In case you haven’t heard –video is hot as Hades. Effective and affordable, video has become an integral part of the marketing mix for brands both big and small.
Take the case of the viral video campaign, Will It Blend? The series features Blendtec Founder, Tom Dickson, sporting a lab coat and protective goggles, attempting to puree anything and everything he can get his hands on. Glow sticks, marbles, iPhones, and nails have all fallen prey to Dickson’s mixing madness. I’ll stick to putting Margarita mix in my blender.
According to Sir-Mix-a-Lot (a.k.a. Dickson), the campaign has increased Blendtec sales by a whopping 700%.
To get handle on how companies are joining the video revolution, I sat down for a state of the industry summit with Good Life Productions Principal, Executive Producer, Julia Cruz. The video veteran and visionary shared her suggestions for pre-production planning, client success stories, and thoughts on the Flip camera phenomenon.
PR Guy: Video seems to be experiencing a real Renaissance, becoming as popular as blogging and podcasting. How do you account for this change?
Julia Cruz: Video used to have such a stigma to it. It was considered the “less attractive stepchild” of film. But thanks to improvements in technology, especially the increase in high-speed, broadband cable, video is more accessible to more people on the internet. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, more than 50% of the US population will watch a video online this year. That’s more than 155 million people – and that’s just in the US!
Plus, video is a cost effective opportunity to engage an audience, communicate your message, and drive customers to your website. The ROI is astounding. As a result, more businesses are realizing the potential of video in marketing and communications. You can connect with a worldwide audience by posting a video on your website, your Facebook or Twitter page, YouTube, Vimeo, and a whole host of internet video sites – without paying for broadcast air time.
PR Guy: Where do you see video having the most impact in the marketing mix?
Julia Cruz: Video has always been a powerful medium. Studies have shown that when people see and hear a message at the same time, they have better recall of the message. It can also be used to tap into people’s emotions, and when you connect with a person on an emotional level, they tend to have a visceral reaction that stays with them.
Telling the story of a businesses – where they came from, what they do, what their mission is – is a fast and simple way to draw a potential client in. Clients could spend a lot of time wandering through the website looking for that information, or they could immediately watch a 1-minute video that will introduce them to the company in a more personal way.
Testimonials are another great use of web video. It’s one thing to read someone’s comment about their experience with a company. It’s quite another to hear the excitement in the person’s voice and see the smile on their face as they explain how amazing Company X was to them. People can really relate to that.
PR Guy: Can you share some recent success stories?
Julia Cruz: Redbones Barbecue does an amazing business at their only location in Davis Square, Somerville, MA. but they wanted to increase their catering business. So Good Life produced a video explaining that Redbones isn’t just for a summer outdoor BBQ – you can cater a small lunch at the office or have Redbones at a big fundraising event. We explained all the possibilities, showed many different events catered by Redbones, and created a DVD that the restaurant sent out to potential business and non-profit clients. They also posted the video on their website. We’re happy to report that catering business tripled for Redbones
PR Guy: Has the emergence of the Flip video camera changed the industry?
Julia Cruz: I think the Flip video camera has really simplified the shooting process for the average person. It’s so easy! We bought one so we don’t always have to bring our professional camera. Sometimes the big camera can scare people away.
But your options are limited with the Flip and the microphone isn’t great. So the truth is, for the best quality video, you still need to use a professional or prosumer video camera. The Flip, however, does allow our clients with a smaller budget to shoot their own video more easily and give us the clips to edit.
PR Guy: How can nonprofits incorporate video into their fundraising campaigns?
Julia Cruz: Video is an amazing tool for non-profits! You can really connect with people on an emotional level, show them how the organization is making a difference, tell the stories of the people being helped by the group, explain how donations are actually being used. The best part is, groups can show the video at their annual fundraising events, then put it on their website, YouTube, Dogooder.tv and the growing number of non-profit specific video sites. You can also send out a video link in an e-mail to potential donors with a link to “donate now” and see immediate results!
PR Guy: What steps do you recommend clients take when planning to launch a video strategy?
Julia Cruz: First, know your audience. Who are you trying to reach? And what do you want the end result to be – more donations? more customers? recruiting more students to your school? The message needs to be tailored around the end result.
Second, keep it simple. The late, great 60 Minutes Executive Producer, Don Hewitt’s famous line was, “Tell me a story.” You don’t need fancy special effects, or a huge budget production. Telling the story and telling it well is all it takes to connect with the audience.
Third, don’t rush it. We often get clients calling us saying, “We need the video yesterday!” People often think it’s as simple as point, shoot and edit. Even a 30-second commercial can take weeks to produce. So give yourself, and your production team some lead time – 1-2 months for planning, scheduling, production (shooting), and post-production (editing/graphics/special effects/delivery). It’s always possible to do a quick turnaround, but that generally costs more and doesn’t always end up the way you hoped. Proper planning creates less stress and allows everyone to look clearly at the product and know you’re getting exactly what you want.