Tag Archives: USC

Collegiate Lesson On Internal Videos

Posted on November 19th, 2013 | Leave a Comment

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Let your team carry the company torch through internal videos. If you run a quality organization, they’re ready to do it. They want to shout to all their friends about how much they enjoy working at the company.

I blogged yesterday about attending the Ragan Communications 2013 Best Practices in Video for Communicators Summit, and a lot of the conference was focused on producing internal videos. It’s a good idea for a couple of reasons.

First, producing internal videos is a great way to boost morale. Featuring team members and bragging about the job their doing, well, who doesn’t like a pat on the back?

The second reason is the one I’d like to focus on today, and I’ll use my alma mater as an example.

Lesson courtesy USC football

I went to USC. If you know anything about college sports, you know that USC is a football powerhouse. The last four years have been rough on the school after the NCAA imposed some harsh sanctions, accusing USC leaders of losing “institutional control” over their student-athletes. I won’t get into that, but the majority of the sports community continues to scratch their heads about it considering other schools have done far worse and received lighter penalties.

But I digress… it’s been a rough four years. So there we were in an unfamiliar role on Saturday night, an underdog playing at home against 4th ranked Stanford. It was the game of the week on national television. The entire college football world was focused on the L.A. Coliseum.

The Trojans slugged it out with the Cardinal for four quarters, and with about 20-seconds left… they kicked a game winning field goal. The stands emptied onto the field starting a party that raged all night.

It was the kind of thing that highlights why college sports are so much fun. If only there was a way to capture that moment and share it with alumni and fans. A way to show them all the things they didn’t get to see like what it looked like from the sidelines, the raw emotion from inside the locker room, the pure joy of that winning kick.

Oh wait… there is a way. USC released a video yesterday afternoon on its YouTube channel featuring all of those things. 

Lesson for your internal videos

Now… think about all of this in a different way. USC is your company. The alumni and fans are your team members. Think they’re going to share that video with people?

What are milestone moments on the horizon for your company? Are you launching a new product? Closing in on your 1,000th sale? Are you about to set a new safety record? Open a new facility?

The list could go on and on. The point is you should be documenting a lot of these things, and there’s no better way than video. Producing a video around these types of events will provide that morale boost I mentioned, but it will also allow your team members to spread the word via their social networks about all the great things you’re doing.

That’s good HR, PR and marketing all rolled into one.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 12 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.

Turning Old Material Into New Content

Posted on October 10th, 2012 | Leave a Comment

I think a lot of us are nostalgic by nature. Things from the past trigger memories, they allow us to dream about a time gone by and in some cases provide us with a look at a life before our time.

Companies have archive material, especially well-established businesses with a long history. Don’t just let it sit on the shelf. Use it to provide your customers and prospects with nostalgia.

What’s old is new again

USC just did a masterful job of this, posting on YouTube never-before-seen film of the way the Trojans football team trained back in the 1950s and 1960s. It has no relevance to my life today, I only recognized a couple of people, and yet I couldn’t stop watching.

Businesses can do the same sort of thing. Whether it’s showing old commercials, highlighting old catalogs, long-out-of-date training film/videos… you name it!

Take materials from the past and turn them into your content of the future.

–Tony Gnau

PR/Marketing Lesson From The Pool

Posted on October 3rd, 2012 | Leave a Comment

I know I’ve blogged about this before, but the USC athletic department’s “Matt vs.” video series is pretty awesome.

For those of you new to the series, USC quarterback Matt Barkley and some of his teammates have been competing against other USC athletes in their sports. In this week’s video, Matt and defensive captain T.J. McDonald got some pool time with the 4-time defending national champion USC men’s water polo team.

You heard me… a couple of novices playing alongside the national champs.

I’ll be honest, none of the videos I’ve seen have been hilarious, but they’ve all been entertaining. The idea is to show another side of Barkley and his teammates, highlighting their personalities off the field. The end result is something business leaders need to pay attention to.

Businesses could do this too

Any business could do this sort of thing. Who’s the public face of your company? Why not a series of videos where that person takes on someone else’s job at the company? They go work in accounting, the mailroom, etc.

The end result is a double-barreled hit. First, it makes that public face more endearing. A little humility and self-deprecating humor go a long way to getting prospects and the rank-and-file to warm up to them. Are you listening CEO’s?

Second, the video highlights the work of other team members. How many times is Janet in accounting or Phil in the mailroom going to be made to feel special? They get a boost and other employees see their co-workers being singled out.

The whole series would be great for morale.

–Tony Gnau

Heisman Candidate Loses Ugly

Posted on September 10th, 2012 | Leave a Comment

USC quarterback Matt Barkley lost this week. Now, if you’re a college football fan, you might be a bit confused right now.

Didn’t Barkey tie a school record over the weekend by throwing 6-touchdowns en route to a win over Syracuse? Yes. Barkley continues to impress on the football field, but on a tennis court… not so much.

Off the field, on the court

As part of USC’s YouTube marketing/public relations campaign, the school posted a video last week of Barkley and his center, Khaled Holmes, playing doubles tennis with a pair of USC tennis players. FYI… USC has won the last four NCAA Championships in tennis. In other words, the Trojan tennis team is pretty good.

Anyway, while Barkley might be the frontrunner for this year’s Heisman Trophy, he’s not going to be taking center court at Wimbledon anytime soon. The video proves it. It’s fun, self-deprecating and gives you some insight into his personality off the field.

Your company can do this too

Why should you care? Look at this from another perspective. Think of USC as your company and Barkley as the CEO… or the maybe the top sales guy… or the chosen “face” of the company. How great would it be to humble that person a bit by forcing them to do something outside their comfort zone?

How about a video series where that person takes on different jobs around the company? What a great way to humanize the company and show customers/prospects your willingness to have a little fun.

Barkley’s willing to do it. Who’s willing on your team?

–Tony Gnau

Perception Doesn’t Have To Be Reality

Posted on May 22nd, 2012 | Leave a Comment

You want to change the perception of your brand… your company? Video is the way to do it. It’s better than any other medium at changing people’s opinions.

Take the University of Southern California. The school is a frequent source of examples here. One, because I went there. Two, because the school’s leaders have a clear video strategy and they just flat-out bring it.

So… perception. USC is a private university filled with spoiled students and arrogant football players. You know what… there’s a little bit of that, but there’s so much more to the school and the football team. That’s one of the reasons for the videos they’re producing.

The latest documents a trip several football players made to Haiti. I challenge you to watch this video and walk away with the typical “perception” of USC.

This isn’t a group of a few unheard of players. Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, T.J. McDonald… these are guys who’ll be first round picks in next year’s NFL draft. This mission was clearly a priority for them, their teammates, and it comes through in the video.

If it weren’t for this production, we wouldn’t know that. Sure, we could read an article about what they did, but it’s not the same. Not even close. You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. That’s what makes video unique.

Your business might not be sending anyone to Haiti, but you’re doing something. It doesn’t even have to be a charity effort. It might be a video about how you’re improving your customer’s lives in some way.

The point is to look for things you’re doing that will shake-up perception about your company. Video can do that.

–Tony Gnau

Employee Videos That Promote Brands

Posted on April 30th, 2012 | Leave a Comment

Video isn’t about facts and figures. Video is about emotion. That’s one of the reasons I actively encourage our clients to feature their employees because real people tap emotion better than products or services.

One of the organizations doing the best job of this lately is the University of Southern California’s athletic department… in particular the football team.

Yes… the USC Trojans… 6 Heisman Trophies, 11 National Championships, 24 Rose Bowl victories… those USC Trojans.

Watching the school’s videos, it’s clear the university’s leaders are making an effort to promote USC using their star athletes. Sure, they highlight their talents on the field, but more and more they’re figuring out ways to feature them off the field as well.

The theme to those videos… fun… and USC’s most recent video serves as a great example to businesses. It features Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Barkley and some of the team’s other stars walking around campus in their full uniforms… pads and all.

It’s goofy, but it’s goofy that serves a purpose. College and college football are fun.

Now, watch the video again with your business goggles on. If USC football is a company, the athletic director and coaches are senior management, and these players represent their top employees.

The company’s leadership is shinning a spotlight on their top people. They’re highlighting their personalities in an effort to promote the brand. They’re using “fun” to tap emotion.

Heck, they even provide the employees’ Twitter handles to encourage viewers to follow them on the social web.

I’m not suggesting that every business should go out and manufacture “fun” videos. What I’m saying is that they should look at the company and highlight the aspects important to the company culture.

At USC, they’re all about winning football games and having fun, so that’s what their videos are about. At your company, you might be all about excellence and ingenuity. Produce videos that highlight employees who embody those characteristics.

Real people, real spirit.

–Tony Gnau

Video Does It Better… Much Better

Posted on April 24th, 2012 | Leave a Comment

I read a couple of stories about a “Make-A-Wish” kid who got to attend this year’s USC Spring football game. A young boy with a rare blood disease whose wish was to play with a real football team on a real football field.

“Make-A-Wish” contacted USC… and this kid got more than he could have imagined.

The stories I read are heart-warming. They made me proud of my Alma mater. Proud to call myself a Trojan. Then… I saw this video.

Cue the tears.

That’s what video does better than any other medium. It stirs emotions.

Not every video is going to move someone to tears. I often say my hope for our clients is that our videos leave viewers feeling a sense of confidence in that company. The point is even business videos tap emotion… at least the good ones do.

Make sure your videos are capturing people’s spirit.

–Tony Gnau

Pairing Good Written Content With Video Images

Posted on November 21st, 2011 | Leave a Comment

AP Photo / Don Ryan

Videos may inform, they may educate, but words on a page or screen can do the same thing for less money. The reason smart marketers choose video is because video is much more likely to stir emotions and connect with an audience.

Looking for an example? Look at how college football programs market to their fans.

One of the biggest upsets of the weekend involved USC knocking off #4 Oregon. The Trojans create a video to show the team before every game, and they also share it on YouTube for all their alumni and fans.

Normally, it’s simply highlights set to rap or rock music, but this week USC kicked it up a notch. They took an inspirational speech by defensive line coach Ed Orgeron and spun it into a video that stirred emotions. The Trojans aren’t often the underdogs, but the school’s video team played up the role to perfection.

Good written content paired with music and beautiful images… storytelling at its best. Businesses need to pay attention. Video is a way for companies to connect with clients and prospects.

Could words alone have done this? Maybe. But I challenge anyone to tell me they’d be more effective than this video.

–Tony Gnau

Creating Content That Goes Behind-The-Scenes

Posted on October 25th, 2011 | Leave a Comment

Last week, I blogged about what a good job universities are doing at giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at their football programs. This should really interest business leaders because it’s a great technique they can use to educate their customers and prospects.

I highlighted USC and Notre Dame’s YouTube channels since the two were renewing their rivalry over the weekend. No surprise… USC posted a video less than 24-hours after its victory that puts fans right in the middle of the team’s big win, and it’s another great example for Corporate America.

Look… the likelihood that a company is going to produce something that communicates the same level of excitement is pretty slim. That’s not the point. One of the lessons learned here is that USC clearly understands how it can create content to serve its following.

Try finding anything even remotely like this in the traditional media. It’s not there, and yet there’s an audience for it. Thousands of people have clicked to watch this behind-the-scenes gameday video. USC isn’t waiting for the media to feature its football team. The school is going out and telling its own story.

Businesses have curious customers. They have people who are interested in their products and services. Businesses could be content creators like USC if only they understood the power these videos hold.

Videos like these serve an audience’s interest and foster loyalty by opening doors they normally can’t look behind.

–Tony Gnau

VIDEO: USC-Notre Dame Game Behind-The-Scenes

PR/Marketing Videos Go Back To School

Posted on October 20th, 2011 | Leave a Comment

One of the great things about online videos is the ability to take people to places they normally don’t get to go. Want to see it being done to near perfection? Start following college athletics.

The University of Southern California takes on Notre Dame this weekend in South Bend. It’s one of college football’s best rivalries, and thanks to YouTube fans get unprecedented access to their teams.

Each university’s athletic department has their own channel, and they post multiple videos every week documenting the comings and goings of their football programs. Pretty cool stuff if you’re a fan.

Business leaders… pay attention. This could be you giving your prospects and customers a behind the scenes look at your company. That sort of access can build real loyalty.

–Tony Gnau