2017 is an extremely exciting time for filmmakers. We're in an age where micro-documentaries are valued by brands and by the public. Authenticity and beautiful filmmaking are king. No longer are talented filmmakers left trying to find a place for their films to be viewed. There's a hungry global audience one click away, waiting to consume films that inspires them and move them.
It's a trend the leaders in outdoor retail are fully engaging. Take a look at Yeti's homepage. At any point you may find their latest micro-documentary dominating the space above the fold on their web page. Not their product. Their latest film. But to understand micro-documentary's power, we first need to understand what they are.
Micro-documentaries: What are they?
Micro-documentaries are non-fiction films ranging anywhere from 5-10 minutes in length. In the Outdoor Retail industry you'll find micro-documentaries on extreme athletes, record-setting endurance attempts or unique outdoorsmen tucked away in the greatest outdoor corners of the United States and around the world.
A common misconception is that a micro-documentary focuses on the brand itself or on the company's history. But that's not the case. A powerful micro-documentary, leveraged effectively, should leave the viewer wondering who produced it. It's one of the most non-intrusive marketing strategies represented online. Providing valuable content to an audience while leaving out any hint of the abrasive sales tactics millennials have grown to hate and distrust.
What value do micro-documentaries provide a brand?
Leaders in the online marketing space will be the first to tell you that if your brand doesn't view itself as a media company, it will get left behind. But cinematic, powerful micro-documentaries are produced by some of the best in the film industry. They don't come with a cheap price tag. So why should a brand commit to such a strategy and what value will it provide?
It's a buzzword that drives some people crazy but unfortunately it can't be ignored. As a millennial myself I can personally attest to this reality. When I see a commercial come across my news feed, I quickly skim on. A film on a topic I'm interested in, that will cause me to pause. Watch it right then and there or save the video to return to when I have time to watch it. The content I pull up to show my friends or send in a text? You guessed it, the films that catch my attention and tell a story I'm interested in.
To engage your audience and your customer base you need them to identify with your organization. It's a basic, organizational communication truth that proves true with employees and customers. When your customer or employee identifies with an organization as aligning with his or her own values and interests, your company is well on its way to success. Micro-documentaries provide credibility to brands' audiences. When I see YETI produced a film on professional anglers who operate in waters reached only by plane in the middle of the Caribbean, it validates their leadership in the fishing industry. They get it. They understand what fisherman are interested in, passionate about and thus, they're the brand to look for when you need a cooler that will last out on the boat.
Like most things, micro-documentaries are stronger together. When a brand consistently produces content that its audience cares about. You better believe they're going to build a loyal following that will be keeping an eye out for more content. Salomon is an excellent example of a brand that thought outside the box and leveraged itself not only as a leader in outdoor apparel and gear but as a leader in outdoor films. They've dedicated an entire web platform to Salomon TV, telling stories that matter to their consumers.
So take a look at the examples I've given you. See how they're leveraging micro-documentaries to authenticate their brand, build a loyal following and engage their audience. There's no doubt, we're in a new era of marketing. One that rewards authenticity and the investment in beautifully produced films.
by Carrie Highman
Micro-documentary Director, Dream Lens Media