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How 6 Industries Got Creative with Their Video Strategy

As a creative agency, we often think that in order to come up with a really creative idea, it has to be something that no one has done before. It needs to be new and original. However, some of the most creative ideas are born out of stolen ones (something a few famous people are credited for saying), so why shouldn’t we apply this to business?

Lucky for you, we scoured the internet to see how different industries are using video in their strategy and found six great ideas worth stealing.

1. A utility company using video to improve customer service

Cell phones bills can be complicated. Between all the fees, additional charges, and multiple phone lines — it’s hard for customers to understand why they’re being charged for certain things which cause customer dissatisfaction. “What the heck are prorated charges?” doesn’t lead to five-star ratings.

To combat this, AT&T launched in-bill videos that provide a customized message to their customers. Once the statement is ready to be viewed, they just click on a link that sends a data request to AT&T’s data center, which sends a tailor-made video for the viewer. This ingenuity of demand-based video (instead of creating all the videos and storing them on their servers in hopes that everyone wants to watch one) is provided by SundaySky.

“Sure,” you say, “people click on the video, but they bail at the ten-second mark just like everyone else. Wouldn’t creating these videos just use up our marketing budget?” According to AT&T, when the campaign first launched, they found their customers were watching 80% of the video. More watching means more educated viewers.

How is this video strategy new and different? The highly personalized content helps the customer feel like they have their own personal assistant. Plus, when you don’t have to call customer service, it’s a winning situation for both parties. Customers are more satisfied and more satisfied customers lead to fewer headaches at the phone center (the reduction in customer service related costs are always great too).

This video strategy also serves the marketing department as a new way to improve branding — with actions being louder than words, AT&T can show that customer care is important to them.

Ideas for creative video strategy: Chat with your customer service department about opportunities to get in front of your customers. Are there common questions they have that could be replaced with a video FAQ page? Are there pain points that could use some extra explanation? Or do they just need to see a smiling face to diffuse the situation? Adding a simple video can help humanize your brand because people don’t’ want to interact with call prompts and buttons. They want to work with other people.

2. Retail using video to educate customers

When people buy refrigerators, stoves, or other big ticket items, they need to know they’re making the right choice, and research is a key component in their customer journey. In our partnership with Lowe’s, we created a buying guide series that they can share with potential customers.

For example, an average person wouldn’t normally watch a video on floor lamps. However, a floor lamp is an affordable way to upgrade a room. After watching the video, the viewer learns that a linen lamp shade allows more light into the room and that a torchiere floor lamp is great for ambient lighting. Before watching the video, the viewer may not know how to solve their low light problem, but afterward, they know how to fix it and where to get it.

Not only does it give customers an idea of what to buy and why (such as an Energy Star water heater to save on energy costs), but it builds on their branding as being a DIY homeowner go-to-store. They want to shop somewhere they know their skills will be respected.

How is this video strategy new and different? Since these videos are nontraditional in the commercial sense, they don’t explicitly tell the viewer they should do their shopping at Lowe’s. They’re educational in nature and this makes it more engaging. Plus it’s a fun way to showcase their products and show that what seems to be a boring floor lamp, actually has a big impact on overall interior design.

Ideas for creative video strategy: Do you have an underdog product that deserves it’s time to shine? Or do you want to educate people more on your products and the best way to use them? Creating a series of video guides and sharing them across multiple channels is a great way to teach your audience, enhance your brand reputation, and build trust.

Wait, here’s another one!

Another example of retail using video to educate is our latest project with PhoneSoap. We could explain what the product does, but we highly recommend watching the video (giggles guaranteed):

The toilet humor is intentional.

Teaching about germs is tough, because if people can’t see it, then it’s not top of mind. Plus, everyone is well aware of germs and reminding them doesn’t actually cause a sense of urgency — so what’s PhoneSoap to do? Skip the scare tactics and make it entertaining to get the message across instead.

How is this video strategy new and different? It embraces the humor (even if it’s a little gross). Funny videos are helpful because they not only get plays and shares, but they value your customer’s knowledge — they know germs are bad, so why scare and act like they don’t know?

Ideas for creative video strategy: Think of ways to have fun with your brand voice. Obviously, toilet humor isn’t for anyone, but even the most serious of companies can play around once in awhile. If you’re worried about going external with a funny video, think of a regular piece of internal communication that could benefit from a video. CEO holiday card video anyone?

3. Government using video for public outreach

If we want to talk about boring industries, we wouldn’t have a problem coming up with a series of blog posts on how Government agencies could use a better video strategy. However, straight out of Georgia (maybe on a midnight train), we found a great example of an Atlanta suburb meshing art with outreach:

The City of Suwanee was experiencing significant growth after being listed as one of the best small communities to live in. With new jobs, new housing demand, and lots of opportunities for development, the city needed to launch a plan to make sure they were keeping up with the needs of their community. The best way to do that is through open houses and forums where people can share what they love and loathe about Suwanee. Attendance to such events is typically low, so they needed something to spur interest.

To just get a little bit meta, the video was projected on a vacant storefront — an issue that the city wanted to address with the public. Bonus, It was located in an area of high foot traffic to ensure extra eyeballs the content.

How is this video strategy new and different? Suwanee’s consultant, Interface Studio, hit the nail on the head. It was relevant because it showcased an issue the city needed to address. It was interesting because it was visually compelling, and sparked people’s natural curiosities which encouraged involvement. And, it was informative because it was partnered with information on the open house. It was new, unexpected, and helped Suwanee look like a city that’s filled with creative problem solvers — something that doesn’t hurt their brand.

Ideas for creative video strategy: It’s all about taking a new approach to old ideas. In this example, the city used something similar to a poster but included motion to draw attention to itself. Do you have ads on bus stops? Can it be digitized and replaced with video content? Can you be more abstract in the content to draw in interest, but provide a way for people to get more information?

4. An art gallery using video to enrich visitor experience

How often have you walked through an art gallery and after an hour or two, you feel you’re no longer appreciating what you see? The Art Institute of Chicago wanted to combat this fondness fatigue so people would stick around longer and enjoy their experiences more. In partnership with Blue Cadet, they turned a room in a gallery into a full-blown interactive experience. With animation, touch screens, motion graphics, and sound, it was a sight to behold.

The Van Gogh’s Bedroom exhibit created a truly immersive experience because it not only made Van Gogh’s art (that is already very vibrant and appealing) multi-sensory but created a precise moment in time. This increased visitor understanding of his work, his state of creativity (or mind), and it’s historical significance.

Visitors left with a stronger understanding of Van Gogh and a greater appreciation for the learning experiences the Art Institute offers.

How is this video strategy new and different? Video is more than just a visual medium, it’s an aid in telling a larger story. The Art Institute could tell everyone why impressionism and Van Gogh’s role in it was a big deal to history till they’re blue in the face, but giving people a space to explore his art in a new way left a bigger impression. Plus, the interactiveness of the exhibit is great for all ages, so even kids get engaged.

Ideas for creative video strategy: Review how you currently do presentations and ask yourself: what will they smell, feel, or hear while taking in this information? Have a PDF white paper on your site? Turn it into a video with music so it leaves a stronger impression. Or, if you have a waiting room, have some iPads with pre-loaded content so visitors have something to keep them busy while they wait.

5. Healthcare using video to make complex information easier to understand

Oscar, a health insurance company that operates in New York, California, and Texas, wanted to simplify healthcare, which means having easier to understand plans. So when you visit the Oscar Plan webpage, you’ll see a video of a smiling face next to each coverage type:

Oscar health

Not only is the partner text straightforward, but for more auditory learners, you can listen to someone explain what Preventative Care is and provide examples of what falls under that coverage type.

Another great plus is with such a large industry (and one often perceived as less personable), this puts a face to the company and a human touch. This builds empathy with the viewers which helps with customer relations — which is big for an industry that deals with sensitive information.

How is this video strategy new and different? How often do you see a video when reviewing your benefits package? Traditionally, healthcare has stuck with print and text on conferring information to their audience, which as many of us know, isn’t always the best way to teach. With a happy face explaining the complex information simply, the viewer feels more informed and at ease with making the big decision on their health insurance.

Ideas for creative video strategy: Do you have any hard-to-digest content on your website? Rethink how you present that information and add some supplementary videos to help clarify. be sure to check out more healthcare video productions here.

And another!

Even though the audience is specific for this particular video, it doesn’t mean that the information provided is easy to understand. Our client, The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) wanted to inform nurses from around the country of a new policy that was both complex and lengthy.

You may or may not have understood much about the topic, but you probably enjoyed watching it right? And, you probably got the sense of why it’s a big deal to that particular audience. That’s why video for internal communications is such a great medium — it’s an easy, enjoyable way to learn about complicated stuff.

How is this video strategy new and different? We often think when we have a lot of information to provide, that we should provide highly detailed reading material. Which is always great for reference, but when it’s your first time hearing about a new policy/regulation/law, you want to hear the most important stuff first and then where to find additional information.

Ideas for creative video strategy: Instead of sending a standard press release, think if the information would be better communicated through video instead. The narrations provide a walk-through of the complexities of a new product, service, or regulation and the visual nature of video helps provide an aid in learning the new information.

6. Finance using video to build trust and confidence

Banking used to be a social activity. When payday rolled around, you would go to your local bank, walk up to the teller, and converse. These days, with direct deposit and mobile banking, financial services institutions have struggled with how to maintain that reputation.

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) had an idea: to use video in their mobile and online banking platforms to retain face-to-face contact with their customers.

“This is one way RBC is continuing to invest in ways to make it easier for its business clients to integrate digital and mobile into their everyday lives while meeting their needs for advice, trust, and confidence in their decisions.”

RBC knew that when their customers felt they were interacting with a real person, they were more inclined to believe that they were receiving trustworthy advice. This improves the likelihood of the customer continuing their banking relationship with RBC. If you were wondering what kind of savings account to open up, wouldn’t you want to hear it from someone with experience?

How is this video strategy new and different? This is another great way to use video as supplementary content and extend the reach of your customer service or client relations department. People are more likely to trust someone that they can see (or feel like they’ve met) which means they’re more likely to remain loyal to your business.

Ideas for creative video strategy: Are there big decision points that your customers have to make such as why and how to invest? Think about areas on your website that customers are faced with a big decision (for example what kind of car they should buy) and if you find there is a high exit rate, maybe a video could offer some comfort.

The Big Takeaway

If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be that video is an opportunity for face-to-face time with your customers on a large scale. It’s an opportunity for them to learn more about you and feel a stronger connection. When a strong connection is felt, a sense of loyalty is earned which is great for overall customer retainment.

Have other ideas of new and innovative ways to use video? Share with us in the comments below or on Twitter.

Itching to learn more about video? Here are other great posts:

How to Use Video Across Your Customer’s Buying Journey

6 Rules for an Effective Video Brainstorm

Analyze This: What You Can Learn From Video Analytics

Written by Sarah Ramler-Olson
Sarah Ramler-Olson is the Marketing Manager for Demo Duck, a Chicago-based video production company. When she’s not writing about marketing tips, she mostly tweeting about ice cream. Follow Demo Duck on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.