May 31, 2016

DJ Khaled, Snapchat, and Spontaneity in Videos

Do you know who DJ Khaled is? With songs like “All I Do is Win” and “We Takin’ Over”, he’s a producer known to bring together rappers and singers on generally positive-sounding tracks.

His greatest accomplishments are on Snapchat where he has built an amazing personal brand around one thing: realness.  In an age where everyone is putting up a front, the raw experiences of DJ Khaled have struck a chord with millions, and maybe businesses should be listening. Here are a few of his videos before we get into it:

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Realness Doesn’t Mean Lack of Polish

I’ve been following DJ Khaled avidly since he published his first few videos, and it’s obvious that he took them seriously from the start. He always has someone following him who can shoot videos and from third person view. He has started endorsing brands, and even released singles from artists who he’s signed to his ‘We The Best’ label, all on Snapchat. However, most of DJ Khaled’s videos are pretty simple: they’re all filmed on an iPhone, and the vast majority of the videos are shot by DJ Khaled himself. And we’re talking about someone who releases 20-30 short videos every day.

The reason why this is so easy for DJ Khaled is because he already knows exactly what perception he wants to project to the world.

A lot of B2B businesses think they know, but often it’s precisely because they don’t that their videos don’t resonate with their audience. The first step to successful and plentiful video production is knowing what you want to talk about and how you want to represent yourself.

Once you have that solidified, you can start to explore what type of video content to pursue: do you want to take the thought leadership route? Or do you want to become the educational resource?  Maybe you just want to broadcast your successes (although we don’t recommend doing this for your entire video library).

You’ll notice that once you’re clear on what your videos should be about(and I mean an official video strategy everyone in your company knows about), spontaneous opportunities for videos will seem more frequent(like events!). They won’t all look amazing, but you know what? Your potential customers don’t care, as long as they get to see the real you.

Spontaneity is King

The best ideas are the ones you don’t plan.

The story of how DJ Khaled got started on Snapchat is pretty ridiculous, actually. He was on a jet ski in his home town of Miami, lost track of time, and ended up stranded at sea, in the dark, totally lost. He started documenting the whole ordeal on Snapchat, and the rest is history. Before this point, DJ Khaled was a minor celebrity. He’d had a few hits, but was more recognized for his ability to bring rappers together, rather than his own personal talent. But when his jet ski videos went viral, he recognized the tremendous opportunity in front of him.

None of DJ Khaled’s videos are anywhere near professional quality, but that isn’t the point. They’re successful because they show what we’re not usually allowed to see: the true life of a celebrity. It’s also refreshing to see a famous person being motivational and proactive instead of simply showing up to where their publicists tell them to go. B2B businesses are no different, they have everyday lives, big moments and inspirational speeches. It’s a learning experience, but you want your customers to relate to you. And you can’t do that as well by just showing them your contrived, prepared brand image.

Here’s a perfect example of a raw, company video.

This was shot by our CEO, Michael Litt, at our last company kickoff while employees were walking into the venue. It was streamed live on Facebook, and was pretty simple:  Mike asked employees how they were feeling about the coming year. Some of it is funny, some of it is insightful, but more than anything, it’s pure Vidyard. It’s an energy that we could never have replicated by writing a script.

This is the kind of video that gets people to relate and trust our brand.

The video has been online for 10 days at the time I’m writing this and it got 800 views. We’re talking about content that is purely about the Vidyard brand and employees, posted only on our CEO’s Facebook page, and done on the fly. Let that sink in for a moment, and you should understand the power of spontaneous video.

Make it Worthwhile

What really gave DJ Khaled lasting appeal is the set of life guidelines he keeps repeating. While mantras like “Count your blessings” and “Stay away from They” don’t scream business, they tell an important tale for businesses. These simple phrases reflect the core values that Khaled wants to preach. He even has an online store that sells t-shirts boasting these phrases, and it seems like every day he features 10 or more people he’s randomly found wearing his shirts on the street.

The reason why these mantras work so well is that they are relatable. They’re things we should all do, actionable tips that we can all benefit from.

What you need to do, is figure out what your company’s taglines are. No, not your actual company tagline, but sub-taglines that target the very specific things your product does. They should be snappy phrases that your potential clients can immediately apply to their lives. These have nothing to do with your slogan, they reflect what problems you are trying to solve. They can also be about pain points, and how you solve them. Once you find them, start repeating them in everything you do, and you’ll be surprised how quickly they catch on.

Just like DJ Khaled’s mantras, you’ll notice that your taglines might start to dictate the type of video you should do. Maybe one of them is more suited to explainer videos, maybe another works best to show off the company culture and events. For example, “Count your blessings” is usually DJ Khaled showing his house and possessions, “Stay away from They” are front facing mini-rant videos where he explains behaviors to stay away from.

Let’s Win More with Video

We can say it’s luck, or the fact that our society has come to enjoy following empty celebrities. At the end of the day, the reason why DJ Khaled’s videos succeed is that he has a very clear video content strategy (there, I said it). Some of his videos are motivational, others talk about the kind of foods he eats, he also does many videos of his workout routines, and the rest are either videos with fans or peeks into his everyday life.

None of the individual videos are specifically planned, but the strategy behind them is.

DJ Khaled always thinks to record his workout sessions, he always thinks to shoot videos with his fans on the streets, it’s all a habit. It’s not any harder for you to think about shooting a video of your CEO’s speech or of a recent product update. All you have to do is start thinking of everything your company does as potential content. If you’re not sure how to start doing that, just do what DJ Khaled does:

  • Have a clear goal for your video: Whether you want to show off your workout routine like Khaled, or a breakthrough for your product, there should be a clear takeaway.
  • Always think video: If everything is potential content to you, the opportunities to make a new video will all start jumping at you.
  • Find a quiet spot to shoot: Khaled has a sprawling Miami mansion and hotel rooms, but you have conference rooms and all the nooks and crannies of your office.
  • Be yourself: This isn’t the time to act, you want to show customers the true face of your brand.
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Max Doucet-Benoit

Max Doucet-Benoit

Max loves writing content, but his true love is reserved for videos. In his spare time, he enjoys video games and Boston Terriers in general.

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