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Do you feel like all the video you see companies make is the same? Do you want yours to be different?

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”

Why all video looks the same?

There is a paradox not just with content and video but with every form of media. We are repeatedly told to be different and creative, to be unique and eye-catching in a new way. Yet the marketing videos that seem to do well or be popular often copy or match something else.

So… which should your video be? The same or different? A duplicate or unique?

First we need to understand the paradox.

The problem of success

Having a big hit is exciting and for many it is their ultimate goal. It doesn’t matter what strategies you employ or how well you know your audience, having viral success always involve an element of luck.

When something goes viral we get an insight into what the formula for success with video or content might be.

It is not surprising that everyone tries to copy this formula. How many businesses copied the John Lewis style of Christmas ads or made their own version of a viral hit?

When I was younger I had some success with a short film I put on YouTube and, not long after, found a shot for shot Columbian remake. Hollywood regularly sees copies that range from cheap cash ins to big budget blockbuster copies. When a film about superheroes becomes popular (I bet you can’t remember a time now when they weren’t) every other studio wants one. The same can be said for films about pirates, period dramas or teen comedies.

The paradox

The paradox here arises because we are always told to make something different and unique and yet there is always an expectation that what we create will look like all the others that have come before it. I have often been into companies and been asked to make a video look or feel like something a competitor has done.

Leveraging a competitor’s success

Creating content can be time consuming and expensive, which can be a risk. When it is successful, creating more content that is similar is less of a risk. It allows you to leverage the success of the original for future versions or variations and justify your actions with actual numbers.

This is why success with one type of video breeds copies. Countless businesses are trying to mitigate risk and so the same style or approach is replicated in order to try and leverage the success of someone else’s content.

This can work as a strategy but it is often missing the point.

If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results. 

Tony Robbins

Modelling success

Modelling the actions that have driven others to success is a tried and true strategy but the important thing is to model the right elements.

When it comes to creating content I repeatedly see people miss what truly matters. When a video or blog is successful it gets copied. The style, the animation, the cinematography, the length, the humour all get replicated. The one thing that is missed is the strategy.

The reason something works is not any one of these elements but the thought process behind why they have all been brought together and packaged in this way.

A well made and successful video has been put together by working out what the message is, who the audience are (following my 5 magic questions), what approach or style or distribution method will suit the audience.

The key is to model the strategy. If you work out your audience and message and choose a style and distribution method to match you will be just as likely to go viral and have success as anyone else.

Solving the paradox

Ultimately it is about knowing your audience and creating something that suits and engages them. Using successful content for inspiration is not only a good idea but to be advised but if you copy them without really examining the strategy behind them you may miss the point and learn the wrong lesson entirely.

For more information about Smarter Video take a look here.

Please get in touch and let me know what you would like to learn or read about.

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