The Better Video Podcast: Creating an Employer Brand Content Channel

Posted by Nick Francis
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Denise Feldman, Director, Content Marketing for Employer Brand and Communication at Marriott International joins Nick to discuss: 

  • The first steps to build a content channel
  • How constraints lead to creativity
  • Using iteration to find content that works
  • Measuring success
  • How to make content that really works
  • How different types of content complement each other
  • How do you get work seen by the right people
  • The most important lesson Denise has learnt

And much much else besides...

The Films
In the order they're discussed:


1. Marriott Campaign Overview

 


2. How to Apply for a Job at Marriott

 


3. Living Our Core Values - Sheila



Register to take part in future interviews here.

You can watch the video recording of the conversation.

About Denise
Denise is a marketing and employer brand professional, with more than 25 years' experience developing insight-based marketing and communications to attract, engage, and retain top talent for Fortune 500 companies.

Her career includes a variety of roles developing employer brand strategies and marketing for global hospitality leader Marriott International. Currently, Denise leads Marriott’s employment content development and marketing team, creating content that inspires job seekers and associates to engage with Marriott, and share the company story and people-first culture. She knows Marriott associates are the company’s best brand ambassadors. And they’re eager to share their stories – through video, she gives them the opportunity.

About Casual
Casual Films’ clients choose us because we employ remarkably good staff, who are extremely competent and a pleasure to work with. Our proprietary production method has been honed over nearly 10,000 films for major brands including RedBull, Adobe, IBM, Rolls-Royce, Autodesk, Facebook and Marriott and many others. We handle all aspects of the process from consultancy to filming, animation to distribution. We have studios in London, New York, LA and San Francisco, and a global network of trusted filmmakers ready to go.

Please get in touch - we'd love to talk to you.

The New Fire: Harness the Power of Video for Your Business

Check out Nick's book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1912009048

Topics: Attract and retain the best candidates, Being a better commissioner, How-to, Content Strategy, Brands as broadcasters, Culture & Values, Case Study

Case study: Red Bull Changemakers

Posted by Oliver Atkinson
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If you think of Red Bull TV what immediately springs to mind is a heart-stopping air race, gritty dirt biking or someone in Speedos performing a triple pike off a cliff and promptly plummeting towards the water 500 meters below. They do sport, they do it extreme and they do it well. So, when they approached us with a brief for a mini-series about social innovation it piqued our interest, to say the least… 

Amaphiko - Inspired by the Zulu word for ‘wings’ - is a programme to help Social Entrepreneurs create innovative and sustainable change in their communities and Red Bull wanted to create a series of short, global films featuring some of the people who have made changes for the good within their community.

After nearly a year of wrangling contributors, shifting schedules and of course, lugging equipment across continents we are pleased to announce that our mini-series have recently been broadcast.


Each film captures unique stories from six 'Changemakers' from around the world and how they turned ideas into projects that have changed the lives of people in their communities and beyond.

Check them out on the Red Bull site here.

 

Ep. 1 - Steel Warriors

Ben Wintour created Steel Warriors to counter the rising culture of knife violence on the streets of London by melting them to build outdoor gyms to offer youth a healthy community.


 

Ep 2 – Beats, Rhymes & Life

In Oakland, California, Rob Jackson is using the power of hip-hop to encourage young people of colour to engage in therapy. It's a second home for teens in the area who are vulnerable to mental health problems.


 

Ep 3 – SheFighter

Lina Khalifeh started SheFighter, the first self-defence studio for women in the Middle East, to help bring an end to the problem of abuse against women. Since its founding, the organisation has expanded to 35 different countries.


Ep 4 – Africa Yoga Project

Paige Elenson created the Africa Yoga Project in Nairobi to provide leadership opportunities for young people in struggling communities by making the practice of yoga more accessible.


Ep 5 – B360 Baltimore

Brittany Young started B-360 Baltimore to change negative perceptions of dirt bike culture in her community by teaching STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) that will help them secure meaningful career opportunities.


Ep 6 – Refettorio Felix

Massimo Bottura opened the community center Refettorio Felix in London to provide free therapeutic services and three meals a day to people struggling with poverty, hardship, sickness, and distress.


Is your company making great stories happen? If you want to share them in the best way possible you should get in touch with one of our team. Our experienced producers who will be happy to bring them to life with you. Make a no obligation enquiry by email or right here.

 

Topics: Increase brand awareness and appeal, Purpose driven video, Brands as broadcasters, Case Study

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

Posted by Nick Francis
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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

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

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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