A Quick Guide to Branding Your Video Content — and Why You Need to Do It
Your brand is more than a fancy logo or an eye-catching design.
According to marketing legend Seth Godin, your brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that drive a consumer to choose your product over everybody else’s. It’s the story you tell with everything you do and create… including your marketing videos.
Conventional wisdom says that all you need to do is create branded videos that are instantly associated with your business. Then, if people like them, they will convert into leads, prospects, and eventually — paying customers.
But it’s not enough. Not anymore, at least.
Like, have you seen how much video content is out there? In the face of all this abundance, only the brands that can cultivate a loyal following with their marketing videos will have the best chance to convert viewers into customers.
And that means you want to treat your video content as a brand in and of itself. To create original, valuable videos that get people coming back, again and again.
Today, we’ll show you how to create a memorable brand identity for your marketing videos. You will learn:
- The first thing to do before you even think about visuals and designs
- How to pick the right tone for your marketing videos
- 3 perfect spots to inject branding into your video content
- Why even cartoony styles can work perfectly for “serious” brands
- How to approach naming your videos in a way that’s instantly memorable
And more. Let’s get started!
Step 1. Understanding your “content landscape”
As we said, branding is about more than designing cool visuals or catchy naming (we’ll get to that fun stuff a little later). It can’t exist separate from your message and your overall strategy.
Or rather, it can — but it really shouldn’t… ya know?
So first, let’s see what the basis of your branding efforts is going to be. For this step, you want to look at the video content you’re producing (or want to produce) and get crystal-clear about 3 things:
- Your target audience, as in: who are you talking to?
- Your content topics, aka: what are you saying?
- Your branding goals, or: why are you saying it?
This will get you thinking about how to tailor your branding to your audience, your message, and your strategy, so it doesn’t just look pretty but helps to grow your business as well.
Now, here’s how you might go about this step…
Let’s say that you create 3 main types of video content for your brand: Q&A videos, how-to videos, and news-type content about your industry. And for the sake of this example, let’s say that you’re a B2B company selling data security and backup services.
Here’s how you might break it down:
Q&A videos: aimed at C-level executives — folks who want to understand how to protect their business without getting too deep into the weeds. Videos focus on general, easily “googleable” questions and answer them with as little tech jargon as possible. The goal is warming up “cold” leads, to earn their trust and build authority.
How-to tutorials: aimed at existing customers. The viewers are people “on the ground” — IT specialists and engineers working at the companies your brand serves. The videos help them solve day-to-day problems on the job and make the most of what your company offers. The goal is to help onboarding (enhancing your primary customer support) and retention.
News-type content: aimed at upper-level management, like the VP of IT — people who shape the company’s data security strategy. Videos keep them updated about the most important news in your industry: new threats, technology breakthroughs, that kind of thing. The goal is to provide value and maintain top-of-mind awareness of your brand.
After you do an inventory of your video content, you might choose to create a single brand “umbrella” for all of it or make “sub-brands” for each distinctive type of video. Either approach is valid.
Step 2. Striking the perfect tone with your video content
So, you’ve clarified who you’re talking to with your video content, what you want to say, and why. Can you guess what’s left?
That’s right! Figuring out how to say it.
Tone is a hugely important part of your branding. And by “tone” we don’t just mean how your video sounds. We mean the way it feels. The overall impression it makes. Or, as kids might say these days (or so we’re told), the “vibe” it gives off.
Viewers might miss your logo or company name, they might forget 99% of what you told them in the video…
…but they will remember the general tone of your content. They’ll remember if it was friendly or formal, jokey or serious, relaxed or urgent, calm or agitated and so on.
Neither is inherently better than the other, by the way! When you’re choosing a tone for your video content, the goal is not to pick the “correct” option, but to figure out if:
- It resonates with your target audience — because you don’t want to talk to a high-powered CEO the same way you would, say, a college student.
- It fits your subject matter — you will want to shift your tone depending on what you talk about. Some topics are inherently serious (death/bankruptcy/divorce etc.), while with others you’ll have a lot more leeway.
Out of these two, the audience factor is more important. You can add humor and personality to almost any topic (unless it’s reeeally weighty) — but you’ll need to gauge if it flies with your viewers or not.
When you’re thinking about the tone of your video content, it’s super-easy to get bogged down in details. So here’s a good exercise you can do…
Write down 3-4 adjectives that reflect the tone you want to convey with your marketing videos. This will help you zero in on exactly how you want your videos to feel.
- “Authoritative. Friendly. Direct.”
- “Hilarious. Helpful. Irreverent.”
- “Knowledgeable. Reassuring. Welcoming.”
It’s a very simple exercise, but it gives you helpful, tangible guidelines to follow when creating branded marketing videos — so refer back to it often!
Step 3. Creating your videos’ unmistakable visual identity
How your videos look is basically just a visual representation of your message and tone.
Your video style is just as responsible for conveying your brand message as the script and the voiceover. That’s why we spent so much time on Steps 1 and 2!
Now, as far as creating the visual identity for your videos, we need to look at 2 elements:
- The general style and aesthetic
- Branding elements in the video
Let’s examine them one by one.
1. The general style/aesthetic
Marketing videos come in lots of different visual styles: live-action, 2D animation, whiteboard, motion graphics, 3D animation, kinetic typography — you name it. All of them have a place in video marketing, and any of these can work for any brand in any industry.
Now, most people think that “cartoony” styles are inherently less credible or less serious — but it’s actually a bit more complicated than that.
You can think about your visual style in terms of two “sliders.”
- Realistic vs. abstract — so live-action style would be the most realistic, and specialized animation (e.g. motion graphics) would be the most abstract.
- Serious vs. playful — within any given style, you can maintain a formal look… or crank up the playfulness and the goofiness to 11!
For example, compare this BMW commercial with this ad by Dollar Shave Club. They’re both live-action, so they’re firmly on the “realistic” end of slider #1. But as far as seriousness/playfulness is concerned, they couldn’t be more different!
And here’s two marketing videos we made: this 100% serious ad and this over-the-top goofy video. They’re both whiteboard animation videos — so, relatively abstract. But one is somber and formal, while the other one is super-playful. And it shines through not just in the tone of the script and narration, but also in the visuals.
So don’t feel like you’re only limited to realistic styles if your branding is serious and formal! If you want more advice on how to make an animated video that aligns with your brand identity, check out this article we wrote.
2. Branding elements in your video
These are the visual cues you insert in your marketing videos to connect them with your brand. They can be very direct, like your company name and logo, or a bit less on the nose, like your company mascot, a particular color scheme, recurring characters or phrases — things like that.
Now, remember: your viewers are watching your videos for the content. They want to be entertained, educated, or helped in some way (ideally all of the above). So you don’t want branding elements to be so dominant in the video that its quality suffers.
Think of them as a trail of breadcrumbs that you leave for customers to discover, as opposed to a flashing neon sign that obscures everything else.
In almost any marketing video, you get 3 solid opportunities to incorporate your branding without sacrificing the content:
- Animated intro — a very short (under 10 seconds) sequence that grabs attention, sets the mood and introduces the brand.
- Title card — a static or animated image that shows the name of the video (or video series) and your company name/logo.
- Outro — a sequence or an image that communicates who made the video, delivers the call to action, or both.
If you want a great example of how to do visual branding, check out Whiteboard Friday by Moz. Moz is a SaaS company, and this is their most popular video series.
They focus on instructional content, so Whiteboard Friday gives off this “fun classroom” vibe. There’s a real whiteboard, plus a presenter teaching you something. Each episode comes with a cool animated intro and a title card (notice how low-key the company name and logo are) — and at the end, a very low-pressure call to action offering a free trial of their SEO tool.
This is a great example of “content-first” branding. Their #1 goal is to create a recognizable, memorable identity for the video series, and use company branding very sparingly.
Step 4. Creating instantly memorable names for your video content
Clear, creative naming will help your videos stand out, be more memorable, and get discovered by more viewers.
Just to be clear, when we say “naming,” we’re talking about a combination of:
- Naming your video content as a body of work — having a name for your video blog, YouTube channel, or any other place you host your videos makes it more recognizable and memorable.
- Naming your video series — if you do regular videos on the same topic, giving them a catchy name and branding them as a show (or shows) will help with promotion, brand recognition, and building a loyal audience.
- Naming individual videos — along with your thumbnail, your video title is responsible for drawing people in and getting them to click Play, which makes it hugely important.
Here’s how you can approach naming at each of these levels:
For your video “library” as a whole, you want to choose a straightforward name that reflects what you do and why. For example, video hosting company Wistia puts all their content under “Wistia Learning Center” — very simple, but still more memorable than just “Videos.”
For a specific video show or series, you can get pretty much as creative as you want with your naming. The key here is being memorable and recognizable. Can we give you a geeky but fun example? Well, we’re doing it anyway!
There’s a popular live streaming show called Critical Role, where a cast of voice actors play Dungeons & Dragons together. They also have a regular interview series where they talk to well-known D&D players. And that one is called “Between the Sheets” — as in, sheets where you write down information about their in-game characters. It’s simple, instantly memorable, and punny (you know we can’t resist a good pun!).
As for individual videos, you want to stick to informative, value-driven titles for those — and add your brand name at the end. To learn more about how to write attention-grabbing video titles and headlines, check out this post.
Let us help you create branded marketing videos that convert
You can build a remarkable, influential brand with video marketing. If you want to create engaging, delightful, valuable, and high-converting videos, we’d love to help.
Here at The Draw Shop, we employ world-class copywriters and storytellers who can discover the core of your message and make it resonate powerfully with your target audience. And then our skilled artists and voice actors will bring it to life with eye-popping visuals and persuasive narration.
To get started, all you need to do is book a free video marketing strategy session with one of our experts — you can do it just below: