Branded video increasingly important as a controlled content source

This week Marriott International announced they would be taking a page out of Red Bull’s book and launching their own in-house content studio. The group will develop, produce and distribute content that will include web series, short films, TV shows, music events and movies. Marriott’s global marketing officer notes “the purpose is to create and establish original content as a key component of the company’s global marketing strategy,” moving away from focusing only on traditional hotel marketing to sell rooms. Specifically, Marriott is looking to become the Red Bull of the travel industry, producing content to build “communities of people passionate about travel that will drive commerce.”

Recently, a survey by media software company Levels Beyond took note of consumer and marketer attitudes towards branded video. 42 percent of consumers say they like when brands share a video online, and 61 percent watch videos when shared by a friend. However, 75 percent of marketing professionals say they “rarely or never” produce videos to share with their followers online. The disconnect is somewhat alarming, and highlights a huge opportunity for brands to fulfill those customer needs in the digital space.

Lack of funding and other resources is often the reason why companies have not invested in branded video content, yet marketers need not have Fortune 500-like deep pockets to invest in video marketing. Companies like Volkswagen, Virgin Mobile, and NASA have used Vine and Instagram as part of broader campaigns, and the short broadcast times are both free and easier to experiment with.

For Marriott, they will look to leverage their 45 million Marriott Rewards members as a loyal base around which to build further brand enthusiasm. The company plans to promote the new video-based content through its website, mobile app, social media channels, and in-room TV network – a captive audience. Through content, Marriott plans to build relationships with people (and particularly millennials) to both inform and entertain in hopes they’ll return to a familiar and trusted brand.