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Standout video campaigns from 2020 (and what small businesses can learn from them)

8 minute read

Monique Holtman

It was all but impossible to ignore video marketing in 2020. Every other social media post consisted of a video, reel, TikTok dance or Instagram TV. Even Google has pushed video to the top of their search results pages.

It’s hardly surprising everyone has jumped on the bandwagon when 84% of consumers say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service simply because they watched a brand’s video. What’s more, 66% of people say they prefer to watch a video rather than read about a product and 54% want to see more of this type of content in 2021.

Perhaps the most mind-blowing statistic of them all is that YouTube reaches more 18-49-year-olds in an average week than all the TV networks combined.

If you’re already reaching for the camera, why not get some inspiration from these standout video campaigns from 2020?

Standout video marketing examples from 2020

Looking at other people’s successes is a great way to learn how to get video marketing right. Below are some standout campaigns from 2020 and what you can learn from them.

1. The AA – love that feeling?

Coronavirus has certainly brought about new challenges for businesses. Many took the opportunity to mix up their marketing activities and reach out to consumers in different ways.

Back in July, the AA launched a new campaign on their social media channels to coincide with the UK coming out of its first lockdown. In the video, the brand’s new mascot, Tukker the puppet dog was seen in his living room reminiscing about driving around in the car.

After more than three months of being inside and with lockdown restrictions beginning to relax, this was something the public really resonated with. The video achieved the highest engagement of any campaign the AA has run previously, and it also led to a 74% increase in positive engagement for the brand.

On Facebook alone, the video has had nearly seven million views with a further 1.1 million on YouTube.

What made the video successful?

As I mentioned earlier, the public really resonated with the campaign. Comments on their Facebook page include ‘so relatable,’ ‘my dog relates to this advert’ and ‘made me smile and feel good during these dark times.’ Tukker was such a hit that the AA has gone on to produce a soft toy which they send out to customers.

What can small businesses learn from the AA?

Many businesses were left wondering if there’s any point investing in video marketing in 2020. As we begin 2021 in another lockdown, the AA has proved that there’s always a way. Coronavirus hasn’t made it impossible for brands to market their products or services, they just need to find their angle.

It’s also a good reminder that even if your industry is in a slump, you should never stop your marketing efforts. Find out what your customers have been struggling with since the outbreak of coronavirus, how you can relate this to your brand and what you can do to make consumers lives easier during these difficult times.

Another important message to take from this campaign is that even if your industry is struggling at the moment, it might very well come back. With everyone told to stay at home back in March, the roads were empty. This will have had a big impact on the AA because with nobody on the road, there were no callouts to attend to. Once lockdown began to be lifted however, people were out and about once again. Don’t stop advertising, even during quiet times because you need to keep your customers engaged so they remember you when they need you again.

2. Tesco – some little helps for safer shopping

While supermarkets certainly didn’t need to do much to get customers through their doors in 2020, Tesco was crowned Marketing Week’s Brand of the Year thanks to their customer-first approach.

In March, the supermarket launched a campaign highlighting the social distancing measures it was taking to keep shoppers and employees safe amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

As well as providing reassurance to the general public, it proved to be a marketing sensation. According to data from market research company, Kantar, the campaign boosted short-term sales and the long-term desirability of the brand, scoring the highest mark possible for brand memorability.

The video has also received 4.2 million views on Facebook and 2.7 million on Twitter.

What made the video successful? 

Tesco identified what people were worried about at the time – is it safe to be in a supermarket? Something as simple as doing the weekly shop suddenly turned into quite a worrying experience for many.

With home delivery slots near on impossible to secure, consumers had no choice but to venture out for food supplies. The video does well to reassure customers that they can stay safe by following the highlighted protocols. People’s fears and concerns were addressed and by showing the customer journey from beginning to end, it was very easy for people to relate to.

What can small businesses learn from Tesco?

When we think of big brand marketing, we imagine glitz, glamour and big budgets. Tesco has reminded us all that video marketing doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. This was a simple, low-budget campaign which was shot on a two-day turnaround. It was filmed in one of their stores and they used real employees. Even with no music, actors or fancy gimmicks, the video was still a resounding success.

At the moment you may even have to produce content at home. Customers are understanding about this and have even come to expect it. If you are working from home, find a quiet area and try to film against a plain backdrop so viewers aren’t distracted by your photos and ornaments. If you want to add some branding, why not add some temporary wall stickers with your logo? This will also help to make your videos look a bit more professional.

Another reason Tesco succeeded with this campaign is because it was informative and instructional which meant people found it helpful. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain with your campaigns, it helps you stand out and you may just resonate with people more than your competitors. Find out what your customers are concerned about and use the opportunity to address this and highlight how you can resolve any issues.

By using real employees, Tesco also gave consumers greater insight into the brand and what they stand for. Showcase the people who work for you – customers want to know who they’re working with. If you’re stuck for ideas, here are some great examples of how you can use your employees for video content.

  • Let them talk about their role and what they do for the business
  • If a certain employee is an expert in a particular field, encourage them to talk about this
  • If it’s always you in videos, try to mix things up by letting other members of staff be the star. They could for example carry out product demonstrations

Another great lesson for small businesses is to use video to demonstrate products or services. Tesco re-enacted a shopping trip from start to finish which made the message very easy to remember. If they had simply issued a list of guidelines, it’s unlikely it would have been as effective.

3. HubSpot – INBOUND2020

As COVID-19 had a devastating impact on businesses and economies all over the world, HubSpot published a video showing organisations how they can survive this challenging time.

‘How companies can thrive in the new normal’ was launched as part of HubSpot’s virtual Inbound 2020 event in September. An informative piece with plenty of helpful tips and advice, it went down a storm on their Facebook page.

With nearly 85,000 views and a string of positive comments, it remains one of the most watched videos on the platform.

What made the video successful? 

HubSpot identified that businesses are struggling and found a way to reach out to them. They offered advice which promised to help organisations survive and even thrive under the current conditions.

By linking it to their virtual event, it meant that they could promote the video to all their attendees – ensuring more people saw it. Giving the campaign an extra boost, they also created their very own hashtag, #inbound2020 so people could easily share their content and find others who were doing the same.

What small businesses can learn from HubSpot

Video is a great way to create a buzz around an event or product launch. You can give viewers a little teaser of what they can expect and even create a series of videos as the big day approaches.

You really don’t need a big budget or expensive equipment to do this either. Utilise the story feature on social media platforms. This involves filming a 15-second clip and can include anything from unveiling or showing off a product to you simply saying hello to your followers or giving them a quick update about your products or services. Simply film this on your smartphone and upload directly to social media – providing you already have a camera phone, this won’t cost you a penny.

Don’t forget to create a unique hashtag for your business or event – this makes it easier for people to find you and customers can also use it when posting their own content.

While we’re used to seeing short videos that sometimes last just a few seconds, HubSpot reminds us that there is a place for long-form content too. Despite being nearly 50 minutes long, ‘how companies can thrive in the new normal’ was still a huge success. How-to and instructional videos remain one of the most popular formats and as long as your speakers are engaging and your content is providing value, people will watch to the end. If you are creating content this long, remember to break it up so people stay engaged. Use different presenters, add music and if you’re talking about a new product for example, provide a demonstration of how it works. 

4. Intrepid Travel – Be Together 

Travel companies have been among some of the worst hit businesses since the outbreak of coronavirus. With everyone being told to stay at home and all but essential travel banned for most of 2020, the last 12 months have certainly been challenging for the industry.

While travel companies can’t encourage people to jump on a plane right now, they can remind them that one day, adventures will be back on the menu. This is exactly what Intrepid Travel has done with this emotive campaign.

The video clearly resonated with Intrepid’s followers because it has been one of their most successful social media campaigns. On Facebook it has racked up more than 45,000 views, 600 likes and 200 comments including great feedback such as “I love this, it’s so optimistic. I can’t wait to explore somewhere new with you Intrepid.” It has also accumulated more than 13,000 views on Instagram and nearly 6,000 on YouTube.

What made the video successful? 

The campaign really plays on people’s emotions. It shows compassion and understanding for what has been a difficult situation for everyone. They’ve been realistic in their approach, yet optimistic at the same time.

They also share clips of happy memories of travelling so people can reminisce while starting to think about where they might go once travel is allowed again.

Emotion can be a very powerful tool when it comes to video marketing. It helps to build a connection with viewers which will ultimately, help convert them into paying customers. We’re also far more likely to continue watching a video if we’ve formed an emotional attachment to it.

Another great thing the campaign does is encourage people to look out for each other. They also emphasise the importance of staying home now so that one day we can all be together again. They often use the word ‘we’ which really helps to get the message across that everyone is in this together.

What small businesses can learn from Intrepid

A sure-fire way to enjoy successful video campaigns is to use them to form a bond with your viewers. Some tips for strengthening your bond with customers include:

  • Treat them as people
  • Keep campaigns simple – don’t confuse them with jargon or bombard them with too much information. Have one key message and focus on this
  • Always be honest. Intrepid clearly states that we can’t travel now and instead encourages people to be kind and compassionate
  • Listen to what your customers have to say. What are their problems? What do they need you to help them with? Really taking the time to understand their pain points will build a loyalty that could last forever

Another key takeaway from this campaign is to remember that it’s the small details that can make or break a video. You may think that you need fancy gimmicks and plenty of action shots, but think about what made Intrepid’s video so emotive.

The tone of voice was kind and gentle, the music was soft and quite emotional, the language used was all about togetherness and there was a real focus on clips of people reliving memories. None of these aspects require an expert videographer or an expensive budget so it’s something even the smallest businesses can incorporate into their campaigns.

If these video marketing examples have inspired you to get creative, here are some helpful guides which will help you produce fantastic content for your brand.

After completing her degree in Journalism, Monique began her career at a digital marketing agency. It was here she discovered a passion for online marketing with a particular focus on content creation for the web. Six years ago Monique set up her own copywriting business, Copyworks Group, which specialises in creating content for websites, blogs, newsletters and social media pages.

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