Archive for the ‘Public Relations/Marketing’ Category



3 Low Cost Videos Entrepreneurs Can Produce Today

Marketing is crucial to survival as an entrepreneur, and these days an important part of any marketing strategy is video.

Now, you might think video marketing is for big companies with big budgets. If that’s the case, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to create low cost videos, and there are different types you need to consider producing right now.

About Us

The About Us video is the one video every company needs to produce. There are plenty of others that can help your business, but this is the one everybody should start with.

A good About Us video tells viewers who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. Think of this as your first-impression video. When new customers visit your website, the About Us video is your best chance to get in front of them and introduce yourself.

Unlike text, video is great for this because people get to see and hear from you. You’re a real person they can relate to. You’re a real person they can do business with. Video gives them a chance to get to know you, and we all know people are more likely to buy from someone they know and like.

Andy Crestodina is the co-founder at Orbit Media Studios in Chicago. His team builds high-end business websites, and he says they recommend video because it’s the next best thing next to face-to-face.

Creating an About Us video is like that first handshake with your prospects. Your website, social media, email newsletter… they should all feature this video.

Product/Service Video

Once you’ve produced your About Us video you’re free to test other waters. One that I recommend is the product or service video.

Produce a video on each of the products and/or services you offer customers. Now, if you offer 50 products, you don’t have to create 50 videos. It wouldn’t be wrong, but I’m also realistic about budgets.

Instead, think about how you can group your products, then produce videos on the various product groups. You can do the same thing with services.

In each case, share with viewers what the product is, how it can help them, and what sets it apart from competitors. If it’s a unique product, share the story about how you came up with it.

Testimonials

There are few marketing tools as valuable as a customer testimonial. Get them on video and you only amplify their power.

Having someone on-camera telling viewers who they are, what they do, and how your business helped them… well… it’s a home run.

We live in a customer review world. Thumbs up or thumbs down. How many stars did it get? These are the things we consult before making a purchase. Whether it’s a diapers on Amazon, a movie on Netflix, or a multi-million-dollar B2B transaction. Everyone wants some validation that they’re making a good purchase.

Providing customer testimonial videos is a great way to do that.

Just like your About Us video, they work because we get to see and hear from real people. This isn’t some name at the the end of a quote. It’s an actual human being telling viewers how you helped them.

Video testimonials are one more way to help your audience relate to your business.

Why These Three Low Cost Videos

There are plenty of other types of videos I could mention, but I chose these three for a specific reason. Think about the journey your customer is on.

They’ve found you online, or someone has told them about you. They visit your website to learn more and come across your About Us video. Feeling good, they move on to take a look at the various products or services you offer. After watching some of those videos, they’re becoming interested. Finally, they see that one of your existing customers has endorsed you, so they watch the video to hear what they have to say.

Chances are after going on this journey, the next step will be to contact you.

About Us, product/service, testimonial… it’s a natural progression… all three can become part of your sales funnel.

Thinking about DIY?

This might be the point where you’re thinking about how you can produce all three on the cheap, and that could lead you to consider a do-it-yourself project. Here’s what I have to say about that… beware.

Anybody can produce a video these days. We all have smart phones with HD video cameras in our pockets, and there’s free editing software to be had. But just because anyone can do it, doesn’t mean they can do it well.

Here’s the deal… if you have zero marketing budget and your audience knows (and may appreciates) this about you, go for it. I’m fine with you producing your own videos.

However, if you and your business’ reputation is important to you, find a professional to produce your videos. It might mean producing them one at a time over a longer period of time than you’d like. It’s worth it.

Nothing screams “unprofessional” more than a poorly produced video. The last thing you want is to look unprofessional, so why would you risk that by creating your own videos. Remember, that About Us DIY video you’re considering in many cases will be the first impression people have of your company. Don’t blow it by attempting to do-it-yourself.

One Last Thought

Now that you’re psyched about producing some videos, one final thing to keep in mind. These videos aren’t for your business. They’re not for you, the entrepreneur. These videos… are for your customers. They’re for your prospects.

Every video you produce should be focused on them. If you’re wondering whether or not to produce a specific video… or to include something in a video… simply ask this simple question. Why would my customers care?

If you don’t think your customers would care… about this video… about this snippet of information… then don’t include it.

This might entail killing video ideas you really like, something you think is really cool. Again, this video isn’t for you. Set your ego aside and ask… why would my customers care?

Video marketing is a great way to endear yourself to customers. Used properly, it’s a tactic that will help earn you business. The best part… the more videos you produce… the more people will feel like they’re getting to know you and your business. The more they feel that… the more business you’ll earn.

 

Ultimate Website Video Guide

Ultimate Website Video GuideThere’s just no way around it. The way many businesses handle website videos… it’s wrong. A website video is an awesome tool, so let’s do our best to clear-up how they should be used and provide a helpful case study as well.

First Things First

The first thing you need to understand is that if you put a video on any webpage… it’s an eye magnet. People are drawn to videos. Whether it’s a video that’s already playing, or simply an image with a play button on it. The promise of video catches people’s eye, and in many cases entices them to click.

So… knowing that… why is it that many businesses make visitors seek out video? How many websites have you been to where they gather all the videos in one place? A bunch… I’m sure.

Even when the location makes sense, something else tends to be weird… placement. I’ve been to many sites where I’ve clicked on the “About” page to learn more about the business, then found a good video sitting at the bottom of the page as I scrolled through.

Why would you bury the most interesting element on the page at the bottom where someone might miss it?

You Need a Website Video Plan

What I’m getting at here is you need to think strategically about where you place your video. Having a video to display is great, but you’re doing your site a disservice if you don’t figure out the best way to use it.

Now, before I go any further, I’m going to assume you like your video(s). If you don’t, if you’re not proud of them, don’t display them. Remember, videos are eye magnets. There’s no point in drawing attention to something that’s not going to reflect well on your company.

The One Video Every Company Needs

Alright, let’s start with an easy fix… the About Us video. If you can only afford one video, this is typically the one to produce. It shows people who you are and what you do. It’s the video that starts you down the path of earning that visitor’s trust.

The About Us video is a natural fit for… where? Don’t overthink this… it’s the “About” page. In some cases, you might put it on the “Home” page, but for the most part the “About” page is the natural location for this video.

And don’t be shy! Put that sucker up top where people are going to notice it. This is your chance to create a good first impression. We want them to see and click on the video.

Now let’s move on to the really good stuff. You know and understand the power of video, and you want to start adding videos to your website. What’s the best way to go about it?

Case Study: Orbit Media Studios

It should come as no surprise, but Orbit Media Studios totally gets it. The company’s team members not only talk-the-talk when it comes to website design and content creation, they walk-the-walk. They are some of the best in the business… bar none.

Disclosure time… Orbit is one of our customers and has been for years. Having said that, when I proclaim them as some of the best in the business… it’s just the truth. They design sites for major brands, and Co-Founder Andy Crestodina has been a keynote speaker at Content Marketing World. They’re the experts at this stuff. They’re big time.

So… when the Orbiteers decided to re-do their own website, we were honored when they asked us to produce some new videos for it.

The Orbit Strategy

Their plan… see, they had a plan going in!… was exactly what I recommend to most businesses, which is why they’re the perfect case study.

  • produce an About Us video highlighting who you are, what you do, and what sets you apart.
  • identify your key business offerings (products and/or services), and create web pages for each one.
  • produce a video on each of those business offerings.
  • display the corresponding video on the page for each offering.

In Orbit’s case, we produced an About Us video, and then videos focused on their main services, Strategy & Analytics, Web Design, Web Development, Analytics & Optimization.

Proudly Displayed

If you are looking for any further proof of how highly these website and content experts value video, simply click on each of those pages and see how they have chosen to display them.

They’re not sticking them on a “Videos” page, forcing people to seek them out. They’re not burying them at the bottom of each service page. Each video is the main component of each of those pages. You can’t miss them. The way they’re displayed screams, “Click me! Watch this video!”

Why do they value video so much? I’ll let Andy tell you himself. It’s the focus of what he talks about in a testimonial video he agreed to do for us.

More Website Video Options

Orbit did this with the various services they offer, but I know they have plans for additional videos as well and you should too. Here are some more ideas for website videos:

  • Testimonials: you just can’t go wrong with this. It’s one thing tooting your own horn, but when your customers do it for you, website visitors take notice.
  • Employee/Team Member Videos: we’re more likely buy from people we know and like. Let your prospects get to know your team by creating videos that shine a light on each of them!
  • Company Culture: if you’re proud of your company culture, show it off. If it looks like a good place to work, it’s probably a good place to do business as well.
  • Event Videos: hosting events is a great way to drum-up business. Producing a video during the event allows you to share it with people who couldn’t attend. The event effectively lives on after it’s over.
  • Community Support: do you give back to the community? These days consumers reward community-friendly companies with their businesses.

Hopefully, that gets you started. Again, if you can only produce one video, start with the About Us video. Then, move on from there.

You’re on your way to a digital platform you can be proud of!

How Small Businesses Can Make Low Cost Videos

Big businesses have it easy. They’re big companies with big marketing budgets. They can use that money for all sorts of things, including… marketing videos. Small businesses… not so lucky. Every dollar spent on marketing materials is closely considered.

Which is why small business owners and marketing pros need to be more savvy. They need to know how to maximize the money spent on their marketing tactics. Tough to do when it comes to video. Video can be expensive, but there are bargains to be had… if you know where to look.

Video Production Companies

Believe it or not, there are plenty of video production companies that will take on low-budget projects. You just need to ask them.

We have customers who were surprised to find out they can get a really good video for $1000. As a matter of fact, we designed a whole 3-step video production process specifically to produce low cost videos.

There are other video production companies willing to take on small projects. Here’s the tough part though… you have to be honest about your budget and share it upfront.

I know… you don’t want to share your budget because maybe they’ll charge you less, and then you’ll miss out on a great deal.

Reality check… if you’re looking to get a marketing video for less than $2000, you’re already getting a deal. Sharing your budget in advance will save you and the production company a lot of time.

Some video crews won’t even pick-up their cameras for less than $10,000, so why waste all that time talking through your project with them only to find out something like that when you get a proposal from them.

On the other hand, if you tell someone upfront… I have $1000 budget… a $500 budget… you’ll weed through production companies much more quickly.

Independent Producers

If you’re striking out on production companies, finding an independent producer or videographer might be the way to go. There are websites out there devoted to finding these people, or you can always check/post on Craigslist.

This part is critical though, make sure you see some of their work in advance. Not only that, dig deeper to find out if it’s REALLY their work.

Did they shoot and edit it? If they answer yes, ask them what kind of camera they used. Ask them what kind of editing software they used.

The type of camera and editing software doesn’t really matter, but someone who didn’t really do the work will stumble over those questions.

If they give you a vague answer… I shot it on a Sony… insist on the actual model. Anybody worth their salt as a videographer is going to be able to tell you exactly what type of camera they used. We’re kind of obsessive about our gear.

Worst Case Scenario

Maybe you have no budget at all for marketing videos, but you’d still like some. You can always do it yourself.

Will wonders never cease!? A video pro advocating DIY video!?
Yup. If you are a small business with no marketing budget, I think it’s perfectly fine for you to DIY.

Get your friends and family involved. Have them help you. Just do it! Video is too good of a marketing tool for you to miss out on because you don’t have a budget for it.

If you run a medium-sized company or up, it’s a terrible idea for all sorts of reasons. The main one being you don’t want to ruin your reputation by producing a cheap looking video.

On the other hand, you small business owners and managers… I’m giving you a DIY video pass. If you’re known as a small business, your audience won’t hold a less than professional video against you.

Marketing videos are no longer a luxury… they’re a necessity. Video is the way companies now communicate with their customers. Don’t let a small budget keep you from using the same marketing tactic as big business.

–Tony Gnau

 

7 Reasons Video Should be Part of Your Marketing Plan

7 Reasons Video Should be Part of Your Marketing PlanRemember the first time you saw a Harry Potter movie and the portraits on the wall talked? Suddenly, a flat, static prop came alive! In that moment, what would have been just part of the set in any other movie, had its own starring role. Video does that. Because pictures that move are infinitely more exciting that those that don’t. That’s why when you’re creating a marketing plan for your business, in-house or through an agency, you should consider devoting part of your budget to video.

Here are seven reasons why using video can increase website traffic and make your brand story more appealing, engaging and attractive to your target audience than ever before.

  1. Video can boost your marketing plan SEO by up to 80%

There are many reasons for this, but for now – let’s just consider two. Google owns YouTube and not surprisingly, tends to favor it as the destination of a search. Second, Youtube is, in its own right, the second largest and most popular search engine after Google. So if someone is doing a search, having video on your site will significantly increase the likelihood they’ll find your site through one or both of these online resources.

  1. Seeing is believing

Businesses have always depended on marketing to boost sales and profits through advertising and public relations campaigns. Nevertheless, the truth is – no one likes to be “sold.” (That’s why TiVo and guerilla marketing were invented.) Today, the contempt people feel toward traditional advertising is greater than ever, and folks are equally suspicious and distrustful of other forms of communication such as newspapers and TV shows.

However, one form of marketing – product demonstration – has always enjoyed a high degree of credibility, no matter the product or the audience. Just check out this classic Cheer commercial demonstrating the power of pre-treating clothes to remove stains. Or this contemporary spot for Flex-seal showing how effectively it repairs leaks. And this brilliant Youtube video from Purple Feather, an agency in Glasgow, proving just how effective a good copywriter can be.

The message is obvious. To overcome your target market’s skepticism about your brand’s value, create a video clip that shows how your product works in real time. With just a little effort and imagination, you can make your marketing so engaging, memorable and impressive that customers will beat a path to your door.

  1. People like to do business with people they know

In today’s global economy, few business owners or their sales people can personally introduce themselves to every customer. Fortunately, having video clips on your website is a great way to show your staff in action. Site visitors can not only learn about your staff’s experience, but see how they move, what they sound like and the little quirks in their body language that add a dimension of authenticity to their persona. No question about it: video is infinitely better at conveying someone’s personality, sense of humor and ability to connect with others than a studio head shot and a written biography could ever be.

  1. Video interviews make viewers feel like they know you – and can trust you

Building long term, mutually beneficial business relationships always comes down to whom do you trust. Seeing someone in a video – especially if it’s shot simply and on the job – gives a sense of reality and integrity to their brand message that copy content and static images can’t possibly match.

  1. Video has a greater impact on our emotions than any other communications format

Why does this matter? Because every buying decision is ultimately made based on our emotional response to the product. Although we gather and analyze information with the rational, left side of our brains, only the right side, the side that governs our emotions, is capable of making a decision. This is why marketers are always looking for the emotional hook when constructing a sales approach for a product. It’s our emotional reaction to a sales message that not only helps us remember the product’s name and promise, but also provides the impetus to complete the purchase.

Furthermore, emotions are provoked and enhanced by many things – images, sounds, words and music. Only video lets you combine all four of these elements to increase the emotional impact and the appeal of your message. This video on open adoption for Lutheran Social Services is a great example of what we mean.

  1. Video is the sales tool of today and tomorrow. Using it in your marketing plan puts you ahead of the crowd

How you present your marketing story reveals as much about your company’s culture as the information you share. For example, are you still using images, typefaces and a copy style that Don Draper might have used? Using video immediately marks you as being on the cutting edge of your industry and that could be a major point of difference between you and your competition.

  1.   Now almost every business can afford to use video

In the old Mad Men days, using moving images to sell a product was a major expense. For one thing, commercials were usually shot on film and needed not only an expert behind the camera, but a sound engineer and a lighting crew as well Editing was a whole other expense that could take days to accomplish and cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Today, highly professional videographers can shoot and edit everything from a 30-second TV spot to an hour-long documentary at very reasonable rates in a very short timeframe. Some videographers, including T60 Productions, will teach you the basics of creating your own videos for an affordable consultation fee. With just a little help, you can produce credible videos on your own that can be used on your site, posted on social media and shown at new business presentations.

So – what are you waiting for? To paraphrase an old song, “your business ought to be in pictures for everyone to see.” Why not call T60 Productions and find out how you can become your own movie star.

–Wendy Lalli

Wendy LalliWendy Lalli is an award-winning writer and creative director who has been writing TV spots and sales videos for over 20 years. She is CD of Crux Creative in Milwaukee and strongly encourages the agency’s clients to make video part of their marketing plan for digital and experiential marketing communications.

Don’t Make This Video Marketing Mistake

Don’t Make This Video Marketing MistakeMarketing videos can be a fantastic way to promote your company, product or service. Here are a few statistics in case you need convincing:

  • Video shared on social media generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined
  • 74% of millennials find video helpful when comparison shopping
  • 4 times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it

So we’re in agreement – video can be an awesome part of a marketing strategy. However, it has to be executed effectively. Now, I’m not talking about the actual creation of the video. We’ll leave that to experts like Tony Gnau. I’m talking about what happens after you create the video. You upload it to YouTube, maybe put it on your website—and then what?

Don’t make this mistake

Here’s where the mistake commonly happens. Companies will invest money into creating a great marketing video, upload it to YouTube, and expect the magic to happen from there. However, just like any marketing strategy, it’s simply not enough just to create the video itself. You also need to make sure your target audience (your customers and prospective customers) see it. You need to promote it. There are so many ways you can do this, so I’ll share just a few ideas below.

Place it prominently on your website

Depending on your video content, you may want to put it on your Home page, About Us page, Testimonials page, Services/Products page, etc. It may make sense to go on more than one page as well, and that’s okay too.

Announce your new video

If you send out a periodic newsletter or other email updates, include your new video in your next email message. This email could go to current customers, prospective customers, or both. Make sure when you send your email, you don’t just say “Check out our cool new video!” but instead give the recipient a reason to watch it. Here are a few examples:

  • “Get a behind-the-scenes peek at our company in our latest video!”
  • “Based on your past purchases, I thought our newest product would interest you. Check out this short video to learn more.”

Use your social media channels

Again, you shouldn’t just share it once on your Facebook page and be done. Make a plan to share your new video multiple times across your social networks when it’s new, and also remember to periodically share it when it’s not new anymore for those who didn’t see it the first time. Consider opportunities to put your video on a social page longer term, such as the ability to add media to your LinkedIn profile or the option to pin posts to the top of your Facebook page.

Incorporate your video into other marketing initiatives

Once you have a corporate marketing video, it’s a great opportunity to use within other marketing initiatives and campaigns. You could include in a prospecting email campaign, use as part of a digital advertising campaign, include in your latest blog, put a link in your email signature or many other possibilities to make it a part of your company’s overall marketing plan.

aliciaAlicia Olsen is the owner of Olsen Marketing Solutions, a full-service marketing firm offering marketing strategy and planning, web design, copywriting, social media management and more.

Creating Emotional Marketing Videos

Creating Emotional Marketing Videos

We’re honored that another T60 video has been selected for a Telly Award, and in this case we’re even more excited because the video provides a great lesson for anyone creating a business video. It’s a case study for creating an emotional marketing video.

About Awards

The main reason we enter videos for awards is to provide our clients and prospects with proof that we do good work. It’s one thing for us to be proud of our work, it’s another thing when someone else in your industry gives you their stamp of approval.

Beyond all of that… I love telling the clients when it’s their video that has won. Their reaction is priceless.

Normally, it happens via email or a phone call, and they immediately post it on social media. This year… I got to share the good news in-person.

We had a shoot scheduled at LSS of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, and it happened to coincide with finding out one of the videos we produced for them last year won a Telly Award.

Their reaction: surprise… raised eyebrows… open mouths… big smiles… then a question: “What’s a Telly Award?”

What Are The Telly Awards?

The Telly Awards are basically the Emmy Awards for the non-broadcast/online video world. They do have broadcast categories as well, but for us corporate video producers the Telly is our big award. It’s the one we’re all hoping to win.

T60 has now won 13 Telly Awards… but who’s counting? The latest winning video promotes one of LSS’s adoption programs. I’m excited it took home a trophy because it’s actually a video I blogged about as a good example of how-to do better testimonial videos, but it also provides another lesson.

Emotional Marketing Videos

One of the big messages I try to drive home with clients revolves around a simple premise. Video isn’t about facts and figures. Video is about emotion.

Our goal for virtually all the videos we produce is to help the audience connect with the business emotionally. In most cases, the emotional or feeling we’re going for is confidence. We want viewers to finish watching the video feeling confident in that company’s ability to deliver.

Every once in a while though… we get to tap big emotions. Emotions that will make people laugh or cry. If you can manage to get people to laugh while watching a marketing video, you’ve hit a home run. Get them to cry… it’s a grand slam.

Tears Inspire Tears

One of the ways to inspire tears is by getting the video’s participants to cry themselves. Tears tend to be contagious. Viewers who watch people get emotional, share those same emotions. It’s an incredible way to build a connection with an audience.

Yes… working in video production might be one of the few jobs where you get excited about making someone else cry. That’s what we went after with the LSS video.

Speaking with the participants on the day of the shoot, I knew we had a chance. It’s an emotional story. It tugs heart strings. As the person who was going to conduct the interviews, I was prepared to do my best to ask questions and engage people in a way that would get them to cry.

It took some effort, but I cracked them… and that’s a good thing. They opened their hearts, and in doing so the audience connects with them. For a not-for-profit organization like LSS that relies on donations, a story like this is crucial.

Winning Harts and Minds

The video has been shared on social media. It’s been shown in churches. It’s been used in meetings. Tears all around. The video has become a source of inspiration for struggling, pregnant women to consider adoption. It’s helping LSS raise money.

That’s the power of video. Forget your facts and figures. Logic will not build a connection with your audience. Emotion is the way to win hearts and minds.

–Tony Gnau

The Star Wars Marketing Video Strategy

The Star Wars Marketing Video StrategyUnless your head has been buried in the Tatooine sand, you’re probably aware that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is opening this month. As someone who works in PR and marketing, the movie’s promotion a case study on how to execute a smart marketing video strategy.

Yup, I’m a Nerd

Okay, let’s get this out of the way… full disclosure… I’m a big Star Wars geek. As I told my wife when we first started dating, I don’t have a storm trooper costume in my closet… but I’m still a big nerd.

I can quote the original movie (A New Hope) word-for-word. Want to know the ID number for the storm trooper guarding the Millennium Falcon? TK-421. It should also be noted that I could have chosen any number of schools for college. I picked USC, George Lucas’ alma mater. I have big time Star Wars geek cred.

Case Study: marketing video strategy

Now that I’ve come clean, let’s get to it because the folks at LucasFilm and Disney have provided everyone with a terrific example of how to launch something. In this case, they’re launching a movie. However, this can work just as well for anyone launching a new company, brand, product, service… you name it.

The trap many people fall into when creating their launch strategy is including a video. You read that right. They include a video… and they shouldn’t.

Instead, the plan should include multiple videos!

Don’t get me wrong, if there’s only enough money in the marketing budget for a single video, go for it. But before you do, check with a video pro. You might be able to stretch that budget and create more than one, and here’s why you want to do that.

More videos, more connected

It’s a T60 video truth… the more videos people watch, the more connected they become. If you create multiple videos for your launch, you’re giving people an opportunity to connect with whatever you’re launching before it’s even out.

The videos are also a great way to build anticipation. The Force Awakens is a perfect example. Just look at the trailers.

Star Wars Video Breakdown

The first teaser was released a year ago and was about a minute and half long. Basically, all it did was give us a glimpse at a few of the characters involved and some of the iconic Star Wars imagery.

The second Star Wars teaser was released a few months later and revealed a little more. This one is about two minutes long. Again, we got some character introductions, and we also received a few hints about the plot.

Finally, the official trailer was released just a couple of months ago. It expanded on the plot, but it didn’t give anything away.

See what they’re doing? How they’re revealing things little by little? A slow trickle of information, allowing anticipation to rise.

You can do it too

Think about your own launch strategy. Surely you want to build anticipation. Whether you produce a few videos  or just a couple, it can work the same way.

Your first launch video can be short, 30-45 seconds, simply giving people a snap shot of what’s to come. The next one should be a little longer and more in-depth, giving people a better look.

It works because video is the medium that allows people to see and hear about what’s new. Text can’t do that. Photos can’t do it either. Video is the next best thing to experiencing something in-person.

More, please

The Star Wars video launch campaign goes well beyond the trailers. Along the way they’ve released a video taking people behind-the-scenes of the film’s making, as well as videos promoting a contest to be at the official movie premiere.

It’s all good… wetting the pallet of every Star Wars geek like me.

That’s how you launch something. Your new company, brand, product, service… using multiple videos to build anticipation will lead to a successful launch.

–Tony Gnau

Best Brands Video Lesson

Best Brands Video LessonBuilding a brand isn’t easy. As a matter of fact it’s flat-out difficult, but one of the things I find interesting is how the biggest and best companies are using video to build their brands.

We’re lucky to have a brand building expert like Prophet as a client, and I’ve learned a lot from them. Every shoot is like a mini-session on the subject. It has allowed me to look at top companies and get a better understanding of how they’re using video.

The first thing I’ve learned, and the one I’d like to focus on here, is the simple fact that top brands use video. Whether it’s a name brand everyone knows, or a small brand in a niche market. They’re using video to better their brands, and you can too.

Video is amazing because it works for three important things you need to establish a quality brand.

Building Awareness

A brand can’t stay in business much less become a household name if customers don’t know about it. Video shines a light on a brand.

Video can be used to launch a new business, product, or service. Video gets people’s attention. And in today’s social world, video becomes something they can share with their friends, family, and colleagues.

It’s one thing to write about a brand or talk about a brand. It’s something altogether more powerful to be able to show someone something about a brand.

Building Credibility

One of the best attributes of video is how it can help build trust. Trust in people, trust in brands, the more videos a person watches about a business, the more they’ll begin to trust it.

Why? Because video is personal. These aren’t words on a page, video provides thoughts and ideas expresses by real people. Viewers are able to build a connection with those people, helping them feel good about the company.

Couple that with a good customer experience and you have trust.

Building Loyalty

Once people are aware and trust the brand, video is a great way to keep them feeling good about the brand. Video reassures their feelings.

New products, new services, community outreach… they’re all ripe areas for videos that keep customers interested and feeling loyal to the brand.

Apple does this. They use videos to perfection. Videos that make customers aware of new products. Videos that build trust in those products and ultimately maintain the brand and build loyalty.

But it’s not just mega brands like Apple. DollarShaveClub.com started with a single video to create awareness. It was so successful it launched the company into a real competition with industry giants like Gillette and Schick.

That’s what we can all learn from top brands. Video works, no matter how big the brand.

–Tony Gnau

How-to Do Better Testimonial Videos

How-to Do BetterTestimonial VideosTestimonials are a time-tested way to inspire trust and creditability in a company, brand, product, or service. It’s the reason why I encourage our clients to create testimonial videos, and I am on a quest to help organizations do them better.

That’s because many companies do them on the cheap, without any creativity behind them. They’re uninspired.

How not to do testimonial videos

The videos I’m referring to are the simple kind you’ve seen on websites everywhere. They feature someone on-camera singing the praises of a company. That’s it… just them on-camera. A head-and-shoulders shot with no other video to support them. The testimonial typically runs for several minutes. Who wants to watch that?

Ugg… what a wasted opportunity. Some businesses run shorter versions, maybe about a minute long. That’s not bad, but even these testimonials could be so much better.

What they need… desperately need… is a story. It’s not enough to stick someone on-camera and have them give a testimonial. There has to be a story.It's not enough to stick someone on-camera and have them give a testimonial. There has to be a story. Click To Tweet

Sometimes businesses will have the person giving the testimonial tell a story about their experience with the company. Okay… that’s a start, but even in these cases the videos lack appeal. They’re boring.

The reason why is not everyone is a natural storyteller. Beyond that… someone simply telling a story on-camera is leaving out other things video can provide to enhance their story.

Producing a video means you can add additional video or images to bolster what the person is saying. You can use editing to make the story more succinct and create pacing. And maybe best of all, you can add music to set the mood. Most of the testimonials I watch online are missing all of these things.

Will producing a quality video like this that tells a good story increase your video production cost? Probably, but I’ll add probably not as much as you might expect. Ask yourself this question, is it better to spend less on a video nobody will pay attention to or to pay more for a video they’ll watch and enjoy?

Case Study

These things have been on my mind lately because we recently produced a terrific testimonial for one of our clients. It turned out so well they immediately signed-up to produce another one.

Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan wanted a video to promote its open adoption program. They decided a testimonial from people who have used the program would be the best way to do it.

LSS could have taken the easy path… put the people on-camera… have them talk about how wonder LSS is, have them explain the process, talk about how helpful and encouraging everyone was… blah.

Don’t get me wrong… that’ all true… but LSS’s leaders had a better vision. They wanted to share the emotional experience of adoption, and video is all about tapping emotions.

Instead of simple praise for LSS and details on how the program works, they wanted viewers to feel how LSS is changing lives.

I won’t go into details on the story itself, you should just watch it. Instead, what I’d like to point out is how many times LSS is mentioned in the video. The organization is mentioned twice… that’s it.

There are different ways to do testimonial videos. One can focus squarely on your business. I’ve produced this type myself for T60. But the other way to create a testimonial is to center the attention on the person or organization providing the testimonial, which is exactly what we helped LSS do.

The entire video centers on the birth mother and the mother and father who adopted the baby. It’s a terrific story, and while LSS is barely mentioned the message is clear: LSS made this wonderful union happen. It’s the organization that brought these people together. It’s a powerful testimonial without at all feeling sales-y.

New Testimonial videos for T60

I believe in this type of testimonial so much, I’m in the process of putting it to work for my own business. I really like our current testimonial. I think it does a great job of showing people what it’s like working with T60, but the next series of testimonials I’m working on take the other approach.

They won’t be emotional in the same way as the LSS video… nobody is going to breakdown crying or anything. Instead, the emotion I’m going for is confidence. I want people to watch our testimonials and feel confident in our ability to tell great stories and provide value to their organization.

Each of the testimonials will feature one of our clients. They’ll talk a little about what they do and how they value video. There will be a brief mention of how we’re their video partners, but we want the focus to be on them. In a way, we hope it turns out to be just as good a promotion for them and their business as it is for us.

There’s nothing wrong with focusing the testimonial on your business, but it’s not the only way to do it either. If you’re worried about your testimonial coming of too sales-y, give this customer-centered approach a try.

–Tony Gnau

5 Ways Football Is Like Marketing Video

5 Ways FootballI can hardly contain myself. Football season has finally arrived. Whether you’re into the NFL, college, high school… heck… Pop Warner, it’s great having it back.
As the season kicks-off, it has me thinking a bit. Football and marketing videos have some things in common.
Stick with me here… it’s true. I happen to be an expert on both subjects.
I’m an award-winning video producer, and I played some football as well. I was one of the least physically talented players on my college team, but my football IQ was right there at the top of the class.
So… here are five ways football and video are similar.

Popularity

First and foremost, both are extremely popular. Millions of people will tune-in to watch some football this fall.
Likewise, millions will log-in to watch web videos, and many of these videos will be marketing videos.

Emotion

Is there any question people feel passionately about their team? About how they feel about their players? How about the opposing team and players? People are called fans (fanatics) for a reason.
Video is all about emotion. It isn’t about facts and figures. Video provides companies and brands a way to emotionally connect with an audience.

Loyalty

All that emotion leads to loyalty. Football fans will stick with their teams through thick and thin. As a Bears fan, we’ve been suffering a lot over the last few years.
On the video side, I’ll use one of my favorite quotes from Andy Crestodina at Orbit Media Studios, “Video equals trust.”
The more people watch your videos, the more they begin to trust you. The more they trust you, the more loyal they become.

Shareable

Both football and videos inspire people to share them. Take a look at what’s trending on social media after a big football game. The game itself, players, something that happened on or off the field… football will be trending. Fans of a given team will connect and share their common experience.
Video won’t be outdone. A well-produced video can catch fire with an audience and spread all over the globe.
You don’t need a viral video either. A video shared with a small, targeted audience can be just as effective.

Dollars

After watching their favorite player score the winning touchdown, people will part with their hard-earned money to buy his jersey.
Similarly, many will watch a series of content marketing videos, begin to trust a brand, and ultimately use that same hard-earned money to purchase products or services.
There you have it. Football and video… they’re practically the same thing.
Hut, hut!