5 things that are KILLING your company brand

Your brand is having trouble growing and it’s driving your anxiety through the roof. A common mentality in business is that “if you’re not growing, you’re dying.”

We at Blueforest Studios want you to have a thriving, vibrant company! Our main focus is improving your brand through video production. Before we can do that, we must first mend the wounds in your branding. Join us as we write your prescription for a healthy business.

company branding mistakes in raleigh

Common mistakes that are killing your company brand

 

1. You don’t have a simple way to explain your company brand

Your audience wants to know exactly what you do within moments of discovering you. It’s nice if you have a whole story behind “why” you do your work. Unfortunately, you’ll be telling it to deaf ears if you’re opening with a list of reasons.

Start clean and simple: be able to explain what your company does in 1-2 sentences. Focus on what benefits your audience gets, rather than the features that make your work sound nice. Here’s an example: do you buy a premium dish detergent because it has “super duper suds action,” or because it cuts your cleaning time in half?

2. Not enough social media activity

If you don’t post often to social media, you might be scaring away your audience. Most modern businesses are well aware that social media is necessary. However, a Facebook page with no content is equally sketchy as no page at all.

The remedy for a ghost town social media account: post some stuff. Simple, right? Just remember to make all your content relevant, helpful, and at least a little entertaining for your audience. Most importantly, post regularly whenever it’s convenient for you– whether twice a week or twice a day. If your audience sticks around to comment and discuss, you’re on track.

3. Too much social media presence

There’s a polar opposite to being inactive on social platforms: being too active. If you’re using ten different social sites for your brand and you’ve got a four-person company, slow down. You’re likely not using each medium to its full potential. Let’s take a walk through this idea. If you’re using Twitter, you shouldn’t be posting the same exact content you’re putting on Instagram. Twitter isn’t a visual-first platform, so don’t treat it like one. Many brands have been seen posting similar content across all their online spaces, but they never reach great engagement on any of them. You can rise above just by being awesome at one or two platforms.

Cool it on Facebook!

via GIPHY

4. Selling yourself way too much

Few people would be comfortable if their daily shopping involved bystanders reaching for their wallets. That’s what the online experience can feel like nowadays. Advertisements are everywhere– even simple YouTube videos have become sponsored content.

Our advice? Don’t sell so often. You can open many more doors for your brand if you choose to teach your audience. Since an empowered customer makes more confident purchases, your goal is to share knowledge. Inform them of options in your space and be honest about who can be helped by your services. You want to serve an audience that truly needs (or wants) your work. A customer who’s not 100% convinced may be more likely to request a refund or worse– spread negative reviews about you.

5. Your brand’s online reputation could be better

If a Google search does reveal negative associations to your brand, this is a critical area you’ll want to fix. Online presence is more than what you do, it’s also what others say about you. For some brands, you’ll find entire websites dedicated to people discussing how much they hate a brand. If they’re better at SEO than you, you’ve got a real threat to your company’s life.

There are many ways to manage this, but there are some DIY solutions. You’ll want to actually respond to negative comments on social media rather than delete them. That said, only do this if you have a plan for managing this. If you post generic responses, you might only inflame the issues. Try to defuse situations by being understanding and sympathetic to their needs, and offer alternative solutions if possible. If worse comes to worse, you may need to hire an online reputation management firm. Most cases shouldn’t need an extreme solution like this though.

This process of brand management can be challenging. If you ever need more guidance, feel free to set up a chat and we’ll personally guide you closer to your goals.

Smart methods for finding the best platforms to promote your video

Your video viewers only stop to watch if you can catch their attention. However, even the most entertaining videos can fail if they’re not published the right way. Your audience engages when your content lives in the places they want to see it. Don’t be surprised when no one watches your ten-minute explainer video on Twitter. We at Blueforest Studios are the wizards in video production Raleigh relies on. Don’t be irrelevant– we’ll take you down the data highway to find the right places for your marketing video.

Shrink your films

Social networking revolves around trends, and the biggest one is ever-shrinking content. Your marketing footage is no exception: mini-videos are dominating. Snapchat and even Instagram are literally built for this form of content. Twitter’s in the game too, with a limit barely crossing two minutes.

Think of your content like a snack for your viewers: small, simple, and delicious. Millennials love to engage with this type of media, so Snapchat is a good pick if your film is in this form. The same concept applies for Instagram as well.

Longer video can still have a home here (sort of)! Cut a sample tease of your long footage and link to the main video on Youtube. That’s how the smart brand adapts to a trend.

Silent video is in, so get with the trend

Video automatically plays with or without sound on modern social media. You need to be ready if you’re posting to any of the major platforms. You’ll find that your video plays in one of these ways: 1) Without sound as your viewer is swiping through their timeline feed. 2) After a related video has been viewed on the platform’s native video player.

If you want your video on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, be ready for the former version of autoplay. There are a few things you can do to optimize your content. First, the narrative should be easy to follow without audio. Secondly, you’ll want to embed captioning into the video or supply a caption file when you upload. Finally, if your audience doesn’t enable autoplay, an attractive thumbnail may be your saving grace. Miss the mark on either and your audience may keep it moving to the next piece of content. Play it safe and do it all!

Links are life

The truth: engagement alone doesn’t drive sales, but action does. You can get your audience moving to your website or sales pages with links. However, not every platform makes it easy to post these connections to your conversion hotspots. This is why we aim to pick the outlets that make sharing links a smooth experience.


YouTube is a champion at this, giving plenty of options (including embed links into the video itself). Another fair option is Facebook, which opens the door for links in the description section. Our Millennial-friendly platforms like Instagram aren’t so link-friendly, so you may opt to post elsewhere.

Sometimes, it takes pro advice to get pro results.

Brands don’t always have it easy when the main social platforms can face a rapid downfall. Facebook, anyone? You’ve seen trends change, so a team who knows this space could do you some good.

Our team here at Blueforest Studios is driven to set you up for the right engagement. Chat with us by setting up a meeting, and we’ll be glad to show you the path to an unforgettable video marketing campaign.

Is animation right for my business?

The video production Raleigh (and marketing as a whole) uses is shifting towards more animation. Your business is going to be on the cutting edge by embracing this growing trend. However, you’ve got to do it with intention or you’ll get just as much payoff by literally burning your marketing budget. Don’t torch your revenue! Our team at Blueforest Studios makes some of the best-animated videos in Raleigh, and we’re here to help you dominate.

A heavy boost in the conversion of your audience may just be right around the corner. At the very least, you might see a nice jump in engagement. We’ll start with the benefits business may gain from this film style.

The complex becomes simple

An animated film is particularly useful for painting big ideas in a simple picture. If your brand needs to boil elaborate messages down to their basics, you’ll find much more freedom with animation over live action footage. After all, artificial characters can do things and be things that are impossible in real life. A smiling cloud can be the main hero of your water conservation brand. A scrappy computer chip can take front and center for your computer hardware store ads. Try illustrating data transfer or the water cycle in 60 seconds with live film. Good luck!

Isolated audiences become united

You may find your brand has services or products that are useful to many, but your audiences don’t identify with you. Maybe your brand is a financial education service, but the primary perspective is from a man. You want to give women the full value of your service. However, there are differences in experience that make it difficult to connect with them. Open up your brand’s message by animating it. Diverse characters, and even personified objects can be useful for breaking down barriers of age, gender, race, and more.

Make your message highly shareable

If you’re wanting to make your videos more likely to be shared, an animation is worth a shot. To piggyback on the last point, animated footage helps you find more audiences by taking advantage of universal humor and lightheartedness. You don’t have to make your films funny, but it is much easier when your characters and settings are a bit removed from reality. Think about it like this: few adult cartoons would work as primetime sitcoms (see: The Simpsons). By making your audience laugh, you’re tapping into the top element of shareable content. Make people smile, and they just might make your brand go viral.

Take a chance to give your brand new life (beyond reality).

Animate your brand to open new doors for audience engagement and conversion. You’ve learned plenty about the potential of this medium just by reading this post. You now know this production method can simplify your ideas, united segmented audiences, and boost your audience engagement. You’ll find strong benefits all over this video style, but it’s up to you to implement them well. If you ever have questions– or want outsource for professional video production– we at Blueforest Studios are here to chat!

The Benefits of Custom Music

IMG_0715

Composers at Work

Composers are some of the hardest working people I have ever met. I’m not just saying that because I am one, I’m saying it because it’s true. They frequently work hours beyond a typical 9 to 5 job in pursuit of perfection in every aspect of their music. This goes not only for the actual notes of the music but everything involved with its creation: mixing, parameter automation, and MIDI editing. If I continued to list things you’d likely stop reading this due to boredom.

I say this because there is value in the work of composers who create tracks for licensing and purchase to be used with different forms of media. While they might not be working to a specific film clip they are still creating an aural experience that can define a piece of work. It could even affect the media creator because they heard something specific in that track that made them want it in the first place!

But just like any field of work with options, custom music has some advantages to pre-composed/licensable music. This is especially applicable to those of us who get to work in-house with a video team to bring their vision to life.

Our team was recently working on a video that introduced a new award for the Triangle AdFed Addy Awards. The crew worked hard on the video to create something visually intriguing. While working on the music (using licensed tracks) something seemed missing. Luckily, I was asked to step in and compose something original to match the visuals!

One of the things that wasn’t working for video producer Bryan Reklis was the lack of edge to the track. It was too clean and crisp for what we were trying to accomplish with the overall product. The lack of variety didn’t help either as the track had one tone throughout. While it worked nicely with the timing of the edits, it simply didn’t add anything else into the mix.

This is where the advantages of working with a composer to make a custom soundtrack came in handy. The human interaction between two people working towards the same goal can have some surprising results. Having the ability to talk about what it is you want musically makes it easier for team members to integrate music into the project. The music is made specifically for their tastes and the needs of the project. This collaboration can lead to an even better version of what the video team and composer originally had in mind.

Many licensable tracks also are created to have the same tempo and same time signature (number of beats in a measure of music) throughout the track. While this is very useful for editing, it can sometimes lead to redundancy. It’s not uncommon for video teams to purchase several pre-composed tracks and edit them together to form a Frankenstein music track with no consistency.

With this in mind, I was able to create a track that had changes in time signature, tempo, dynamics, varying sections, and modulations to move the music forward in a 44-second window. Below I have attached a sort of “walkthrough” video where you can check out the Pro Tools session with the different instrument tracks and some of the parameters that were adjusted to keep the music moving forward while also serving the purpose of the advertisement.

 

 

If you have music creators in your team, use them! We love the challenges that come with creating the track that fits just right. I hope you’ve enjoyed this walkthrough. We will have some new projects coming out soon that I’ve enjoyed composing for and I look forward to sharing them with you all.

 

 

 
The Voice of the Composer

Meet Me at the Addys

In the spirit of awards season, the Triangle Ad Fed introduces a brand new Addy to the American Advertising Awards that is sure to soar to new heights. With the theatrics of a glass-shattering surprise and the slick gunmetal award, the new Addy represents the bold, timeless, and innovative creations individuals and agencies have promoted throughout the Triangle. When we were selected to shoot their promotional video for the launch of the new Addy we were thrilled!

Our team worked with our new Kino lights and natural sunlight while smashing numerous crystal trophies to get just the right shot. Then we added custom music composed by our very own Dustin Painter to make the perfect impression.

Interested in showing off your wings or captivating the audience with your message? Take a look at our production with Triangle Ad Fed below and submit your entries for the 2016 Awards and the Silver Medal Award before the show on February 18, 2016 at 7:00pm at the Cotton Room in Durham, NC. Dress code: black-tie optional.

Meet Me at the Addys!

Want to go behind the scenes with us? Check out the creators of our glass-shattering moment.

Dropping the glass award to get the perfect fall-twist combo - kudos to Aaron and team for going the extra mile to catch just the right shot. They managed to capture everything we needed with just three (3) heroes. Amazing!

Dropping the glass award to get the perfect fall-twist combo – kudos to Aaron and team for going the extra mile to catch just the right shot. They managed to capture everything we needed with just three heroes. Amazing!

Holding down the fort.

Holding down the fort.

Just How Effective is Multiscreen Marketing?

If you were to check any literary resource 40 years ago for the term “multiscreening,” a definition would not exist. However, our society has…evolved into a network of humans exceedingly less physically connected and more digitally connected through social media and television. Therefore, as we spend our time in a new way, traditional marketing concepts must evolve to accommodate for changes in our behavior. This change has ushered in the era of “multiscreen” marketing. An article recently posted to Adweek.com explains how Facebook IQ, Facebook’s analytics division, commissioned Neuro-Insight to conduct a case study to answer FaceboScreen Shot 2016-01-04 at 3.47.01 PMok’s simple question: “How do consumers respond to television ads that they have already seen, either on Facebook or on TV?”

 

Neuro-Insight divided a group of participants into two pools. Half of the participants were exposed to a TV ad, while the remaining portion were exposed to the same advertisement. However, the advertisement the remaining portion viewed was a Facebook advertisement optimized for the site. A day later, both subject groups were exposed to the same advertisement on television. With the help of the participants, Neuro-Insight made an interesting discovery. Neuro-Insight discovered viewers engagement as well as detail oriented memory encoding increased by nearly 10% when exposed to a Facebook optimized advertisement as opposed to a repurposed television ad. Everyone involved in marketing needs to realize that as enticing as it can be to repurpose an advertisement for a different platform, thus saving time and money, advertisementScreen Shot 2016-01-04 at 3.31.33 PMs truly need to be optimized for their platform. By optimizing advertisements you are ensuring viewers will receive the message you intend to broadcast and will be affected by the content of the advertisements. As exceedingly more data is harvested from consumers online actions, we foresee multiscreen marketing ushering in an era of inescapable exposure to marketing as more and more screens appear and as businesses seek new ways to captivate buyers.

YouTube Thumbnails & Social Media Placement

There are so many facets to think about when creating and marketing a video. Sometimes you don’t think of minor details that might not seem important but actually have a huge impact on your audience – including how the thumbnail looks on various channels.  We produced an amazing video for our client yet LinkedIN insists on grabbing one of the ‘standard’ thumbnail options from the video itself rather than the custom thumbnail that we’ve created.

This is a good thumbnail because it has a human face and a name and title.  However, we don’t like the windblown look for our still images.

 

 

Facebook on the other hand grabs an image anywhere within the real thumbnail.  We think this might be because they want everyone to use their native video feature.  So we are having to ‘game’ the system by creating a thumbnail that will look great on Facebook if a large amount of traffic is through Facebook.  However, does that look good on the other channels?


There also happen to be dogs on paddle boards in the video – which is a great image to get large audiences to click. But is the rest of the content relevant?

 

Our client has a very specific target for this video and is in a very competitive environment where a “Win” or a “View” by the right person can make a big difference for them.  So it’s important that the video is shared on social and found through search while looking interesting enough to click.  It’s a challenge that we face everyday and if you’re using videos in your marketing, it’s time to consider the thumbnail!  It’s like the subject line of an email or the title of the book – the right thumbnail can get people to view the video – the wrong thumbnail might make people snub your video and potentially your brand.

Watch this beautiful video and learn about Perquimans Marine Industrial Park – 

Have questions or comments? Post below!

What’s so special about Millennials?

There has been endless discussion about millennials – what to do with them, how to reach them, how to get them to stay interested in you and your product, etc. Why?

If you haven’t heard the term millennial thrown around, where have you been?! They are the age group born between 1980 and 2000 and they outnumber baby boomers. Millennials have been stereotyped as “lazy and entitled” but companies that believe this stereotype will ultimately lose business.

They’re the largest demographic in the marketplace, so you need to pay attention to them. Especially if you’re a marketer. Ignore them and you’re in big trouble.

Millennial-Workplace

Millennials crave information and want access right now. Company websites need to include all the right information with easy accessibility. With so much information on the web available, they can thoroughly research products and companies before buying, so it’s essential to take advantage of this and properly market your company and product. This goes for any potential customers. If they can’t find you, they won’t know about you. Simple, right?

71% of online shoppers claim that the most important thing a brand can do is value the customer’s time (according to Salesforce). You might have heard “millennials want it now”. They want quick responses or they can move on to the next guy, because that guy/company does respond, showing millennials their business is valued.

You need to create a personal connection between millennials and your product. Without taking the time to learn about their wants and needs, it takes away your ability to serve that customer base. Millennials change their wants and needs constantly to suit new technology and products being created each day. Businesses need to keep on their feet and adapt to ever changing customer demands and new technologies as they appear.

Add ANIMATION INSPIRATION to your life!

Check out one of our latest projects! We used animation to tell local nonprofit CASA’s story for this year’s Blueforest Gives Back project.

 

Animation has endless possibilities. Think about it. You can utilize any style and customize until it’s just right. That is why animation can be an essential part of your arsenal.

hatteras_preview

Using animation in your video marketing allows you to convey important messages and stories that you may not be able to do with live action. Even if live action storytelling is possible, animation stands out and can be personalized to fit your business.

Baileys

Animation’s limitless scope makes it a highly effective tool. You can use everything from simplistic drawing to intense special effects to capture your story.

We have a monthly Animation Inspiration newsletter that highlights the various forms of animation we use here at Blueforest Studios. Sign up today to receive monthly animation inspiration and ideas you can use for your business marketing! Click below.

unnamed

Contact us today for your animation needs!

How to Conduct an Interview for Your Nonprofit Video

Conducting an interview is a skill that takes years to master. I consider it one of the most important skills I’ve developed over 12 years in this business.

Here are a 7 tips that will help you get the best results when you are interviewing someone for your nonprofit video.

#1 Be what you want.

Probably the most important thing you can do when you are interviewing is to lead by example. If you want your interviewee to be relaxed and comfortable, make sure you speak in a relaxed and comfortable way.

#2 Give them some coaching.

Once the lights are on and you are both sitting down, give them a little coaching on how to answer the questions. This will give you a chance to demonstrate how you want them to speak, will give them a chance to get used to the lights and cameras, and will give them a bit of valuable information.

#3 Only ask one question at a time.

If you ask multiple questions at a time it will confuse them and encourage them to give you long winded answers that will be harder for you to use in the video.

#4 Have a list of questions, but don’t use it.

You should always be prepared with a paper that has their name and the questions you want to ask. But once you start talking, you should be flexible enough to make follow-up questions that relate to what they just said and go with the flow.

I usually ask the first question and don’t look back at the paper until the very end to make sure I didn’t miss anything I was planning on.

#5 Go for the story.

Most nonprofits are built around great stories. You are changing peoples lives! When you write your interview questions, you should ask questions that reveal their story. Instead of asking who, what, or how, ask “why?”

#6 Don’t be afraid of silence.

Sometime they will give you a short answer that didn’t address what you were asking. Or you may sense they are holding back to hide their emotions. This would be a great time for an awkward silence. Just keep looking at them and count to 5 in your head. I’ve gotten some of my best answers by just not speaking and waiting for them to really open up. (And yes, I learned that from Barbara Walters!)

#7 Keep it loose.

Occasionally you will get someone who is so nervous about the lights and cameras they freeze. If your interviewee gets stuck on a question, don’t let them hang frozen for too long. If you just sit there they will begin to get more and more embarrassed and the interview will fail. After a few moments of freezing, I like to move on to the next question and come back to the one they froze on if we need to at the end.

So there you are. Good luck with your interview!