COVID-19 will redefine the way we produce and consume content forever.

So we are devoting our Knowledge section to everything you need to know about the ways our industry is changing. If you have any questions at all, or want us to feature something here, please drop us a line and we'll be happy to help you.

#ThoughtforThursday: Have a Great Independence Day

Posted by Nick Francis
Read More

Whether or not a ‘special relationship’ exists at an international level, it has always been a pleasure as a Brit to work, socialise and, for some of us, live among our American cousins. There is a shared respect which underpins our relationships. As Brits, we admire the energy, positivity and ambition of our US friends. For Americans, there is the history, creativity and worldliness of those from Britain.

Whatever the challenges we face, at a personal level there is still so much to celebrate and be thankful for. As we mark the birth of the US this weekend – a birth achieved through our separation - we hope that companies that straddle our nations like Casual Films can continue to show what we’re capable of when we all work together. And long may that continue. Most of all though, we’d like to wish all Americans a cracking - and safe - weekend!

Topics: About Casual, Culture & Values, Coronavirus Content, Thought for Friday

Case Study: GoDaddy Black Lives Matter Roundtable: Episode 1

Posted by Sanica Apte
Read More

A couple of weeks ago, we worked with the GoDaddy team to put together this BLM roundtable, featuring a panelist of guests to talk about Black entrepreneurship, culture, and history. 

The 45-minute conversation features four amazing panelists: 

  • Andrea Lewis -- Canadian actress, filmmaker, and founder of Jungle Wild Productions
  • Xavier and Lynisha Henderson -- co-founders of SoulfulofNoise
  • Joy Brunson, actress and founder of Tee2Tea and The Joy of Acting
  • Ashten Fizer, GoDaddy Employer Brand Manager, and DJ 

This video is an education on how to be better allies, how to be anti-racist, and insight into the distinct challenges that face Black entrepreneurs. The discussion covers the importance of black buying power to the importance of group economics within the black community. The roundtable also covers when to use the terms ‘POC’ vs ‘Black’, and the significance of the ‘American Dream’ and if that idea still is indeed a reality for black communities in this country.  

The full conversation was originally broadcast on IGTV:

GoDaddy Black Lives Matter Roundtable

In the coming weeks, we must keep our foot on the gas. While our Instagram feeds are no longer 100% focused on the Black Lives Matter movement like they were two weeks ago, protests are still happening. Injustice is still happening. People are still dying. Being an ally means that we think about these topics even when it’s not trendy and cool. Being anti-racist means that we have tough conversations in the workplace. We push our friends and colleagues on their viewpoints and encourage them to learn and grow. Being anti-racist means that we speak to our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles and ask them why they hold their perspectives & help them expand their worldview to be on the right side of history. 

If and when life ever goes back to ‘normal’ we have to keep calling our representatives and senators and demanding that they represent our values. It means that we all vote in November and not let a plurality dictate the lives and fates of the rest of us. 

Not all of these things are ‘social media friendly’ and that’s fine. Doing the work means that it’ll be a slow, arduous process. No one can undo 400+ years of institutionalised racism in a few weeks. There’s so many blocks to dismantle and a lot of us are just starting. 

So keep going. Keep reading, keeping learning, keep calling, keep protesting. Keep improving. This is not a moment, it’s a movement. Being anti-racist is a habit we must develop for the rest of our lives.  

Topics: Train and develop staff, Increase brand awareness and appeal, Case Study, Coronavirus Content, Diversity & Inclusion

#ThoughtforThursday: Exercise your right to Vote

Posted by Sanica Apte
Read More

Over the past few weeks, protests and grass-roots movements have been spurring on long overdue progress in communities, police departments, and state/local governments. People are re-educating themselves, learning how to be anti-racist. Growing and changing. Becoming better allies and advocates.

But we need to keep going. Over the summer, a few remaining states will hold their primaries. And in November, those of us in the US will have our biggest chance to make a difference. We are so lucky to live in countries where we have the right, the power to vote. We must use that power — in our local elections, primaries, and in the big presidential election. Each and every single election matters. We can appoint officials that share our values and move us forward. It’s our duty as citizens. Our voices together will make a difference.

If you’re not registered to vote yet, or want to request a mail-in ballot for the upcoming election(s), check out @whenweallvote for all the resources you need to get signed up.

Topics: About Casual, Culture & Values, Coronavirus Content, Thought for Friday

Creating engaging virtual online events

Posted by Oliver Atkinson
Read More

With the current lockdown we’ve put our heads together with some of the best technical minds in the business to bring you the next level in virtual events. At their most basic, these may be live video broadcasts - trying to move away from the 'death by Zoom' we have all been experiencing. Beyond this there is a whole world of ways to engage, inform and delight your audience in the same way that a really good live event does. Here are some of the ways that we can help you to make your event as good as anything you did pre-pandemic.

The changing nature of events

Pre-C19 why did businesses put so much time and effort into running events? After all, they cost a lot of money, the team is out of the office for a few days and often you find yourself cheek by jowl with the competition vying for your customer’s attention. The effectiveness of events can be tricky to track too.

Strip an event back to the bare bones and it’s essentially a structured presentation of information

- with a good dash of networking thrown in.

They provide marketers with an opportunity to create a brand narrative through the stories they share. Exhibitors get that face-to-face contact to generate leads and gather precious feedback from a target audience. Speakers reinforce brand recognition and new products and services can be tried and tested. Anyone who has hosted an event in the last few years will tell you that the attendees are getting more and more picky. They tend to be super-targeted on the stands and speakers they want to see, and even while watching the presentation, everyone is on social media anyway. The event experience was in need of a bit of a rethink - Coronavirus or not.

Crowded Pre-Tech EventsIt's going to be some time until we get back to events like this!

This seems to be quite a challenge for virtual events to live up to, but with a creative approach and some interactive solutions, a brand can produce an experience that delivers more value. 

So, how do you turn your live event into an engaging online event?  

First up, it’s important to look at the editorial. It’s useful to think of it as producing a live TV show rather than an event. Think about how the event will run and how smaller segments of content spring out from the main show (these would have been break-out rooms or Q&A sessions). Develop a content strategy that is appropriate for a virtual event rather than thinking about your typical daily running order. To keep people’s attention, your broadcast needs a story arc that holds the viewer, and each VT or segment should have a distinct narrative that is relevant within the context of the main show. Our team has the experience to guide you through this crucial part of the process. 

Once you have the editorial locked down, you can think about how to get your content out to your audience:


Live Broadcast

If you want your event to stand out from the thousands of Zoom presentations, get a professional crew in to look after the production. By raising the production values, your end product will be a slick, high definition live studio show which will bolster brand integrity rather than damage it by using low resolution webcams. It can also be repurposed into an on-demand event, increasing return. We would recommend using a streaming company to run the broadcast to make sure you don’t suffer a drop out midway through, especially if you are expecting a high number of attendees. Alternatively, for smaller productions use a professional crew to look after the camera, audio and lighting and then plug into Microsoft Teams Live Events, Vimeo Studio 6 or similar streaming software to go live. 

 

CF_CoronaMessaging_VirtualMeetings_16-9_Subs

 

Live Video Broadcast Example

By using a multi-camera set up you’ll be able to demonstrate products in detail, cut between presenters and locations, and the live element will retain that all-important sense of occasion that you would have had with an event. 

Rehearsals are crucial when shooting live. Block out the camera moves and rehearse the running order and allow plenty of time between segments. Ensure you have talent on screen who can hold your audience and think on their feet. 


Want to talk to a specialist about putting on a live broadcast event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.


360º Video 

While VR has been knocking around for some time, it has remained on the fringes of corporate comms and rarely piques the interest of our existing clients who sometimes dismiss it as too expensive or gimmicky. The headset for one is a significant barrier to virtual reality. After all, who wants to wear a sweaty, heavy headset for a two-hour event? 

360 has limitations when you consider the bandwidth needed to run it effectively, but what these mediums do offer is an immersive environment and an opportunity to create a virtual foyer to display your content. 

VR_Option

360º Interactive Video Example

Shooting 360 is more cost-effective than you might think. We can shoot several locations within a day and the crew size is minimal. Once we have a 360 environment of an office space or an iconic location on film, we add an interactive layer with hotspots that link through to the different segments of content. 

The struggle with 360 has always been creating a clear narrative. Once you’re in the space it becomes an open world where the user picks their journey or the content they want to consume. The most effective use of interactive 360 we have seen is in virtual tours where the narrative is less of an issue. As well as tours, 360 is a fitting replacement for an event with multiple speakers as it gives the virtual delegate the choice to select different sessions or content streams. To direct the attention of your audience when using 360 you can use visual cues and ambisonics, but bear in mind this works best using a headset.


Want to talk to a specialist about putting on a 360º interactive video event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.

 


Interactive Video

Interactive film provides a high level of engagement, comprehensive video analytics, and the ability to choose a narrative. This makes it a good candidate for a walkthrough of an exhibition space using interactive hotspots that lead to supporting pieces of content, product demos, Q&A sessions, or even filmed keynote presentations. 

Everyone has sat through a webinar while simultaneously working on a document, and let’s be frank, it’s a waste of time. A creative execution combined with an interactive platform keeps your audience engaged throughout and can provide a huge amount of information on how your virtual delegates are interacting with the content. It provides clear data and we would argue it is more accurate than counting the number of tickets sold at a conference, especially considering the number of delegates you see on Facebook while a speaker delivers the speech of their life. 

Interactive option

Interactive Video Example


If you provide a sense of occasion and limit the accessibility to your virtual event you can create a world where the audience feels they are attending an exclusive ‘live’ experience. If you want to take this further you can even have a live virtual Q&A session or have your team online and ready to chat with the delegates. 

The issue with the current situation doesn’t affect construction or hiring an event space, so to make the experience feel familiar, hire a space, build the exhibition stands you would have used at the cancelled event, and then film a walk-through covering a services pitch from your team or any products in detail. Using shoppable interactive, the viewer could even purchase in the moment or download a PDF for more information. 


Want to talk to a specialist about putting on an interactive video event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.


Virtual Events

A gaming platform or virtual event is as close as you can get to the full freedom of movement you would have at a real-world event and with major festivals (Glastonbury, The Happy Place, San Francisco Design Week) going virtual, they are becoming ever more mainstream. 

The flexibility of these platforms is a huge draw - as well as having Q&As, polls, online networking, surveys, and even a games room. Once you have the event space set up, it can be reused for different events delivering a fantastic return. Like interactive, a virtual event will provide detailed analytics so you can review the data and update the experience to improve engagement. 

 

Gameplay_Option

 

The good news is that the cost to develop these immersive platforms has dropped significantly but the slight drawback is that you need a desktop app to run it. If you decide to use a desktop app, make sure it is easy for your delegates to download and install. While downloadable software enables greater scope for creative flexibility, it stands true that the fewer barriers you have in place, the higher the engagement. 


Want to talk to a specialist about putting on a Virtual Reality event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.


Build it and they will come: Using Programmatic Targeting

Given the volume of webinars and virtual conferences online, your event must stand out from the crowd. Ads need to be attention-grabbing and seen by the right people at the right time. To do this we would recommend using programmatic advertising. This works by taking audience insight and using that data to target the appropriate demographic with creative, memorable content (don’t worry, we can help with that). 

The attendance data for a traditional event or trade show is readily available, so by using programmatic to target potential delegates as well as a wider audience, you could yield higher engagement than a real-world event. Our digital partners use programmatic targeting and retargeting across all digital media to drive traffic to your site.

A good example of how effective programmatic can be, is a campaign we ran for Breast Cancer Now, which set out to achieve 600,000 video views but by using programmatic we surpassed that target by over 1000%. 


This is an opportunity to put your brand at the forefront of event disruption and digital innovation. After all, these event alternatives will provide you more data, more leads, more brand recognition. Online you can already run speaker sessions, networking, product launches and Q&As, but by using the emotive power of film or the limitless possibilities with animation you can really engage your audience. Pull this all together in a 360 or virtual environment and you create a memorable experience that brings an online event to life.


We'd love to discuss your event with you. There are many ways to use video to make your next event the best ever. Give us some details here and we will give you a call back shortly.

Topics: Content Strategy, Case Study, Coronavirus Content, Events

#ThoughtforThursday: The High Water Mark in the Power of Video?

Posted by Nick Francis
Read More

For a time many of us believed social media would usher in an ‘Age of Transparency’. Now that citizens could report anything that happened in any part of the world, business and government would be held to account. Some people even suggested the death of the PR industry because – as the wisdom went – you can’t spin the truth. That seems to be an age ago now. Few who welcomed this new age foresaw just how subjective a concept that 'Truth' would be.

What has been undeniable over recent weeks is just how powerful an invention the cell phone camera has become. For the whole of time it has been easy for the majority of the population to dismiss, or overlook the reported mistreatment of minorities. Where the Age of Transparency has delivered in spades is in the reportage of the violent police response to protests in response to police violence. The shocking images, shared instantly are undeniable and cannot be ignored.

Whatever you settle on as the protest symbol of the 20th century, the phone camera has a rightful claim to be the symbol for the 21st. Effective video has always had the power to magnify the experience of the individual to reflect the story of the many. Video’s potency has never been greater. As deep fakes reduce the trustworthiness of the medium in the near future we will look back on this summer of protest as the high water mark for the power of the tool that we as filmmakers treasure so deeply.

Topics: About Casual, Culture & Values, Coronavirus Content, Thought for Friday

GoDaddy : Small Business Stories, Covid19 Edition

Posted by Sanica Apte
Read More

In these Small Business Stories, we revisit some of GoDaddy’s everyday entrepreneurs to see how they’ve pivoted their businesses to meet the current global crisis. With millions around the world still under stay at home orders, businesses are struggling. But, these savvy entrepreneurs saw this as an opportunity to do something different. Some digitized their operations, offering online shopping, delivery, and curbside pick up for the first time. Others began hosting online events to keep their community engaged and provide a bit of a distraction from daily stress. 

Others forged headfirst into the fight against COVID-19, shifting their manufacturing businesses to make PPE for our frontline workers. These stories showcase the agility of our small business community, demonstrating how they can adapt and overcome even the most difficult situations. Check out their stories below! 

 

 

Ahana Yoga

 

In the wake of the pandemic, Ahana Yoga founder Dawn Feinberg didn’t hesitate to find a way to remain profitable and avoid the drain — she adapted her brick-and-mortar studio located in the heart of Miami’s Design District to become a premier online yoga studio. Staying true to the Ahana mission of connecting mind, body and spirit within their sweaty yoga practice, they infused a new type of flow by streaming online yoga classes to hundreds of remote yogis around the globe. And the response has been overwhelming. Being the extrovert she is (and used to interacting with over 100 students daily), Dawn has found the silver lining in the struggles of COVID-19 through the priceless gift of quality time with her family. Like she ends her practice, she offers words of hope to entrepreneurs to stay strong and believe in themselves during this rollercoaster of a journey.


Antonelli’s Cheese Shop

 

John and Kendall Antonelli are more than just owners of the only cut-to-order cheese shop in Austin, Texas — they’re fine cheese experts who have been serving their beloved community for over 10 years. After COVID-19 cancelled the city’s annual SXSW festival, they put their heads together to make a plan for the extra cheesy goodness that had already been prepped. By offering online and over-the-phone orders for pickup, along with virtual pairing events for over 150 cheese-loving customers, the Antonellis have been able to keep their business afloat in these pandemic floods. This power couple encourages entrepreneurs to seek self-grace, stay positive and remember each day is a new day as they make tough business decisions.


The Snap Bar // Keep Your City Smiling

 

Once cancellations started pouring in due to COVID-19, Sam Eitzen shifted gears quickly and spent all night brainstorming how to pivot SnapBar, a photo booth rental business. Seeing how local business owners were being impacted by the pandemic, the SnapBar team launched Keep Your City Smiling, a care package delivery service supporting small businesses and giving customers a reason to smile during these uncertain times. The care packages are filled with hand-picked goods from local shops — everything from yummy treats to skin care products and trinkets to fit your lifestyle. The success of the care packages has been overwhelming and Sam stands strong to ensure his team stays included in every part of the pivotal success they have created together throughout this pandemic.


DedCool

 

Since 2016, Carina Chaz has been creating multi-purpose fragrant concoctions through her sustainable brand, DedCool — a 100% unisex, nontoxic and vegan fragrance company in Los Angeles. But March 13th is a day she’ll never forget. On top of finding herself face-to-face with the retail apocalypse (also known as COVID-19), this freaky Friday was also the last day in the office with her team and she had just launched a new detergent product. Despite production coming to a stop and customers holding on to their pockets during the pandemic, Carina quickly shifted her battle plan to utilize her strong eCommerce presence as a tool to sell sanitary essentials that her quarantined customers needed now. With much excitement, her solutions for new products have been a hit. By staying true to her mission for sustainability and green beauty, DedCool has become more than a personal fragrance brand — they strive for the greater good by generously donating proceeds to support impactful organizations like the CDC and Meals on Wheels.


FABRIC

Fueled by healthcare worker’s urgent need for protective gear, Angela Johnson and Sherri Barry gear up to make a bold move: transforming their nonprofit Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center (FABRIC) into a total PPE gown production center. The FABRIC team put their normal routine on hold to wholeheartedly dedicate their time and resources to research, development and production of CDC and FDA certified PPE gowns. Despite the low supply and high demand for the materials needed, Angela and Sherri overcome every challenge to do their part during this time of crisis. Thanks to the financial support of their community, they are able to expand their “war room” production and meet the demand of creating thousands of reusable medical gowns (25,000 per week!) to healthcare facilities across the nation. This humble and compassionate duo is both directly and indirectly impacting millions as they continue to do business with their heart and seek to accomplish the 1 Million Gown Challenge.


FOGUE Studios

 

As Patti Curtis saw the COVID-19 storm rolling in, she knew she needed to start preparing her brick-and-mortar art gallery for a big adjustment — without knowing how big it would eventually become. Thankfully, she acted quickly enough to get photos of every art piece and adapt Fogue Studios & Gallery into an online store just before shelter-in-place orders took place. From closing the studio doors to receiving a grant to help support her struggling artists, Patti carries the torch to ensure her business and the artists stay safe during the pandemic. In order to keep the community engaged, Patti creates videos on social media to chat with art enthusiasts, showcase current exhibits and share fun things artists are doing while social distancing. Her advice for other entrepreneurs during these uncertain times is to jump on the train and start building a strong online presence in order to keep the dream alive.


GoodWood

 

Pre COVID-19, the GoodWood team made beautiful, handcrafted furnishings for commercial businesses. But the pandemic changed everything in a flash, causing GoodWood to completely pivot their everyday operations to build something else: face shields. From taking big financial risks to keeping everything locally-sourced and staying true to their sustainability mantra, GoodWood has successfully made over 30,000 FDA approved face shields for healthcare professionals — with a hefty goal of reaching 50,000 face shields per week (!) once they expand to a bigger manufacturing spot. Until this environmentally-conscious business can return to making nifty things with wood, they remain good stewards of their materials while supplying this high-demand product to those on the healthcare frontlines. 


The world of production is opening back up. As you can see in these films there are a wide range of ways that you can still make really effective videos safely. If you have a project that you would like to discuss, drop us some details here and one of our experienced producers give you a call straight back.

Topics: Increase brand awareness and appeal, News, Coronavirus Content, Video production from home

#ThoughtforThursday: Time to learn

Posted by Nick Francis
Read More

One of the hardest things to talk about as a white person is racism and the ways in which we have benefitted from society's systemic bias against people of color. The past days have been challenging - forcing us all to confront truths that we have previously shied away from. It has been heartening to see the groundswell of support for reform sweeping our world.

We are learning more by the day. One key point is the idea that the system is so endemically biased that - as people who have been exceptionally privileged in life – if we are not taking specific action to counteract that bias, then we are guilty of racism through our inaction. This is an extremely challenging idea. We like to think of ourselves as decent, conscientious, equitable people, of course. In fact, perversely, the more decent you think you are the more challenging this principle becomes.

We have always been proud of the work we have done at Casual, particularly with our Academy. But we need to acknowledge that this is not enough; that there is far, far more that we can and must do. We have a number of ideas - from educating ourselves and targeted recruitment, to giving our custom to minority owned businesses - and we are working on the specifics. We will share our full plan next week. For now though, we are working to be better and are keen to hear your thoughts - if you want to get in touch.

Topics: About Casual, Culture & Values, Coronavirus Content, Thought for Friday

How to Keep Teams Engaged Remotely

Posted by Sanica Apte
Read More

Two months into lockdown, we’re all pretty good at this work from home thing. As states and countries begin to ease restrictions, some of us are going back to the office. Others will remain in a remote setup for a while longer. 

While we’re in these mixed working situations, it’s important to keep teams connected and communicating. The last thing you want is for people to feel lonely, or siloed due to the lack of interpersonal connection. Or, for productivity to suffer in the monotony of days that all look the same. So here are four easy, low-cost tips that are sure to keep the work fam going strong! 

Keep it Creative 

One day, we were all chatting about how every day feels the same and how hard it is to differentiate time passing. Cue: an opportunity for one filmmaking trick that we’ve always wanted to try, inspired by Donald Glover’s TV show, Atlanta. What better way to scratch that itch than to do something fun for ourselves? It was really fun to be our own end client for a change. And, to work as a team to create this piece together. Check out the video below! 

 

 

Have a #teaminning

A couple of weeks ago, we all received an email asking for our home addresses. Cryptic! Most of us assumed it was for mundane HR info reasons, but instead it was for a secret plan of fun. 

Our management team ordered pizza delivery for everyone across all 3 offices, perfectly timed for a Friday afternoon happy hour. We all ate pizza together on Google Meet & went off into the weekend in great spirits. Easy, low cost, in line with current restrictions, and supporting local businesses. Win-win-win!

PizzasExec Producer, Lexi's pizza + an NYC view.

Nick Pizza Disaster

Co-founder Nick, DROPPING HIS PIZZA ON HIS KEYBOARD cause he wanted to show us how good it looked. 12/10 would do it again for the #memories [it was a really great pizza - Ed.]

 

Daily Team Check-ins

It’s pretty standard to have a stand-up or two or three with your team but we take it one step further and do two check-ins a day. A morning coffee stand-up, and an EOD goodbye.  

We kick off the day at 9 a.m. all saying hello to each other with a cup of coffee. Sometimes we are discussing work priorities but other times we’re just enjoying each other’s company. These meetings can last 2 minutes or 30 minutes, depending on how the team feels every day. 

And at 5 p.m. we all meet to sign off the day together, somewhat replicating the ‘bye, have a good evening!’ chats you’d have in the office in pre-COVID-19 times. 

It’s a great way of keeping everyone connected, but also an easy opportunity to discuss stuff that you may not have otherwise gotten a chance to. Almost as good as an impromptu chat in the office kitchen.  

 

Try Some Zoom Games

Every Wednesday at 5 p.m. our team attends a meeting called “Hump Day Zoomies.” Sounds strange, sure, but it’s jam-packed work-family fun: 30 minutes dedicated to some sort of game.

 Zoom games can be anything! Here are a few of the ones we’ve done: 

  • Guess the Zoom Background: everyone dials into Zoom with their background changed to an image of some unidentified location. Points to whoever guesses it! Great way to see how much you know about each other & see who’s traveled the world a bunch. 
  • Where’s Waldo: we each photoshopped a filmmaking object into a photo of our choice. Whoever spotted the object got a point! 
  • Pictionary, corporate filmmaking style: everyone drew an interview background of one of the videos we’ve worked on in the last year. 1 point if you guess the video it’s from! (We watch and rewatch every one of our films hundreds of times to the point where we quote lines from them like they’re movie references.) 

At the end of the month, we tally it all up and see who won the most points, and the winner will get some kind of mystery prize! 

Topics: How-to, Video production from home

Post-Corona Content: 4. Create Great Videos for your Audience

Posted by Nick Francis
Read More

OK - so you have reviewed and are clear on what you want your content to achieve and who exactly your audience are. You also understand the value in using your business' purpose as a cornerstone for all the content that you share. You're well on your way to creating a content strategy that will get things kick started post-Corona.

This time we share all the different ways that you can use video to communicate with your audience. The simple answer is that there are loads of ways. Here we share a number of different films from our back catalogue to get you inspired to get back out again.


Quality vs quantity

As an established brand, online visitors will expect you to have a decent, video-led web presence. Don’t fall into the trap of just creating and sharing any old material because the space is there. There was a stage where the prevailing wisdom seemed to be that these platforms were effectively a content void, which needed to be filled with whatever might be available. This has led to some significant household-name businesses sharing very- poor-quality material online – which is badly filmed, badly thought out, too long, too banal and too badly organised. This colours what visitors think of your business, harming your standing.

To minimise this risk, you should focus on quality over quantity. Not necessarily high production quality, but at least high concept quality. Technological advancement has put quality production in the hands of your staff – just make sure they put time and thought into using it. Efficiently curated videos, ideally on your own website or hosted on YouTube, can take a big step towards fulfilling the potential that video holds for your brand.

 

Defining your channel brand or tone

All content has a style or tone. Think about how the different traditional broadcasters have their own tone or brand. Just as the tone of Fox News differs from the BBC, so should you establish your own channel’s tone. To begin with, I would recommend that your content’s tone conforms to your broader brand. Over time, you may find that it can start to diverge. This is understandable – and may be desirable – but it should be a function of you gaining the trust of the audience and then pushing it incrementally. First and foremost, the content you share must feel authentic to the audience.

Evening Standard Independent - Baileys

Once you have decided what the brand is going to be, it is worth setting down some brand guidelines to keep you on track over time. This can vary from the technical (e.g. what resolutions you should film in) and the aesthetic (e.g. colour schemes) to the tone of voice (e.g. how you should talk).

Once you have a guide of all the things the channel should do or say, it’s worth making a list of all the things that it shouldn’t. Now test it. Does what you are saying sound right? Does it sound authentically like your brand? You might want to share your thoughts with a few people, particularly some members of the target audience.

Remember that the brand is a living thing, so it may well evolve over time. Keep in mind that whatever you share has to feel authentic to the audience. Nothing will end in painful shame faster than your brand doing the marketing equivalent of ‘dad dancing’. If you can find a message that really resonates with your audience, they can and will amplify it many times over. You should look for content that presents this opportunity. Unfortunately, if you get it wrong, it can work against you in exactly the opposite way.

 


TRUE: A simple way to think about creating content of value for your audience.

In terms of thinking about your content, a simple guide to this is that the audience are looking for something that is TRUE; that is, timely, relevant, useful or entertaining. The better you understand your audience, the more effective the content that you create for them will be.

Let’s look at what is meant by each of those terms:

Timely

Timing is key to effective content. Think about how successful Oreo was with its ‘You Can Dunk in the Dark’ tweet, when the lights went out during the 2013 Super Bowl. It was picked up by the 23 million Twitter users who were watching the game and ended up being regarded as the ad of the evening – a title that many companies had spent millions of dollars for a shot at, and failed. It goes without saying that what is timely for one viewer is annoyingly late for another – the correct advice 30 seconds after you have made a decision is annoying.

oreo

Oreo - Inspired Tweeting...

Relevant

As we touched on previously, the content has to be relevant to the audience. This almost goes without saying – we all constantly filter the information that assails us every waking moment. Because of this, your audience are keenly aware of what does and doesn’t apply to them. Think about what is going to be relevant for your viewers – this might now be directly obvious. For example, if you’re trying to market an apprentice scheme to school leavers, they may be interested in advice on renting a home for the first time. This information is obviously not so interesting to those looking to move job as an experienced hire. This underlines the importance of understanding your audience and what is relevant to them.

A word of warning here, according to research by LinkedIn, 44% of their respondents said they would consider ending a relationship with a brand because of irrelevant promotions. An additional 22% said that they would ‘definitely defect’ from that brand.  Knowing your audience and making content that is relevant to them is essential.

Useful

One step on from being relevant is content that is actually useful. Providing how-tos, instructions, discounts and tie-ins with other products that they may be using are all ways of being useful to your audience. Once again, what is useful to your viewers might not be immediately obvious – look at the previous example. Home-renting advice is also useful to the target audience. These different types of value do not exist in isolation – each piece of content can be a combination of one or more things.

Entertaining

We all need a little entertainment from time to time. If you can get it right, this is a great way of drawing in your audience and winning them over. Tread carefully with this though – you have to make sure that whatever you share ties in with your brand. You need to earn the trust of the audience before making drastic departures in tone of voice.

The content you produce doesn’t need to be all of those things at the same time – any one or two will work, as long as it/they provide enough value in that given area. The more entertaining and relevant your work content is, for example, the more the chance there is that it will be watched, shared and loved.

Different ways of skinning a cat

Google defines the different ways of engaging your audience with your content slightly differently:

  • »  Inspire the audience with emotional and relatable stories
  • »  Educate the audience with useful information
  • »  Entertain the audience by surprising them, making them laugh or sharing spectacular content

There is no right or wrong way of looking at these; they are just a different way of looking at the same underlying principles. I hope that seeing them from a slightly different angle will help you to understand them and use them.


Using your Business Values and Purpose to Inform Your Content

[Read the post here]

It can be a little baffling to think about all the different types of content you might want to make. A useful way to start is by looking at your business’s values and purpose. All the content that you create (no matter how disparate the actual subject matter) should be in some way a physical manifestation of your purpose and brand values. For example, Red Bull’s purpose is to give wings to people and their ideas. This is manifested in the nature of the types of people, sports and events that it features on its channel.

If you can follow this rule, your content will be far more cohesive in its nature and will do a more effective job of building your brand equity. Whatever your corporate purpose, your channel gives you an unrivalled opportunity to make something that is, by its nature, intangible into something tangible.

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

– Oscar Wilde

 


Keeping it Real: Allianz #CarStories - Case study

Allianz insurance wanted to promote the fact that, by providing car insurance, it facilitates all the family time that gets spent in cars. It was an interesting insight on what could be seen as a fairly dry, but essential, product. Initially, it asked its advertising agency to create a commercial to promote this message. It set to work, spending an eye-watering budget on expensive crews, actors, locations, lighting and equipment.

 

 

Where it really went wrong was in using actors to play the family. Despite the fact that they did a decent job, the viewer can immediately identify that the film feels contrived and bogus. It doesn’t chime with our own gut sense of how a family interacts. Allianz ended up pulling the commercial after a week.

As part of the online activation, Casual worked with Allianz’s below- the-line agency to create something a little more heartfelt. The films focus on a series of real families driving in their car and talking about different subjects, from the safari park to when the parents brought the new baby home for the first time. The families were interviewed in depth by a producer beforehand, to judge their appropriateness and the potential subjects they could feature.

Allianz - #CarStories

Having chosen the right families, the team then removed as much of the production crew and equipment from the cars as was feasible. The goal here was to allow the families to be as normal and genuine in their interactions as possible. To do this, they used a ‘fixed rig’ of cameras in the car to record the family from a number of angles. The production team travelled in the car behind, recording sound and feeding the family discussion topics.

The resulting 14 45-second videos were featured on the company’s Facebook page, where the heartfelt interactions and kids’ funny statements made them a massive it. Their short length and poignant content made them particularly touching. On YouTube, the videos got an 87% view- completion rate – which is practically unheard of – this is so high that Google got in touch with us to ask us how we had managed it.

The only answer was that, having chosen the ‘right’ families, we removed as much of the artifice as possible and let the family interactions speak for themselves. It’s amazing what you can get when you set the cameras up and have the confidence to just let real life happen.


What can video be used for?

One of the major challenges we had when we started Casual was that video can be used for such a wide range of things. Before we realised the importance of focus, we would answer the question, “So, what can you make films about?” with the pretty useless, “Almost anything”. Over time, we learned to be a bit more specific, and, in the last 10 years, we have made films that bring the whole of the employee lifestyle to life, from initial awareness, through recruitment, and on to ongoing engagement, and learning and development. We’ve even made films that retain and build a network of alumni for those who’ve moved on. We’ve made product promotions, adverts, discount films, branded content and conference openers. Some of these with actors and others with online influencers, with helicopters, drones and bodycams.

Casual has made over 8,000 different films for almost everything a company could want a film for. It’s really important to understand that film or moving images can enhance any message you might have to share. Video is a great way of weaving emotion into selected facts. This increases their impact, memorability and the chance that people will act on them. Let’s look at some of the ways that video has been used by corporate communicators. We use the following classifications at Casual to separate all the different things that our clients have used our work for in the past. This is not exhaustive, but it does give a picture of the breadth of uses. Some of these are quite similar – or even overlap – and rely on similar attributes of video for their effectiveness.

 

Boost sales

Greater Anglia Railways - Spring Campaign

“Shoppers who view video are 1.81X more likely to purchase than non-viewers.”

– Adobe, 2015

The most common films made by companies, which we see in our day-to- day lives, are those designed to sell things. From the dawn of TV, advertisers have been promoting their wares, using every trick in the filmmaker’s book to introduce, promote and explain their products. Films that are able to do this remain the kings of corporate films. From the time in the 1940s and 1950s in which advertisers were able to show that there is a direct line of correlation between the amount spent and sales increases; the budgets for these short films have grown, in some cases to become eye-watering. The annual colosseum of televisual advertising – the US Super Bowl – boasts vast audiences, and hence has a cost of around US$2 million for a 30-second advertising spot. Each year, companies compete to outdo one another and be recognised as having the best commercials of the night.

At the other end of the spectrum, the prevalence of regional TV and now the spread of the Internet have made this type of marketing accessible to any business that wants to use it. There are a wide range of approaches available, from the relatively indirect to the focused sales activation described previously.

 

Encourage donations/funding

Breakthrough Breast Cancer - Chantel

The emotive power of video makes it an excellent tool for pulling on the audience’s heart strings, and getting them to part with their money or time. I’m sure you are aware of the way that charities have used videos since the 1980s. These can also extend to Kickstarter and crowdfunding campaigns. Video’s ability to simplify a message into a really compelling minute or so makes it excellent for this.

 

Introduce a business

ElectrifAi

As with encouraging funding, the ability to compress time and turn a ‘who we are’ PowerPoint presentation into a punchy 60-second promotion with music and branded graphics/colours makes video a useful tool to clarify exactly what your business does. The majority of websites that we have audited – over 1,000 thus far – are not using video on their homepage. They rely on the visitor being able to grasp what the business does in the few brief seconds before they click elsewhere. It is a truism that people/ businesses tend to market to themselves. As such, there is always far too much assumed knowledge, which makes websites impenetrable.

A video is a great way of capturing attention and explaining, in an accessible format, what the visitor should be looking for. This is why having a video on your homepage can improve click- through rates by up to 80%. This type of video can also be used in presentations, pitches, reception areas and for new joiners/potential recruits – anywhere you might want people to quickly understand, through compelling media, who you are and what you do.

 

Promote a product or service through explanation

FactSet - Portware

“4x as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.”

– Animoto, 2015

Explaining succinctly what a product or service is or does is another effective use of video. Once again, most businesses communicating anything assume too much background knowledge. In this instance, video can break down exactly what the product is and does, and build trust and understanding in an accessible package. This may be through an animation, which is effective when used to illustrate complex messaging, because of the ability to ‘show and tell’ at the same time as using accessible metaphors.

Another effective way to promote a service is through interview-led videos with experts, clients or users. These increase the audience’s trust in the product by borrowing from the featured subject’s standing: their expertise or experience. Interview-led films or ‘talking heads’ are useful because they are pretty much the cheapest videos to produce, and we find human faces innately intriguing .

 

Get people excited

The moving nature of video makes it a great tool for exciting an audience about something. Admittedly, this could be an extension of promoting a product or service. However, it is distinct in that the method is less based on relaying information and explaining, and more focused on generating a positive emotion in the audience. One way of looking at it might be to say that explainer films engage the logical left side of the brain, while a film to get people excited targets the feeling, creative right side. These usually employ a stirring script and a voiceover with powerful music to do this. Both of these types of film, explainer and exciter, aim for the same outcome, though – getting the audience more engaged.

 

Increase brand awareness / tell a story

 

 

Adobe - Making It

In reality, all the video content that companies share has the effect of building (or, unfortunately, sometimes damaging) their brand. Some videos are made specifically for this purpose, though. They may aim to align the business with a cause that matters to their target audience, or reflect on someone or something that they’re interested in. It may extend to them wanting to share a story related to the company – the history or something that has inspired them.

 

Attract the best candidates

Video is an excellent way to illustrate relatively intangible things, such as a company’s culture. Most people looking for a role at a new company will research what the job is about, beyond what is included in the job description. Video is a great way of sharing some of the things that make your company special.

 

Rolls-Royce - Germany

 

In the hyper-competitive job market, more and more companies are having to compete with the likes of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) for top technological talent. Simply put, all businesses are now technological businesses, so they have to recruit some of the brightest technological talent who would initially think about going to one of the aforementioned ‘Big Six’. This is particularly challenging given the absurdly deep pockets those companies have to hire staff.

The one area that other businesses can compete in is through an engaging, motivating and, crucially, well-communicated culture. Video can be invaluable in helping to build that culture, through communicating what the concept of the brand means. This is where video can be invaluable – it allows you to communicate with your potential (and current) staff on an emotional level. One point to note is that, in the age of resources such as Glassdoor (which allows employees to rate employers for all to see), it is important that the offer and reality align.

Recruitment videos are split into two categories: employer/employee value-proposition brand films and profile/day-in-the-life films. These then come in a variety of different subsections, covering all the different techniques that will be discussed. Videos to promote and clarify a company’s diversity and inclusion policies should be included here too.

 

Train your colleagues

IBM - Reputational Risks

Another type of internal communication that uses video is learning and development. The zero cost of distribution, and the ability to make changes and amendments to videos on an ongoing basis makes them useful for sharing information and training across a large organisation. Animation works well for information, and interactive video is good for training, because it allows viewers to choose responses and outcomes. The functionality of interactive video also allows for scorekeeping and sharing, which is a useful way of injecting a little competition into the learning process. Beyond that, simply being able to show videos and then have people discuss them helps to increase the effectiveness of the learning.

 

Change behaviour

The external equivalent of internal training, making films to inform and change behaviour, is nearly as old as film itself; for example, the public information films that were used to keep the population up to speed in the first half of the 20th century. The modern equivalents are usually produced by governments or charities.

 

Start a discussion/conversation

Action_Sustainability_Responsibilitiy_ (1)

Action Sustainability - Responsibility

Video removes any unnecessary information and pauses. This condenses the amount of time it takes to share different viewpoints in an argument, which makes it useful for setting up a discussion. Such videos are usually played at the beginning of an online/offline discussion, or to change to another subject.

 

Record an event

Avery Dennison - Plasticity Event

The quality of an event film is, understandably, usually tied to the quality of the event itself. It is a useful way of encapsulating what happened, what was discussed or featured, and who was there. With some appropriate music and a dynamic edit, the video becomes a useful tool for promoting forthcoming events too.

 

But not everything – emotion vs information

All this having been said, there are some things that video is not great at. Emotion and information exist in a balance in all films. Too much focus on emotion – with practically no information – and the film can feel superficial and lacking in substance (think of most fashion ads). Too much information and not enough emotion, and the film will be dry, difficult to follow and impenetrable (some corporate reports embody this pitfall).

They should be like yin and yang. In every informative film you should have a bit of emotion, and in every emotive film you should have a bit of information (even if that is a basic narrative structure). Because of this, if you have lots and lots of information to get across, video might not be the best way to do it. You will probably find it more effective to create a PDF document, use video to outline a few salient points and promote reading the PDF through a shorter, more engaging film.


Making the sale

Psychologists understand that we make the decision to act emotionally, but then we back up this decision logically. For example, in making the decision to buy a new car, an individual might choose a certain model because she likes the way it looks, the colour and how sitting in it makes her feel, but would then rationalise this decision through the great fuel economy, financing and crash-safety rating. Because of this, it’s important that the content you produce plays to both sides of your audience’s reasons for taking action. This is why really effective marketing campaigns combine two distinct angles: emotion-driving brand building and logically appealing sales activation. Let’s look at these two in a little more depth.


Brand building

“Video advertising, both on and offline, is the most effective brand-building form.”

– IPA Media in Focus Report

Brand building focuses on creating a positive emotional connection with the brand. These are the associations and beliefs that make the customer more likely to buy from one brand over another. This requires repeated exposure to consistent messaging, slowly building a compelling image of what that brand represents, produces and stands for. While this takes time to achieve, the effects are deep seated in the audience and lead to the best long-term effects.

The consistent nature of brand building has the additional benefit of creating followers among people who might not be in the market for the brand’s product at the time of exposure. This is important because the audience are not looking to purchase for the majority of the time. Video’s emotive power makes it an extremely valuable tool because it is so much more memorable.

Accidental Icon - GoDaddy

Creating raving fans/evangelists

Brand building also gives you the opportunity to build your customers into advocates for your brand. Each interaction they have with you will make them feel either more or less positive about you. Your product, delivery and customer service all play into this, but so does your content strategy. With everyone now having the power to communicate at their fingertips, you should be looking to build each of your customers to the point where they will do your marketing for you.

This is the most effective form of marketing available – the challenge is that it’s hard to do at scale. On the one hand, this may be writing positive reviews, defending what you do in chat rooms or simply recommending your product to their friends. This may also be by retweeting a video you have created, because it resonates so strongly with them, or reediting and sharing some content that you created for that purpose. Whatever it is, you must build their brand loyalty and then make it as easy as possible for them to do this for you. The process from sceptics, through customers and into advocates is shown below:

NicBook_Diagrams_v04_CD-12

Raving fans love your brand so much that they practically can’t stop going on about it. This is your goal for as many of your audience/customers as possible.

Sales activation

Sales activation is targeted at those who are likely to buy in the very near future. This aims to encourage the buyer into making a purchase and aims to make the purchase as frictionless as possible. These include discounts, vouchers, special offers, unique experiences, seasonal sales and are far more targeted to the individual than the broader nature of brand-building content. The more bought into your brand your audience are, the more effective this type of content will be. This is a great opportunity to further strengthen your follower base by offering them favourable terms if they are a subscriber to your channel.

Sothebys House Guest - Teaser

Sales-activation messages take advantage of the positive brand associations that you have built up in other areas and with your other communications. The effects of sales-activation approaches cause a short- term spike in purchasing intent, which drops off rapidly. Because of this, the two approaches are best used hand in hand, with the IPA’s 2017 Media in Focus report recommending a 60:40 split of brand building to activation as the optimum ratio.


If you're producing video it's important to get the length right for each social platform. We have done the research so you don't have to. You can download our white paper right here.

If you have a project that you would like to discuss, our international team of Exec Producers are ready to help make it a success. Drop them a note here and one of them will give you a call back.

Topics: Being a better commissioner, Content Strategy, Coronavirus Content

The death of George Floyd

Posted by Nick Francis
Read More

Casual Films has always been a place that supports the progression of equality, decency, and openness. It's important that we address the events happening in our cities in the US & UK.

What happened to George Floyd, and the countless Black lives before his, is wrong. Senselessly, maddeningly and utterly wrong. The system which presides over these injustices has to change. We can all play a role in this.

Casual stands in solidarity with the fight against racism and oppression in all its forms.

We don’t have the answers or the right words to say but we want to add our voice and not stay silent. We are encouraging our employees to take time off to volunteer and assist with positive and constructive action. We are keen to continue to produce work that benefits the cause of inclusivity, peace, and dignity for all human beings. Please get in touch with anything we can lend our filmmaking abilities to.

This page has great resources on how we can all get better informed, take action, and get involved. Click here to view.

Topics: News, About Casual

POPULAR POSTS

Casual FIlms Brain

Why is video such a powerful...

Oxfam Awesome Brand Videos

Five Awesome Brand Films to Get You...

Recent Posts

Fourth of July Liberty Fireworks

#ThoughtforThursday: Have a Great...

GoDaddy Black Lives Matter Roundtable

Case Study: GoDaddy Black Lives Matter...