Play Along

Video Content is Dominating Online Marketing Efforts

Peri Kinder

August 1, 2012

The YouTube age has completely revolutionized the way companies reach customers. Americans watched 10 billion video ads in May 2012—an all-time high, according to ComScore, Inc., a provider of digital measurement. And nearly 200 million internet users in the country watched more than 36 billion on-line content videos during that same time.

That’s a lot of information. With the average online video ad lasting approximately 25 seconds, businesses need to present concepts, products or services in a fast and interesting way.

So how does a company take its share of the digital pie? Jeff Winterroth, a producer/director for the video production facility Digital Bytes, suggests businesses create quality video content for websites, mobile apps, social media pages and blogs to educate and entertain their customers.

“With a video comes a certain image for the company, and the companies who are concerned about their images are creating videos,” Winterroth says. “If you want to engage your customer in a way that portrays something beyond the written word, if you want to move somebody emotionally or compel somebody—then video is the most impactful way to do that.”

Many companies launch videos when they roll out a new product or to demonstrate how to use a product. Other companies use video for internal communications, creating a cohesive culture when they have dozens, if not hundreds, of employees around the globe. These videos become a reflection of the culture of each business, helping to create an image customers can relate to.

Attention Grabbers
It used to be that watching an online video was more hassle than it was worth. With long downloading and buffering times, most people lost interest before viewing the entire video. But with today’s high bandwidths, smaller files and improved quality, there’s no reason to not utilize the video concept.

Jonathan Hallett and Ian Johnston, co-CEOs and co-owners of Too Many Legs Animation Studios, say that they’ve seen a surge in video production interest during the last 18 months. Their company jumped from two employees in 2011 to nine in 2012. And it’s still growing, with a client roster that includes Mattel, Sony Pictures, Fusion-io and Disney Channel, among many others.

Hallett and Johnston say that by using visual effects and animation, they can explain complex subjects in just a few minutes, helping companies tell their stories in a unique way. The company offers services in animation, motion graphics, concept art, storyboards and flash animation to customize marketing strategies and engage more customers in a company’s message.

“Most people would rather press a play button and watch a video than read two paragraphs of text,” Johnston says. “Almost from the beginning, everybody has wanted it, so we’ve turned it into a big production.”

John Daly, president of Daly Films, worked with Too Many Legs Animation to create a video for his client who was opening a chain of cafes. Daly met with Hallett and they created a full 3D animation tour of the cafes so people could view the entire place before they ever entered the building.

“[Hallett’s] artistic ability is amazing, probably the best I’ve seen as far as original art goes,” Daly says. “If a company wants to stand out, I think it’s worth investing in something a little high-end.”

Production Values
Before putting a video together, whether it’s live actors or animation, it’s important to know the company’s demographic. The message sent to a 60-year-old business professional will be much different than the message sent to a 13-year-old boy And the script is key. Without a solid message, no amount of clever writing, acting or animation will make up for the lack of substance.

Hallett and Johnston suggest creating a list of bullet points that are important to the message in order to stay on task. Be sure to invest in a quality production with good visuals and sound, and make it memorable so the message resonates with the viewer. Consider what image needs to be portrayed and what direction the video will take.

And, unless the company is experi-enced in video creation, get some help.

“Always hire professionals,” Hallett says. “Always hire someone better than yourself. If you try to save money by hiring the neighbor working out of his basement, it might cost more in the long run.”

As for cost, Winterroth says many companies can tailor the project to fit their budget. A full-service video production facility, like Digital Bytes, can create soundtracks, hire actors, write scripts, edit and direct. It usually takes about two weeks to solidify strong ideas and go through pre-production, but most projects can be done in less than a month.

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