What brands gain from unboxing videos

Spanning across almost all product categories and not just tech products, unboxing videos garner millions of views. A few call it a bizarre trend, whereas others count it as a reliable marketing technique in branded content. BuzzInContent.com finds out

Akanksha Nagar
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Call it a credible tool for consumer engagement or an over-exhausted marketing gimmick, unboxing videos have become massively popular. Earlier restricted only to tech brands, unboxing videos have now even become popular for automobiles, FMCG, consumer durables, real estate and even apparel brands.

The whole process of bloggers/ influencers unpacking a product and reviewing has become a significant part of the media plan of any brand or product launch. Done mostly under the branded content category, unboxing has become the most effective tool to spread a word of mouth for products.

The content is of these videos are often considered branded content and in some cases user-generated content. To get a more clarity on what sort of content is created under these videos, BuzzInContent.com explored how unboxing videos have become one of the biggest tools to spread conversations around a brand.

In conversations with staunch marketers, it was also revealed how electronic word-of-mouth via these videos offers consumers the best offerings, benefitting both the influencers/bloggers and the brands.

Kumar Deb Sinha

“Unboxing videos are considered a key component of original video strategy for any -facing company. What started off as an user-generated product review driven by influencers have become the cornerstone of brand’s content strategy attracting serious investment from marketers and at times driving more bang for their marketing buck than even their long-form TV commercials, said Kumar Deb Sinha, Country Head, The StoryLab.

Echoing the same view on the horizon of the content of these videos, Sandeep Verma, President, Bajaj Consumer Care, said it’s important to understand that most Unboxing videos are a part of the brand’s marketing strategy and the marketer will always put only the best foot forward for his brand.

Samar Verma

“It can be done like a blatant brand push or giving fairly a product review or a credible take on a product. The latter works with the audiences well and drives engagement because the credibility of the platform cannot be compromised just because a brand has paid dollars for that,” said Samar Verma, CEO and Founder, Fork Media. 

The role of unboxing video is considered to share “expert advice” on a new product or brand launch. The aim is to familiarise a buyer about what to expect from the product. As a new brand or a product, the unboxing video plays the most important role of “demystifying the product” for the buyer.

Udit Malhotra

Udit Malhotra, Lead, Digital and Content Marketing MG Motor India, said that it started as editorial content but with the rise of influencers and bloggers, many a time unboxing is treated as branded content.  “Unboxing videos have become like a norm among tech or mobile brands. You are an un-famous mobile brand if you don’t have unboxing videos. With the population of brands wanting word of mouth, unboxing can be crafted very easily.”

A marketing tool here to stay!

In the new-age digital economy, every consumer is a researcher first. Today we don’t buy the smallest everyday product before researching it online, reading a few reviews and comparing it with other brands in the same product category on benefits, price and features.

And that’s where unboxing videos have gained importance over time.

Shriram Iyer

“It captures the excitement of a child unwrapping gifts. It's here to stay,” said Shriram Iyer, Chief Creative and Content Officer, Tilt Brand Solutions. 

Additional benefit of an unboxing video is that it is done by an influencer or domain expert, and customers trust their knowledge and reviews more than a seller. Unboxing videos can help marketers build anticipation while providing useful product information during launches or even otherwise.

“It is the last-mile “friendly advice” from an expert which tilts consumers’ purchase decision. And hence acts as one of the most important elements in the purchase-decision journey. Hence the role of unboxing videos will only grow as we have more and more people purchasing products and services online,” said Sinha. 

Shivaji Dasgupta

Shivaji Dasgupta, Founder, INEXGRO Brand Advisory, said it is a very humanised way of revealing a product, exactly like each of us open the package. Its success lies in connecting the customer with the product in the simplest possible fashion, which is the genuine moment of discovery. Thus, it is spontaneous and often real, building a necessary bridge.

For the brand, it increases the level of authenticity and transparency among its target group. Apart from awareness, attraction and practical verification that unboxing videos do provide around any product, it also works as a relationship developer for the audience and brands.

An influencer who gets to unbox and review a new product regularly creates the aura of subject matter expertise among consumers and viewers and drives more followers for him, which helps him create a bigger influence.

Sandeep Verma

“For the influencer, it increases their range of user-generated content and can increase both their reach and repeat rates among existing subscribers,” said Sandeep Verma.

“It’s the virtuous cycle of influence for influencer that helps him monetise through brand pay as well as advertising pay on his channel,” added Sinha.

Seeing is believing, but how credible is it?

Consumers search for all medium and high involvement products on the net. Unboxing videos allow them to also visualise the product they're going to buy in a more natural setting as compared to the ads. They work as per the old dictum of “Seeing is Believing” and hence do help in reducing the risk and uncertainty even further for the consumer.

But is the content of these videos really authentic and reliable?

The core of unboxing video is authentic and reliable information. The moment it loses that element, it doesn’t help anyone, neither the viewer, nor the brand or the influencer, said Sinha.

Currently perceived to be authentic, if over commercialised or made artificial, it may diminish. The audience needs to rely on their own judgement and connect the dots back with the other information they have gathered on the brand. They need to remember that unboxing videos are just one part of their product search journey and shouldn’t base decision entirely on just this part, advised Sandeep Verma.

How to get the strategy right

Don't unbox everything. Boring products are best left in the box. It's a tool, not a formula suggested Iyer.

Briefly summarising, Dasgupta said a lot of observational research should be inculcated to ensure that the unboxing is truly genuine and not artificial. Then, creative techniques that will up the production values of this content, not just Plain Jane documentaries. Finally the setting, in the context of real experiences and not studios. 

However, as a marketer, one of the most critical elements to remember about unboxing video is that it should be authentic. They should not make an unboxing video a sale speak.

Viewers can quickly identify the difference between an authentic review and a sales push and brand-driven sales videos can be counterproductive for the brand “at best”. Hence authenticity and expert credibility are key to “unboxing videos” strategy.

Marketers pointed out the following tips for both marketers and influencers:

  1. Figure out what features do you actually want to show the viewers. Can’t be everything, just the ones that consumers care about.

*Know your audiences: Audiences are one of three cornerstones of any influencer marketing strategy. And this is where many brands go wrong. They fail to ensure that their target audiences are the ones following a particular influencer.

Some may target millennials as their audiences. Others may target moms or middle-aged women. Brands need to ensure that your target audiences are the same as that of your influencer’s. Finding the right influencers ensures that products are shown to relevant audiences who may be actually interested.

  1. Know your influencer: The influencer must be relevant to category, exciting to customer, add a leg of credibility or imagery, societally responsible, ethical and ideally a credible user.

*Authenticity: The unboxing videos shouldn’t look like something influencers talking about only because they’ve been paid to.

*Personality: Find influencers who are good at showing your product and don’t keep hogging the limelight themselves.

*The influencer should be a domain expert.

*The popularity of the influencer.

*Tonality and subject matter delivery: The influencer should be relatable for a lay person and should not become too technical or droning on about the tech specs endlessly.

*Content creation narrative: While most of these videos are user-generated, the audience likes seeing good quality videos with an engaging narrative. Influencers who can create good-quality videos (with good light and sound) and surrounding will score above others. A brand should help an influencer create a good video by providing him with the right environment and not leave it to his or her capabilities and it should look good aesthetically.

*Vernacular: India is a multi-language country and today one should create unboxing videos across languages, so that a consumer can access the video in his or her native language.

*A brand should ensure in promoting the videos and not just be dependent solely on the organic reach of the influencer. This is a fundamental mistake done by most brands, where they don’t spend any money in promoting the video.

What brands gain from unboxing videos