Brands have to evolve their marketing to focus on growing their brand affinity, not just their awareness. In support of this necessary shift to Brand Affinity Marketing, we created Brandwagon, a Wistia Original Series. This unique digital campaign was a bit meta in that it was designed to not only educate marketers about how to grow their brand affinity, but simultaneously grow Wistia’s own brand affinity, while entertaining our audience along the way. Our ultimate goal was to make more meaningful interactions with our engaged target audience: marketers looking to grow their brands in creative ways.
Instead of relying on social media to deliver full video episodes, where people are constantly distracted, we provided an alternative destination for our niche audience to watch our content uninterrupted at their leisure. Using our own product, Wistia Channels, which allows businesses to create a “Netflix-style experience on their own websites,” Brandwagon was hosted primarily on our owned platform, while social media was used to drive users back to our website via trailers and clips—just as a media company would do.
Rather than aiming for the maximum possible views (awareness), our goal was to cultivate a genuine fanbase amongst innovative marketing professionals (affinity), who would then spread the word about Wistia via their extended networks. We wanted to explore what some of the most successful brands are doing in their marketing in a fun and engaging way while providing actionable ways to build brands.
As a video marketing software company, we’re focused on a niche audience of marketers who are looking to grow their brands and businesses in creative ways. We wanted to create a series that could provide valuable content to our audience and turn our viewers into Wistia brand fans. Free educational content has always been a priority for Wistia, and Brandwagon is a natural evolution from this idea. But, this campaign wasn’t just about education or even selling to our customers; we felt that Brandwagon needed to be entertaining, “binge-worthy” content that provided genuine value for our peers and customers, instead of the standard self-promotional advertising campaign.
Inspired by the late-night talk show format, Brandwagon is a brand marketing show, created for brand marketers. Brandwagon features in-depth interviews with the brightest and best minds at the vanguard of this new best practice, alongside humorous segments and non-sequiturs.
At Wistia, we’ve always understood that creative storytelling and personality are crucial for building more lovable brands. With this in mind, we turned to our very own enigmatic CEO, Chris Savage, to host Brandwagon and interview the inspiring guests (think Jimmy Kimmel-style). We relied upon the originality, humor, and creativity of our team members to reinforce our recognizable brand personality, and the talent of our creative team to design a “Wistia-style” set and show branding. From exclusive interview content to exotic animal guests and magicians, we focused on injecting creativity and fun into every episode. We even purchased and refurbished a literal ‘Brandwagon’ vehicle that we featured as a weekly segment as the show’s mascot and idiom the name was inspired by.
By marketing like a media company, we made social platforms work for us, rather than just ceding control of our most valuable assets to Google and Facebook. Using paid media to distribute trailers and ads for Brandwagon allowed us to make the most of our social audience and direct these individuals back to our website. We then drove repeat engagement from interested viewers by retargeting those who had watched episode one with teaser trailers of episode two and so on, allowing us to deliver repeat visits to our website for just over $1 per user.
By driving traffic back to our destination, we have full access and control of viewership metrics and data; meaning content strategy can be directly informed by genuine insights. We also had the freedom to interview those in the industry whose cool stuff we admire and invest in some of the fun stuff that everyone wants to do rather than focus purely on driving home a sales message.
Success was measured in terms of acquired subscribers and time watched per subscriber.
Results were as follows:
In the four short months since Brandwagon aired its first episode, we’ve seen increases in long-term audience engagement, earning:
36,000 views of the series
6,300 Brandwagon subscribers
8:20 average watch time
5,200 hours watched
1.2 Million views of the clips and trailers
Brandwagon viewers are 3X more likely to return to wistia.com than non-viewers.
4% increase in Branded search volume year-over-year