Quick quiz: What's a good sign that online video is the hot choice for brands looking to spend their marketing dollars? When even companies that don't traditionally advertise on television are embracing it. Like Boeing, for example. The airline manufacturer is jumping into social media in a major way, with three separate Twitter accounts and a brand new Youtube channel.
I hear a lot of small businesses say things like, "Online video wouldn't really work for our business," or, "Our line of work doesn't translate too well to video." While I understand how companies—particularly smaller ones—can come to that mindset, I don't agree with it. And Boeing is a fantastic example of how any company of any size, and in any industry, can leverage online video to connect with consumers.
Have you ever seen a Boeing commercial on television, or heard one on the radio? I can't say that I have personally. In fact, the company hasn't often marketed directly to consumers, largely because they haven't needed to. Boeing sells their products mostly to other large companies—airline companies, to be exact, among others. The old school way of thinking might suggest there's no need for Boeing to reach out to consumers with marketing messages, because there was no way for consumers to purchase directly from them.
But the world is changing rapidly. Boeing is such a large company, supplying a huge portion of the world's aviation equipment and technology (to NASA, for one), that they end up in the news a lot. And that puts them on the radar of the average consumer. In addition, consumers are savvier than ever—most of us know who builds most of the airplanes we trust our lives with. And so consumers now pay attention to those news stories.
Which results in a need that Boeing-of-the-past didn't have, which is the need to develop relationships and dialogues with consumers. Hence their push into social media and online video. They're not just taking baby steps, they're taking big fat leaps into digital media. They have three Twitter accounts—one is @Boeing, one is @BoeingAirplanes, and one is @BoeingDefense. And they even have a Facebook page with 90,000 friends, though that page is officially just for the Boeing Store.
Their YouTube channel is only three weeks old, so it's probably far too early to judge them based on the content there. Regardless, I thought we should take a look at how Boeing is using video in terms of message and style. Take a look:
That's pretty freaking interesting to me. They've created their own "news report" video, mimicking the pacing and editing of a 60 Minutes-style piece. That's actually a great idea. It subconsciously makes the viewer feel more like their watching an objective piece than a commercial, which should help them absorb the content better.
Their most-viewed video thus far is from two weeks ago. It's got about 2,000 views and is much more traditional in tone—almost a glamor spot, showcasing all kinds of their aircraft, employees, and special projects. Check it out:
You have to be impressed that they're not only embracing YouTube, but are already experimenting with wildly different styles and approaches—only three weeks into their efforts. (It's interesting to note that the Boeing channel has been around since 2006, but there are no videos on the channel prior to three weeks ago). Poke around that channel and you'll find even more variety than I've mentioned.
Boeing is a shining example to any company that thinks online video can't work for them, can't speak for them, or can't tell their story. It can tell any story. You just have to put yourself out there a bit, be willing to experiment, and start engaging customers as much as possible.