One of the hottest comedians in the US, Louis CK, conducted an experiment to see what would happen if he independently created and sold a DRM-free video of unaired material direct to consumers on his website for $5. Standard sales of comedy specials would typically cost about $20 per video, the videos would not be available until months after TV specials had aired, and would come with numerous viewing restrictions if purchased online.
CK looked past the possibility that people would steal the video (the greatest downfall of DRM-free videos). He looked past the possibility that it might not work (risking a $200,000 investment), and he looked past the ease of letting a big production company shoot and sell the video for him. In doing so, he created a stronger way to build brand loyalty with current fans and made it easy and affordable for new fans to see his act.
To marketers, CK’s distribution experiment makes perfect sense; video sharing is a key tactic in building brand strength. By regularly posting videos on a blog, your site will experience an organic bump in SEO--building brand presence. Offering video tutorials will show potential clients your expertise--building brand ethos. Giving customers something as a token of how you value their business--building brand loyalty.
Clients tend to have the same fears Louis CK had to push past in his endeavor. What if someone clicks on a link to my video and hires a competitor to execute my ideas? They might, but what if they never knew your website or company existed? Can you consider it a lost sale if it was never yours in the first place?
See It to Believe It
A recommendation is a strong factor in decision making for most consumers. Who better to recommend your services than you. If potential clients have easy access to you and can see your expertise first-hand, then they are more likely to trust you.
The logic behind this is simple. Give people something that is easy to use and affordable, and they will buy into your brand. Give a little, get a lot. It worked for Louis CK. In first four days of sales, CK recouped the $200,000 he invested in the video and made an additional $200,000. To date, the video has grossed $1M. Loss in sales due to people stealing is negligible considering all factors.
Because of his success, other comedians such as Aziz Ansari and Jim Gaffigan are following CK’s distribution model. Gaffigan is taking it a step further and donating a dollar from each sale to charity. “What Louis did was make the product at a super low price and super easy to buy. It was a really simple, but really brilliant idea,” he says.
While you may not be selling a good online like these comedians, the idea holds true. Creating an easy, affordable way for customers to have access to you is one possible way to build a strong brand.