Brand Marketing on Vine: How to Sell Yourself in Six Seconds

What you can learn from successful brands on Vine to leverage the video platform for your business.

brand marketing vine

Jon Mowat is a former BBC Documentary filmmaker but now runs Hurricane Media, a video marketing and production company based in Bristol, England. You can connect with him on Twitter.

Nearly two years after its launch, Vine is already becoming an established part of the content marking mix. That’s quite an achievement even by Internet success story standards. What is not so clear is exactly how those seeking to leverage this six-second video format can do so with the maximum impact.

Getting the Message Right
What really differentiates a great Vine from an average one depends on the message you are delivering. Some companies are more suited to brand marketing on Vine than others. But it’s proving a hard nut to crack for content creators.

Thomas Messett, head of digital marketing for Nokia Europe, said “How can you land a message or tell a story or create something compelling that will influence a consumer in just six seconds? It can be done, just like it can be done in 140 characters, but it’s hard and I don’t think many brands have the formula yet.”

That being said, there are some overarching rules of thumb that all budding Vine marketers need to take heed of if they really want to stand out on the platform.

Leading by Example
The best way to understand marketing on Vine is to look at some of the success stories.
GE has really embraced the format with their “6-second science” Vines. Their use of visually impressive science experiments, combined with off-the-wall humor, have really connected with a huge demographic that consume science and technology-based content online.

Samsung used the winter Olympics as a creative springboard for a fun and perfectly looping animation.

French Connection is creating some great Vines using stop motion, an increasing popular Vine format.

It may not be immediately clear what these three great Vines share, but there are some takeaways:

  • They all have the brand’s community at their heart. GE showcases science, Samsung showcases extreme outdoor sports and French Connection showcases their clothing range to those interested in fashion and travel.
  • There is never a hard sell. In fact, it’s best to avoid traditional advertising calls to action, as they just don’t work on the platform. Each of the Vines above simply give you something to think about; the takeaway is a simple, personal moment. Connection to the brand has to be more subtle and often only establishes itself after you’ve hooked your audience on your style of Vine.
  • They left the door open for you to return. Great Vines will make sure to leave you wanting the next story with anticipation.
  • Creativity was a watchword. Each Vine used the format to its strengths and didn’t try to make a Vine something it can’t be. With the platform, you’ve got a precious few moments to make an impact. Don’t waste them, but at the same time don’t try to cram everything in. Efficiency and the simplicity of your message is key.

Content Marketing with Minutes and Moments
Making effective and engaging brand Vines is only half the story. From a content marketing point of view, every video medium has to play to its own strengths; while YouTube and Vimeo give you any number of minutes to connect with your viewer, condensed video platforms like Vine and Instagram allow you only moments. While YouTube and Vimeo allow you the space to engage from multiple angles with both emotion and logic across a traditional narrative arc, Vine and Instagram rely on quick emotional hooks and grabs.

Quite often, these ‘emotional beats’ can play well into a ‘non-linear’ video marketing campaign with content spread across multiple platforms, including television commercials and social media.
Even with just six seconds of video, it’s important to anchor your Vine to a wider narrative or cultural reference point. Your Vine must still make sense to your target audience, even if it is taken in isolation from other parts of the wider narrative.

Moving Forward
As long as big brands like Honda and Coke continue to put their weight behind Vine, Twitter will keep adding features to the platform. A format that encourages creativity and fresh perspective, it’s hard to imagine Vine not taking an even more established place in the field of content marketing services. As Vine private messaging enters the fray, we may soon see users finding fresh and inspiring ways to converse and engage with each other’s Vines.