Video

How to Create an Unforgettable Video Story for your Business

How to Create an Unforgettable Video Story for your Business

You already know the importance of telling your story.

But do you know how to make sure your story will lead to that “ah-ha” moment with your audience? Do you know how to make it rise above so-so storytelling and leave your audience touched, persuaded, or engaged?

At the heart of great storytelling are two things: identifying the right story, and telling it well.

Why Video is a Must-have Tool For Executives [And how you can get over your fear of being on camera]

Why Video is a Must-have Tool For Executives [And how you can get over your fear of being on camera]

Most leaders are hesitant to appear on camera—it’s normal. But a good video team can change that, making it possible for you to use this vital tool in ways you never thought possible.

Here's what a good video communication team can do for you:

8 Unexpected Ways Businesses are Experiencing the Power of Video Storytelling

8 Unexpected Ways Businesses are Experiencing the Power of Video Storytelling

We know that stories are what move the human heart. This has been true since the dawn of time, and is true for individuals as well as businesses. As humans, we are especially drawn to stories that feel true, authentic, and well-told. And when delivered with the power of music, motion, and imagery via video, a story’s impact is multiplied.

A Primer on Uploading and Distributing Videos

A Primer on Uploading and Distributing Videos

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Now that your video is done, some of the most important work still remains

It’s easy to celebrate the completion of your new video and think that it will now magically get seen by the right people. But this is generally not the case. Knowing how to distribute your video is essential to making it work hard for you.


How do I decide how to distribute my video?

There is no one answer that fits everyone. That’s why we’re providing some quick tips on uploading and distributing your video. Following these will help ensure that your video gets the maximum return on your investment.


Where can I distribute my video?

Here are some ways:

  • Your website. Sometimes it can go in multiple places, so don’t let just one location suffice if it is suitable for more. (Example, a company introduction might go on your home page, product page, or recruiting page).

  • Your Vimeo or YouTube channel. You should have these for increased distribution.

  • Facebook. Decide if you want to upload to Facebook and get more views, or embed to Facebook from another platform and keep the traffic going to the same place.

  • Instagram (must be 60 seconds or shorter).

  • Emails (to clients, employees, board members, donors—or whomever you’re trying to reach).


Should I host our video on Vimeo or YouTube?

Vimeo and YouTube cater to different audiences. If you’re primary goal is reach, YouTube might be for you. But if you want higher engagement and a better user experience, Vimeo is the right choice. We use both for varying reasons and projects, but prefer Vimeo because of its higher quality player company values.


How to download videos from Vimeo

1. Visit the URL where the video is located.

 
 

2. Click the “Download” button and download in “Original” quality.
(Ask Vimeo account owner to change settings if no button exists)


Tips for uploading videos

Be strategic about which platforms the video is uploaded/embedded to.

Uploading vs. embedding can be a complex decision that should be discussed by a team before distributing any video content.

Uploading is the practice of hosting video data on a service site (Vimeo and YouTube are most common). The video will be distributed from where it was uploaded—passing any data and value to the upload platform.

Uploading a video to two or more locations will split the traffic and decrease the perceived value and significance of the project.

Embedding is the practice of “adding an object from another website.” While the video is still uploaded to a hosting site (for example: Vimeo) the video object appears on the website on which it has been embedded. Data and value are still passed to the upload platform, but the visual occurrence passes to the embed location.

Embedding a video to two or more locations will maintain the data and value for all the occurrences since the video is still hosted in only one location.
Deciding which video is posted or embedded on which platform(s) depends entirely on the project content, subject, and goals. These decisions should be clearly thought out and communicated.

For a basic example:

Uploading a video to Facebook will get more interaction and views, but is a much less robust marketing tool as the system is designed to help Facebook before your business.

Embedding a video on Facebook will get less interaction and views, but it will pass rank and traffic to a more robust hosting site.

Uploading a video to Vimeo will be much less likely to get interaction and views, but the hosting platform is built to help your business and the viewer community—making this an ideal platform for sharing content with people who want to see it.

Embedding a video from Vimeo produces a high-quality player and product to display the video, however, videos embedded from Vimeo are not passing search ranking on to the video content.  

Uploading a video to YouTube can be an effective way to get your video found by strangers, but the platform is built for Google to sell; small videos can easily get lost in the barrage of other content.

Embedding a video from YouTube provides a lower-quality player and product, but the views and interaction will more improve your search ranking for the topic.

There are many scenarios and strategies to discuss. With so much time invested in each project, it’s important to place similar time and importance on the distribution of the video, to get the most from your investment.  


Always upload videos in the highest quality available.

The general standard for uploading is 1080p, however, 2k-4k+ quality videos are becoming much more common with recent advancements in technology. When you upload a lower quality version, it will not look or sound its best. This is exacerbated when shown in larger venues and reflects badly on the team.


Titles matter.

A good title will follow the goals of the project. It may be more descriptive or more emotive depending on the project. Generally, the more targeted the audience, the more targeted the title.

Three examples:

1. The authentic video company that posts their demo reel to Vimeo and host on their already popular website.
They title the video: “Real” Because it says so much about the company in so little time.

2. The teacher who wants people who search for “Adobe Premiere tutorials” on Google to watch his video on YouTube.
They title the video: “How To Get Started with Adobe Premiere Pro CC - 10 Things Beginners Want to Know How To Do” Because it is a functional title that specifically targets beginning users of Premiere Pro CC.

3. The owner of Denver Doughnuts who posts a video to social media wanting their customers to learn about new offerings.
They title the video “Denver Doughnuts – Our 2018 Menu Explained” because it balances functionality and feel.


Keep descriptions interesting and concise. Link out to contributors or relevant websites.

Example:

ON | Athlete Refugee Team - The Human Spirit

There are 65 million refugees on earth right now.­ The most in recorded history. There are 31 refugees from 5 different countries who train in the Ngong Hills of Kenya as the Athlete Refugee Team (A.R.T). This August 2017, five of the athletes will be at the world athletics championships in London. Go see them run and proudly represent and provide a symbol of hope for the 65 million refugees worldwide.

Thanks Ladi Demko, Olivier Bernhard and Feliciano Robayna for the opportunity to shoot this amazing story and for the support your company has given to these athletes.


Add as much information as possible to the informational fields.

Adding [a(n)]:

Language
Location
Tags
Keywords
Website
Closed captions (CC)
Subtitles
Thumbnail
Audience type
Genre (ex: documentary, lifestyle, etc.)
Etc…

Adding information can improve platform understanding of how to sort and show videos based on user search and interest. As many details as possible should be added to each piece of content. This will help your content get found and viewed by the target audience since hosting platforms use this data to decide which videos to show certain users.


Always include closed captions and/or subtitles.

People frequently watch videos without sound, so we strongly encourage use of subtitles and/or CC. We typically add these at negligible if any cost to videos we produce, but it’s always important to double check so you can reach the maximum number of users.


Consider removing the download button for more control over content distribution.

A common problem is content being downloaded in a low-quality format and then being uploaded to platforms. Consider removing download capabilities in the video settings to minimize the probability of lower than “original” quality content being published.


Create thumbnails that sell.

Thumbnails should be designed and supplied with each video project, as they are vital to a healthy click rate. Check your thumbnail design to be sure it works well in the smallest application—like on a mobile phone.

If the original thumbnail is not easily available/accessible, use Daniel Ehniss’ tool to download one.

Paste the URL of the video into the search bar and download the thumbnail in the highest quality available (likely the default).

Upload the thumbnail to the video platform and ensure that the change has correctly taken place upon upload.


You don’t have to be the expert, but you should call on one if you need it.

How a video is distributed is paramount to the success of your project. Strategies should be discussed at the start of the project and improved throughout its creation and launch.

The number of variables for each project is an overwhelming and complex task to discuss. If you do not have someone experienced in this, contact Christian@CMBell.com for help distributing and uploading your video content to get the maximum return on your investment.

You can grow your business

 

Custom Video Packages to Grow Your Business

Custom Video Packages to Grow Your Business

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Video is more likely to be viewed and remembered than all other media. It’s powerful, easy to share, mobile-friendly, and suitable for many different types of uses, from in-person events to social media.

We offer several video packages designed to grow your business and build your brand.

Brand-building

Build your brand internally and externally with the most effective tool available: video. This package can take many shapes—from showcasing your produce or service to a CEO message that unpacks the most powerful ideas behind your brand.

Mission, vision and values

Video is exploding as a tool for inspiring employees and customers with your company’s mission, vision or values. And for good reason: As Simon Sinek says, people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Starting with the "why" is the best way to inspire both sales and employee engagement. This video package can feature your own employees, customers or donors talking about what your mission, vision and values mean to them—and brings your aspirations off the shelves and into the lives of real people.

Customer testimonials

Studies show that today’s consumer trusts his or her peers more than they do experts. So parlay this into making your business more successful by showcasing how you’re helping your customers. In this package, we capture a series of customers on-camera sharing their own experiences about why they love your company.

Microdocumentaries

Ads aren’t the only way to engage your customers. Stories that show—rather than tell—what you’re about, why your work matters, and how you’re helping others create a powerful connection with your viewers. This package is ideal for showcasing stories that reveal compelling truths about your business.

Promote a service or product

Opening a new business? Launching a new service? In this video package, we showcase your product or service in ways that compel viewers to buy from you.

Explainers

Need to explain a new service? Help customers get answers to common questions? Create content that establishes you as an online expert? Our explainer video package features whiteboards and similarly styled videos to make complex subjects simple and easy to follow. 

CMBell offers individual custom videos in a wide variety of price points and styles—as well as the packages listed here.

 

You can grow your business

 

8 Ways to Create Authentic Patient Video Stories

In today’s market, video marketing is an essential—and nothing works like a riveting patient story.
 
But not all patient video stories are created equally. Some feel flat, boring, too promotional or too predictable, while others depict a relatable experience and compel the viewer to feel connected to the organization.
 
Here are 8 ways to make sure your patient testimonial videos are getting watched and remembered.
 
1. Find a story that fits your strategy.
A story that doesn’t advance your brand is money wasted, so start by linking your story to a brand message. For example, if you want to position your organization as clinically superior, find a story of a difficult patient case that was solved successfully. Then, let the story reveal and let the viewer form his/her own conclusions.

2. Be authentic.
Viewers crave real stories—and are quick to spot things that have become too polished or corporate. Stay away from re-enactments and stock footage, tell the story as it actually happened, avoid overly promotional talk and most importantly, be sure to include the struggle.

3. Take time to truly understand the whole story before the interview.
Talk with the interviewee before the recording session so you can understand his or her story and think about how to draw it out during the on-camera interview. Ask for and review any articles, other videos, web content or press coverage that give you insights into the story. Then create your list of questions based on what you’ve learned.

4. Prep the interviewee.
Before the interview, let the subject know what to expect, like:

  • What the video is for.

  • Where it will be used.

  • Why you are interviewing them.

  • It’s normal to have multiple takes.

  • The interview will happen like a conversation, where we ask questions and you answer.

  • They shouldn’t plan to read or memorize anything beforehand.

  • What kinds of questions we’ll be asking.

  • Answer the question with a full sentence, and link to the question. So if we ask “What’s your favorite color?” You’ll reply “My favorite color is blue.”

On the day of the interview, give the subject time to get comfortable in front of the camera before diving in. Engage in some conversation that isn’t part of the interview to help release the tension. Set a tone of warmth and curiosity before you even begin the interview.

5. Build trust.
Telling someone’s story begins with trust—and that begins with attentive listening by an interviewer that is truly interested in the subject. Be awake to small insights or elements of the story that could be fleshed out with more questions, and don’t be afraid to dig deeper. The best elements of a story are rarely the first answers.

6. Hook your audience at the very beginning.
Begin your story with something that draws the viewer in within the first 30 seconds, so the viewer is compelled to stay with you—like this video.

7. Build a character.
Great stories aren’t driven by a chronological listing of events, but by developing a character. Humans have an insatiable appetite to look into the lives of other humans, so look for visual and verbal details that may not even be part of the story but reveal something about the person. Go beyond the story details themselves and ask what’s important to your interviewee, what his/her dreams and motivations are, and how this experience impacted him/her.

8. Capture b-roll and location shots that flesh out the story.
Shoot b-roll that supports the story line, and select the interview location with care. Whether it’s a professor in her classroom or a senior in the home they’ve always lived in, locations can help tell the story. Even if the viewers don’t realize the full impact of the location, your subject will and this could produce a better interview.
 
Wherever you shoot, make sure it’s quiet, has good lighting options, and is available before and after the shoot for set up and take down, as well as for the actual interview.

 

Setting Up Video Interviews—A Project Manager’s List

The interview is the foundation for many kinds of videos—from executive updates to a good story. Setting up a good video interview starts with you, the project manager, before the video crew ever arrives. Here are some tips we share with our clients that can help you get a better video.

What can I as the on-site project manager do to contribute to a good interview?

  • Get the talking points or video goals to the interviewer (crew) well before the shoot. This gives the interviewer time to think about how to best draw out the story.

  • Give the interviewee time to think about his/her content and the purpose of the interview. Make sure they know going in what to expect and how to prepare.

  • Allow adequate time. Depending on the piece, 30–60 minutes may work. (The crew can tell you what’s needed for your particular project.) We usually book an interview with extra time in case the person is late or has to leave early, since rushing an interview almost always results in a quality compromise.

What kind of spot should I reserve for the shoot?

Reserve a space for the interview that gives options on the set-up. Look for things like:

  • Natural light (and windows with shades that can be used to control the light)

  • Interesting textures as background—brick walls, nice windows, or architectural details

  • Interesting furnishing elements, art, or plants

  • Does it contribute context?

  • Sound control. Good audio is essential to a good video—so make sure the room has a door and isn’t near a noisy location, like an elevator or a highly traveled hallway.

  • Enough space. It’s best not to film a person sitting right up against a wall, as having depth is important. Aim for a space that has at least 15’ in depth. That gives the crew room to make the set-up more interesting and keep it from looking like the dreaded driver’s license photo.

What is b-roll?

B-roll is supplemental footage that may or may not have sound. It’s often used to intercut with the interview, to bring a story to life, and to cover edits.

What makes good b-roll?

  • Time. It’s easy for a crew to feel rushed when they’re intruding on a work space. But allowing a bit of time to set up the shot and shoot it is essential to getting good footage.

  • Focal point. Having one prominent element of interest in the shot guides the viewer’s eye.

  • Good lighting. Natural light is great, but isn’t always available. Having the time to light the shot is important if natural light isn’t available.

  • Close-ups. Sometimes showing just a piece of the story (hands, an object on a desk that reveals something of the person being interviewed) is powerful. You don’t need to tell the whole story in every image—just evoke a piece of it.

What about teleprompters?

Whenever possible, it’s best to avoid them if you’re going for a natural, comfortable style. In some cases, where language must be precise (such as when there are legal considerations), a teleprompter can be helpful, but there is usually a tradeoff in the overall tone. If you’re looking for an authentic, personal interview, teleprompters generally disappoint. Our crew is very comfortable drawing out a story from people who aren't accustomed to being on camera, so we generally prefer this option.

Who does the interview?

Our crew generally conducts the interview, but you’re welcome to if you have experience doing this and would prefer to.

How much footage will it take to do a video?

This varies widely by project. It’s not uncommon for us to shoot a 20–40 minute interview that gets cut down to two minutes. That doesn’t include another 20–60 minutes of b-roll.

How much time should we allow for an interview?

It depends on the project. Person-on-the-street interviews can happen almost instantly once they are set up.

An update from an executive can take 30–60 minutes. An interview for a story can take 30–60 minutes, depending on the video’s desired length. Allow an additional 30 minutes for set-up (depending on conditions) prior to the interviewee arriving—and another 15 minutes for take-down.

Will we need a script?

Scripts make for efficient delivery of content, and are generally used when you need an audio-only portion of the video. CMBell employs script writers who are experienced in writing for this specific application—as it is different than other kinds of writing.

Generally speaking, people who aren’t trained actors have difficulty delivering a script in a believable way. Unless it is a situation with legal concerns, where the language must be precise, we prefer to conduct an interview using talking points.

Tips for writing talking points

Do:

  • Create a bulleted list of ideas you want to cover. Things like “Top priority: Increase quality scores by 20%” work as great prompts for both interviewee and interviewer.

  • Include hard-to-remember data (if any) so that we can prompt the interviewee if that information isn’t top-of-mind.

  • List talking points in order of priority. Talking points are used by the editors (who are often a different team than the videographers and interviewers) to ensure that the client’s points are all made. If the video has a time limit, sometimes this means deleting content. Prioritized lists help the editors know which things must be in, and which are optional.

  • Provide any background stories or videos that have been developed on the topic.

Do not:

  • Provide a script or send the talking points in prose form using full sentences and paragraphs. This makes it harder for both the interviewer and the interviewee, who need to maintain eye contact.

  • Provide the talking points the day of the shoot. Both the interviewer and interviewee benefit from time to think about the content.

  • Change the talking points substantially after submitted.

What should we tell the people being interviewed?

  • The purpose of the project.

  • How long the interview will be.

  • Location.

  • What kinds of things will be explored in the interview (talking points).

  • They can prepare by reviewing the questions and purpose in advance. It can be helpful to write something out to help them think about their message before the shoot, but they should not plan to memorize or read what they write.

  • Wear what they’d normally wear in their work or life (depending on the story). If they’re in uniform at work generally, they should appear that way in the video (as a bonus, uniforms provide instant credibility).

  • Camera lights tend to wash out faces. Participants who normally wear make-up may wish to bring along any make-up to touch up before the shoot. Generally, we do not have make-up artists at the shoot.

  • Avoid excess in apparel and accessories. Stay away from large wild patterns and wrinkled or worn clothing (for professionals) if a professional look is desired.

  • There will be a professional team there to guide them through the interview. Our job is to make them feel at ease, explain the process, and draw the story out from them. We’re patient and try to give them as much time as needed to deliver their message.

  • We will do multiple takes to ensure we get the best one—so there’s no pressure to be “perfect.”

  • Be yourself. Authenticity is more important than getting everything precisely right.

Who handles releases and HIPAA-compliance issues?

The client is always responsible for obtaining and archiving release forms. Additionally, the client is responsible for ensuring HIPAA compliance if the shoot is health care related. This means paying attention to content that is being shot and reviewing the edit to ensure that no HIPAA violations have occurred.

Shoot etiquette

  • If shooting in a health care setting, patient care is always first. We are accustomed to working around the complexities of health care and are respectful of your first obligations.

  • Keep the set quiet. It’s especially important to have 2–3 seconds of silence before and after each interview question is completed, to allow the editors content to work with.

  • Save questions and comments for the end. Sometimes it is best to run through the entire interview and keep the momentum of the story going—as it preserves the energy.

  • Plan on multiple takes. We generally take safety shots (extra takes) that allow us to have additional options for our editors.

What is my role in producing this video?

  • Determining the message and goals of the project.

  • Providing talking points, if the video calls for them.

  • Doing a pre-interview with our crew to discuss the elements of the story.

  • Finding and securing shoot location(s).

  • Arranging for interviewees.

  • Acting as site navigator—escorting and introducing the crew and setting expectations for participants.

  • Getting and storing release forms from anyone in the shoot.

  • Ensuring HIPAA compliance.

  • Providing additional assets—photos, existing b-roll if you have some—that flesh out the story visually.

  • Reviewing the video for accuracy and seeing that anyone who needs to be involved in the review is.

  • Being the single point of contact for CMBell and supplying all changes to us directly, rather than delivering them through multiple sources.

Are there things I can do to keep costs down?

Yes. The biggest thing is to review it carefully at each step of the way, since a video is produced in a sequence which each layer building on the previous one. Changes to the audio that come late in the process, for example, can mean substantial edits. Think of it as deciding to move a wall in a new home in the painting phase. It's much more expensive to do so then than it would be to do so when the house plan is being reviewed.

How Video Can Help You Become a Better Fundraiser

A local shelter came to us looking for ways to support their largest fundraising campaign in history—a new facility for women and children looking to transition from homelessness to lives of self-sufficiency. Their story is powerful, but they needed a way to tell it more broadly, and that’s how this video was born.

Video is an ideal tool for fundraisers because it:

  1. Inspires action. It uses the power of images, sound, and music to evoke the emotion that prompts a potential donor to care about what you’re doing—and ultimately, to give. Most often, people first make decisions with their heart, and then their mind, and no amount of persuasive text can touch the heart like a well-done video.

  2. Conveys need. Video brings real struggles to life and establish the need that drives your project.

  3. Brings a vision to life. It can cast the vision for a real solution better than any other medium, bringing to life a picture of what your cause will help to achieve.

  4. Is personal. There’s nothing as compelling as the story of someone who has been changed or helped by your work.

  5. Works in many applications. It can take your story to any place that can play video—the home of a prospective donor, your own website, or a local meeting or event.

  6. Is more likely to reach your audience. Video is increasingly the medium of choice, so it’s more likely to get viewed and remembered.

But video production can be overwhelming if you haven’t done a lot of it. Here’s what you can do to get the video that will work for you.

  1. Outline the problem your project will solve. Include statistics and stories.

  2. Make it about what your donors care about. Make it clear to donors what investing in your cause will do for them.

  3. Have a well-articulated vision. What will be different when your project is funded? What will the destination of this journey look like? How will it change lives for the better?

  4. Know your audience. Know what they care about, what motivates them, and what could turn them off.

  5. Have a call to action. Make it easy for people to take the next step, be it asking for more information or giving.

  6. Know where video fits in your strategy. How will it link to other communication tools—both in terms of story and look?

  7. Pick the right people. If it’s interview-driven, the people chosen will make all the difference. Does their story include struggle and hope? Can they share it on-camera? They don’t need to be performers—it’s better if they are not—but they do need to have a story that a good video crew can draw out.

  8. Provide good logistic support. Getting your crew access to places that help tell your story will improve it visually, and creating a schedule that has everything ready for your crew when they show up will save you money in the long run and help you get better footage.

  9. Know and communicate your budget. There are many video companies to choose from, but making your budget clear up-front can help you narrow the playing field and eliminate bad surprises.

  10. Inform yourself about your video vendor. Look at their work to see if it fits your organization. Talk to a client of theirs to see what working with the firm was like. If it’s a larger firm, make sure the people working on your project are the ones who did the projects you especially liked.

  11. Have a plan for distribution. This is the most overlooked part of video strategy we encounter. Your video is an investment that should work for you in many applications. Use it on all your website and social media channels, deliver it via email to your donor list, post it on your blog, show it at events, show it at personal "asks", and link it to appropriate sites.

  12. Don’t worry about it going viral. It’s extremely difficult to get videos to go viral—and going viral doesn’t mean more people will give to your cause. Getting your video in front of 50 qualified donors is more important than having it reach 50,000 people who aren’t ever going to support your cause.

  13. Measure and learn. This probably won’t be your last video. So watch your analytics, but more importantly, watch for results. One of the videos we produced for a client was shown at an event and a donor in the audience wrote a check for $25,000. In the end, likes and shares are interesting, but gives are the best metric.

Great videos change people’s minds and motivate them to take action. Why shouldn’t you be using this tool to solicit support for your cause?

https://vimeo.com/191901354

 

Get Inspired: Here's What's Hot in Motion Graphic Videos

What does the word "video" evoke for you? Do you see a talking head? A staged, corporate piece? A Hollywood production? 

Today, video production styles vary widely—opening the door to countless ways of expressing your message in this powerful medium. If you're developing content designed to get viewed and remembered, take a moment to see what's possible beyond the traditional videos you might be used to. 

In this blog post, we're focusing specifically on some trends in motion graphics—a fun and versatile type of video production that can range from very affordable to cinematic.


Flat design

Flat design is a minimalistic design approach that emphasizes usability. It features clean, open space, crisp edges, bright colors and two-dimensional illustrations. Simple images convey messages more quickly than detailed illustrations. Images like icons can indicate universal actions or purposes so that everyone can easily understand them.


4K design

On the creation side, there is an increase in 4K related video production, video editing and motion design products. Hardware producers (projectors, displays, televisions) are pushing hard to get 4K into the mass market.


Hand drawn hybrids

Blending hand drawn elements with CGI components is a great way to give the audience a sense of wonder. This concept is powerful when trying to explain how a complex design came to life. It makes it easier to understand and appear more tangible. It’s a powerful marketing technique that makes it easy for the target audience to fall in love with a desired look.


Vector organics

This year there are more animations turning up in which organic shapes transform in a liquid way.

Shapes are smeared and splash back together, often at the moment of a peak in the action, moving in slight slow motion, with twists and bends. It resembles the psychedelic shapes known from the 60’s.

Abstract drops and smears, swirling typography, and even characters whose limbs are being stretched and swirled. It may be a counter movement against the downward trend of geometrical squares, triangles, and circle-transitions.


Mixed disciplines

What was once an uncommon occurrence, is now becoming more and more prevalent. Many motion graphics today successfully combine mixed disciplines to create a more graphic, stylized, and illustrated look.


Seamless transitions

Seamless transitions are nothing new nor revolutionary when it comes to motion graphics but they have gained in popularity only recently. They create a feeling of fluidity and allow one scene to flow into the next without any interruptions or cuts between them.


Gifs

Although GIFs aren’t a new thing, they have recently gained traction after Facebook and Twitter allowed embedding and sharing. They are a great way to convey a message in a precise manner and are often used to add a touch of humor.

Which of these trends speaks to you?

5 Reasons Your Company Stories Aren’t Growing Your Business (and What You Can Do About It)

You already believe in the power of story. You’ve seen how it can sell, persuade, compel, inspire—even better than a well-crafted argument. But are your stories helping you build your business?
 
If not, here are some possible reasons—and tips on what you can do about it:

You aren't being strategic about what stories you tell

Maybe you have a great patient story, for example, but it’s for a service line that isn’t a current area of strategic focus. Or maybe you have a story for your employees that doesn’t reinforce your key strategies, vision, or values. Prudent use of marketing dollars requires a direct link between the stories you’re telling and your business goals.
 
Practical tips:

  1. To create stories that grow your business, create a table and list all your core messages and strategies—then beside each list a high-level story idea that directly links back to each. For example, if you want to convey your commitment to quality, look for an area in your organization where your quality is impressive.

  2. Use this list to scout stories and to identify specific customers, employees, or events that fit your story idea. Maybe it’s the journey of an internal team to improve a process, or a client story about how the quality initiative impacted them.

  3. Track progress on your table and do a year-end review to see what worked—and where you want to improve.

You don’t have a story scout

Before a story is told, it has to be found. Most companies don’t have a person devoted to this important excavational work—and, very often, people in the midst of a good story don’t even realize it is one. In health care, we see this all the time. This sacred interchange between patient and physician is just what the physician does. She does not see it as noteworthy. Someone with fresh eyes has to awaken this mindset in an organization, teach its teams how to recognize a good story, and provide a way to get it from the front lines to your storytellers.
 
Practical tips:

  1. Assign the task of “story scout” to one of your in-house marketing or communication professionals, and give them the goal of creating the plan (above) and reporting on its progress each month.

  2. Make a list of possible story ideas and share them with your front-line people, to help them think like a story scout.

  3. Make it easy to submit story ideas—and offer some small reward for ones that are published.

You aren’t using the right medium

Video is the most visually rich way to deliver a story. It takes the words from the page and brings them to life with motion, sound, and images—giving the viewer’s brain a rich experience. We know that the addition of motion alerts the human brain, and this is activated in video in ways that text and still images cannot compete with.
 
Takeaway:

  1. If budget is a concern, set aside some of your communication and marketing budget for video production—even if it means shifting resources from other good projects. Today’s consumer demands it.

  2. Shop for a video package rather than a single video. You can save thousands of dollars by shooting several videos over a day or two—rather than doing them one at a time. Videographers often require a half-day or even one-day minimum for a shoot, and by batching projects you can save money.

You don’t have an expert storyteller

A story can be inherently good, but tell it poorly, and it will not do the work of conveying the message you want. Storytelling is an art that requires experts who have devoted their careers to it, so finding the right talent to do this is imperative. Not all writers are storytellers. Not all video editors are storytellers. A storyteller can use different tools, but good ones understand the arc of an effective story and know how to deliver it in their medium.
 
Takeaway:

  1. Identify talent within or outside of your organization. The best way to judge this is to see their work—if the story keeps your interest and produces the desired emotional response, it’s been done by a storyteller you can trust.

  2. Engage them for one trial assignment, to see if their process and product works for you.

  3. Have them do a pre-shoot phone interview with the person they’ll be interviewing on-camera, to be sure the story is solid.

  4. Be clear on your goals, budget, and timeframe—before you start the job.

You aren’t getting the story to the right people

All too often, a video is produced and put up on your website—and it is left to chance whether the right people will see it. To get the most for your investment, look for ways to repurpose it. How many social media outlets can you use it on? Are there other areas of your website—like recruiting—that could use it? Are there events, staff meetings, or retreats for employees, board members, or customers where it could be shown? There are multiple tools and methods to help you with the digital promotion of a video, as well, so if you don’t have the expertise in-house to help with this, hire someone who does. It will pay off in increased traffic.
 
Takeaway:

  1. When your video story is done, don’t call the project done until you make and execute a plan to get it in front of the right people.

  2. Make a list of every social media channel you have that you could post your video on.

  3. Make a list of events where the video could be shown. Consider employee forums, departmental meetings, employee events, orientation, board meetings, and fund-raising events.

  4. Review your website to see if the video can be used on multiple pages. For example, a video about quality could be on a recruiting page, an "about us" page, a quality page, and a home page.

  5. Work with an expert—in-house or outside—who can help you create digital strategies to improve traffic to your videos.

CMBell Company: Celebrating 19 Years of Business

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Wow, we’re in our 19th year.

I can’t tell you how proud and invigorated that makes us.

What started as a dream many years ago has grown into something so much better than any of us could have imagined. So will you indulge me for a moment as I reflect on some of the things that have been important to us in building this dream?

People

We have chosen to surround ourselves with exceptional people—both employees and clients. I pay special homage to the early members of our team who took a chance on joining CMBell Company, which at the time was just the seed of an idea, and who have been central forces in building it into the company it is today. Equally important have been the clients who saw our potential, fueled our creative growth and inspired us to constantly reach higher. We know that every day we must earn the trust of our clients, and we find great satisfaction in the longstanding relationships this journey has yielded.

I’ve said it many times: one of the best things about building a business is picking the people you’ll get to work with every day. Is there anything better? Our team is a wonderful mix of fresh faces and experienced journeymen, left-brained and right-brained thinkers, thoughtful and visionary—each of whom are accomplished artists and professionals. We work together without drama—each person willing to help make the team and our clients successful. So our energy, instead of being sapped by internal friction, is focused on our work. This is a gift we never take for granted.

Family Business

We remain heartily committed to the value a family business brings to a community—and are inspired by some of our own clients, who have built on this idea. A family business is often centered in shared impulses, dreams and beliefs that are nurtured by each member. We all have skin in this game and our eye on the long haul more than on the immediate profits. We do not see building a business as a step along the way to our next job, but a lifetime investment. This is why we are excited to have recently had our two sons join us—each of them bringing their unique perspectives and talents to help propel our company forward.

Small businesses remain an important engine for America. It’s deeply gratifying to provide jobs to people right here in our community, exporting the fruits of their talent all over the country while allowing them to stay in this community we love so much.

Growth

But while we reflect on what we’ve learned in the past, this year is about looking forward. We have invested in new technological infrastructure and creative tools, recruited new talent and expanded our video services to meet the needs of our clients. The demand for video is exploding, and our increasingly diverse portfolio shows some of the many ways it is helping businesses deliver more powerful messages.

Life and Work Balance

We’ve never aspired to be big. Instead, we’ve pursued big ideas and worked to create a workplace where people can flourish—and where people come before profits. This is the soil out of which our company grew. For us, it has always been about creating a life first, and then a career—and fostering a workforce where people can find the life balance they need to thrive. Any growth that we pursue as a company must always fit these founding ideas.

At the end of the day, we find it exhilarating to develop creative communications that help companies we care about be more successful. For us, work is a cause. I think it shows in the work we produce.

We look forward to reaching higher this year. Thank you for meeting us here on our blog and for the role you have played in our success.

DeLona Lang Bell, President
CMBell Company

5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Measuring ROI

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Measuring the results of a business initiative is imperative to good management. But avoid these pitfalls, which can give you inaccurate results:

  1. Thinking that if it can’t be measured, it isn’t important. We know certain things to be true, even though they are hard to measure. It’s true, for example, that an employee who feels under appreciated or unfairly treated will not be as productive and effective as one who is. We know that motivation plays an important role in individual performance. All of these things are impacted by corporate behaviors and language, yet difficult to measure. It’s ok to develop initiatives that build on solid assumptions like these that can’t be measured—as long as you’re intentional about it.
  2. Not taking into account the cost of missed opportunity. So you had 200 people attend your health fair or special event, but used 70% of the organization’s marketing resources for the two previous months. By doing so, you said no to other initiatives—perhaps things that would be of higher value to the organization, like focusing your efforts on a new strategic partnership. Remember that saying yes to something is always saying no to something else. So before you get excited about a result, ask yourself whether what you’re measuring came at the price of a bigger marketing opportunity.
  3. Measuring the wrong things. Measuring social media traffic, for example, might be a misleading data point. It’s possible that a campaign which has high entertainment value, for example, can attract viewers, without influencing purchase decisions. I’ve gotten a laugh from some ads for products I never intend to buy. So take care to be sure that what you’re measuring really can be linked to business results.
  4. Spending more to measure than an initiative costs. Enough said.
  5. Faulty causation assumptions and conclusions. Let’s say you’re launching a new service line, and your marketing campaign yields less impressive results than desired. Is the campaign not working? It could be. But it could also be that the service lacks consumer demand, that one aspect of the campaign wasn’t working (the messaging, or distribution channels?). Or that the competition is too intense. One cannot always presume that sequence suggests cause. When drawing conclusions from measurements, it’s important to understand and account for all of the potential variables contributing to success.

By avoiding some of these common pitfalls, we can all become more credible and successful business people.

LA Shoot: On Location and Behind the Scenes Preparing for Hospital Anniversary

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Our crew was on location last week working with White Memorial Medical Center in preparation for their 100th anniversary. Our video crew spent the day taping interviews for a series of video productions we’re producing for the event.

Our make-up artist says that besides CMBell Company’s, of course, some of her favorite projects have included doing the make-up for Jimmy Stewart, Jodi Foster and Clint Eastwood.

We’ll post the videos once they’re completed later this year—so stay tuned.