This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
How to resist copycat content – and start standing out

6 ways to uncover brilliant video content ideas for your brand

People involved.

Marketers think that they love creativity. They think they value brand differentiation. But you know what, when it comes to the crunch, the reality is most marketers churn out the same kind of mediocre video content as their competition. Yes, it might look ‘nice’, and might tick a box, but is it really making their brand stand out?  Research by the University of Pennsylvania suggests that we’re not merely lacking in creative ideas, we’re actively resisting them.

The 2012 study found that when facing uncertainty, even people who initially aimed for creativity, were likely to either reject or fail to recognise it. And why you ask? Creative thinking is by nature novel, and creative ideas can feel like they carry a number of risks. From failure to social rejection - they don’t feel like the most pragmatic or shortest route to success. But that’s the paradox. Its far more risky to choose the ‘safe’ idea that’s been done before. Because those ideas are far less likely to generate the results a brand wants from video content.

Before we get to those tips, let’s quickly try and understand why this happens

Differentiate or die

‘We want one like that”

We’ve heard this before. From marketers who come to their agencies loaded with prefabricated concepts for videos, often based on what a competitor has just published. In ‘Differentiate or Die’ , Jack Trout points out the dizzying proliferation of choices in modern life and the subsequent challenge to brands to achieve cut through. To this point, while bold creative can be risky - a greater risk to growth and longevity is to fall into obscurity through bland content. Marketing offers one of the most reliable and cost effective ways to build differentiation, so why not?!

Organisational barriers

Some organisations encourage experimentation, while others stifle innovation through a culture of blame and shame. With this in mind, it is not a surprise that many marketers worry more about internal perceptions than the experience of their target audiences; generic creative can go un-noticed but producing something distinctive places them firmly in the firing line. In contexts like this, it takes a huge amount of courage and ambition to risk anything out of the ordinary.

Unconscious barriers

As mentioned earlier, the University of Pennsylvania found that participants struggled to objectively evaluate the value in creative ideas. Rather than being attracted to their novelty, creative ideas triggered feelings of discomfort and uncertainty and most were likely to reject them. Participants were also quick to associate creativity with negative words such as ‘poison’ and ‘agony’ - although they hadn’t previously recognised or articulated these associations.

On that note, how can we learn to say YES to creative ideas?

1 - Make bold the norm.

Make it your mission to stay in touch with creative from outside your brand category, set your sights high! Regularly sharing examples will help to reframe perceptions of boldness - and make braver choices feel less daunting.

2 - Don’t expect love at first sight
As we have now learned, it is good bear in mind that your mind’s first reaction might be to reject the new when reviewing creative work - so distrust you immediate response! Instead of feeling obliged to provide immediate feedback to the creative team, give yourself the permission to sleep on it.

3 - Limit stakeholder input

Ask yourself, who are the most important stakeholders? When evaluating a marketing automation platform or analysing a media plan, you wouldn’t expect everyone to weigh in without a full understanding of requirements, so why do they get to vote on creative routes? They don’t have your marketing expertise, so back yourself to make decisions.

4 - You are not your target audience

Now this is critical. Your response to a creative concept is unlikely to reflect the experience of your viewers, so try to disconnect from your personal tastes and preferences when it is time to review one. And even more imperative - encourage stakeholders to do the same.

5 - Quantify the cost of business as usual

What are the risks/costs of not differentiating your brand? Marketers tend to focus on purely on the risks associated with bold creative, yet the mostly likely downside is a polarised response and a hefty batch of snide comments. From an engagement and recall perspective, this might actually be better for your business than the low engagement you’ll get from churning out ‘same old same old’.

6 - Trust your agency

If you work with specialists in creative content, treat them as an ally! Make the most of their expertise and to encourage them to explore new territory by letting them know you’re receptive to bold creative ideas – hopefully they’ll rise to the challenge! It can also be helpful to remember that the final execution will have a staggering impact on the tone, as well as the overall effectiveness of the content (so don’t get hung up on that first cut). Understand their vision and trust their judgement.

Imagine being in the room when Cadbury decided to spend millions of pounds promoting a video of a gorilla playing a drum kit! Or how about being at Compare The Market and advocating a campaign centred on a dodgy pun about meerkats!? We can’t know for definite whether a creative idea will be a hit, so don’t fall into the trap of taking it too seriously.

Like what you see?

Get in touch.