Visual Content Marketing Gone Way Cool
The secret to effective visual content marketing is to have something of visual interest. This sparks the obvious question I get asked all the time is – “how do I make my business interesting?”
The answer directly to each person who asks me that question isn’t simple, but the strategy is simple. The strategy is, “Well, what do you do that is interesting to others? What are you researching, what are you thinking about, what can you show people in the video, pictures, or other visual media, that conveys to them your thoughts and aspirations?”
I think Lexus hit a home run with its hoverboard project in this regard. It’s not an obvious connection – why would a car company develop a levitating skateboard, and then spend marketing and media dollars promoting it, getting a film crew to film it (including behind the scenes, etc.), and distributing it all on YouTube and social media?
It seems like Magic – but it’s Science!
First, let me show you what Lexus revealed yesterday on YouTube:
Really cool huh? Now the immediate reaction of a lot of people I have no doubt is “it’s fake.” Actually – it’s not.
I don’t know exactly what’s being done here – but I suspect it’s quantum locking. In 2011, Boaz Almog demonstrated at TED the phenomenon of quantum locking. It’s unbelievable technology that is a peculiar phenomenon that results from superconductive wafers cooled to specific temperatures (about minus 300 degrees F to be precise).
So it’s real. It’s amazing. And perhaps in 20-30 years, Lexus might actually have quantum locking cars on the road, so it’s not idle thoughts to be demonstrating this technology.
Why build a skateboard if you’re a car company?
There’re a couple of reasons why Lexus did this video, and quite frankly why Lexus decided to build a levitating skateboard. The first, Lexus imagines itself as being a thought leader in automotive technology. They have done several advertising campaigns and commercials over the years attempting to demonstrate their thought leadership. They also invest a fair amount of their R&D in new technologies – much of which never gets incorporated into cars.
Most of the things Lexus has wanted to talk about in commercials or marketing has been ignored. I don’t think they expected a home run doing this – they just wanted to do it because that’s who they are as a company. That said, I think even for Lexus they realized this was something “way cool” that was a natural for the internet. That brings me to my second point, if ever there was something really cool to demonstrate craftsmanship, technology, and technical prowess in a way that is liked, shared, talked about etc., this hoverboard is it. It’s a natural product idea for social media and the internet – and if it only costs a few hundred thousand dollars – a company like Lexus is already spending millions in social media, so the marginal add on cost isn’t very much (and they were going to do it anyway because that’s the research they like to pursue – as their other videos on the subject reveal).
Now, they could have done a concept car that was levitating – but nobody would have believed it. But, the idea of a hoverboard, that’s something that has been in the recesses of people’s minds for about 80 years now.
The website that Lexus built for the “Slide” (the name of the hover board) is equally impressive. They’re not trying to sell you a car – instead, they’re trying to sell you on a concept – their vision of the future. Unlike many car websites, this one is exceptionally visual, exceptionally designed, and minimalistic. It’s made for phone and desktop alike. It’s designed to provide a visual experience.
So great videos on YouTube, which in 2-3 minutes “wow” factored me out of my seat… and a website that was nothing short of a delight. It’s a home run. Truly. That’s the power of great visual content marketing. They’ve captured the imagination of everyone who watched this video (8 million + people in less than 24 hours, and probably 12-15M in reality given how YouTube lags in calculating views). They will probably get 30-40M views before it levels off. That’s exceptionally impressive.
The board is undoubtedly amazing – but quite frankly – so is their approach to sharing it with the marketplace. I don’t think Lexus is going to enter the skateboard market with 200K dollar boards any time soon, but if they did, I think some people out there would line up and buy them. Lexus just threw down the gauntlet to Mercedes and everyone else saying “Ok, your turn. What do you got?”
Be interesting to see how they respond.