Three Reasons Video Isn’t Just for Marketing Anymore

The data is clear. Video is a must-have component of any modern-day strategic marketing plan. But in case you’ve been stuck with your nose in a paperback book lately, here is some of what we know about the impact of video:

  • 90% of users say that seeing a video about a product helps their decision-making process;
  • 65% of execs visit websites and 39% of them call vendors after viewing a video, according to Forbes; and
  • 80% of users recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days, says the Online Publisher’s Association

So, given that videos produce such great results, why aren’t we regularly using video more broadly in the organization? That’s the question I asked myself last year. I’ve watched Sterling’s creative team produce beautiful, inspiring, and compelling client videos for years now, and frankly, I was jealous. Silicon Valley is a tight labor market where conveying a sense of corporate culture in within a minute can be a tremendous competitive advantage. So, I pushed for creating a series of employee- and candidate-centered videos. Here’s what we’ve learned from the process so far:

1. A good recruiting video is a great way to attract the right talent in a tight market. If you think about it, marketing to top talent is just as important as marketing to your customers. And, at Sterling, we’re always on the lookout for the right “fit,” not just the right set of skills. A well-produced authentic video that captures and conveys your company culture will definitely set you apart; moreover, it will attract the kind of people who will thrive in your company. As importantly, many poorly suited candidates will self-select out. And, as an added bonus, employees are not just willing, but eager to share fun videos about themselves and their company…so the network effect can be huge. (more…)

Digital Spring Cleaning Tips for Professionals

Sterling Communications Spring Cleaning Tech PR - Piling System

Spring cleaning typically means getting to work on dusty windows, stained carpets, and frighteningly full closets at home. But spring is also a good time to tackle neglected chores in your digital life. Let’s be honest, a lot happens in the average workday, schedules are packed, and it’s easy to let non-urgent tasks fall through the cracks. Putting them off for too long, however, makes them much more unpleasant and time consuming when you finally have to tend to them. No more procrastinating! Here are a few digital spring cleaning tasks you can (and should) conquer today. (more…)

Why Corporate Culture Matters Most

Since Sterling opened its doors more than two decades ago, we’ve had lots of laughs, persevered through some difficult and scary economic cycles, evolved our service mix, attracted wonderful employees, and created many long-standing client relationships. All of that happened because we created a strong culture, worked hard, anticipated change, and added new skills to capitalize on market transitions.

corporate-culture-at-sterling-communications

Notice that I listed culture first? That’s because NOTHING is more critical than your corporate culture. It can guide you through heady times and help you survive the difficult times. While there are certainly central truths in any corporate culture, your corporate culture is something you must continually shape and nurture — it’s not something you can “set and forget.” (As we’ve seen, even legendary corporate cultures like HP’s can get lost over time if leaders focus simply on business unit performance and let the corporate culture languish.)

Your corporate culture is something you must continually shape and nurture—it’s not something you can “set and forget.”

Smarter people than I have written many articles on this topic, but from where I sit, corporate culture really boils down to three questions: (more…)

Crowdfunding: Seeding a Bright Future for Entrepreneurs

crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has taken the Silicon Valley startup scene by storm. Once a pastime for early adopters, crowdfunding has gone mainstream on a global scale. $16.2B was raised in 2014 alone, up from $6B in 2013. The market is set to double again in 2015, surpassing the venture capital industry, which invests an average of $30B each year. Let Silicon Valley VCs focus on the next unicorn; upstarts with big dreams of their own can still ‘make it’ through the power of the people. (more…)

How Marketers Can Make the Most Out of Video Assets

sterling-appiom-bts

I’m at the cliff’s edge on Hawk Hill — that iconic view looking down on the Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco in the background — about to roll a take of a music artist singing the chorus to his new song. The camera is ready, the talent is ready, it’s cold out, and we are ready to get the shot and move on when a state park ranger approaches. He didn’t approach to say that we had to leave, but to simply tell me that his nephew just got a camera and wants to makes movies, too. Then he asked if he could get a picture with me and the artist.

Everyone wants to be involved in making movies. And why not? It’s fun! Marketers, you can even use this to your advantage. The more people grabbing photos and videos, whether behind the scenes of a project or collaborating on an actual marketing program, the more assets you and your team have to work with — both in the short and the long run. At Sterling, we lovingly term this opportunity as “atomization.” (more…)

Why Sterling is on Instagram

sterling-instagram-account

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” We all know the figure of speech. But in the world in which we now live, where precious, expensive film is replaced by digital memory and cloud storage, it is easy to wonder if pictures are still that valuable.

Well, at Sterling we believe that a picture is now worth far more than just a thousand words. After all, that’s why marketing and public relations agencies have adopted video and photography to optimize reach to target audiences. Social media marketing once disrupted our text-heavy PR world with limiting messages to 140 characters on Twitter. Now, people want to receive marketing messages from a single glance at a photo.

Instagram is one such social media channel that has forever changed the way we market businesses. In fact, the picture and video sharing service has now surpassed Twitter in number of users. (more…)

Demystifying Preproduction, Part One: Harnessing Creativity to Conjure Arresting Visual Stories

Any working professional knows that each job has its highs and its lows. Well, video productions are my highs. Every time we start a new video project, our team powers through the preproduction phase, brainstorming creative ideas and nailing down logistics, all eagerly awaiting the proverbial game day: that is, production.

But, in my opinion, what makes production days so exciting is the level of hard work and forethought put into preparing during preproduction. “Preproduction” as a term is often pushed aside and excused as being a vague way of saying that you’re planning a shoot. However, here’s the not-so-secret key to a successful, high-quality video, film, or sketch: the highest production value videos are the ones with an intense amount of time and effort spent in preproduction.

(more…)

The Villain is the Hero of their Story: Multimedia Storytelling

glossy-multimedia-buttons_fullIn the business of creating visual media, the hardest part is convincing a client that video is the way to go. Why? It’s expensive and putting together a strategy that’s going to get you the most bang for your buck is complex at best. So, you’ve got your video and you’re wondering, “What now?”

“The internet is inherently a visual medium,” says Lee Sherman, Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer of Visual.ly at an event titled “How to Employ Multimedia Content for Compelling Storytelling.”

“When you combine data with visuals, you’ve really got something,” added Sherman.

(more…)

My Top 5 Kickstarter Videos of February 2013

Today, you can reach into your pocket with the sole intension of showing off a video on that new device of yours. It doesn’t take a professional to know a good video when they see one, but it only takes a split second for someone to realize that they are uninterested in what you are showing them. What if you are relying on that video to get you funding for that special thing that you love to do? If your video doesn’t get those people to stick around long enough to hear your cries for help, how do you expect to make your fundraising goal?

Kickstarter, the New York based crowd funding website, has given independent artists and entrepreneurs the opportunity to bring their ideas to life. One of the most important tools that Kickstarters have to bring their projects to fruition is their video.

Here are my top five favorite Kickstarter videos I found in February 2013.

5. Luxi – Incident light meter adapter for iPhone

Maybe I love this video because it’s right up my alley, being about handy tools for creating great imagery. Or, maybe I’m in love because it answered all my pre-click questions in fewer than 20 seconds. The information was technical enough for me to be impressed, but also followed up with enough explanation that it didn’t make me feel like a lesser man. The video itself is simple, not technical in technique or lighting – but it doesn’t need to be – as that may quickly take away from the mechanical nature of the tool.

4. Lumio: A Modern Lamp With Infinite Possibilities

Lumio delivers exactly what it promises in it’s title, examples of how to use a lamp, but with a twist. Acting more like a light-essay, this video shows off the quality of light that falls on it’s subjects as they go through the many applications for such a lamp. The camera moves slowly and gracefully, adding to the beauty of the product. Setting the exposure for what light the Lumio gives off, we get to experience what it is like to use this product. The video is charming and pleasant, the perfect tone for a Kickstarter for a lamp.

3. Marny Lion Proudfit – Album Release by Marny Lion Proudfit

This video took a daring leap toward success. In order to fund an album, the campaign video was a simple, micro music video, explaining nothing about how the project will be created, and letting the music and visuals speak for themselves. The one-light video, a personal favorite shooting style, shows the playful and dream-like quality of the music with rhythmic editing and nostalgic film projections on a human subject, which displays what this project represents to it’s creator – a labor of love.

2. FORM 1: An affordable, professional 3D printer

Professional-grade videography. This video does not rely on visual effects or lavish sets to get the “wow” they were looking for. Rather, there is a constant use of movement, not only in the camera work, but also in the story. The audience is taken through the 5 W’s of this 3D printer as though on a magic carpet ride while being shown a whole new macro world of things their product has created as told through numerous credible ambassadors.

1. Manly Marks: A Letterpress Project by Brandon Griswold

Manly Marks is a sharp combination of production design, story, comedy, and a likable character that takes us through what it is to be a man. A classy tune paired with retro style of shooting (how many snap-zooms were used?) kept this video close to the project. All compositions are planned and executed for an intended effect that hits its manly mark. Brandon is absorbing, clever and confidant, the perfect salesman for a successful project.

Please send all autograph requests for Wes Warfield to wwarfield@sterlingpr.com. Follow his stream of consciousness @WesWarfield.