BFS Inside Look

Blueforest Inside Look Part 2

As promised, our tour of Blueforest Studios continues. This stop will focus on the graphic design team and the current interns whose creative geniuses help spark Blueforest Studios.

Meet Emily Kohler

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The Laid-Back Illustrator+Animator

Emily provides animation and design components for clients’ projects at Blueforest Studios. This can include storyboarding, typography, motion graphics, character design, and 2-D animation. Every client has unique needs so Emily works diligently to create a different illustration or animation style to fit the needs of the video.

Regarding the best part of working at Blueforest Studios, Emily stated, “It’s rewarding to have to constantly keep on my toes with new styles and techniques to complete each new project as it comes in.”

Alana Selby
 
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The Crafty Tall Illustrator+ Marketing Assistant
 

Alana uses her nifty illustration skills to create material for content and images for Blueforest Studios’ social media pages using Adobe Suite products such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. She also lends a helping hand to the Marketing department.

Her favorite part about working at Blueforest Studios?

“I get to be super creative and I get to do my own thing and they (Blueforest Studios executives) trust me to make what I think is best and that’s really awesome.” she said.

 

Bennett Northcutt
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The Go-To Junior Intern
 

Bennett originally started out as a Finance intern in June 2015 and was slated to work for 135 hours. At the end of his term, Senior Vice President Kathy Langfield offered Bennett the opportunity to continue helping around the studio including with the sales team which he creates presentations and research leads for. Recently, Bennett has worked alongside Kathy to orient and welcome selected high school interns to Blueforest Studios. He refers to himself as the “go-to guy” for general tasks such as creating Google forms, working on a project agreement, or even occasionally fixing the printer.

For Bennett, the most terrific part about Blueforest Studios is the atmosphere and the people he gets to work with. “I feel as if I am part of the team and that my age is not a factor in how I’m treated,” he remarked.

“I like that my duties are constantly changing and that I get to do things like figuring out why a printer isn’t working,” Bennett continued, “I enjoy being able to contribute ideas in creative meetings and never feel afraid or discouraged from sharing my opinion or suggestion with Kathy or members of the team. In my opinion, you can’t find that in most places.”

He said among many other factors, the willingness of the Blueforest staff to accept teenage interns makes coming into Blueforest Studios daily something to look forward to.

Bennett recently graduated high school and will be moving on to attend UNC at Chapel Hill in August.

Kendra Jones
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The Bubbly, Question Asking, Marketing Intern
 

Kendra was hired as a Marketing Intern in March 2016. Her daily tasks include writing blogs and press releases, researching various topics, looking up information about different companies to compile lists of potential contacts, posting content to social media, and researching and monitoring the brand’s online presence.

She has an open mind and is willing to learn any and everything about anything because she believes being multi-skilled is vital to succeeding in the workforce, regardless of what field one pursues.

Kendra loves the atmosphere, people, and the creative freedom Blueforest Studios allows. She also finds researching topics intriguing since she learns something new each time.

“I am able to write multiple materials with minor changes. The work I provide still has my voice and that’s very important to me. If I write something, I would prefer it to sound like I did.” she said, “I absorb and enjoy receiving feedback for completed tasks because it will help me grow as an individual.”

“I also like the fact that Blueforest Studios has a Planet Fitness aura,” Kendra added, “It’s a judgment free zone, just like the gym.”

Kendra’s internship will be coming to an end sometime in August. 

 

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BtB Marketing – Raleigh Business-To-Business Marketing Agency

Not all marketing is created equal!  Some companies need straightforward pieces that convince consumers that their product solves their problem!  (Think about Bayer Aspirin Commercials). That’s not a simple task but good agencies can break down the problem and craft a campaign that will clearly communicate the solution to the consumer.  Then there are those who need to market to businesses which means that you’re generally selling to more than one type of person some type of complicated solution.  It’s not just the cheapest widget but the least expensive widget that solves a complicated problem and makes the decision maker look great.  If that’s your challenge and you need a holistic solution – BtB Marketing might be for you.

On this week’s “Kimberly’s Corner”, Associate Creative Director of BtB Marketing Josh Adams sits down with Kimberly Corrigan and briefly discusses what BtB Marketing does and what sets them apart.

BtB Marketing is a full-service, business-to-business, integrated marketing agency in Raleigh offering integrated marketing services to companies and businesses who want to market to other businesses.

The messages BtB Marketing provide are not the same as a standard marketing agency. Their messages are more factual, data driven, and less appealing to emotion.

What makes Btb Marketing special is that they’re “one of the few agencies in the area that focus on business to business specifically in the technology space,” according to host Kimberly Corrigan.

To learn more about Btb Marketing, check out their website here.

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Facebook, YouTube and Video Marketing

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Video and marketing go hand in hand for promoting an idea. Social media outlets are a common place for businesses and professional marketers to advertise and popularize their content.

According to MediaPost, Animoto, a video creation service, conducted a social video report which says “nearly 2/3 of marketers are planning to incorporate video in their campaign for the coming year.”

Small and medium-sized businesses alike are embracing the integration of video in social media.

CEO of Animoto Brad Jefferson says social media video is a must-have for any size company and “small businesses are not far behind,” when it comes to using videos for marketing on social media especially since video distribution on social media is affordable and convenient.

Even though there are other social media outlets such as Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook still remains the top used platform for marketing among professional marketers and small businesses. YouTube is the second popular marketing platform.

Kathy Langfield, SVP of Blueforest Studios states: “We have found that Facebook offers an easier point of entry for the small business.  It’s so easy to upload a video that is professionally produced or shot on a phone and then Facebook makes it very easy to create a paid campaign to promote the video.  Really anybody can do it.  We have not seen the direct ROI with Facebook video but there’s no doubt that it’s getting results for B to C businesses who use it effectively.”

The social media video report also predicts YouTube will see the most growth in paid video promotion by small business owners and Instagram will see the most growth among professional marketers.  Langfield also mentioned that; “YouTube is far more effective at reaching audiences that are interested in your service or product but the YouTube algorithm can be more difficult for the amateur user to master so it can make small business people reluctant to use it.  There is also an expectation that videos found through search or paid placement on YouTube are going to be more polished professional videos.”

As the social media video world keeps advancing, both businesses and professional marketers will continue to evolve their strategies and figure out which platforms are the best for marketing.

Which platforms are you using to market your company or your brand?

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Matchmaker for Nonprofits

Oftentimes, many nonprofits may not have the ability to acquire enough sponsors for their various events and activities. This week’s “Kimberly’s Corner” features a company which links nonprofits with those sponsorship opportunities from local and national corporations.

Kimberly Corrigan recently spoke with Megan Hennay, Strategy Manager of ZipSprout. ZipSprout works directly with corporations seeking marketing and sponsorship opportunities, serving as a matchmaker service between corporate sponsors and the local nonprofits.

To learn more about ZipSprout and what they do, check out their website https://zipsprout.com/

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Facebook is Downgrading Business and Media Posts

if you rely on Facebook primarily for news from businesses and media outlets, you might have to scroll further. Facebook has made a change to its news feed algorithm regarding the hierarchy between user posts and posts from businesses and media outlets.

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Posts from Facebook users’ family and friends are now prioritized over those from businesses and media outlets. This means people will see posts from their friends at the top of the news feed and content from businesses and media outlets will show up less predominantly. The change comes after Facebook’s recent struggle with a decline in personal sharing on its platform.

According to the Huffington Post, a recent report from the Pew Research Center has found 44% of Americans get their news from Facebook, which is a bit over 142 million people.

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WRAL and Triangle Business Journal posts and a picture of sunset shared by WRAL

As a result of the update, the traffic of posts from the pages of businesses and media companies will likely decline, especially for those places that depend on Facebook primarily to reach its audience. However, the change will have less of an impact if most of a companies’ traffic comes from users sharing and commenting on its content.

Nevertheless, if one of your Facebook friends share a business or media outlet’s post, you will see it at the top of your news feed because the content was posted by a connection.

Posts from businesses and media outlets are not being eliminated; they are simply being pushed down so that video of your niece or picture of your best friend’s new hairstyle will not be missed. After all, Facebook was established with the notion and priority of connecting people with friends and family.

What kind of posts are you seeing on your news feed now?

This is what we are seeing on ours:

 

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Posts about a dog and rabbits

Have you noticed the change?  Do you care?  Share your comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BFS Inside Look

Blueforest Studios Inside Look Part 1

Busy, busy days here at Blueforest Studios. The creative process for building exciting and memorable stories never ends. But we’re never too busy to give you a tour! Over the course of the coming weeks, we will be giving you a look at what goes on inside our studio along with the people who make things happen–our Blueforest crew.

The first person you meet when you walk in the door…

Donna Mason 

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The Witty Receptionist

Donna greets those who walk through our door with a warm smile, typically offers them coffee and directs them to the appropriate personnel. Her daily tasks involve updating customers’ Atlantic OnHold messages, writing scripts for clients, and making everyone laugh.

One of the neat things Donna likes about working at Blueforest Studios is “getting to be a little creative, getting to write some things and proving that everything we learned in school was actually worth it.” she remarked.

(*Atlantic OnHold is an on hold messaging service located in Blueforest Studios which Donna is also a part of. You’ll find out more about Atlantic OnHold in a later blog, soon to come.)

Kathy Langfield

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The Does-It-All

Kathy works on pretty much everything including finance, marketing, human resources and team management. One of the best parts of her job is working on the yearly Blueforest Gives Back giveaway where one lucky nonprofit organization receives a video valued at $10,000.

“I get to take part in that and help give away some video every year,” she said.

Kimberly Corrigan

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The Cheery Sales Guru

Kimberly specializes in sharing the love of video through sales and collaboration. She talks to clients about their video needs, sends them samples of accomplishments Blueforest Studios has achieved for other companies and determines whether or not a potential client is a good fit for Blueforest Studios. Creative collaboration is one of the perks of working at Blueforest Studios.

“Whether it is me getting to go back and be with the creatives and actually come up with new ideas or actually introduce a client to our creative team and see the ideas that come up and the video that results is so fulfilling,” Kimberly said.

Prior to joining the Blueforest team, Kimberly was a video journalist.

“To still be able to be in video and work with people,” she continued, “and come up with creative ideas and just see these beautiful things come to life is why I get up in the morning. It’s awesome.”

Russ Reynolds 

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The Big Bossman

Russ sells videos, plain and simple. He also founded Blueforest Studios. What he enjoys the most out of working at Blueforest Studios is the people.

“This isn’t work to me, you know, to go out and meet people,” Russ explained, “Usually they have a problem and that’s what video does–help them solve their problem, raise money for a nonprofit or sell cars.”

And Marguerite LeBlanc

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The Mistress of Numbers

Marguerite handles the financial elements of Blueforest Studios including payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable.

“I like the fact that the work here is project based,” she stated, “There’s always something new. I have some things that I do that are routine but enough things that aren’t that keeps it interesting.” Marguerite also added she enjoys working in a drama-free environment.

Let’s not forget the places we use for creative meetings with clients and to chow down:

The Boardroom

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The Almighty Kitchen 

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You are now knowledgeable of several team members of Blueforest Studios. We’ll be introducing the rest of the crew very soon.

 

 

 

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The Voice of the Expert Presented in a Creative Way: Keen Strategy

by Ammon Ehrisman

With any creative project, you are going to have lots of possible decisions and you have to be very selective about what you choose.  It was no different when we started working on the Keen Strategy branding video.  

As I met with Greg and John I realized that their software was a bit technical and took a while to explain.  But their passion for what their software could do to help marketing managers was palpable.

After doing all of the normal creative discovery, we knew the three biggest things we would like the video to do.  First, we needed to describe what Keen’s software did so anyone could understand it.  Second, we wanted to demonstrate that John and Greg were really passionate about what they were doing. Third, we wanted to show that Keen’s MIDA software was different from anything else out there.

Great. Sounds like a plan, right? Well, since we only had 2 minutes to work with, we knew we would have to pick one or maybe two of these things to really focus on in the video or we were going to start losing people.

We ended up coming up with 3 ideas to address these issues.  Some were funny.  Some were told through the eyes of a marketing manager.  Others were more symbolic, but the one that John and Greg liked the most was also the most offbeat idea.  

The concept was to interview them about the software and their passion for helping marketing managers.  As we watched their interviews, they would magically transform into animated versions of themselves. This would hopefully grab the attention of the audience and give us the opportunity to demonstrate the high-level features of the software in a visually captivating way all while making a real connection between our audience and the founders of Keen.

The result is the Keen video: Greg and John.  Watch it and tell us what you think.

 

 

 

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Upcoming Seminars at Blueforest Studios

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Nonprofit Storytelling Seminar June 23, 2016

Do you know what it takes to tell a marvelous, memorable story?

Learn the steps to becoming a master storyteller at our Nonprofit Storytelling Seminar, back by popular demand.

As a nonprofit, you understand the importance of storytelling, as well as the difficulties in crafting your message. Grabbing the attention of a busy and distracted audience to help support your cause can be tough. If you feel your organization’s purpose is getting lost in the clouds, there is a simple tool at your disposal!

A great story will forge a deeper understanding of your organization’s mission. We can help you unearth that message.

Discover how to convey your message in a way that inspires and engages at our Nonprofit Storytelling Seminar in June.

This seminar is free to nonprofits and only a small fee for others to pay.

Light breakfast including fruit and snacks plus coffee will be provided to satisfy your empty stomach.

 

Nonprofit Seminar: Leveraging Your Video Online

As part of our Blueforest Gives Back applicant research, we have noticed that many nonprofit organizations already have videos but that they might be a few years old so they might not be using them.   We checked out this video for Wake County Smart Start.

We thought that it was pretty good – maybe the stats are a little out of date, but it gets the point across so perhaps there’s a way that it can be leveraged.

For our clients that select it, we include BlueBoost – a service by which we optimize and promote the video on YouTube as well as provide recommendations to get the most out of the video asset. YouTube is the number 2 search engine – right behind Google so it makes sense to take advantage of both platforms in getting our message, and our client’s message, out.

During our upcoming nonprofit seminar, we will provide an overview of the top 7 steps to properly optimize your YouTube video as well as how and when to place video on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. We will also talk about when videos can be used in email marketing – for instance, is it acceptable to send an old video to new subscribers?  We encourage participants to submit their questions in advance and we’ll be ready with an answer.

Registration is free for our nonprofit friends and just a small fee for others.

Sign-up for Learn To Leverage Your Video Content Online today!  Want to learn a little more about the class?  Check out this video.

Kathy Hughes Langfield and Kimberly Corrigan will be sharing their expertise during this 90-minute interactive seminar.  We will also provide light snacks, coffee and soft drinks to get your morning started right!

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Say Hello To Kendra

Kendra Jones is one of our latest Marketing interns. She arrived at our studio in March and we are excited to have her. Find out more about her below:

Kendra Jones is a native of Jamaica, Queens, NY and has been living in NC for a couple of years. When she was a young teen, she became interested in becoming a part of the mass communications scene, specifically the broadcast side. She began studying just that at Barton College where she received her bachelor’s degree.

Kendra has worked as an Associate Producer at a news station for a short time and is currently working towards her goal of becoming a Communications Specialist/Spokesperson. She aspires to become the voice of a company, whether it is through written, vocal or visual means. Her passion includes telling stories in a creative manner and bringing ideas to life.

During her spare time, Kendra enjoys writing, shooting and editing videos, shopping, playing with her nephew and nieces, going to see bands play and thinking about cute little bunnies.

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Blueforest Gives Back 2016 Judges Meeting

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Having a strong team of judges is essential when discussing all applicants for this year’s Blueforest Gives Back Giveaway. With a blend of returning and new judges, and yummy food from Moe’s, it was time to get the ball rolling by scoping out 7 lucky finalists who met our criteria. We were very excited to see nonprofits we know and love and also organizations new to us. We did a thorough analysis of every applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. Because we looked at each applicant individually, this was a challenging process!

34 organizations sent in applications this year, which beat out our initial 25 total for last year. We fully examined each organization based on a careful list of criteria such as community presence, social engagement, and impact of the organization’s message. Some organizations are doing well on their own while others could use a helping hand. We gathered useful information about each nonprofit and their local impact.

Despite a long conversation and tough decisions, we were all on the same page about which applicants are the finalists Blueforest Studios will be working with. We’ll be scheduling meetings with the finalists over the next 4 weeks.