Production is Only Half the Battle

There’s a problem with the video production industry today. It’s that there are so many great videos that don’t get viewed. Why is this? Because there’s a disconnect between video producers and marketing teams. A company may have spent the time and money on making a compelling and informative video, but if they haven’t spent the time to properly optimize the video and make sure they’re driving traffic to it, it disappears into a Youtube black hole. At Blueforest Studios, we’ve developed a system to bridge this gap. It’s called BlueBoost – a 27-point proven process that’s guaranteed to get the phenomenal video we’ve made for you viewed online.

maxresdefaultTake our client Edmund Villarreal for example. Edmund came to us for help marketing his product, the All-Weather Firestarter.  When we first started working with Edmund, he had his own Youtube channel and a video produced by a different Raleigh studio. Though informative, his video only garnered slightly over two thousand views and nine likes. Here you can see the video we made for him. We created a new Youtube channel and optimized the video, gaining nearly thirteen thousand views and forty-eight likes. We also added his original video to the new channel and optimized to achieve over quadruple the amount of views and likes he first received.

Edmund is just one example out of numerous clients we’ve helped get the results their marketing videos deserve. It’s important to us that we make the most out of your investment, which means preventing your video from getting lost in the vast internet wilderness.

 

Rebranding: The Why and the How

WhyRebrand

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.

 

 

 

Are We Hiding from Someone?

Retiring our old logo

Retiring our old logo

There have been a lot of misconceptions about why we decided to rebrand. Last week I mentioned to a friend that my company was rebranding, to which he replied, “When a company decides to rebrand it means what they’re doing isn’t working.”

Wrong. In actuality, we had our best quarter in history before we even started rebranding. In fact, it’s our success as an integrated video production company that prompted us to make the change. We’ve come a long way since Atlantic Creative was first established over a decade ago. Where our primary focus used to be providing businesses audio services, we now offer a large variety of video and audio production services. Our abilities aren’t all that have expanded. Our team of three has grown into a diversely talented group of thirteen. Atlantic Creative has slowly evolved to become so much more than it was when it was born, and our rebranding efforts are a strategy for encompassing the new personality that this company has taken on.

Additionally, the shift to Blueforest Studios came about as an effort to distinguish ourselves in the video production and marketing industry. A lot of people have the false impression that we’re an agency. That isn’t what we do and it’s important to us that we’re able to adequately convey our goals to potential clients. Further, when mentioning that we’re Atlantic Creative, we don’t want responses to be, “Are you guys that company over on Glenwood?” or something similar. No, we’re not (not that we don’t love those folks over on Glenwood). We just don’t want to be mistaken for other companies that provide different services. We’re a video-production force to be reckoned with, and if you didn’t know our name before, you’re about to.

All in all,  these changes are all part of our endeavors to advance the brand even further while embracing the meaning of who we are and what we do. Atlantic Creative gave us our roots in this industry, and it’s our hope that Blueforest Studios will give us our wings.

 

Video SEO Done Right

I love learning!  There I said it – it’s no secret.  I have attended 7 institutions of higher learning and I’m 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

 

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.

 

Continuity 101

In filmmaking, there’s this thing called continuity…which consists of paying attention to the little things so you don’t make a big mistake. Continuity errors are when something obvious changes within a scene. For example, a man is wearing a blue shirt. When you cut away and then back to him, he’s wearing a yellow shirt. Now nine out of ten times, you can probably get away with a subtle mistake…BUT every once in a while, you will get caught. This is a big problem because as filmmakers, you want your audience to be immersed in the story. When a viewer catches a mistake, it breaks the illusion and reminds them that they’re actually watching video. This impairs your pacing and distracts from the story.

The sad thing is, while you may think nobody will notice your minor flub, there are TONS of people that thrive on the little mistakes. Check youtube – there’s video on video of people pointing out the oversights in major blockbusters.

     “Did you see that crew member in jeans behind Mel Gibson in Braveheart?”

     “I think Frodo’s scar is on the wrong side of his face.”

With a short commercial or promo video, the results of a mistake are even more dire. With a minute or less to win over your audience, any time they waste analyzing your mistakes could be detrimental to your message.

Catching blunders in the production process saves you from a lot of agonizing later on. Trust me, the last thing you want is to produce a FABULOUS video, save the one continuity error that throws off the entire thing.  A good way to avoid mishaps is to always have a continuity supervisor on hand at video shoots. This person will keep an eye on the script as you shoot to keep you on track as well as look out for continuity. If an actor does a movement, the continuity supervisor will make note of it to make sure they repeat that movement for each take from every different angle. They may also take pictures of set arrangement to make sure everything stays in its place.

Don’t think that having a continuity supervisor lets you off the hook, however. EVERYONE on set should be looking out for errors. This will help ensure that there will always be at least one person who can right the wrongs.

Check out these clips from the CW’s hit teen drama One Tree Hill. I mean, come on! Some of the mistakes are so obvious. You don’t want to look like these guys, do you?

Animation is More Than Cartoons

We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months trying to elucidate on the advantages of using animation to promote your company. If you’re a conservative business, you may have turned your nose up at our previous blogs thinking that animation isn’t a suitable form of marketing for your brand. What I want to expand upon now is the fact that animation is not simply cartoons. Animation can be, and often is, a powerful tool for advertising across all types of businesses. You don’t have to be Disney to reap the benefits of a well-produced animated video.

There are many national businesses that have demonstrated creativity and entertainment while maintaining their earnest image and intellectual message through the use of animation. Ford Trucks advertised their 2013 F-150 model using animation, which enlightened viewers about the fuel economy and torque. IBM used whiteboard animation to describe how asset planning can increase productivity and efficiency.

Aside from being engaging and attention-grabbing, animation can add a lot of other useful features to your advertising message. Often, animation can show viewers concepts that can’t be filmed or photographed. There are no limits to what can be shown with animation. In addition, it often helps explain complex processes or ideas in a way that’s easily understandable for viewers.

A lot of production companies can offer animation services, but if you want an example of how we here at Blueforest Studios has used our animation skills to deliver messages that aren’t simply playful, but educational and informative, you can check out the web video we created for Tar Heel Tax Reform.

When you realize that animation may be just the avenue to spicy up your marketing campaign, we’re here for you!

The Atlantic Creative Intern Experience

Working as an intern for Blueforest Studios gave me the opportunity to better my skills for my career path by having the chance to do two
voiceovers and allowing me to not only act in a video but be involved with editing. In addition, I was presented with the opportunity to view a screening along with attending an animation meeting. Before I came to Blueforest Studios, I knew that I wanted to be a broadcaster and journalist; however I learned that there were other vital elements to the industry besides standing in front of the camera and talking to my audience. Understanding everything it takes to make an effective video is important and has a lot to do with knowing what is personally going on behind the camera, having the right people working behind the scenes, and bringing forth strong ideas to produce a video.

I was instantly amazed with how the Blueforest Studios team brainstormed ideas for the video clip that was put together. There was no such thing as having the right or wrong ideas. The session was about having fun while thinking of key elements that would make the video an attention grabber. It seemed as if I were the only one in the meeting who felt like my ideas had to be perfect until Kathy and the Blueforest Studios team encouraged me to loosen up and openly say what came to mind. So no matter how unethical an individual’s concept may have been, it was still an idea that could have had the potential of turning the video into a masterpiece.

Blueforest Studios not only supported me whole heartedly, but they allowed me to feel comfortable with knowing that I actually had the potential to enter into the industry. The team also showed me that I did not have to be perfect by knowing everything about the film industry, so because the Blueforest Studios members accepted the fact that I knew little to nothing about the broadcast television and radio industry, I was able to feel comfortable in learning from them about the different elements of cameras, voiceovers, doing storyboards, participating in the brainstorming sessions and editing the film along with the script. It was simply amazing how the environment was pressure free while working on the film that they put together while allowing me to help. I not only walked away from this internship with a blown away mind about how there is no such thing as being perfect, but I walked away with confidence in myself knowing that I could really achieve the dream in becoming a broadcaster and journalist if I work persistently at bettering my skills. Now I am overly excited about pursuing my dreams!

Sincerly,     LaKeeda Johnson

Here’s the now viral video of LaKeeda’s week at Blueforest Studios:

Note from Blueforest Studios – not all interns get a Mercedes Benz at the end of their internship.

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

Carolina Ale House TV Commercial Part 2

If you missed part 1 of this intriguing story about Carolina Ale House, check it out here.

Table Shot Setup

Picking up where we left off, a series of brainstorming sessions occurred while working out the details of the script and all of sudden we had a new idea for a better story (we are always looking for the best story). These meetings took place during March Madness, and at least one member of our team (me) had been watching a little bit of basketball (note: the phrase “a little” is meant to be read “hours a day”). So from this healthy obsession, sprang the idea of making our food stars into sportscasters. Recent cast changes had replaced Triple B Burger with Pub Burger (Triple B had a scheduling conflict) and Buffalo Chicken Salad with Buffalo Chicken Wings (the salad had a diva moment and backed out).

So, to make a long story short (TOO LATE!), we had new characters and a new story (Interested in storytelling? Funny, we are totally into storytelling. Seminar and blog posts coming soon on that topic). With the story set, and our new toys (a Canon 60D with some beautiful new lenses) we set out to make a funny story with delicious food. Using our home-made tray (See picture: don’t worry it wasn’t heavy or anything) we got the shots we wanted. After all the shots, we put into our magic cave (watch our Process video to get that joke) and out came a shiny new commercial. We will let you judge the story, but take my word on the food (my word: delicious. Go ahead, take it). Check out Carolina Ale House.

Camera Tray and Shot Set up

Check out the commercial here:

Bryan Reklis
Video Producer