How AI is revolutionizing the world of branded video content according to nemorin

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It doesn’t matter how big your company is, branded video is guaranteed to be a key part of your creative journey. Crafting the right type of rich-media messaging helps forge empathetic bonds with audiences, attract the right clients and cultivate a sparkling public image. It can even help secure some all-important sales. But with audience attention spans yanked in a multitude of different directions – and lockdown deeping our dependency on quality content – how can we be sure the video we’re creating has the impact we’re after?

That’s where Nemorin comes in. Founded in 2014, they specialise in helping companies create branded videos that get results. To date, their skills have been utilized by heavy-hitters like NBCUniversal, Amazon, American Express and McDonalds and in late 2020, they were acquired by Argonon, the media group behind hit shows like ITV’s The Masked Singer. With support from Creative England’s Evolve programme for high-concept screen sector businesses, they aim to further disrupt the marketing tech sector with their innovative new IP – the AI-fuelled Nemorin+ – and lead the way for a smarter, more results-driven future for branded video.

“Nemorin was born out of various branded content studios,” says CEO and Founder Peter Fergusson. Former Head of Commercial Video for the Telegraph Media Group, Fergusson set up Nemorin with partner Graham Hayday, himself a former journalist with extensive experience creating branded media content for the Guardian. “I recognised that everyone needed video content but it’s a pain to create because invariably, most companies are doing something else for a living,” he explains. “They’re forced to make this new form of advertising – which is annoying if you don’t make videos for a living.”

Nemorin aims to solve this problem: “Our job is to be an extension of existing internal teams, be it marketing or sales teams, and be able to do everything – from strategy right through to production. Everything is a straightforward process,” continues Fergusson. “We know that clients find certain things difficult, like when they ask how much a video should cost and a production company says, ‘it depends on how many people you’re working with and for how long…’ – that’s really frustrating if you just want to understand how much something costs. We try to make the whole process easy and effective – and because of Graham’s journalism background, the content is always narrative rich and audience centric. Whether it’s B2B or B2C audiences, we have to tell a story in a way that’ll resonate.”

Using their combined experience to create content that connects is one of Nemorin’s key goals – and it’s easier said than done. “Lots of people talk about branded content because it’s become a bit of a buzzword,” admits Fergusson, “but in reality, making branded content work is really hard. It has to do with psychology and empathy.” What’s more, once Nemorin has helped you create your content, they’ll also help ensure it gets seen: “Most clients aren’t necessarily experts on digital distribution,” reasons Hayday. “There just aren’t that many people that have been doing it for as long as we have and that straddle that divide between editorial and commercial.”

Once a taboo topic in traditional offices, audience receptivity to branded content is changing in the wake of successful digital video platforms like TikTok and Instagram, making the marketing tech world more fruitful than ever. “Digital distribution is still enormous and TikTok has grown massively in the last year,” says Hayday, discussing how lockdown has skewed our viewing habits. “Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube aren’t going away either, so there’s more ways of reaching audiences than ever before. They’re hungry for content and quite comfortable if a brand is involved in paying for it, as long as it’s entertaining.” This has certainly impacted the decision making habits of traditional media owners and broadcasters: “There used to be a reluctance to deal with brands because editorial teams assumed the content would be an advert in disguise but the mood has changed,” suggests Hayday. “Commissioners are now much more willing to engage with brands.”

In addition to helping clients create content for a range of platforms (“you might be doing an hour long broadcast show, a 30-second TV spot, 15 second Insta-video or a six second TikTok,” says Hayday of their varied day-to-day), the duo’s new venture, Nemorin+, aims to narrow the gap between client spend and return on investment. “Pete and I had been talking for quite a while about using data more intelligently in the idea production process,” explains Hayday. “One of the biggest challenges is demonstrating that an idea we’re pitching is good. Mad Men is a cliche example but Don Draper doing his spiel about why his idea is the best and you have to buy it is fine – but you’re buying into his charisma and experience. That’s basically been the model forever in the advertising agency,” he says, using actor Jon Hamm’s slick advertising character as analogy fodder. “Data has become part of that process and we wanted to invent something that’d take a lot of the guesswork out of it.”

The result is a still work-in-progress concept that uses artificial intelligence to figure out exactly what your audience wants to see and how they should see it. “Pete describes it as like having a virtual referee,” laughs Hayday. “It’s an impartial observer who can look at an idea and, based on the historical performance of video content from either the brand we’re pitching to or their competitors, say ‘If you’re trying to reach this audience with this objective, this is the sort of thing you ought to be doing’,” he explains. “The people we have spoken to so far – investors and people who know investors – understand the premise of the proposition. They recognise the return on investment side of things.”

According to Fergusson, Nemorin+ also speaks to a number of growing trends within the sector itself, adding to its future bankability. “The marketing-tech sector is growing at a ridiculous rate year-on-year and within that sector, data is the biggest growing sub-segment,” he tells us. “It’s a hot thing because brands and organisations of all shapes and sizes are investing more money into data. Anything that can fit into that ecosystem and de-risk commissioned video content for brands has to be a good thing. There’s no point commissioning video content if it doesn’t deliver some return on investment.” And don’t worry – Fergusson assures us there will still be plenty of room for charisma-filled idea generators around the marketing table: “We’re not talking about replacing human creativity, it’s purely about making better decisions that are underpinned by data, gathered using AI. There will always be a need for the Don Drapers of this world.”

Words and Interview by Simon Bland