When Video is More Than Just Moving Pictures on Your Website

Settle in and let me read you, “The Parable of the Food Truck.” After all, everyone loves a good food truck story.

Gary Torres and Teena Nguyen own one of the most popular food trucks in the Dallas-Fort Worth area: Nammi Truck. Maybe you’ve tried it? You should. It’s a regular stop on the M/C/C lunch tour. Anyhow, Gary and Teena did an amazing job establishing their brand before the food truck wave truly captured North Texas. They were pioneers in a new market, and for that, they were rewarded with a loyal following, the best parking spots and a profitable return on their investment. Their outbound marketing was simple: website and social media. It was all they needed, or so they thought.

Photo by Phillip Barnhard
Photo by Phillip Barnhard

While business was going well, the Nammi twosome—like any entrepreneur or small business owner—wanted to see more growth and gain additional exposure in an increasingly crowded market. Everyone that stops by the truck and meets the two falls in love with their infectious, laid-back personality and Vietnamese cuisine. Unfortunately, the food—which is great, by the way—usually gets top billing in pictures and tweets. The two had a sweet story to tell, but had not yet established the avenue to tell it.

Video was the secret ingredient missing from their marketing sandwich. They found a friend willing to capture their personality and business profile in a nice, three-minute video. While the video’s resting place was YouTube and the Nammi website, the true value came from what Nammi did with the video once it was made. Gary and Teena shared the video via their Facebook and Twitter pages, which is a marketing no-brainer. Of course, that got shared around their social network of 10,000-plus. Also, the video continues to get lots of love from the two most popular search engines in the world—Google and YouTube—even though one MCCer feels Google doesn’t love anything. Kidding aside, you certainly want to rank high on both those engines, which Nammi does.

Most importantly, the profile video served as a resume for the Food Network show, “Eat St.,” which seeks out the most interesting mobile dining options in the country. Thanks to a compelling inside look at their food truck operation, producers loved their story and will share it with a national audience in this upcoming season. There’s no telling what credence the “As Seen On TV” label will do for the Nammi brand.

Nammi Truck is in a good place right now. Gary and Teena added a second truck to their fleet while also adding a gourmet ice cream truck. In 2012, Nammi Truck was named Best Food Truck by the Dallas Observer. In mid-August, Nammi opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant, which also serves as a prep-kitchen for their food truck fleet. With the Food Network show airing soon, the future looks bright.

Now I’m not saying that the profile video was a make-or-break event for Nammi. Only on the rarest of occasions can a video completely make a company. See Dollar Shave Club. The two had already established themselves as a respectable food option. But in hindsight, the video should have never been a marketing option, and the windfall helped prove that. If you have a product or service to sell, video must become a standard business practice. People want to be a part of the experience, and online video does an amazing job of bringing the audience into their unique world. Video should be mandatory.

So where does video fit into the grand scheme of a marketing budget? That’s a great question. If you’re a startup, you should probably lay the branding foundation down first. I’ll defer to Jim Terry on that one. After you have an identity established—maybe even a logo and some fresh business cards—then we should start talking about appropriate video content and how it fits into your marketing communications program.

Tell you what, I’ll save you the trouble and highlight a few video styles to consider:

Corporate Overview — It’s your elevator speech to the world. It’s your default, here’s-who-we-are-and-what-we-do video. Make it short and make it sweet. And if you don’t have one, get one.

Product Demos — You’ve got a product and you want to show the world what it’s all about. You’ve come to the right video style. A simple, hands-on demo of a product or a walkthrough of the service should give the audience a better impression of your offering.

How-to Training — Great, someone bought your product. Now support their decision by showing how to best use it. If your product or service is complex, this style may prove invaluable.

Case Studies & Testimonials — Even better, someone used your product and loves it. Now they are willing to be an advocate for your product. Third-party validation can go a long way so highlight that user experience when you can.

Those were just a few of my favorite, go-to video styles. If I missed one, hit up the comments section below with all my shortcomings. For Nammi, it was a laid-back overview that worked best. It’s a safe approach for any company. But don’t be completely safe and ignore video altogether. Safe is the same fool that waited two years to see how the food truck market would play out in DFW. Safe is busy eating Gary and Teena’s dust.

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