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Streaming for brands

from flat-earth websites to metaverse immersion

Brand owners around the world are waking up to a new reality: streaming has not only increased globally by 21% between Q3 2020 and Q3 2021, it has actively displaced other brand communication channels.

Just take a look at these figures (and they’re only the tip of the iceberg):

-     44% of viewers said they watch less TV thanks to live streaming (IAB)

-     80% of consumers would rather watch live video from a brand than read their blog...

-      ...and 82% prefer live video from brands to their social posts (Livestream)

-     15% of people aged 18 to 34 watch live-streamed video several times per day (Statista)

-      Live content accounts for almost a quarter of global viewing time (Conviva)

-      and it grew by 13% in 2021 (Streamlabs)

This focus on live is really about relevancy and use of video in everyday life; live events be they entertainment or news, corporate announcements or product releases, it’s about participation. What is absolutely beyond question is that if brands want to be in the places audiences now increasingly favour, delivering the content audiences now increasingly prefer, streaming’s the thing.

So how are brands engaging effectively with streaming strategies – and what can aspiring organisations and content owners learn from them?

Advertising + influence = income

One point that now looms large in brand marketing strategy is streaming’s ability to make ads and content both interactive and shoppable using QR codes and the like, transforming them from mere “opportunities to see” into instant transactions and conversions.

Indeed, as MarketingWeek put it, streaming brings “advertising and ecommerce into a single touchpoint”, and this is exceptionally powerful when those touchpoints proliferate across numerous forms of content on the TV screen, and TV content on numerous devices.

By partnering with influencers, they help their audiences discover, review, and purchase products, all in one live session. If you think of the old marketing mantra AIDA – Attraction, Interest, Desire, Action – streaming’s making it possible for brands to do it all, and all at once!

And when names like Facebook and Instagram say that they plan to expand their built-in buying options for live shopping, as both a brand and an advertiser you should know that streaming’s onto something.

Streaming’s value to the brand

Indeed streaming opens up far greater brand opportunities than this, chief among them the ability to create an entire, immersive mini-universe of brand identity, engagement, and reinforcement, in a place customers freely choose to visit and come back to again and again.

This is essentially about streaming as brand TV, with the brand as the broadcaster, and the content as gratification, and the benefit of this approach is that over time it can build attraction and audience rapport even around premium, big-ticket, lifestyle products that, by their very nature, are never going to be instantly shoppable.

Take something like Audi TV, for example. Available as an app for Apple TV, Smart TV, tablet and smartphone, this streaming service already delivers everything from videos about new products, to exciting live events and world premieres, to background stories on technology and design. It’s an alluring marketing shop window for the product – but it will likely go much further.

In fact, brand streaming channels will probably eventually take over many of the services currently associated with a brand’s website. Streaming will enable the creation of a corporate communications hub with live and recorded video announcements, news, training, welcome videos, corporate responsibility content, press office output, and so on.  

And even for products that can be sold at a transactional streaming level, streaming’s value to the brand does not necessarily stop at the brand.

The brand’s value to Streaming

You only have to look, for example, at Red Bull, with its extreme sports streaming, to understand that the right fit between brand and complementary streaming content can potentially attract a far greater audience to the brand than the brand itself might.

In short, figure out what goes well with your brand and could pull a bigger audience to it, which brings us to the brand’s value to streaming.

A brand doesn’t have to own the content to benefit. Affiliation, patronage and sponsorship have always been powerful marketing tools, so a drinks company streaming the charts, a pizza Company streaming Jazz, or a bank with exclusive rights to stream a global yacht race, the opportunities are there.

It’s not just about what streaming can do for brands, it’s also about what brands can do for streaming.

Streaming:a brand no-brainer post-cookies

Ultimately, however, there are perhaps more urgent drivers at work that are influencing how brands engage with streaming going forward.

Google’s plans to remove third-party cookies in Chrome by 2023, for example – the most common browser, with over 63%of the market share globally – means the web will become an ever less fruitful place for brands to forage for audience data through content.

Streaming, however, opens up new possibilities for user-driven personalisation in an environment that is capable of delivering more alluring, more timely, and more immediately exhilarating content than the web itself has ever been able to manage.

In short, streaming can enable brands to draw and keep audiences, not just find them – and that’s crucial whether your brand is Audi or A. N. Other, and whether its output is a meme or a metaverse.