The brain is literally the most amazing thing. Two hemispheres, three pounds, wired together uniquely for each individual and extremely complex. So complex that we are still far from a full understanding of it.
We do have some valuable knowledge about the brain. The ‘new brain’, the outside bit, is the most recent part of the brain to evolve; it is the rational, logical processing machine that we are very aware of and use a lot. The ‘mid-brain’ is the part that can be associated with our emotions and emotional impulses. Finally, there is the ‘old brain’. The old brain is the bit that worries about us staying alive. It is ultimately concerned with our survival and we can’t make a decision without the old brain agreeing to it.
You will have experienced times when your old brain comes into conflict with your new brain. For me, I think back to a parachute jump in Australia. My new brain was trying to be all reasonable, explaining to my old brain that it was all going to be fine; I was strapped to an expert, he does this every day, and we have a nice parachute ready to take us to earth safely. All the while, my old brain was calling my new brain an idiot for trying to make me jump from 14,000 feet.
Successful marketers know how to speak to the old brain as well as the mid brain and the new brain. The evolution of marketing over the past 20 years has been extraordinary; in the eighties, TV, radio and direct mail were the only real marketing options. The nineties saw the rise of online display, paid search and affiliate marketing. The fragmentation since 2000 has been dramatic and marketers are now facing a scarcity of attention, rather than a scarcity of marketing methods. With this evolution, people have become very mistrusting of marketers. The industry is therefore having to change and think about ways to talk to the old brain which is suspicious of a lot of marketing.
Here are seven tips for speaking to different bits of the consumer brain for you to apply to your online video marketing strategy.
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1 Social proof your videos
The need to fit in is hard wired into our old brains. It is about survival. A video marketing strategy should be concerned with ‘social proofing’ video content. In short, it means that you want potential audiences to see how much other people already like your video – because this will encourage them to watch it for themselves – in order to fit in. You might be thinking that this is difficult to achieve initially because YouTube, for example, automatically tells your audience how many other people have watched your video. Your strategy should be concerned with how you will distribute your video via social networking and social bookmarking sites to give it the best possible chance of being seen by the right people, and more importantly, shared.
2 Contrast & comparison
Using contrast and comparison is a great way to make your videos look great. It could be that you use one of your own videos as a contrast, or it might be that you use a competitors.
Mac used an advert to make a direct dig at Windows Vista. The advert presented the Vista guy look like a ‘geek’ whereas the Mac user looked ‘cool’.
Windows came up with a fantastic marketing campaign in response:
Our brains make sense of contrasts and comparisons quickly and they influence decision-making.
3 Use Scarcity in your online video marketing strategy
Another quirk of how our brains work is that if something is unavailable, we seem to want it more. Scarcity is a great tool in terms of general marketing. Even Facebook used scarcity as part of their launch until it became implausible. When you use scarcity you need to be specific about what is at stake – what your audience will lose. It probably wouldn’t ever be the case that you would want to put a cap on the amount of people who can watch your video content. However, you might want to use online video to advertise an offer in which you are using scarcity as the main motivator in your call to action e.g. to encourage the audience to click through to your website immediately.
There have been experiments that have shown that people think that cookies from a half empty jar are tastier than ones from a full jar (when in fact, they are exactly the same cookies!). The point to remember is not to overfill the cookie jar. You can relate this to how often you release video content. It might work better for you to build up some desire and interest in your new content before releasing it.
4 People like surprises
There has been research to suggest that small surprises improve our mood. Small surprises can take a number of forms. They could be unexpected freebies. With video, it can be a case of injecting unexpected pleasures, like letting your viewers decipher little messages that give them a smile. Here are a couple of nice little visual examples:
So, under-promise, over deliver. Works far better than promising too much and being unable to deliver.
5 Small commitments are a great place to start
Asking for a big commitment from a customer initially is always a big mistake. It puts people off. Smaller commitments lead to bigger commitments and this should be your way in. This can be applied to online video marketing in a range of ways. For example, it could be in terms of the amount of time you demand from your audience to watch your content. See the five second film below. They really aren’t asking much from their audience with a film this length. In fact, the success and ease of the five seconds is likely to encourage audiences to look for more of their work.
5 Second Films – Sadurday Night
6 Reciprocal relationships
We shouldn’t give to receive… but we do, and it works. Audiences are more likely to give to you if you have given to them first. Being ‘indebted’ is an extremely powerful feeling or emotion that many people experience and feel the need to give back. In terms of being a video maker, you are already at an advantage. If you produce good quality videos that your audience enjoys watching, you have initiated your relationship by offering some entertainment that they have been able to appreciate.
7 Give a visual stimulus
Our brains apparently have a preference for visual stimulus. Photographs are two times more likely to get looked at on Facebook that text updates. Also, having an image next to your sales copy helps to persuade people to buy. Videos are 12 times more likely to be watched than text read. Again, as a video maker, you are at an advantage from the outset. Your responsibility now is to make videos worth watching. If you have video at your disposal, you should be thinking about how to use the medium to its fullest by making visually interesting and entertaining pieces.
So, now you have some ideas from social psychology to give your online video marketing strategy a boost. Remember that in the era of social networking, audiences want valuable exchanges with others – meaningful conversations, fun and satisfaction. Offer them a relationship and not just a fling!