Heroes aren’t born. They’re made. Never was a truer phrase spoken than when it comes to hero content – content that flies higher than the brand to create tremendous awareness beyond its usual marketplace.
Hero content is often born out of brilliance but made with authenticity, emotion, alignment and effort. In YouTube’s ‘Hero, Hub, Help’ content framework pyramid, ‘Hero’ is at the top, the beacon that draws audiences in, while the ‘Hub’ and ‘Help’ content works to convert them into repeat visitors.
And it’s tricky to get the hero pinnacle right. F. Scott Fitzgerald really nailed it for many marketers when he said, “Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy”. Which is a shame when we consider audiences are clamouring for more content and more heroes than ever before. In a 2018 HubSpot survey, 54% of consumers wanted to see more video content from a brand or business they support.
So, what’s hard about making a hero?
Hero content calls for bravery and boldness
Hero content needs to stand out as the protagonist. It needs to be bold to get the attention and restore it. This kind of content is important but at the same time can be nerve-wracking for brands, as it generally requires a considerably higher budget.
A noteworthy example that demonstrates boldness is the 2017 Fearless Girl statue erected in Wall Street by financial services company State Street Global Advisors. The 130cm bronze statue, essentially advertising a gender-diverse fund, was initially given a one week permit which was extended to 21 months following mass global awareness and acclamation around the values that the statue represented.
Heroes can’t just be in it for themselves
All the importance cannot be given only to the hero. As much as hero content needs to be out there to grab all the attention, but its success also lies in attracting the audience to ensure they interact with the hub and help content, that also play a crucial part for the brand.
Hero content needs to be hung on softer brand values
Hub and help content are transactional and directive. Hero content needs to be linked to the more ambiguous, muted side of a brand’s personality – its thoughts, perceptions, emotions, philosophies. The challenge is to link this in a genuine, innovative way which will connect with as many consumers as possible.
B2B e-commerce portal Alibaba.com achieved this brilliantly with its Pop Up Start Up video series following 12 start-up entrepreneurs competing against each other for Alibaba.com funding. The series narrative successfully traded on the brand’s teamwork, passion, customer-first values to create a powerful emotional connection with viewers in 108 countries, ultimately raising global brand awareness by 31%.
Hero content needs a soaring narrative that also satisfies commercial objectives
Although hero content is created to attract as many viewers as possible with a bold, transcendent story, that story still needs to be aligned to more earthly, commercial objectives, satisfying the core brand audiences at the same time as attracting new ones.
Nike’s 2018 ‘Nothing Beats a Lndr’ piece was designed to take the brand away from its very American, athletic heartland, to underline its relevance to a more urban, street energy. The three-minute video of London teens playing every conceivable sport is an uplifting, pulsating ode to joy which has been rightly applauded by every audience.
Red Bull is consistently a brand which births, then makes great hero content for all the reasons outlined above. That’s why we’ve invited their head of programming and audience development, Tom Reding, to delve into their best practice approach at our “Hero, Hub and Help Content” event at the Charlotte Street Hotel.
We talked through a toolkit of how to create great hero content for brands and budgets of all sizes. Because, ultimately, the real value in a hero is how it’s used, not how much it costs.
You can watch the series here discussing ‘Hero, Help and Hub content’.
For help in designing your own Hero, Help and Hub content please get in touch with us here at firstname.lastname@example.org