Every now and then, we have the opportunity to produce a video completely in-house just for the love of the subject matter and for the love of what we do. Symphony Interruptus was months in the making, requiring collaboration with friends and colleagues in a number of institutions. This is the story of how this video, the music, and the event all came to be.
It all started with a man named Charlie Hatchette. Charlie is a good friend of Advanced Media, and an active supporter of the arts and culture in Fort Collins, Colorado. He thought it would be great to have spontaneous art in a public space (or maybe he just wanted to play a prank on hundreds of people at once), and as a regular patron and donor to the Lincoln Center and Fort Collins Symphony, he had the connections and the space he needed to pull it off.
Through many dinner conversations, the idea emerged to have cell phones collide with a symphony performance. Charlie got to work creating self-contained, remotely-controlled speaker boxes that could play the ringtones. Meanwhile, over at Colorado State University, Jim David was busy composing a classical music piece utilizing those all-too-familiar ringtones we hear every day; he called it iCanon! When the music was completed, it headed over to Wes Kenney, Conductor of the Fort Collins Symphony. Countless hours of practice went into perfecting this piece for the day of the performance – no small feat when you consider each individual in the symphony volunteered their personal time to practice iCanon IN ADDITION to normal practice hours.
And that’s when we came into the picture. In order to make this video, we not only needed to film the live performance, but the Symphony agreed to hold a dress rehearsal just for us!They played the piece in its entirety three times through, while we shot the symphony from every angle we could imagine – we had a jib on stage, sliders, handheld cameras capturing close-ups of the musicians and conductor, and I was up in the rafters with the lights. If you happen to know a lighting tech, thank him or her. It is HOT up there!
Our private screening done, it was time for the real deal. The night of the performance was abuzz with excitement – not only from the crowd who was there for the last show of the 2013 – 2014 season, but for the Symphony, Lincoln Center Staff, Charlie, and Advanced Media with foreknowledge of what was about to occur.
We hid 9 cameras around the auditorium at the Lincoln Center. Some were stationary, some were manned. We had cameras in the crowd, on stage with the orchestra, in the lighting and sound booths, and even had a few volunteers with iPhones in the crowd. As the crowd poured in, our spies entered and took their seats carrying their seemingly benign bags. But what those bags contained was about to give everyone a surprise.
Eight people with eight bags containing eight speakers were planted around the auditorium. The lights dropped, and the anticipation built. Our crowd cameras left their seats and turned their cameras on the patrons. As Wes took the stage and turned to begin conducting, the button was pressed. A few agonizing seconds later, the first ringtone went off. A few gasps and a few laughs and the crowd quieted down. Then the second, followed by the third building to a cacophony of technological noise. As Wes conducted the cell phones, the crowd knew something was up. Then he turned to the symphony, brought them to attention, and…well, just watch…
This was such a fun project to be a part of – from conception to realization. It took the varied skills, effort, and time of dozens of people – all to have some fun with technology, play a prank on a big audience, and make some new art in a public space. We feel grateful to have been a small part of this event, and are very happy to be able to share it with you!
We all know that video content is king for content marketing – it’s going to return the best results for SEO and is the most effect content for customer engagement! So you, as a motivated and up-to-date marketer, have produced a video for your product or business. Now what?
In this blog post, I’ll give you the information to take that video and utilize it to its full potential. Read on!
What’s the point of a video? To be watched, right? Well, yes, but your video should drive customer engagement and send your audience to your storefront for more information. So you need to put that video where your customers can find it. First stop – the internet! Now there are a few options here, but the vast majority of videos are going to be hosted on either YouTube or Vimeo.
Everybody knows YouTube, but did you know that Google owns YouTube? Behind Google’s search engine, it’s the second largest search engine in the world. So that makes Google + YouTube the 400 pound gorilla for video hosting, searching, sharing, and information searches. You really can’t go wrong with YouTube. You can create your own channel (or we can do it for you), upload your own videos, and share them easily via shortcode or embedding.
Vimeo is another great option for hosting and sharing your videos. They have a very nice user interface and styling to their site. If you upgrade your account to a paid account, you can customize your video player and add your branding, which is specifically very nice for video you might embed into a webpage on your site.
We typically recommend YouTube because the community on Vimeo is a much smaller, niche community of artistic creatives, but it might make a lot of sense for your business or product to be in that environment. When it comes down to it, you can’t go wrong with either choice.
First, think of your video as brand new content for your customers. You want to put it where it can be easily found and watched. For some businesses, it makes sense to put the video on your homepage. This depends largely on what the subject matter of the video is, but also what kind of business you have. An image slider or banner is a great place for your video.
If the video is more product specific, then perhaps you should place it on the product page, but you may still want to have an image link on the homepage so that everyone sees that video content (and not just those who happen to be looking for that one product).
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr… yeah, you get the idea. There are a ton of places out there where people gather to socialize and share content. These are obviously great places to connect with and engage your customers, but you need compelling content to spark their interest.
Use video as a part of comprehensive marketing strategy. Build some hype for it – post production photos or little teasers. When your video is finished, make sure to share it on all of those social media platforms – reach as many people in as many different places as you can. Make sure to ask for feedback and engage as much as possible with your audience.
Finally, make sure that your audience on these platforms has a convenient and easy way to head over to your website. Add your website into your YouTube description, and provide an easy link to your website or product page in your social media posts. If you’ve made a good video and your audience is interested, they’ll come to you.
Another great way to get views on your new video is to send out a newsletter. You may or may not already have a newsletter going, and if you do then this is all the more simple. If you have the video on your website, a newsletter is an opportunity to link directly back to your website. The most effective way to do this is to embed a link into a picture, and strategically place that photo somewhere in the newsletter. I like to use a screencap of the actual video/video player, so that my readers know that it’s a link to a video and not just a photo.
If you take your business to industry tradeshows, video is a fantastic way to catch your prospects eyes and give your sales person an opportunity to make an introduction. Or, you could have an informative video about your offering that prospects could watch while your sales people are busy helping other customers (first come, first served!).
We’d all like to have digital signage for our business. If you have the means, namely flatscreens in your office building, get some marketing use out of those screens! Whether you are a bank, retailer, engineering firm, or doctor’s office, there is an opportunity to get your branding and products or services in front of your customers’ eyes. Let them know what all you offer, the industries you work in, important news about your business or industry, or any other information your customers might find valuable.
Now that you’ve done all that, you need to circle back around and analyze the results. Both YouTube and Vimeo have stat-tracking software within your channel’s account options. I would give the nod to YouTube here, as they have all the infrastructure of Google backing up their statistics tools. But more importantly, check Google statistics for stats related to your website. There, you’ll be able to see where your traffic is coming from – if your traffic numbers from YouTube, Vimeo, any social media, or direct links from email are going up, that means your video is working for you. If you’re not analyzing your results and tracking progress towards goals, there’s not much of a point!
Now take that video and put it out there! Good luck!
Way to Grow is a locally-owned chain of gardening equipment suppliers. They started in Fort Collins, CO and have since been opening up stores throughout the state. With their success, they wanted to give back to the communities that had given them so much, so they created a charitable arm of their business called Way to Grow Gives! Their mission is to assist urban farmers in cultivating successful gardens and educating people about good food and how to grow it.
Urban farming is the practice of growing small gardens in spaces that…well, aren’t traditional areas where you’d find gardens. Like your rooftop. Or an inner-city public school. Or your front or backyard. As our cities and population grow, we will need to find more space to grow good, healthy food. Urban farming is part of that answer, and it’s taken off in the last few years. Cities across the United States, and indeed the world, are finding creative ways to grow healthy food locally in order to keep food production local, provide access to good food to those in need, and to cut the carbon footprint of food production. Urban farms now supply food to over 700 million city dwellers – one quarter of the world’s urban population.
So Way to Grow partnered with a few area urban farmers and asked if we’d like to help by producing a video to tell their story. Of course, we were stoked to be a part of this partnership.
First, we headed down Happy Belly Farms, a Denver area urban farm that donates every pound of food grown to local food banks to feed the needy.
You may not be able to tell from the photos or the video (coming soon), but Happy Belly lives less than a half mile from a large outlet shopping center, and even closer still to a gigantic distribution center for WalMart. This farm is in industrial central, and even though it’s small, they are able to produce a LOT of food for those in need thanks to support from local volunteers and business partners like Way to Grow, who provide resources and materials to keep the farm running. This small farm – maybe 50×50 yards – produces over 13 tons of food each year, every pound of which heads to local homeless shelters and food banks to feed people in our communities that don’t normally have access to fresh, organic, chemical-free produce.
We arrived on a cool summer morning, slightly overcast (which is perfect for filming), ready to help out on the farm. Bill had put out the word that it was harvest day, and quite a few volunteers from the community showed up to help. We had 700 pounds of lettuce to harvest! While Bill, Corey (CEO of Way to Grow), and the volunteers got started harvesting, we started shooting, even setting up the jib for nice sweeping shots of the harvest!
By the time the local food bank showed up to pick up the harvest, we were just finishing our shots of the day’s haul. That’s a lot of fresh lettuce! And it’s going right to the plates of those who need it most.
Day 1 of shooting complete!
For the next two days, we headed to Denver Public Schools(DPS). DPS has partnered with GroundWork Denver to plant, cultivate, and harvest organic vegetable gardens on school property. Once again, Way to Grow donated materials and resources, even setting up a partnership between a hydroponic farm and the DPS where the farm provided fertlizer to the schoolyard gardens. Last year they produced 13,000 pounds of vegetables on 1 acre of Denver Public School’s land and expects to double it this year.
But the best part of this was the kids. The same kids who live in these communities and go to these schools spend their summer days helping grow the gardens. We were lucky enough to interview a lot of the kids, and they all have great stories. The common thread among all of them is that they had learned a lot about farming, and more importantly about food – where it comes from and what’s good for you. Most of them said they were able to talk to their families and friends about healthy food choices, and that they had eaten new vegetables that they’d never tried before because they had helped to grow them.
And that’s really what this whole thing is about: sustainably growing food locally, providing healthy nutrition for those in our communities who need it, and educating the next generation of urban farmers. It’s an honor and privilege to be a part of this great movement!
Today, much of your consumers’ buying process takes place online – and most of that research takes place on Google and Youtube. And as our smartphones become smarter, mobile is replacing traditional desktops and laptops as the most common platform for access to the web. Video is the fastest-growing ad format in the marketplace, especially considering its significance in social media marketing and in SEO best-practices for Google search results. Video is, quite simply, the most engaging and versatile content format in your arsenal today.
But you already knew all of that, so you’ve decided to incorporate video into your content marketing strategy. If you’ve never managed a video project before, it can be difficult to know where to start. But I’m here to tell you that there is really only one rule to video marketing (and you can use this in other marketing arenas as well):
Demonstrate Value to your Customer.
Pretty simple, right? Let’s talk about some of the ways you can provide value with your next marketing video.
Know Your Audience
You should invest the time to target your audience. Do you want to be talking to the C-Suite, or are your target customers product managers? Only you can decide who you want to hear your message. Then, craft your message to that specific audience. How does that provide value? Your contact list sees a video that feels like it was meant for them. In other words, your customer comes first! This is a Customer-centric business philosophy that is of utmost importance to marketers, sales people, and customer service providers.
Keep It Simple
The good ole’ KISS principle – applicable in nearly every facet of our lives, and video marketing is no exception. Here’s the scoop; watching a video is a time investment in a world where our time has become ever more valuable and scarce. Your audience is a group of very busy people, so value your audience’s time! As well, our attention spans are growing shorter with our “plugged-in” lifestyles, so when it comes to your marketing video keep it short, concise, and entertaining. You only have a few seconds to capture your viewers’ attention and then hold it long enough for them to hear your message.
Let’s have a chat about content. It’s not about a sales pitch anymore, alright? It’s about providing your audience with valuable information and/or solutions to problems. If a person is watching your video, chances are they were actively searching for information about your business or your products/services in the first place. A sales pitch right off the bat is not what that prospect needs; they need information that helps them make a decision. With that in mind, you know your customer and you know how you can provide valuable information and solutions to their problems. The content of your video should provide relevant information to your prospects and suggest a next step for them to take, which leads me to…
Strong Call to Action
Engage with your customers. Give your prospects a little nudge. Tell them what they should do next for more information. If your video has given them relevant information and they are interested in taking a closer look at your offering, where should they go to do that? This could be a phone number to contact a sales person. It could be a certain hashtag to use on Twitter or Instagram to find more information about your products. It could be a landing page with an information form, or it could simply be your website. The questions you should ask yourself are, “Where do I want to drive traffic and how can I engage with my prospects?”
Track Your Results
Now you may be thinking, “How does tracking my analytics provide value to my prospects?” Let’s think ahead for a minute. Sure, you’ve already been in touch with your prospects once in order to have any analytics to track. But you’re not done there, right? You’ll contact them again soon, and the data you receive from your analytics may be very helpful in how you contact your prospects next time! Maybe there’s a certain time of day that you should target to contact them. Maybe a certain demographic of your target prospects really liked your video, but didn’t like your whitepaper or infographics (or vice versa). Use your analytics as a discovery tool to see how you can better provide useful, relevant information to your prospects.
Whether this is your first video project or you just needed a quick refresher, you’re now well-equipped to produce an effective marketing video that grabs attention, entertains and engages your prospects, and drives sales for your business. And don’t forget to have fun along the way!
It’s time for an intervention.
You’ve seen marketing videos – online, tv ad spots, viral videos. Video is everywhere you look – it’s not surprising that most marketers today are incorporating video into their content strategies. The statistics are out there:
- 62% of Google searches contain video (Searchmetrics)
- Video gets a 41% higher clickthrough rate than plain text results (aimClear)
- Video gets three times more inbound links than plain text – which means it’s three time more shareable (Moz)
None of this information is that new or surprising; video allows for customized, targeted messages that are imminently engaging for your audience. And marketers know this. That’s why video is everywhere. Everyone is doing it, and so should you! But amid the enormous volume of video content on the web and television, how do you stand out? How can you be different?
Try Motion Graphics and Animation
With motion graphics and animation, the slate is blank and skies are the limits. You have the ability to realize your creative marketing ideas, whatever they may be. You have complete control over the content and freedom to do whatever is necessary to send your message.
For example, the company responsible for the game Dumb Ways to Die made this animated video and song to get people to play the game. The video has received nearly 82 million views! That should show you that motion graphics are just as engaging for your customers as traditional video production. You can’t just bite a real actor in half (I’ve tried). They don’t appreciate it very much and they can’t concentrate on delivering the script effectively when you’re gnawing on their leg. But you can with animation and motion graphics!
So maybe that’s not exactly analogous to the product or service you’re trying to market. Motion graphics are also a great way to visually explain a complicated process or service. Sometimes it helps a potential customer to be able to visualize how you provide your service, or how your delivery differs or stands out from your competitors. For example, we recently created a program for HP to explain their Cloud Service Automation services. By using motion graphics we were able to communicate complex services options in an easy-to-understand manner.
Or maybe you just want a video that’s a little different than your typical marketing piece – something that’s visually striking and interesting to engage with your potential clients. The following video for our client Laser Technologies, Inc. generated a lot of buzz for when it was debuted. To paraphrase their marketing director, “THIS VIDEO ROCKED!”
And if you want to meet somewhere in the middle, consider doing a hybrid video, incorporating both live action and motion graphics. One way to do that would be to use green screen – the graphics and animation in the background support the message that your on-camera representative is delivering. The following video for Hach Company is a good example of a hybrid video using green screen technology:
And in fact, we believe in motion graphics and animation so much, we recently updated our own demo reel to incorporate our traditional video productions with motion graphics in a fun, dynamic way:
Benefits of Motion Graphics and Animation
- Fully Customizable
- Get the exact look and feel you want.
- Total Control over Content
- The skies are the limits. Just say the word and we can make it happen!
- No Hassle
- What weather?
- No issues scheduling workspace and time for a camera crew.
- Don’t worry about your on-camera representative being good…on camera.
- We can always go back and make changes to the content if necessary.
If you’re ready to do something different and dynamic with your next video, give us a call for a free consultation and quote at 970-282-9502 or send us an email at email@example.com.
Recently, we had the opportunity with New Belgium Brewing to produce a couple of videos centered around their annual bike and beer (and bemusement!) festival, Tour de Fat. The event drew 25,000 participants and raised $90,000 for local non-profits and charities.
We were tasked with filming the event to produce two different videos. Now, if you’re not very familiar with video production, this kind of shoot can be a tricky proposition. The way video footage is shot depends on the style and feel of the end product. When you have multiple videos with a different target audience and a different goal for the video, you’ve got to keep both of those in mind as you capture footage.
The first program was a highly stylized “beer culture” video targeting Gen-Xer’s (see below). The second program was for community organizations throughout the US that would be good candidates to partner with New Belgium on Tour de Fat. So our challenge was to capture footage for two totally different program at the same huge event – the same day!
On the day of the Tour, we loaded up with 5 cameras and operators to capture a long list of shots. Some of our cameras would be solely focused on B-Roll. Others would be capturing interviews with coordinators, performers, and participants. And one camera we set up prior to the event to capture a very specific stylized look for the cultural piece (you’ll see it when you watch the video). Over the course of the next 12 hours, we captured the shots we knew we needed and as much extra footage as possible.
In fact, we captured so much footage that we were able to produce a third video from that footage which wasn’t even on the table until months after the event. See all three videos below!
First, a general overview of Tour de Fat Shenanigans featuring comedian/musician Reggie Watts! We had no idea we were going to create this video until about 6 months after the event. Lots of fun!
Second, a video targeted to prospective local community sponsors in cities into which New Belgium would like to expand this event. Think about how different this video looks and feels compared to the first, and then think about who the intended audience is.
Finally, the cultural piece targeted towards those Generation X’ers who might be unfamiliar with Tour de Fat or craft beer in general. Notice the look and feel compared to the other videos.
So how can you leverage your video shoots for multiple markets?
- Have A Plan
- You need to have a goal in mind for the videos you want to produce, and have a pretty good idea of how it will look. Make storyboards and shot lists!
- B – Roll
- Capture as much B-Roll as possible. You’ll need it!
- Find the Story
- Every piece tells a story that serves as the backbone of the video. The interviews with Reggie Watts and event coordinators provided the narrative for the Fundraiser piece.
- Music Selection
- The music of a piece drives the pace of the story and gives it energy. How do you want your video to feel? Pick music that supports the feeling you want to convey.
- Creative Approach
- Have fun and be creative! New Belgium wanted a very specific feel and look for the Generation Y video, and what we came up with has a very cool “Alice In Wonderland” feel to open the piece.
In today’s Internet Age, information is easily accessible and ubiquitous. Recent studies have shown that up to 80% of the Buyer’s Journey (their decision to buy) is done before you or any representative of your company is contacted by a potential customer. And most of that journey takes place on the internet and especially YouTube for product marketing videos.
That means that there has been an enormous shift in what the buying process looks like for your customers. There are a number of ways to effectively influence your customer throughout their buying process, but it all comes down to the exchange of information. Your customer wants to know what products or services you have available, and which is the best fit for them. You need to know what your customer needs in order to help them find the right product or service.
So how do you make that exchange of information easy, informative, entertaining and intuitive for your customer? Gated landing pages are one way to gather some information, but a lot of consumers are wary of giving out their email or phone number because no one likes to be cold-called by a sales person or inundated with promotional emails. Video is obviously and great way to engage your audience and communicate your unique advantage – but you already know that. Another very effective tool that we have deployed with amazing results is a Java web app!
What is a Web App?
A web application (or app) is a self-contained application that performs a specific task or series of tasks. They can do virtually anything you want them to do, but a couple of common examples are Calculator Apps and Logic Trees.
In this example, our client sent us an excel spreadsheet with lots of calculations – not very user friendly! We took that spreadsheet and turned it into a nice, clean savings calculator application that now lives on its own webpage (click the pic to try it yourself!).
The savings calculator app is asking for the customer to input their own real data and taking that information through a very (very) complicated calculation. Nearly instantaneously, the app will crunch the input values and output a dollar amount that the customer could be saving with our client’s product. The dollar amounts are sometimes quite large! Can you imagine a better sales pitch? And all of this is independent of any sales representative, an integrated part of the customer’s self-initiated, online buyers journey. Try it out for yourself!
If you have a wide variety of products, it may be helpful to your customers to have a Logic Tree application. In this kind of application, customers answer a series of multiple choice questions designed to lead them to one of your products that is the best fit for their needs. This is especially helpful if you have multiple, similar products with different sensitivity thresholds or tolerances, and only your customer knows the degree of sensitivity or tolerance that he or she needs. Here is an example of a Logic Tree application that assists customers in deciding between two similar products, or notifying them that either or neither product will work.
Again, this kind of application is all about simplifying the research process of your buyers’ journey and leading them to the right product to meet their needs.
Why Use Web Apps?
The application is self-contained, so it can live on any website or page without interfering with your website or server. Instead, it uses your browser to run, which makes it extremely fast and responsive, even for complicated calculations.
It is fully customizable! We can make the application do just about anything you need it to do, and we can style it to match the existing graphic design of your website.
Finally, this kind of web application enables you to give your customers are customized, personal buyer’s journey. Web apps make it easy for your customers to find and research your products and decide which best fits their needs.