Video in Hedge Fund Marketing – How To Get It Right.
By Gus Morison.
The popularity of video is clearly nothing new. 100 million – that’s the number of people who now watch online video every day. 75% – the percentage of executives that told Forbes they watch work-related video on business websites at least once a week. 65% – the number of those that visit the marketer’s website after watching. Considerable statistics for the wider market – but what place does this have in the hedge fund world?
Alternative fund management is more competitive than ever and as a result branding is more important than ever. To succeed you have to stand out. Alpha, for quite some time, has not been enough. To succeed, a fund needs to complete the three key strategic pillars: an alpha strategy, a business strategy and an (all-too-often overlooked) marketing strategy.
The most successful hedge fund businesses have built brands that are inherently recognisable to investors and allocators. This is one of the most under-appreciated reasons for success: these funds have built their brand with a well-considered and well executed marketing strategy. They understand what marketing means – and it’s not a mass Outlook email with a page full of performance stats backed up by an incessant cold-calling schedule.
Marketing, at its most basic level, is not about the product itself, but how the consumer feels about the product. What emotion does the product elicit? So, what should you want an investor to feel? You should want them to feel safe that they have made a secure and explainable decision to their stakeholders, confident in their choice to allocate and excited that they will realise their potential- in short, succeed at their job.
Familiarity with a brand removes career-risk decision making investors. Consider this: a pension fund CIO explains his approach to the board, or a family office director justifies an allocation to the wealth owner, with much less risk of come-back if the primary stakeholders have heard of the fund and the team behind it. “No one ever got fired from investing in BlueCrest” is a phrase many will be familiar with for good reason.
So where does video come into this? Video can tell the story of your brand so it is recognised. Video is naturally engaging, far more than any other medium save being face-to-face. There is an inherent click-ability and desire-to-engage with video – can you say the same for that 20 page PDF you’ve been sending out? Would an investor, who gets drowned in the ubiquitous blue and green pitch decks every day, find it easier to consume a 3-5 minute video or wade through yet another long and mundane document?
Yes, you need to communicate the wide range of specifics about the fund at some point in the process – they are vital – but they are not part of the initial branding of the fund, of how people identify on a human level with the ideas and intrinsic feel of the product. You don’t buy a Ferrari based on the dimensions of the rear axle, you buy it because of how it makes you feel. Start with engaging people first, then talk specifics.
90% of funds will have at least one video about themselves within two years – and those that don’t are ignoring the tool at their peril. Engage people and they will spend more time on your website, feel more comfortable with your brand and even share it for you. Link your content with social media, disseminate it into your online network and the multiplying affects can be staggering. For any social media campaign, any SEO exercise, video is without doubt one of the best tools in the kit.
Produced correctly, a range of videos can tell the full story of your fund far more effectively than any pitch deck will. Start with the headlines: the people behind the brand, their personal stories and how they conceived the product. Progress with an animated presentation of your strategy – bringing your performance and statistics to life. Finally, if you’re really going in depth, complete the circle with a full operational due diligence piece. The process removes significant friction from the asset raising journey and people will enjoy engaging with your story throughout.
There’s a whole range of options out there when it comes to creating video and it’s worth spending the time getting to know them and finding out what suits your brand and your goals best. At HedgeBrunch, where human connection is our number-one focus, we love video on the personal stories behind the funds – these engage people at the basic level and are a great way to humanise the product, here is an example of our Behind The Brand videos. When it gets more technical a well-constructed animation or hybrid of film and animation is the way to go. This video from Xpono does it very well indeed.
Key considerations when using video
- Keep it short – in a world where content vies for attention shorter is better, 3 to 5 minutes maximum.
- Make it engaging – fail to capture the interest of the viewer in the first 10 seconds and they’re unlikely to watch the whole piece.
- Simple is beautiful – clean, uncluttered presentation is king.
- Digestible is investable – break it down, take it step by step, in multiple videos if needs be.
- Personal is preferable – human beings are interesting, don’t leave them out.
- Don’t cut corners – invest in good production. Bad production is arguably worse than no video at all!
So the case for video is this: branding is more important than ever for success let alone survival. Video is one of the most effective ways to increase your brand awareness and understanding far and wide. Production is simple and you already have the platforms to disseminate at your fingertips. What’s your move?
Interested in producing a “Behind the Brand” video with HedgeBrunch or animating you’re approach and strategies with Xpono? Please contact us.