Netflix's global reach has assumed unprecedented levels.Yet, for a channel with incredibly high engagement, reach and retention, it's surprising that widespread brand-sponsored content has yet to breach the platform.
What do I mean by this? Well, as marketers, we're always looking for clever ways to cut through the noise. Advertisements on public transportation, billboards, TV commercials, internet pop-ups and the like are all intended to resonate with consumers and motivate people to purchase a service or product.
These approaches all have their benefits, but none are quite like what Netflix can offer. Imagine this: a brand-sponsored documentary takes a traditionally "dull" industry like insurance and flips the stereotype on its head. Insurance brand X finds out where the interesting stories are beneath the corporate façade. It follows the lives of a few employees as they traverse work, life and the human challenges that we all face and relate to.
Suddenly, you're no longer writing an article titled the "5 Reasons Why Our Insurance Company is the Best." You're creating high quality, unique content that engages with your target audience and brings a smile to their faces.
The RedBull Effect
RedBull has done this to stunning effect. Their brand-sponsored extreme sports shows don't attempt to sell you products, or worse, reel off a list of mundane reasons why their energy drinks are the best.
RedBull lets the human mind use the power of association to connect the excitement, exhilaration and thrill of their content to what their product stands for.
How to Create "Netflix-worthy" Content
Content marketing has clearly become the ubiquitous norm.
Brands like NatWest and Virgin have created their own content hubs, while bloggers, YouTube Vloggers, independent agencies and LinkedIn "gurus" all contribute daily posts that add to the burgeoning cluster of online content. Amidst this proliferation of "stuff," it can be very tricky to create content that actually connects with your desired audience.
Here are three practical tips to help you stand out, rise above the muck and create "Netflix-worthy" content:
1. Your standards are too low.
No, I'm not talking about dating. In an age where consumers have access to incredible, engaging, free content at the click of a button, you need to start where it matters the most: by raising your standards.
Quality is key. Think about the effort, time, thought and money that are put into a Netflix show. Upwards of 1,000 scripts are rejected by senior Hollywood producers before one script is earmarked for investment. Even then, some ideas never make it past the pilot.
Ask yourself the tough questions: Am I really contributing anything new? Does my content actually add value to my customers' lives?
If you can't answer "yes" to those basic questions, it's time to re-assess your standards. Churning out the same, boring content week-after-week just to look busy is a sure-fire way to failure.
2. Commit to understanding your audience.
If you're an Insurance company that targets 40-60 year olds, don't lead with content that lists the benefits of your insurance for 40-60 year olds. Yawn!
Ask those same 40-60 year olds what the care about! It's that simple. What gets them up in the morning? What keeps them awake at night? Cultivating a deep understanding of your audience will allow you to craft interesting angles that tap into your audience's interests, likes and motivations. When you enhance human emotion, you'll receive a reciprocal interest.
3. Champion your brand legends.
Don't operate in silos. The stories that will inspire and enchant consumers are staring at you right now - your employees! The next time you're at the coffee machine, ask someone when they went above and beyond to deliver an exceptional experience for a customer. These are your brand legends and they are indispensable.
UPS produced a video that simply blows the viewer away. Four-year-old Carson developed a friendship with his UPS driver, Mr. Ernie, when he began receiving shipments of special milk. His dream was to be a UPS driver for the day, so, guess what? UPS made it happen.
In a little over two minutes, UPS tugs on our emotional heartstrings and makes us feel real human empathy. No selling, no bragging. Just simple human affection.
The result? Nearly four million YouTube views and an array of media attention. It's a perfect demonstration of how to create inspiring content when you champion your own brand legends.