Brevo logo
Brevo logo

Branded Content Video Production: The Ultimate Guide

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.

By

October 5, 2020

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:

  • Gain better leads
  • Improve retention
  • Boost customer engagement
  • Gain customer loyalty
  • Build brand equity
  • Create more revenue

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: 

  • It is educational, entertaining, and/or informative: Branded content video production does not mean you are making a 30-second commercial. Instead, it communicates real value to the target audience by informing, educating, and/or entertaining. 
  • It does not sell a product: The primary aim of branded content video production is to drive engagement. As such, it is non-intrusive. There are ideally no sales pitches, calls to action, or product promotions. 
  • It creatively positions the brand: While a branded video is not a sales pitch, consumers should know that there is a brand behind the content. Some do this by including the logo of the brand in the video. Some end the video with a “brought to you by XXX” outro. Others do it by strategically positioning some of their brand assets in the video. 

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: 

  • Relevance: They meet the consumer’s actual needs, whether that is information, education, or entertainment. They are not intrusive or disruptive. Instead, they serve the consumer and prioritize his needs. 
  • Authenticity: When ads interrupt consumers, there is a sense of dissatisfaction that ensues. This dissatisfaction can often lead to discontent towards the brand. However, with branded content, consumers believe the brand is authentic in its desire to help them and not only sell to them. 
  • Engagement: Whether educational, informative, or entertaining, branded content video production always allows for higher engagement.  
  • Emotional impact: We love stories. They are at the core of what drives our emotions. Branded content video production allows us to tell great stories that strike the emotional chord of the consumer. 
  • Remarkable insight: We talk about the things that excite us. The educational, informative, and entertainment value of branded content makes it easier for consumers to talk about the content and share with others. 
  • Memorable connection: Brand recall is 59% higher for branded content videos than display ads, according to Ad Week. The more emotional the content, the more memorable.

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: 

  • Increased brand engagement: The more your target audience loves your content, the more they engage with it. Key metrics that a business works for (revenue, profit, growth) begin with brand engagement.  
  • Greater brand loyalty: Engaged consumers are loyal to the brand. Consumers that believe a brand ‘gets them’ and meets their needs tend to be loyal to the company and its products. 
  • Improved brand equity: Brand equity is the premium value that a product or service generates above other competing products/services because of its association with a brand name. Brand equity manifests in higher prices, sales, and repeat customers. Nothing builds brand equity more than brand loyalty. 
  • Higher revenue: With improved brand equity (and the higher price, sales, and repeat customers that come with it), companies can improve their revenue. Branded video content leads to increased brand engagement, greater brand loyalty, improved brand equity, and, ultimately, higher revenue. 
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: 

  • 0-17, Students
  • 18-45, White-collar employees
  • 18-45, Blue-collar employees, etc. 

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:

  • Budget: Animated videos are often more cost effective than live action videos.
  • Purpose: Animated videos are suitable for educational and explanatory purposes. However, live action videos are more human and friendly, factors that are important to engagement.

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: 

  • Add effects and graphics
  • Remove extraneous footage
  • Add music
  • Apply color correction and filters
  • Create good transitions between the clips
  • Arrange and rearrange the scenes

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. 

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram