Three Best Practices for Branded Video in 2016

What Brands Can Learn from the Success of 'Zen Baby Zen'

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2016 must be the year of content marketing if you pay attention to the top 10 predictions by leading market analysts and advertising trade publications. Brand marketers are expected to double down on their investments in content, and in particular, video content -- with the expectation that branded content, if done right, will generate greater consumer attention and engagement than tradition pre-roll or display ads.

Take, for instance, a recent campaign launched by Sam's Club behind its Member's Mark Comfort Care diapers and wipes store brand. The brand was relaunched with significant product improvements and a complete redesign of the packaging and marketing program to support the launch. The online video ad campaign for Comfort Care, known as "Zen Baby Zen," debuted on December 11 with a million views in the first 24 hours and has since generated over 8 million views, 15,000 social shares and interactions, and rave reviews by leading mommy bloggers, including the Hot Mom's Club that boasts over 2.5 million subscribers.

More importantly, Comfort Care now dominates share of attention in the baby diaper category with a dominant share of digital viewership against its much larger competitors, just a month into the campaign.

In all frankness, a success of this magnitude is relatively rare in the industry. According to Visible Measures' tracking of video content from over 4,000 North American brands, barely 2% of the content that brands produce and upload on their captive channels receive over 1,000 views. No wonder the question frequently asked by senior marketers is, "What is the ROI for the content investment?"

Given the overall noise in the market, it is no longer enough to stuff a brand's website or its YouTube channel or its Facebook page with a lot of content. Getting it viewed is equally challenging, and without a critical mass of targeted viewership, the investment in content becomes moot and not justifiable economically.

So, what made "Zen Baby Zen" a success? Three things:

1. Entertaining and share-worthy content

  • As owners of a challenger brand with a limited media budget, Comfort Care avoided the clich├ęd choice of highlighting simply the product benefits and features. Instead, it approached the medium by focusing on what would make consumers watch, share and talk about with others.
  • The brand capitalized on creative insights on moms from historical video viewing behaviors and zeroed in on babies, novelty factor, never-been-seen-before, and funny.
  • The brand focused on a single, key differentiator -- soft silk-spun liner and empowered the creative team with full liberty to produce entertaining content. This is a clear departure from traditional diaper ads that are more serious and focus more on the emotional relationships between the parent and the baby.

2. Opt-in media offering consumer choice

  • Comfort Care avoided the temptation to run forced pre-roll views. The video ad was placed in opt-in custom environments across the web in places where its audience is most likely to watch and share the content -- strategically marketing to millennial moms who are more likely to engage with branded content than average females.
  • The brand used a balance of captive, social and open web environments and optimized across all consumer touchpoints with a single partner for the full campaign flight to drive optimal efficiency and effectiveness.
  • This type of balanced media investment across multiple, cross-screen touchpoints also drives optimal earned or organic viewership through both consumer sharing and press coverage .

3. Pursuit of share of attention as the core KPI

  • Comfort Care placed the greatest importance on share of attention -- a measure of opt-in viewership relative to other players in the category. "Leading the share of attention in the baby care category has been our primary goal. We needed to take a strategic approach that would spike consumer engagement with the brand in the first few weeks of launch," said Casey McLeod, baby care buyer at Sam's Club.
  • The launch of the "Zen Baby Zen" campaign raised the brand's share of attention (accounting for both paid and earned/organic views) from 5% to over 50% within the baby diaper category.

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