is one thing; keeping attention is another. You must write a check that you can cash. 

Third, a successful branded video must impress your brand -- and its values -- upon your audience. While the primary goal is education (or information or entertainment), a branded video must still be a part of your overall marketing content. 

Fourth, a branded video must prove relevant and beneficial to your audience. In other words, the audience must find value in the content. Their actual needs must align with your perception of their needs. Without that congruence, there is no success. 

Lastly, a branded video should lead to an action without a sales pitch or a call to action. The target audience must so love the content that they develop a fondness for the brand behind the video. The content must be so purely relevant that they reach out for more without any call to action moving them along. 

Now that we know what a successful branded video looks like, let’s consider how to create one. 

Step #1: Identify your goals and objectives

Every business and marketer must understand that there should be a strategy behind every action. The strategy is the engine that moves the wheel. 

This, sadly, is not always the case. 

While 94% of marketers use content marketing, only 63% have a documented strategy

According to Neil Patel, seasoned digital marketer and founder of Neil Patel Digital, “your success in content marketing has everything to do with creating a strategy and delivering on your objectives.”

Will Keenan, a Hollywood and Bollywood star, also adds: “it’s not what you upload, it’s the strategy with which you upload. Kind of an update on the Hollywood adage, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’”

The first step in creating successful branded video content is thus to design a strategy where you outline your brand’s specific goals and objectives

First, you need to specify your overall digital marketing goal. Next, define your content marketing goal. 

Only then can you create a goal for your branded video. Why is this so? Your branded video’s goal must flow out from your content marketing goal, which flows out from your digital marketing goal. Your digital marketing goal will also flow from the overall business goal. 

For example, if your goal for the new year is to increase customer retention, everything you do in your digital marketing -- including content marketing -- it must revolve around that. Similarly, your goal for the branded video must fit into that spectrum. 

If the business goal is increased awareness, the goal of your branded video is then influenced by this change.

Moving from goals to objectives

Goals are only the beginning of your strategy. You must translate your goals to objectives. 

An objective is a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goal. 

A goal focuses on the broad vision while an objective focuses on practical, specific, achievable outcomes. 

Increasing customers is a goal; growing our customer base by 10% in six months is an objective.

Once you define your goal for the branded video, you must translate that goal into an objective. If a branded video aims to contribute to the overall goal of customer retention, an objective (for the branded video) can be to increase customer loyalty by 5%. 

Nothing should begin until your goal and objective for the branded video are so clear and simple a 5-year-old will understand it.

branded content video production

Step #2: Research and define your target audience

You could create the best branded video and it would still flush down money down the drain if you target the wrong audience. 

In content marketing, targeting is everything. 

Here, the first step is to define your target market. 

A target market is a definite group(s) of people that are most likely to buy your product. A target market is also a portion of the total market you want to focus your marketing efforts on. 

Even if you think everyone in the world needs your product or service, you don’t have the time or resources to market to everyone in the world. You must choose a target market you want to focus on. 

Market Segments

Once you have a target market, divide your target market into various customer segments. A market segment is a portion of a target market with similar demographic, psychographic, and behavioral features. 

Market segmentation is necessary because not every member of your target audience is the same. Dividing them into segments will help you target people with the same characteristics.

Demographics include factors like location, gender, and occupation. A bank that targets people in Kuala Lumpur can create these market segments based on demographics: 

Psychographics include factors like personality, values, interests, lifestyles, and hobbies. The bank can have market segments for people who are often in debt, those who regularly go for vacations overseas, and people who like high-risk investments, for example. 

Behavioral factors include purchase behavior, customer loyalty, usage, among others. A bank can segment its target market into FX purchasers, high net worth individuals, and long-term savers, for example. 

For every branded content video production, you need to define the specific market segment you are targeting. Who are you producing the video for? Are they the white-collar employees who are often in debt and are long-term savers? 

Everything else you do will flow out of the market segment you are targeting. 

Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of an ideal member of your market segment. A buyer persona gives a face (so to speak) to your market segment. 

Once you define the market segment you want to target, create a buyer persona that will be on your mind throughout the production process. 

A person is easier to remember than a group. John, a secretary at HSBC bank, 45, living in Kuala Lumpur, often in debt, loves high risk and high return investments is easier to remember.

Create your buyer persona and keep it in mind as you create the branded video.  

Step #3: Determine the video type

There are two broad types (forms) of branded content video production: animation or live action. The first decision is whether you will be creating an animated video, a live action video, or a hybrid. 

An animated video uses animated characters to tell a story and deliver a message. In contrast, a live action video includes real people in real locations. 

Another distinction is the nature of the video. Will it be an educational, informative, or entertaining video? 

This below branded video from Shakey’s Philippines is an example of a live action, educational branded video. 

The famous Lego movie is an example of live action, entertaining video. This one from Century Properties is an example of an animated, educational branded video.

So which one should you produce? Animated or live action?

There are certain factors you should consider:

The decision goes back to your goals and objectives. Should it be educational, informative, or entertaining? Which one will help you achieve your goals and objectives? Animation? Live action? That should be the ultimate decider. 

Step #4: Develop your script and storyboard

Once you have decided on the video’s form and nature, the next step is to develop the story you want to tell through the branded video. Whether you are informing, educating, or entertaining, you must approach every video creation with a storytelling mindset. 

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell,” said Seth Godin, a former business executive at Spinnaker. 

Now it’s time to craft your story. Develop the plot, the characters, the world, the twists, and turns. 

Your brand’s goals and objectives and your buyer persona will determine the kind of story you tell. To capture and retain your target audience’s attention, you must tell a story that resonates with them. 

Bring everything you learned from the customer research stage here. Let them inform your storyline. 

Once you have developed the storyline, you need to create the video script. 

The script is the foundation of the video. The best actor cannot save a bad script.

Once you have your script, develop the storyboard. The storyboard is a graphical representation of how every scene on your video will look like. It is a breakdown of every shot/action into individual panels. 

The storyboard allows you to visualize the story you are telling. It can help you see if the structure you are using communicates your ideas clearly. It is an excellent way to organize and evaluate your thoughts before production begins.

As Han Lung, CEO of Tailored Ink, puts it, “How can you build a house without a blueprint? The answer is: you can’t. In the same way, a video without a storyboard is like a house without a foundation.”

Step #5: Produce the branded video

Once you have your story, script, and storyboard, the branded content video production process can begin. 

For animated videos, you will need to work with competent animators that can deliver quality animation, whether freelancers or an established studio. 

For live videos, you will need to work with a production team. They will help you bring your script to life, from choosing locations, finding the right cast, to the production itself.

They will also provide the right equipment including camera(s), microphones, lights, tripod, among others. You can source this yourself, of course, but in most cases it’s easier and cheaper to let the production team handle the technical requirements.

Depending on the video (length, location, complexity), you will need to cover key  personnel such as the producer, director, videographer, cameraman, lightman, makeup artist, sound engineer, etc. 

Again, a strong production team can help clearly define who is needed and work with you in a budget to allocate resources accordingly.

Step #6: Edit your branded video

Production teams normally package videos as an end-to-end solution, from pre- to post-production. You must be involved in every step of the process, providing feedback and guidance until you have the final product. 

During the video editing process, you will want to: 

The post-production process is fun; it’s where your vision becomes reality. As soon as  your video is locked down and finally rendered, you can then begin publishing. 

Step #7: Share your branded video

Once you have created your video, it is time to press the upload button. 

Where do you upload your video? 

It depends on your target audience. Part of your research is to determine where your target audience spends their time online. Are they active on Facebook or Instagram? Do they use Twitter or LinkedIn? 

Keep in mind that Youtube is the most popular video repository in the world. Whatever your industry, some of your target audience will be on Youtube. 

There are currently 2 billion Youtube users in the world. Research by CISCO estimates that by 2021, it will take an average person 5 million years to watch all the videos uploaded on Youtube in one month.

It is thus advisable that every business that wants to win with branded videos must have a Youtube channel and leverage the platform for increased visibility and awareness. 

You should also upload the video to the social media platform your audience uses and notify your email list.  

4. Pro tips for creating branded video content

As you invest in branded content video production, there are certain tips you should keep in mind. 

  1. Use an attention-grabbing intro: You only have 10 seconds to grab the attention of whoever is watching your branded video. Eighty percent of your efforts should be focused on the intro. Get it right here and your video has a better chance to succeed. Get it wrong and it will not matter if the body of the video is the best thing since sliced bread. This is especially true if your video is served as pre-roll content (a video ad that plays before a video). If your video doesn’t immediately hold people’s attention they will use the “skip video” button without hesitation

Use the power of storytelling and the best copywriting tactics to create an intro that sells your video. Start with a story, data, quote, or anecdote that generates intrigue. 

  1. Integrate your brand: Your brand’s identity and values must be evident in the video. Find creative ways to use your brand’s assets that do not distract from the message of the video. You can also use your brand logo and identify your brand as the producer at the end of the video. 
  1. No CTA: I know one of the first lessons in marketing is to always have a call to action. Well, sometimes it’s better to not have one. The quality of the information, education, and entertainment you provide are the CTAs. Put all of your efforts into these qualities. 
  1. Make a plan for those who will watch without audio: Will someone understand your video without the audio? If not, edit it. An incredible 92% of consumers watch videos without sound. Most people watch videos on their phones and in locations where they have to turn off the sound. Ensure your branded videos have good visual aids,  illustrations, and subtitles so your target audience can enjoy them without sound. 
  1. Short or long? Your audience’s choice: Though videos under two minutes have the best engagement, you don’t have to produce one-minute videos every time. Understand what works for your target audience. Of course, don’t make it longer than necessary. Let your audience’s real needs lead.  

5. Gunning for gold: How to keep creating branded video your target audience will love

Seventy-three percent of marketers believe that videos drive ROI.

Since they are so effective, many businesses tend to keep creating branded videos to build long-term relationships with their target audiences. 

Yet, with 500 hours of video content on Youtube every minute, today brands need to consistently produce quality branded videos to stay above the noise. 

But producing such quality videos requires time, dedication, skill, and experience. 

To assure consistent quality production, businesses often outsource branded video production to creative marketing agencies. A creative marketing agency can offer formulaic strategies, in-house video production talent and creative ideas that will help you deliver top-notch branded videos. 

Brevo is a creative marketing agency that has the in-house talent and experience to help you create branded videos that will grow your business and audience. 

Brevo works with companies of all sizes in different industries to create content that their target audiences love. 

We combine superb customer and market research with experienced video production teams and story creation strategies to deliver videos your audience can’t resist. 

Are you ready to enjoy the improved brand engagement, greater brand loyalty, boosted brand equity, and higher revenue that branded videos provide? Contact Brevo today to experience the power of branded videos. 

Need something like this? Work with us hello@brevo.co

creative social media posts

It can be a challenging operation to constantly come up with creative social media posts to publish across multiple platforms.

But when companies commit to opening up social media accounts, they also make a tacit promise to consistently provide fresh, quality content that their online followers are looking for. Your audience is expecting to be:

Social media followers interact with your content alongside personal images of family photos and their friends’ vacations; so must your brand provide intimate access and communication to fit their feeds.

Yet, constantly producing creative content to feed the social media machine can be an overwhelming, intense and resource-draining operation.

Unfortunately, in place of proper planning and budgeting, most companies tend to just launch into the social feed without a long-term strategy. But running social media posts without a documented strategy is dangerous and can jeopardize your brand while guaranteeing weak results.

This lack of strategy is largely why over half of marketers are unable to demonstrate the impact of their social media investments, according to the Harvard Business Review.

While 97% of Fortune 500 corporates are on LinkedIn, 84% are on Facebook and 86% are on Twitter, companies still rarely assimilate their overarching business strategy with their social media platforms.

Often, this is because social media accounts are opened as an add-on or as an after-thought to the company’s main marketing strategy and not as an integral piece of it.

This is a major error. Producing engaging social media posts today requires talent, creativity and marketing resources. Social media has long become an essential part of a business’ external image and conversion mechanism.

Therefore, the effective development of creative social media posts only comes with the right mixture of marketing resources, creative human resources, and copywriting grace -- as does the rest of any company’s fundamental marketing tactics.

Here, we’ll list the top 6 formats of creative social media posts that we’ve discovered work best for building engagement while staying on-brand for our clients, which include multinational companies like Toys“R”Us and Dole Philippines, as well as top regional brands, like AirAsia.

The formats we’ll cover include:

  1. Carousels
  2. 180-degree posts
  3. Static images
  4. Animated videos
  5. GIFs
  6. Instant experiences

Furthermore, it’s important to make a distinction here between creative social media types and formats. While we’ll cover various successful formats here, each of one these formats can be broken down in numerous types of social media strategies across multiple platforms. We’ll save that list for another post.

That being said, we find it is most instructive to begin reviewing the major formats before you set out designing an entire social media strategy in all its nuanced glory.

Read the following list with this in mind.

1. Carousels

You are most likely familiar with carousels (or photo slideshows) as widgets or features on webpages. They are often used to display various central themes within the same screen, and have become so popular that they are now increasingly being used with great zeal within creative social media posts.

The carousel is favored among social media experts for being a very effective sales and engagement tool -- when developed and deployed correctly.

To develop creative social media posts using a carousel, the social media team first has to create what is called a treatment, which is essentially a storyline, step-by-step guide, and overall concept.

Within the treatment, social media teams will identify and pull to the fore the core message. This usually includes USPs, Reasons to Believe and other core marketing messaging that can be pulled out in the process.

Once the treatment and core messaging are documented, only then can images be selected to fit into the carousel. 

Here, we also recommend thinking of the carousel like a book: an intro image with a catchy title and illustrative image that matches it will be most effective.

Next, we typically take one or two slides to elicit ideas by using questions or a proposition. This gets the viewer thinking about the topic before going for more direct marketing techniques.

Then, the last few slides are used to showcase the product, service, promo, etc. in a way that brings the core advertising message to the viewer without being too overbearing. In our experience, crafting a subtle but strong message this way creates a more trusting brand voice.

Finally, there is a slide for the call to action, plus any contact details. With some social media platforms, such as Facebook, here it is also a good idea to use messaging or sign ups as a call to action button, which instantly pushes the viewer into the specified action.

When all of these elements come together seamlessly, the viewer will keep swiping through the carousel, progressively coming deeper into the brand messaging and treatment that we have tailored for them, ultimately bringing them to a conversion decision.

Pro tip: You can develop an effective carousel by using the best practices of drawing board design. Develop a short table of objectives, storyline, flowchart and call to action. Ensure to include all in-slide art concepts, frame copy and other details.

Dole Pineapple: Brevo used this format in the Dole Pineapple Juice Campaign. The example we provide above shows how an effective call to action should look on creative social media posts that use carousels.

This step is critical and transforms this format from being a simple slideshow into a lead magnet. By asking readers to take action at the end, you don't leave them hanging - you invite them to respond easily and quickly through an interactive social media button!

2. 180-degree posts

This format offers a panoramic experience for your audience, bringing them into an illustrative, immersive storyline that you wish to tell within their social feed.

Although 180-degree posts may not be as in vogue as they once were when they first appeared, this format is often the best way to gamify your messaging to boost engagement among certain audiences, especially millennials.

A typical approach to gamify the 180 post is called the “treasure hunt.”

This game works by asking viewers to go back and forth across the moveable in-feed image to find items hidden within, then list them in the comments section to further encourage engagement from other participants.

To develop a gamified 180-degree post, creative social media talent must collaborate closely with the marketing objectives of the business to ensure that the game is not randomized, but rather a relatable, on-brand experience.

A visual idea is then proposed to conceptually link to the product and/or service that is being advertised, then find an interesting and engaging idea to establish a treasure hunt or other game to utilize within the panoramic image.

Pro tip: Think of Where’s Waldo. Gamification using 180-degree posts with this in mind work great.

FWD Life Philippines: For this health insurance company, Brevo created a panoramic visual of people in an apartment block.

The challenge: How many people can you see exercising in the apartment building, as opposed to people eating junk food?

This post generated 135 comments of viewers responding to the challenge. You can take a look at the image and comments here and see for yourself.

Besides being a fun, creative and engaging post, the 180-degree image was able to emphasize a core message for FWD Life Philippines: the need to stay healthy and sign up for their health insurance plan.

It was Brevo’s job to come up with the concept, pitch the idea, refine it according to the client’s taste, and then produce it. That’s just one typical way how this format of creative social media posts can be developed.

3. Statics

When we say “static”, we are often referring to a key visual -- the anchor image of a campaign of which there can be several derivatives.

Additionally, statics can also be completely stand alone ideas. 

Nevertheless, the key is to include enough relevant copy that speaks to the viewer but doesn't violate Facebook's 20% rule (more than 20% in-art copy disqualifies it from being advertised properly).

In our experience, the best statics use real images with graphic art flourishes, short, snappy copy and, if applicable, the terms of the deal (discounts, promo mechanics, important dates, etc).

Pro tip: Think of your social media post like a visual-heavy print ad. It needs to disseminate your message quickly in order to stop people from scrolling, and that can be done with an eye-popping image.

Victor Consunji Development Corporation: In the social media post above, a real estate agency wanted to launch an occasion-specific campaign. This Halloween-inspired post had to keep with the brand identity -- luxury property.

Brevo decided to create a static that showcased a proper dinner set up, evoking a classy party that played into the company’s brand DNA, only adding a jack-o-lantern in the background as an accent.

The text, “Rest in Peace,” was written purposefully to stop the scroll, making the viewer do a double take before realizing that this was a Halloween-related post. This proved to be a smart way to capture people’s attention while remaining on-brand.

To create statics, Brevo gathers lots of info from our client, crystalizes their key message and then breaks it down into bite size info which we then pair with an arresting image -- something viewers will respond to. That's how a static is born.

4. Animated videos

The animated video format provides an amazing way to educate and entice viewers. 

Like any other video production, creative social media posts that utilize animated videos need a lot of production planning.

This includes script writing, which must go through several versions until all stakeholders are aligned on the final concept.

Then, once the script is locked in, a moodboard is produced to show the type of animation that will be created, as well as a storyboard that highlights the flow of the script within the animation.

Only once all those elements align can animators begin to create the first visuals for the video.

Here, voices can also begin recording in tandem with the animation, if they are called for in the script and concept.

Pro tip: Videos average in length but the sweet spot is between 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Indeed, 30 seconds may seem really short, but that is actually a lot of time to provide numerous themes and messages.

Don’t forget that the longer a video, the more attention you require of your viewer. Keeping videos short and sweet, with enough information and zero fat, is key to a successful campaign.

AirAsia: For AirAsia RedTix, we wanted to communicate three core ideas: planning, booking, and buying a ticket to an event using RedTix, AirAsia’s events platform. The tagline we came up for this service was “Plan it. Book it. Tick it,” which clearly stated the event booking process. We wanted customers to understand that RedTix offers an end-to-end solution, from planning all the way to ticking an experience off one’s bucket list.

Visually, this made for a fairly easy narrative. We began the animated video by showing how events are typically discovered (online), planned (by calling your friends), booked (again, online, via RedTix), and experienced (at a concert, showing a marked checkbox to signal the “ticking” of an item on one’s bucket list).

We ended with a clear call to action, the tagline itself: “Plan it. Book it. Tick it.” Simple, easy to understand, and quick to use. The video became a high-impact way of reaching customers, calling them to book events and enjoy the convenient RedTix service.

5. GIFs

GIFs are used and produced in a similar fashion to animated videos. But they offer a greater emphasis on the campaign’s core idea.

This is because the average GIF image is normally only about 5 to 15 seconds, which provides a more concentrated vehicle for your message.

Here, the idea is to plant an idea in the viewer's mind, but provide only enough info so they can make a decision and act on it if they want, and fast.

This is done through a quick-to-the-point CTA.

Pro tip: Think of any GIF you’ve seen. Only a single idea can fit into this format. This can be used as an advantage for the advertiser, however. Isolate your message in a quick, quirky and repetitive manner so you’ll reinforce your brand and call to action.

Shakey’s Pizza: Prosciutto is traditionally considered high-end ham in the Philippines. But Shakey’s Pizza wanted to dispel this notion and show their audience that not only rich people eat it.

Brevo was asked to introduce Shakey’s new prosciutto pizza in a celebratory fashion. 

The GIF format proved the most effective and apt vehicle for this messaging. 

In the Shakey’s Pizza GIF, we hint at the Italian flavor of the pizza through the operatic scene while heralding a brand new food item that everyone can enjoy.

6. Instant experiences

An Instant Experience (IE) is a full screen display built for mobile users which is immersive and provides a microsite-like experience.

It is among the most novel creative social media posts out there today.

For this reason, the vertical and horizontal scrolling in an IE can be complex. Yet, it provides a layered presentation of USPs, with multiple calls to action and outbound links. Think of an IE like a carousel on steroids, and produced similarly to an animated video in that it has several layers (static and/or animation) that will also need sign off and approval before production begins.

The key here is to find an overall idea that can branch into separate threads, but all come back together at the end (like a Cohen brothers film for those with short attention spans).

On social media, it is important not to oversaturate viewers with info, but to find a happy balance where the IE becomes more than a scroll through the feed, but rather an engaging visual experience.

Pro tip: Instant Experiences can seem daunting. Their apparent complexity can be difficult to explain to stakeholders. Solve this by clearly defining the narrative of each level and how it all works as a seamless whole. If you have trouble figuring it out, your company’s stakeholders will definitely not be able to follow; nail the concept fully before you present it.

Toys“R”Us Philippines: We pitched the idea of creating three price tiers for certain toys: PHP1,000, 2,000, and 3,000. We differentiated each level by color and design, making it easy for viewers to see the available levels. We also used colors to match the prices; yellow for the lowest price (accessible and fun), red for mid price (dynamic, bold) and blue for the highest priced toys (premium, thoughtful).

The tiers helped group products together and immediately gave budget-conscious customers a way to view items within their price range, rather than make them hunt through a huge mixed catalogue.

Our IE was the best performing ad in the campaign, garnering 46,843 link clicks, 38,539 landing page views and a 5.24% CTR. It’s high performance can be directly attributed to this novel format, which the target audience had never experienced before.

Moreover, the ad wasn't even boosted for engagement, yet Toys”R”Us still had over 1.2K reactions, shares and comments.

Creative social media posts for your business

Asking your team to be constantly creative can be an intense operation to manage. 

This is where hiring a professional creative marketing agency can help you generate fresh ideas that your audience is certain to appreciate.

Brevo works with companies large and small to customize creative social media posts that are built to engage while staying on-brand. Contact us today to learn how creative social media posts can stop the scroll.

Need something like this? Work with us hello@brevo.co

I always enjoy working on a new project.

Part of the excitement is talking to the client, understanding their vision, and then collaborating with the Brevo team to make it happen.

Sometimes, however, things don’t always go as planned.

The client might be erratic and change lanes halfway through. Or, as was the case with one particular client, we dropped the ball and fumbled our way to a favorable conclusion.

Our end-product didn’t match what we pitched the client. We managed to finish and deliver, but we had to settle for being content with less than stellar output.

It never happens, but it did.

I’d like to share with you some details of a project that faltered and the hard lessons we learned from the experience.

The Gig

The project was an extensive report for a reputable corporation. We won the project on the strength of our pitch which, we were told, was superior to our name-brand competitors.

We wowed the client with our concepts, unique visual approach, and the pedigree of our writing team. We won the project, got stuck in, and then things never quite went to plan.

By the time we crossed the finish line, nerves were frayed, the client was frazzled, and we were left wondering, “What happened?”

Here’s where we faltered.

1. No champion

The project had no champion. Which is silly, because we ALWAYS have a champion — someone to lead the project, start to finish. Instead, several voices were involved in the project, but with no clear leader as the project lead assigned was hindered by not being given the guidance they deserved.

This led to confusion and, when problems began to rise, team members assumed someone else would handle them. But no one stepped up. Consequently, things began falling through the cracks. In fact, the lack of a clear leader is what led to a myriad of other problems as the project progressed.

Next time we’ll clearly assign a project lead and let them lead. When several strong voices are involved in a project, it may initially be smooth sailing but with no clear leader, it runs the risk of becoming a ghost ship, tossed to and fro on the high seas.

2. Poor communication

No leader led to inconsistent communication — lots of voices and talk, but no one marshalling everything into a seamless whole.

What’s more, we only had one face-to-face meeting with the client — ONE. We normally meet clients on a weekly basis but found ourselves relying mainly on emails for primary communication.

This is not ideal, particularly when details are everything. The client was responsible for providing all the data but they faced their own internal challenges; it was our job to guide and make things easier for them. We failed.

The client deserves regular face-to-face attention, if not in person, at least via video conferencing and voice calls. By not meeting them regularly, we missed out on crucial interaction, deep dives, and sharing of information.

What we should have done is conducted regular meetings with the client. That would have helped with direction, clarity, and expedition of data/materials.

3. Imperfect time management

We had 8 weeks of dev time, which is tight but certainly doable if managed correctly. Unfortunately, the lack of project leadership meant that schedules weren’t managed properly, and endless revisions began to pile up.

Following a debrief with the client we were informed, they believed the revisions they were sending across were assisting us rather than hindering the design team.

They were happy with the output being produced but we were getting lost in what they actually wanted, leading to tighter deadlines which is never ideal for quality output.

It felt like a reservoir waiting to burst, cracking against the weight of multiple edits, updates, and adjustments. As the deadline tightened, we failed to adapt and found ourselves scrambling to plug holes in the dam.

Next time we’ll beorganised from the get-go.We have the tools, the skills, and the experience to handle complex projects. But we succumbed to disorganisation.

4. Poor people management

We had the manpower to handle the project but didn’t properly organize ourselves. Consequently, we ended up being unable to provide adequate creative staff to handle the work.

We eventually had to pull a freelancer on board to help us. This isn’t unheard of, of course. But because it was last minute, it led to a less-than-desired outcome: a report that didn’t feel like Brevo’s signature form.

Lesson learned: Organise yourself.

5. Lack of accountability

The lack of leadership, weak planning, and poor communication could have been solved if we had proper accountability in place.

As CEO, I had an opportunity to act on the red flags. I didn’t. I could have stepped in to troubleshoot the situation. I didn’t. We had a chance to meet our original vision but instead, we floundered.

Problems can go unnoticed in an environment where everyone trusts someone else to help when things get crazy. But in this case, no one was around to help. And i should have been more proactive in getting on top of the situation.

Personally, I will be more discerning of red flags and be a lot more present in situations that are going south.

Summary

The project was delivered to the client’s satisfaction. But not ours. We know we could have done better. We know we could have elevated the project. We certainly shouldn’t have let things run the way they did, somewhat haphazardly and without a rudder.

The silver lining lies in the important lessons learned along the way. I take more away from my failures over my successes. We will be more accountable, more attuned to the warnings of a project about to burst.

Need something like this? Work with us hello@brevo.co

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