The Better Video Power Hour with Vodafone's Catalina Schveninger

Posted by Nick Francis
Read More

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

A chat about The New Fire - Harness the Power of Video for your Business

Posted by Nick Francis
Read More

Co-founder Nick seems to be in a marginally better mood recently, probably because he has finally finished his book: The New Fire - Harness the Power of Video for Your Business. Here we ask him a few questions to give you an idea of what to expect.

If you would like to purchase a copy, please follow this link. Firstly, they're almost certain to sell out (Bezos is rubbing his hands together in anticipation of the launch already). Secondly, as an early registerer you might win a free copy! So, what are you waiting for! 

Anyway...

Why is the book called The New Fire?

Video is the New Fire for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, fire and storytelling have always been closely linked. Using fire enabled us to get the nutrition required from our food to grow our brains, enabling us to have thoughts that focused beyond the immediate – why are sabre-toothed tigers so… bitey?’, rather than simply ‘that sabre-toothed tiger is going to eat me, I need to run away now.’. It also lengthened the day, which gave us the time to use our newly enhanced brains to think abstractly and construct abstract narratives - to tell stories. This is why storytelling is such an effective means of communication. Our brains literally evolved to make sense of information through them.

 

saber-tooth-catSabre-toothed tiger - rather 'bitey'


Secondly, I’ve always liked the metaphor of video as fire. They exhibit many similar qualities. Used effectively, it can be sustaining, providing energy and power for your cause. It can ‘light a fire’ in your audience’s hearts and minds. Get it wrong and it can burn, damage and potentially kill you. In the online space, video spreads rapidly, enlightening or burning as it goes. Often with world changing ferocity. A fire of its time – the shocking LAPD/Rodney King case in the early ‘90s captured global attention because it was recorded for all to see. Now cameras are everywhere and distribution is immediate we all have that capability to create fire in our hands right now. Video has moved from being in the hands of the few, the privileged, who used it to broadcast their message, to being in the hands of the many – more or less everyone – who can use it to narrowcast to the few. This has huge ramifications for all of us, particularly business communicators.

This is why the Technological Revolution has allowed video to fully come of age. After 400 millennia fire was only harnessed with the Industrial Revolution and the invention of the steam and internal combustion engines. These transformed it from being a relatively raw asset – providing heat and light – and channelled it to power rapid advancement. This is the headspace that we need to be in when considering what video can do for us as modern communicators.

 

Why did you write this book?

I wrote the New Fire because this evolution has happened so fast that even for those working in the industry, it can feel pretty overwhelming to get your head around. I wanted to help people to make sense of it by breaking down what video is, how it has evolved and what this means for businesses and brands.

I also read a lot of business books and am yet to find a comprehensive account of brand video. There are ‘how to do it yourself’ books, there are books that look at marketing generally, there are very technical books which breakdown strategy. I haven’t yet found one that focuses specifically on corporate video. This has traditionally been a bit of a back water but this ignores the drastic evolution that has happened over the last decade. The UK government’s Independent Review of the Creative Industries published in 2017 didn’t include brand/corporate video content as a category, it didn’t even mention it. This is an estimated $8 billion global industry!

There are thousands of companies that have grown up over the last decade, producing stunning work for global businesses. As a member of this thriving industry, I wanted to represent the changes that have happened and to help both parties to get more from the relationship. 

 

Who should read this book? 

  1. Senior executives who want to understand more about using video content to engage staff, explain/promote products/launch or build a brand. The New Fire breaks down the assets that make video such a valuable tool so that you can think, speak plan around it from a position of understanding. From conversations with clients, senior execs and others working in the industry, I realised that there is often a bit of a knowledge gap between video practitioners, who tend to be a bit more clued up, and their bosses. This book specifically addresses that gap.
  1. Corporate/brand video commissioners who want to understand how to work more effectively with third party producers. The book breaks down each phase of the commissioning process from writing an effective brief and defining your audience to producing a cohesive content strategy.
  1. Marketers who want more detail on how and why one of the most potent tools in their armoury is just that. This book will help you to use it more effectively, improving returns from your campaigns.
  1. Recruitment/HR/Employer Brand professionals who want to understand how to use video to attract, recruit and motivate staff.
  1. Video producers/production companies/filmmakers working in business video who understand the process but might like a little more context.

 

What is it about?

The last ten years have seen a revolution in the way that video is used. Broadband Internet, DSLRs, camera phones, virals, YouTube, YouTubers, 3G, 4G, drones, consumer editing programmes, virtual reality, 360, augmented reality, interactive, all these things and more have completely changed video from the unidirectional tool for the privileged and put it in the hands of the masses. The most powerful communications tool yet invented can be used effectively. This has drastic implications for all of us, but it significantly changes the communications landscape for business. The pace of change has been such that to work in the way that many companies do, is to under realise the potential of this awesome platform.

The businesses that have realised the potential are creating huge value. Look at Red Bull. Okay, this may seem like an obvious example to use, but bear with me. They have created a whole brand media infrastructure which generates value for the core brand in a way that is indiscernible from the brand value of their core product. Every time someone sees a young lunatic heading off a jump upside down at 60 mph, they are reminded of Red Bull’s brand promise – that it ‘gives you wings.' 

josh-sheehan-red-bull-x-fighters-madrid-double-backflip

Obviously, if you’re an accountancy firm, or a bank, motorbike backflips aren’t necessarily going to chime with your brand. But if you understand who your target audience area and what makes them tick and then see where that intersects with what you stand for as a brand, you can get a huge amount of value from using video. That could be in direct ways – increasing sales by explaining your products or recruiting better staff – or less direct ways – like improving brand perception which ultimately sells more and allows you to charge more. However it’s used, the potential to build brand value is such, that businesses need to think about their content production as an additional product. This means that businesses need to think like broadcasters. They need to have a specific plan to deliver value for the business through content production. Whether they like it or not, they have a content channel and their audience expect them to use it, because if they don’t their competitors already will be. The New Fire breaks down how to do exactly that. 

 

Why is purpose such a valuable resource for content creators?

Using your business purpose as the cornerstone of your content is the best way to create impactful work. Having an anchor point which all of your creative can be linked back to also ensures that the content that you share through your ‘channel’ is coherent and relevant to your brand.

Business purpose has been such a hot topic over the last few years, underlined by Simon Sinek’s excellent book – Start with Why – “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. (Check out his extremely popular TED talk.There are lots of reasons to have a purpose beyond the simple profit motive.  For one, it’s a really effective way of improving engagement among your employees. You should think of your purpose as your company’s ‘North Star’, the idea or principle which can be used to inform every decision that you make. This makes it a powerfully aligning element for any business. It is hugely valuable externally too. Because it is your North Star, all of your content should have your company purpose woven into it. This can happen naturally if you feature members of your staff who are often the manifestation of your values. In other instances, it might be necessary to be more explicit in understanding how a project’s creative concept links back. 

Doesn’t mean that all your content should be about your purpose, but it should fit within the same orbit. To look at the Red Bull example earlier, their purpose can be summarised as: we give people the energy and inspiration to fulfil their dreams. For the MotoXer, that might be to try to kill themselves (sorry – do massive backflips) but it can be equally relevant to helping conceptual artists to create their art. This gives them a huge amount of space to create work which reinforces what they stand for as a brand. ‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.’ 

Once you have clarified this you can create content which allows your audience to decide whether your values align with their own. If they do, then you will be on your way to building them into being fans and ultimately raving fans – the people who do your selling for you. I’ve oversimplified there, but creating content of this nature, which is very light touch on the selling side is one of the best ways of building a resilient and ultimately profitable following online. 

Errr… why have you written a book about video?

Ha – I wrote a book for two reasons.

Firstly, it’s essential to understand your audience and the way that they consume information. This book is for people who come in contact with video within their business and want to know more. According to Inc magazine, most senior execs read 4-5 books per month. I wanted to communicate them in the format that they would be most comfortable.

Secondly, video is an excellent communications medium, but it’s not perfect for everything. There is a huge amount of information in there and I wanted people to be able to take the book, read it, peruse it and refer to it whenever they need to brush up on something. Want to understand the power of purpose? It’s in there. Need to set a budget? It’s in there? Want to know the difference between psychographic and demographic audience segmentation? It’s in there. Whatever it is, I’ve tried to make the information as accessible and as easy to refer to as possible.

I am looking at producing more video around it, but it turns out that writing a book takes up quite a lot of time!


You can read more about the New Fire and purchase your very own copy here: www.newfirebook.com

 

Topics: Being a better commissioner, How-to, Purpose driven video, News, Content Strategy

10 Video Trends to Watch in 2019

Posted by Nick Francis
Read More

2018 was a rip-roaring ride in the land of video content, as it was pretty much everywhere else. With a new year dawning, we thought we’d take a minute to look at the Top 10 trends we’ve seen developing to help you understand how people will be using video in 2019.

If these gives you a few ideas that's great - we'd love to discuss them with you. Drop us a line or let us know your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

1. Making video go further

Video is the most effective way to get a message across online. Because any video done properly represents an investment of money and time, it is essential that we maximise the mileage on anything produced. This has seen an increase in the amount of ‘atomisation’ of content – splitting projects into a large number of outputs. These can then be optimised and shared on different social/owned platforms. This optimisation includes varying the content, the length and the aspect ratio (using square video for Facebook/Instagram).

Breast Cancer Now Square VideoSquare video works particularly well for Facebook and Instagram

We recently delivered a follow-up series of 10 to 20 second soundbite films edited from material which hadn’t made it into the original project’s outputs. This gave that client a series of cost-effective videos which worked well on Instagram Stories. This added another phase to the campaign without having to pick up a camera.

2. Quality content wins

The last year has seen our clients work with us on some of the best films we have ever made. The importance of pace and brevity has definitely caught on. It is now accepted and understood that shoehorning additional messaging into films does not increase the amount of information that the audience takes from them.

This is an important step towards better, more impactful work. There is so much content pollution out there, it is increasingly important for the material you share to be of a decent standard. This does not necessarily mean spending huge sums, but it does mean that you should take the time to consider what you are trying to achieve.

From here you can assess the best way to get there. The days of poorly produced, shaky user generated content being acceptable for global brands to share are thankfully numbered. That said…

3. We're all filmmakers now

We all have the means to shoot high quality video in our pockets. This makes the format even more accessible than it was before. Whether it’s a company news update or explaining a new advertised recruitment role, it’s never been easier to share video content. Coupled with how much more engaging video is, this is an excellent way to make sure that your message is heard online.

 jakub-gorajek-188614

To keep in step with this, it’s worth helping your staff to use their equipment properly and developing video branding guidelines and packs which can help to standardise the look and feel of your output.

4. Increased personalisation

This increase in the ease and speed of video production means that the next development we should expect to see is better personalisation. Whether you are creating video specifically for an individual or for a small targeted group, your audience want to engage with content which is perfectly aligns with their worldview. The most effective communicators should be looking at ways to tailor their content to the audience in order to do this.

 5. Going live

Live streaming on the various social platforms has really come of age. It’s growth over the last three years has been really significant. It works because it feels personal, immediate and engaging for the viewer. This contributes to the increases in engagement that those sharing live video can enjoy. This is a trend which will run and run.

6. Getting techie

Virtual reality, 360 and Interactive have all continued to come of age, they give communicators an excellent opportunity to excite and interest audiences. This is particularly true at trade shows/conferences, where the spectacle of the equipment being used can add to the buzzy nature of the technology. Beyond this, we have seen uses of new technology used as a tool to enhance the message, moving significantly beyond the gimmickry of some of the early adoption.

Casual Films Vodafone VR HeadsetStill from Vodafone EVP

7. Inherent content value is more important than ever

Your audience are more distracted than they have ever been. With more of them accessing your content through their mobile devices than ever before, they are empowered to choose how they spend their time. This means that communicators have to offer content which carries its own inherent value. As marketing guru Seth Godin says, you should aim to create material which your audience would "miss if it wasn't there."  This is a high bar, but an essential one to clear if we are to stand a chance of standing out and landing our messages with the audience.

8. Brands move closer to operating as media companies

Given its accessibility and the online audience’s preference for video, it’s not surprising that more and more brands are thinking far more like traditional media companies. For some time now, there have been outliers - RedBull, GE, Volvo Trucks - who have used video to communicate and develop significant additional brand value. This is a trend that looks set to continue and accelerate over the coming months and years. To capitalise on the opportunity that this represents, brands should have a coherent content plan, which serves their audience the material they are after in the form that they prefer.

Alfa Romeo No Longer a California DreamBrands as media companies - Alfa Romeo: No Longer Just a California dream (with WSJ Brand Studios)

9. The evolving role of the production company

Given all this change and the requirement to create more content than ever, it’s not surprising that clients expect their supplier relationships to evolve. To help clients get the most from the relationship, production companies are moving into the role of content partners. This means working seamlessly together, supplementing each other’s resources and abilities as necessary, allowing each party to play to their strengths.

Whether that is some communications consultancy or the creation of some animated stings to make some internal user generated content look more professional, the relationship of the future will be based on flexibility and understanding.

10. Storytelling remains the cornerstone of effectiveness

Whatever the purpose of your video or how it is are executed, storytelling and narrative remain central to landing creative messages with any audience. New tech and evolving approaches should be used to enhance storytelling, rather than as a crutch for poorly thought through creative. Used properly though, they make 2019 the most exciting year to be a corporate/brand filmmaker yet.


New call-to-actionWe’d be really keen to hear what you think about this list – please leave a comment below. If the pace of change feels intimidating, you can console yourself with the fact that you don’t need to do it alone. Book a call with one of our producers and we'd be happy to discuss how you can make 2019 your most successful year yet.

Topics: Being a better commissioner, Repurposed content, Atomised content, News

The Casual Films Academy charity comes to Oakland!

Posted by Nick Francis
Read More

We have recently completed the first outing of the Casual Films Academy Charity in our new spot in California. We worked with a number of young people from Guardian Gyms to make a series of films to help the non-profit to expand into a second larger space.

Back in 2012, we realised that the process of producing films gives the opportunity for a double win. On the one hand, the film itself can be used as a valuable promotional tool for a local charity that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford one. On the other the process of making the film gives the opportunity to give access to young people to experience the many benefits of working in a creative team and making something. Since then we have worked with well over 100 young people. This year, with the help of our excellent staff, we brought the idea to Oakland, San Francisco Bay, CA.

Casual Academy Oakland

The Cause

The local cause we decided to work with was Guardian Gym - a non-profit martial arts gym based. They offer free classes to kids in the community, where they practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and boxing and are mentored, gain self-confidence. This helps them to develop important life skills like discipline. It works in a similar way to Tom's Shoes - one paying adult membership also pays for a young person’s membership. 

Guardian Gym’s model has been so successful that they have outgrown their space. They need more funding to help them to open a second, larger facility to accommodate more members – both adults and kids. The videos we made with our academicians (if we can call them that!) are intended to promote and raise money for this second location. 

US000_CasualAcademyOakland_Guardian_IG_Diego_v2

15s Instagram teaser of Diego's film

The Films

We created five 30 second videos, each focused on a different young person. They filmed and edited these with minimal direction and guidance from CF resident filmmaker James Fair. That's worth repeating - these films were shot and edited by our Academy students. Each video tells the story of how Guardian Gym has helped them overcome a challenge they faced. You can see the films by clicking here.

The young people seemed to really enjoy the community atmosphere and collaboration of the production. They got proper hands-on experience and were really able to take control of what they were making. Watching them, you wouldn't guess that they were shot and edited by kids between the ages of 10-13 (and 18). They turned out to be amazing, and showcase how committed and dedicated these five kids are to both Guardian Gym and the Academy. 

 

US000_CasualAcademyOakland_Guardian_IG_Khadijah_v2-1

15s Instagram teaser of Kadijah's film

"Capturing some of our kids while they participate in a project to learn how to film, edit, and tell a story with the Casual Academy. Such a great learning experience for them to find a potential passion early in life. We can't tanks James, Lydia and Sanica enough."

- Guardian Gyms 

A massive thank you to everyone involved in the the project. It wouldn’t have been possible without the time, effort and energy that our Oakland team put into it. If you want to make a donation please click here.

If you want to learn more about the Academy - if you have a local cause you think would benefit, or a young person in one of our home cities who is interested in getting involved then do please let us know. If you want to make a donation to the Academy - nothing is too small (or too big!) - to help us to help more special cause please contact us on hello@casualfilms.com

Topics: Purpose driven video, News, Casual Academy

Casual picks up UK Board of Trade Award for contributions to transatlantic trade

Posted by Nick Francis
Read More

This week we were thrilled to receive a Board of Trade Award, or ‘BOFTA’, which was given out by the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox, President of the Board of Trade and UK Minister for International Trade. We were aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in New York Harbour to receive the award “celebrating the best in British innovation and entrepreneurship” for our contributions to Transatlantic trade.

9B60rZWA

Barnaby picks up the award from Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox and US Ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson

As a production company we tend to pick up awards for our films. It’s therefore rather nice to pick one up for the business side of things. We first set up in New York in 2011. Building the business up in the US has been an amazing adventure and continues to challenge and engage us.

 

The Queen Elizabeth is the UK’s newest aircraft carrier, costing the taxpayer a handsome £3.1 billion. We’re pleased to report that the money has been well spent and it made for a cracking backdrop to an award ceremony.

 All Bofta Winners

Barnaby and Nick with other award winners, the Secretary of State, Ambassador and the Captain

We were ferried to the warship flanked by NYPD helicopters and machine-gun armed patrol boats – which certainly built our anticipation for the event. The ship cut an impressive silhouette against the darkening sky. Having arrived we were saluted and piped aboard by the assembled sailors and marines. It was the first time the Board of Trade’s flag had flown above a warship in New York Harbour since the War of Independence.

 

Inside the hangar, flanked by Merlin helicopters, we were treated to G&Ts (with tonic from fellow award winners Fever Tree), a greeting from the commander of the ship, Captain Kydd - no relation - and a selection of tunes from the band of the Royal Marines. This was followed by a fair bit of photographing and discussing how we had come to end up on the boat, award in hand.

pIyicznQThe Band of HM Royal Marines perform for the assembled guests

The award comes at an excellent time for Casual too, reflecting our ongoing dedication to our relationship with the US. A new fully equipped 5,500 sqft studio in New York, a new office in San Francisco along with some of our best work ever in London, have made 2018 one of our best ever. Thank you to all our amazing clients and staff for sticking with us and making it such a success. A massive thank you to Richard Powell at the Department for International Trade in New York - and everyone from the UK government - who has helped to make our business in the US such a success so far.

 

 

Topics: Awards, News

POPULAR POSTS

Oxfam Awesome Brand Videos

Five Awesome Brand Films to Get You...

BMW Careers

Casual Films of 2018

Recent Posts

Social Media Icons

How to increase views on social...

Marriott Screens-1

The Better Video Podcast: Creating an...