Show Pilots: Is Your Brand Capable of Being a Media Network?

Customers are looking past brand feature/function and want a brand experience.

Recently I attended Colorado Ad Day on the CU Boulder campus. Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer for Vayner Media, presented his thoughts on creating and producing branded content. Steve is an advocate of producing “show approach pilots” much the same way that networks produce episode pilots to measure audience engagement and interest.

Mobile marketing, mobile video

As I listened to Steve’s presentation, I began to recall the early days of television when shows would be solely sponsored by one or two brands. These brands would pay for the production cost for the program and receive prominent product and commercial placement throughout the show, including having the show named for the brand (Texaco Star Theater, The Colgate Comedy Hour, etc.).

These early brand sponsorships accomplished two important business objectives:

  1. Keep the competition at bay
  2. Associate brand with hit shows and celebrity endorsement (earliest form of sponsored product placement).

Fast forward this idea into today’s fragmented media environment, and this idea presents an avenue to tap into your customer base through mobile marketing using social network channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others.

Brand authenticity, promise and alignment

Today’s consumers are jaded and skeptical of advertising. Not only is it harder for brands to stand out, it’s also harder to reach customers due to media channel fragmentation.

Using the concept of show pilots would allow the brand to produce and test a variety of concepts and immediately determine customers’ interest and brand stickiness based on social media acceptance and actions.

These pilots could be short experience pieces closely aligned with the brand’s core values and produced by small creator teams that would write, film, edit, and publish digital content in a matter of hours or days.

Contribution to revenue generation

Tying the show pilot approach back to revenue generation would require an action by the viewer, such as viewing more shows or performing some type of measurable conversion action, such as downloading, signing up, purchasing online, or visiting the store. I believe this approach has strong possibilities for businesses, especially those involved in travel, recreation, and power sports.

Improving online sales and providing authentic content for your customer base can pay off the brand promise and keep customers engaged with the brand by providing actionable content that they can rely on to support their lifestyle.

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