Every video marketer dreams of putting out that one viral video that rakes in views and social shares by the hundred-thousands. After all, more exposure online usually translates to an increase in following, leads, and conversions. It also promises better brand recognition and a potential expansion in the consumer base. However, in the case of corporate video production, a viral video does not equal a good video. As with everything else, you can either gain fame or infamy through your video, depending on what the concept is and how you present it.
How do you draw the line between ‘impactful’ and ‘over-the-top,’ and what steps should you take to ensure you never cross it?
Establish Your Own Unique Brand Voice
First off, you need to have your own voice. In markets as oversaturated as social media and content marketing, one of the best ways to stand out is to be unique. Easier said than done, we know, but that’s the reality of it. You need to prove that you’re unlike everybody else, otherwise you will be mistaken for everybody else.
So when it comes to the actual corporate video production process, always double- or triple-check the content you’re producing. Put it up against your brand voice or image and determine whether or not it fits. Don’t be afraid to modify and edit video concepts and draft videos based on your voice and how well they align.
Stick To It
It may be very, very, very tempting to model a viral video—especially if the concept and idea appeals to you personally. While there’s nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from other brands for corporate video production, always remember that your brand voice matters more than video views. If you parody or mimic a popular video even though it doesn’t align with your image, you risk cheapening your marque. Worse, the concept will come off as tired and unoriginal.
Dollar Shave Club and PooPourri have given us two great examples of corporate explainer videos that went viral for obviously humorous reasons. However, if your usual content doesn’t contain quite the same level of sarcasm and dry humor as Michael Dublin or Bethany Woodruff, your followers may be jarred rather than amused if you post a video copying their tone.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t experiment. A break from your usual style once in a while can turn out quite fortuitous and can keep your followers interested. Just remember that consistency is key. Don’t stray too far from your established image.
And on that note…
Know Your Limits
Viral videos often have that outrageous factor that makes them share-worthy. A viral video is able to evoke powerful emotions in the viewers, consequently prompting them to redistribute the content to their social circle. On that note, you need to know how far you’re willing to go in terms of being ‘outrageous,’ and if breaking those limits for the sake of 500,000 views is really worth it.
When conceptualizing your next video, you must keep in mind the taste and sensibilities of your current audience and your target market. Will the humor offend them? Is the concept relevant to them? Are the references obscure? How far is “too far”?
For instance, Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” commercial is considered infamous for its blatantly crass use of dialogue. Even if they’re not actually using the word, you know what they’re trying to say. Some find it golden, others find it in poor taste, and the rest find it cringey. It garnered more than 889,000 views, but the mixed reception definitely isn’t worth writing home to.
Similarly, Ameriquest’s “Don’t Judge Too Quickly” ads constantly toe the line between hilarious and inappropriate. People with the stomach for the specific brand of humor find the jokes to be harmless, and even applaud it as effective corporate video production. On the other hand, a lot of people consider the videos just short of obscene. The fact that Ameriquest can take matters such as animal cruelty, prostitution, and pornography lightly, to the point that they can re-spin them into hilarious/awkward situations (depending on who you ask) doesn’t sit well with some people. In fact, some of their commercials under the “Don’t Judge Too Quickly” campaign were banned.