3 Key Characteristics of Successful Brand Videos

From consistent thumbnails and a signature aesthetic to focusing on a niche audience, learn what makes a great brand video.

April 23, 2019

Topic tags

Jenny Mudarri

Creative


Video isn’t a hot new trend anymore; it’s now a major part of marketing for all kinds of businesses. For many successful companies, video is a way of expressing what they care most about. In a way, brand videos don’t support the brand — they create it.

Building a brand with video doesn’t take a lucky break or a viral hit; as they say, the devil’s in the details. Each video you create is a puzzle piece making up a larger picture that contains clues about what your brand is about and the story you want to tell your audience. And while every business is unique, there are a few common traits that all successful brand videos share:

  • They contain visual elements that clue viewers in to what the video is about and why they should watch in the first place.
  • They possess a unique aesthetic that helps give viewers an idea of how they should feel about your content while also making your content instantly recognizable.
  • They are focused on a very specific audience which makes it easier to attract viewers that will hopefully dive deep on a topic.

Over time, these traits work together to form a cohesive, creative, and engaging expression of your brand. Now, let’s take a look at each one of these traits and how you can use them to your advantage in your own video content!

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Eye-catching thumbnails and titles

When it comes to video, first impressions really matter — you’ve got to make a lasting one, and fast. Even if someone is already on your site, you want to give them a reason to click “play” on your video. Just like a catchy blog post title can attract link clicks on social media, a compelling video title can encourage plays.

Successful videos often have titles that are descriptive, funny, or thought-provoking. In tandem with that, an enticing thumbnail should work together with the title to catch viewers' eyes with bright colors, an expressive face, or a combination of the two. All of these factors give the viewer an idea of what they can expect from your video before they hit play.

Will Barron, the creator of the Salesman Podcast, uses attention-grabbing, bold titles for his videos that often hint at exclusive knowledge or advice. He also maintains a consistent look and feel across all of his thumbnails and titles, which creates a more cohesive brand experience. Here are some examples of his titles:

  • How to Use Humour to Get Prospects' Attention
  • The 4 Customer Personality Types
  • Why “Customer Success” Will Earn You More Money
  • Stop Faffing Around - Effective Social Selling Explained

Apart from the distinctly British “humour,” a lot of these titles follow common headline best practices that marketers and journalists have been using for ages. In particular, the use of numbers, “how to,” and direct challenges to the viewer pique curiosity and entice them to find out more.

What you can do:

  • Determine what your audience is searching for and tailor your title to specific keywords
  • Follow traditional best-headline practices when writing your title
  • Test out different title styles to find what resonates with your audience

Distinct visual design and a signature aesthetic

Good design is a shortcut to emotion, and luckily, you can employ a number of traditional design techniques throughout your videos to make an emotional connection with viewers. For brand videos, design elements can be as simple as maintaining a consistent player color or typeface for the title card and credits. Other aesthetic factors could include the framing of the video, the set, lighting, background, and even the clothes people wear on camera.

It may sound like a lot to think about, but it’s worth it, we promise! Monet had impressionist landscapes, Van Gogh had portraits in pointillism, and you have the few signature touches you can apply across all of your brand videos. By using consistent visual cues, your audience will recognize your videos right away, no matter where they’re shown. These consistent design elements will tie your videos together and help you create a body of work with a distinct visual style that lasts decades.

“Monet had impressionist landscapes, Van Gogh had portraits in pointillism, and you have the few signature touches you can apply across all of your brand videos.”

One business that has been using design to their advantage is Drift, a conversational marketing platform. From their use of colors like royal blue and electric yellow, to the talking-head cutouts present in every thumbnail on their site, to the Drift logo in the frame (and on people’s T-shirts), you can’t miss a Drift video.

drift

Drift’s visual style is a bit “loud” but for a good reason. They want people to get excited about marketing, especially in the B2B world, and are using bright colors and unique visuals to attract attention. It doesn’t hurt that they’re able to maintain a similar high-energy aesthetic throughout their videos as well.

What you can do:

  • Use expressive colors that are consistent with your overall brand, and that evoke particular emotions, whether that’s happiness (yellow), anger (red), or trustworthiness (green). This color wheel of emotions can help get your wheels turning — though it’s not the final word!
  • Collaborate on a video style guide that includes fonts, visual treatments, and other guidelines with your design team and use it as a template for your brand videos moving forward.
  • Host regular meetings between writers, producers, and editors to keep everyone on the same page when it comes to scripting and creating videos.

Narrow audience-focus and deep expertise

As you build your brand, you’ll realize there are a few things you want to be known for, as well as key themes you’ll want to cover in the content you create. Just think about your blog — what topics do you write about there? What are some subjects you could explore even deeper? Chances are, there are quite a few areas related to your industry that you or some of your teammates are already incredibly well-versed on, and that’s a great place to start.

Businesses that are creating successful brand videos use their expertise in conjunction with enticing visuals and a consistent style to attract niche audiences that are interested in consuming a number of videos on a specific topic. Find a topic you can get really nerdy about (or better yet, talk about for hours on end) and use that content to attract your target audience.

“Find a topic you can get really nerdy about (or better yet, talk about for hours on end) and use that content to attract your target audience.”

InVision, a digital product design platform, does this particularly well with their “Design Systems” series. With a handful of videos, this ambitious prototyping software company is able to establish themselves as an authority on all things design systems.

This series moves InVision out of the realm of “product people” and into the realm of “design thought leaders.” Because of this series, they have a unique space to bring people together and discuss the important issues and ideas impacting the design community today.

What you can do:

  • Come up with a list of topics you want to explore and see how those overlap with your customers' interests
  • Release videos on a regular basis (such as every Tuesday at 2pm) so your audience knows when to expect them
  • Reach out to other experts in the field to conduct interviews and build a strong network within your niche

Make a plan and stick to it

Incorporating all of these traits into your brand videos is easy once you have a long-term strategy in place. After all, the best content (and this is true of blogging and social media, too!) is created when you have a goal and mind a specific story to share. Setting your intentions early on will make it easier to execute more and more ambitious brand videos over time, too.

If you start with a unique visual style and a niche you know well, you can grow your brand quickly and learn fast from what you put out into the world. You’ll start to see what works best and can actively add those winning traits into future videos you create, making your brand recognizable by your customers and beyond. Once you have more videos under your belt, you’ll be able to dig more deeply into specific themes and take even bigger creative risks.

Jenny Mudarri

Creative

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