In a past life as a branding and strategy consultant for Fortune 500 companies, I saw firsthand how even at huge, supposedly consumer-centric B2C corporations, there is often a yawning chasm between how company executives think of themselves and their products or services, and how their customers actually perceive the company–and more importantly, how they live their lives and imagine their futures.
Even at companies with large marketing research budgets at their disposal, there remains an overreliance on quantitative data: customer surveys, website analytics, sales reports– and a glaring lack of focus on real people.
Of course, there are a multitude of weapons companies and agencies DO currently deploy to understand their consumers. Focus groups have been around for decades, and while still of some value, have their obvious limits and pitfalls. Private online communities and excellent “community management” of brand followers and fans can also yield rich insights over time. Other emerging techniques involving neuroscience are pushing the boundaries of market research.
So while the focus group is not dead and quantitative data will of course always be a lynchpin behind any company’s strategic decisions, here at Veed.me we’ve seen an interesting niche emerge from cutting edge companies that are looking to understand their consumers at a more empathic, holistic and “visual level.”
We’ve seen an interesting niche emerge from cutting edge companies that are looking to understand their consumers at a more empathic, holistic and “visual level.”
So, what exactly are consumer documentaries?
We’ve termed these projects consumer documentaries, and simply put, they are videos which bring to life a company’s customers in an emotionally and visually compelling way.
With video now being the predominant mode of sharing and communication, it’s no wonder that large brands are also harnessing the power of video internally to help their employees understand their consumers and innovate on their products and services.
The truth is that while you can show executives and employees hundreds of Powerpoint slides or reams of data, when they hear and see a customer’s journey and feel an emotional connection, the motivation for change becomes that much more real and visceral.
From “day in the life” videos following how aspiring middle-class consumers use technology in emerging markets, to a total immersion into how upper-class Tween girls in the US approach dating and growing up, we’ve seen how this format can bring to life rich human stories and insights that help push forward change in an organization.
Footage from consumer documentaries done for Google in emerging markets:
As we see it, some of the distinct advantages of the consumer documentary are:
Cinematic Quality: As all our customer documentaries are made by professional videographers, the quality of the footage and final product is light years ahead of the typical focus group filmed with a static camera, or a respondent submitting a video diary with webcam. The video content in a consumer documentary is often beautiful and breathtaking to watch.
Multi-Location Shooting: Companies often need to understand consumers in many divergent markets. Veed.me’s vast database of videographers around the world allows corporate marketers to get videos from multiple geographies at the same time, even in difficult or dangerous places.
Time & Cost Saving: As many of our videographers are already skilled documentary filmmakers, you can trust that they will be able to source and create compelling human stories, letting you step back from micro-managing the process. We’ve also heard from clients that consumer documentary videos have replaced months of excessive focus groups, and cut down on traveling and translation expenses.
Digestible & Engaging: With attention span at a premium, short-form video content is one of the most powerful and engaging way to deliver insights across an organization. Rather than reading through 100-page PowerPoint research decks or endless quant survey results, a short, impactful video can help move the needle on business decisions more quickly.
Who are “consumer documentaries” for?
We’ve seen interest from many different types of stakeholders such as:
- Product Marketing Managers at large corporations
- Internal Market Research/ Insights Managers at large corporates
- UX/UI Consultants
- Independent Consulting & Strategy firms
- Planners and Strategists at ad agencies
We believe that consumer documentaries are an extremely powerful and compelling tool to help illuminate the needs, wants, desires and dreams of your consumers across large organizations and bureaucracies.