Storytelling Videos: An Effective Marketing Tool for You

C Sharp Video Productions

With an ever increasing accent on marketing campaigns, customers are being bombarded every single day, with countless promotional messages from most media.

This poses a great challenge for marketing managers, who do not want their products to be among several ‘me-too’ ones.

In the last decade or so, marketing professionals have turned to the technique of storytelling, to create an emotional ‘connect’ with their audience; it takes just a short duration of time, and the impact of the message is fantastic.

Television ads employ storytelling more often to highlight the benefits of products or services; they do not test the patience of audience with mundane technicalities. As a natural extension of television ads, corporate videos go all out now to exploit the storytelling technique and win over their audiences.

Storytelling: a great marketing tool

Storytelling as an effective marketing tool is not a new idea. The silent movies of the 1900s and 1910s showed 1-minute ads in between portions of the movies, and these had a theme around selling a product such as a shampoo or soap. Storytelling has continued since then in various forms and in every medium of communication.

From the 70s and 80s onwards, with the advent of consumer electronics, technological effects came to be considered a big differentiator. Storytelling was gradually pushed to the background, as myriad technical details became the centrepiece of ads and marketing communication.

However, as technology has continued to invade every single aspect of our daily lives, technical excellence is taken for granted today; it has no exciting marketing prospects any more. Consequently, the wheel has turned full circle: marketers now rely upon the storytelling tool, in an attempt to increase memory recall for business prospects.

According to comScore, a global media measurement and analytics company, providing marketing data and analytics, about 45.4% of Internet users view currently at-least one video per month. While explainer videos have more utilitarian value, those which employ storytelling are more effective in creating a quick connect with and educating the viewer about the offering.

Basics of storytelling

Most storytelling videos have a similar structure and components as outlined below:

  • A powerful introduction which sets the emotional tone for the rest of the video
  • A protagonist (male/female, old/young) with an aim and message
  • Creating some tension/conflict by showcasing real-world obstacles to the aim
  • A crisis or incident that creates the climax and heightens anxiety or expectation
  • A resolution to the hurdle, which reiterates the  unique benefit [(unique selling point/proposition (USP)] of the product/service

In spite of the standard format, storytelling videos are very effective indeed; they have been exploited to the full by some of the global marquee companies. Marketers use various strategies to make the video powerful:

  • Interviewing storytellers who offer subjective opinion on the product/service
  • Offering subtle interpretations of that opinion through anchors to ensure that the marketing messages  convert effectively the targeted group
  • Using audio files which may not be as dramatic as in a movie, but succeed in creating a ‘mood’

Tips for powerful storytelling

  • Tell the story through the eyes and perspective of a particular person as against multiple individuals.
  • As a business owner, come in as the subject matter expert and provide little nuggets of emotional information.
  • The interview must convey subjective opinion that adds to the passion and emotion.
  • Ensure that interviews and sound bites are short, and allocate more time for the story to unfold.
  • Ensure optimum duration for the video; say 60 to 90 seconds, to make it engaging.
  • Pay attention to the aesthetics, and ensure that the story has visual appeal.
  • Create multiple videos, and use the most powerful one first, followed by the rest.

‘Content’, ‘emotion’ and ‘video’ are the latest buzzwords in the field of marketing communication. Storytelling videos unify these three elements into an organic whole; they create a compelling case for a particular product or service.

You may think of Above-the-Line Marketing (ATL), which focuses on ad campaigns for widespread brand-building; or Below-the-Line Marketing (BTL) – for conversions through intensive direct marketing intended for targeted groups; or Through-the-Line Marketing (TTL), which integrates both the ATL and BTL approaches.

However, they are all expensive; try creating a few storytelling videos instead, and you are very likely to be pleasantly surprised by the positive results.

Video Resume: How You can Get it Right

C Sharp Video

‘Video Resume’ (VR) is one of the recent recruiting trends. It is a great tool for applicants to move beyond the submission of a dull paper resume with a cover letter, and work history.

Lasting not more than a minute, a VR can be your best shot in creating an indelible first impression on a recruiter.  As the VR gets played, you can showcase directly your communication skills, job potentials, personality traits, and other key details.

Video Resume as a new trend

The-paper-only resume is slowly becoming obsolete, and current trends include social media resumes and video resumes. The hypercompetitive, superfast, global job-market has necessitated these innovations; it’s becoming increasingly difficult for good candidates to stand out among similar profiles.

A few recent trends include:

  • The social media resume: Nearly 90% of employers report vacancies using social media.
  • Video resume: One out of two employers now prefers video resumes in selecting suitable candidates.
  • Infographic resume: With so much content and competition, information in chunks gets more mileage. Charts and graphs make the analysis and selection process simpler by creating a compelling case to hire.

Why video resume is a good idea

An employer needs to spend an average of 5-7 minutes looking at a paper resume: it is impersonal, static and dead print.

A VR, on the other hand, demands just 1 to 2 minutes of an employer: it is personal and dynamic, with a face and a voice. It plays a series of lively images, speaking directly to the employer, thus helping to form an impression of the personality of the candidate.

That is why nearly 90% of employers admit they prefer to watch a video resume. Nearly 50% of employers value a video resume as a smart tool in assessing a candidate’s character and appearance, the latter being the first essential requirement for a number of jobs.

Do’s and Don’ts

The following tips will help you make your VR engaging and creative with optimal effect.

Do’s

Know the audience: Before you start circulating your VR or uploading it on YouTube and other social media, make sure you know for certain the target industry/company. Is the organization open to creativity and does it have room for flexibility and freedom?

Keep it short and sweet: A video resume is not meant to be your exhaustive database of information. Its main purpose is to coax employers and recruiters in a minute or two to shortlist you and call for an interview.

Showcase yourself: Don’t just sit down nonchalantly, but dress nicely, and speak out your accomplishments.  Hook the viewer with testimonials, pictures, and case examples.

Dress professionally: Though a video resume can present your own personal style, try to keep it professional and within the bounds of the work culture of your target organization. This will show that you can be both an individual performer as well as a team player.

DON’Ts

Don’t rush the VR production process: The most basic requirement is that you should be seen and heard clearly in your best light. Although you can do the production yourself, be wary of churning out a boring VR; odds are that you would need some professional help, which you shouldn’t grudge.

Check, test, and validate your VR: Check, test, and validate your VR yourself, before uploading it. It would be even better to have the feedback of a sample audience and make changes wherever necessary.

In a world where information about a candidate is easy to find online in social media, a video resume helps validate that information, augment it with value-added inputs, and create a great first impression.

The innovativeness of the VR makes it a welcome break for recruiters and employers who could be stressed out from scanning innumerable prosaic paper resumes. Do not hesitate to invest in a VR, the next time you apply for a dream job. Your chances of success will surely be bright.

Making Your Marketing Pack a Punch with Video Blogs

C Sharp Video Productions

The global recession along with a host of other factors has thrown a spanner in the works for B2B marketers; it has created several challenges for the marketing departments of mid- and large-sized companies. Video blogs, in this context, can really be your marketing solution.

Challenges you might face

  1. Justifying ROI on marketing spend: Tracking the ROI from every marketing activity is next to impossible: not all of them have a one-on-one correlation with a specific set of leads generated.
  2. Providing adequate budget for marketing activities: Whatever be the size of the organization or revenues earned, adequate budget needs to be provided for marketing activities. More often than not, the budgets fall short to the extent of rendering the activities ineffective.
  3. Understanding the role of the company website: Most Tier-2 companies (as against market leaders) rely still on their websites for leads. However, it is a great challenge to understand the design or content tweaks needed to make the website a winning one.
  4. The technology dilemma: Resolving the design and content issues for a winning website involves another related factor; it is the identification of the best and the most cost-effective technologies to be used for online marketing initiatives.
  5. Hiring and training top talent: High-quality marketing talent, who are also cost-effective, are hard to find. Moreover, giving them appropriate training in order to bring out the best in them is another challenge.

Which contents ensure constant customer involvement?

Kapost Powers B2B Marketers, the content marketing company, has conducted a number of studies and surveys on contents that ensure constant customer involvement. According to their findings, most mid- and large-sized companies surveyed allocate an average of 55% of their annual marketing budget for content production and creation.

Most companies use a wide spectrum of content delivery mechanisms, which are not based on any specific finding or strategy. This is an ineffective approach. According to another study, inefficiency in content production results in excessive marketing spend of $958M every year, for mid-sized and large B2B companies in the US.

In the recent past, there has been a focused shift to videos, which has emerged as a more efficient content delivery mechanism. It’s estimated that by 2017, online videos will make up nearly 70% of consumer internet traffic. Among the various types of videos used, Video Blogs have become increasingly popular in recent years.

Advantages of imaginatively made video blogs

  • Stand out among the proliferation of blogs
  • Attract and retain interest better
  • Create an instant connect with viewers
  • Can employ forward and backward integration strategies
  • Can be as creative as you like
  • Quick, easy and cost-effective to produce
  • Personalize your product or service
  • The show and tell is easier and more effective
  • Easy to share on social media
  • Can demonstrate complex concepts easily
  • Increase your outreach on the web

According to Kapost Powers B2B Marketers, 45.4% of internet users watch one video every month, even as they are exposed to 32 videos every month. Today, videos are being used to make decisions, unlike in the past, when people watched videos for awareness building.

Little wonder, the number of videos viewed in a day has risen over the years. Currently, on an average, 100 million people watch at least one video every day. Why not your product or service is one of them?

Video Testimonials: Put Your Best Foot forward

C Sharp VideoIn recent times, video testimonials have emerged as a powerful marketing tool. They help marketers establish their credentials with ease, by showcasing real users in real-life situations, who endorse their products. Prospects view with suspicion text testimonials or sound-bites. But they perceive a video testimonial as a more genuine endorsement of a product; this is because the customer’s identity is shared, and it creates an instant connect with the audience.

History and evolution of video testimonials

Interestingly, video testimonials have an over-a-century history, and their origin can be traced back to the silent-movie era. In short, 30-second pantomimes or dramatized endorsements of a product had been shown before, or during a break in the movie, in the 1910s and 20s. With the advent of talkies, these endorsements turned into musicals or high-pitched conversations. Television has today given a big boost to video testimonials; viewers are no longer glued to their seats, and are open to frequent ads.

The website boom of the 1990s, and the ever-increasing global use of the Internet have transformed video testimonials into to a new medium. Given the low cost of production of a video and of hosting it online, marketers have suddenly discovered a cost-effective method of generating leads. Companies can now entice prospective customers, and get them to engage with the company proactively; they hope to build a reliable customer base by adopting the ‘pull’ strategy.

Industries most suited for video testimonials

While video testimonials can be leveraged practically by any industry, they are ideally suited to products or services:

a.    which have several points of decision, requiring umpteen clarifications: eg. Real Estate
b.    when there are a handful of similar options that have their own merits and drawbacks, and making an objective decision is difficult: eg. automobiles
c.    when the user has little knowledge of the product: eg. high-tech products
d.    when the customer seeks assurance or peace of mind, and has an emotional stake in the product: eg. education (choosing a school or college)
e.    when the product is costly, or has a brand equity that elevates the user’s identity: eg. Fashion (apparel, leather, accessories), Interiors and Architecture
f.    when the product is of high utility or used all the time, and there are multiple competing brands: eg. Home Appliances, and Airlines

Essential features of effective video testimonials

•    The speaker: Choose a customer who is articulate, with a pleasant voice and tone, and a regular accent. People with thick, gruff or hoarse voices, shrill tone and heavy accents must be avoided.
•    The interviewer: Instead of a monologue, an interviewer should ask intelligent questions, elicit relevant and clear answers and make witty remarks; such a person would ensure a natural and engaging testimonial.
•    The script: A casual, conversational and simple style of language would make an immediate connet with the audience. The speaker must be allowed to articulate in his/her own spontaneous words, and should not appear rehearsed, or give the impression of repeating a memorized script.
•    The footage: The footage should be a lively and healthy mix of the speaker’s close-ups, bits of the location, shots of the product concerned, and any other relevant detail.
•    The location: Unless there is a clear reason, keep the location as relevant as possible. No doubt, an exotic location maybe soothing to the eyes; but a video testimonial of an SUV would be more convincing when shot on a highway or a dirt track.
•    The audio: Allow a mix of natural background noise in low tone, pleasant low-volume canned musical clips, and the speakers’ clear and prominent conversation; that would make the testimonial effective.

Creating a winning video testimonial goes beyond just having a willing customer. Engage an agency that specializes in this art; you can be sure of eliciting the best viewer responses, and thereby creating a loyal customer base.

MAKING THE MOST OF THE TALKING HEAD: BASIC REVIEW VIDEO TIPS

If you’re like a lot of people, you may spend a lot of time watching YouTube for research purposes. The video site has become a bit of a hub for anyone, anywhere, to post their opinions and self-imposed wisdom on everything, from dating advice to video game reviews to style tips. It is, to a certain degree, wonderful that anyone with a mildly decent camera can reach so many people now on their chosen topic to YouTube about.

However, with that, there can come a problem, especially to us videographers (we make a living trying to make sure we avoid these things, so forgive us for being a little too perfectionist). These are problems of the technical sort that come from the lack of knowledge of a lot of casual YouTubers when it comes to framing, lighting, etc.

Let me share a small case in point: I was going through YouTube looking for reviews on certain men’s cologne (don’t judge…I was running out). The information was great, highly informative. I was taking it in…mostly.

Until the camera automatically started refocusing and exposing for the window directly behind the subject, effectively turning the guy I was supposed to be listening to into a silhouette.

You may be reading thinking: so what. But me? My mind was blown. Two semesters of cinematography classes came screaming back through me at this highly informative but a visual waste of a video.

With that being said, here are a 5 basic tips for shooting a talking head, (aka a medium head-and-shoulder shot):

Tip 1:

As much as possible, Never shoot with a window (or any other large source of light)           behind you. Instead, position yourself so that the window light is hitting you from the side, or better yet, the front of you. We want to see you, not the brightness that is outside.

Tip 2:

Frame yourself so that your shoulders just start to cut off at the bottom of the frame, and leave a little room (we call this headroom) at the top so that your head is not cut off at the top frame. Be careful though, too much headroom will make you look like you’re sinking to the bottom frame.

Tip 3:

Another note on framing; frame yourself so that you are just a little bit off-center. This stops your talking head from looking too direct and in-your-face at the camera. This concept is called the Rule of Thirds.

Tip 4:

Be careful with moving around or gesturing too much at the camera. Remember, as a talking head, people are seeing only your head and shoulders. Throwing your hand up can look like it came off frame. Also, acting too shifty or jittery on your seat while reviewing can get distracting because everything is more emphasized in a tighter shot.

Tip 5:

If you’re shooting with a webcam, treat the camera as eye contact with the audience, not the monitor. Too many people do this, and the result when YouTubers look down at the monitor looks like the presenters lack confidence or are shifty.

That’s all that I can come up for the moment, but if any of you have other tips, please let us know.

Relax! It’s Just An Interview: How A Loose Interview Structure Always Beats Heavy Scripting

General conventions teach us that preparation is the key to success. If you have a plan, and a backup plan in case the plan fails, and a backup to the backup in case that one fails, then there’s nothing to keep you from succeeding. In the case of video interviews, I have seen many people new to interviews try to go by this concept when their turn comes to be interviewed; they have an answer to everything, heavily rehearsed and down to every word.

And the end result? Interviews that aren’t so great. Terrible at worst, lackluster at best. What we end up getting on camera tends to look like cardboard boxes with robot voices somehow taking information that should be interesting and turning them dull and lifeless. All because they felt the need to stick to their script.

When it comes to interviewing people on camera, I am a firm believer in having discussions, not interrogations. Sure, the whole point of an interview is all about getting information from a source, but how effective is it really to hammer someone with carefully composed questions that look great on paper, and to respond to such questions with carefully crafted responses? If I wanted careful prose in my interviews, then I would be reading a novel or magazine.

So how can we loosen up an interview? Here’s a 3 simple steps that can help you:

  1. Don’t rely on a script detailing everything that you’re going to say. Instead, jot down your ideas and concepts.
  2. When making your interview notes or questions, stay away from jotting down full-blown questions and instead jot down your curiosity on certain concepts. Similarly, as an interviewee, note your answers in small phrases and buzz words. Doing this frees you both mentally from structured sentences and allows you to talk more organically and naturally.
  3. Just relax! Interviews are all about talking; engaging in two-sided discussions. And the thing about those kinds of discussions are that they develop organically-the interviewee might answer a certain way, and the interviewer might interrupt a little, maybe add a little rebuttal. The interviewee may chime back with another point. Etc, etc. It should be a lively and passionate Such discussions are what makes great, camera-worthy interviews, and an audience is more likely to place confidence in a relaxed, enthusiastic, and passionate expert than one that reads from cue cards.

Remember, focus on main ideas and concepts, answer in small phrases and don’t forget to relax! At the end of the day, the cameras and lights shouldn’t feel like they’re there. The best interviews look and feel like two people just talking.

The C Sharp Video Productions Mission Statement

We are the one-stop shop in video production that provides unique services specific to business videos.  In partnership, we help small businesses and local Fortune 5000 companies achieve their goals.
We provide tools through video and storytelling that builds leverage for better communication among their team, the community, and the world.  We streamline business processes with the tools we create.  We serve the next-generation problem solvers.

Effective Communication Through Technology

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