In the early part of the 20th century, American political scientist Harold Dwight Lasswell developed a model of communication that still is proving to be effective even when applied to electronic word-of-mouth (eWoM) advertising. Lasswell’s model has five components that are being analyzed against video eWoM marketing, and the results are that integrated storytelling, often with humor, is one of the most important parts of the equation. Therefore, as you create your marketing video, answer the five questions of the Lasswell model, and find places to add humor, emotion and other scientifically-based decision triggers.


1. Who Says It?

According to the model, the first step to effective communication is that the communicator must be identified. In spoken word, this is obvious, but in video, presenting the communicator can be tricky. Look at the Progressive Insurance commercials as an example. The company presents the ad, but the origin of the communication could be any of its insurance competitors. By advertising the comparison between the various companies, the video introduces other options for the viewer.

Compare the Progressive commercial to the award winning commercials from DirecTV. These ads are only 30 seconds long and, through humor, lead the viewer right to the communicator. Your video needs to bring your audience to you and not to someone else, so be sure your viewer knows who the video is coming from.


2. Says What?

Your marketing message is everything, and losing it in your video is the greatest waste of money. Even if the video is funny, brilliant and unique, if you bury the message, it will not be effective. Storytelling is a powerful part of a good marketing video, but be sure the message doesn’t get lost in the story. If your video plays like a Kubrick movie, and everyone leaves without a clue about what the content was about, then you failed as a marketer.


3. In Which Channel?

This component of Lasswell’s model is where the SEO gurus and Internet marketing specialists make their money. On one hand, you want your marketing video to be seen by as many people as possible and to go viral. On the other hand, the channel needs to integrate with your company’s overall marketing message, lend ethos to your company and, above all, drive people to your business. For example, a combination of YouTube, Facebook and Instagram makes for a good channel mix because they all reach a large and varied market. If your website is designed on a WordPress platform, there are plugins that will integrate your video over various media platforms. Just be sure to find out which platforms your audience uses, and then focus your marketing strategy there.


4. To Whom?

Identifying the target audience is Marketing 101. You cannot reach all people at all times. The size of your demographic will help define your message and guide your budget. Video databases like Shutterstock, for example, let you make several different videos that can each be tailored to your demographic. These stock videos and smart voice-overs can help you deliver your message across channels.


5. With What Effect?

The last of Lasswell’s components is where most videos drop the ball. Every marketing video needs a call to action. To be effective, it must tell the viewer what to do without coming off as advertorial or pedantic. Back to the DirecTV ad example. After telling the viewer all of the down sides of having cable, it proclaims, “Call DirecTV now.” If it’s improperly done, your video will look like a used car commercial. But, if it’s done right, your audience will want to know the next step. Make them laugh, make them cry then make them call you.
Author: DiTesco
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