Storytelling in commercials: A look at nonliteral branding videos

Once Upon a Time

commercial wk2 collage

Brands use storytelling to engage and connect on an emotional level with audiences.  The following three commercials are analyzed with regard to its emotional appeal of consumers’ wants, needs, and desires while also informing consumers about the brands’ products or services.

The art of storytelling is a powerful tool to intrigue, engage, and connect emotionally with audiences.  At its core, marketing is storytelling.  In branding, especially in the branding video, marketers are the storytellers and their job is to turn the audience into heroes (Reed College of Media, 2015).  Simplifying a brand comes down to three key words which describes the brand position that “is the guiding principle for the entire marketing effort” (O’Keefe, 2007).  With the regard to the commercials analyzed below, each brand’s story “approaches a brand positioning statement, capturing the ‘what we’re about’ or ‘what we want people to know about us’ in as few words as…

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INTEGRATE 2015: Speaker Profile – Rod Brooks


To make sure that you have the best experience at INTEGRATE 2015, I will be profiling a few of the speakers as part of a multi-part blog series.

Rod Brooks

Rod Brooks, V.P. & Chief Marketing Officer – PEMCO Insurance, is the first speaker on the list. In an email interview, Rod answered a question I presented to him about digital strategy. His answer below is a great preview of the caliber of marketing wisdom he will be sharing when he takes the stage at INTEGRATE.

Rod – On social media you posted the following Forrester quote: “74% of business executives say their company has a digital strategy, but only 15% believe their company has the skills and capabilities to execute.” This is a very scary statistic! Of the 15% minority, what skills and capabilities do you view as being important to their success? Would having an integrated marketing skill set be a plus?

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Email Marketing Is NOT Dead!

email marketingWith so many unique and innovative ways to communicate with consumers, some brands have questioned whether ‘old-fashioned’ email marketing is still a viable tool to reach audiences effectively. Is email marketing dead? Just ask Google. Research indicates that approximately 191.4 billion emails are sent and received each day worldwide, but does this equate to a successful ROI (Return on Investment)? Absolutely! Despite repeated pronouncements of its demise, quality sales opportunities and leads can be generated through email marketing, as long as you’re doing it right.

So how do you create a successful email marketing campaign? Follow these tips to improve efficiency and ensure you are optimizing email marketing effectively.

8 Tips to Creating a Successful Email Marketing Campaignemail marketing2

  • Your subject headline must be compelling and enticing so that readers will want to open your email
  • Create interesting and engaging content to grab the reader’s attention
  • Optimize emails for viewing on multiple platforms, including mobile, desktop, and web mail
  • Have an eye-catching design, but don’t overdo it with images. Too many graphics will sound off the spam alerts (So much for all of that work you just created.) *Facepalm*
  • Establish a preference center where users can adjust their email options
  • Provide discounts, offers, or special promotions for consumers
  • Proofread…proofreed….proofread <— enough said!
  • Include a call-to-action on every email. What do you want the reader to do? Forward the email, make a purchase or donate, opt-in, or something else? Decide your CTA first before creating your campaign.

What’s In It for Me?

Still not convinced that email marketing is right for your brand? Email marketing has been proven effective for millions of brands across the world.  In fact, an estimated 68% of brands consider email marketing as an effective way to communicate with consumers. Furthermore, the average return on email marketing investments is equivalent to approximately $44 for every dollar spent. With 91% of consumers checking their email at least once per day, incorporating email marketing into your strategic plan is a no brainer. Master the perfect email cocktail by incorporating the tips above and adding your own secret ingredients for success.


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Your Message in Motion: The Power of Video Advertising

attention span

We live in a world with constant change and short attention spans thanks to technology, social media, and busy schedules. In fact, while writing this blog post I checked my social media sites, watched a movie, stared off into outer space, read some emails, and checked social media again. I know I’m not alone in my behavior pattern; you’ve probably done the same thing day in and day out. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. In 2000, the average attention span of the modern consumer was 12 seconds, and now in 2014 it’s down to a mere 8 seconds. The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds. How’s that for comparison? Needless to say, it is beyond imperative that you’re able to communicate quickly with your audience.

With leading video marketing platforms including YouTube, Vine, Instagram, Snapchat and Vimeo, marketers can leverage short video advertisements to help generate leads, engage customers, and humanize their message(s) to appeal to a larger audience. Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but well-produced and creative videos can be worth a lot of dollars. *Cha-Ching*

promote video

Which Platform Is Right For Your Brand?

Every brand and its messaging are vastly different so it really depends on which video-sharing platform fits your goals and budget. To help you weed through the process, here is a breakdown of each platform.



  • Video length is a standard maximum of 15-minutes; but you can extend to unlimited. However, you don’t want to go over three minutes for video advertising
  • Helps boost SEO. Read more about increasing your brand’s SEO efforts
  • Large, massive audience of potential consumers who are looking at your brand
  • No charge to use the video app



  • 10-second limit
  • Like Instagram, Snapchat videos cannot created from a desktop computer
  • Ability to create unique offers (discounts, specials, promos) for VIP consumer
  • No charge to use the video app


  •  Like YouTube, the length of your Vimeo video can be as long as you would like, but you don’t want to go over three minutes for video advertising
  • Although affordable, brands must pay to host videos that promote products/services
  • No advertisements are played on your Vimeo video (bonus!)



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What Does Your Digital Footprint Say About You?

What happens online…stays online! Although your online activity appears to be seeminglywhat-happens-online-stays-online private, it is near impossible to achieve total privacy. Every website or digital platform you visit leaves behind a trail (footprint) of data and personal information. Think of it as a trail of bread crumbs that navigates directly to you. This data is transmitted from emails that you send, various social media platforms, company websites, blogs, and any information you submit online. Every status update published on Facebook, every Tweet posted on Twitter, every Pin pinned on Pinterest and every photo shared on Instagram contributes to your digital footprint. The more time that an individual or brand spends on social networking websites, the larger your digital footprint will be. Just because you hit that delete button does not mean that the data was permanently deleted.  So do you know what your online activity say about you?

How Does Your Digital Footprint Affect You?

Only 3% of people perform a search on themselves regularly, and almost three-quarters have only searched for themselves once or twice. It is imperative for your reputation, and perhaps subconscious, to ensure that you know what is being said about you or a brand as well as what you’ve said put out there for the world to see about yourself. If you’re not careful, your actions on the Internet can speak on your behalf well before you’ve even met a potential college admissions counselor, employer, manager, client, or customer. Often times clients have been lost or people have missed a job opportunity due to a poor digital footprint. To build a digital footprint that really helps to positively influence people’s opinions about you or your business, all online activity should be strategically aligned.

7 Suggestions To Help Ensure Positive Digital Footprint


  1. Be authentic in everything you do online
  2. Make sure your actions and content are credible and trustworthy
  3. Regularly perform an Internet search to see what has been published about you or your brand
  4. Create social media accounts and make sure the profiles are accurate, maintained, and up-to-date
  5. Make sure your privacy settings are set to private, unless you’re a public brand
  6. Avoid sharing overly personal or confidential information online
  7. Follow the Golden Rule: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all
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Increase Your Rank: Using SEO to Optimize Your Website

SEO marketing

With most things in life, many of us often strive to be the best we can be, and as the saying goes,“if you’re not first, you’re last.” This mentality is not only practiced by individuals, but the majority of companies often lead by this example, especially when it concerns website traffic.

When using a website to promote products and/or services, it’s important that the efforts to maximize a company’s Internet presence are executed to its full potential. From Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to and AOL, there are a variety of search engines that consumers use to research products and services. The higher a website appears in Internet search results, the more likely potential consumers will visit your page. So, how do you reach the top, or at least the first page of search results? SEO, of course!

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process of getting web traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.  SEO allows a larger number of consumers to locate a company’s website, providing both the consumer and the company with the results they are looking for on the web. To gain a better understanding of SEO, check out the 3-minute SEO overview video below.

Where to Start

First and foremost, it is essential to have great web content. Not just content that was CONTENT highlighted in greenthrown together for the sake of getting a website up and running, but unique content that will interest consumers and make your company stand out in the sea of competitors. Then, a great place to begin concentrating SEO efforts should take place before the website is built. Although SEO can be added following the website development, it is much easier to create a foundation based on an SEO-ready platform.

SEO Strategies

With Google alone, there are 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. These statistics alone are proof of why you need an SEO strategy. Strategies to consider include the following:

  • Develop quality content
  • Have an easy-to-navigate website
  • Optimize links with strong keywords
  • Add keywords to meta tags and meta descriptions
  • Review analytics and reporting to see where improvements can be made

Ready, set, SEO!

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Generating Buzz With Visual Content Marketing


Just 10 to 15 years ago we would have never imagined that traditional marketing would be old news…just like yesterday’s stale newspaper that’s currently collecting dust on your front doorstep. Today, we’ve catapulted into a digital world where the majority of content and media efforts are executed online via the Web and social media. Nowadays, it’s practically impossible to avoid marketing messages online. Are you marketing online? Most likely you’re nodding in agreement, and if you’re not then it’s time to get your creative juices flowing and crank out some powerful, out-of-the-box visual content marketing! So long to the days where text alone will engage consumer’s attention! Visuals are so intriguing that an estimated 40% of consumers will be more likely to respond to a marketing message that contains visual information rather than plain text.


Defining Visual Content Marketing

Visual content marketing provides valuable information, but what exactly is visual content marketing?

Visual content marketing gathers the different forms of content marketing based on visual elements.

 Examples of Visual Content Marketing

  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Memes
  • Animations
  • Presentations
  • Photographs
  • GIFs

Advantages of Visual Content Marketing

In today’s digital environment, timing and relevancy are critical factors of a well-planned IMG_0295visual content marketing strategy. Likewise, it is even more important that content is delivered at the right time to the right audience. Consumers are becoming increasingly immune to marketing and advertising messages, especially those that are not relevant to their wants and needs. Mis-marketed content leads some consumers to develop an unfavorable attitude toward the company or take some kind of action to limit the messaging.

Willy-Wonka-on-visual-content-marketingVisual content marketing helps increase engagement and brand awareness as well as affords a company the ability to amplify its revenue and overall sales growth. Visual content also plays a significant role on social media. Attractive content on social media tends to be easier to digest and more share-able. The more eyes on your product, the more likely they consumers are to visit your website and make purchases!

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