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TAB/Smart State Use Video to Grow Their Business

Keith Weaver is an established business coach for conjoined business advisor companies, The Alternative Board and Smart State. He came to us for assistance in creating a tool that would help him get meetings and close deals. Though he’s very good at his job, he was looking for something that would address prospects’ fears and issues – ones that they might not even want to speak about – such as the business problems that keeps them up at night.

Here’s the video that our team created.

After implementing the video into his sales process Keith has been very pleased. Here is what he had to say:

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 9.53.35 AMWhen I needed a boost to my revenue growth, I turned to Blueforest Studios. They developed and produced the perfect video as part of my marketing strategy to attract more clients. In the two years since I began using the video my business is up over 43%. Anyone can make a video these days but very few know how to tell your story or deliver your message in a compelling fashion that gets viewed and truly impacts the bottom line.

Keith Weaver, CEO
Smart State, LLC

http://www.smart-state.com/

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Rebranding: The Why and the How

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There comes a point in nearly every business’ lifespan where rebranding becomes a necessity.  Whether that change comes in an attempt to gain more customers, influence investors, stay ahead of the competition, or a combination of all three, a company will ultimately face the day when their current brand no longer reflects those needs. A company rarely maintains the exact same identity over time, and rebranding is a strategy that allows that company to communicate to the market how their brand has evolved. It can include modifications to the name, logo, design, and various other features that encourage others to see that company in a new light. When done effectively, rebranding can rejuvenate your company and make it stronger than ever. Sometimes, however, rebranding can be detrimental to your company’s image, which is why it’s essential to figure out the right way to rebrand.​

 

DBD International provides a list of nineteen insightful questions that every company should consider during rebranding. Some of these items revolve around the company itself, such as:

  • Is our brand associated with something that is no longer meaningful?
  • What do we want to convey? To whom?

While some items deal with questions involving the customer base:

  • Has our customer profile changed?
  • Is our brand out of step with the current needs and desires of our customers?

And some deal with the grand scheme of the rebrand:

  • Is the goal of this rebrand a stepping stone (evolutionary) or a milestone (revolutionary)?
  • Will this solution work in 5, 10 and 15 years from now based on what we can anticipate?

These are all significant questions that every company should ask themselves before beginning the rebranding process. Visit the article for the complete list of rebrand questions.

 

 

 

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Video SEO Done Right

I love learning!  There I said it – it’s no secret.  I have attended 7 institutions of higher learning and looking to attend another as soon as I can!  But while I love the institutions of higher learning not every single class provides knowledge that you can apply right away.  To gain practical knowledge – especially in a somewhat new field I rely on workshops, articles and meetups.  Thanks to my friend Phil Buckley who organizes the local SEO Meetup I have been able to learn from experts in the field of Video SEO – people who have had great successes for themselves, like Gregory Ng or for their clients, like Bob Walton.  So I’ve been using all the tips that they’ve provided – some of which are included on our 27-point checklist that we use for every client who requests video SEO help.

So as you might have gathered, I’m a bit of a geek.  I don’t get to see immediate results for the operations work that I do so when I get positive results for my efforts I’m thrilled to share them.

The screenshot above is a sample of excellent Video SEO.  All but one of the recommended videos are produced by Blueforest Studios so if the viewer has time and wants to check out more videos, I am not sending them to my competition – I am sending them to see more videos by our team.

This is not the most important part of Video SEO but controlling the message – including what comes up after your message or video can be very important.  Depending on your viewers YouTube knowledge they may assume that the ‘recommended’ videos are related to you anyway so don’t you want those videos – or at least the thumbnails to reflect positively on your company?

Stay posted to learn more about Video SEO or reach out to our team to see how we can help you!

Kathy Langfield

 

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Using Case Study Videos to Shape Brand Perception

Guest Blogger Dane Frederiksen

You’re on your way to interview for your dream job, so obviously you’ve donned your favorite sweatpants and ripped tee shirt. You’ve got the skills to do the job, so the way you present yourself shouldn’t matter at all, right?

Mmm. Maybe. Or maybe you should suit up in something a little less Saturday morning. Stand out for the right reasons. Perception matters. And the same applies to your branding efforts.

Let’s get back to the job interview scenario. Suppose you could walk into the hiring manager’s office and show him this. Not only do you look great, but you’re telling a compelling narrative with real-life characters, dramatic images, music—the works.

In their “interview video” above (call it a case study if you must), architecture firm Quinn Evans doesn’t just show off a series of standard portfolio images. Sure, they absolutely have a portfolio worth showing off, but their video marketing strategy goes deeper. They’re showing their value, not just their capabilities. They’re bringing more than diplomas and blueprints to the table; they’re bringing real-life impact, community involvement, and a narrative of who they are. I think it’s fair to say that, with this piece in their video marketing arsenal, they’ll ace the interview and get the job. Or, to break from the metaphor, they’ll be generating lots of online leads with this video.

There are a number of things to know before rushing into any project; video marketing is no different. Before you get started, here are a few tips and thoughts to take into consideration.

Find your focus. Decide what you’ll be using this video for and produce it accordingly. We’ve been talking case studies, but there lots of video marketing options: promoting a new service or product, recruiting, recording and sharing a live event. Whatever your topic, stick with it. Our rule: one video = one goal.

It’s not all about shooting. You can supplement video with cutaways to graphics or slideshows of images set to music or with voiceover. Not only can this lessen the expense and length of shoot times, but it offers some variation to the viewer. A single static shot of an interviewee, however sincere, rarely holds your audience’s attention.

Budget. This one’s tricky. Until you’ve found your focus and come up with a strategy, it’s impossible to determine your budget. And of course the production value comes into play here as well. A short, quirky video done by a start up could likely get away with a self-shot video—maybe even done on a phone. But a larger company or one with more gravitas will likely need the works: a high quality camera, lighting equipment, and professional editing tools. The best way to determine your budget is to find a partner with experience in the realm of video marketing or film production. Let them help you flesh out your focus and your concept, the length of your project, and the various logistics. Once this is done, your budget will be clearer.

Appeal to the heart and the head. There’s no one single way to succeed with case study video marketing. In the end, though, making something that both conveys information and tugs a little at the heartstrings will go a long way to convincing your potential clients to work with you. Video, with it’s ability to convey lots of info quickly is a great way to convince audiences of your qualifications; add the emotional elements: heartfelt testimonials, non-verbal cues, dramatic imagery, music… and your viewer goes from convinced to compelled.

About the Author: Dane Frederiksen owns Digital Accomplice, a Bay Area digital media company focused on creating video content for the gaming, tech and marketing industries, as well as partnering with developers to help produce and market their apps. Dane has been creating content for over 20 years and has worked with clients across the world, including Google, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Adobe, Verizon, Nokia, Microsoft, Sony and many more. Over the past decade, he has produced hundreds of video-game-related features for game developers around the globe. His work has won several national awards. A big idea entrepreneur with connections across the games/tech/geek media and marketing communities, Dane specializes in helping creative and technology businesses tell their stories and grow.

 

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Differentiation

When I meet people in a networking environment I am often asked what sets Blueforest Studios apart from the other companies in town.  First we share our stories and talk about the company’s that we work for or own.  Then as we delve deeper the question comes up: Why should people choose Blueforest Studios rather than one of the hundred other production firms in the area?  I usually talk about our gifted staff – award-winning, creative, dedicated, and innovative.  If they let me I will tell them about the award that we won for this touching American Heart Association video.  Or I will tell them how that video touched someone so much they remembered it over a year after the ball.  I will tell them that our video producer created the music for that video because he just couldn’t find the right piece.  And that he did that on his own time because the client didn’t have the budget for custom music.  If they care, I will tell them that we have the best combination of creative folks in the Triangle and that they can’t go wrong with our company.  But some of those characteristics are prerequisites to be in this field.  After your first year – you better have an award or two to show for your efforts, and you have to be creative if you’re in video production and we all like to think that our staff is dedicated – at least most of us say that.  So what’s the difference?  Since I have never worked for another video production company I can only say that anecdotedly not all companies are as focused on client success and long-term gain as we are.  When we realized that some of our customers were using their very expensive videos once and then posting them in a hidden place on the internet we went back and asked ‘Why?’.  Could they repurpose the video to get a larger return on it?  Did they just need to optimize the video to get more views online?  Then we started working with clients up front to determine how they could get the most out of their investment in the video.

So in summary – we are not just into a transactional relationship.  Our team loves making videos but they really enjoy videos that are creative and effective!  Month-after-month we have repeat business from customers who could go anywhere in town and if we win new business we rarely lose them to a competitor later.  Now we’ve added another differentiator with animation and our own in-house illustrator who helps explain even the most complex issues – like Tax Reform!

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The Newest Tool in Marketing: LinkedIn Video Ads

A source from Reel SEO recently reported on a blog from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions that stated the professional networking site would now accept video ads in order for their clients to market to other business professionals. All it requires is a YouTube URL to a video of maximum 30 seconds and some simple text to go with the video.

As we all know, the primary appeal for advertising on LinkedIn is its targeting power. Fortunately, video ads allow you to target by a wide variety of factors such as location, company, job title, school, skills, group, gender, and age.

According to the source at Reel SEO, LinkedIn’s establishment as a social network of professionals could ensure it’s suitability to reach the exact audience you want in the realms of company, job title, and skill set. Video ads could serve as the perfect targeting solution for products like business software and services, online video platforms, and video production services. Check out the article and see what you think.  Tell us what has worked for you!

Your next question might be who can create short effective ads for use on LinkedIN?  You might have guessed that we would be happy to help.  Check out this 15-second TV spot that we created.  If we can convey all that information in 15-seconds we can certainly help with LinkedIN ads!

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Leveraging Your Video on Vimeo

There are so many video sharing sites out there but one has reigned supreme for the past few years.  YouTube is great for sharing funny cat videos and even marketing videos that you’d like to have found in search.  But what about videos that are for a more targeted audience or for an interface that can be customized and maintain professionalism?  That’s where vimeo comes in.

They offer an interface free of distraction and have been a favorite for award-winning shorts from filmmakers.

And, now they are looking for more ways to differentiate themselves.  They started with tip-jar, giving viewers a method to show their appreciation to the video producers and now they are offering Vimeo On Demand.  They’re new On Demand option gives anyone the option to sell their video work online however they want.  So you can make it a limited engagement for say 1 hour or let the user have almost permanent access to the content.  We are thinking about how some of our clients would have liked this sort of option for training videos and documentaries.  What other uses do you envision of Vimeo on Demand?  We’d love to hear your ideas.

Kathy Hughes Langfield

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How to Utilize Video to Make a Crowdfunding Campaign Successful

Have you built a great product that targets a specific niche market? Have a functional prototype that will knock the socks off potential customers? Then you’ve probably considered a crowdfunding campaign.

Here’s how you run a video crowdfunding campaign to discover if your product, idea or software apppeals to your target market or the public. There are many factors that determine if your campaign will become successful or just a flop. We’re here to tell you that your demonstration or product video is the make-or-break tool for your entire campaign. People are visual. If you have a product that you are asking them to support, they want to see it and see your passion for it. Without those aspects why would anyone choose to spend their time and/or money to back it?

Qualities of a Good Video:

We’re not saying that your video must be a $25,000 professional video decked out with intense 3D graphics – but in order to succeed, your video will need to focus on at least these four main factors:

  1. Subject
  2. Lighting
  3. Audio
  4. Passion

This should go without saying, but there also needs to be good quality content in the video. Essentially, you need to tell a compelling story in a very limited amount of time. To craft a great story, you’ll need authentic (or humorous) characters. You’ll need to demonstrate that there is a particular problem and explain how your product or service can solve it. And relying on well-informed data ALWAYS helps get the message across.

We’d like to show you three examples and discuss three primary concepts that make or break a successful crowdfunding video with regards to telling your story and the story of your product/service:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Human Aspect
  3. How does it work?

Some examples that have been fully funded:

  • Simplicity – People don’t want to hear a long explanation about everything that makes you different or every detail that goes into your business. Simplify it. Check out this company that offers cloth and compostable diapering alternatives.  They don’t have the most high-tech video, but they did a great job explaining who they are, what they do, and how it’s better than an alternative. This video isn’t perfect, but it describes the more emotional benefits of the company as opposed to describing what makes their services work.
  • Human Aspect – For the most part, people are interested in the human aspect of things, not the technical details. Check out this video. It’s a great product with an amazing purpose, but the execution of the video falls short. If they would have shown the human aspect towards the beginning of the video than the viewer would be more likely to become emotionally attached. They managed to reach their goal, but it was in the last few days of their campaign. A shark tank winner, Tiffany Krumins who created the AVA Elephant Brand explained this concept well when she said “I believe they can see the passion I have for children and that matters to them. They want to know they are getting behind a good cause.”
  • How does it work? – In this video, the inventors tell us how their product is going to help the world and also gave details of what it would cost per day to operate their manned boat. They claim this cost is the reason there are not many ocean-going boats gathering data. They talk about what uses there are for the data which makes the viewer more likely to commit to help fund the product.

So basically, incorporating subject, lighting, audio, and passion into your campaign through the means of a video has proven to help people feel more compelled to give which in turn can help you reach your goal!! What are you waiting for? Start your crowdfunding campaign today!

Laura Faughtenberry

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A Good Story About the Powder Containment Industry?

At Blueforest Studios, we approach all of our projects by trying to tell a good story. So that is exactly how we approached one of our recent video projects for Flow Sciences, a leader in the powder containment industry.  You may be thinking, “What kind of good story is there to tell about the powder containment industry?” That is a good question (you get a gold star). It is one that we asked ourselves (we get a gold star, too). To answer it, we sat down with Flow (we are on a first name basis with them now) and tried to get the feel for who they really are. In the end, we realized that Flow Sciences is a company that  works to help protect people and product.

So, we had to figure out a way to tell the story of protecting people and product. To that end, we interviewed some of the employees, including President/Founder/Owner Ray Ryan. Through these interviews, we were able to put together the story of how the company’s history is based in solving safety issues in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, and how that is what they are still doing today. (On a personal note, I got to listen to Ray’s deep, smooth voice for hours during editing. If he wasn’t so successful in the powder containment industry, I would suggest he go into the bedtime storytelling business.)

So check out the story, and who knows, maybe you will be compelled to buy a custom-designed powder containment enclosure from Flow Sciences.

 For more information about Flow Sciences visit their website.

~ Bryan Reklis

Video Producer

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Carolina Ale House TV Commercial Part 1

Just as 2010 drew to a close, our creative department launched what would become one of our most successful videos. This of course was our process video, which you can check out here. With this playful and imaginative video we were able to give potential clients insight into how we work, as well as a taste of our humorous side.

Storyboard for Carolina Ale House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to our process video we won the opportunity to work with Carolina Ale House, a great sports themed restaurant based in Raleigh with locations all over the Southeast. Check out their site and take a look at that delicious Triple B Burger. YUM!

The challenge was to create a 30 second TV spot that incorporated the restaurant’s theme of “Food, Sports, Fun.”  After several creative meetings we decided on an idea that centered around talking food and a fun roller coaster ride that would end not so well for our food protagonists but excellent for customers. It was a fun idea that meshed food beauty shots with a thrilling ride that showcased what the restaurant was all about. Our three food stars were originally: Triple B Burger, Caribbean Fish tacos and Buffalo Chicken Salad.

Once Carolina Ale said “go”, there was a flurry of creative meetings, story boarding, and hands on rig building.  The main idea was to have the plated food zooming through the restaurant on a tray enjoying what would become its last bit of fun before a delicious and agonizing end with plenty of napkins needed. To accomplish these shots we built a tray mount for the camera and used our Canon T2i paired with a fantastic 14mm f2.8. We were ready to shoot.

Stay tuned for Part Deux, the exciting conclusion…