Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Seven Ways to Use Video to Improve Your Marketing

The demand for receiving content by video continues to explode, making it by necessity an important part of your marketing mix. Video can be used in many ways for communicating the same things as traditional media has been used for, but its ability to convey through images, sound and motion makes it higher impact.

Here are some of the ways you can consider using video:
  1. Communicate key messages. Putting a face to key company messages makes it more personal and memorable, and because it can be made available any time, any place, over time it allows you to reach a broader audience than live presentations can.
  2. Recognize top employees or volunteers. Nothing inspires like hearing the story of another person who is passionate about his or her work. This kind of message helps to build a culture of excellence—reinforcing behaviors that fulfill your company’s goals.
  3. Share news. When announcing a new product or service, video should be part of your roll-out campaign.
  4. Offer testimonials. Feature clients talking about your brand to bring added credibility to your message.
  5. Show—vs. tell. When you want to teach, use video. An ideal medium for orientation and training, it’s the next best thing to being there in person.
  6. Go viral. Not every video is a candidate for going viral, but one that has entertainment value is more likely to do so. More and more companies are couching subtle product messages in viral-style videos to promote this kind of distribution.
  7. Repurpose ads. By all means, make sure you’re posting TV ads—in addition to buying air time for them. It’s also possible to create a kinetic motion production (type animation) that restates a print ad—but adds the elements of sound and motion.
  8. Communicate internally. Video can capture the soul of an organization, and fuel its core mission.
Once you’ve developed your video, make sure you’re maximizing your investment by taking advantage of every distribution method (many of which are free).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

On Writing Well—Don't Make 'em Work For It

Readers are impatient, and don’t want to invest their precious time in a message that doesn’t concern them. Good writers know they’ll have one shot to get the reader’s attention, so copy should pass the “drive-by” test. If, in the space of a three-second glance, one cannot tell what your offer is, don’t expect your reader to stay longer to figure it out.

The challenge, of course, is that you can’t say everything in the headline, or even the first sentence. And it’s easy to assume too much about the reader. When in doubt, ask someone unfamiliar with your topic to read the copy and stop when they’ve decided they’re no long interested. Or ask them to read only the headline and tell them what they think the ad will be about.

You might be surprised at what you learn.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Three Things Your Competitors Don't Want You to Know about Video

Adding video to your online marketing campaign can significantly improve your results. Here are some facts from onemarketmedia.com. 

Better ROI
In a study by Eyeblaster of online advertising campaigns, video increased dwell rate on ads by 20% and dwell time by 100%. Another study by Dynamic Logic also indicated significant improvements in brand favorability, aided brand awareness and purchase intent of rich media ads with video compared to traditional static display ads.

Higher engagement
Video is the best way to keep visitors to your site engaged and the best way to engage people with your brand. Time-on-page and time-on-site numbers increase when you add video. Images, podcasts, polls, charts and graphics are all great but nothing engages a website visitor more effectively than video. There are hundreds of blog posts and articles like this one where Patrick Moran explains how his sales team improved their close rates by 20% and online registrations by over 25% using web based video.

Type in ʻVideoʼ and ʻSEOʼ in Google and you will discover many articles explaining how video can improve your SEO results. With the launch of Universal Search from Google, you should expect to see more and more video results occupying the search engine results that are served up by Google. That means Google is prioritizing video in itʼs search algorithm. Not only will video help promote your products and services online it can also help those products and services get found online.

Smart businesses are responding to video with a resounding yes! Check to see if your competitors are doing the same.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sweat the Details and Get a Proof

Your creative project is finished, and now it's time to send it to the vendor for printing or production. But never assume that once it is out the door it doesn't need your attention anymore.

On the contrary, mistakes often occur in production. Here's an example of a recent problem we navigated.

The project below was for a mall display (featured last week on our blog).  As always, we include a printed proof along with the design files, so the production team can see how it should render—and this can often save mistakes in the final stages of a project.

Even then, it isn't uncommon for something to go wrong—which is why we insist on seeing proofs.  In this case, we went through three proofs before getting it right.

In the first, the outside vendor producing the actual display introduced those odd shadows around and across the bottom of the icon where there should have been a drop shadow instead. In the second, they corrected this problem but introduced a new one—the registration was off causing the type to appear blurred. We sent it back with instructions and finally got it resolved in the third round.

Sweating the details at every stage of the project is the only way to ensure that you receive the quality of work your firm aspires to.

Attempt 1: Drop shadow didn't print correctly

Attempt 2: Registration was slightly off resulting in blurred type

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spine Billboard Wins Gold Aster Award

We just learned that the successful “Get your back back. In Walla Walla.” outdoor board we developed with Providence St. Mary Medical Center Regional Spine Center has received a Gold Award from the Aster Awards Competition which honors excellence in medical marketing.

The Aster Awards, one of the largest national competitions of its kind, received approximately 3,000 entries from the United States, Canada and South America.  Participant’s entries competed against similar-sized organizations in their category.

Gold Awards reflect a score that ranks the creative work in the top 5% of entries submitted. Judging criteria includes creativity, layout and design, functionality, message effectiveness, production quality and overall appeal.

Here are a few of the distinctive attributes of this billboard that contribute to its success:
  • Short, seven-word headline works with image to create instant understanding that this is an ad for relief of back pain.
  • Alliteration in the headline makes it memorable.
  • Use of the city’s name connects with local readers, and makes it clear to regional readers that the service is in Walla Walla.
  • Vivid colors tie in with the center’s corporate colors, but are also vibrant and suggest health.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Twitter Proves Ideal for Crises Communication

Twitter is proving itself more useful than founder Jack Dorsey ever could have anticipated.

After the earthquake in Japan, when local phone networks became overloaded, people turned to Twitter—and other social media sites—for their communication.

Twitter Japan used their page to send out helpful information to their followers in both English and Japanese, including several general hashtags for people to use (for those that are new to Twitter, hashtags allow people to easily search tweets for keywords that are proceeded by the # symbol). These tags for the Japanese earthquake included:
•   #Jishin—general earthquake information
•   #J_j_helpme—requests for rescue or other aid
•   #Hinan—evacuation information

On March 12, the most common hashtag—general earthquake information—was mentioned almost 400,000 times in tweets.

In the revolution in Tunisia, Twitter was also responsible for sending out warnings to people, for organizing protests and for making calls for help. Below are some of the tweets sent out during the revolution.

Then there is also the original Twitter story of James Karl Buck, a graduate student who was covering the protests in Egypt and was arrested. His one-word tweet "arrested" was sent to his Twitter followers and within moments they were working on getting him out of jail.

These stories hint at the power social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have—in the right application.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hospital Anniversary Campaign Uses Video to Tell the Story

We produced a series of mini-videos for St. Anthony North Hospital's 40-Year Anniversary campaign—all of which are posted on their Web site, their You Tube channel and their Facebook pages. Each of the personal interviews tells a piece of their story—what the hospital means to its community, its distinctive mission and its vision for the future.

Quality videos are getting more cost-effective to produce. This, coupled with the the pervasive consumer  appetite for video, should make it a part of any significant campaign.

What are your reactions to this campaign? Do you think St. Anthony North's message was effectively communicated to the community? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hospital Anniversary Campaign—Entertain, Celebrate and Communicate with Video

We departed from the more serious style of the anniversary campaign interviews (which will post next Monday) to produce something fun that showcases the hospital employees, who were happily cooperative with some of our creative directing. We loved being able to capture the wonderful spirit of the people at St. Anthony Hospital North, and think this video not only does that, but can help generate internal enthusiasm for this celebration.

Whenever a production can be entertaining, it increases its chance of being distributed virally. While this one will be posted on their web site, You Tube channel and Facebook page, we hope viewers will also send their friends links to the video.

Check back next week for the final installment of this campaign: testimonial videos featuring the leaders of St. Anthony North.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hospital Anniversary Campaign—Outdoor Advertising

This week we're following the launch of a hospital anniversary campaign for our client, St. Anthony North Hospital in North Metro Denver. Today we're featuring their outdoor elements. Outdoor advertising is a good supporting media, and although it can't tell the full story, it can reinforce the key messages. Creatively speaking, it is the hardest to develop because the message must be so short in order to be read quickly.

See how the transit and outdoor ads above support the hospital's broader messages for their 40-year anniversary campaign.

Check back tomorrow to view the entertaining employee video for this campaign, and see how to engage your own workforce in your organization's strategic messages.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hospital Anniversary Campaign Incorporates Kinetic Typography

Kinetic typography is a new way of telling your story. It’s essentially a mini-ad that can be used in a variety of ways. Here’s how St. Anthony Hospital North used it as part of their 40-year anniversary campaign:

Click the links below to see some of our other kinetic typography projects:
And check out some of the other ways that companies are using animation: 
Check back tomorrow to see our outdoor advertising solutions for this campaign. 

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Hospital Anniversary Campaign—Mall Displays and Exterior Banner

    If you joined us yesterday, you saw the evolution of the icon for our client's 40-year anniversary that is launching this week in Colorado. Here's the winning campaign icon; you can see how it was applied in the designs below.

    For the mall displays, we decided to break the rules that suggest using 7-10 words on outdoor advertising. We didn't intend for viewers to read every word on the ad, but instead to walk away with an overall impression of how much St. Anthony does in partnership with its community. 

    Note that on the bottom of the display, you'll see a QR code. Viewers can use a smart phone app to scan the code, which takes them to a special 40-year animation (check back later this week to view the animation, or if you click to enlarge the ad you can scan it now). The print ad echoes this design and also features the QR code.

    What do you think. Did we meet the goal?

    Print Ad

    Mall Display

    As a part of the overall media buy, we like to use a client's facility to communicate, since it's a cost-effective way to reach people already interested in the organization. There are no media buy fees, and it reinforces the campaign message with the staff, who are important advocates. Similar interior banners on stands are located in the two main entrances of the hospital.

    Exterior Banner

    Check back tomorrow to see what we developed as part of their social media campaign.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Case Study—The Evolution of an Icon for a Hospital Anniversary Campaign

    What's a 40-year anniversary about? For St. Anthony North Hospital in Denver, Colo., it is an opportunity to celebrate milestones, honor their staff, confirm their distinctive role and cast a vision for the future.

    A combination of outdoor, print and social media provided the platform for communicating their contributions to and partnership with their community. The message—We: You, me and St. Anthony North, Side by side for 40 years—celebrated the past as a shared achievement and staked out their independence as a separate entity from their founding hospital,while still honoring their shared history.

    For their campaign which is launching this week, the client wanted an icon that would appear on the various campaign pieces to create continuity. Before we began working on the icon, we established these goals:
    1. Must have 40 in it, to clarify the anniversary aspect of the message
    2. Must differentiate the hospital from its founding facility, which has a similar name
    3. Must be flexible for use in many types of application
    4. Must be simple
    5. Had to work with the logo and corporate graphic standards
    Here's our original idea shown on a sample ad.

    Since the hospital is in Colorado, the first icon was created using rocks—reinforcing this region's beautiful natural resources. However, after gathering feedback, some felt this too abstract, so we went back to the drawing board and came up with some new icons. 

    Which one is your favorite icon? Check back next week to see which icon the client chose—and to see a different campaign element featured each day, including the light-hearted employee video.

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