Marketing with Video and Rich Media Blog

8 Ways to Convince Your Boss to Invest in Video Marketing


We’ve seen this movie before…

Remember a few years back when you were trying to convince your boss that your business needed a real website – not just a ‘web presence’ (an html version of your brochure.) Fast forward to today… finally, your website has evolved to become the information and transactional epicenter of your business (congrats!) but you realize that’s still not enough. Now, everywhere you look on the web you see video.  Every social media ‘poke’, ‘share’, ‘link’, ‘favorite’ and ‘like’ is about some new video that everyone is talking about. Big brands are all over video, your friend’s business has been using video for years now and yet there you and your company are, still finessing the text in your value proposition.

What to do? You know that doing video poorly is a waste of time and money. How do you convince your boss it’s time to invest in Video Marketing? Here are eight business arguments you can use to convince your boss that marketing with video should be a top priority for your business:

1. Social Media is more social with video. If social media is part of your marketing mix (it should be) and you want your content and your messages to be shared, include a video with it. Why? A recent report by Brafton Media indicates that online video is the key driver to effective social marketing and that social media marketing with video should be a priority initiative for marketers in 2013 .The report outlines the three basic reasons that video and social media are such a good fit: People like watching video online, people tend to share things they like and creating sharable content differentiates you from your competitors. The study concludes that ’Brands that create video clips for their specific audiences are likely to see success if videos are shared on social sites, as internet users spend 2.5x more time watching short videos that are personally relevant.’

2. Video generates higher engagement. According to Facebooks best-practices guide, posts including a video generate about 100% more engagement than the average post. Dave Marsey from Digitas tells us in this video that video is one of the key triggers that can drive viewer engagement – that increase in engagement ultimately leads to higher revenue. Video also converts! The research group Visual Web Optimizer ran A/B split tests with video on a specific test offer and found a 46% increase in conversion rates with video compared with just text. The folks at Marketing Experiments have found similar results with video but what’s most interesting is that they’ve also discovered that an offer than combines both strong text AND video is the most effective. Including both formats allows the user to consume the content in the manner which is most suitable to the viewer.

3. Video viewing drives purchase behavior. A recent IDG study reported that ’64% of consumers have researched a product as a result of watching a tech-related video in recent months and close to half of them then looked for a product in a retail store (45%), visited a vendor website or contacted a vendor for information (45%), or purchased a product (44%).’ The same IDG study goes on to explain how much digital is part of consumers lives and that video is becoming the centerpiece of that consumer experience. According to Internet Retailer, over 50% of the people who watch online videos claim that those videos make them more confident about buying a product. This same report also stated that visitors who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy than visitors who do not. According to Reel SEO, video has become so influential that ’4 in 10 shoppers visited a store online or in-person as a direct result of watching a video. Today, nearly 1 in 3 shoppers use YouTube to shop for apparel.’

4. Quality video impacts customer perceptions and behaviors.  A 2012 study by Unrly media found that viewer enjoyment of branded video is important because it has a direct impact on key brand metrics. Viewers who enjoyed the video they watched demonstrated 139% higher brand association, 97% higher purchase intent, 35% higher brand favorability, and 14% higher brand recall than their counterparts who did not enjoy the video.

5, Professionally produced  video content is good… and so is User Generated. Comscore released a study that looked at the sales effectivenees of professionally produced videos. Not surprising was the lift in preference for both featured products and the Brands total line was 25% higher after watching the professionally produced video. The User-generated video still generated stronger purchase presence at a lower 16% but what’s interesting is that the combination of professionally produced AND user-generated video produced a combined 35% increase in purchase preference.

6. Video helps your site with SEO. According to Search Engine Watch, ’Google and other search engines work to have a mix of content types displayed in search results (a.k.a., blended search results). For this reason, they give a higher ranking to video content than other forms of Web content in order to make sure that searches consistently display mixed search results.’ (There is an often misquoted 2008 research report conducted by Forrestor that claimed anywhere from a 50% to a 500% lift in search engine performance with the use of video. Forrestor stills agrees in principle with the findings of the report but doesn’t provide any specific performance reference.) A post by Jeremy Scott at REELSEO claims that videos in universal search results have a 41% higher click through rate than their plain text counterparts. 

7. Adding digital video to a TV media plan is very effective. Comscore has released a study looking at the effectiveness of traditional broadcast advertising and online ad buying. Key findings indicate adding a digital video component to a TV media plan can increase reach very efficiently. The report shows that digital video ad formats are just as effective as TV ads and that multi-screen viewers (especially in the younger age segments) need to be marketed to on multiple screens.

8. Video adoption metrics.. (The numbers you see quoted most often) There’s a wealth of statistical information concerning the adoption of video and some of these trends may be relevant to your business. It’s always best to lead with direct evidence, but if that isn’t enough here is a list of trends and stats that you can overwhelm your boss with:

- Youtube attracts a kazillion* viewers a month and a bazillion* videos are uploaded every second. (*estimates)
- 22% of small businesses plan to post a video to YouTube in the next 12 months
- Online video ad spending will double over the next four years.
- Rich media ads with video generate 6 times as many post-ad site visits as standard banner ads.
- Over 90% of advertisers plan to use VANs (video advertising networks) in the coming year.
- 87% of brand and agency marketers use video for content marketing.
- 76% of marketers plan to increase their use of video marketing in the next year.
- Online video has taken the lead from television viewing (84% to 83%) in a recent survey conducted by Nielsen.
- 7 out of 10 B2B marketers use online video. Up 35% from last year.
- 40% of all QR codes take the user to some kind of video content
- Click-thru rates rose 7% to 13& when the word ‘video’ was included in the subject line.
- Forbes Magazine published a report stating 65% of Senior Executives have visited a vendor’s website after watching a video online.
- By 2015 Google predicts that over 50% of all display ads will be rich media ads.

In late 2009 I wrote a blog post declaring that 2010 would be the year that all companies become media companies. I got a little ahead of myself with that prediction but we are beginning to see many companies move beyond simple text and photos online and begin to develop engaging sharable media assets that help explain and promote the unique value offered by their brand.



Note: This post is also found in the TOP 10 POSTS Category of this blog.



Is the video production company you hire properly insured?


And is your company properly protected?

When you hire a video production company or independent production professional you expect them to be fully insured against all reasonable dangers and liabilities that might arise as a result of their engagement. Chances are, nothing will go wrong… but if something does go wrong you’d better hope that you and your production company are fully protected. If you video production company is not fully insured they may not be able to ‘make whole’ any damages that result from their actions.

Most video production professionals insure their production equipment against loss or damage. This insurance, while valuable for the production company, does nothing to protect you. You want to ensure that your video production company also has other types of insurance in place to protect you and your company against the cost of any damage directly caused by the video production company.

The first and most common form of Insurance taken out by video production companies to protect their clients is General Liability Insurance. This is insurance to cover accidents that happen in the normal course of production: A light falls over and damages your CEO’s Ming Dynasty vase collection, or one of the crew accidentally knocks out all of the power on your campus. This type of insurance covers most production-related risks.

Professional Liability Insurance is a separate form of insurance and relates more to the proper / professional performance of the production company’s duties. Errors and Omissions insurance is a form of Professional Liability insurance. If the production company makes a mistake on a large project and is forced to re-shoot, at their own expense, they should have Professional Liability insurance to cover the cost of the re-shoot. If your production company accidentally films someone who didn’t grant permission to use their image in your video, or if the video production company uses music that they do not have proper copyright permission to use, the harmed party may come after both you and the video production company. Whoever has the most money is usually the primary target of the suit.

As well, there are other types of insurance that your production company should have in place:

Specialized Insurance If your video production involves foreign travel to dangerous areas or hazardous activities like stunts, filming onboard a boat, aerial videography, etc. you may require specialized insurance that covers these contingent activities.
Slander and Liable is a specialized coverage required in certain professions. If, in the production of your video, the production company represents an employee, a competitor or public figure in a way that is inappropriate, the offended party could have cause to make a slander or liable claim. Again, you want to know that your video production company has a rider in their insurance policy that contains adequate protection to cover this risk. While most industries cover slander and liable as part of the General Liability Insurance, certain industries such as media, publishing and video production often require specialized insurance because of the higher risk associated with work in these industries.

The current industry standard for commercial production is $2,000,000 in general liability insurance. In entertainment projects typical insurance coverage will run much higher than this depending on the scope of the project.

Bottom line – if you are not sure ask your video production company about what insurance coverage they have in place. If you are not sure what coverage they should have, ask your insurance broker.



9 Things to Consider Before You Shoot a Testimonial Video



No one really trusts you or what you have to say about your own company. Why would they? But people will listen to other people’s opinions about your company. If they know and trust that person – so much the better. Even if they don’t, they are more likely to believe a stranger (or better yet, a bunch of strangers) talking about you rather than you talking about you. That’s why testimonial videos are so powerful.

So is any testimonial video a good one? Not necessarily. It has to accomplish three important things:
1. It has be / feel authentic.  ‘Be’ is always better, but ‘feel’ is the next best thing. (We’re talking about marketing here….)
2. It has to be interesting. A talking head is still a talking head no matter what they are saying. Plan on having something interesting going on in the video. (Showing a customer using your product or service is a good place to start.)
3. It has to deliver a message which is relevant and that resonates.  Hearing a customer say “ABC Inc. provided great service… ” is not particularly informative.


Before you begin your next testimonial video here are nine things that you should consider:

1. Have you scheduled a pre-shoot meeting?  The best investment of time you can make is to schedule a pre-shoot meeting with the interviewee before the shoot to take them through the process. One of the reasons this doesn’t happen is cost – often your client won’t want to pay for the additional time to prepare for the shoot but this is arguably the most important time investment on the entire project. You get to know your interviewee, you get them familiar (and therefore comfortable) with you and the filming process, you get to do a site inspection prior to shooting and you get to find out the type of things that they may or may not want to say when you start shooting. All of this gives you time to plan and prepare for the shoot.

2. What is the overall style of the video? Is your video simply a talking head of someone sitting on their living room couch or behind their office desk or is it a video that incorporates footage of your customer actually using your product or service? Budget will dictate how much effort you put into your video but it doesn’t require much more effort to shoot the person you are interviewing actually doing something. Planning is usually the problem here. Unless your talking head is truly engaging (most are not) you should at least consider using two cameras for multiple angles (which makes the video easier to watch and helps you cut between sound bites) and you should also consider getting your interviewee physically doing something.

3. Who is speaking and who is on camera? This is an important decision to make upfront. Having a non-speaking spouse (as an example) or non-speaking business colleagues in a video takes away from the dynamic feel of the presentation. If multiple people are speaking and contributing relatively equally – that’s great. But if you have a person in the shot who isn’t speaking, that person will take the energy/attention away from the speaker. Two people are distracting unless their interaction is interesting and complimentary. Perhaps the single biggest challenge is the speaker themselves. Are they articulate, and more important, are they comfortable in front of a camera? If your answer is ‘no’ to these first two points then they had better be good at taking direction otherwise it’s going to be painful. I remember hearing comments about a testimonial video I had shot saying that my client was so lucky to have such a good speaker to represent them.  I wish the viewers could have been there during the shoot… direction and editing can cover up a world of hurt.

 4. What do you want the speaker to say? This is the single most important thing to consider. You don’t just show up with a camera, ask some questions and hope for the best. Before you approach your customer for an endorsement you have to know exactly what you want to hear them say and you have to know that they are receptive to saying it otherwise you may end up wasting everyone’s time. Just because you ask a question doesn’t mean you are going to get the answer you want. Even if you get the answer you want it may not be delivered in a suitable manner (i.e. a distracted ‘Ya… they showed up on time” versus an enthusiastic “Those guys where here exactly when they said would be.” . Arriving equipped to an interview with the right questions is only half the battle. You also need to be equipped with the knowledge of the exact sound bites that you need to hear otherwise you might end up staring blankly at your editing screen wondering what to do with all the useless footage you just shot. The questions don’t matter – it’s the answers you care about. Who’s responsibility is it to make sure the sound bites are exactly what you need?

5. How do you plan on structuring your soundbites? Let’s assume you get exactly what you wanted from your customer – great delivery and great content. Do you lead with a power statement that nicely concludes what you are going to see in the video or do you just start with the answer to the first question? What you place first is critical in video today. Online viewers today have attention spans similar to that of a house fly. You need to ensure that the message you deliver at the beginning of the video makes people think – ‘that’s interesting, tell me more.” I’ve seen too many testimonial videos that start with 30 seconds or more of preamble: “Well now… Bob from ABC Inc. gave me a call on Tuesday… no, it was Wednesday…  ’cause that’s when me and Earl go bowling, anyway, Bob gives me a call and asks me how my bowling game is doing – funny thing about that is… ”

6. How are the testimonial videos being presented? Are you doing one testimonial video or do you plan on doing a series of them. Like resume references, it’s not terribly difficult to get at least one person to say something nice about you. The more voices that support your message the better. If you are planning more than one testimonial video you should try to structure the videos so there is repetition on key brand elements and there is also new information in each video. If the videos are identical people won’t watch more than two because they will expect that they are all the same. If you are planning a series of testimonial videos you should label them clearly so that people can select the videos that relate to their specific concerns. (I.e “Bob Smith from Acme explains how ABC Inc saved him $4000 in research costs”)

7. What is the graphic and titling structure? How do you start your video.  I just watch a really well produced testimonial video that had 35 seconds of introductory branding and text. I wonder if anyone other than me made it through that intro. Do you start with shots of your interviewee, b-roll shots of your interviewee or do you begin with corporate branding and titling? Getting to the message as quickly as possible is critical. Do you include on-screen text anywhere in the video to support what is being said in the video? Using on-screen text in your video helps to reinforce a message BUT it may also make the video look more like a corporate/promotional video rather than a testimonial video. (I.E. Having the word ‘Lifesaver’ come up on-screen as someone uses that word to describe your service is probably too much.)

8. Do you include other support material in the video? As an example, if you are doing a renovation (house, car, person… etc) testimonial video, do you include a ‘before’ shot. Do you illustrate what the ‘problem’ that was solved by your company? It’s always better to show, rather than tell the viewer what the ‘problem’ was – that’s the whole reason to use video. Do you shoot b-roll to support the benefit of your product or service? (The answer is ‘Yes’). B-roll can include anything relating to the content being discussed.

9. What shooting style do you use in your interview? Is the interviewee sitting down or standing up? Are they in and around the thing the product or service that you delivered for them? (I.e. The most typical interview shot you see is someone sitting on a coach against the wall or someone sitting at a desk. Both are visually quite dull. It’s much easier to light and frame a shot if you can get move them and have them looking engaged – people often look ‘trapped’ sitting behind a desk or in the corner of a room on a chair.  This definitely takes more planning and cooperation from your interviewee but if you show up at someone’s office and capture a talking head interview with your iPhone it’s going to look like you showed up at someone’s office and captured a talking head interview with your iPhone.

9+. Do you choreograph your b-roll.?  Yes. Assuming that you want to make your testimonial video interesting to watch you are going to have to get people doing something that shows them engaged with your product or service. Remember, a testimonial video isn’t about you, it’s about the affect your product or service had on that person. Wherever possible you should try to demonstrate the use and benefit of your product or service which could mean purposefully getting the interviewee to do something more than standing in front of your camera. The chance of them doing something spontaneous that looks good on camera is low so you are going to have to tell them what you want them to do. An argument can be made that choreographing anything is disingenuous and takes away from the authenticity of the piece. While true, you have to balance this with the need to convey important information and get people to watch the video.


Considering all of these questions should help you begin to frame and deliver an effective testimonial video.


** Special Note: For those creating Testimonial Videos in the US here is a link to the 2009 FTC Guidelines governing Endorsements and Testimonials. (Thanks to Gavin Bryan-Tansley for providing this reference.)


Video Portraits – Is there a market (need) for this?

Video Portrait – Michael Ball from One Market Media on Vimeo.


Should a portrait be ‘moving?’

Video will continue to find new forms and change how we market our products, our services… and ourselves. Some months ago while editing I created this little vignette out of a ‘hero shot’ of an expert who was part of a series we were producing. I did it for fun, sent him the file and he thought it was great. End of story. (I have no idea what, if anything, he did with it.) Then while cleaning up files I came across the clip and wondered whether this could or should be a new form. I haven’t seen this explicit form used before and don’t even know if it has a name but I’m sure there are many who have experimented with ‘moving portraits’ or ‘video portraits.’

The question is:  Is there a need (market) for this type of video / photography? (This type of media sits at the intersection of videography and photography.) On the positive side of the ledger these videos tell more of a ‘story’ – you get a little more information in a hundred and fifty frames than you do in one. They can also be a lot more engaging if done well. The biggest question around the use of this new form is ‘where the heck would I use this?’ Thumbnail photos are universal today – if you click on them you typically get a larger version to peruse. While video can’t easily replace that function I could see this form, as an example, used in the ‘about us’ section of a website – especially in the creative services sector where being a bit ‘non-standard’ is usually a good thing.

Video won’t ever replace text… or photography, but more information communicated in an effective manner is always a good thing. What do you think. Is there a place for Video Portraits?


New York City Video



New York | New York from Sam Fox on Vimeo.

On a recent trip to New York City I took some time to capture how I see “the big apple” – a city full of life and full of contrasts and contradictions.

How to Create a Video Production Brief

Video is growing faster than any other component of the marketing mix and yet businesses continue to struggle to develop marketing videos that have a measurable impact on sales.

This post explains why preparing a video production brief is necessary and provides guidelines as to what
should be included in your next video production brief.

Whether you are creating video in-house or hiring a production company to develop your next video you need to be able to communicate the context and goals of your video project.


Why is a video production brief important. 

A project brief is standard tool used in marketing. If you are developing creative for an ad you would provide your agency with a creative brief. If you were developing a new product design you would provide your design house with a project brief. If you were developing a new website you would provide your developer with a design brief. A search marketing brief is now becoming standard practice on SEO engagements. So why not video?

Corporate video has quickly evolved from television commercials and corporate overview videos. Today, video can and does touch ever aspect of marketing from mass media to tactical, hyper-targeted marketing programs. Like social media, the adoption of online video has evolved much faster as a consumer tool than as a corporate tool. With new advances in technology the means of production have dropped to such an extent that now any business can, and does produce video – a lot of it experimental and most of it quite ineffective. Blaming your lack of success on YouTube or on ‘all the hype around video’ however, misses the point.

Toady we’re in what the Gartner Group refers to as the ‘Trough of Disillusionment.’ “We’re tired of the hype around video, quite frankly we haven’t seen the results and we don’t think video is really going to help us.” That statement is probably true for many companies today. Video for the sake of doing video is a waste of money. Video without a plan is a waste of money. Creating videos because your competition is doing so, or because ‘your website is getting boring’ is also a bad idea. Like those companies a few years back that chose to develop a ‘web presence’ and built digital brochures, most companies today fail to tie strategic targets, and more important, accountability into the video production process.

Video isn’t going away – quite the contrary. Video is unsurpassed as a tool of both engagement and persuasion. As the chart above illustrates we’re at the point now where (hopefully) we are moving beyond hype and statistics (who cares how much video is uploaded or consumed every hour), through the trough of disillusionment (” I can’t understand why the one hour video that my cousin shot of me talking didn’t move the dial”) and into a period that ties business results with video production. How do you achieve this synergy? Focus. Focus on objectives, focus on your audience and their business problems and most importantly, focus on (measuring) results.

The process of creating a video production brief causes you to answer tough questions about your business
(“do we really want to say that…”) and it serves as a document to help you engage and shortlist prospective video production companies.


Guidelines for your Video Production Brief. 

The following should be included in the brief you hand off to the team responsible for creating your next video project. If you can’t provide all of the following categories of information to your production team (with some detail) then you may not be ready to start your project:

Company background

How are you situated in your market? How is your company perceived by your customers? (Ask a couple of them… you may be surprised by what you hear.) What are your key brand attributes? Why are you different? Where do you want to be in one year? These questions are all important context that helps your production company understand why video might be helpful in promoting your company. This should be the easiest part of the process. Often it’s not.

Focus of Video

Do you want to promote a product, a service, your customer support, your entire company, or something else. (You can’t promote them all at once.) You need to be able to provide sufficient detail about exactly what it is you are promoting. What problems do you solve for your customer? Is your solution unique? How do you differentiate yourself in the marketplace – price, technology, service, selection, experience, etc? You’re not looking at business outcomes here – you are determining the specifics of the subject matter in the video. No one but you knows the answers to these questions. Making your video production team guess at (or worse, make up) your key areas of focus is never a good idea.


Who is your competition? Do they use video to market themselves? Is it effective? How and why should your video be different (or similar) to their video.

Target audience

Exactly who is it you are trying to reach and why. What are their unique attributes. Have you built persona’s for your key audience. (I.e Sally is a 28 year old product marketing manager for a high tech firm who is married with no children…. etc.). This is one of the most difficult questions for businesses to answer- not because they don’t know who their audience is but because they are concerned about having too narrow a focus. Fortunately the cost of video production is considerably lower than it was just five years ago so it’s possible to build more tactical video solutions for each audience.

Where is your audience? (This question is new…and very important.) How do you best reach your prospects and customers in a multi-channel universe. Will your customer be accessing your video on a desktop PC, mobile device, in-store, via broadcast network or some other means? Each channel has unique demands and the video created should be tailored to that channel.

Business Goals

What are the specific business goals that you want the video to drive? Views, downloads, traffic, referrals, awareness, clicks, inquiries, shares, links, ‘likes’, calls, sales, etc? You have to be able to identify specific goals otherwise you will never know if your investment was worthwhile. Knowing this will help your video production company to determine the best approach to creating your video.


A great place to start is to show a prospective video production company a reference video and say “I think this video works really well, here’s why…” The video you show may not be the best approach but it may be the best way to communicate your preferences, biases and opinions to your prospective production house. Video has a lot of moving parts and there are many ways to highlight your understanding of your audience’s business problem. Having a reference video that you have seen and like as a starting point can be a great way to move forward.

Timelines and budget

When will the project start and when is the completed video required? Have you allocated a budget for the project? If you have it’s a good idea to communicate the budget and ask the video production companies exactly what they can deliver for that budget. The alternative is hiding the budget and asking everyone to guess at your budget. This forces the video production company to make assumptions about the number of shooting days, locations, actors, number of cameras, type of equipment, amount of motion graphics and all of the other variables that go into the creation of a video. The only way to get a useful comparison is to ask production companies to provide detailed treatments and estimates based on these assumptions.

It would also be helpful to share your decision criteria and selection process with prospective production houses.


Creating the above brief may seem like a daunting task. For busy marketers a quick email or phone call may seem like the more expedient approach but the time taken to fully define the requirements and context of the job will almost certainly lead to better business results.


{ Note: Distribution and promotion of your video is a separate (but important) activity and beyond the scope of this post.}

Corporate Video Production – What works today and why.

Over the last few years the use and application of corporate video has undergone significant change.  We’re moving inexorably from the text web to the ‘next web.’ Whatever this evolution may bring, one thing is certain – video and interactive media will play a growing role in how all companies position and promote themselves.

We’ve put together a chart to highlight some of the key changes that have taken place in corporate video production:


Traditional approach What works today What’s changed?
Focus of corporate video Your business or product Solving your customer’s problems The focus of video used to be just about promoting your ‘brand ‘- that usually meant a lot of talk about yourself.
Budget Large Small – Medium Production costs have dropped and corporations are being far more tactical with their use of video today.
Access to videos Tightly controlled by the sales team or marketing Created with the express purpose of being shared… everywhere. Social marketing isn’t just a trend – It’s now become a business necessity.  People trust friends and colleagues considerably more than they trust corporations.
Primary delivery
- Tradeshows
- Meetings
- Sales Calls
Web, as well as other traditional methods Soon, everything will be ‘online’ – broadcast media, corporate communications, presentations, etc.
Typical message delivery Actor, presenter or professional voice-over Real people saying real things Your customer is more skeptical than ever. Actors still have a place in video, but nothing can replace the value of a real employee representing your company in your corporate video.
Desired perception of a corporate video Authoritative  Informative  ’Pizzazz’ isn’t what it used to be. Sounding helpful is better than sounding important. ‘Important’ is about you. ‘Helpful’ is really about the customer.
Frequency of production 1 or 2 videos a year 10’s or even 100’s of videos It used to be that marketing would set aside $50,000 for one video. Today it might make more sense to set aside $50,000 for ten or more videos.
Scope of video production Broad – a single video covered as much ground as possible Narrow – video focuses on a specific audience with a targeted message There will always be a place for large scale video productions but the vast majority of videos will be targeted videos delivering a single message to a single audience.
Where videos are found on a corporate website In your ‘video’ section Wherever customers need to view video on your site No one comes to your site looking for a video (unless you are YouTube).  They come to your site looking to solve a business problem.
Where videos should be found On your website Wherever your client happens to be: YouTube, a business portal, on their mobile phone, searching, etc.) Your website isn’t the ‘destination’ you think it is. Creating content that can be viewed wherever your customer happens to be makes a lot of sense.
Uses of Video - TV Commercials
- Sales  Presentations
- Homepage of your website.
- Customer Testimonials
- Video Case studies
-  Product ‘explainer’ videos
- Product FAQ
- Event promotion
- Recruiting
- Viral Video
- Content marketing
- Infomercials
- Interactive video
- Branded entertainment
- Video press releases
- Community relations videos
- etc.
- click here to discover  51 ways to use video to promote your business
The number of uses of video continues to grow every day.


This is the first part in a two-part post. The next post will look at managing your next corporate video project by developing a video production brief.



Dollar Shave Club – Video Review


Creating a successful viral video is like creating a hit record – it’s really, really difficult.

Michael Dubin, Co-founder and CEO of the The Dollar Shave Club is on his way to becoming the Victor Kiam of this generation. (A clever reference for the ‘over 40′ crowd…) The Dollar Shave Club launched with over $1,000,000 in funding from former Myspace CEO Mike Jones’s business incubator Science Inc. It has been reported that the video cost less than $5,000 to make but those numbers, like many production figures, probably hide a lot of unpaid or undeclared contributions from various parties.  With video views closing in on 4 million and product reportedly flying off the shelves (figuratively speaking), this marketing campaign is ‘making hay’.

Why this video worked.

There are two claims to success you can make with a viral video: 1. The video drove awareness or, 2. It drove business.  Awareness is good, business is better. The Will it Blend? series is the all time winner in this latter category.  Most viral videos today focus on awareness and even then the creators do their best at hiding any brand message so as not to offend sensitive viewers with anything too ‘salesy’.  Like Will it Blend, this video focuses on the unique attributes of the product in an engaging way and it doesn’t try to hide the fact that it is a promotion. Heck, there’s even an explicit call to action at the end of the video.

Inspired by the Old Spice videos, Dollar Shave Club has a lot going on and it’s a lot of fun to watch. It’s funny, it’s surprising and it actually makes you think (at least enough to consider the merits of the product). In order for a video to spread virally it has to be funny, or shocking, or entertaining – so much so that people want to share it with their friends. This video has certainly benefited from a lot of sharing. It’s very well written and Dubin, who has a background in improv, is fully committed in this video. Using profanity (even veiled profanity) is always a risk, but it works here. It shocks you enough to make you wonder what’s coming next. I can’t remember the last time a Polio reference made me laugh so hard. Great style, great delivery and great writing all came together to create a very engaging video.


1. You don’t need expensive equipment or special effects to be effective. More than anything, you need a good idea.

2. This video is a shot across the bow of the Broadcast Industrial Complex. It pokes fun at celebrity endorsements, fake marketing technology and just about anything else that broadcast commercials employ to convince people to buy their products. It will be interesting to see if they maintain their internet-only marketing approach over time. (My guess is no.)

3. You can be successful with viral video even when you are ‘selling’ your product.

What’s next.

Dollar Shave Club plans on releasing more products this year, including shaving cream and after-shave moisturizer. Will the company be able to recapture the magic of this video or will they be like the band members of ‘Baha Men‘ sitting around saying ‘Come on dudes… we gotta come up with another “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

Time will tell.


If you are one of few who have yet to see the video here it is:


6 things to consider before you start your next corporate video production

You’re ready to start your first (or next) corporate video project. You can’t decide whether to shoot it on your iPhone or call the Coen Brothers to see if they can squeeze in a corporate gig between films. What to do?  The following is a list of things to consider before you reach out to a video production company:

1. Establish and communicate a budget

A few weeks back someone called us to get a ballpark figure on a video project. I tried to elicit enough information from them to help frame a reasonable response but I was unsuccessful. I then suggested that they find a reference video, something similar to what they had in mind that would help me come up with a ballpark figure. They did. They sent me a link to an Apple commercial they rather liked. After I explained that a video like that would cost at least $100,000 to make they finally volunteered that they had a budget of ‘around $1,000…  for everything.’ Everyone has a budget.

‘But if I tell them how much my budget is I won’t get a good deal!’… or so it goes. I’ve been on both sides of the desk – client side in two different fortune 500 companies and also on the agency side. At the end of the day everyone has a budget and the sooner you communicate that budget, the easier it is for the production company to frame a viable solution. I’ve had a lot of success in the past approaching agencies or production houses and telling them “I have a budget of  ‘X’ dollars, I want to achieve Y, what can you do for me for this amount?” I believe I always got more than my moneys worth with this approach – especially if I approached two or three agencies to bid on the same project.

A production company can help you ballpark the costs for various types of videos. Having a reference video will speed the process up considerably. To help you understand what goes into developing a quote for video production, here is a link to 25 factors that affect the price of a video.

2. Establish your business objectives first.

Your video production company should have some skin in the game – they should feel responsible for helping you achieve some business objective. (Hint: Developing a ‘kick-ass’ video isn’t a business objective, unless your sole objective is to win an award.) So instead of asking “can you develop a really cool /creative /dynamic video for me,” you should be telling your prospective video production company that  ”I need a video that will help me achieve this specific business goal, can you help me with that?” and then ask the video production company to explain how the video they produce for you will help you achieve this objective.  If you create a wonderfully irrelevant video for your client you shouldn’t be surprised to never hear from them again. It’s in everyone’s interest to develop a video that solves a measurable business objective. And remember, one size does not fit all. You have to think about where your customer is in their buying cycle and how your video addresses those specific needs. The ‘awareness’, ‘interest’ and ‘consideration’ phases of the buying cycle all require different approaches.

3. What should you look for in a video production company ?

Videographers and video production companies come in many different shapes and sizes and have very different skill sets. Are you looking for a television or film production company to do your corporate work? Are you looking for a videographer to help you position your company? Are you getting your ad agency to do your video because they handle all your other stuff? Every video production company has a specialty. You should be able to see examples of their work and that work should have a close resemblance to the type of work you are looking for.  If you are looking to develop an in-depth product demonstration and the video production company you are talking to shows you their latest cable reality show as reference, you may want to keep looking. If your budget is low you might get more interest and effort out of a younger, hungrier company. Keep in mind that the playing field is continually being leveled in video production. Experience is still key – no question, but you don’t need a big studio or a big budget to get great work. It should be clear what skills and experience the companies you are considering bring to the table. There is a great deal more to developing a successful marketing video than shooting and editing.

4. Trust is more important than ever.

I’ve read a number of recent marketing research articles that list ‘trust’ as the single biggest success factor online. If your website does not engender trust, people will flee. The same holds for video. Authenticity is the new coin of the digital realm. Do you really need a bubbly spokesperson talking on your behalf or should you or one of your employees represent your company. ‘Slick’ isn’t nearly as important as it used to be. Sounding and looking ‘professional’ will always matter but now more than ever, substance has considerably more weight than style. There will always be a place for high production values but spending a whack of money on motion graphics, paid actors and expensive sets just doesn’t move the dial the way it used to.

Start with the goal of delivering a simple, clear message that you know will resonate with your target audience. (The ‘what’.) Then decide who should deliver that message and what visual devices you need to develop your video. (The ‘how’.)

5. Create a storyboard before you shoot.

Once you have established and communicated the business objectives you need to build a storyboard. Your budget will determine how much time goes into this activity. Your storyboard can, but doesn’t have to, include a complete script, but any video plan you create should at least consider all of the following:

  • What are the key messages that have to be communicated. Are they general themes that can be answered extemporaneously by a company representative or do you need a more formal script.
  • Are there calls to action in your storyboard that need to be included.
  • When, how and where do you include branded information. (Talking about your customer and their issues is always better than talking about yourself and your products.)
  • Is there a ‘concept’ behind the video that ties it together.
  • Do you have a style in mind. (A reference video is a good place to start.)
  • Based on the concept and style, how should the message be delivered. It can be delivered as voice-over, delivered on-camera interview style, it can be acted out in a typical use-case scenario, it can be presented direct to the camera with the aid of a teleprompter, it can be delivered visually using kinetic text or motion graphics… there are many ways to communicate the key messages you need to deliver.
  • What is happening in the video as these messages are being heard. Are you supporting the messages with b-roll, motion-graphics, animation, on screen text or something else that helps to support the key messages.
  • What are the list of shots by location, speaker and time required for the production.

6. Do you have a plan to promote and distribute the video after it is produced?

No? Why not? Video is not an end in itself. (…although it used to be.)

Online marketing video is evoving in many of the same ways websites did 15 years ago. At first it was enough just to have a ‘web presence’ – a brochure in cyber-space. Today having a website is table-stakes for most companies. In fact your website is less relevant than it ever was because people are not ‘going to websites’ they are looking for solutions to problems wherever and whenever they occur.

You need to start thinking about how you are going to get your video to your audience. They may view it on your website, but there are many innovative ways to ensure your valuable content gets noticed.


Five things that make a marketing video effective.

This video is very effective.  It’s fun, it’s memorable, it’s evocative and it’s something that you want to share.  It informs you, it engages you, it moves you and it’s very well done. Wow.

Sponsored by RIOTUR, the City of Rio de Janeiro’s tourism authority, this video was created to support RIO’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. RIO won the bid making it the first South American city to host the Olympic games. I have to believe that this video contributed in at least some small way to RIO’s successful bid.

Like Paris, San Francisco, Vancouver and Venice, RIO is blessed with iconic scenery and natural beauty so an argument could be made that creating a video to promote the city shouldn’t be that difficult. There’s more to it than beautiful shots, however. This video works for a number of reasons:

1. There’s a strong story-line that carries the video. By story-line, I don’t mean ‘boy meets girl, boy leaves girl, etc.” The story-line is much more subtle in this video, but just as important. Music is at the heart of the video. Music not only sets the mood and pace of this video, it becomes clear that music is a core element that makes up the character of the city and the people of RIO. That’s the story being told. Music is an integral part of the culture. That’s a very compelling story.

2. The video is engaging. You want to watch the video, you are interested to see what comes next. This is a difficult thing to do in a video – make the viewer want to keep watching.

3. It solves a specific business problem. The business problem for the Olympic committee was ‘what city do we chose for the 2016 Olympics?’ RIOTUR provides ample reasons for IOC judges to consider RIO as the 2016 destination city: RIO is a ‘lifestyle city’ as evidenced by the myriad of activities shown in the video; RIO has a strong and obvious tradition of sports; RIO already has existing sporting facilities that could accommodate some of the different events; RIO will be a huge draw as a destination for travelers which will ensure that the games are well attended; and like the Vancouver Winter Olympics, the natural beauty of the hosting city will certainly have a halo effect on the games themselves.

4. Simple message. Show me don’t tell me. No talking heads, no spoken words, no happy talk or marketing bluster, just a compelling video highlighting the people, the lifestyle and the beauty of RIO all centered around a theme of music and culture.

5. The video is very well produced. From the inclusion of familiar iconic scenary like the cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking the city to an array of lifestyle and beauty shots of the city and it’s inhabitants, this video covers all bases.  A clever concept interweaving a combination of sound and music is complemented by beautiful cinematography and great editing.

I don’t know the name of the company that produced this video but they deserve a lot of credit for helping RIO win the 2016 Olympic bid.