How to get your brand on the grape-Vine

by: on 24 October 2014

Lowe and Intel are among the brands experimenting with the two year old platform

Vine represents a massive opportunity for brands but only if they are truly committed, says Pete Wood, social media director at 360i

"A branded Vine is four times more likely to be shared than a branded video"

Pete Wood, social media director at 360i

When it first launched back in October 2012, many people thought Vine was a bit of a gimmick. Just what could anyone do with six seconds of video?

History has proved them wrong, there are now 40 million registered Vine users around the world and 190 years of Vine video are played every day.

Vine is triggering an explosion in creativity. Easy to use tools combined with the creative constraint of making something with a powerful message in such a short space of time have encouraged a rash of new voices to take to the medium.

What we see is a new creative spring, in part because barriers to entry can be as low as a six-second talking head, or as high as a full-blown hand drawn animation. The added impetus comes from the fact that the really good creators have an opportunity to build something spectacular.

Unlike many creative forms, Vine is meritocratic rather than subjective and the only judge of ‘exceptional’ is the consumer and the traffic each film generates.

Anyone can become a Vine star. If you have an imagination, can identify a niche, you can build an audience rapidly. It’s video for everyone.

Look at the emergence of Vine stars like Jack & Jack, 17-year-olds who specialise in quick-fix comedy videos and recently entered Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with their single Wild Life.  At the other end of the spectrum is Us The Duo, a husband-and-wife group with 3.8 million followers of their Lumineers-esque folk rock. 

All this might sound interesting but how do brands fit into the equation and what’s the benefit to investing in the platform?

According to Unruly Media, a branded Vine is four times more likely to be shared than a branded video. A powerful statistic when you consider the cost and competition associated with creating branded video content. 

The entry costs for brands are as low as they are for ordinary Vine makers but with the added advantage is that Vine reaches into the heart of youth culture, a notoriously tricky demographic to reach.

The challenge for brands in this space is to be credible and consistent. There’s a graveyard of dormant brand accounts, evidence of brand managers testing Vine but then returning back to the channels they are more familiar with.

A key part of the problem is that very little thought has gone into sustaining a platform that needs the same level of attention as more mature channels (even if the actual costs of creating content are much lower).

For most brands the costs of Vine can be minimal, pick a frequency of publication and stick with it.

If you’re going to do it, you need to have a plan in place to keep the platform going and ensure your voice continues to be heard once the excitement of making the first film wears off.

You also need to be clear about what you stand for with your Vine. What’s the strategy behind your existence? Are you tapping into tech geek culture like Intel? Are you taking boring life hacks and bringing them to life like DIY store Lowe’s in America? Whatever your plan, you need to clearly define the role of the channel so the consumer has a reason to subscribe.

Brands need to decide if they are going to create Vines in-house. If so where are they going to create them? Do they have a studio and do they have the talent to do it well?

If Vines are going to be created out of house this is likely to cost more but there are opportunities to work with art students or even successful Vine creators (this will also help you piggy back from their credibility).

Brands also need to think about how they promote their Vines to ensure it gets seen as widely as possible. Most Vines are consumed through Twitter. Consider putting paid promotion behind your best work.

The key to success, however, is not just to leap in but be truly committed. If you’re going to take it on, it’s all in. Otherwise you are best off sticking with your existing platforms.

This year, Vine has become a more powerful and easier to use platform thanks to the introduction of new editing features and there’s talk that more interesting features like filters or text overlay are on the way.

Personally, my hope they don’t dilute the platform with familiar features, because it’s already successful and ultimately, if it ain’t broke, don’t break it.

People want diversity in their apps. This is a special one, hopefully they stay true to the values that have made it so popular.

If you are a brand and you have a vision for utilizing this platform, make sure you have a solid plan in place. The reward is acceptance into one of the most creative social platforms on the market.