Plenty more. Or a lot less.
It depends on the video. And the website.
If you’re an individual “citizen” blogger, you may be fine with something that has a homemade look. People will often give you a pass. They’ll accept that you’re not a big operation with deep pockets to invest in high-end video.
The quality of your video reflects on your entire company
If you’re a business, people may still give you a pass. Only in a different way. They’ll think, “Gee, how unprofessional. I wonder if the rest of the company is up to snuff.” So they pass you by and head to a competitor’s site.
A slapdash video is a poor reflection of your entire company.
Interview with video pro: Melissa Shusterman, director, D4 Digital
Melissa Shusterman, director of digital video and web communications at D4 Digital, a division of the Philadelphia-based D4 Creative agency, knows how to create professional internet videos that communicate your value proposition in engaging fashion. Formerly a producer who’s worked with MTV, VH1 and FX, she’s also noted as an innovator of episodic web video.
Melissa and I recently had a nice chat. Here are excerpts from our conversation.
Use of video online is getting a lot more popular. How do you see that trend going forward?
Melissa: YouTube is the fastest growing audience online. And its audience is far beyond the under-21 age group… Yet YouTube is filled with crap. There’s a lot of nonsense. You’re seeing a dog sit, or a baby cry, or a person rant. It’s amazing because people watch it. The power of receiving your information through someone’s mouth, or moving pictures, is incredible.
Why is that?
Melissa: Because we are human and we like to feel like we are spoken to directly and that we’re connecting with someone’s body language. Their eyes. Their opinion. It almost feels like a conversation, even in a video that doesn’t have a person looking right at you. Take that guy who talks about wine but screams at you. He’s a prime example. Why would people want to listen to that? Because instead of reading a PDF about the top four wines with a picture of a wine bottle, which is highly impersonal; you suddenly got to connect with a person who is as passionate about wine as you are.
Many businesses don’t see the need for video. They have a website and they think that’s enough. How do you convince them otherwise?
Melissa: Well, one of our clients, a media company… I told them, “I just Googled your company and looked you up on YouTube, and … there was something that came up with someone cursing with your company name associated with it. It looks like you’re not thinking about that world. But other people are posting about you in that world. So do you want your company to be perceived like that? Because maybe you’re not Googling or YouTubing, but millions of other people are.
So they say… “We already have plenty of video. Why don’t we take the video we have now and stick that up on the web?” Well, that’s for broadcast. We need to film things specifically for internet use.
With certain clients you advocate the use webisodes; a series of short episodic videos. How does the impact of that differ from a TV commercial?
Melissa: With a commercial you have the constraints of 15, 30 or 60 seconds. It’s a more traditional medium to convey a very specific message. When you have webisodes, it’s organic. It can be a continual message that can be woven into something that’s entertaining and informative.
When you watch a commercial it’s an assault at you. They’re great and some are highly entertaining, but they’re very quick. Sometimes you don’t even really know what you are seeing.
When you have a personality, or a character, or a storyline, that’s in two-minute increments for 10 days; or a lifetime; you are getting to know the brand better, You are getting the added value of a longer format and the information that can unfold.
Companies often go with a “talking head” approach on their homepage. Do you think that can still be effective?
Melissa: In the past you would have a talking head and it was about two inches wide and one inch tall. The players are much broader today. So now maybe it’s taking up a third of the homepage and it’s taking away some the space you used to have for your messages. So instead of having the CEO speak, that video should encompass your messages.
The CEO could tell the messages. What’s the difference with what you’re referring to?
Melissa: Graphic pictures, voiceover and music can convey a compelling message and it can guide people further into your website. Video messaging is now multi-layered and engaging… I can talk about this for hours but the simple thing is, people Google your company. They land on your page. Do they understand what you do, or do they go to the competition?
It’s one of the components of integrated media that’s going to be essential for being current. People do not read. People watch… If it’s people’s first impression of your company, the message doesn’t have to be long. But there should be entertainment value and it needs to be authentic… Pick a genre that fits your company. Possibly documentary style. Or like a sitcom. Whatever fits your clientele.
Are there any common mistakes that you can identify with corporate videos?
Not being up-to-date. You’ve got to stay current. It’s like wearing a bad pair of jeans. When you’re current it shows you’re investing in the future and you’re moving forward as a company. So it’s not something that you just do once.
Things that are too long. People are busy. Keep it short. Even if it’s got humor, because after someone laughs they’re ready to move on.
It’s always about the consumer or the potential consumer. It’s not necessarily about the company. That’s true of all good marketing.
What if a company says they’ll just repurpose commercials? They’re short. What would you tell them?
Melissa: Don’t repackage what you do for broadcast for the internet. People are savvy. The minute they know it’s a commercial you’ve made a mistake. You’ve turned them off… You have a captive audience. If someone is sitting at their computer it’s different than watching TV where they may be on the phone. Walking around. Feeding the kids. Doing sit-ups. They’re half listening. When someone opens up something and it’s speaking directly to them and you haven’t captured the audience, shame on you.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think of Melissa’s thoughts on what makes for an effective corporate video? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 8 so far )
Guest post by: Gail S. Bower | Read her blog
Earlier this year Northern Trust Bank took a public drubbing for proceeding with the second year of its five-year commitment to PGA Golf because it received TARP funds. According to a statement by the bank’s CEO, no public dollars funded the sponsorship, and the fiscally sound bank went forth with a program its leadership clearly values. Northern Trust participated in TARP at the government’s request, the statement noted, not because it needed the money. (You can read more about the effect this event had on sponsorship in my new guidebook How to Jump-start Your Sponsorship Strategy in Tough Times.)
I respect Northern Trust for honoring its commitment and for stating clearly its position in doing so. Corporate sponsorship is a marketing vehicle that gets results. When properly executed companies of all sizes benefit from incorporating sponsorship and event marketing into their business and marketing strategies.
After that incident other banks actually refused TARP dollars to avoid government and public scrutiny of their business decisions.
But some banks and financial firms were not so forthright. The New York Times reported on various corporations’ “‘stealth spending’” for event marketing. These companies are paying five- and six-figures to entertain clients, sans branding and identification of any kind.
I have a problem with the lack of transparency—with the sneakiness of the whole thing. But I endorse entertaining as a legitimate way to build relationships with clients, employees and vendors.
Take for example, Terry’s El Mariachi Supermarkets a Dallas-based chain of 13 stores that embraces the multi-cultural city it calls home. Terry Yu, the owner, invested $175,000 in a suite at the Dallas Cowboys’ fancy new stadium to reward workers and vendors whose support and loyalty have helped grow his business. He told the Dallas Morning News about what a “great investment” the luxury suite has been for him to provide a perk to staff and suppliers. (One of the first NFL franchises to broadcast in Spanish, the Cowboys have a large fan base among Texas and the Southwest’s Latino population, primarily from Mexico. So, imagine what a great perk this is.)
If entertaining employees and vendors works for Terry Yu, imagine how well it works for larger companies.
As a corporate sponsor, there are only three ways to go in these times:
- Discontinue sponsorship and be clear with stakeholders about that decision.
- Acknowledge that particular sponsorship investments meet your goals and provide value towards achieving business objectives. Be clear with the public, the media, and politicians about that decision and about why you are involved with sponsorships. Don’t engage in “stealth spending.”
- Be bold. Acknowledge that sponsorship works and determine new ways to do it that are not only acceptable for the times but that raise the bar. Champion a cause with strong brand alignment and enlist your clients in a day of service or in a cause marketing campaign to support your charity. (A February study on consumer perceptions on American corporations revealed that corporations that invest in a nonprofit organization or cause will win the favor of those consumers by 41 percent.)
Then shout it from the roof-tops. And build your business at the same time.
For those working with corporate sponsors, be sure your communications, both internally and externally, are supportive of corporate partners. If you uncover anti-corporate sentimentality, bring it to the surface and allow people to discuss it. Educate without being dismissive. Create parameters and policies that the staff, board, and other stakeholders will feel comfortable upholding.
Gail Bower is President of Bower & Co. Consulting LLC, a firm that assists nonprofit organizations and event/festival producers with dramatically raising their visibility, revenue, and impact. To learn more about her new guidebook, which provides a whole chapter on ways to enhance internal and external communications around sponsorship, visit http://www.GailBower.com/jumpstart. Her blog is http://www.SponsorshipStrategist.com.
What do YOU think about this post? Comments welcome.
Today I did something that I’ve not done in a while. I composed a letter, signed it with a pen and put it in a mailbox.
As is the norm anymore my main mode of correspondence is the digital kind. It’s easier to dash off an email and hit send.
I wrote the letter because a friend of mine isn’t really into email. He offered to pass my resume on to an acquaintance who may be able to assist in my job search. So there you go: Paper letter and resume it is.
The process of creating this hard copy dispatch—along with penning a real signature, folding the paper, addressing and sealing the envelope—felt different than the expediency of internet communication. There will be no email trail or online back and forth. Any response will be via real conversation.
This got me thinking about what goes missing when we lose the art of letter writing.
There are libraries with books, boxes and files of letters written by famous people: Mozart, Galileo, Vincent Van Gogh, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Samuel Beckett, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Dickenson and plenty more. Reading the letters of these luminaries sheds light on the person and the times they lived in. A book of email messages can’t have anywhere near the same insight or impact.
And wherefore goes the love letter? A piece of paper to be read, reread, saved and cherished. A love email? Not even close.
A letter on stationary or a note card is something that we touch. It’s personal because we hold it in our hand. That’s a different experience than reading a computer or smart phone screen.
A letter holds more gravitas than email. We’ve all heard the request, “put it in writing.”
The act of writing a letter often leads to more complete and thoughtful correspondence. With email we like to get to the point quick. With texting, even quicker.
It’s funny to think that if you want to stand out from the pack these days sending a paper letter might do the trick. Everyone else is online.
What do YOU think of the lost art of letter writing? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 6 so far )
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