I have a wonderful client, Tamara Coleman, who was worried that her videos might be too "edgy." The online cooking show I produce for her is called "Pretty Bitches Can Cook Too," which is part of her overall brand, "Pretty Bitches Can..." that promotes her unique lifestyle that you either love or hate.
To which I told her: your videos have to be on the edge or people will ignore you.
Yes, I believe the word "bitches" can be considered a little racy for some people. However, those people AREN'T HER CUSTOMERS. She was worried because some "marketing experts" advised her to change the name to "Pretty Girls," which stuck in her craw. She hated the name and the idea.
But she also wants to build an audience for her show and was worried about being offensive.
Which leads me back to my point: if you're just starting out and promoting your business with video, you MUST be on the edge or nobody will notice you.
Everyone who works with me knows that I'm a huge fan of marketing author Seth Godin. In his bestseller "The Purple Cow" he talks about how a business has to be remarkable or it'll never survive. In his follow-up book, "Free Prize Inside," he talks about "Edgecraft" and says to "go all the way to that edge--as far from the center as the consumers you are trying to reach dare you to go."
Tamara's web show already has a great "free prize" -- her amazingly simple and very tasty recipes, including drinks and desserts made mostly for her girlfriends. But the intangible prize is to be one of her "pretty bitches." In a way, it's similar to the book "Skinny Bitch," which also pushed the edge... right into the best-seller lists.
There's a thousand ways to be "edgy," and they all require that you know WHO YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE. Single moms who are juggling career and kids won't be interested in the "Pretty Bitches" lifestyle, and they will likely hate on Tamara for being edgy. Which is fine. Those women will never be her audience.
The women who love Tamara and her lifestyle are the ones who will be her lifelong fans and customers. They "get" her and want to be with her. They will wear her T-shirts and buy her salsa and be proud to be outsiders. And they'll buy what's she's selling, no matter the price.
Which brings us back to The Edge (sorry, U2 fans): once you know who your audience is, you MUST take your video marketing right to the edge to get their attention. Launching a new brand with video is tough. While it's now cheaper than ever before, this also means everyone's doing it, overcrowding the viewing landscape (mostly YouTube) with junky boring videos that nobody will share on Facebook.
Why did "Gangnam Style" get 1.8 BILLION views? It's not a boring video. Psy (the artist) knows exactly who his audience is. His video is funny, kinetic, colorful and very edgy (yet not blatantly offensive).
Dollar Shave Club did the same thing. How do you compete against billion dollar corporations like Gillette to sell razor blades? Make an edgy video that people share and forward. And it worked.
You know in your gut who your audience is. The kind of people you want for clients. The people who "get" you. That's the WHO that you're making your videos for. They will understand why you push the edge and will know that you get THEM. They'll share your videos and wait excitedly for the next one.
If you get scared and water down your video, or aim for the middle of the road, you're dead. A semi truck corporation with a billion bucks in cash to spend on fancy-pants videos with movie stars and special effects will splatter you without a second thought. To launch a new brand today with video doesn't take much money. But it does take guts. No guts, no glory, right? Go for the edge, where the big boys won't go, and own it.
Another edgy marketer I admire: Erika Napolitano. She, Seth and Psy would be nowhere with their brands if they played it safe. And neither should you.