Hey Brands, We’re Busy Lifecasting. Why Aren’t You?
by Lauren Friedman
posted on 06-08-2017
MGM resorts are everything you’d expect them to be — glamorous, posh, and ultra cool. But when MGM Grand in Las Vegas wanted to promote itself as the ‘Times Square of the West’ for celebrating New Year’s, they turned to lifecasting. The plan was to show millennials that Vegas is the “it” place to ring in the New Year by immersing them in the experience.
The Twitter campaign, #LiveFromLV showcased the intensity and excitement of New Year’s Eve in Vegas by following three influencers streaming on Twitter and Periscope. Live broadcasts or ‘lifecasts’ boosted campaign impact and created a conversation with the millennial audience—a nearly impossible feat through more conventional techniques.
Okay. But we all know how to stream video. How is lifecasting any different?
Sharing details from your life via webcam on the Internet is nothing new. But lifecasting is different. Rather than selecting and uploading specific clips, lifecasting is uninterrupted streaming directly to the web. Uncut. Every detail intact.
Why should brands pay attention to this new millennial pastime? With tons of social apps to fuel the trend — think Instagram Stories, Snapchat, Facebook Live, and more creeping up all the time — millennials are broadcasting their experiences and people are paying attention.
Here’s the kicker for brands:
What sets lifecasting apart is that it does a much better job at communicating [affect](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affect(philosophy)#Theaffective_turn), or the different spheres of human experience. Rather than representing through traditional means like photos or status updates, lifecasting lets viewers feel the experience, as if they were right alongside the actual participants — and it’s exhilarating.
Traditional advertising tells you how to think and feel But, lifecasting lets your audience draw their own conclusions, while opening up a community of likeminded enthusiasts. For brands, this is an opportunity to build credibility, communicate intensity, and connect on a completely new level.
Lifecasting is now. Here’s how it’s taking shape—three trends brand should start thinking about.
Trend No. 1: Live Video—Boost The Millennial Affinity Tor Authenticity
Live video has been around for awhile, but it’s reached mass popularity due to social media. Video takes lifecasting to a more authentic level, creating opportunities for brands to connect with their customers through emotion and intensity — part of the human experience that’s difficult to get across in text. Brands can use lifecasting alone or partner with influencers to showcase authenticity and experience.
Through its outreach with influencers, MGM Resorts captured the excitement of New Year’s in Vegas. More importantly, lifecasting dispelled millennial FOMO (fear of missing out), while turning envy into aspiration. Viewers were driven by heightened emotion. Millennials found themselves wanting to recreate this exciting experience and MGM’s fantastic Vegas destination came through loud and clear.
The Chief Experience Officer at MGM Resorts credits lifecasting with helping them do a better job at getting the message out to millennials. “MGM Resorts is in the experience business. Combining influencers with live video broadcasting allowed us to give our perspective audiences a taste of what they are missing and a better understanding of our brands.”
Restore the Human Element
As MGM learned, influencers yield tremendous power when sharing experiences on behalf of brands. But, the opportunity that lifecasting creates is really about adding that missing human element. General Electric (GE) live streamed a peek inside their industrial workshops. An authentic, behind-the-scenes look allowed the brand to connect with customers on a human level as opposed to just pushing traditional advertising their way.
Live video also allows brands to communicate emotion in a way that’s less likely to be misconstrued. Text is tricky. People read an ad or a tweet and interpret it in multiple ways. With video, people see what you see and emotion is conveyed in a more real and consistent way.
Redbull captures the human piece of video effortlessly by communicating intensity through exciting video clips of fans skydiving, bungie jumping, canoeing, and more. Live video taken from the participant’s perspective, makes it easy to feel raw emotion. Viewers are in the moment as opposed to looking at a photograph with some emotive words on it.
Learn more about my perspective on live video here:
Trend No. 2: Short Term Content—Embrace the Antithesis of Traditional Advertising
Where the goal of traditional advertising is longevity, lifecasting is the exact opposite and short-term content defines the best campaigns. A bite-sized lifecast is often seen as more authentic because it replicates real life timing. For brands looking to humanize, short form content gives them a way forward — but only for 24 hours.
The popularity of short term content speaks to the changing attention span of today’s audiences who turn to Instagram or Snapchat because they’re tired of the non-stop drip of advertising. Smart brands need to recognize that the millennial generation isn’t into this. Instead, we want quick hits. Show me what you’ve got and then get out of my feed.
Taco Bell masters the art of Snapchat storytelling by thinking out of the box. They draw attention to their products in novel ways (remember the infamous taco head filter?). They’ve captured the heart and imagination of their audience — and they’re rewarded for it. Like Taco Bell, Amazon uses short-term content to offer exclusive money-saving deals and promotional content to their best customers.
Trend No. 3: Artificial Intelligence—Let Them Integrate Your Brand Into Their Story
Facebook just launched a new research lab that’s entirely dedicated to advancing Artificial Intelligence (AI). And LinkedIn acquired Bright, which focuses on algorithm-driven job matches. The relationship between AI and lifecasting is evolving and it’s centered around user-generated content.
Lifecasting with AI increases flexibility by letting users decide how they want to incorporate a brand into their own experiences. What brands may lose in control, they gain in authenticity — and that’s appealing to the millennial generation.
Lifecasting creates a platform for brands to connect with consumers directly, build trust, and convey emotion. An opportunity to learn from user-generated content, some brands will successfully become lifecasters themselves or with the help of influencers. Others may only be able to use live content for consumer insights. At the end of the day, it’s really about connecting with your audience on a different level and being real — and that’s something all brands can benefit from.
This post originally appeared on Forbes.com.