Monthly Archives: September 2016

Content Roundup – The Emmy’s Edition

Missed watching the Emmys this week? There’s a few key things you should probably be able to talk about over the water cooler (people do have water coolers still, right?):

  • Jimmy Kimmel was super hit or miss on the jokes. Just not as funny as most hosts.
  • Game of Thrones is amazing, but why do we have to wait to watch next season? Winter is coming, people. Winter. Is. Coming.
  • There was some amazing marketing efforts that got Emmys this year!

What? You missed the marketing section of the Emmys. I thought everyone saw that – well, no matter. We actually thought we would recap them here.

So we’ll be your host on what we consider to be the 1st inaugural Marketing Emmys hosted by Explainify. Enjoy seeing who got what Emmys and we’ll see you at the afterparty!ECR_Image_02

Okay, sometimes the host is funny. Sometimes he just needs to step out of the way so you can enjoy yourselves. Find some inspiration from these brands winning hearts on social media! And the Emmy for the best comedy on a social channel goes to…

Funny Tweets & Social Media Examples From 17 Real Brands (HubSpot)


Good companies have employees who do great work. But the great companies are one who also get their website and softwares to do work converting customers for them. They’re the 24/7 employees who never go home.

Here, check out some amazing automated email campaigns – and some examples of companies that have mastered them! And the Emmy for a best automated production value goes to…

7 Automated Email Campaigns That Win Customers and Keep Them Coming Back (Shopify)


best explainer video

Video is the most engaging blah blah bob lob law. You’ve heard it all before. We’re not going to bore you with how powerful video is. Instead, let’s look at some people who deserve Emmys for the videos they produced to build connections to their audiences.

We’ve got categories from documentaries to comedies to dramas in here, folks – enjoy! And the best Emmy for video production goes to…

Yep, These 11 Masterpieces Belong in the Explainer Video Hall of Fame (Explainify)


We take a break from all the digital talk to remember there is a real world. With real people. And you can interact with them in… you guessed it – real life!

One of our favorite things is to read the amazing guerilla marketing tactics people use to delight their customers. You can tell your spouse you love them, or you can surprise them with a gift when you come home from work.

Both have their place, but I bet you can guess which one really leaves a lasting memory. And the Emmy for best marketing promotions goes to…

35 Incredibly Creative Guerilla Marketing Ideas By People Who Deserve A Raise (CYA)


There’s content marketing. Then there’s content marketing done right. These brands weren’t content to just push out content for small SEO boosts. Instead, they’ve used new ways to be loveable, relevant, and engaging along many different stages of a customer’s journey.

Here’s to you brands – you deserve an Emmy for most original content! And the Emmy for best screenplay goes to…

38+ Examples of Brands Doing Great Content (CMI)


Thanks for reading! Now get out there and produce some great marketing. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up winning something during our 2nd inaugural Emmys next year!

Explainer video Q4 Domination

Better Define Your UVP & Leave Your Competition Behind

So if you’ve been in business for any length of time, odds are you’ve taken the time to figure out what makes your brand unique – and how to communicate that uniqueness. It’s your company’s superpower. The thing that you do that makes you different and sets you apart from everyone else.

You’ve found your unique value proposition (UVP).

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Unique Value Proposition: Also known as a unique selling proposition (USP), your UVP is a clear statement that describes the benefit of your offer, how you solve your customer’s needs and what distinguishes you from the competition. (Source: Unbounce)

But the funny thing about your UVP? Sometimes, it has to evolve. While it put you ahead of the game in years past, your strong selling point may not pack the same punch today. Everyone understands the need for differentiation, and more and more companies are using the strategy to stand out in this crowded marketplace to make their mark.

Plus, there’s a good chance that over the last few years (or weeks), several new companies have sprouted up who offer services similar to yours.

And now, pushing past the competition isn’t simply a matter of finding your brand’s superpower, but a matter of better refining your UVP to be laser-focused and relevant— Which is what we’re going to talk about in this post.

First, A Quick Word for Beginners

If you’re a brand-new, fast-moving startup and haven’t laid out your company’s unique value yet, you’ll want to start there. This guide is about better defining a UVP and can help you, but there are a few questions to answer about your brand first.

  • What Problems Do You Solve?
  • Who Are Your Target Clients/Industries?
  • What Makes You Stand Out from the Competition?

Here are a few great guides from around the web that talk about creating your very first UVP:

Of course, as a startup you’ll likely be pivoting quite a bit and will need to stay agile – but having a clearly-defined UVP gives your company a clear sense of mission and helps set a clear path forward when it comes to marketing and decision-making. When you know what you are and what you stand for, it’s a lot easier to say “ no” to the things that are a distraction from your core mission. Okay, so now you’ve got that UVP. How do you make it better?

Your Brand: Now More Unique-er!

To stand out as a brand, you have to be unique. better uvp Okay, I know that’s obvious, but don’t roll your eyes just yet. Why? Because the very thing that makes you different will attract the right leads to your business while making it clear to those who aren’t a good fit. It’s time for an example.

Example: Back in the 90’s, the newest trend in posh restaurants was a seemingly foreign word… “Organic.” If your restaurant only used vegetables and meat that were never touched by a lab, you were different.

As time passed, high-end eateries were practically required to have organic food.

And now, if you’re serving organic food? Nobody notices. There are organic Ruffles, for crying out loud! Everything is organic. It’s just not that special.

So what happens next? The “ Farm-to-Table” movement, where all of the organic food comes directly from a local supplier for peak, seasonal freshness. In essence, the uniqueness had to get even unique-er…

Now that farm-to-table isn’t all that original, there are restaurants maneuvering into really deep territory to differentiate. Just check out the trailer for “ Chef’s Table” (and watch the show if you haven’t yet):

Sure, it sounds pretentious and frivolous, but in today’s world you have to dig deep to find new and interesting ways to stand out. We can learn a ton from these incredible restaurateurs about refining uniqueness. Here are a few takeaways:

  • Focus. Ever go to an Italian restaurant and order a cheeseburger? Yeah, it may be time to lose the things you’re not good at to focus on what you do best. Simplify, simplify, simplify… and repeat.
  • Passion. If your team isn’t excited about your brand — your leads WILL pick up on that.
  • Constant Curiosity. Maybe one of the most consistent traits found in the world’s best chefs – is the fact that they’re never satisfied. They are constantly testing, tweaking and moving. You may be unique today, and a dime a dozen tomorrow – making it necessary to continuously innovate within your wheelhouse.

But Make Sure You’re Truly Valuable

Your unique assets are incredibly important, but it won’t matter if your leads don’t see the value. What sets you apart might be awesome and intriguing, but that doesn’t matter if it doesn’t drive revenue.

Another Example: Multi-colored ketchup. In the year 2000, Heinz had this great idea to repackage their traditional recipe ketchup in a kid-friendly bottle AND change the color of the product. Before their grand experiment had ended, there were over half a dozen colors including orange, purple and pink.

At first, it went incredibly well. The company sold millions of bottles ahead of any other year in their history. But soon, sales completely dropped off. The product was unique and even impressed kids, but like it or not, kids aren’t the customer. “

Kids tired of it, being the fickle little devils that they are. And moms got tired of seeing two or three half-finished ketchup bottles lying around in the fridge.” – Calvin L. Hodock

Multi-colored ketchup: very unique, but valuable? Maybe not so much.

That said, there’s a silver lining to this story.

If you’ve opened a bottle of ketchup in the last few years and noticed that you know longer have to deal the pink/clear ketchup water that runs out onto your hot dog, it could be (in part) due to the success of that kid-friendly lid. Since the early 2000’s one of the UVP’s amongst condiment companies has been how you put their sauce on your food.

Now that’s valuable. Here are some takeaways:

  • Make sure it’s not just your marketing bumping up your sales. Really dig deep to see if your unique superpower is more than just a novelty.
  • Go over your buyer personas to see what their unique pains are. One of the best ways to ensure a valuable feature is to match it with the common pains of your audience. (e.g. Mom’s hate spilled ketchup, but don’t love blue ketchup.)
  • It doesn’t have to be one thing. Technically, Heinz called the colorful condiment “ EZ Squirt” ketchup and focused on the usability. It was a twofer, but only one point hit home in the long run.

Add them together for a Bona Fide Proposition

Once you’re confident that you’re more unique than the other guys, and you know that you’re offering something your customers really desire…

It’s time to close the deal.

Chef’s don’t want their food to get cold, they want you to eat it. Heinz wants their ketchup on your hamburger, not in their warehouses. It’s the logical end of a three-step process.

  • Unique – Draw them in by being passionate and different.
  • Value – Show them that you have exactly what they’ve been looking for.
  • Proposition – Give them a chance to act.

If you’ve done the first two steps right, your ideal clients will be asking for a seat in your restaurant. Or a free trial for your SaaS product, or a strategy session with your consulting firm, or…

As you focus your UVP to make it more specific and differentiated, the number of people you appeal to will go down, which can be terrifying. But it’s a good thing! You can close a higher number of deals with fewer, more qualified prospects.

Plus, a well-defined UVP means you may be worth a premium. When you can communicate your unique value clearly enough to your buyer personas, pricing is trivial and their interest is peaked.

True Story: There are two three-star Michelin Sushi chefs in Tokyo. Both of their restaurants have 13 seats… combined. While your leads will be warmer, sales don’t happen without calls-to-action. Luckily, if you’ve honed in on your UV, the P is just a matter of letting them know you’re available.

What are you doing to take your unique value proposition to the next level?

21 Examples of Explainer Videos Done Right

Explainer videos are a great way to deliver your core message to your audience in an incredibly engaging way. This isn’t a marketing technique that only works for big brands or small startups – any business can benefit from these 60-second bad boys.

Including yours! There’s no reason why you shouldn’t use an explainer video as part of your overall marketing strategy. You don’t need to have a specific type of business for people to quickly gain the info they need and help them form an opinion about your brand.

explainer video

The best explainer videos are usually short, but always powerful. To give you some inspiration to get you started, we’ve provided 21 of our favorite examples.

1. Pinterest (Bread N’ Beyond)

Pinterest did their explainer video right. They stated their video’s length in the first few seconds to set expectations, then tailored this simple how-to video to their audience’s unique likes and needs.

2. Appier (Yum Yum Videos)

Using simple animation and focusing on the product’s incredible features, Appier’s video shows how they can help marketers engage with customers. A professional subject, explained in a fun way.

3. Gigtown

A great explainer video with clear details on how Gigtown helps their customers discover, interact with and book musicians right from their smartphone. No confusion here!

4. GiveForward (ILLO)

A heartwarming video about how you can use GiveForward to start fundraising for someone you care about, and invite the entire community involved. Using Jeff’s story to show off the site makes it easy for viewers understand the service – with a powerful emotional punch to boot.

5. VeriFi (IV)

VeriFi breaks down their construction management tool, clearly explaining the complexities of the industry, who they can help, and how they do it. With little to no jargon and a bright, simple design, VeriFi makes construction lending seem elementary.

6. Coin (Sandwich Video)

Not all explainer videos have to be animated! Coin uses live-action beautifully to explain how their revolutionary payment card works, answering questions and addressing concerns by showing real-life use cases.

7. Spotify

60 seconds is all Spotify needed. Bold colors, clear text and a joyful tune with minimal animation capture the essence of the brand’s appeal – modern and fun.

8. YouCaring (ThinkMojo)

YouCaring features smooth, beautiful animation with no voiceover strike an emotional chord while making it easy to understand how they help you, help others. It’s a  reminder that the key to a great explainer video is simplicity.

9. Crazy Egg (Demo Duck)

A legend in the world of explainer videos, Crazy Egg showed us all that a video about website optimization and heatmap analytics doesn’t have to come chock-full of stats and jargon.  Part animation, part product screenshots, all clarity.

10. Olark (Bread N’ Beyond)

Simple but engaging, Olark highlights how you can use live business chat on your website to increase retention and create a better online experience for your visitors.

11. Dupont “Food” (James Bartley)

Dupont Food proves you can get a lot of information into an explainer video. Simple design and empathic voiceover blend with company colors and branding to communicate a corporate message in an inspiring way.

12. Twitter: Flight School (Oddfellows)

Simple animation and a clear message are all you need, but if you can afford to invest in bright, dynamic movement and 3D graphics to showcase your service like this video does – you should do it. When you create video this beautiful, it becomes less of a sales piece, and more of a manifesto to express your values and vision.

13. Mint (Nate Whitson)

Another video from the explainer video hall of fame. It’s the perfect overview video, with captivating motion graphics and detailed screenshots. Mint created this video to match their website redesign. Making a video that reflects your overall brand style increases engagement and turns it into a lving example of what your brand is all about.

14. How A Bean Becomes A Fart (Giant Ant)

A cute video infographic to answer this age-old question for us – it’s not gross, it’s science! It’s also oh-so-subtly branded. Notice there is no reference to the video being for Men’s health until the very end.

15. Amazon Echo

A good story gives context to the information we receive, so Amazon shows a family using Amazon Echo in real situations to explain how it works. No one cares about your features – they just want to know what your product can do for them!

16. What Is Dropbox (Buck)

Clear animation easily explains what Dropbox can do in this video. 60 seconds is more than enough time to pitch your product if you know which points and pieces really matter – hint, it’s the things that make your customer’s lives better.

17. PadMapper (Grumo)

The animation in this video is so simple, it’s almost bad. But that’s the genius of PadMapper! By refusing to be overly polished, professional, or formal, this video feels so real. And because of that, you want to give their software a try.

18. Tile

A live-action video highlighting tile in everyday settings. Like Amazon, Tile shows its product in the context of people’s actual lives, taking the features from being interested – to meaningful.

19. Tonx (Sandwich Video)

This video, like the Dollar Shave Club video, is funny – first and foremost. We live in an incredibly self-aware world, so when a video knows how to laugh at itself and lets us in on the joke, we’re more likely to pay attention.

20. Groupon

“What is Groupon” is 30 seconds of simple. No fuss, no fluff, just daily savings.

21. Costa Sunglasses (Giant Ant)

This video is proof that you don’t have to force your branding down people’s throats. With only one reference to Costa, this video is so beautiful that you can’t help but watch all 3 minutes.

Costa Sunglasses // Kick Plastic from Giant Ant on Vimeo.

 

There you go! That’s a double-digit helping of explainer video goodness. They’re not all animated, they’re not all high-quality, and some of them are barely branded at all. But they all tell great stories with crystal clarity.

Now get out there and tell your own!

Brand Storytelling Your Entire Organization Can Believe In

It seems every company these days is hopping on the brand storytelling bandwagon. Maybe you’ve been sitting back, watching this phenomenon, and wondering if all the hype is merited.

To be honest – it totally is.

brand storytelling

There are plenty of reasons for the newfound popularity of story-based branding. Storytelling is not just a new marketing strategy. It’s a way for businesses to authentically communicate their values and vision in a personable and relatable way.

Stories are compelling – they grip people’s imaginations in a way that facts never can. When people hear stories, they connect with and experience them – and by connecting to a customer through brand storytelling, you actually foster a greater sense of trust and investment in your company’s mission.

But a great brand story doesn’t just help you connect with the public at large, it’s also critical for that story to make a difference within the walls of your organization. A great story can help you improve employee morale. The members of your team are an integral part of your business – they’re some of the main characters in your company’s story. Whatever form you use tell your story (e.g. video, sales), it’s imperative to make sure it’s one that your staff can get behind in order for it to be authentic, meaningful, and believable.

Here are some tips to help you define your company’s story brand – and inspire your entire team.

The Story Must Be Personal

Who are the characters in your story? Who contributed to building your company and shaping its values? Which people had the most influence on the development of your business?

Stories can’t exist without characters. And the same can be said for your company. In order for there to be action, change, and development in the story line, there must be real people who experience it.

Having relatable characters in your brand story helps people to develop confidence in your company. People trust other people. It’s harder for people to trust companies. We’re made to connect – it’s a basic human need, which is why it’s imperative to tell your story with a sense of character. Forget vague terms like “stakeholders” and “our customer base.” You have to showcase real people and put real faces to your brand story.

So, who are those characters?

  • Your Customers: First and foremost, the heroes of your story are your customers. Telling great stories about how specific customer’s lives have been transformed (or at least improved) by interacting with your company is critical to great brand storytelling. Customer joy is why you do what you do, and ultimately it’s why you and your employees get up in the morning.
  • Your Employees: The lifeblood of your business, your employees take your vision and make it a reality. Which means they’re pretty damn important. Sharing stories about employees – who they are, what they’re passionate about, how much they mean to your organization – is another way to keep the focus on people over profits.
  • Your Leadership: If you’re the founder, this means you. How did you start the company? What obstacles did you have to overcome? Why does your vision matter? Notice that I put you last in this list of characters. You can’t make yourself the sole focus of your brand story (we call that narcissism), but your employees need to be reminded that you’re a real person with real hopes and dreams from time to time.

The Story Must Be Original And True

What’s the most interesting thing about your company? What makes you unique? Does your business have a compelling origin story?

Your brand story should be interesting and compelling. Boring stories don’t get retold. Find some unique feature of your business’s origin or day-to-day operations – something no one else can say – and build your story based around that.

But make sure that you don’t over-exaggerate, creating some fantastical tale to draw people in. Your company’s brand image can’t be based on a false narrative. Whatever story you end up telling consumers, it must be real.

Pro Tip: Enhance the appeal of your brand story by using video.

If you attempt to create a brand story that is only loosely based in reality, your reputation will suffer. Your employees aren’t naive – they can tell when they’re being manipulated.

The Story Must Explain Why Your Company Exists

What is your mission? Why are you in business? What is important to you? What is the purpose of your company?

In order to do really great brand storytelling, you must be able to clearly articulate why your company exists in an emotionally compelling way.

  • Does it exist to make money? Yes, of course, but that can’t be the only reason you’re in business.
  • Were you driven by some passion for the product you offer?
  • Did you want to provide a valuable service to people? Aside from the profit motive, there must have been some other motive for starting this business.

That’s what your employees want to hear about. They want to know that the company they work for doesn’t just exist to make money off of them. People don’t want to be viewed only as “profit-boosters” – they want to feel valued, and know that the work they’re doing has greater significance than just the pursuit of a bottom line. Again, that’s what gets people out of bed and into the office.

If you can explain your business’s vision and values to your employees through story, it humanizes your company’s mission, foster a connection with people, and creates intense loyalty.

The Story Must Resonate with Customers and Team Members

Connecting with consumers and conveying your message through brand storytelling is essential, but you can’t afford to forget about your company’s greatest asset – its employees. Your business exists to add value to all stakeholders, and that includes the lives of your employees.

One of the biggest ways you can add value to the lives of your team members is by providing them with a sense of purpose and belonging. The people who work for you want to play a part in the story that your company is telling. They want to know that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. And really, if your employees don’t believe in your brand story, it’s not much more than a front or façade. Your brand may look good to consumers on the outside, when it reality it’s hollow on the inside.

Another way you can make sure that employees feel included in your story arc is by asking for their input when crafting your brand storytelling strategy. Ask them the same questions that have been posed in the paragraphs above. Your staff will likely have insights into your company’s story that you may never have seen on your own.

Including employees in the process and listening to their input will help build morale. By participating in the story-building process, your staff will feel like more of a cohesive unit. Team members will be more involved and proactive because they’ll know that as characters in your company’s story, they’re building the business alongside you and they’ll care more about its success.

A brand story isn’t just something to be told, to be condensed into a manifesto or promoted on social media. It’s something that has to be lived. For brand storytelling to work, it has to be embodied and practiced by your entire organization. And in order for that to happen, you have to tell a story your employees can believe in.