viral marketing, content marketing, video production
by Rory Donahoe August 15, 2012

ThoughtLab Viral Marketing

Market
Watch the video here.

Wasatch Advisors, a Salt Lake City based money management firm with over 15 billion dollars of Assets under management came to ThoughtLab to investigate what the best path to create increased brand awareness through social media might be. Wasatch was in the process of launching many new fund products mainly focused on international or frontier markets and wanted to insure that personal and institutional clients had a better sense of what was going on at Wasatch. After diligently researching Wasatch and its' culture, brand systems and strategies what ThoughtLab and its' team recommended was a laser focused approach on one through one social medium. This would allow Wasatch to allocate the company’s marketing resources more effectively by not spreading the company too thin across a wide range of different networks- something that did not mesh Wasatch and its' efficient culture. The creation of a highly unique to the industry "On The Road" video for the for the newly formed frontier fund also allowed Wasatch to show the grassroots nature of the investing that is the company's focus. By showing the Wasatch research team traveling (coach) and really digging into a huge number of companies in person, in countries as far away as Pakistan and Bangladesh, one not only gets a sense of what one of these trips must be like (read: exhausting) but also, a real sense of the due diligence and analysis that goes into a Wasatch Funds product.

Recently there has been a downright onslaught of videos being released by companies online for marketing purposes through YouTube and Vimeo (a HD only streaming site). Many companies marketing departments and leadership teams are struggling to wrap their collective grasps on how to best utilize this quickly evolving medium. There are a seemingly endless amount of strategies, choices, effects, animations, fonts, editing and designs that could go into any online marketing campaign. So how can you, your company and your revenues most benefit from a viral video campaign? That is a tough question- one that could have a wide variety of solutions, depending on your business vertical, culture and brand. Not to worry-here at ThoughtLab we have recently launched many social campaigns with great results and would be happy to lend out guidance or assistance!

There are a few basic rules that any successful video marketing campaign should play by-most importantly is that if you or your company is going to do anything with video online, be it a simple link to a YouTube video for sales staff to email or a full blown channel that you generate the concept, design and the content for do not just stick a toe in the water as they say- you must be all in or it is probably best to focus those resources elsewhere. The reason for this is obvious to see- the transparency of the internet has caused companies to, sometimes painfully (ouch!), be forced to open up their doors, cultures and values to all of us more than ever before. When any company releases content online rest assured that there will be someone somewhere with something to say about it! This is why it is of the utmost important that even if you or your company only releases one single piece of content make sure that it is one very professionally done piece of content and keep in mind that it is probably best to release many of these in the beginning at once. With the vastly varied tastes, perspectives and cultures of people online in the United Sates alone that way you give your business the best chance of grabbing the attention of the hyper activity attention disordered internet audience. A good example of this can be evident for anyone who has ever begun the process of setting up a FaceBook page and more importantly engaging your company’s’ social audience. This is due to the fact that when you launch a FaceBook page your page displays within the companies timeline feature, which always begins from the day you launch the page; a company that may have been in business for 58 years can seem like it was launched only yesterday (or even worse stuck in the past)! This can lead to serious questions about the virility and trustworthiness of businesses online today- especially by ultra-important iGeneration.

The second rule that should me followed is that when conducting any kind of social media campaign is that there must be someone whose responsibility it is to spearhead and manage the entire campaign. Now, a social media camapign- be it a FaceBook page, Twitter following, YouTube Channel or any other site can be a project where 90 % is handled by an in house staff team or member, with a professional interactive design house only contributing the most crucial calls to action within the design or can be 100% outsourced to a professional company with a desired set of results, timelines and deliverables. The most important thing to remember when making decisions on any social advertising campaign is really about your company’s’ bandwidth to handle such any such project (basically how many socially savvy members are on your team and how much time can they commit?). Again keep in mind that it is better to do nothing than to do something socially that is spare or filled with only a small amount of content. In fact, many of our current clients here at ThoughtLab had previously traveled down the social media road alone with unremarkable results in the best cases and brand damaging as the worst. In general perhaps the single best way to approach a problem with social media online is to consult the most avid users of the stuff.

The other vital point that anyone involved with a social media campaign, especially those that are video or image rich (most of them!), should keep in mind is that the quality of the imagery or video should always be formatted to be saved in the highest available format- meaning highest resolution available on the camera or download. Yes, this will produce larger source files and eat up lots of memory but is well worth the hassle. This is due to a variety of reasons, most importantly is, that when editing any content to produce a final product having the largest source files possible gives the editor a much wider variety of effects and tricks to use at his or her disposal thus creating a higher quality finished product. The other reason is that poorly formatted footage or imagery can lead to choppy, granular or pixelated playback which, in most cases, will reflect poorly on your company (even YouTube is in HD now!).

One recent social video campaign that ThoughtLab launched for a well-known mutual fund illustrates these points beautifully. Wasatch Funds, a research driven family of no load mutual funds, head quartered in Salt Lake City wanted to begin the process of building a social presence and audience among its to most vitals fund investors- financial advisors and individual investors. Wasatch has been around for 37 years with a strong focus on a grass roots type of worldwide investing- meaning boots on the ground, traveling the world to meet with thousands of companies to provide diligent analysis on potential investments. The last thing the team over at Wasatch wanted to do was convey a message of newness, lack of depth or unawareness to veteran financial advisors or investors. Knowing this, and with the brutal nature of the money management business in mind, ThoughtLab recommended selecting only one social medium, YouTube, and going after the project full bore with a release that included a minimum of 5 pieces of professionally developed content; that would be engaging not only for the buttoned up financial advisor but also approachable for the average investor.

Needless to say, the WasatchFundsTV YouTube Channel was launched last week and is off to a wonderful start with, the story being picked up in the Wall Street Journal, by the Yahoo Financial Page, over 2,000 unique video views and pending interviews for a few well known financial newspapers ! Kudos to the team here at ThoughtLab lead by interactive Art Director Rick Dias, Editor Rory Donahoe, and Design Intern Hardy Stewart for an overall excellent job on this project .

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