In a world that is more connected than ever, word-of-mouth has become the most effective form of advertising in the world. So, how do you tap into it? How can you get people talking and, hopefully, talking positively? It’s done by building true and genuine connections with people through engaging content that isn’t just trying to sell products and dig into their wallets. It’s done through Brand Affinity marketing.
What is Brand Affinity
So, you're probably asking yourself: what is Brand Affinity?
Brand Affinity, by definition, is a level of trust between the consumer and a business and the belief that they both share common values and ideals. It’s a connection between a brand and a person built with time and through high-quality content.
Developing Brand Affinity
For a long time, people thought the best way to build Brand Affinity was to continuously slap people over the face with their logo and advertisements until they recognized their logo and products. This is not the case.
While it’s true that everyone now recognizes the Geico Gecko or Flo from Progressive, these campaigns that truly strike a chord are few and far between. For every Budweiser “Wassup” there are a million ads that go ignored and still cost a king's ransom to produce.
The number of impressions is not the number of people impressed.
People don’t always want to be sold to and everybody is sick of seeing ads everywhere they look. In a word-of-mouth driven landscape, annoying the public with ad bombardments can have negative effects. Instead, let them come to you by providing them with engaging, insightful, “binge-worthy” content like podcasts, books, a blog series, or a long-form video series. Go out of your way to personally engage with your audience.
The Steps Toward Brand Affinity
To learn more about Brand Affinity Marketing check out Wistia’s Playbook
1. Finding a Niche
First, find out who you’re making this content for which will, in turn, make it easier to spread the word about your series. Find out what makes them go, what they’re interested in and what you can provide to them that will pique their interest. This should be a narrowed down “sub-culture” so that you can dig underneath the surface of their desires, motivations, and interests. This will allow you to find the exact type of person who fits the goals of your brand and your new series.
For help, Wistia recommends this helpful formula to help you find a series idea:
“We connect with people who [audience], but [insight], by [theme].”
In this case, your audience is who you want to connect with, your insight is the problem they may be facing (that you can help solve) or something that they aren’t getting/learning currently but want to, and your theme becomes the core of your series and how you tackle it in your series.
2. Creating great content
The next step in the process is to think through all of the creative decisions that will lead you to what will become your new series. Think about things like the size of your budget, deciding on a format, writing scripts, finding talent, and building a set or choosing a location. These are all parts that make up the whole and should all be consistent with the branding of the show.
3. Market like a media company
Speaking of branding, the way you market and distribute your content is one of the biggest factors of its future success. The gist of this is that you want to drive your audience and the people you reach through your marketing to a central location to consume the content. For a media company, like Netflix, it’s about bringing them to a website to sell a subscription or to sell more ads. For you, it’s about bringing them into a place where you have their attention and can capture as much engagement as possible because, as mentioned before, Brand Affinity Marketing is about spending time with your audience to build that connection.
Brand Affinity Marketing is about using your outreach resources to bring people to you and your content. Social media is one of your most powerful tools because not only will you directly reach your followers, but there are opportunities to get to everyone else, as well. Use social media, and YouTube, to promote teasers and hype up your show with the goal being to bring them back to your show’s home base.
The first step in creating that central location is to make a home for your series and, like any home, you want it to be inviting so your guests feel at home and want to stay. Make it easy to go from one video to the next and keep people engaged. Like Netflix, your goal is to bring them into a distraction-free environment and keep them there to consume your binge-worthy content and potentially engage further through opt-in forms for notifications and the latest news on your shows and business.
4. Measuring resonance
That’s all well and good, but we live in a data-driven world and you’re probably wondering how you can prove that Brand Awareness Marketing is working. Here are some key metrics to monitor:
Brand Search Impressions: Keep an eye out for the search volume for keywords related to your brand and series. This is a definitive showing of the effectiveness of your content in increasing awareness and viewership numbers.
Time Watched: As said before, the time spent with your customer is the best way to measure if people are being touched by your content. Your goal with Brand Affinity Marketing is to connect with them and it’s a telltale sign that you are if they’re spending a lot of time with you through your content.
Subscribers: This is another number that will show if people are enjoying what you’re serving up. If they’re willing to give you an email address to receive updates and notifications then it’s very likely that they love what you’re doing.
Learn more about how to start your own episodic video series and begin to build brand affinity with your audience by checking out our guide.