Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Japanese manufacturer LIXIL Corporation had an active traveling salesforce. At in-person events, sellers would showcase products like plumbing materials for restrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens, as well as windows, doors, and other interior and exterior furnishings.
But once lockdowns prevented these live demos, LIXIL started creating product description videos and other video content that sales and marketing could use on its digital channels.
Although the videos initially filled the gap for in-person opportunities, LIXIL soon found they needed a holistic video marketing strategy. Decentralized content creation and management had led to over 2,300 videos spread across several internal departments. In order to maximize the investment in video, thousands of videos needed to be organized into a single library.
In 2022, the company partnered with Brightcove to launch its online video platform, LIXIL-X.
Using the Brightcove Platform to Increase Customer Engagement
LIXIL selected Brightcove because it was a “stable video platform,” said Mike Takahashi, the Chief Product Officer of Product Content Management. “Many competitors offer features that can only be achieved through complex integrations with services from other companies. But the Brightcove platform has its own APIs, so we thought that would give us more options for possible marketing initiatives."
To increase customer engagement, LIXIL originally planned to upload videos to YouTube—but ran into a common headache.
“There is no guarantee the ‘next video’ on YouTube is going to be a LIXIL video. And it’s likely the viewer will see related videos from influencers, competitors, and comparison videos between our products and those of our competitors,” said Takahashi. “We needed to develop owned media that directed viewers to the most relevant video in our own sphere. The Brightcove platform was the best fit for building this."
Brightcove APIs Helped Ensure More Rapid Prototyping
The LIXIL-X prototype was completed in six months—an impressive undertaking that was only possible for a few reasons. First, LIXIL was using Brightcove technology before it started work on LIXIL-X.
“We had already built a video search program from scratch using the Brightcove platform as a file server. So when we began development on this new project, we assumed it would simply be a modification of our first build. However, as we started to select contractors and define the requirements, we realized it would take close to a year to launch. We couldn’t wait that long.”
“We wanted to release a prototype that was about 40% complete as quickly as possible, and then make improvements over time to bring it closer to 100%. Thanks to Brightcove’s excellent APIs, we achieved this with just a small group of front-end engineers.”
Making Media That Can Be Used in Sales
Showroom managers and the sales department were the internal customers who would use the platform the most, so getting their buy-in and support was critical. “We got a lot of positive feedback from them. They believed that LIXIL-X was something people wanted to use and were pleased with the mechanics, video classifications, user experience, and how it looked.”
When the LIXIL-X prototype was released, Takahashi’s developers received a lot of feedback from departments within the company. “We interviewed all of the stakeholders and worked with our engineers to fix any problems with the system and incorporate all of the feedback into LIXIL-X.”
One of the key issues LIXIL-X was poised to solve was how to demonstrate a faucet’s water pressure in the showroom. As Takahashi explained, “Clients visiting our showrooms often ask, ‘How long does the bath take to fill up?’ ‘How powerful is the shower?’ Until now, we haven’t been able to answer those questions particularly well. Getting water to the showrooms is one of the biggest problems facing the showroom staff."
“So we started immediately compiling videos of water flowing and made them easy to bring up and view on LIXIL-X. These videos to clients enabled showroom staff to answer questions from clients then and there, something which previously wasn’t easy to do.”
Future Iterations Will Ensure Better Marketing Readiness
LIXIL aims to build LIXIL-X’s viewership as part of their efforts to build a strong external marketing strategy.
The platform currently receives 30,000 views a month, but increasing the number of video views is a key performance metric for the LIXIL team. “We want to ensure a large number of viewers for all the media on the system, with unique points of entry tailored to the niche needs of users.”
In the future, says Takahashi, there will be a login experience so that user behavior can be analyzed to provide a more personalized journey. “When users are logged in, we can notify them by email when a video is published to promote particular products. It will also connect with marketing automation tools used by our sales department.”