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Why run a video contest?

I often talk to many people about the video solutions that we provide and almost always the discussion starts with Video contests. That’s usually when I get the blank stare!

What are video contests I here you ask? Well most people get the concept of a video contest when you describe the local funniest home videos program where people send in hilarious videos of their failures to win a prize.

However, the power that video contests can bring to your organisation is often not really well understood. Yeh, seems great to create funny TV for 30 minutes however how does that help me and my organisation? Well it can, and in more powerful ways than you can imagine.

So what are the commons ways that you can leverage video contests to help? Well here are a few examples of our experience of how to leverage video contests and the benefits they provide:

Employee engagement video contests are a fantastic way to engage employees and get them behind your brand and message in a fun and competitive way. I cannot count the number of times I have seen big new product releases, brand refreshes or new organisation visions only to have the initiative not deliver on the benefits originally expected. While it’s great to create a big splash to the market on your new vision, it will nearly always fall flat if the most important people to your organisation, your staff, are either not aligned to that message or flat out don’t believe it. This takes more than a senior executive standing up and saying it is good because they say so. The most influential people in your organisation are your staff. When your peers are positive or can present a positive representation of that message it usually spreads like pollen (unlike the opposite which also spreads like a virus). So next time, instead of getting the executives to convince staff of how great an organisational or product change is, get your staff to do it through a video contest. You can also use it as a training tool to describe how you would represent the change. We have run many internal contests with great results. You can also create a tribal mentality by pitting team against team, or location against location to create a friendly rivalry. Provide good incentive and employees will not only promote your message to their peers but also have fun doing it.

Brand awareness contests strive to create your branded message through your customers. By providing a video contest to your loyal or prospective customers provides you with a potentially global supply of unique and interesting content that is generated by your audience. Give your audience guiderails but at the same time enough freedom to create unique content that has the potential to go viral. The biggest ever viral videos are the ones that capture “spare of the moment” events. If you can harness the power of a global crowd of content creators this enhances your ability to capture that unique video that could go viral and catapult your brand with it. By encouraging and rewarding your audience to share their content (of course with the proper controls in place) can enable you to monitor any potential gems you may have captured in your contest that you can harness for your brand.

Lead generation is another great reason to run video contests. For every participant provide a gateway to capture details about them and potentially their interests. Put the captured information into your CRM database and use them for targeted follow up. A great idea is to provide your product as a prize. This identifies prospective customers who value your product enough to enter a contest to get hold of it. A great idea we have seen multiple times is to provide every contestant a discount voucher to your products. So even if they don’t win it provides incentive to continue to connect with your brand. Also consider using social media to capture details about your contestants. By providing a register page where they can use their Facebook or Twitter account allows you to capture social information while making the registration process as seamless and easy as possible. It is very important to ensure you do not create too big a barrier to entry by trying to collect too much information. This will put off potential participants and reduce your contests effectiveness.

Social awareness initiatives typically have a loyal following of people dedicated to a specific cause. However sometimes you need incentive to help spread your messages beyond this core group and create more general awareness about your social goal. Video contests are a fantastic way to do this. Video can be used to provide your loyal supporters an angle on what your cause means to them and connect with more people just like them. It also provides the opportunity for people to tell their story. They may indeed be a recipient to your cause and therefore the message becomes even more powerful. Creating a sense of community and friendly rivalry can expand your message right across global boundaries. You also get to gather great content that can be reused in your other campaigns.

Charity donation campaign is another twist on the social awareness campaigns that we have seen in the past. In this case entrants submit videos to represent their cause. When the voting period commences, instead of entrants receiving votes they receive donations. These donations are then pledged to the charity or cause they represent. One example contest had a “winner take all” incentive for entrants with the highest donation earner receiving all the funds from all entrants for their respective charity. This can create a frenzy of donations with each entrant promoting their charity in order for it to win and receive the final combined donation value.

Crowd sourced user generated content is the most effective way to engage with your audience. Did you know that User generated content is 20% more influential than any other type of media when it comes to influencing Millennial purchases. Millennial consumers also believe that user generated content is 35% more memorable than other media and 50% more trusted. You can spend thousands of dollars producing professional quality video but in the end is it really driving the engagement you are looking for? Well if you are wanting to source user generated content then there is no more effective way to do this than by running a video contest. Based on the content you are wanting to source you need to ensure you tap into your audience’s passion. Provide a clear narrative of your requirements but at the same time leave enough room for individual creativity. One option we have seen in the past is to create a series of contests with each contest getting your contestants to create a story about your brand. Think of them like chapters. As each contest runs your audience creates another chapter to your story.

Regardless on your reason video contests can add significant benefit to your business or cause by leveraging the engagement power of video and the lure of gamification.

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