The Better Video Power Hour with Vodafone's Catalina Schveninger

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Make your next video the best yet webinar

This might sounds a little obvious (not to mention cheesy) but we are pretty passionate about making really really great films at Casual Films. Nothing makes us happier than watching a fine filmic filly leave the Casual stable ready to hit the social media or intranet racetrack at a gallop. It makes us sad too when we see projects that don't go quite as well as they should and the production vet needs to get involved. I'll give that analogy a rest now - put it out to pasture if you like - (sorry).

Anyway, over the years we're made around 10,000 videos of all different sizes for every type of purpose and for every type of client. That has lead us to develop our very own exacting methodology for making videos that work. We've wanted to share this process for some time and we felt that the best format for this was through our own version of live TV - a webinar!

Webinar video_6
 

MAKE A DATE: 11th JULY 2019 - 17:00CET / 16:00BST / 11:00EDT / 08:00PDT

I (Nick) am going to be joined by Casual UK's Managing Director and production powerhouse Oliver Atkinson. Over the space of 50 short minutes we're going to share our step-by-step process for making better quality videos in less time and for less money.

Our Extra Special Guest

Catalina

We're extremely excited to announce Catalina Schveninger, Global Head of Learning at Vodafone as our special guest. Catalina is now responsible for the development of the company's global team of over 110,000 people - quite a remit - so we're extremely happy that she is making the time in her schedule to share her thoughts with us. 

Catalina was previously Global Head of Employer Brand at Vodafone having joined following time as HR Director of T Mobile in The Netherlands. She began her international HR career in 2002 as a member of the Human Resources Leadership Program at GE and held different roles, including the HR Director of GE’s Security EMEA division. 

A mother of 2, Catalina is a passionate advocate for the attraction and development of women in organisations and an avid learner of all things AI and neuroscience. These interests are reflected in a number of the projects that we have produced together including this one promoting belonging at Vodafone:

Vodafone - Belonging

Vodafone - Belonging

One of the reasons we're really pleased that Catalina is going to be able to join us is the fact that she will be able to give the commissioner's angle to the conversation. We are going to use a global employer branding project that we did with her as the backdrop for the learnings that we want to share. You can see one of these films here:

Vodafone - Digital Ninja (1)

Vodafone - "The Future is Exciting, Ready?" - Digital Ninjas employer brand

We will be holding a live Q&A at the end of the session so please come armed with anything that you want to ask. We will do our best to get to them. Also - please share the link with anyone else you think might find the session useful.

This is the webinar for you if...

  • You've commissioned video but you feel it's been too expensive, time consuming and ultimately ineffective in the past.
  • You want to understand the simple techniques that the world’s best communicators use to land their message with video.
  • You want to know how global telecoms company Vodafone uses video to land a global brand launch with their 110,000+ staff.
  • You want to understand where most people go wrong and how to avoid expensive, time consuming pitfalls.

 

We look forward to seeing you there.

Topics: Being a better commissioner, How-to, News, Content Strategy, Culture & Values

Five branded content examples to make you want to shakedown the CFO

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One of the most exciting developments in corporate/brand video production over the last ten years has been the growth in content which is very light touch on branding or marketing messages. As audiences have become more empowered to choose how they spend their time online brands have looked to align themselves with the types of content which their audiences go out of their way to find and watch.

This has led to some really cool, very watchable examples. Because we really love a list here we thought we’d pull together five of our favs to whet your appetites for the opportunities that are available. As Red Bull showed with their Stratos Jump even the sky isn’t the limit when it comes to this stuff…

Star Alliance – Connecting Cultures

WSJ STAR ALLIANCE TRAILER

Jobs don’t get much more desirable than being an actual travel journalist. Star Alliance and Wall St Journal tasked Robert Reid with going to six of the destinations serviced by their airlines around the world. The challenge was for him to have an adventure in each which went beyond the standard experience that visitors to those locations usually enjoy. Cue Muay Thai kick boxing in Bangkok, racing with huskies in Canada and performing live at the Native American Gathering of Nations. Beautifully shot, dynamic and brilliantly presented by Robert, these are a gem.

WSJ - StarAlliance USA

Robert Reid drums at the Gathering of Nations in New Mexico.

 

Allianz – #CarStories ‘Safari’

Allianz - Hamers Safari-1

How can branded content work for an insurance company? Well, armed with the insight that by providing car insurance, Allianz facilitate the huge amount of family life experience which is lived in the family car, we set about creating a series of videos for social which illustrated what that means. The short, honest portrayals were a massive hit and generated huge engagement on Facebook, where their short length made them easily consumable and sharable.

“The YouTube view completion rate was 85%!

Which was so high that the YouTube team got in touch with

us to find out how we did it.”

In order to be real the production team set up a fixed rig of cameras in each car and then let the families get on with it while the production was monitored from a car behind. The director was able to communicate with an ear piece in one of the adult’s ears to keep them on track.

 

Adobe – Jonathan Adler

Adobe - Jonathan Adler Teaser

Adobe have created a wide range of really lovely content for their Create channel – which is well worth checking out. We really like this video because Jonathan’s character comes across to clearly and amusingly. This goes to show that if you can find a great interviewee, the ‘talking head’ and b-roll format can be extremely effective.

Adobe - Sharm

We also recently delivered this film which features London graphic artist Sharm Murugiah. Again, thanks to Sharm's stunning work and some overlaid graphics, the film looks kind of delish.

 

Glenmorangie – Evolution of Craft

Glenmorangie - Evolution of Craft (1)

 

Prestige whisky brand Glenmorangie wanted to illustrate the craft that goes into making their Scotch. What better way of doing that than getting celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson to take a trip to the distillery and see the process for himself. His presentation and genuine passion for the product really shine through.

Upworthy – Acting Stereotypes

Upworthy - Acting Sterotypes

Sometimes branded content can be about something that really matters. This film for Upworthy excellently illustrates the challenges of racial stereotyping in one of its most blatant forms - the way non-white actors are asked to respond to casting and direction. A hard hitting point made powerfully and all the more effectively thanks to the tiny bit of humour added by the actors at the offensive bizarreness of the situation.


Whatever you're trying to create, getting the brief just right gets you off to the very best start. You can download our free guide to writing a really effective brief right here.

 

Topics: Increase brand awareness and appeal, Being a better commissioner, Purpose driven video, Content Strategy, Brands as broadcasters

Captive corporate audiences are a thing of the past. All is not lost though…

Posted by Nick Francis
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Once upon a time, corporate communicators could produce materials which were either read out at departmental meetings, shared in company magazines, or played from VHS tapes to teams in smoke filled magnolia washed rooms. They sat there once a week or month to hear what the overlords from head office had deigned to share. They had no choice. They were effectively captive. This was not a golden age for communication quality.

Now your audience are rather more… dynamic. They can choose what to watch and when to watch it. For good or ill, you have the power to reach them almost 24 hours a day and yet engaging them can be as hard as ever.

Attention is the new currency

Applications designed to capture and sell our attention have turned our time into a commodity. This means that everyone is now fighting for it. Their Instagram or Facebook feed, their families and friends, billon dollar box sets and your piece of comms. It’s noisy out there. You need to cut through that noise to be noticed. Why is this so challenging?

This has made the quality of content skyrocket 

The technological revolution which has put the power of television studios and distribution networks in our hands, has pushed the bar up drastically on what constitutes quality. From Netflix to HBO, and Amazon Prime to network on demand, broadband Internet has substantially increased the amount of excellent content available. From live sports coverage to stunning wildlife documentaries, new technology is enabling a level of access and production values that were pretty much unimaginable just a few years ago. We’re living through the golden age of glossy TV.

What does this mean?

This means that whomever your audience are – external or internal – they are judging the content you share against the most sophisticated systems to capture human attention that have ever existed. I know that seems pretty tough – and it really is – but there are ways that you can still reach them… 

Most important: deliver genuine value

The number one thing that you need to do to cut through to your audience is to deliver them value. For more information on what I mean by this check out this blog here. As Seth Godin says, you should create content which your audience would miss and seek out if it wasn’t there. A simple way to think about this is through the mnemonic TRUE – Timely, Relevant, Useful, Entertaining. Lead with the value with the material you share – make it easy for them to consume. 

Be consistent

Whether you are sharing material internally or externally, it’s important that you are consistent with the material that you share. Once you’re sharing work which is of value to the audience, they will begin to look forward to each iteration. Meet them half way by sharing to a schedule.

Think creatively

Are there other ways that you can cut though? Of course –  you just need to get a little creative. There are a number of ways that you can do this. One is by using new technology.  There is now 360° video/virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and interactive video. They represent new and ever-improving ways of providing immersive stories to the audience. They are a goldmine for corporate communicators who are willing to push them and use them with a little creative flair. They provide an opportunity for a different type of immersion in your brand narrative from what was possible before – enhancing and enriching the stories that you choose to tell around your brand. 

Don’t forget about emotion

Video’s ability to communicate emotion is the most powerful asset in the communicators bag of tricks. This means that whatever you are trying to communicate, you should look for to include a human angle to help it to land with the audience. That might mean using animated characters, finding the stories of individuals that illustrate the experience of the many, or just getting a member of your team on the screen to explain the point. This will help the audience to make sense of it and remember it.

We hope these help. Whatever you’re trying to achieve, for whatever audience you’re trying to reach, our highly experienced producers are ready to help you get there. Fill in the form on this page and one of our producers will give you a call back to discuss your project.

Topics: Train and develop staff, Production process, Being a better commissioner, How-to, Content Strategy, Brands as broadcasters

Five ways to land complex concepts with video

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Lots of the content that we share in this blog focuses on what the Red Bulls of this world are doing to communicate with their audiences. We share these because the more extreme examples help us to illustrate the underlying principles more clearly. The fact is though that most of the videos that we produce don’t have people jumping out of space balloons, or helicopters or stunts of most kinds. Most of our work is a little... slower paced. That in no way means that it needs to be boring though. There are some really great ways to make even the driest subject matter engaging and interesting. It does help to follow a few key principles though...

1. Keep it Simple

OK - this is a strange way to start a blog about making videos about complex content but do bear with us. The point is you need to condense your information down to the key point you are trying to make - as much as feasible. Do not overload the video with too much content. Think about what you want the audience to think, feel or do as a result of watching and then focus on achieving that one thing. Clarity is essential. It is almost impossible to make a film which is too simple in what it is trying to achieve.

RBI - The Jobtopus (2)

Focus on the elements of the brief you most need to relay to create videos which land the message.

Take this film for RBI Recruitment. They wanted to illustrate the fact that they have eight recruitment titles in their stable. What else is famous for having eight 'bits'? Quite. This animation cuts away everything else they could have included and focuses on the one this that RBI were trying to get across. As a result, it lands the message effectively.  

2. Think about actual people in the target audience group

When making videos about complicated ideas particularly there is a tendency to make them even more complicated by trying talking to the audience as a block rather than a collection of individuals. This can lead to weird phrasing and a quite impersonal feel. The best videos are the ones that speak directly to each audience member. A great way to do this is to think about two or three members of different parts of the target audience when creating your script and film. Do test it by thinking about other members. If you don't know any, it's usually worth doing a little bit of leg work to find them. 

3. Use experts who know and love the material

'Talking head' or interview led films are an excellent, cost effective way to get your message across, particularly if the interviewee has an in-depth understanding and can relate it clearly and with energy, as the fund manager does in the above film for Glint.

Glint - Testimonials 04

A knowledgeable expert can explain ideas clearly and interestingly

4. Use animation and visual metaphor

Animation is a brilliant way of communicating more complicated ideas. This is because it allows you to show and tell the concepts you are explaining at the same time. Normally, you should never explain what you can show - but - using metaphor to underline the principles of the voice over helps to demonstrate the ideas without feeling overly obvious. This makes the information far more tangible and memorable. You can see this at work in this animation for the EIB.

 

EIB - Camena (1)

Visual metaphor is a great way of underlining the key ideas in your animation

5. Don't forget emotion

Content that focuses on creating an emotional response in the audience beats the purely rational in effectiveness tests every time. No matter the subject, it is important that you include a bit of character as this engages a different part of the brain and helps the information to stick. This means the audience are more likely to remember and act on your message. As a quirk of the way our brains work we automatically attribute agency to the objects we see moving. This can be used to great effect to build engagement with the audience. Look at how the character of the ball bearing in this film helps to draw you into the message. 

PwC - IFRS Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg machines are satisfying to watch. Here it demonstrates the interconnectedness of the subject matter in a nifty visual metaphor.

But...

Sometimes video works best promoting other media

This might sound slightly contrary to the whole point of this blog, but there may well be some occasions when video is not the right route to take. 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’ll 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.


Whatever you're sharing videos about online it helps to make sure that they're the right length to maximise engagement and action. To help you do that - no matter the platform - we created a whitepaper. You can download it right here.

 

Topics: Explain or promote products and services, Production process, Being a better commissioner, Content Strategy

How to make your content last longer

Posted by Nick Francis
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How to make content last-2

 

It's a really common question - it takes time, headspace and money to create content that is worth sharing. So we thought we would share a couple of thoughts on how you can maximise your content's mileage...

1. Shoot Plenty

Whatever you are producing the more material you can shoot the more options you are giving yourself for the future. You may choose to use that extra material to create social cuts now or to hold them back to refresh the content with a reedit in the future.

2. Tell the Production Team

It helps if the people making the videos know that you want them to last as long as possible. This will allow them to work this into the creative/production.

3. Use Animation

It's great - reflecting brand and looking professional and is infinitely changeable - we have an animation from 2009 that we are still making reedits to for a client. Oh yeah - and the characters don't usually resign.

4. Does it Really Matter?

Usually, you get bored of your content before your audience do. They may be coming to it fresh.

5. Deliver Lasting Value

Just like Steve McQueen, really great ideas, information and entertainment don't go out of fashion.


What's the best length to guarantee engagement online? Well, one way to find out is by downloading our What's the Right Length for Video Online? Whitepaper.

Which is good because it's right here:

Download Casual's Right Length for Video Online Whitepaper

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

What is Big Rock Content?

Posted by Nick Francis
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“What you’re really seeking is to be trusted, to be heard, to be talked about, and to matter. And if we look at any brand that’s succeeded, that is what they have done.”
- Jason Miller, Content and Social Marketing Leader, LinkedIn

The term ‘Big Rock’ content was initially coined by Jason Miller, LinkedIn’s Head of Content. He describes it as a piece of content so substantial it allows the brand sharing it to ‘own the conversation’. This is the ultimate extension of Google’s hero content. Red Bull’s ‘Stratos Jump’ is a perfect example of this; it’s so audacious and the brand’s ownership is so complete that it excludes anyone else from getting involved.

 

However, this is maybe pushing the realms of possibility for 99.99% of brands. Nike’s ‘Breaking 2’ was one of the standout pieces of content in 2017, where the brand got together three of the fastest marathon runners in an attempt to break the 2-hour barrier. The attempt created a large amount of support - atomised - content, and earned large amounts of online coverage.

Talks at GS Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell on Talks at GS

A slightly more accessible example of this is Goldman Sachs Talks at GS series. These productions – reminiscent of TED talks in their approach and quality – feature presidents, actors, and business and charity founders, who are some of the most interesting thinkers and personalities of our time. The interviews are up to 20 to 30 minutes in length, which means that there is loads of content that can be repurposed into shorter outputs to be shared elsewhere. The channel sets the bank up as a powerhouse for global business and financial success, and has earned over 30 million views on YouTube so far.

Whatever you decide to make your ‘Big Rock’, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

Make it really big and really desirable. It needs to be audacious and eye-catching enough for your audience to share their personal details with you to get involved. This may just be an email address, but it could be so significant that they will actually pay for it. Whatever the goal – make it big.

Consider two points: What conversation do you want to own? What is the number-one question on your audience’s minds? Where do these two questions intersect? They may well not, in which case you need to think about how you can transpose the two without compromising too much. This is where you should place your ‘Big Rock’.

Once you’ve made the investment in your ‘Big Rock’, you can repurpose parts of the output again and again - 'atomising' it if you like. You can use these smaller pieces of content to drive engagement with the central story. This can, in turn, massively increase your return on the original investment.


Whether you want some guidance on what your 'Big Rock' might be, or if you just want to make sure you're sharing the right kind of content in the first place, a free consultation call is a great place to start. Click here to book a call back with one of our content experts and learn just how much more your content could be doing for you.

 

Topics: Increase brand awareness and appeal, Being a better commissioner, Content Strategy, Brands as broadcasters

Learning from Nike : How context supercharges content effectiveness

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Timing, they say, is everything.

Your audience are faced by a deluge of content every time they browse their social channels. Which is why it is getting harder and harder to cut through to them. Like random banner ads before them, so much content is subconsciously filtered out before they even notice it. The only way to get around it is by creating work that your audience are predisposed to engage with at the moment they see it. This is why the context in which it is viewed is essential in landing your content with them.

Subconscious Filtering?

This filtering of information is essential to allow us to focus on what is important and to stop us from going crazy from monitoring the huge number of stimuli that our bodies sense at any given moment. From thousands our brains limit us to being aware of only around 40. To do this, our RAS or Reticular Activating System (the brain’s CPU) instantaneously filters out anything which our subconscious judges to be extraneous information. This part of the brain learns very quickly what to look out for – it is why when you are looking at buying a red Volkswagen you suddenly see red Volkswagens everywhere. It, of course, also works for the things that we have learned to ignore.

1280-reticular-activating-systemThis is why we can see a hundred different ads while scrolling or browsing and never really notice them, but then one pops up with just the right thing at just the right time and boom, we click-through and buy. This is the essence of context. This is the importance of timing, which is why programmatic retargeting has been so successful (the process that continues to advertise products to you after you have visited a certain webpage). It’s why Google has grown to be, well, Google.

Get the timing right and an ad which cost you pennies to place can become the most valuable piece of advertising you do that day.

Nike put Tiger Wood's Masters win in context

Last weekend you may have noticed that Tiger Woods staged one of the most impressive career come backs in the history of golf, if not sport. He was once the global megastar of the sport, winning 14 major titles and being accused of ruining the game by making the rest of the world's best compete for second place. His implacable, uncompromisingly focused facade hid some challenging truths which came home to roost in dramatic fashion. He fell from grace, he lost his game and dropped out of the World's Top 1000. Most people wrote him off. Last weekend, he came back back and won his 5th US Masters - one, if not the, of the hardest fought tournaments in the sport - at the age of 43, the second oldest winner ever. It was a stunning moment in a story that has captivated the world of sport for nearly over 20 years.

Nike's Same Dream Spot - shared in the moments after Wood's win

Behind the scenes on Sunday, there was another level of genius/fortunate planning at work. In the moments after Woods donned the cherished green jacket of the Masters winner Nike shared an ad on their social channels which nailed the feeling of the moment. A relatively inexpensive edit which allowed them to capitalise on the estimated $22.5M worth of publicity that the brand received while Woods completed his final round. Sunday was the most watched round of golf in history. As far as content goes the edit was pretty basic – a few recuts of old footage of Tiger playing with some inspirational interview audio from his early life. For a brand like Nike the production of a piece of content like this is almost as basic it gets – it was after all a punt on their man actually winning– but it paid off in spades. 

Oreo - You can still dunk in the dark Super BowlOreo shared this image on Twitter when the lights famously went out during the 2013 Super Bowl

Like the Oreo – “you can still dunk in the dark” tweet – it smashed any goal the brand might have set because it was timed to utter perfection. It was amusing and impressive that they were ready with someone who knew what they were doing to be able to create and share it. But it was the timing that really nailed it. That was why it was retweeted 10,000 times in the first hour and was regarded by many as the prestigious 'ad of the night', beating out competition from spots which cost literally one million times more.

How to think about Context

Given the depth of data now available about your audience online, traditional demographic data – the meat and gravy of traditional (pre-digital) audience targeting is fairly lacking. This is because you ultimately want to target anyone who might buy your product or be the right fit for your job - it doesn’t matter where they live or how old they are. A more effective way of thinking about audience targeting is through Behaviours, Emotions and Moments or BEMs:

Behaviours:
Have consumers demonstrated (or exhibited proxy behaviour) that indicates interest in a specific or related product area? Have they actively sought out or mentioned a particular product or service? 
Emotions:
Has a particular product or service suddenly become more relevant to them? Are they posting emotional responses that suggest they would be receptive to certain brand messages? Ice cream can be great for lifting the spirits, a new job for those dissatisfied with work, a glass of champagne for someone feeling elated.
Moments:
What event might trigger a desire to buy or interact? Possibly changes in weather, transport strikes or sports events? Has the consumer entered a specific location which might make them more susceptible to your message - there is always a surge in job searching and relationship breakups around and immediately after Christmas.

Thousands of golfers will have been thinking: "I wonder what putters there are on the market at the minute?" Bang. That was the moment the video hit. That is the essence of context.

The reason this timing is so essential is that it allows the marketer to take advantage of the specific triggers that will lead your audience to engage in any given moment. How many people reached for an Oreo while watching the Super Bowl after seeing that tweet and in all the press it got afterward? More to the point, the Nike video was perfectly timed because it was shared at the moment that the audience are at their most inspired. Thousands of golfers will have been thinking about dusting off the clubs and maybe replacing their putter before playing a round. "I wonder what putters there are on the market at the minute?" Bang. That was the moment the video hit. Building on the positivity and oozy feelgood-ness of the moment and tying the brand into his glory. Making sure it was front of mind for anyone thinking of getting back out there and 'spoiling a good walk' - as Oscar Wilde would have said.

How can you find out about the BEMs of your audience?

The best way to work out the BEMs that work most effectively for your target audience is through testing and measuring. Make some sensible assumptions and then try them out. How can you use the information that you know about your audience to create content that will hit them while they're doing just the right thing, at just the right time, in just the right mood to engage? Test, measure, reiterate and improve.


Wherever or whenever you are targeting your audience, according to Google/YouTube the key to effective content campaigns is really great content. Download our free ten step guide to making sure the material you share is as good as it can be right here:

DOWNLOAD COMMANDMENTS

Topics: Attract and retain the best candidates, Explain or promote products and services, Increase brand awareness and appeal, Boost sales and encourage donations, Being a better commissioner, Content Strategy

Atomised content: The rise of the chicken sized horse

Posted by Nick Francis
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As filmmakers we sometimes need to kill time - in airports, interview rooms, watching render bars. One-way of doing this is by playing the game would you rather? The options are only limited by the imaginations of the crew which can be fairly ‘expansive’. Most of them probably shouldn’t be shared here. A classic though is:

Would you rather fight one chicken the size of a horse, or 100 horses the size of chickens?

It’s a poser. Brand-film wise, the horse-sized chicken used to rule the roost: a single monolithic piece of content that promoted your brand with a knockout punch. It was shared everywhere – the AGM, at pitch meetings and conferences. Everyone would watch it and marvel as they were told how amazing the company was.

 

Breast Cancer Now - Chantelle

 

Breast Cancer Now - Chantelle 90 second cut

Now, things have changed. Online content is all about multitudes of chicken sized horses. You need volume because your audience are so fragmented, over stimulated and time poor the only way to be sure your message gets through is via a carefully directed stream of multiple pieces of content. Much of your content may not be seen but you’re playing the numbers game. As long as your brand and the narrative is consistent your message stands a far greater chance of getting through.

Breast Cancer Now ChantelleBreast Cancer Now: Chantelle - Instagram

Take our good friends over at Breast Cancer Now, they knew that in order to grab and maintain their audience’s attention you had to hit them, not once but again and again and again. Muhammed Ali didn’t win his fights with a single punch he danced around the ring and landed perfectly timed shots. Your video content strategy needs to do exactly the same thing. Atomised content isn’t about spending more to get more, it’s about getting more from what you already have.

Breast Cancer Now utilised their budget to ensure they had enough content to keep their audience engaged across multiple platforms for a longer period of time. Let the horse sized chicken slowly fall whilst you produce Instagram stories, Facebook posts, Twitter videos, subtitled content, banner ads, email marketing campaigns the list goes on and on. Loads of tiny horses streaming out towards their audience.

 

UK5060BCN_FactFilms_C_01_MB

 

Breast Cancer Now Chantelle Video Banner

On average we shoot between 15 and 40 minutes worth of content per interview. This content is then condensed to a 30, 60 or 90second film. That leaves loads of unused material which can now be used to create supporting content. Take those clips which were just a bit too long winded to include originally and see if it could work as a stand-alone film, pull stills from video content and create new social media posts, turn the audio into a podcast. Once you stop viewing your video budget as a single deliverable you start to get much more bang for your buck!

Producing content in this way gives you flexibility. You don’t have to blow all your budget on that one piece of content which needs to tick all the boxes, instead you can focus on the specific needs of your target audience. Make a film that speaks to each group individually, get personal and your brand and message will start to grow strong roots.

BCN_CHANTELE_970x250_02

So, next time you raking your brain trying to think of the next best all singing all dancing chicken sized horse surprise your audience with a hundred horse sized chickens, they won’t see that coming. Or maybe they will - and that's kind of the point.

...

Whatever the size of your future content project, set off on the right foot with our guide to writing better briefs. You can download it here:

DOWNLOAD BETTER BRIEFS

 

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

How much does a film cost?

Posted by Nick Francis
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Creating content costs less than ever. 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 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.

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How much does a film cost?

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.

What’s the reason for the average film value?

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.

What’s the cheapest film we can make?

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?

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?


We'd love to talk to you about this or anything in the production process. Drop us a line or send us an email: projects@casualfilms.com to book a call back with one of our producers.

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

Content gives you wings: what can Red Bull Media teach us?

Posted by Nick Francis
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As we covered in this post, advances in technology give us all the ability to create and share so much content that we are effectively – whether we like it or not – the owners of our own media channel. That post covered the mindset shift required to take full advantage of that.  This time we look at a brand which has grasped this and benefitted from it as much, if not more than any other...

Energy-drinks manufacturer Red Bull have built a brand presence for their content so significant that it almost transcends the association with their original product. With its Red Bull Media House, it creates thousands of pieces of content, has correspondents in 160 countries, distributes one of the most popular magazines in the world and has its own TV channel. They have generated brand equity which can be valued in the billions. We're not suggesting that you need to go that far to see a return from content. It’s more that this is a useful guide as to just how much like a traditional broadcaster a brand can end up being.

Nearly all the content that the Red Bull Media House produces is only obliquely relevant to the original product. The link is with the initial core aim of the brand, in that Red Bull gives wings to people and their ideas – ‘Red Bull gives you wings’. But there are three things that you can take from Red Bull’s approach to content production:

  • Take the leap
  • Prepare for the long term
  • It needs to come from the top

Red Bull Media House Art of Flight Content ProductionWe finally get an in context snowboard shot into the Blog! Whoop!

Take the leap

Like a motocross rider about to pull a backflip on Red Bull’s channel, if you’re going to do it, you need to commit. Their failure to do this might mean they land on their head; you may just end up wasting your time and money. For many companies, though, this will require a real step away from what they are used to. Red Bull really went for it and has built an entirely new multi-billion-dollar category as a result. This culminated in Red Bull Media House’s crowning achievement, which is arguably Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the edge of space, which was watched by a live global audience of nearly 8 million. The photo of him having landed safely on the Red Bull Facebook page was liked by 466,000 people. That is a lot of engagement! All of the additional material that the jump generated enabled members of the audience to take, repurpose and own elements of the story.

Prepare for the long term

Red Bull first launched its content wing in 2007 – it has taken it 10 years to achieve the dominance in the space that it has now. Over that time, it has taken a sustained approach to building its audience and the loyalty of its many followers; this has led to a significant and measurable increase in the value of the Red Bull brand. The problem with trying to account for this using a traditional marketing framework is that it’s almost impossible to calculate the increase in brand value on a piece-by-piece basis. While any brand can benefit from having a more joined-up content strategy, being a brand broadcaster is a long-term investment in your company’s future value.

Red Bull CEO Dietrich MateschitzRed Bull CEO Dietrich Mateschitz

It needs to come from the top

One of the main challenges for businesses wanting to capitalise on the opportunity that is on offer to them is misunderstanding or fear among the executive team. There is no reason why any company that chooses to can’t achieve excellent returns, but it has to be driven from the senior team. Red Bull has two shareholders – the original entrepreneurs who set the business up. That means it has the freedom to make the decisions that are in the long-term interest of the brand. It can choose to take the calculated risks that are necessary to make this stuff really work, without having to answer to the drive for short-term returns. So many companies want to be Apple – they love the Apple brand, the precision of its operations and the adoration of its users (and its profit margin!) – but no one is prepared to be Steve Jobs: risk taking, brave and uncompromising in his pursuit for perfection. To expect one without the other is unrealistic and naïve.


Whatever you are trying to achieve it is essential that you start your project off on the right foot. You can access our guide to writing an effective brief (which includes a briefing document for you to use as you choose) right here.

We're always interested to hear what you think. Let us know in the comments section below...

Topics: Being a better commissioner, Content Strategy, Brands as broadcasters

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