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Our content research checklist + creating brand vibes

Pasta playlists, matte white packaging & chefcore

If you’re looking for last week’s email on email marketing and new brands that have caught our eye, you can check it out HERE.

This week, Oren threw out some ideas and opinions on new packaging releases and Clayton touched on Chefcore.

Next week we’ll be dropping factory selects, so stay tuned!

The new standard in photo licensing

If you take your art direction seriously and are tired of using bleak stock images... you gotta check out stills.com.

It's a design-oriented photo licensing platform for brand and agency teams that want unique, highly curated images that will elevate any project.

They've solved a lot of great pain points for creative teams who license imagery like: 

  1. Intuitive search tools: You can search by image color, camera angle, and even lighting and framing.

  2. Unwatermarked downloads: You can download unwatermarked images so you can freely pitch projects and mockup ideas to your clients.

  3. Vault access to premium images: The Vault gives you access to images that have limited usage for exclusivity, so you don't have to worry about lots of other brands using the same photo

  4. Team access: Collaborative Boards and multiple team seats for team workflow
. They also have preferred licensing rates, discounts on licenses, and so much more. 

A few images from one of our Stills mood boards

It's the perfect bridge between stock photo sites and full custom imagery for teams that need access to consistent, campaign-worthy imagery on demand.

If you don't want to settle for imagery in your designs, start licensing with Stills today at stills.com!

This segment is in partnership with Stills.

Making a content research checklist

Some of the biggest questions that brands and creators ask revolve around growing and staying consistent on social media.

  • What content do I make?

  • How do I generate more ideas?

  • How do you avoid burnout after making content for years?

So, I wanted to share my (Oren’s) process for keeping fresh ideas now that I’m 500+ videos deep.

  1. Review bookmarks - What point is keeping all these bookmarks if you never look at them. The below section in this newsletter comes from a video I made on playlist branding that came from a bookmark of a reply I made to this tweet from Rachel of the amazing Link in Bio.

    Yes, I bookmark my own replies if they’d make for a good video idea in the future. You should too.

  2. Search key terms - Searching terms on Instagram and TikTok is massively underrated. Search shows you current performing content for those terms. I look up “brand, branding, graphic design, marketing strategy, creative director, moodboarding” etc and I look at what topics are popular, what video styles etc and think about how I can take an original angle.

  3. Review your comments - Look at comments on all social, and make videos that answer the most common, or most interesting questions. New creator? Look at these questions on big creators in your niche and answer them in your content.

  4. Review your feed - I look back on all my content over the last 6 months for successful themes that I haven’t touched recently. For brands this is just as impactful. Find your most successful videos and repeat the style and themes, and turn them into series. Not enough people repeat their hits!

  5. Create and monitor an “aspiration account list” - I keep a list of 10 accounts that are far bigger than me that I look at not for topics, but to see what formats and styles their doing. Length of their videos, hooks, trends etc. Don’t look at people your size, aim higher.

  6. News accounts - I keep a twitter list of accounts that aggregate in my niche so I can look at what’s happening to decide what’s worth forming an opinion on. Pro-tip: accounts that just report what happens in their niche dont’ drive real value, accounts that give strong opinions on things that happen and explain why drive lots of value.

  7. Aggregator websites - Similar to above, scroll through news sites in your industry to look at recent thing. I have every design site I like loaded into Feedly.

If you want to learn all the processes to create and stay consistent with winning video content for your or your brand, the next Cut30 short form video bootcamp starts Tuesday! Join now.

“Would you listen to a brand’s playlist?”

Brands that can make the transition from their products being used by consumers, to their vibes being present in day-to-day lives can achieve that intangible brand equity so many struggle to attain.

One of the most interesting, but hardest to execute angles is the integration of music. We've seen brands launch record labels, sponsor musical artists, and also turn to music curation-- the subject of this deep dive.

How can a playlist work for a brand, establish them, connect them to their customers?

And who does it well?

To succeed with playlists, a few notes:

To preface, this is a pure branding play, a labor of love for someone or a group at the brand, it's not directly connected to sales, teams need to simply embrace the power of vibes, for lack of a better term.

Now, understanding that, here's what brands need to make these successful.

First, taste. The hardest, and most intangible, but someone actually has to be deep deep into music, have actual taste, and know what they're doing. Many people will think they do, few actually have the sauce. Pro tip: The sauce is likely not known by you... instead, it will be recognized by others.

Second, purpose. Brand playlists need to have a reason to exist, and that reason is best if it is tactical. To get people to listen, it is best to give them a purpose; there needs to be reasons behind the click.

Sometimes, an influencer, musician, or celebrity curator, but in its best instance, it corresponds with a brand-related action.

Some winning examples:

Barilla's incredibly popular pasta cooking playlists, timed for a proper 19m carbonara execution, have become an unexpected pop culture force.

Satisfy Running's playlists for running-- they hit purpose and function with recurring sub themes so you can find an angle that works for your run and then continue to get new updates. All my other distance runners now how important, and hard to find, great running playlists that have the perfect mix of rhythm, drive and transcendence are.

Third, engagement. The reason I think most luxury brands fail at their playlists, is their audiences aren't actually that engaged. They love the brand, they buy from the brand, their not opening every email, reading every blog, lots of high fashion brand interaction is casual. But if you do have a cult following, a curious following, highly engaged lists or social... those are people you can drive to listen.

The Row is a perfect example of this, their monthly curation ties into the brands cult fans who are obsessed with the brands mystery, the playlists and their quality are a connection to the brands intangible and give a way to get closer to something which always seems a little too far to feel akin to.

On Instagram, I opened this concept up to the community to see what playlists they love from brands, a few of their favs below:

@jeffstark.co - House of Spoils

@frank _veldhuizen - Vissla

Hyper Reports

Check out our market reports. We spend many, many hours researching markets, categories, and brands & products within the consumer space–all so that you don’t have to.

How to Source Blanks 101 — HERE 
A guide to finding and producing your own merch

Market reports on Running, Golf and Tennis — HERE A guide to each sport, the market opportunities, and how to launch your own brand

Inquiries? Shoot us a note here: [email protected]

We’d love to chat!

Oren & Clayton ❤️ you