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When things are happening in the world, every brand and major corporation wants to be a part of it. Not only because it shows that they’re interested in more than just selling product, but because it can sometimes offer a streamlined path to publicity if executed correctly. Using timeliness as a gateway to publicity isn’t a bad thing, in fact many experts believe that you’re a fool if you pass up the opportunity. However, that doesn’t mean you should be quick to jump on the bandwagon every time news breaks around the world.
These events can take various different forms. Many are planned, like sporting events, holidays and anniversaries, while others are spontaneous, like the death of a major music icon or politician. Either way, the steps you take as a brand can go one of two ways: towards an endless shower of positive social and earned media engagement; or towards a fiery pit of doom and negative backlash. It’s important to take appropriate steps to determine whether or not your brand has something to add, and why it could sometimes be better to keep quiet.
Brand engagements can come in many different shapes and forms. Some are basic tweets, Facebook posts or even full-on publicity stunts to help refocus attention from a major news story back to them at a fraction of the cost.
However, when events are planned, brands have more time to strategize and create higher quality content to coincide with current events. This is where we see a lot of branded content come into play, as an apparel brand could play off of the timeliness of a sporting event to generate more “hits” than it may have if it ran the campaign at a different point during the year. These campaigns often contain video elements, which is what makes it an area of interest for us.
Here are three things you need to keep in mind when developing timely video content for your brand:

1) Purpose

It doesn’t matter how good your campaign is, or how good your product is. Your brand needs to have a purpose, and it needs to be relevant to the event happening in the world. Many brands miss this very important step and find themselves in hot water when they act on a whim. If you’re going to be part of a conversation, especially on social media, you should have a purpose, otherwise you risk earning a distasteful reputation which can be hard to recover from.

This recently occurred with the death of Prince, where many brands thought they had a place in honouring his life and work, when in reality, they had nothing to do with his life whatsoever. Being respectful is one thing, but if your content is obviously intrusive you’re going to run into trouble. Brands should be aware that people aren’t scared to say what they mean through the safety of social media, and this very instance should be evidence to steer clear of conversations you simply don’t belong in.

2) Relevance

Heavily related to the point above, all branded content needs to be relevant. Regardless of which conversation you’re joining in on, your brand has to be relevant to the discussion. Having something to add is one thing, but if you’re a supplier of baby apparel, you’re going to have a tough time trying to be relevant in the conversation of a world sporting event.
These boundaries can sometimes be the key to developing more engaging and creative content, but it’s important to know when to draw the line. When a viewer sees your content, you want their reaction to be something along the lines of: “oh, cool, I didn’t know x brand was doing x.”
The last thing you want is for a viewer to question your relevance: “how does this make sense? X brand doesn’t have anything to do with x… I don’t get it.” Many marketers and advertisers will agree that some of the most engaging content ever created was unexpected and approaches a topic from an angle that a viewer hadn’t thought of before. Let me assure you, that finding a new, innovative way to get people thinking about your product is very different from forcibly entering a conversation that is simply not aligned with your brand or values.

3) Emotion

We’ve mentioned emotion before when discussing branded content, but when it’s being pushed out to coincide with a particular news story or world event, it should pull on a few heart strings. Brands have done a much better job as of late creating advertisements that create more of an emotional connection with their viewers, but they must be careful to avoid becoming just another voice In the crowd.
As expected, many brands have adapted their strategies to create an emotional connection with their audience. However, a potential problem looms on the horizon. Many of these brands are drawing on the same emotion, and have attempted to incorporate stories of individuals who have faced and overcome diversity to get to where they are now. While it certainly makes for a compelling story, it’s hard to differentiate between brands because of the overlap.
In order to create timely and memorable branded content, don’t be scared to incorporate several different emotions and pull on a different heart string to help your brand stand out from the crowd.
Follow Signature Video Group on social media and start your video conversation here.

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Chris Stasiuk

Author Chris Stasiuk

Chris is commercial director and founder of SVG, a Toronto based video content agency.

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