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Ekstasy is a Creative Agency helping brave marketeers and brands conceptualise and produce engaging content and interactive experiences globally

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Why Brands Should Go Long on Long-Form Video Content.

Credit:© Universal/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock Serving short-form video ads and not producing long-form content to complement it is like offering a starter but skipping the mains. I invite you to look at video slightly differently going into 2019. Instead of it just being a short and snappy (6 – 15 – 30 secs or 1 min) ad / info tool, treat it as a storytelling medium where your brand for the first time could turn itself into a real publisher. Try Long-Form videos. You ask – How can I make my 6 secs videos / ads grab the attention of my viewers? Sorry that is a difficult battle to win most times. A/B testing is the best tool for that but what after that? What happens when they have seen your 6 secs to 1 min video ads and then your CTA guided them to a landing page to lead capture or give them more product info or sell your product. Is that where your brand video experience ends? The viewers now are more demanding than ever, whether you are selling software or ice-cream. I define long-form as videos that are longer than 2 mins and ideally are in the form of a series. Four benefits of adopting a Long-Form content Strategy:  Most Important: Differentiate your brand  by giving your long-form content a unique voice. With short-form ads and videos you are fighting a very brief visual battle with your competitors. With long-form you can tell a compelling story and get your audience to engage with what your product and brand stands for. Leaving a lasting impression, which is super important for brand recall. Build long term trust with your customers. Educate, Inspire and Inform them across the awareness, consideration and conversion stages of the funnel. Create short-form ads / videos from the long-form content for free.  Yes you heard that right! You can edit a number of mini trailers from the long-form content and A/B test them across multiple social platforms. This way you will have a perfect narrative flow between the ads and the actual content. And the ads will still be leading users to a landing page but this time they also get access to tons of long-form content that they showed interest in by clicking on the short-form teasers. Your long-form videos might get preference over short-form videos on both Facebook and Google, who have openly come out in support of long-form content to give them a boost and hence, more credibility. Three tips to build your first long-form video content:  Look at creating a series of a minimum of 3-10 videos with each video being a minimum of 2 to 5 mins long, if not longer or have one film longer than 10 mins.  Have a key theme / message across all the videos. Don’t try and do too many things with the series. Decide at messaging and scripting stage what objective do you want to achieve with this series and how you plan to activate them on social.  Some examples of brands using long-form content: HP: The Wolf – True Alpha Christian Slater, Jonathan Banks and Betty Adewole star in this epic, global hunt about the dangers of cyber threats from HP Studios and director Lance Acord. Most brands will not have the appetite to spend mega bucks on something like The Wolf, hence, some more realistic examples below. RS Components: For the Inspired An incredible series of videos focusing on inspiration and engineering passion across the community and how lives are being changed by the determination of normal people using RS products. GE: In the Wild Series To educate their audience on how GE powers everything from cities to jet engines, GE created a series titled “Into the Wild”, consisting of 11 videos. The series follows former Mythbuster Adam Savage as he endeavours to understand the mechanics behind GE’s many products and services. Through expert interviews, animations, and easy to understand explanations, Adam (and the audience) learn just how GE helps power the world. Laphroaig Whisky: One Whisky, Many Opinions, 3.5 Hour Filibuster Okay so they took my idea of long-form very seriously and produced a 3.5 hr long video. A half decent execution which makes me chuckle at times and kept me hooked for several minutes in parts if not hours. BMW – The Escape Back to a block-buster example. A modern homage to BMW Film’s 15th Anniversary, Clive Owen returns as a mysterious driver for hire, delivering a human clone to a mysterious buyer. Besides the celebrity costs, it is increasingly becoming more cost effective to produce high quality films. Patagonia: Worn Wear: a Film About the Stories We Wear In “Worn Wear,” Patagonia shares the story of several Patagonia customers and the stories of their clothes. Ranging from 11 to 30+ years old, each vignette features a well-loved, well-worn Patagonia item and the experiences the clothes have held. Patagonia’s message is clear throughout the film, saying, “The most responsible thing you can do is buy used clothes.” Vox – Explained  Every episode is a roughly 15-minute dive into a topic that drives our lives or our world. For example the first three episodes cover DNA editing, monogamy, and the racial wealth gap. You can watch the series on Netflix. IBM: Watson at Work The length of each video is less than 1 min but as it is a series of 7 videos “Watson at Work ” it is engaging to watch applications of IBM Watson across various sectors such as security, healthcare, energy, golf, etc. Go long on long-form and help your brand marketing cut through the noise.

The beginning of the beginning for digital marketing. Is Augmented & Virtual reality the future?

Digital marketing continues to innovate and move at the same pace as the consumer, actively if not almost competitively. Standing out from the crowd to get noticed has become increasingly aggressive over the last few years. Hello search engine optimisation, hello social media and now hello the ever-popular video content. Video remains the popular method for marketers to create and distribute content to engage with their target audience. Video is the main disruptor for marketers and YouTube and Facebook videos are the 2 most popular distribution channels according to Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2017 report. It is easy to see why online video content is popular, YouTube has over a billion users whilst 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter . Online video content has proven effective in how brands are currently reaching their audience, 87% of marketers now use online video to target their audience. Everybody is doing it. It is the current trend. However, today’s consumers are always on a look out for fresh exciting content to stay engaged and marketers have now found technology as an effective tool to reach their target audience. Augmented Reality remains popular as AR technology spending jumped from $6.6 billion in 2016 to $12.6 in 2017. AR/VR technologies are also projected to reach $215 billion in spending by 2021. So, what are the reasons for brands to spend on AR/VR? Consumer behaviour is changing, with so many marketing messages being sent to the consumer through emails, smartphone and social media. It is easy for the consumer to totally ignore your messages or even be automatically opted out, even more so with the new GDPR regulations. Brand experiences can break through the barriers by enabling the consumer to get involved with the product, provide an interactive experience and tap into the emotions of the consumer. Co-founder of Immersive Futures Victor Riparbelli suggested that VR is also capable of generating far more empathy in its viewers than any other medium. AR/VR marketing is emotion driven and builds a foundation of empathy for the consumer which is believed to be an evolving behaviour with the consumer. A 2017 Nielsen study found that 84% of VR viewers demonstrated brand recall, compared with only 53% of those who viewed standard video advertising. Virtual reality had helped Greenpeace charity double their sign up by letting festival attendees try on a VR headset as part of a drive to improve engagement. Paula Radley , the Face-to-Face Operations Manager at Greenpeace told Civil Society Media, The success is a combination of VR video, the decoration of the exhibition area and the opportunity for a potential donor to sit down with a fundraiser, which resulted in double the sign ups. Ikea’s well-known use of Augmented Reality has also showed signs that this is the future of consumer engagement. AR has been used by Ikea to let customers preview how furniture looks on their devices before they buy, eliminating any potential mistakes and increase online sales. Which according to Ikea was an area the retailer was struggling with due to rapid changes of digital media. According to company reports, the app was downloaded 8.5 million times , Ikea have reported an increase in online sales which highlight the engagement potential where AR/VR technology has been implemented. It can be argued that AR/VR is the origin of Future Computing. We are currently going through a seismic shift in technology. Only time will tell how far AR/VR can go. Would we see the first ever AR/VR film in the comfort of our homes? And will there be AR/VR adverts in public areas rather than posters and billboards? As far as we know AR/VR technology continues to rise and is now being implemented by brands which has added an exciting new dimension to digital marketing. Immersive technology is currently in its infancy, however, many brave marketeers are experimenting and incorporating AR/VR into their marketing plans. Many large brands such as McDonalds , Velux and Samsung are taking advantage of the new trend which enforces the idea that AR/VR is the future of digital marketing. Here’s what Brent Hall , Marketing Consultant, formerly Global Director of Digital Marketing at Nokia, has to say about it. I’ve led the creation of VR apps and experiences, from a VR app showcasing videos made with Nokia’s OZO camera (RIP) to a shoppable 360 VR experience showing the future of e-commerce and more. It’s important to note that we’re still in the infancy days of AR / VR, this is the time to test, experiment, and prepare for the tipping point. If you’re expecting ROI in dollars and cents, that’ll be a challenge. But if you’re committed to being an innovator, wait no more. The best way to connect with your audience currently is to tap into their emotions, VR/AR technology enables you to do so. Whilst it is still in its infancy, large brands have been quick to utilise this technology. It is only a matter of time before AR/VR technology is used by all marketeers as the ease of use increases and the cost of production decreases. Writer – Tobi Bolanle , AR / VR Partnership Manager @ Ekstasy