I can’t lie. I’m not exactly excited about a new marketing term, but the concepts behind “brand affinity marketing” do make sense and it's something you should consider if you want to build loyalty and advocacy for your brand (or you’re just sick to death of creating ad after ad that doesn’t make people like you).
At its recent Change the Channel event, Wistia’s founders, Chris Savage and Brendan Schwartz, talked about the thesis that brand building that focuses primarily on awareness does not mean you’ve built an affinity for your brand. You haven’t necessarily developed an emotional connection with customers, influencers, and others that make them want to have a relationship with you. And today, it’s very much about building relationships.
Let’s define this new term that Wistia introduced. Brand affinity marketing is:
An approach to marketing where businesses create and distribute binge-worthy content with the goal of positively impacting the overall sentiment, perception, and value of its brand.
It’s no surprise where this is going. Wistia is a video marketing platform, so there’s video involved. But I don’t think they mean that you have to create videos to build brand affinity. What you have to do is create content that people want to consume and come back for more and more.
Wistia is doing that now with Brandwagon, an original video series where Wistia CEO, Chris Savage interviews what they refer to as “the brains behind some of the most successful brands.” But you could also do it with a podcast series, such as Mathew Sweezey’s Electronic Propaganda Society, or FlipMyFunnel, or Drift Insider, which has a number of podcast series and video series. Jay Acunzo calls brands that create these episodic series - audio or video - Showrunners (I’ll share more about Acunzo’s perspective and the idea of Showrunners in an upcoming article.)
How Wistia helps you build brand affinity
Wistia has made several changes and updates to its platform to support the ability to create video-based shows. First, it redesigned Wistia Channels to make it similar to a YouTube Channel or a Content Hub. The difference is that with Wistia Channels, your content isn’t surrounded by advertising or other people’s content (like it is with YouTube). If you look at Wistia Channels, you think Netflix or Hulu in terms of viewing content and features provided, including:
- A subscribe option
- Watch next
- Multiple channels
- Built for mobile
- Hover feature that pops up a description and auto-plays the video
- Scheduled publishing with automated email notifications
- A/B test video customizations
There are a few other features that brands might like. You can embed a Channel in your website experience, so it’s branded just like your website. If you decide that Wistia is no longer for you, you can not only take your content with you; you can take your subscribers. There’s an option in Wistia that allows you to see who has subscribed to your channel, and you can export that list if you want.
Another new feature is support for Facebook Ads. Integrate your subscriber data with Facebook or Instagram to improve targeting and messaging, and create lookalike audiences to take your reach even further.
There are a lot of brands creating video series, and it’s interesting to see the amount of work being done. But much of that work leverages YouTube, which means you are building your series on rented land, and you are at the mercy of someone else.
I asked Savage if we are, in some ways, just creating another silo of content with Wistia Channels. The blog, the podcast, the video show. They still all sit as separate places - either on the website or outside it. He sees it differently because you can embed Wistia Channels into the website, saying:
We see Wistia channels as a way that you can create a home for episodic videos on your site that provides the best viewing experience possible. Given that these homes are on our customers' sites, it doesn't feel like a separate destination as it is a core part of their main destination.
Casted helps you build a B2B podcast show
Wistia focuses on creating great video shows. But podcasts are just as popular, if not more, and there’s a new podcast platform provider that wants to help you do more with your podcast series.
I talked with Zachary Ballenger, Co-Founder of Casted, which is currently in pre-release, about this new podcasting platform built for Marketing and Sales and has the features to prove it.
Casted is focused on the B2B market. You can create multiple channels, each supporting a different podcast series, or show. You can host your podcasts within the platform directly, or host them on another podcast host and bring them into the platform to take advantage of Casted features.
For example, Casted creates a transcript of the podcast, and you can make that available to listeners. Even more interesting, though, it that you can highlight sections of the transcript and create clips that you can then share on social media. Or you can highlight sections of the transcript to identify key talking points, which are then shown on the podcast page to allow people to jump to certain sections of the podcast.
Ballenger talked about the ways Marketing and Sales can use the Podcast, including search the podcast library to find useful information. They can highlight a section of the text, create a clip and share it with prospects, in email or social media campaigns and more.
Casted wants to help B2B brands do more with their podcasts shows than simply drop a podcast on the site and share it out. They want to help brands understand how their shows provide value to the company. Casted Analytics show what podcasts are the most popular, what clips were shared, and watched the most, which takeaways were listened to and more.
You can look at analytics not only at the episode level but also at the show level giving you better insights into your show overall. The analytics alone should interest any brand that needs to prove a podcast is worth doing.
I’ve been digging into how to create great shows. As the producer and host of a podcast for one of my clients, and a creator of my own podcast series, I have been spending a lot of time learning and trying new to ways make episodic content that builds brand affinity.
Figuring out the strategy and on-going management of a show is hard work. Knowing there is technology available that makes it easier to take your hard work and make it available is comforting.
I like what both Wistia and Casted are doing. But I am still of the belief that we need a way to present shows that provide a mix of content types in one place; I want to be able to create a show that combines podcasts, video and text-based content, fully branded. I don’t think we are too far off to get that.