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

Why do stories matter to communicators?

Posted by Nick Francis
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“Story Story Story”

- Sir Ridley Scott, one of the greatest living filmmakers/storytellers, opening 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 form the underpinnings of nations, companies, families, teams and even money. Storytelling has become a buzzword in corporate communications. A search of LinkedIn finds that nearly 800,000 people describe themselves as storytellers, or list storytelling as a skill. But there is 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 is an encapsulation of 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. The reason this is a more effective form of communication than just giving facts is that 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 far 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

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.

The facts that stories lace with emotional connections become far more memorable. Bear with me here… In the early days of Casual, 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.

Apple Big Brother 1984 Casual Films

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 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.


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 hereNew Fire Book Image

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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 a film cost?

Posted by Nick Francis
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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 audience online 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. ‘Content atomisation’ – taking the central piece of content and then reediting and repurposing it to maximise the mileage. The cost of each output has fallen, even if the cost of the overall project is often the same.

How much does a film cost?

Screen Shot 2020-09-10 at 9.52.09 PM

This is one of the most common questions people ask. There are a few different ways of answering it 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 breakdown those costs?

Screen Shot 2020-09-10 at 9.52.21 PM

Because at around $18k/£15k we begin to be able to add significant value to the project with our proprietary production process. Our pricing is 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.

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

Screen Shot 2020-09-10 at 9.52.32 PM

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. We tend to not compete for projects at the really low end because there are lots of smaller producers and freelancers out there who do a decent job at this level. We’re not able to add the same value we are 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 company for you. We compete on being able to create things happen for your business with video – optimising for return on investment rather than being as cheap as possible.

Can you work to my budget?

Screen Shot 2020-09-10 at 9.52.39 PM

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.

Promoting your 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 has 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. Need to communicate ever-changing strategy? 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

#ThoughtforThursday: Content is King

Posted by Nick Francis
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"Content is King"

- Bill Gates

Content is king, which is why great content is the kingmaker. This is why it is such stunningly big business for those who choose to do battle in this arena. Last year, Netflix spent $15 billion, Amazon $6 billion, Apple $6 billion and HBO and Hulu on $3.5 billion and $3 billion respectively (not with Casual I should add!). That’s significantly more than Canada or Australia spend on their defence!

But then, they are in the content business – it’s their product – so of course they will invest in it. What’s a little less well understood is just how important having the best content is for the rest of the business world. There are of course benefits in having advertising that is so good that your audience choose to share it online - check out our blog on producing viral videos. Beyond this how valuable is it for prospective employees to search out more about your company because of a film for example or to pique the interest of a potential investor?

The follow up which is often used to the idea that content is king is that context is queen. Context makes all the difference – just remember the time you missed that the fancy dress wedding wasn’t fancy dress. The corona virus crisis has changed – and will continue to change - the context for all of us for years to come. The question is just how much, if at all, that will change the value of the content that we all produce, share and consume.

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

How to Make a Viral Video

Posted by Nick Francis
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Content 'going viral' is regarded by many as the Holy Grail of online marketing. The idea that you could create a piece of promotional material that will capture just the right combination of je ne sais quoi to be shared hundreds of thousands, or even millions of times with minimal spend. It’s a compelling idea, which is probably why it holds such sway.

At Casual, we have been asked countless times  videos to ‘be viral’ or to ‘go viral’ by various clients. It's not always quite that simple though. That’s not to say that there are not examples of incredible success in this area, but they tend to be more through an unreliable accident, or careful planning and execution and usually significant investment to help to give them a good push.

150914.brandvideo

The Psychology of Viral Video

There are of course different levels of ‘virality’. While millions or even billions of views might be good for the ego, you may only need a few thousand of the ‘right’ people to see it to get the result you’re after. You will be better placed to create these campaigns if you understand the psychological effects that makes your audience want to share them.

There are a number of reasons for this, each one driven by a small dopamine release in the brain. The larger the release, the more chance that the audience will share the content. Videos that drive this awe, amuse, surprise, endear, shock, excite, disgust or trigger nostalgia. You can see Statista's analysis of the emotions that drive people to share content online here:

Emotions that Drive Content to Go Viral

 

Beyond this, people share content for the following reasons:

  • To connect over a shared interest.
  • To help others with products and/or relevant advice.
  • To boost their reputation.
  • To look on trend / au fait with the latest events.
  • To be involved in current trends/events.
  • To make a statement about themselves.
  • To be able to socialise offline.
  • To promote a cause they believe in or want to be seen to believe in.
  • To demonstrate their own knowledge or ability.
  • To start an online conversation.

What are the steps to Viral Video then?

So what should you include in your campaign to help it with your audience? Having understood the psychology or your audience there are a number of factors that are worth considering to give your campaign the best chance of runaway success:

1. Personality

Video's most powerful facet is its ability to communicate personality and emotion. Think about some of the most effective viral videos of all time they all include a significant amount of human character. Build your creative treatment around a really engaging personality to help your audience to engage. Powerful personalities bring the message to life, whether you are sharing something touching - as in the Dove Real Beauty Sketches below - or humorous - as we can see in the fantastically successful launch video for Dollar Shave Club...


Dollar Shave Club

One of the most famous and successful online promos of all time was the “Our Blades are F***ing Great” spot produced by Dollar Shave Club. The video features the founder/CEO walking through the company warehouse delivering an informative and hilarious piece to camera. Launched in March 2012, the video inspired over 12,000 orders on that first day alone and drove the successful launch of the company. Dollar Shave Club was acquired by Unilever for $1 billion just four years later.

This is a brilliant example of the power of video in the Internet age. It was viral in the true sense of the world, and, at the time of writing, it has nearly 26 million views. Its budget of $4,500 is often touted as a reason for businesses to be extremely cost conscious in the video they produce. It’s not quite as simple as this, though. Michael Dubin, the founder/CEO and star of the video had spent years working in the marketing industry, and even had some acting and improv comedy experience. It’s estimated that to create a similar film, without this background or these skills, a company would need to spend around $40K. This is still a comparatively small amount next to the revenue and valuation it was able to drive.

From the outset, Dubin used his branding experience to make all of Dollar Shave Club’s products and marketing the perfect match for its target market. The ‘Blades’ video and the variety of other similarly toned content that it has shared over the years, sets the tone for a brand that people want to be a part of.


2. Think about the Audience

We really bang this drum a lot at Casual but the originals are often the best: tailor your content to your audience. Do the work to understand who they are, what they find interesting and what some of their cultural references are. This will help you to create content that resonates with them and which they're more likely to share.

You can learn more about identifying your audience in this blog here.

Old Spice were particularly effective in nailing their audience targeting with with their 2010 'Man your man could smell like' ad - featuring the rather dishy Isiah Mustafa. They realised that the majority of mens toiletries are bought by their partners. Armed with this, Mustafa's good looks and good amount of irreverent humour, they produced this hugely popular ad:

 

 

Old Spice - The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

3. Make the production extra ‘tight’

To stand the best chance, your videos need to be lean - shorn of any flab which will damp the impact. Give the script, edit and sound design an extra pass through to make sure that only the most essential elements are there. People get bored easily. If you are going for barnstorming success (which you are), you don’t want any filler at all in there. This can be a lot harder than you would expect - particularly if there are a number of stakeholders feeding into the process.

4. Brand

Of course - if you are going to pay for it, it is important that the people who see it understand who made it. There is a deft tight rope to walk to not turn the audience off by being too brand heavy. or sales. This is certainly not the time for an overtly salesy pitch. It's more a time for you to share something which your audience will feel aligns with their worldview and values.  This is something that Dove gets absolutely on the button with this touching spot which reflects Dove's concept of purity perfectly.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches


 

Allianz #MyCarStory

Brief

Our brief was to revitalise the ongoing #MyCarStory campaign that had just launched as a TV campaign. The campaign contained content around sporting events, as Allianz are sponsors of many sport associations including Formula One and the British Paralympic Association. Allianz wanted new video content that would resonate with their online audience, especially female viewers. Our challenge was to come up with a cost-effective way to produce multiple pieces of content that featured interesting contributors.

Target Audience

The target audience for this campaign was female audience members on YouTube and Facebook.

Idea

Our idea was to get two car-owning families to share unfiltered memories of their special journeys. We filmed three unscripted stories with each family, allowing natural conversations, emotions and opinions to flow freely. The stories were captured from different angles on in-car camera rigs as the families drove around the area associated with their memory. Each story was cut into a 60-second video and shared as an individual film across Facebook and YouTube.

 

Creative Execution

After speaking to over 20 potential sets of contributors, we cast two families: The Hamers and The Kirks. The greatest challenge in the creative execution wasn’t rigging the cars with GoPros, but recording sound on a loop so that the Director, following in the car behind, could speak directly to the family. The Director and Producer team would encourage the families in real-time to discuss certain topics, redo takes and generally direct them remotely.

Results

Over the course of the five week campaign, the films were viewed by over 2.5 million people. 1.5 million of those viewers were in the first few weeks alone.

The film was able to effectively engage the core audience of female audience members. A majority of the 67 comments left on The Hamer's ‘Labour’ video posted on Facebook were from mums sharing their own labour stories. ‘Flying the Nest’ was also popular amongst female Facebook users who commented about their own families. The films posted to Allianz UK’s YouTube channel also performed exceptionally well, garnering an ‘off the scale’ view completion rate of 88%. The traffic to these films was also completely organic, shooting the series to the top of the channel’s most viewed content.

“The results are some of the best that the YouTube team at Google have ever seen… The videos’ view completion rate of 88% is ‘off the scale’.”

- YouTube


5. Marketing - be prepared to give your content a 'push'

No matter how good your content is - and by now I'm sure it's incredible - it's vanishingly unlikely that it will be picked up and shared widely if you don't invest to get it seen by the right audience.  There are a number of different channels you can use to share your content:

Earned Paid Owned MarketingOwned media

These are all the channels for which you own the control. They include your website, social pages, intranet and internal staff communications. The information here is what your brand says and what people say to you. Around 90% of online conversations about brands do not take place on their own pages. This means you have to get out there to influence these conversations.

Earned media

Your earned media are shares of your content, and articles and blogs written about your channels. This is what people say about you. You earn views here by creating content that people want to engage with and share.

Paid media

Your paid channels are, unsurprisingly, the ones you have to pay for. They include paid posts, traditional advertising and programmatic marketing...

 

Programmatic Marketing

This is using software to buy advertising space in real time. This has made a process that used to take a significant amount of time almost instantaneous. This is useful to you because it allows you to accurately target your audience with your content. It’s successful because it’s efficient and it reduces the amount of money that gets spent on showing content to the wrong people.

The system also allows you to continually optimise the targeting, so that it improves over time. It also allows different types of content to be shown to a specific viewer, depending on which pieces of content they have watched or interacted with in the past.

It’s not perfect, though. There have been a number of scandals which have led to major advertisers reducing ad spend from YouTube as it emerged that the platform had displayed their commercials alongside distasteful content. There have also been questions around ad fraud and the amount of budget that goes on showing content to bots.

 

Dynamic creative optimisation (DCO)

Another element of programmatic marketing is dynamic creative optimisation or DCO. This takes the same understanding of the audience that programmatic retargeting does but uses it to serve content that is optimised to engage them. For example, there are two people who are interested in buying a car. One is a successful, single woman in her 30s, and the other is a father of three in his 40s. DCO would allow the same company to advertise directly to them both, with content that is designed to pique their interest. It could do this by serving the woman an ad for a two-seater convertible and the father an ad for a people carrier. This makes the content far more effective, and it’s a step towards the full personalisation of marketing.


6. Post effectively

The way that you upload and label your content can play a significant part in the how successful it is online. This will define whether people find it and click on it in the first place. While these are not going to save a project that has gone awry they can really help you to improve your videos engagement.

i. Make thumbnail image perfect

First impressions count. The first thing your audience will see is the title and thumbnail, so they are almost more important than the content itself. This means they need to be eye-catching. Generally images with people in them get better response rates than those without. It is also useful to add the title onto the thumbnail so that the viewer can see quickly what your video is about.

ii. The name should be impactful / match what people are looking for / their search intent

For example, ‘How to Change a Road Bike Tyre’ or, ‘Change Bike Tyres Like a Pro’ is going to get a lot more hits than ‘tyre_ video_ final_ v.5’. This raises another point. The title that you have been using in production should be changed before you share the video. It looks really sloppy, and is not searchable or clickable.

Final Final v.2

Another point you may already be aware of is never call an output ‘final’, ‘finished’, ‘last output’, etc. I’m not particularly superstitious, but I know that there is a powerful natural force that strikes down such hubris with previously unseen, time-consuming errors. In the thousands of films we have made, and the tens of thousands of different edits that have been output, I am not aware of a single ‘final’ version that ended up being that.

iii. Don't share clickbait - the name must reflect the content of the film

If your audience can’t find it because the name is too obscure, or if they do watch it but find that the title has misled them, they will let you and other users know about it. You don’t want to get a load of negative reviews because your audience feel like you’ve duped them.

iv. A/B Testing

Just as you can optimise the content of your videos, so you must optimise the title and thumbnail. You must see which combination is the most effective at engaging your target audience. A/B testing entails sharing two or more different concepts/titles/images, and then judging which is the most effective. You do this by reviewing the responses you get from your chosen audience. For example, you may find that when you use the title, ‘Top 5 Ways to Target the Tech-Savvy Grads with Video’ you get a better response than when you use ‘Recruiting Tech Grads – A Guide to Video’.


If you are interested in discussing a campaign, a video, or even just want a little guidance on anything video related, our team of experienced filmmakers are on hand to help. Drop us a message here and one of the team will get straight back to you.

Topics: Increase brand awareness and appeal, Being a better commissioner

#ThoughtforThursday: Have a Great Independence Day

Posted by Nick Francis
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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

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

Posted by Nick Francis
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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

#ThoughtforThursday: Time to learn

Posted by Nick Francis
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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

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