Brands that want to connect with their purpose need long-form video, the new and effective method can promote socially-conscious beliefs that build deeper engagement with audiences.

  • Video content means brands can form a lasting connection with their audience, as 80% of consumers can recall a video they saw in the last 30 days.
  • By 2022, it is estimated that video will contribute to 82% of all global IP traffic, and by 2021, 84% of internet users will be frequent video watchers.
  • If a brand can create authentic and socially-conscious long-form content that resonates with their audience, they will see the same if not better ROI and engagement as short-form.

“While short messaging will stick in the short term, it’s often less likely to resonate. Long-form can be a sensible antidote to the craze for the ultra-concise. When done well it can shine, providing a deeper level of engagement.” Greg Saunders, founder and creative director at White Label.

In today’s market, businesses are looking for new and different ways to promote their socially-conscious beliefs and practices that align with their audience. An admirable example of this is when the Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, offered free housing to refugees that were not allowed into the US.

The reason why this was so successful is consumers, especially millennials and Gen Z, wholeheartedly support brands that do good - 69% of Gen Z state that they prefer socially conscious brands.

The next step for a brand like Airbnb is to connect this powerful mission with a strong narrative. Film and television remain as possibly one of the most effective narratives at a brands disposal and now documentaries are proving to be the most popular means of promoting these narratives. Nevertheless, although this audience engages highly with socially conscious brands, they also demand authenticity and are not afraid to call out inauthenticity. For example, this was seen with Pepsi’s controversial ad featuring Kendall Jenner.

Focusing on an inauthentic digital ad was the wrong move for Pepsi, but if they had invested the same time and money into a long-form documentary that authentically explored a social issue of their choice, the response would have been very different.

Creating long-form documentaries means that brands can sell them and bring in revenue from there. The added challenge that lies with short pieces of branded content is not only the time restriction to tell a high-quality and authentic story, but there is also less market for them. Brands would effectively be looking for an audience to sell an ad to, which requires essentially paying for likes. This does not earn the same deep engagement that long-form can.

Cadbury - ‘Families Reunited’

In the latest campaign for its Heroes range, Cadburys have released a 22 minute-long film that is the brand’s entrance piece into long-form, original content. This series, ‘Families Reunited’, directed by David Symmons alongside producer, Rob Clifford, shows everyday parents attempting to reconnect with their teen children by throwing themselves into a crash course to understand their child’s hobby.

“It’s a brand often in the home where entertainment is: in the lounge, being shared. So, we thought we could make our own entertainment and find ways to share that with people. The long-form content is one part of an overall media plan. [...] We’re seeing that shift to people streaming content online so it does still fit with the habits that people are displaying already.” Michael Moore, senior brand manager, Mondelez.

The brands that will make a difference and succeed in 2019 are those who do not just lapse into old habits, fighting for a few seconds of a consumer’s attention. The brands that will thrive are those who earn their consumer’s loyalty by building a connection and deeper engagements through long-form content.

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