Welcome to the golden age of documentary.
In case you haven’t noticed, documentaries are revolutionizing marketing and reaching audiences like never before. The medium is a powerful content marketing tool for every digital strategy toolkit.
Documentaries are more popular than they were even three years ago. A recent HotDocs audience study found 87% of Canadian paid for documentary content in the past year. Fifty-five percent watch more documentaries than 3 years ago, and all respondents would watch more if more were available.
The study found 53% percent of Facebook users have posted, liked, or shared information about a documentary. Ninety-three percent have discussed a documentary they’ve watched with friends or family.
Documentaries can spark a real conversation. They have the power to cut through the noise. For brands, sponsored documentaries are also a way to reach new audiences. Audiences aren’t easily accessible in other ways.
Church’s Chicken recently produced a series of videos about the World’s Fastest Drummers. You might be wondering what chicken has to do with drumming? Well, drumsticks. The Church’s drumming series allowed the company to get in front of a younger, 18-to-35 male demographic that it struggled to reach with traditional advertising.
Many brands are investing in documentary projects. Stella Artois, Airbnb, and Apple have all seen the value of producing documentaries or partnering on productions. In some cases, brands fund documentary films that see wider distribution at film festivals or networks. Some have even won top awards and the Cannes Lions and Cannes Film Festival, such as the Johnson & Johnson AIDS documentary.
Here are a few branding videos your brand needs now:
The Compelling Story
Brands that struggle to be relevant and interesting can use documentary storytelling to create compelling content. Fixadent, the denture adhesive brand, told the story of Aslan. The rare white lion who lived in a wildlife sanctuary needed dental surgery after losing a few teeth. Fixadent sponsored his procedure and created the documentary “Saving Aslan.”
The Customer Testimonial
Patagonia does an amazing job featuring customers in their digital content. The Worn Well Campaign features Patagonia customers talking about the gear they have bought, and how it has served them over the years through their different adventures.
The Social Campaign
Branded video allows companies to tackle serious issues and communicate their values. Stella Artois partnered with water.org to create the Buy a Lady a Drink Campaign. They commissioned an award-winning director from National Geographic to illustrate the impact of the water crisis on communities around the world, particularly focusing on women.
The good news is, documentary videos don’t need to be expensive. Production costs have dropped significantly in recent years. Some crews can create high-quality, low-budget short films with a DSLR for as little as a couple of thousand dollars.
When hiring an agency or videographer to shoot your video, look for a personality fit rather than experience in your industry or an impressive portfolio. Make sure the person you’re considering is friendly, professional, and listens to your goals. Above all, they should have a strategy for how video can help you reach your goals and increase brand awareness.