Founded in 2012, the Bangalore-based online curated marketplace of furniture and home decor, Urban Ladder has been playing well to the new age consumers’ aspirations for a beautiful home. The portal’s range of contemporary furniture blends well to keep up with the ever rising consumer expectations as well as weave itself into visually appealing pieces of brand communication. The recent series includes how beautiful homes start at Urban Ladder.
Ever since last year, Urban Ladder has been building its brand with the help of user video stories called ‘Urban Stories’. The campaign featured stories of how the brand helped people in designing their homes with the right type of furniture and decor that matched with their personality. Urban Stories set the stage for a closer bonding on the online space, and a great property for the brand. Yet it was a bit generic.
So Urban Stories revamped to the #ULStory this year; #ULStory has its own visual identity and the focus is still the customers’ experience with Urban Ladder and the role its products have played in creating their beautiful homes. The videos are relatively shorter in duration, making them crispier and easier to consume, though.
“While “urban stories” does sound like a great property, we felt it was a bit generic. #ULStory has its own visual identity,“ shared Manu Prasad, Director - Brand Marketing, Urban Ladder on why the revamp.
But, there’s also a deeper objective to building #ULStory. The main goal is ‘building trust’. “Some customers have barriers to making online purchases in the home décor and furniture category. While consistent communication from the brand does help, there’s nothing like a happy customer, someone they can relate to, to truly allay any apprehensions”.
Besides, it also helps Urban Ladder’s vision to make ‘a million beautiful homes’. The #ULStory videos are great examples of customers creating some wonderful living spaces. “The idea is to showcase this and inspire others”.
“Lastly, consumption of video content is rapidly increasing, and we see #ULStory as a key part of the video-led brand digital narrative we are creating”.
Presently, #ULStory has around 12 stories by happy customers and Urban Ladder plans to keep adding to this. It’s not the only component of the brand’s video strategy. Urban Ladder has a bunch of product videos also, with a dedicated playlist for each of them on its YouTube brand channel.
There are playlists for beds, mattresses, sofa cum beds, lounge chairs, and more, with fun product videos in the category. Thus, #ULStory forms only one component of the larger video strategy. “We try to address other customer needs which might be more functional”.
2015 has been the year for digital storytelling; multiple brands chose to tell their stories from the long format ads to web videos. Is Urban Ladder also following the bandwagon? Manu shared that videos have always been a great format for storytelling. “I think we’re now seeing a ‘mainstreaming’ of this because technology has made its creation and consumption much easier. However, any format is only a means, you still need a great story to tell,” he opined.
Despite great storytelling, discovery of video is always a challenge on YouTube as it is driven by search. There might be very interesting video content on YouTube but the user is not aware. “Discovery of any content is a challenge, I’d say. While paid media is used to tackle fragmentation, I have doubts on its sustainability. Creating relevance is one way to approach this - making sure that the content is surfaced when/where/how the consumer needs it,” he shared about Urban Ladder’s content discovery approach.
Manu also said that the other way to content discovery is to make it interesting and/or useful enough for the consumer for him/her to share it. “Thanks to social, people are media. We will have to learn how to make them our spokespersons”.
Facebook videos are the talk of the town these days where the video is served to a user rather than being search driven. A major factor where Facebook is leading in views in comparison to YouTube. “If we look at both as distribution channels, YouTube has had a leadership position for a long while now, to the extent that we often compare it with television. It scores on reach, but as always Facebook scores on social spread. As a channel, Facebook has already played a big part in creating a perception of brand Urban Ladder”.
Manu sees videos as a natural progression of content format on the platform, and going forward Urban Ladder will definitely explore the feature of creating native videos on Facebook. “This is especially so given Anthology - Facebook’s move (internationally) to bring in producers like Vox, The Onion, Funny or Die, etc. to help brands create content to meet business goals. Not to mention Instagram and Whatsapp (both owned by FB) are creation and distribution opportunities”.