If you added up all the various searches that women do on a monthly basis, would you guess that more of them are related to food & recipes, health, or personal care?
The answer is usually health.
Let’s talk about that category. Within health, would you imagine that they search more on pregnancy-related issues, menopause-related issues, breast cancer, heart disease, cosmetic surgery, or something else? The answer is that in most of the periods we analyze, women do more pregnancy-related searches than anything else.
And within all those pregnancy searches, what issues bubble to the top that women are most worried about?
1. fetal development and belly size
2. what to expect (i.e. general pregnancy)
3. determining if (i.e. determining if pregnant)
We use an in-house tool (Scoop) to get these results. We developed this tool to classify searches into broad (and then specific) topics that we can actually do something about. Keyword research couldn’t deliver actionable search insights, and we found the limitations were hurting our ability to create relevant content.
Why was this so important to us? Because, if you are going to make video content, and you want people to see it, you might as well make it on topics people are already searching for. Making content that people are most passionate about does something more than increase the reach of a piece of content – it increases people’s engagement with the content. When a brand takes on the role of “expert” to provide that information, the consumer deepens their relationship with the brand.
All consumers are in some sort of need state when searching for information. The more heightened the need state, the stronger the bond with the brand through the experience. In the classic offline or traditional marketing models, getting to this kind of brand connection – where the consumer trusts the brand – can take decades. And it only tends to work when the information is not perceived as advertising. Once that line has been crossed (i.e. the “ad” line), the notion of trust is compromised and the same connection will not occur. Duped is not a good consumer sentiment for any brand.
Using pregnancy as an example, if a brand like Johnson & Johnson shows up when a pregnant mom feels anxious about baby’s development, the bond that can be formed between brand and consumer is impossible to replicate any other way. It certainly won’t happen with a 30-second spot or a print ad, and not even a brochure at the doctor’s office meets her need in such a direct and timely way.
To properly earn this level trust, the brand must have expertise on the topic. Women might love Olay, but that doesn’t mean that brand is “qualified” to make Branded Content on the subject of newborn care. If Olay made editorial videos on newborn care, the presence of the brand on the video would be disruptive. An example of this is what Unilever did with Caress.
First, let’s give credit where credit is due: Unilever has led the way with many forms of successful web video. And as an innovator, they’ve also bumped into their share of mistakes from which the rest of us can learn. Such was the case with a “branded information” video featuring Carson Kressly talking about fashion. It started out fine, but then stuck in an oops-he-crossed-the-line sales message about how silky skin is part of good fashion and Caress can help you get there. An expensive media placement on the front page of YouTube drew ire from the viewing public. The line between branded information and a commercial might be thin, but put one toe over it and the negative comments and “dislikes” will shock you….not good news for the brand.
The trick to getting it right?
First, good search research that is able to discern topic popularity in the categories where the brand has legitimate expertise. Next, find video producers with expertise in the editorial world instead of the commercial world. These journalists will have a strong sense of right and wrong when it comes to editorial content, and they won’t be tempted to juice up the video creatively. They understand that straight-forward information may not win Grand Prix at Cannes. But for consumers who are in a heightened need state, a three-minute video that tells it like it is and provides a clean, clear pathway to solving a problem is exactly what the doctor ordered.
One final point: interestingly, although pregnancy, new motherhood, and other parenting topics are some of the most popular, very few brands have used video to address it. In fact, at a recent YouTube partner’s meeting, YouTube asked our team to please produce more content for young mothers because it's one of the most under-served topics content-wise on YouTube.
So, if you’re a brand with expertise that applies to young mothers, give Touchstorm a call. (Oops, that’s what we call stepping over the line from editorial to commercial). Strike that last line.