In the zeal to create “viral” videos using puppies, puppets, props, and Pow! most companies completely ignore the power of an inherently useful video, perfectly executed.
Recently, global biosciences company Life Technologies (not a business category typically known for its cutting edge YouTube stylings) launched the quintessential useful video that has the best utilization of video annotations I’ve ever seen. The Interactive Selection Guide to Immunoprecipitation is actually 42 short videos chained together via annotations, giving Life customers (working scientists) an easy way to determine which of their products are the best fit for the job.
According to the Oslo-based Andrew Green, Life’s Divisional Lead for Video and Interactive Marketing, the original plan was to create the customary, Web-based product finder. Realizing, however, that online arrays of pull-down menus and such are ultimately devoid of personality (and only passively educational), they decided to build it entirely in video, where they could better anticipate some of the questions customers might have and actively incorporate them.
Mapping the content and determining how the videos would connect and branch was the most difficult part of the project, says Green – who sent along a photo of the wall-sized chart they used to plot it all out. The shoot itself took about 2.5 days, but the planning was key, according to Green:
Like most good content, eighty to ninety percent of the success is based on the prep work.
The video (my new favorite Social FAQ) hasn’t been promoted yet to customers – not even emailed to them. So far, Life wants it to be more of a slow build through organic discovery. For a project like this one, Green says the key metric isn’t views as much as feedback from customers. “Did we have an impact?” is an important question internally.
Music Video From the Lab
For other videos, however, consumption is a foremost goal. Consider Life’s recent (and spectacular) animated music video: “The Ph.Diddy is On the Scene”
81,000 views and counting, and the emerging digital mantra for research Ph.D candidates. Terrific product placement, and understanding of the target audience is on full display with this one.
When interviewing Green for this post, it really struck me how culturally different Life Technologies is compared to your usual, huge ($3.6 billion) biosciences company. Intriguing, engaging videos. 17 Twitter accounts and 17 Facebook pages (and counting). A podcast. Foursquare program. An internal blog. Their own Pandora radio station. That’s a lot of social media for science geeks, all of it nicely organized in a social media hub on their site.
Green says it’s no accident:
Our company – more than any other in life sciences – believes that building interaction and emotional bonds with our customers is important in our ability to understand their needs. And we have a management team that supports it, and systematically embraces and implements social media.
Bravo, Life Technologies. If a global biotech behemoth can use social media to humanize the company and get closer to customers, why can’t everyone?