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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.

Nick Francis

Nick Francis
Nick is Chairman of Casual Films. He co-founded the company in 2006 following a stint at the BBC. As a director/producer he won lots of awards for his work internationally, including the prestigious IVCA Best Director Gold. Nick spends his (working) time thinking about how to make Casual the best production company our clients could possibly imagine. He is a keen snowboarder, photographer and cyclist. He lives in California with his family and usually doesn’t talk about himself in the third person. Usually.
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Recent Posts

Five Awesome Marketing Video Examples To Get You Inspired

Posted by Nick Francis
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Ever wonder how to make a marketing video? Or why video marketing is so powerful? We dive into the answers with some inspiring examples.

Being an almost limitless, creative medium makes video an exciting and rewarding tool to work with. One of the things we like about our brand video production services is that marketing video briefs give us very clear constraints within which to work. Unconstrained creativity is anarchic. Within constraints creativity flourishes. This is why having a well thought out brief is so central to creating work which is memorable and effective. (You can download our guide to writing a good brief here).

Before you start with any project it helps to have an idea of the kind of thing you want to produce. To that end, we thought we’d pull together a few films which nail it to help you to channel your thinking. Have a watch, have a think, and then maybe get in touch with an exciting production company you might know....

Dramatised Charity Film: Oxfam – The Heist No One is Talking About 


This is probably my favourite charity film of all time. By reframing the issue of tax evasion, it makes the subject far more tangible for the audience. It is as illuminating as it is memorable. The cinematic production really adds to the drama and impact.

Inspiration point:
Films with this much gloss and thought require a significant investment. You can get a long way to a result like this with some decent creative thought up front. Once you have an idea as powerful as this, there are almost limitless ways of producing it Hollywood production values or not.

Related: Build your own brand with professional video content backed by expert strategy. Get everything you need to know in the Casual Films Guide To Marketing Video Production.


Repurposed Material:
BMW Careers


We love this film because it demonstrates how effective video can be at illustrating company culture. This company culture video was produced from the large amount of material that BMW already had. This was combined with some library footage and a punchy soundtrack, to deliver an effect that is eye-catching, memorable and effective.

Inspiration point:
Even if you're not BMW with endless amounts of great footage, have a think about the material you already have. Maybe you can update it, add to it or repurpose it easily to give you great content that you can get more mileage out of.
 

Business Mini-Doc: AutoDesk – History of 3D Printing 


Most companies are associated with interesting stories if you look beneath the surface. I like this mini documentary because it allows Autodesk to give real depth and context to the work that they do. It builds trust with the company both internally, with employees, and externally with customers, prospects and potential recruits.

Inspiration point:
Admittedly, 3D printing is kind of cool and looks good on camera especially the time lapse footage. There are always interesting stories that you can use to build trust with your brand if you look for them. Keep an open mind and ask around. Ask your employees, colleagues or clients. Video is a magnifying glass on issues. You can make a film about an individual or an event and reflect the story of the collective.

Related: Check out five of our favorite branded content examples that showcase how you can communicate your ethos with the lightest of touch, in this blog post.


Interactive:
Aloe Black

 Interactive brand video production by musician Aloe blaccThis will link you out to an external site.

This isn’t a brand film, and the interactive is pretty basic, but we still tend to go to this as a great example of the medium, because it’s so satisfying. It doesn’t hurt that the track is ace too. As with any new creative technology, some of the early  interactive has been a little prone to gimmickry. This confidently avoids that because the interactive adds to the narrative of the band coming together. It manages to inspire excitement as we switch from storyline to storyline, seeing what the next band member is up to. In a corporate context, this could be used to show almost any process where different threads run concurrently a recruitment process, a product being assembled or an even being prepared.

Inspiration point:
Interactive video is a great way of increasing engagement with your audience. We have seen engagement rates on some of our interactive films rate at nearly 4x live action video. It may seem a little intimidating, but it just requires an understanding of the mechanics and a little planning.  
 

Mixed Media Product Launch: Apple’s Big News 

Sure, it’s Apple, so it’s stylish, glossy and delicious. Producing something like this doesn’t need to cost an Apple budget though. This video works because it combines a number of elements effectively: live action video, on screen type, beautifully rendered animation, powerful audio blended with a strong dash of humour. As our brand video production team knows, most of these elements are inexpensive to create, it just requires a good script and some planning. They can come up with the creative idea and then produce it quickly and efficiently. 

Inspiration point:
It's easier to create something like this than it looks. Being clear on what you're trying to achieve before you start is the key. Once you have this, a professional producer can help you to create something memorable and effective.


It helps the production team if you have an idea what you want your video to look like. Marketing video examples help you fix down on your ideas, while a great brief will help you communicate them clearly.

Whatever you're trying to achieve, take a moment to consult our easy to follow guide to writing briefs which will make your video more engaging, memorable and ultimately effective.

Topics: Attract and retain the best candidates, Increase brand awareness and appeal, Boost sales and encourage donations, Being a better commissioner, Repurposed content, Content Strategy

Marketing video production: 10 Reasons to choose Casual Films

Posted by Nick Francis
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We’re proud to have helped some of the world’s leading brands increase and maintain their brand reach, launch new products and services, and deliver essential brand communications for a decade. And we’d love to do the same for you! From video content strategy to pre-production, filming and post-production — here are 10 reasons why you should choose Casual Films when you next need help with brand video production.

 

1. High production value

No matter what your budget, you’re guaranteed the best creative videos that accurately reflect the quality of your brand. Through technical efficiency and human ingenuity, we deliver high-quality video at scale — simply, effectively, seamlessly.

Related: Explore how video can help your brand connect deeply with its audience in our Guide to Marketing Video Production.

2. Trustworthy teams

We never put your project into strange hands. Using our production system, Ariel, our team of in-house experts and network of pre-vetted freelancers work together to produce work to the highest standards. ArielTM offers a consistent client experience across all our offices and production teams, and despite our global footprint, you’ll know exactly who is looking after your project.

3. Collaborative development

Agile methods mean efficient solutions. Through Ariel, we ensure a flexible, collaborative approach that seamlessly complements your resources — whether that’s a single in-house editor or a whole production department. Ariel also guarantees efficient workflows that maximise creativity, streamline production and guarantee delivery to deadline.

4. Transparent costing

Unless there’s significant “scope creep”, no costs are added to your budget once it’s been signed off. We also quote per line item, so you know exactly where your money is going. And if your vision does grow after sign-off, we’ll happily expand the scope of work, and discuss how this may impact your budget upfront.

5. High quality even at lower price points

Budgets can be tight sometimes, but the demand for branded video content never dries up. We offer bespoke creative campaigns and accessible solutions (such as our Say It In Sixty platform) for when you need to hit the mark with something a little easier on the pocket. Learn more about our Say It In Sixty solution in this blog post.

6. Brand video production expertise

When you need to create brand awareness and communicate positioning, you need more than a generalised plug produced by an ad agency with a video team. At Casual Films, we’ve executed thousands of briefs for some of the world’s biggest brands and created content that delivers specifically on their marketing campaign goals.

7. Award-winning work

We’ve racked up over 85+ industry awards and would love a chance to create work for you that may be our next nomination. Most notably, we’ve won multiple accolades for corporate image content, branded content writing and CSR content (check out these awards from the New York Festival’s World’s Best TV & Films, and The Telly Awards, in the link above).

8. Premiere client list

We’ve had the privilege of working with Fortune 500 companies and some of the world's biggest brands — helping them recruit the best talent for their organizations. Check out this brand video production case study documenting our work with Red Bull.

9. Reputable partnership

As your outsourced marketing video production partner, we pride ourselves on boosting your reputation with the highest quality work and a partnership you can boast about. That’s why we also pride ourselves on being well-regarded: we’ve been voted #1 Production Company in the UK in the Televisual Magazine Peer Poll for 3 years running!

10. Localised content with global reach

No matter where your message needs to be delivered, Casual Films can help you grow and maintain the audiences you desire. Our global network of in-house experts and freelancers can help your organization deliver content that’s personalised to each region without compromising on your brand identity.

Guarantee your marketing video production ROI, with Casual Films

If you just want a video, use your iPhone. If you need a world-class brand video that sets you head and shoulders above your competitors, we’d love to help. Chat to one of our experienced producers about your marketing campaign goals. Together, we’ll map how best our marketing video services can help you achieve them. Click the button below to set up your FREE consultation.

Speak to a producer

Recruitment video services: 10 Reasons to choose Casual Films

Posted by Nick Francis
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We’re proud to have helped some of the world’s leading brands attract and retain high-quality talent through our recruitment video services. And we’d love to do the same for you! From video content strategy to pre-production, filming and post-production — here are 10 reasons why you should choose Casual Films for your next recruitment video project.

1. High production value

No matter what your budget, you’re guaranteed a professional recruitment video that accurately reflects the quality of your brand. Through technical efficiency and human ingenuity, we deliver high-quality video at scale — simply, effectively, seamlessly.

Related: Ever wonder why video is such a powerful tool for recruitment? Get everything you need to know, in our Guide To Attracting Top Talent With Recruitment Video.

2. Trustworthy teams

We never put your project into strange hands. Using our Ariel Production System™, our team of in-house experts and network of pre-vetted freelancers work together to produce work to the highest standards. ArielTM offers a consistent client experience across all our offices and production teams, and despite our global footprint, you’ll know exactly who is looking after your project.

3. Collaborative development

Agile methods mean efficient solutions. Through Ariel, we ensure a flexible, collaborative approach that seamlessly complements your resources — whether that’s a single in-house editor or a whole production department. Ariel also guarantees efficient workflows that maximise creativity, streamline production and guarantee delivery to deadline.

4. Transparent costing

Unless there’s a significant change in scope, no costs are added to your budget once it’s been signed off. We also quote per line item, so you know exactly where your money is going. And if your vision does grow after sign-off, we’ll happily expand the scope of work and discuss how this may impact your budget upfront.

5. High quality even at lower price points

Budgets can be tight sometimes, but the demand for video content never dries up. We offer bespoke creative campaigns and accessible solutions (such as our Say It In Sixty platform) for when you need to hit the mark with something a little easier on the pocket. Learn more about our Say It In Sixty solution in this blog post.

6. Recruitment video expertise

When you’re hoping to attract right-fit candidates with the skill to get the job done and an attitude that boosts company culture, you need more than a generalised plug produced by an ad agency with a video team. At Casual Films, we’ve executed thousands of briefs for some of the world’s biggest brands and created content that delivers specifically on their recruitment video campaign goals.

7. Award-winning work

We’ve racked up over 85+ industry awards and would love a chance to create work for you that may be our next nomination. Most notably, we’ve won multiple accolades at the Recruitment Advertising Awards (RAD), for work that champions the best of recruitment communications, for clients like Allianz, Unilever and Jaguar Landrover.

8. Premiere client list

We’ve had the privilege of working with Fortune 500 companies and some of the world's biggest brands — helping them recruit the best talent for their organizations. Check out this recruitment video case study documenting our work with BMW Group.

9. Reputable partnership

As your outsourced recruitment video partner, we pride ourselves on boosting your reputation with the highest quality work and a partnership you can boast about. That’s why we also pride ourselves on being well-regarded: we’ve been voted #1 Production Company in the UK in the Televisual Magazine Peer Poll for 3 years running!

10. Localised content with global reach

No matter where you’re recruiting, Casual Films can help you find, attract and retain the talent you’re looking for. Our global network of in-house experts and freelancers can help your organization deliver content that’s personalised to each region without compromising on your brand identity.

Guarantee your recruitment ROI, with Casual Films

If you just want a video, use your iPhone. If you need a world-class recruitment video that sets you above your competitors and attracts the best candidates, we’d love to help. Chat to one of our experienced producers about your recruitment campaign goals. Together, we’ll map how best our recruitment video services can help you achieve them. Click the button below to set up your FREE consultation.

Speak to a producer

Outsourcing video marketing services: Are retainers worth it?

Posted by Nick Francis
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Are long-term video marketing retainers worth it? When you’re considering whether to outsource video creation for your next brand marketing campaign, you may find yourself weighing up the pros and cons of a once-off project versus committing your organisation to a long-term contract.

In our decade and a half of delivering award-winning marketing video production services to some of the world’s leading brands, we’ve found each approach has pros and cons. What is best for your company depends on so many factors there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Here are five key insights that help you determine whether a long-term retainer would be better suited for your particular goal, at this particular time (or whether a once-off project is all you need for now).

Five reasons a long-term retainer trumps a once-off project

In most cases, the benefits of outsourcing video production in a retainer model far outweighs those offered by hiring a brand video production agency on a project basis. Our top five pros include:

1. Retainers are cheaper than projects

Retainers are structured to maximise the leverage of your budget — typically making them cheaper than project contracts. For example, if you have a standing retainer with a brand video production agency and your project will only take half a day to shoot, you’ll typically only pay for what you use. Video crews don’t charge half-day rates — if you’re signing up for just this project, you’ll end up paying more.

2. Long-term partnerships are more efficient

Not only do you avoid paying a higher price for every individual project, retainers are more efficient as you save on administrative costs and onboarding time. With a long-term marketing video services partnership, you’ll enjoy streamlined communications, a deeper understanding of each other’s processes (and your brand), save on repetitive onboarding and/or briefing costs and gain valuable production time.

3. There’s space for proactive work

With every outsourced video production, your agency partner gains more insight into your marketing campaign needs, brand ethos and preferred way of working. That means there’s more opportunity for them to offer unique ways marketing videos can help achieve your particular goals. They’d also be your ideal partners in helping you make your investment stretch — by knowing your brand deeply, they’ll know exactly how to make your video content go the extra mile with existing footage, social cut-downs and the like.

Related: Explore how video can help your brand connect deeply with its audience in our Guide to Marketing Video Production.

4. You’re guaranteed accountability and quality

Signing a long-term retainer with a reputable marketing video production agency is a sure sign that they don’t plan on going anywhere. For the duration of your contract, you’re guaranteed high production quality and accountable practices for every project (big or small), as they’ve a vested interest in delivering on your overall agreement.

5. Retainers allow for more accurate forecasting

Billing surprises are never a good thing. Thankfully, long-term retainers allow for more accurate forecasting as you’ll have signed off on scope of work and budget ahead of time. Certain agencies, like Casual Films, offer line-item costings that ensure you know exactly where your money is going.

Related: Find nine more reasons to choose Casual Films for marketing video production in this blog post.

The case for project-based video outsourcing

Committing to a long-term working relationship with anyone can be daunting and does come with shortcomings if you sign on unprepared. Here are some reasons why you might consider outsourcing video for just one project at a time.

1. You don’t have enough work for a retainer.

A great video production agency will make sure that every penny you’ve committed to a retainer will help you solve your business challenges and hit your goals through the power of video. You may only have an idea for one project, but an experienced team can consult on long-term video content strategy, ensure you get extra mileage from every minute of video, and make proactive suggestions for more content that ultimately boosts your ROI.

2. You’d be committing to an unknown video production agency.

Nobody commits to marriage on the first date, and signing a long-term retainer with an unknown agency can feel just as unwise. Thankfully, some agencies such as Casual Films offer both project-based and retainer-based contracts — so feel out potential long-term partners with one or two smaller commitments first. Doing some digging on potential candidates is also a great way to minimize the risk of bad investment.

Related: See what our clients have to say about us on the Casual Films Clutch profile page.

3. Video isn’t an essential part of your marketing strategy.

If video marketing isn’t a major part of your plan to build brand awareness and positioning, you may be putting your organization at risk. According to HubSpot Research, 54% of global consumers want to see video content from their favorite brands. Find out why video is key to your brand success in this blog post, Why Is Video Such A Powerful Communications Tool?

How Casual Films can help

We’ve delivered on thousands of briefs for Fortune 500 companies and some of the world’s leading brands, and many of our valued clients started by signing on for a single project. We’d love to help you achieve your brand marketing goals with outsourced video production, and can help you tease out whether you’d get the best value from a single project, or a longer-term retainer with us (and you never have to commit immediately).

Check out our portfolio for a taste of what we could do with you.

Explore The Casual Films Portfolio

Outsourced video creation: Are long-term retainers worth it?

Posted by Nick Francis
Read More

Are long-term recruitment video retainers worth it? When you’re considering whether to outsource video creation for your next recruitment campaign, you may find yourself weighing up the pros and cons of a once-off project versus committing your organisation to a long-term contract.

In our decade of delivering award-winning recruitment videos to some of the world’s leading brands, we’ve found each approach has pros and cons. What is best for your company depends on so many factors there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Here are five key insights that help you determine whether a long-term recruitment video production retainer would be better suited for your particular goal, at this particular time (or whether a once-off project is all you need for now).

Five reasons a long-term retainer trumps a once-off project

In most cases, the benefits of outsourcing video production in a retainer model far outweighs those offered by hiring a recruitment video production service on a project basis. Our top five pros include:

1. Retainers are cheaper than projects

Retainers increase the efficiency of productions generally, allowing your video production service to make savings, which they are able to pass onto you. This makes a retainer typically cheaper than multiple individual project contracts.

2. Long-term partnerships are more efficient

Not only do you avoid paying a higher price for every individual project, retainers are more efficient as you save on administrative costs and onboarding time. With a trusted, long-term recruitment video partner, you’ll enjoy streamlined communications, a deeper understanding of each other’s processes (and your brand), save on repetitive onboarding and/or briefing costs and gain valuable production time.

3. There’s space for more proactive work

With every project, your recruitment video services partner gains more insight into your recruitment campaign needs, company culture and preferred way of working. That means there’s more opportunity for them to offer unique ways recruitment videos can help achieve your particular goals. They’d also be your ideal partners in helping you make your investment stretch — by knowing your brand deeply, they’ll know exactly how to make your video content go the extra mile with existing footage, social cut-downs and the like.

Related: Get the most from your investment in our Guide To Attracting Top Talent With Recruitment Video.

4. You’re guaranteed accountability and quality

Signing a long-term retainer with a reputable video production agency is a sure sign that they don’t plan on going anywhere. For the duration of your contract, you’re guaranteed high production quality and accountable practices for every project (big or small), as they’ve a vested interest in delivering on your overall agreement.

5. Retainers allow for more accurate forecasting

Billing surprises are never a good thing. Thankfully, long-term retainers allow for more accurate forecasting as you’ll have signed off on scope of work and budget ahead of time. Certain agencies, like Casual Films, offer line-item costings that ensure you know exactly where your money is going.

Related: Find nine more reasons to choose Casual Films for recruitment video services in this blog post.

A possible case for project-based video outsourcing

Committing to a long-term working relationship with anyone can be daunting and does come with shortcomings if you sign on unprepared. Here are some reasons why you might consider outsourcing for just one project at a time.

1. You don’t have enough work for a retainer.

A great recruitment video production service will make sure that every penny you’ve committed to a retainer will help you solve your business challenges and hit your recruitment goals through the power of video. You may only have an idea for one project, but an experienced team can consult on long-term video content strategy, ensure you get extra mileage from every minute of video, and make proactive suggestions for more content that ultimately boosts your ROI.

2. You’d be committing to an unknown video production agency.

Nobody commits to marriage on the first date, and signing a long-term retainer with an unknown agency can feel just as daunting. Thankfully, some agencies such as Casual Films offer both project-based and retainer-based contracts — so feel out potential long-term partners with one or two smaller commitments first. Doing some digging on potential candidates is also a great way to minimize the risk of bad investment.

Related: See what our clients have to say about us on the Casual Films Clutch profile page.

3. Video isn’t an essential part of your recruitment strategy.

If video marketing isn’t a major part of your plan to attract top quality candidates, then a lengthy retainer may not be necessary. However, without video as a cornerstone of your recruitment strategy, you risk losing out on some of the world’s leading talent. Find out why we consider it an essential investment in our blog post, Why You Need Recruitment Video To Attract Generation 2030.

How Casual Films can help

We’ve delivered on thousands of briefs for Fortune 500 companies and some of the world’s leading brands, and many of our valued clients started by signing on for a single project. We’d love to help you achieve your recruitment goals with outsourced video production, and can help you tease out whether you’d get the best value from a single project, or a longer-term retainer with us (and you never have to commit immediately).

Check out our portfolio for a taste of what we could do with you.

Explore The Casual Films Portfolio

Why stories matter | Casual Films Video Communications Agency

Posted by Nick Francis
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“Story Story Story”

These words by Sir Ridley Scott, one of the greatest living filmmakers and storytellers, opened the New Directors’ Showcase at the Cannes Lions in 2018.

Stories are all around us. We use them to entertain, to amuse and to inform. They also underpin nations, companies, families, teams and even money. Storytelling has become a buzzword in corporate communications. And, as a video communications agency, we can attest to its ability to drive powerful business change. A search on LinkedIn finds that nearly 800,000 people describe themselves as storytellers, or list storytelling as a skill. But there is a good reason for this.

Stories are central to how we define our reality. They define belonging, and the concept of ‘them’ and ‘us’. This is because every cultural arrangement relies (no matter how loosely) on a shared set of understandings. This makes an understanding of stories essential for those interested in creating and strengthening cultures of any kind.

What is a story?

Simply put, a story encapsulates cause and effect. Our brains link facts A leads to B, B leads to C, and so on. This gives rise to the three-act structure: the ingredients, the reaction and the outcome. This is a more effective form of communication than just giving facts because it mirrors how our brains have evolved to process information.

Story structure activates the brain in a way that simple facts do not:

“Don’t drink the water, it’s not safe” isn’t as memorable as... 

“Sarah drank from that smelly stream and she has been in bed, writhing in agony, ever since.”

When we hear the facts linked as a story, we can’t help but visualise Sarah’s experience. This creates an emotional reaction over and above the simple facts and embeds it into our brains. Because of this, information relayed as a story is more likely to be remembered than the same information shared as bare facts.

Conflict is essential to great stories…

Good stories are about conflict; they include a degree of jeopardy in the achievement of the effect or outcome (i.e. A plus B could lead to C, but it could also lead to D, E or F). The greater this unpredictability or jeopardy, the more powerful the emotional connection, and therefore the greater the impact of the story.

This gives nearly all great stories a recognisable structure. Look at any of the great myths – ancient or modern – and you’ll find the personable figure of the underdog, who sets out against great odds to achieve a significant (and almost unattainable) goal. In doing so, they enhance themselves and grow. In his excellent book Into the Woods, renowned screenwriter John Yorke examines the mechanics behind story structure. He argues that, while the subject of the story (the protagonist) might not get what they initially wanted, they achieve the thing that they actually needed, and that is far more valuable.

The reason for the success of this type of structure is that it mirrors an insecurity that lies at the heart of all human beings. Built within our psyches is the belief that we are the underdog facing the challenges of the world. Different types of stories resonate with different target audiences, but the underdog against the world resonates with us all.

John Yorke Into the Woods Casual Films

Related: Check out how we helped GoDaddy celebrate entrepreneurs achieving against the odds, in this corporate video production case study.

Story and Memory

The paradox of the online world is that, while it has never been easier to reach an audience, it’s still difficult to connect with them. There is so much noise in modern communications, but great stories give you the opportunity to reach past your audience’s overstimulated heads and reach their hearts. Emotive stories do this. Used effectively, they enable you to get people to take note and remember what you want them to. And as your video communications agency partner that would be our job (in a nutshell).

The facts that stories lace with emotional connections become far more memorable. Bear with me here… In the early days of Casual Films, I used to go to breakfast networking groups, to meet and learn from other entrepreneurs. At one meeting, the topic of the conversation was, “What makes great customer service?” As we went around the table, the various business owners present gave their two-cents’ worth: “Well, I think it’s about sharing my mobile phone number and then not letting it ring more than twice when they call” and “I think it’s about sending a card for your clients’ birthdays”. Each business owner took their turn to give their ideas. When it came to me, I had a story about something that had happened recently and was fresh in my mind.

“A good client of ours rang our office at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon. They had a very important pitch, and, for one reason or another, the film that they had been waiting for from their internal video department hadn’t come. She told me that the pitch started the next morning at 9am, and it would be severely compromised without the video. I told her not to worry and that if it was humanly possible, we would get it done. Four of us stayed and worked until 2.30am, finished the film and sent it over to her. She played it and they ended up winning the business. “This is what I think is good client service.”

About a year later, I was at a conference and I introduced myself to one of the other delegates. I was slightly taken aback when he said, “I know you; you’re the guys who are really good at client service.” He had been at that networking group, and had heard the story I shared. It had stuck in his mind long after the associated facts of the rest of the group had faded. I’m telling you this to illustrate the enduring nature of information that has been made to resonate with a broader narrative.

Making the intangible tangible – brand, values and the ‘foundation myth’

The previous example illustrates another key asset of stories in the business context: they allow the communicator to make relatively intangible ideas – such as customer service, brand or values – tangible. It can be challenging to communicate what is meant by an abstract brand slogan. If the communicator builds that definition out with a story, it gives it a form and context that is accessible and ‘sticky’ (or memorable). In this example, the relatively abstract concept of ‘customer service’ is given a clear form through a simple story.

screenshot-1984-Apple-campaign-by-video-communications-agency

Apple’s iconic Think Different’ slogan is perfectly encapsulated by Ridley Scott’s equally iconic 1984 commercial for the launch of the original Mac computer (even though the slogan itself didn’t feature for the company until 1997). The spot features hundreds of drone-like, monochrome men in boiler suits all captivated by a large, Big-Brother-esque face on a screen in front of them. From the back of the room, a young woman in a running kit, including red shorts, runs in and hurls a large hammer at the screen, destroying it. It ends with a voiceover saying, “Find out why 1984 is not going to be like 1984” – a clear, if implicit, punch at the established order represented by IBM. Anyone who saw that ad could see the essence of what Apple stood for then and what it continues to stand for now. To explain what was meant by the slogan could have taken many hundreds, if not thousands, of words, but video allows it to be captured and understood simply, in a handful of seconds.

This attribute makes the format really useful for internal/employer communications. Every company now has a set of values, which it expects its staff to live their working lives by. These values are far more effectively communicated through a story than a slogan. A value with a story becomes a behaviour. A behaviour is easier for the employee to understand and act on. Saying, “This is what we mean by excellent customer service, integrity, give more, etc.” is a great way to get staff to exhibit those values. Video is an effective way of illustrating these stories to them.

The powerfully aligning nature of narrative is part of the reason that foundation myths hold such a powerful sway in the business world. Yes, the company may now be a global behemoth, but, once upon a time, it was just a small group of people with an idea and a desire to go against the system. These founders faced almost impossible odds (conflict/jeopardy) but overcame them with guile and a belief that what they were doing was right. No matter how large and successful the company becomes, there will always be the underlying narrative, which can be mythologised, and used to engage and motivate staff and other stakeholders.

Start crafting your own company narrative with the help of our video production services. We’d love to help you share your story!


If you find this interesting check out Nick's book: The New Fire - Harness the Power of Video for Your Business. You can preorder it herebook-by-Casual-Films-video-communications-agency-head-Nick-Francis

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Topics: Being a better commissioner, How-to, Content Strategy

Produce One: Plant One - Supporting the Trillion Trees Project

Posted by Nick Francis
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After all the madness of this year, you could be forgiven for thinking that we've lost it. We’re pleased to report though, that we haven’t finally cracked – we will, of course, also make you the project. While we do that, we'll also plant a tree on your behalf. So, not only do you get to delight your audience, you get to leave a mark that will live long into the future.

Trillion Trees charities

Trillion Trees is an inspired venture between Birdlife International, Wildlife Conservation Society and the WWF. Once upon a time, the world was home to six trillion trees, over the years, human impact has reduced that number to just 3 trillion. Trillion Trees aims to replant and protect a trillion trees by the year 2050. It’s a hugely ambitious goal but one which will go some way to reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and creating a rich and vibrant natural world for the future. We are all so proud to be able to contribute toward such a worthwhile goal.

You can find out more here.

Topics: Purpose driven video, About Casual, Culture & Values, Sustainability

How Much Does Film Production Cost?

Posted by Nick Francis
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“How much does video production cost?” is one of the most common questions we get asked. There’s no straightforward answer, but here’s our best one...

Creating content costs less than ever these days. New technology has put the power of production studios in our mobile phones. We are all savvier than ever about how a film goes together. You have everything you need to create and share content right now. Even for professionally produced content these advances have fed a drastic reduction in the time and cost of creating a like-for-like piece of work over the last decade or so.

That having been said, in order to ‘cut through’ to our online audience we should be sharing more content than we ever have before – so it’s just as well that it’s cheaper. Because of this there has been a significant move towards getting as much mileage as possible out of all the content that we create. We call this ‘content atomisation’ – when you take the central piece of content and then re-edit and repurpose it to maximise the mileage. The cost of each output has fallen, even if the cost of the overall project is often the same.

So, how much does video production cost?

Casual Films Infographic - video production

There are a few different ways of answering this question but to save beating around the bush, the simplest answer is that an average Casual Films project for the financial year to 2019 was $18k in the US and £15k in the UK/EU.

The key word there though is project, as often these can entail a number of different outputs and reedits. More usually, we will create a series of films that cost more in the $/£60k -100k region. Some projects extend into the hundreds of thousands, but these tend to be many outputs in one.

Can you break down those costs?

Casual Films cost breakdown for marketing and recruitment videos

Because at around $18k/£15k we begin to be able to add significant value to the project with our proprietary production process. In an effort to remain a cost-efficient video production company, our prices are defined by the amount of time that it takes to create each project. Different roles in the process cost differing amounts depending on their experience, expertise and impact on the project. At this budgetary level there is enough budget for two or three days of creative - to get a great idea - some producer time to make it all happen, a day or two to shoot it and then editing, sound design and some animation if necessary. They will be able to create something fairly sparkly, as long as they don't need to work around too many fixed costs - travel, talent, specialist equipment.

Related: Want a more granular view of what goes into your recruitment or marketing video? Check out our post on The Five Phases of Video Production.

I have no budget! What’s the cheapest recruitment or marketing film you can make?

Casual Films - minimum budget for marketing and recruitment videos

The lowest that we tend to start a project is around $/£8k, although if we have an existing relationship then we can and do go a little lower. As a leading video production agency we tend to not compete for projects at the really low end. That's because there are lots of smaller producers and freelancers out there who do a decent job at this level. We’re also not able to add the same value as when the projects have a little room for a bit more creative thought and sparkle.

As a rule, if this is your first question we’re probably not the right video production service for you. We compete on being able to make things happen for your business with video – optimising for return on investment rather than being as cheap as possible.

Related: Find out how your money gets spent, in this blog post that unpacks the five phases of corporate video production.

Can you work to my budget?

Casual Films - we can work to your video budget

The process of filmmaking is creative, so the budget becomes an additional constraint that the creative thinking needs to work around – like the timeframe, branding or specific messaging. Because of this, it can be extremely flexible – it’s possible to fulfil the same objectives for significantly different investment levels. On the other hand, quality, in-depth thinking and delivery take time, and time costs money. If you need to shoot in a number of different locations or include significant amounts of complex animation these are hard costs which are challenging to work around.

To learn about the important role that video plays in recruiting top talent, read the Casual Films Recruitment Video Guide. We’ve also written a guide for marketing gurus who want to leverage the power of video content. Learn more about that, and video marketing services, in our Guide to Brand Video Production.

What about promoting my content

For years, there has been a disconnect between where marketing money gets spent and where the real potential lies. In studies, researchers have found that the quality of creative messaging is responsible for up to 75% of a campaign’s success. In spite of this, as much as 90% of the overall spend is often still focused on the media budget.

"75% of a campaign’s effectiveness is defined by the quality of the creative messaging"

- Google

Traditional television marketing became so successful largely because of how strong the metrics that were available to support it were. One of the major challenges that online content has faced over the years is the challenge of showing direct causation between money spent and the return on that investment.

But this isn’t necessarily about spending more money on marketing than you already are. Creating and executing a comprehensive and effective content strategy can be about redistributing the money you’re already investing. Why, for example, are you spending hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars on the production of TV commercials when the vast majority of your audience watch them for the first time as a small image on their Facebook feed, momentarily pausing before scrolling onwards, and paying very little attention to them?

DOWNLOAD COMMANDMENTS

The past six months have really demonstrated how creative we can get given such stringent limitations. Casual Films has pivoted to continue to meet our clients' needs even in our new normal. We've got you covered with delightful animations and snappy edits. Absolutely need to show your employees or facilities? Our team is well-versed in all the COVID-safe precautions to make filming in-person both safe and effective. Contact us today to learn more. 

Topics: Production process, Being a better commissioner, How-to, Project management

#ThoughtforThursday: Seven Billion Boiling Frogs

Posted by Nick Francis
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[Photo - San Francisco from Tank Hill - 11am September 9th, 2020]

Last year, 259,823 acres of California burned. This year (already) over 2,300,000 acres have burned.

If the existential threat that climate change represents was in another form - physical, more tangible, more immediate - every able body would be signing up to do everything they could to come together, fight and overcome it. Governments around the world would be on a global war setting, spending may times GDP on beating a foe many times more deadly and damaging than Covid-19, or any rogue nation.
We are frogs, slowly boiling alive as the temperature rises imperceptibly. Every so often a bubble rises in the pot - a new report, another climate record broken - that should remind us of the situation we're in. Each time though, we just carry on. We need to do everything we can to sort out our planet, so that we can pass on the same incredible gift that we received.

It's possibly already too late.

Topics: Purpose driven video, About Casual, Culture & Values, Coronavirus Content, Thought for Friday, Sustainability

#ThoughtforThursday: Photography and Video

Posted by Nick Francis
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So alike and so different, video production and photography are children from the same parents.

Photography: more mature, and naturally restrained: the older sibling. More suggestive due to the need to understand why the photographer laid their frame where they did.

Video: the dynamic, boisterous youngster. Noisy, approachable and engaging - in the kitchen at the party. Photography is in the main room with sharp dressers.

With so much time to contemplate the changing world from our home windows at the minute, our global party would be inconceivable without them.

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

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