019: (Video) Branding Matters
The podcast dedicated to giving you a no-bullshit look at what it takes to build relationships through video. This is for the scared, the overwhelmed, the awkward as fuck, and all those who believe diy doesn't have to mean amateur but don't know where to start ...
Welcome to the Video Matters podcast.
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Tors is a television professional, who studied all aspects of television production before launching her career spanning almost a decade. She's worked with a BAFTA nominated production team, has her own entry on imdb.com, and has even walked the red carpet several (terrifying) times.
She's had chips thrown at her by David Tennant (it was an accident, he's got terrible aim), she's interviewed some amazing actresses, and she attended the cast and crew screening of Empire Strikes Back at the grand old age of four.
Now she lives in south Wales with a large dog and a small cat, where she uses the knowledge she gained in her television years and beyond, to help online biz owners step in front of the camera and connect with their audience.
In This Episode
Today I wanted to chat about something that I’ve sort of touched on … from a sideways on sort of perspective admittedly, but it’s something that I think you should be thinking about: branding.
"Just like your branding for your website, video branding is about the personality you portray through your business - or the personality of your business - and how you want people to feel about it." - Tors Grantham on #videomatterspodcast
"You can knock together something you may think looks good, but the impact it creates may not be what you’re after." - Tors Grantham on #videomatterspodcast
"If you have something that doesn’t quite work on screen you’re allowed to tweak it so it works. The trick here is tweak, not make it something completely unrecognisable from the original brand." - Tors Grantham on #videomatterspodcast
"When writing isn’t your strong point, it’s easy to create a brand voice that’s different to the voice you use on camera, mostly because the voice you use on camera is less formal & much more you." - Tors Grantham on #videomatterspodcast
Let’s start with the obvious first question: what is video branding anyway?
Well, just like the branding for your website, video branding is the look and feel of the public facing stuff you’re making. This includes things like your fonts and your colours and your logo, which is what a lot of people think about when you mention branding, but it’s also so much more than that.
Just like your branding for your website, video branding is also about the personality you portray through your business - or another way of putting it, the personality of your business - and how you want people to feel when they interact with you and your business. That feel part is important, by the way, especially around video.
Why is feeling, and by extension branding, important?
I think it comes down to consistency - in order for everything you create to be recognisably yours, it needs to have consistency. That consistency comes out of the fonts and the colours and the logo, but that feel part makes a big difference too. And, pro tip, there’s a big difference between stuff you like and stuff that’s on-brand.
It also comes down to creating an impact that’s intentional. You can knock together something you may think looks good, but the impact it creates may not be what you’re after. For example, if you’re a slightly cheeky brit with heaps of irreverence, creating a brand with gold foil accents and lots of marble isn’t going to create a consistent impact. There’s going to be dissonance between the words and personality, and the imagery and the feeling these things create. Dissonance is bad because typically we experience dissonance when people are lying, we know something’s not right and it makes us feel off. That dissonance may not be strong enough to make us think there’s deception going on, but that uncomfortable feeling of something not right sure doesn’t lend itself to a great relationship with our audience.
You want to be making sure you’re saying what you mean to be saying. It’s all too easy to accidentally be saying something else because we’ve chosen something we like, rather than something that intentionally creates a specific experience when combined with the other elements that make up our brand.
Hopefully that part all makes sense.
Video branding is exactly the same, it should be an extension of the branding for your website, and should make your content instantly recognisable as yours. Where possible you should be using the same elements that you’re using everywhere else you’re putting stuff, so the same colours, fonts, graphics and logos. But where video differs is that you may need to tweak some stuff.
Sometimes, the colours we choose for our branding don’t work so well on screen, ditto with fonts. Do you go through an entire re-brand, or do you find something similar that gives the same feel as the originals? Well, door number two is honestly the easier route here, but door number one has been known to be taken. I’m still waiting for brand specialists to start building brands with video guidelines and deliverables included, because wouldn’t that make life easier?
So, if you have something that doesn’t quite work on screen, yes, you’re totally allowed to tweak it so it works. The trick here is tweak, not make it into something completely new and different so it’s unrecognisable from the original brand. There is only one time when you’d do this, and that’s if you’re creating a new brand for your videos that’s separate from your business brand. That new brand may operate under your original brand, in which case it should have elements that are similar so they look related, or it may be entirely separate and never the twain shall meet. Otherwise, it should all be the same, regardless of where you put it.
Know what else should be the same regardless?
This is a big part of how stuff you’re putting all over the internet can still look, feel and sound like you, and it’s possibly the one part that can really highlight when you’re not using your natural voice, or the voice of your brand - because those two things aren’t always quite the same.
Up until video became the behemoth it did, it was easy to create a voice that wasn’t quite yours … or yours at all. Mimicry is easy in written format, as is crafting something that’s not quite you. When writing isn’t your strong point, it’s very easy to come across as more formal than you intend, and if that’s you, you may have created a brand voice that’s different to the voice you use on camera, mostly because the voice you use on camera is much more you.
Speaking in a voice that’s not yours is a little more difficult and, yes, nerves can impact that, but generally you’re going to speak like you much more than you will write like you. And that’s a problem.
Let’s say someone watches one of your videos, where you’re a hip, laid back, cool cat that’s awesome, because I’m sure you are. And, sshhhh, I know no one really says hip any more but just go with it.
So you’re a hip, laid back, cool cat making awesome video content that your audience loves. They’re eating that shit up, and when they’ve watched all the videos you have, they click through to your website.
Because it doesn’t sound like you. Or it doesn’t look like your videos.
What do you think they do then?
Do you think they’ll sign up for your newsletter?
Do you think they’ll buy from you?
Or rather, do you think all of them will? Because let’s face it, there’s some people out there who go with their gut an awful lot more than the rest of us and they’ll be all over what you make regardless, although they may be a little wary.
And do you really want people to feel wary when they’re signing up for your emails? Because that doesn’t bode well for your open rate, right?
That feel thing, see, it’s important.
Okay, so next question would probably be, what sort of stuff makes up video branding? Y’know, beyond the fonts and the colours and the logo.
Well I’m so glad you asked!
Video branding includes things like that name and social media thingy that slides out on screen when you introduce yourself. That’s usually called a lower third, typically, because it’s in the lower third of the screen. Some of these pro names are weird, some not so much.
There’s your titles, if you have them. There’s your endboard, how your logo appears and disappears. There’s stuff like how, when and why text appears on screen. Ooh, the transitions you use between clips and I’m totally going to have to do a blog post on those for you because some of those say things you may not mean. I mention this briefly towards the end of episode 3, so you may want to go back and check that out for more info on what the spork I’m talking about, but right now I want to stick with the branding examples not the why.
Speaking of, biggie of all biggies, there’s your audio.
This can be music and sound effects. Oh yeah, you can use sound effects. One of my favourites was a ting sound I added to Caitlin Bacher’s videos when I was editing for her last year. Every time text of a specific sort popped on screen I added a little ting sound effect. Caitlin’s brand is bold, colourful and fun, so it was perfect for this little sound effect and it made such a difference to the feel of the text and the video overall.
And here I want to reiterate something I said earlier, video branding isn’t about stuff you like, it’s about stuff that looks and feels like your brand.
My friend Maggie is a great example of this, she’s a digital strategist and if you haven’t checked out her website you really should because she's awesome at what she does, I’ll put the link in the shownotes over at torsg.co19. Her brand is fantasy based, her logo is a kick arse unicorn based logo but probably nothing like you’re picturing. Maggie’s also a big fan of heavy metal … or was it hard rock, I can’t remember now (sorry Maggie!) but when she was trying to figure out what music to use on her videos she was looking for music she liked instead of music that felt like her brand and how she wanted people to feel about her brand.
Luckily, I talked her out of that decision.
Because can you imagine the clash between a fantasy brand and heavy metal music? These two things don’t create the same feelings in us, and that would’ve meant her videos wouldn’t be as effective because dissonance.
When it comes to music you have two choices, and only two choices if you want your videos to be as pro as poss:
- choose music that makes you feel like your brand
- choose music that makes people feel the way you want them to feel about your brand/content
So, quick example here because they sound like the same thing but there is a subtle difference ... in my head.
Ideally your music choice should be the same on all your videos, unless you’re vlogging, because consistency. So door number one is often easier in that respect. But if you are changing up your music, you daredevil you, then then go with door number two, you can create each piece of content to have its own emotional impact and that's actually quite powerful and works really really well for vlogging. So, think about how you want people to feel about your content and then choose one of those two options, you’ll thank me for it (chocolate cake is always a good way to express your gratitude, I’m just saying).
In case I haven’t made it clear why these two rules are important, it’s because your business and your brand aren’t actually about you. It’s about how you make your audience feel, and music is fucking amazing at making people feel stuff. I can’t keep my face from watering whenever I hear powerful orchestras giving it their all, and I know I’m not alone in that. Music is emotion, and it’s what makes video so atmospheric. Ever tried watching a horror movie without the sound? Very different experience, let me tell you … but awesome if, like me, you’re easily scared.
So now you know why video branding matters, hopefully you’ll go out there and create on-brand videos that act like an extension of your main brand and create awesome stuff. Before I sign off, I want to take a quick moment to tell you about the monthly classes I’m running, where you can watch live for free. Yep, that’s right, free! I’m doing classes on all the things, performance, mindset, filming, editing and, whaddya know, there’s an upcoming class on video branding! If you’d like to learn more, or sign up for a free live class, head over to torsg.co/classes to get the deets.