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CMOs: Beware the ‘Wally Wormhole’

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The Where’s Wally series of people puzzles is still a popular conundrum, and in our rapidly expanding digital world, CMOs should be warned that this intriguing objective of ‘hide and seek’ is not a brand strategy, says Darren Mansour, founder of So Interactive.

In our world of bits and bytes, the challenge to ‘seek’ is a fail. It’s all fun and games until the customer loses their patience and can’t see your brand anymore.

We call it the 'Wally Wormhole': its dark, it’s scary, it’s dangerous and you don’t want to go down there.

With five billion videos watched by consumers on YouTube alone, every day (yes, every day), your primary objective is to get your business seen online, not sought; to get your brand noticed online, not hidden; and the trickiest part – to hook attention within less than a minute of airtime.

An effective solution to jump the raccoons on this one is to create digital video content that’s quick to educate, quick to resonate and, most importantly, smartly positioned.

Here are the top five digital video tips to Wormhole proof your brand:

Wormhole proof #1: Red and white won’t cut it
Your video is uploaded. 10 points. Now what? Just because your video is dressed up in shoutout brand colours, with relevant content, and bellowing the right messaging at the right time, doesn’t mean you’ll get noticed.

A tactical digital strategy is key upon upload. Explore active ‘paid marketing’ strategies before you go live, like PPC (pay per click) and retargeting. The latter serves online display ads to users who previously engaged with your brand, while PPC will get you ahead of the crowds with a surge in search rankings.

With a good mix of the budget to support your smart video content, you should be in the clear.


Wormhole proof #2: Nobody has hours and hours
Six seconds. That’s right. Six, sharp-shooting, edge-cutting seconds is all you get to land your message to an attention deficit audience. If 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, then best you consider your Wally Wormhole red flags here.

Even YouTube offers five-second video slots as a means to effective digital marketing. This means there’s a bonafide market requirement to land your message quickly. This is the world we live in. It's real people. Use it.


Wormhole proof #3: Find him by the fire
Stories. That’s what everyone wants to hear – a good ol’ camp story. Telling a gripping brand story is the way to ensure unskippable content – but a good story is not always possible in under 10 seconds, right? So, what if a one-minute video is your only shot, or a three-minute video, or, hey, even a six-hour commercial.

Here’s what you do: No matter how long your video will be, start strong – always. Create those first six seconds as your make or break line. If you can land it in the first six seconds of your one-minute, three-minute, six-hour video, then permission to campfire immunity is yours, champ! Your audience will stick pretty much all the way through.

Snackable side note one: Virgin Atlantic’s Blah Airlines video was a six-hour long commercial that gained over one million views – and won awards – plus had no paid advertising.

Snackable side note two: Jean Claude Van Damme’s Splits’ commercial for Volvo Globetrotter was 1.16 minutes long and had over 90 018 651 views.

Wormhole proof #4: Hide ‘n skim
There’s no crown for the king of the wormhole, so never use your video title as a throne of words. Gaining views on your video has a lot to do with what you decide to title it. In our feeding frenzy of information overload, the hard truth is that users don’t seek anymore, they skim.

Skimming content across social media platforms means your video titles need to be as literal, as gripping and as obvious as what they are about. Don’t get all fancy. Don’t write every detail. Up your ante on video titling by saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Get to the point. Write for the ‘skimmers’ not the ‘seekers’.

Wormhole proof #5: Test the raccoons
The beauty of digital is that you can test, test and test again. Not all six-second ads will work. Some will succeed, and some will fail and, sometimes, you may never know the exact reason why.

But that which is failing can be reframed, repositioned, reworded and repurposed on a digital landscape, in just a short space of time. This means you can strategically shape the fate of your campaign on the fly, while it runs its course. Falling down the wormhole is not an option any longer. Nice, isn’t it?