How Pottery Barn Uses Web Video to Engage

How Pottery Barn Uses Web Video to Engage

When it comes to marketing online, nothing can touch the level of engagement a well produced video can provide. People usually prefer watching video over reading and clicking through photo galleries on websites. Media personality and blogger Leah D’Emilio recently expressed her appreciation for the videos produced by Pottery Barn. In their September email blast, they included this video, which is part of an ongoing “party planning” series:

To my pleasant surprise, I realized – by actually reading the content of their email for the first time ever – that they have videos on their own YouTube channel showing you how to decorate your home for fall or throw awesome Halloween parties, etc. The mention of videos was near the bottom of today’s email underneath the aforementioned photos which bring you to their main site/catalog. It seems like they’ve invested quite a bit in production quality, so why not throw the actual videos (or at least mention them) up at the top of their marketing emails? The videos are truly well done and deserve a little more attention. I’m always happy to see people/brands producing great video and Pottery Barn gets a gold star from me today. You can certainly bet that I’ll be paying closer attention to their upcoming emails from now on and I immediately subscribed to their YouTube channel, so I won’t miss any more of their lovely videos (they’ve already made 270). – Leah D’Emilio

Pottery Barn is using online video the right way. They are providing useful, relevant, and sharable videos:

  • Useful: The videos solve their audiences problems with decorating and party planning with step-by-step guides and cool ideas.
  • Relevant: They published the fall party planning guides right before Fall, and  the content is targeted to what the customer is looking for at that time.
  • Sharable: The videos cover very specific topics. Rather than packing all of the autumn how-tos into one long video, each topic is broken into its own, bite-sized video.

You may notice that the video is mostly comprised of stills. There are only a handful of shots in the beginning that are in motion, and with that pace set, you hardly notice the almost total reliance on stills and voice-over.

Tips, Tricks & How-to Videos

Of all the videos produced by Pottery Barn, their “how-to” videos seem to pull the most views.  These videos are a great example of how a company can help solve problems for customers through video, which makes the brand more relevant to them. How to Correctly Hang a Drape at Home has over 118,000 views in less than a year. How to Create A Vegetable Centerpiece pulled in 50,000 views, and Creating a Memory Wall has almost 40,000 views as of this posting.

Think about how you can use educational or instructional videos to solve your customers problems.  It will put your brand in a favorable light as you become a trusted resource for valuable information.

Profile & Lifestyle Videos

In addition to their popular how-to videos, Pottery Barn’s Youtube channel features a “lifestyle” series of documentary-style videos showcasing the homes of their “ideal” customers. Pottery Barn finds these customers and asks them to film their homes. These vignettes are great for readers who want an authentic peek into the lifestyle the brand promises. The video below has amassed about 10,000 views so far:

This video is noteworthy because it is completely authentic.  Without selling Pottery Barn too hard, they manage to profile the homes of real people who accurately represent the lifestyle associated with the brand.  It makes for great entertainment (think home and garden magazines) and helps reinforce the image through stories based in reality.

Who are your customers, and what lifestyle represents your brand?  Would a peek into your customers lives help tell a story that would be relevant to people?

With a little creativity, you can come up with dozens of useful, relevant and shareable video subjects that will engage your audience. Don’t treat your video production like a commercial, treat it like a series. Instructional videos and profile videos are a great place to start. Need help? Here are some more ideas for video content.