Live streaming has been getting a tremendous amount of buzz as of late. As with many things television-related, there are a number of flavors of live-streaming, everything from NFL games broadcast on social networks to Facebook Live videos from celebrities to a category that gets very little love from the media, but may be one of the most valuable use cases for live video: B2B training and education sessions.
Portland, Oregon-based Brandlive has developed a platform for live videos and CEO and founder Fritz Brumder says they can be a real game-changer for retailers. “Rather than just getting a set of instructions or a written overview, employees at every one of a store’s locations can now see a live demo of a new product and have a chance to ask the vendor questions that are then answered, live, for the whole company. What’s more,” he added, “the video can then be saved so that six months from now, a new employee can view it and still get value from it.”
Internal training videos isn’t all that marketers use Brandlive for. The company, which was originally conceived of as an online version of QVC, is able to power “live video pop-up stores”— livestreamed video aimed at consumers that allows retailers to show off and demonstrate their merchandise in real time, while reacting to consumers questions and comments. Brandlive’s software solution allows brands to make these pop-up stores “shoppable” with links and the ability to demonstrate the products that consumers or hosts are talking about in real time.
“The way we look at it,” Brumder explains, “is that people are buying experiences these days, not just products. We can give them experiences via live video, allowing them to experience anything from a demo of how to make holiday decorations using the products sold by a hardware retailer, to how to prepare a Thanksgiving feast using products sold by a supermarket. If you’re a fashion brand, you might want to sponsor a live concert event. The possibilities are endless.”
What’s special about Brandlive, Brumder goes on to add, “is that we can then allow viewers to purchase these items directly from the platform the video is playing on. This creates an experience that’s bigger than the product, something that’s both memorable and relevant for the consumer.”
In a world where data is becoming more and more important, platforms like Brandlive, whose videos typically live on the brand’s own website or mobile app, give brands the ability to gain insight into who their best customers are. They can learn which social media platforms they’re active on, track viewer registrations and pageview activity, track comments, and understand which products they’re most interested in buying. They can also understand which products consumers have the most questions about, which speaks to the need for greater buyer education.
“The real benefit of what we do,” explains Brumder, “is that it allows for an exchange of value with the consumer. Brands aren’t just saying “listen to my message.” They’re saying “here’s something entertaining, here’s something useful, here’s something in exchange for listening to our message and learning more about our brand. When you add in the immediacy of live, it becomes a very powerful tool.”
We also see value in Brandlive or similar platforms as a way for networks to promote their current lineup. Rather than just posting clips online, networks can stage live read-throughs, behind the scenes visits with actors and showrunners, even how-to events for unscripted news shows and all while hosted on their owned and operated channels and distributed across designated social channels. As Brumder notes, this exchange of value is something today’s consumer values and TV viewers are no exception. The emotional connection created when a viewer shares in an experience via live video is powerful and can do more to boost tune-in and word of mouth than a traditional style promotion on its own. Used together, they create a powerful one-two punch.