Even though videos are everywhere these days, it’s not an easy task to create branded videos that are actually engaging and non-interruptive.
We talked with Pete Fergusson, owner, and CEO of the UK-based branded video content production company, Nemorin Creative, about some of the challenges to branded videos, how to convince clients to tell real stories, and what will become of branded videos in the future.
Sometimes we need to steer the ship in a way that works best for the audience and brand.
What is the biggest challenge for you when making branded videos?
The term ‘branded video’ hasn’t really landed in a coherent way yet and is sometimes confused with a regular ad or – dare I say it – corporate video. So sometimes we need to steer the ship in a way that works best for the audience and brand.
This can mean more focus on the wider narrative and general brand sentiment but less on the product, which can be a fun one to explain to those new to the format.
We also like to work backward from the result our clients are looking for when creating a film and then putting the right elements in place to best make that result be achieved. That isn’t always possible from a time point of view, which is a shame.
Likewise, we also like to understand wider metrics such as SEO and website data as that should play a part in the creative development. Not always possible though.
The creative process should be very much hand in hand with brands as they know their brand better than anyone.
How much and in what ways are the brands included in the creative process at Nemorin?
As much as they’d like to be. The creative process should be very much hand in hand with brands as they know their brand better than anyone. We also like to have as much audience data from the brands as possible, as well as talking to their web teams for insight into SEO and other metrics.
We’re happy to work from a blank page, a basic concept or a fully formed brief, but always working closely and as an extension of the in-house teams at the brand.
How do you convince clients — especially brands — to tell real stories?
We love to show clients the reach, engagement, and conversion stats for well-executed branded videos that are pivoted around sincere narratives. We believe that brands are super smart and are seeing the potential for this concept more than ever.
Audiences are really media savvy now and they’ll be turned off if the story is insincere or contrived. But real stories don’t always mean a documentary approach, but they should be honest and relatable. It’s human instinct to empathize with relatable stories and characters.
Do you ever turn clients down? And why?
Each project is assessed on a case by case basis and we pride ourselves on finding a solution 95% of the time. There are some occasions where the budget doesn’t stretch far enough to protect standards.
We want to protect our clients and chipping away at budgets is ok to a point, but we must protect standards. If budgets don’t match the brief we will provide alternative suggestions or ultimately say no.
How do you measure the success and effectiveness of the branded videos?
There are so many ways to do this. Ideally, the result of the film should be clearly defined from the get-go and we’d put things in place to give the film the best chance of helping with this outcome.
Views, shares and other interactions are important, but so are more intangible elements such as brand sentiment improving.
Do you experience that brands use their branded video content in a native advertising context? And does it work?
Yes and yes. It can also be particularly strong when the video content is created in partnership with the publisher as publishers know their audiences better than anyone.
Personally I believe that branded video content can be steered by editorial departments so that the audience receives content they’ll actually want to watch, while brands get better exposure with editorial cross promotion and buy-in, commercial teams stand a better chance of hitting KPIs and editorial teams have high-end original content created that they otherwise may not be able to afford.
If the content is good and clearly labelled, there’s nothing to worry about.
Good content is good content, people don’t care if a brand is involved.
Video is much hyped these days, but it’s also criticised for being a format that the advertisers love more than the audience. What is your take on that criticism?
I don’t see that at all. If audiences are tired of video content then the content is wrong. Good content is good content, people don’t care if a brand is involved, they just want to watch a film that engages them emotionally by being funny, thought-provoking or otherwise.
The ramp-up in the sheer amount of video playing on Facebook, for example, has been very quick. Too quick, perhaps? There’s a risk of oversaturation and audience fatigue, so the content has to be super smart to work for audiences and brands alike.
How do you see branded video content evolving over the next few years?
Monumental growth as audiences become even more receptive to it. I expect branded video content to cross over into the mainstream channels such as Netflix and Facebook Watch where audiences actively choose to seek it out. That’s an incredible opportunity for our industry and we’re here to facilitate the demand.
What sets Nemorin Creative apart from other branded video content agencies out there?
We’re part of a former in-house branded video team that first devised the branded video content as a new advertising format and saw it grow from zero to a multi-billion dollar industry.
We have unique insight and empathy for the nuances that keep agencies, publishers (editorial and commercial sides) and audiences happy. Video production might seem like a pain, so we become an extension of existing in-house teams and take care of the whole process so our clients can focus on the day-to-day. This spans sales, pitching, production itself and final delivery.
We partner with our clients so they can benefit from the huge growth of branded video without the ongoing overheads of kit, studios, software, and staff.
Where there’s an existing in-house video team, we’re a friendly backup option for last minute or unusual requests.
Nemorin Creative won a Native Advertising Award as Native Advertising Agency/Studio of the Year (under 20 employees). See all the winners here.