The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Live-Video Branding

Remember when Steelers coach Mike Tomlin unleashed profanity on Facebook Live without realizing that someone's phone was rolling?
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Live-Video Branding

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

Image credit: Icon Sports Wire | Getty Images
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In January, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown violated team policy by using Facebook Live to stream his teammates' post-game locker room banter following the AFC divisional playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Related: How Your Business Can Capitalize on Facebook Live

Brown's action reflected particularly negatively on his team because coach Mike Tomlin, unaware of the live broadcast taking place,  unleashed some profane references to the New England Patriots.

Unfortunately, there are no take-backs in live-video streaming.

While this technology has progressed since the 1990s, the increasing popularity, since 2016, of Facebook Live has given rise to its use as a free marketing tool and has reinvented branding on a personal level. In fact, the immediacy of live video has the potential to make or break the public’s opinion of a brand.

So, what should you/shouldn't you do with this popular tool? Here’s a look at the fine line between using and abusing live video marketing, and its impact on branding:

The good: Use video to showcase your brand's values.

In a June 2016 survey Cisco predicted that online video will be responsible for four-fifths of global internet traffic by 2019.

Buzzfeed proved its own marketing power in August 2016 by live video-streaming two employees trying to explode a watermelon using rubber bands for 45 consecutive minutes. The video was not related to a specific product or service but at its popularity peak attracted 807,000 viewers.

The Buzzfeed live video succeeded because it intrigued viewers' curiosities and kept their attention through escalating tension. The video also showed the brand was fun, innovative and exciting -- making a solid ploy to its primarily millennial audience.  

See what Facebook Live can do for your brand: Form a committee to monitor and analyze video's impact on social media in you target market. Do this to determine what your audience members value through their shares and engagement. Then, plan a unique marketing campaign through live video to allow your audience to relate to your brand, by showing how their interests align.

Focus on ways to promote the brand without actually saying its name, but rather showing what, in practice, the company values. Showcasing live-video streams of employees expressing why they believe in the company or something it stands for is another great way to build trust and loyalty in the brand.

The bad: Head off live video misconduct.

Popeyes corporation was condemned for an employee's behavior in a video released in January, showing an unidentified worker preparing food on the floor. After the incident, Popeyes was forced to do damage control due to the viral video’s devastating effect on the company brand.

Related: The 12 Worst Social-Media Fails of 2016

Employees are the living embodiment of what the company represents and have a major influence on the public’s perception of the brand. It’s critical that employees be aware of what actions are acceptable and how their behaviors reflect on the company.

Decide what conduct would make the organization look bad as a team. Generating a list of do's and don’ts collectively will encourage employees to consider how they use live video and under what circumstances it could negatively affect the brand.

Write a cohesive paragraph containing an overview of how the company expects employees to behave on live video, and be sure this policy is visible to employees. It can be communicated as push notifications when an employee logs onto a social media platform through office devices, and posted in the break room as a reminder.

In order to effectively enforce such live-video policies, it's imperative that you make employees aware of under what circumstances certain consequences will occur, and what those disciplinary actions will be, especially if one of them is termination.

In a companywide training seminar, stream videos -- both good and bad -- and openly discuss employees’ reactions. Educate staff about how they personify the company brand and how their actions and attitudes affect your company's brand promise.

The ugly: Beware of controversial video marketing.

Thailand-based  Seoul Secret launched a huge controversy in January 2016 with the release of its beauty-campaign video for its skin-lightening product Snowz. “White makes you win,” was the message that veteran Thai actress Chris Horwang promoted, naively contributing her complexion to her professional success.

The video unleashed a storm of criticism, sparking racial labels and discriminatory accusations. The company was forced to remove the video and issue a statement about its intentions amidst speculation that the video had been an intentional marketing ploy.

In order to prevent an event of this kind from happening to you, use concept testing; determine a video's value and how it will be perceived. Run concept ideas or even sample material past small groups of your targeted audience.

Related: Facebook Live Recap: The 3 Types of Obstacles Getting In Your Way

Test for inconsistencies, and then test again. Catching and revising missteps in live-video messaging before it is released to the public will prevent a PR catastrophe and resulting damage from happening to your company brand.  

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