Thanks to the rise of social media, now is the perfect time to press play on video marketing
There are a few lines scratched into the bottom of Mark Llewellyn’s TV screen. “It’s from where my son used a pen to try and make the video fast forward,” he explains. “He’s so used to using an iPad that he couldn’t understand why the TV didn’t work the same way.” This left the managing director of Revive!, the vehicle repair franchise, with two things: a slightly disfigured TV set and the understanding of how much the way people consume visual content has changed in recent years. “The proliferation of tablets and smartphones means that everyone has gotten accustomed to watching videos everywhere,” Llewellyn says. And for franchises, there has never been a better time to get on board.
While some franchisors may be hesitant about using the medium in their marketing, it represents an opportunity they can’t afford to pass up on. “If they aren’t using video then they’re missing a chance to communicate and get their message out,” he says. The numbers certainly back him up. According to data from Insivia, the digital agency, 74% of all online traffic is expected to come from video this year and 54% of senior executives share work-related videos with colleagues every week. “There’s far more interest in video than in blogs,” says Llewellyn. Given the popularity of the medium, it certainly makes sense for franchises to tap into it to connect with people.
Video is also a great way to demonstrate what a franchise has to offer to both its customers and franchisees. “The general public has no idea what smart repairs are and by using video we can easily explain what we’re doing and capture the essence of our brand,” says Llewellyn. Additionally, franchisors can use the medium to educate their own franchisees and record testimonials from clients. “We’re even thinking about turning our weekly newsletters into a weekly video update instead,” says Llewellyn.
However, just because video is an extremely powerful tool doesn’t mean that franchises should jump in head-first without a second thought. “Never make a video just for the sake of it,” says Jack Smithson, senior content marketing executive at Curated Digital, the online marketing agency. Instead, he advises franchises to carefully consider what the objective of the video is and how it fits in with the rest of the company’s marketing efforts. “The goal will help you define the style and the stories you need to tell,” says Smithson. Establishing this beforehand will help you decide which formats you should be using alongside your video – such as blogs or email – to get your message across.
And given franchisees are the face of the business on a local level, it makes sense to involve them as early as possible in the planning process. “For capturing key insights into businesses, video production crews need to have access to the people inside it,” says Alex Cavell, PR and marketing manager at Bluebird Care, the care franchise. “That being said, while this approach often results in better footage it can be disruptive to people’s working day. Along with plenty of advance notice, this disruption can be mitigated through thoughtful communication with everyone who’s involved or impacted by a video shoot.”
Your videos also need to be consistent in quality, even if they don’t originate from your central marketing team. “That includes ensuring all franchisees use the same design elements and that they’re on brand,” says Smithson. In other words, franchisees should be provided with the right templates, guidelines, colour schemes and logos to include in their videos. “This should all be nailed down before you even start filming,” says Smithson. “This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make spontaneous videos, it just means they should follow the pre-agreed guidelines.”
But perhaps the best way to ensure this consistency is to constantly educate franchisees on how to get the right message across. “We constantly train and talk to our franchisees about videos because it’s one of those things that keeps coming up in marketing and on social media,” says Llewellyn. “We don’t just say it once but five, six or even seven times. We put it into our guidelines and we try to talk about it a positive way to make it more likely that people take it on board.”
Providing training and guidance for each franchisee can also minimise the risk of embarrassing incidents occuring and causing reputational damage. Getting the message right, whether it’s from franchisees or the franchisor, is especially important considering how fast an ill-advised video can spread across the web. “If it’s already shared then we’ve lost control of it,” says Llewellyn. “Social media is a really powerful beast and it’s folly to attempt to control it. That’s why it’s so important to have strong video guidelines to demonstrate what’s acceptable and what isn’t.” Revive!’s franchisees were recently reminded of this fact when an old video resurfaced on a popular car site. It showed the franchise’s employees not being “perfectly health and safety conscious” and the comments section included a fair amount of criticism. But while the furore died away in a few days, an ill-advised video can end up hurting the brand. For instance, back in 2013 a video ad from the surfer fashion brand Roxy’s got attention for all the wrong reasons. Intended to tease the brand’s new collaboration with the up and coming professional surfer Stephanie Gilmore, the video maker seemed more interested in filming her body than showcasing her ability to hit the waves. The end result was that rather than attracting new customers, Roxy found itself lambasted by its fans who thought the ad was sexist.
Nevertheless, provided that franchisors have planned their video campaign adequately and avoid committing a major faux pas, video marketing can be an effective tool in their arsenal. And given the huge numbers of people watching online video all over the world, franchises really can’t afford to ignore the medium.