The High Cost of Low Quality

Posted on by Hal Clifford

The folks at Brightcove recently released the results of a survey of 1,200 consumers about their experience with online brand video. The results should give pause to marketers and communicators who believe viewers will overlook mediocre quality. In short, they won't. In fact, they'll punish you for it.

A few of the key results:

--62% of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of a brand that published a poor-quality video

--23% who experience a poor quality video say it will give them pause about purchasing from that brand

--57% are less likely to share a poor quality video

--60 percent say a poor quality video will dissuade them from engaging with the brand in other ways

A lot of the survey focused on the poor viewing results people often get through YouTube -- buffering and other interruptions. Quality means more than the delivery platform. But let's consider platforms for a moment.

Here at Take One we host all of our work, and when possible our clients' work, on Vimeo, a site we believe offer better quality and technical performance. In addition, Vimeo allows you to brand content as exclusively your own and has none of YouTube's clutter around the player window.

Of course, YouTube is the big gorilla in the room. So we don't ignore it, either -- we also post all of our content on our own YouTube channel, because that is the largest video search platform. Like Brightcove, we believe our clients should use multiple platforms to cover their bases.

More critical than platform, though, is the content itself. Is your video technically strong? Is your story compelling and well-told? Those are the foundations of all good video work.

NYT: Brands Learn to Tell Their Own Stories

Posted on by Hal Clifford

I love this article by David Carr in the New York Times because it is yet another data point in the case we've been making in this space and through our work for several years. Mr. Carr profiles Contently, a red-hot startup that matches good writers with brands in order to allow the former to tell the stories of the latter: "Contently is helping companies produce articles that appear on their own websites, are used in native ad placements and are spread through social media — in essence helping their clients compete in a cluttered media environment."

The fragmentation of traditional media has created a tremendous opportunity for companies, nonprofits and individuals ("brands," if you will) to tell their own story in their own terms. But as Contently's founders argue, the story has to be well-told -- that's why they commit to good writing. At Take One Creative, we take the same position: your story has to be honest and authentic, to keep faith with the viewer. Everyone has a good, compelling story. The art in being effective lies in telling it well.

Clients and investors at Contently are recognizing the value in this approach. As Mr. Carr writes, "At a time when advertising is achieving diminishing returns and public relations has trouble breaking through, companies are learning the value of putting their names around — but not in the middle — of memorable stories."



Our Work for Ripple Strategies Goes Big

Posted on by Hal Clifford

We just created a short video for Ripple Strategies, a boutique PR agency focused on environmental causes. They wanted to use it to promote a white paper they've written about the state of American media and some successful approaches they've taken for clients. Within two days of they're posting the video it was featured on PR Wire, which was what they'd been angling for all along. That means that (a) Ripple Strategies is good at what they do and (b) when they wrote, in their report, that organizations need to make their own video to get the word out about themselves and their causes, they appear to have been right.

Client Love

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Our client Steve Satterwhite had this to say about us today: 

"Take One Creative folks get it. They operate way Above the Line. They're not only the consummate professionals, but they really know how to tell a story creatively. In a way that gets to the heart of the matter. The real truth. And I'd hire them again in a second."

Here's the project.


We're Launching Two Documentaries

Posted on by Hal Clifford

We're delighted to be kicking off pre-production work on two documentary projects, with the help of the mission-driven photography organization Blue Earth.  We're seeking donations in support of both projects; Blue Earth, as our nonprofit fiscal sponsor, allows donors to deduct contributions to these projects from their taxes.

Our first project, "Capturing the Killing Fields," documents the experience of MacKenley and Simone Leng, survivors of the 1976-1979 Cambodian genocide. Now in their 70s, the Lengs want to tell their story—which, sadly, is all too pertinent today, for genocides continue to plague the globe. They, and we, believe that educating people about the realities of genocide will help prevent atrocities in the future. In our first phase, we'll aim to capture a full oral history on video from both Mac and Simone. Details are here.

Our second project, "The Powers Not Delegated," takes its title from the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The film digs into the deepest issues underlying a legal battle in a small Colorado community to ban fracking—a gas-drilling practice that many people believe is endangering the health and livelihoods of the town's residents. Our aim is to explore what self-determination means in 21st century America when citizens feel that they have been let down by their state and federal governments. Can they use the Constitution to protect themselves when no one else will? The film is part of an anti-fracking campaign that will be unrolled statewide in Colorado in 2014, with the intent of influencing voters and policy. Details here.


Cause Marketers Make More Money

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Here an interesting experiment conducted by cause marketer Paul Jones and posted today on MediaPost. Jones created his own stock index made up of companies that have engaged regularly and steadily in cause marketing. (Cause marketing is marketing by for-profit companies on behalf of nonprofit causes. For instance, Singapore Airlines promotes Doctors Without Borders; Cheerios is affiliate with the National Heart Association; Product Red supports the Global Fund to Fight AIDS.) Jones compared the performance of his stock index against the big boys: Dow Industrials, Wilshire 5000, FTSE, etc. And he found that for the 15 years ending Jan. 1, 2013, his index rose 342% -- more than twice as much as the next-highest index, the Wilshire 5000, which rose 168 percent. Additionally, the beta -- the downside risk -- on the cause-marketing index, at least in the big down years of 2001 and 2002, was less than on other indices (he's still figuring the beta for the entire time period). 

This is just one set of data points, but it's another argument in favor of why companies that engage in, and publicize, cause-related marketing should do so for good business reasons, not just to make themselves feel good. Read Jones' whole blog post here

Video Strategy for Your Virtual Presence

Posted on by Hal Clifford

We're running a panel discussion in Boulder we're calling "Think Smart: Video Strategy for Your Virtual Presence," to be held 8:30 - 10 a.m. Oct 17 at Impact HUB Boulder (1877 Broadway). We'll be joined by Doyle Albee of the PR agency Metzger Associates, and Nico Toutenhoofd of Insight Design Web Solutions. Our plan is to shed some light onto how to think strategically about investing in video, not only for web pages but social media use as well. What stories should you tell, and why? How much does quality matter? How does video fit into your larger communications architecture? Get all the skinny, and sign up, here.

You Need Help (And You Know It)

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Constant Contact (those folks who pioneered good-looking email blasts for small organizations) recently completed a survey of more than 1,300 small business about their use of social media. The bottom line: One in five businesses would like outside help with their social media (blogs, Facebook, videos, email marketing), but only one in 33 is actually paying for outside help. Most business owners think they can't afford to pay for help -- but those same business owners value their time at more than $270 / hour. If that's really what you're time is worth, then you should be paying someone else to help produce and manage your content and its outreach.  Read about the report here.

Promotion alert! I don't plug Take One too often on this blog, but I feel compelled to say that if you're in this boat, call us. We can create content and help you get it out to your audiences effectively and efficiently. There. I said it. No self-promotions for at least two weeks now.


How'd They Do That?

Posted on by Hal Clifford

This is a fun behind the scenes car ad that gives a sense of just how much technology goes in to making a car seem so much fun when you watch it on TV. It stands a good chance of going viral with a certain segment (gear geeks), and there's no harm in that.

Fantastic Thai Ad Uses Cinematic Story

Posted on by Hal Clifford

This is a great three-minute ad for a Thai telecom company that plays out as a short film. Three minutes is an eternity in TV and on the web, but it has gone fully viral. As Mashable notes, it's making people cry (don't worry, in a good way). Once again, a great example of how a good story, well executed, is one of the best avenues to wide impact (OK, not as good as kittens, but close). 

5 Tips for Site Video

Posted on by Hal Clifford

The good folks over at Content Marketing Institute recently posted these great suggestions for how to be smart about finding and creating regular video content for your organization. 

1. Don't let your video be lonely. One is the loneliest number, after all. Think about making videoS, not video. 

2. Use what you have. Interview your staff, do a "day in the life" of someone on the team, interview guests (do customers come to your office?), give a tour, or document your team doing something unusual and memorable (like dancing). 

3. Leverage events. If you have international staff in town for a meeting, get them on camera. If you're at a trade show or other event, interview visitors to your booth. Interview speakers at an event. Do live demos of products in front of an audience. Show your own stage presentation (if you're on stage) or create one (if you're not). 

4. Make sure your video works across devices. This is easy to forget, but it can be a killer (for instance, iPads don't support Flash). Take the time to understand how to optimize for all your channels.

5. Make your video interactive. Popcorn is an up-and-coming HTML5 tool that can allow your viewers to interact inside the video frame.


Stories Literally Shape Our World

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Have you ever been listening to the radio when a particularly upsetting story comes on and you say to yourself, "I don't need to hear that" — and you turn it off? It turns out you are right.

Maria Popova, the very smart woman behind Brainpickings, recently reviewed Philippa Perry's How to Stay Sane. She writes, "At the heart of Perry’s argument — in line with neurologist Oliver Sacks’s recent meditation on memory and how 'narrative truth,' rather than 'historical truth,' shapes our impression of the world — is the recognition that stories make us human and learning to reframe our interpretations of reality is key to our experience of life." 

She goes on to quote Perry herself, who writes, "Be careful which stories you expose yourself to ... The meanings you find, and the stories you hear, will have an impact on how optimistic you are: it’s how we evolved. … If you do not know how to draw positive meaning from what happens in life, the neural pathways you need to appreciate good news will never fire up ... The trouble is, if we do not have a mind that is used to hearing good news, we do not have the neural pathways to process such news." [Emphasis added.]

This is a profound concept and it strikes close to home here at Take One. We formed this company in large part to help organizations and individuals that are doing good work tell positive stories. Too much cause-related communication is negative, focused on telling a story about a problem and making the listener or viewer feel bad. That kind of communication just doesn't work well (consider the recent finding that communications about hunger in Africa are backfiring with the public). How many times have you wanted to tune that sort of communication out, just like the upsetting radio news story? Take One operates from the belief that such communications will always operate at the fringes of effectiveness. We're not blindly optimistic, but it's clear that most people want to connect with success. "How to Stay Sane" suggests that there is a deep neurological underpinning for this desire.



The Nexus Between, Charity, Water & Business

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Here's a smart and really insightful piece from David Bornstein, writing in the Fixes column of the New York Times. He takes a nuanced view of the great work being done by Charity: Water (which has raised $100 million to bring clean water to the developing world), and brings in a surprising twist: philanthropy is all well and fine, but to truly address the need for clean water, the best solution might be social enterprises and microfinance. Bornstein has the chops to write about this, as a co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network and the author of several germane books. It's a long read but a good one if you're interested in how business, behavioral change and microfinance can address a seemingly intractable problem.

Work, Work, Work (and Icelandic Hot Springs, Too)

Posted on by Hal Clifford

We try not to blow our own horn too much here (who wants to read that stuff anyway?), but we did want to let you know we've been working on a very cool project for Global Greengrants Fund, creating short-lead-time brief videos from a recent event here in Boulder.  And we're completing a video that's supporting the launch of an iPad medical app that could significantly improve medical care here at home and abroad. But Jason and I did slip in a little vacation, and all I can say is that this is exactly what you need after a red-eye across the pond. (Yes, you can go straight from the airport -- the bus will drop you here, then pick you up later.)

Is 15 Seconds Too Long for a Video?

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Bri Rios of the Boulder communications house Metzger Associates posted an interesting essay recently on the battle between Instagram and Vine for supremacy of the super-short video world. There are arguments in favor of both platforms, but this much is certain: video is going to become an increasingly important part of how organizations communicate with their audiences. Intriguingly, Rios claims that "many people" think 15 seconds is too long. I'd say the jury is still out on that, although certainly trends are pointing toward shorter and shorter video works. Whether a video is six seconds long or fifteen, almost everyone has the time to watch. And who can argue that that video will almost invariably be stickier and more memorable than any other media presented in the same time frame? 

Thanks for Attending Our Class!

Posted on by Hal Clifford

We had a great turnout at The HUB - Boulder for our class that inaugurated their Workbench series. We gave an updated version of "On the Edge of Their Seats: Creating Effective Video in a Noisy Environment." We gave a couple of Prezi presentations ("Why You Need Video" and "How Video Production Works"), and shared samples of our work and that of others with about 30 attendees. It's great to see the interest! HUB staff liked it all so much they've asked us to plan on doing another presentation in September. This one will be different -- probably a panel discussion around the lines of "how to optimize your website." (Video's a big part of that equation, naturally.) We'll keep you posted.

A Great Ad That Doesn't Sell Traditionally

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Yes, this is a dog food ad -- but notice how first it's a story, second it's really well executed, and third it's (barely) a dog food ad. They're NOT selling you, they're engaging you. I guarantee you'll want to buy their product after you see at -- certainly, you'll want to buy it more than any other dog food.


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