A CMO Show Blog Post
Video killed the radio star: Creating content that resonates
A CMO Show Blog Post
Video killed the radio star:...

What exactly does it take to create video content that resonates? Samantha Waterworth investigates… 

Identified as the biggest challenge and highest priority for marketers across Australian and US B2B and B2C industries, content marketers are feeling the heat when it comes to creating content that resonates.

Video marketing has been predicted to “change the game for marketers in 2016” and for good reason, with Cisco predicting up to 80% of all internet traffic will be streaming video content by 2019. 

Creating video content is an easy way for brands to benefit, but it must be said: It’s not foolproof.

Two video campaigns recently captured my attention; the first, a two minute video from global advertising agency TBWA that dives into ongoing gender disparity in the advertising industry and the second, a short clip from Microsoft that focuses on the misrepresentation of gender in the tech space.

But what is it that makes these video campaigns resonate?

Here’s what the industry experts are saying.

Take The Lead


Featuring many of the agency’s own male staff, the ‘Take The Lead’ campaign from TBWA Worldwide delivers a poignant message.

Reading real quotes from their female peers, the campaign challenges men to better understand the personal and professional issues women face in the workplace – using the tagline ‘women’s issues are everyone’s issues.’

“This campaign is not about women ‘needing’ male voices in order to be heard,” says Erica Hoholick, president at TBWA\Media Arts Lab.

“It’s about recognising the need to disrupt the cycle of ‘women, talking to women, about women’ that isn’t working. We have to get both men and women on board and taking real action to create real change.”

As founder of The 3% Conference, a movement that aims to address why only 3% of creative directors are women, Kat Gordon spoke highly of the ‘take the lead’ campaign.

“This [campaign] is a stark way to demonstrate different realities within an agency culture,” she says. “In the wrong hands, it could come across as patronising, but it doesn’t here, which has a lot to do with the way it’s executed,” Gordon adds.

content that resonates
Founder, idea generator, creative director and marketing to women expert, Kat Gordon. Image courtesy of LinkedIn: Kat Gordon.

Veteran video producer, Anthea Godsmark believes creating content that resonates might not be as hard as content marketers seem to think.

Having men speak from a female perspective, the producers of this campaign have used a well-tested technique, Godsmark says. “Juxtaposition compels the viewer to watch more intently to interpret the message through contrasting images,” she added.

Godsmark also acknowledged the use of colour as a significant technical component of the campaign. “Black always evokes a bit of drama as the viewer expects to hear something serious.”

“A single contrasting colour – in this case the faces against a backdrop – creates unity, giving the viewer the impression that these men are standing together for the cause.”

While these well-executed tactics all make for a powerful outcome, Godsmark can pinpoint and attribute the success of the video to one key component: The man with the beard who features roughly one minute into the video.

“The contrast here is piercing. A man who looks and sounds like he should be featuring in an episode of Homeland is speaking to the topic of weakness. It’s brilliant.”

Make What’s Next

According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap in computer science isn’t predicted to close until 2133, in exactly 117 years time. This is the exact issue that Microsoft is addressing in its ‘Make What’s Next’ campaign.

Casting its eye over the lack of gender equality in education around science and technology, the video features a group of girls aged from seven to fifteen, proudly rattling off every inventor they can think of.

“When I look at how we get more women into tech, it’s about education and providing girls with access to people who can talk to them about what it’s like to be in the industry,” says Kiki Wolfkill, executive producer of Microsoft’s Halo games.

The back end of the clip features a montage of female inventors, ending with the tagline ‘not everything is man made.’

content that resonates
Labelled as one of the ten most powerful women in gaming, Kiki Wolfkill is a trail blazer for women in the industry. Image via Twitter: @k_wolfkill.

For According to Godsmark there is no doubt that the video is a remarkable piece of storytelling. “The producer takes the group of girls on a journey, along with viewer,” she says.

“Transitioning from what we know to be true, to new facts, followed by epiphany, the video creates a strong sense of inspiration and excitement for the future.”

But it’s the pace of the final images coupled with names of their female inventors that work together to drive home the message of this video, says Godsmark.

“This is reinforcing the fact that there are many, many unknown women whom we, and our children, know nothing about.

“It pushes the shame button in adults, quickly followed by outrage, which is intended to motivate action in order to enact change for the sake of those to come – whom the girls represent. It’s an incredibly well crafted piece of content.”

Great insights, but how do they apply?

If you want create content that resonates (along with the other 86% of content marketers).

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Here’s what you need to know:

1. Don’t bury the lead

Ten seconds of a snore-worthy introduction, whether it is video or text, just won’t cut it. Communicate the essence of your message clearly and quickly. Spend the rest of your time driving that message home.

2. Utilise multiple channels, well

The ‘Take The Lead’ campaign featured the two-minute video shown above, along with localised fifteen-second clips, physical and digital posters, banners and corresponding social content.

Equally, the ‘Make What’s Next’ campaign featured on broadcast, social and digital platforms across 35 countries.

The message for marketers here is remarkably clear: If you aren’t diversifying your distribution you’re setting yourself up to fail.

Want more? Try this: How to distribute content: It’s all in the delivery

Likewise, don’t expect the same content to work on every platform. Your typical broadcast viewer will almost always be different from your social user.

3. Communicate at a one-to-one level

Forget B2B and B2C. All content first and foremost should be human to human. Tailor right down to the persona. Then ask yourself if your content will resonate with that unique human being.

4. Link to a broader strategy

The ability of marketers to keep the big picture in mind provides a superior customer experience and bolsters brand awareness. Both ‘Take The Lead’ and ‘Make What’s Next’ are components of a larger content strategy that taps into emerging awareness of an issue globally.

‘Make What’s Next’ follows Microsoft’s former campaign of ‘girls do science,’ progressing a well-thought-out narrative of promoting women in the computer science space.

”Take The Lead’ is part of TBWA Worldwide’s 20/20 Project, which aims to increase women in leadership roles across the TBWA network by 20 per cent before the year 2020.

Each of these videos is a brilliant piece of storytelling in its own right whose message is amplified by being connected to an overarching brand narrative.

5. Be authentic, not perfect

Trying too hard to perfect your content will almost always ensure its demise. It’s simple really – we’re not perfect. Not a single one of us. Authenticity is powerful. It’s honest, which makes it appealing.

What content has resonated with you this year? Let me know in the comments section below…


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