Originally conceived as a way to record precious family memories, a new start-up was recently launched with the aim of disrupting the video marketing sector.
Vimily launched a mobile app and platform that will allow companies to create shareable online video content that can be branded with their logo and shared on various social media websites.
“The penny dropped that if you give people content that’s relevant to them then they will take it and share it. We realised how powerful it could be as a distribution platform for brands to get their videos out there,” says Matthew Barnett, co-founder and CEO of Vimily.
Barnett says the idea for the app first occurred to him after his father had a heart attack and the family decided they wanted to get his life story down on video.
“Wherever we looked it was extremely expensive to do, and he wouldn’t have been comfortable having a whole camera crew coming to film him. Since we always record videos on smartphone, we thought that since the quality’s great and it’s much more personal, there was no reason why we couldn’t do the videoing ourselves,” he says.
They collaborated with their families to create a list of questions to be pre-loaded into the app, ready to prompt a response when filming.
While Barnett and his business partner, both from a design background, found the creation of the app relatively easy, finding users was a different story.
“Getting consumers on board to use this was quite difficult, it just seemed a little bit early for consumers and video…maybe that’s a little bit further away, unlike images on Instagram,” he says.
The shift to using the platform as a video marketing tool came after Barnett suggested a PR firm he was working with use Vimily to create a few videos for their company. The company’s experience creating those videos led them to ask if they could use it for a project they were undertaking with different SMB clients.
“The one bit of tech we implemented at the time was the ability to share this video on Facebook, because with the family platform it’s all about secrecy and private video, obviously being a PR firm they wanted to publicise the video,” says Barnett.
The PR firm then sent each SMB the video, which the businesses then shared on their own social media networks.
“We kind of thought nothing else of it, until we saw the number of hits the video had the next day,” says Barnett.
The decision to shift the aim of the business came after more testing with different PR firms and talks with corporate figures.
“We decided to pivot the whole business precisely three weeks after we launched it,” says Barnett – on New Year’s Day.
“It was a lot easier a decision for us than I would have expected. I think we just saw the upsides…plus, opening up the platform meant that families could still use it anyway.”
The Vimily team have spent the past six months adapting and testing the platform, with May’s CeBIT exhibition, a business technology event, their first big public outing.
“It was a really exciting opportunity to get the word out and get a lot of feedback, and the feedback we got was amazing. People haven’t seen video on this scale before…we filmed 1230 videos,” says Barnett.
The positive response from CeBIT has shown the team that they’re heading in the right direction, but Barnett says the future is up to consumers.
“If you have an open platform that people can use as they wish, that just means that we could be anywhere in 6 months time. We have a vision and a direction but there are a multitude of ways in which we can get there that will be decided by the market.”