Thoughts 10.11.14

Content with Ambition

At Fold7, our guiding principle is ambition. It’s the filter that we apply to everything we do. And it’s with that same thinking that we approach content. For us, content with ambition means using the power of ideas and creativity to create something that audiences care about. This might mean them sharing your content, driving them to purchase or maybe subscribing to your YouTube channel. In all instances content with ambition is content that your audience values. 

A good example of content with ambition is Virgin America’s in-flight safety video. Virgin have taken a familiar flying scenario, one which often struggles to get passengers’ attention and have turned it into a piece of high-energy entertainment. Going back to their musical roots, Virgin serve information to audiences through upbeat song and dance. The ambition to approach in-flight safety in a new, entertaining way, has resulted in the video almost reaching 10 million views. The video has also racked up just over 8,000 comments; some say it’s the best in-flight safety video they’ve seen while others say they’ll now fly with Virgin. The creative spin on the ‘dull’ topic has been delivered in such an engaging way that audiences care about what they’re watching. So much so that they’re sharing it, discussing it and some even reenacting it.

In a similar vein when Skype asked us to create a piece for their ‘Skype in the classroom’ service, we approached the challenge with creative thinking in order to deliver something that audiences would engage with. We took our inspiration from the public information films of the 1950s and combined this with a charming, handcrafted style of animation. Told through a child’s point of view, we transformed the standard Skype experience into something educationally inspiring to drive adoption. Our creative approach and endearing storytelling immersed audiences in the possibilities that the service can provide; leading them to care about the piece of content, and naturally the product. Thousands of education professionals viewed the film via the Skype education site, and it proved to be such a hit that the client commissioned another series of films to explain different aspects of the service. That’s what we call content with ambition.

Aside from content creation, ambition, we believe should also be applied to the delivery of your content. YouTube’s recommended Hero, Hub, Hygiene approach, a holistic video strategy, has been successful in helping brands to grow their channels. Yes scoring a viral video works wonders for brands, but there is not set formula for creating one, as Kevin Allocca, Head of Culture and Trends at YouTube points out in his TED talk: “Amazing content can often sit there unnoticed for months. It’s only when tastemakers pick up on your content and share it with their followers that it often begins to fly.” And so more focus should be on the consistent creation of content with ambition, and implementing a strategy to keep fans coming back.

At the top of the funnel you have the Hero content, the big branded content which happens a few times a year. Think Volvo’s Jean-Claude Van Damme’s epic split video. In the middle is your Hub content. This is regular content, connecting with your audience’s relevant passions and interests; Nike’s #AskZlatan animated series is a good example. Finally there’s your day-to-day Hygiene content designed to connect with what your audience is actively searching for regarding your brand. Check out YouTube stars Sorted Food’s (link) channel for inspiration. Red Bull is a stand out example of a brand following YouTube’s strategy. They create a couple of hero events throughout the year, such as Felix Baumgartner’s fall from space. Their Hub content covers the build-ups to stunts, training and behind the scenes moments and their Hygiene content, the plethora of film and content from different sports, activities and interests, acts as their always-on ‘pull’ content.

Their ambition to deliver frequent and engaging content is why they’re often hailed as a master of content marketing; their video channel has become an entertainment destination in it’s own right. And so we see success derives not only from the creation of content with ambition, but also the manner in which it is delivered. It’s with this ambitious approach that we believe brands can achieve content that audiences will truly care about. As we know, in this busy 21st century, with countless messages being delivered to consumers every day, average just won’t cut it. Content with ambition is simply better content.