Author: JarodLatch

The craft brewery scene in Charlotte thrives with pioneers like Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. Spiracle Media partnered with OMB to tell the story of the people behind the beer. The two day shoot set out to capture the authenticity of the process and take a deeper dive into one of the areas that make OMB special, their people.

Without any budget allocated to sponsoring the posts, the campaign garnered more than 3000 views and 500 likes over the holiday season. Below you will find an example of the social media videos we created for OMB as part of this campaign.

Visit our Vimeo channel to check out some of our latest work!

Cardinal Financial recently launched a rebrand of its website and logo. As part of the launch, Spiracle Media stepped in to create a video that shared the message behind that effort. With a limited window to shoot and edit, the Spiracle team quickly worked hand-in-hand with Cardinal’s team and vision to produce a spot in advance of the launch date.

Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Cardinal Financial is a nationwide direct mortgage lender that provides modernized home financing solutions.


Check out some of our other work.

Spiracle Media turned five years old this past March. I have no idea where the time has gone or this year for that matter! Plenty has changed since 2011 — changes that have positively impacted the product as well promoted growth from a business and personal perspective. Here are four observations from the first five.

It’s all about the TEAM

You have heard the old adage that in order to be successful, you need to surround yourself with good people. People that are more talented than you. It’s absolutely true. Spiracle is finally at a place creatively where delegating is rather painless. There are no mental strings attached. Our creative team has the talent, experience and knowledge to run with a project. I get to stand in the distance (or sit) and look forward to the result!

All efforts must PAY IT FORWARD

You must be able to work toward where you want to be rather than where you currently are. A simple marketing principle. However, adhering to it takes some discipline. This course of action includes consistent innovation, thinking and execution that are tied to strategic goals. In the beginning, we moved forward with one goal in mind, survive. Our plan of attack now includes goals that feed expansion, growth, sustainability and increased revenue.

A good PARTNER(S) is invaluable

Managing a business is hard. No one quite gets it unless you have tried on or wear entrepreneur shoes yourself. It’s deemed ‘entrepreneur island’ for a reason. I have been fortunate and blessed to have a business partner and friend like Tim Baier. We have known each other for almost a decade and have been in the trenches together since the beginning. We keep each other accountable in more ways than you can imagine and our vision of success is broadcast over the same frequency.

Building something is COOL

That’s all I have to say about that.

In closing, somebody ask me recently whether or not the anxiety of running of business ever lets up. I told them the anxiety diminishes quite a bit, but things get more complicated. Figure that one out. Maybe I’m just getting used to it. One thing I know with certainty is that working with colleagues I consider friends makes complicated all worth it. Here’s to the next five years!

Some of our favorite work centers around telling stories for organizations that make a significant impact on the lives they touch. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is a perfect example. The Y’s various programs have affected lives across all age groups while serving as a centerpiece for the Charlotte community.

Recently, we shot a series of videos to capture the essence of day camp from the perspective of both counselors and parents. This video marketing will play an important role in sharing the experience and encouraging participation in the program.


Check out some of our other work.

There are plenty of options when it comes to selecting the application and main reason for creating a video. Visual content can serve multiple purposes and live on multiple platforms, but there must be clarity as to how it will be used. Without that clarity, the investment and end result will lack the satisfaction it deserves. The process should be enjoyable and rewarding. If it’s not, you haven’t done a good enough job of identifying the purpose from the beginning.

After 16 years and counting in this business, I have witnessed significant change as it pertains to content and the mindset that surrounds it. I can say with confidence that most companies now “GET IT” or at least realize that video can play a significant role in their success. This includes utilizing video as a sales tool.

Video as a sales tool might be on the radar, but it’s often overlooked. Is there a better way to encourage an emotional connection during a presentation? Is there a more effective way of arming a decision-maker or sales person? Not really.

According to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words. Not to mention, a high percentage of executives are now watching work-related videos on a consistent basis.

Creating a video that introduces a product, service or cause by presenting the human impact with powerful visuals is hard to beat. When done correctly, it’s easily digestible for the viewer and helps promote worthwhile discussion on the back end. Spiracle Media content has helped close some big money deals, lease a property, and raise plenty of funds in the nonprofit sector.

With that being said, make sure that video to reinforce the sales effort is part of the next discussion. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better way to engage and promote action while standing out from the competition.

Growth is a positive thing. It naturally alters the conversation to include such things as hiring additional employees, tweaking benefits and funding those mid to long-term goals that are directly connected to improved quality and more efficient work flow. It also comes with its challenges, but nothing you can’t handle as long as you’re aware they exist.

Since you’re adding people and resources, that most likely means that the quantity of work and the size of the companies you’re working with have both increased. Spiracle Media has experienced an increase in both of those areas. Those realities have coincided with a consistent effort to improve quality. That’s certainly a nice position to be in, but you need to remember how you got there. The same rules apply.

Treat All Clients the Same
It might start becoming easier than ever to shun clients that don’t meet the newly established threshold of cost. The natural thought is to spend more time on the clients that make the largest investment. That’s the wrong way to look at it. Each client presents an opportunity to take your product to the next level. Get creative and exercise full effort no matter the size of the client.

Responsiveness
We’re all busy, but that doesn’t give us an excuse not to respond in a prompt fashion. Exception: you are sipping margaritas on a beach with your wife on your only week off of the year. I remember fondly my transition from television to the business world. My first thought was “wow” things move at a snail’s pace and people tend to take forever in getting back to you. It’s something that I take seriously and I hope our employees do as well. It’s basic respect to return an email or phone call and it goes a long way with your clients.

Don’t Get Complacent
This is another area where it’s easy to relax and ride the wave. As a small business, you don’t have the luxury of hanging out. That’s doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the wave, but you need to be in a constant state of innovating. Innovate when it comes to your products, services and the processes involved. If your entrepreneur to-do-list is getting shorter, that’s a red flag.

Play Conservative
When revenues increase, your first impulse is to buy the ranch. This mindset doesn’t mean that you are immune from taking chances.  Just play it smart. You are now in a position to add some things that make your business better and your clients happier. The $30,000 camera looks awesome and does some amazing things, but is it a practical choice. Don’t spend just to spend. Buy things that align with the goals of the company.

Enjoy the Small Wins
If there is one thing you do, enjoy the small wins as much as the big ones. You need to make time to be thankful for the opportunities that have been laid before you. There is no doubt that hard work and relationships have played a big role in the progression of your business and every client matters.

Invent and innovate. These two words are closely related, but distinctly different. They are often misused and confused for one another. If you are an inventor, that’s just cool. Hopefully one or more of your inventions are shaping or transforming a particular industry as we speak. However, I want to concentrate on the word innovate since it’s applicable to every business and employee. It holds the key to activating and sustaining organic growth.

This point was recently driven home as I scanned the pages of “The Game-Changer” by the chairman and CEO of Proctor and Gamble, A.G. Lafley. Lafley talks about how innovation at P&G revived a company that was losing market share and loyalty across its many brands. It caused me to think about making a more concerted effort at Spiracle Media in this department. What I was pleasantly surprised to find out was that innovation was already in motion when it comes to the video production side of things.

We are constantly looking for new ways to tell a story whether that means tweaking the way we shoot BRoll or interviews, insert graphical elements or just prepare. Being on the cutting edge when it comes to utilizing new tools and methods is innovation. We are taking an existing process that we know well and adding to it. It’s not about making drastic changes, but rather tweaking the small things that breed improvement and fine-tune your deliverable. This is the only means of staying ahead in a competitive business environment. As long as your in front, the exploration of small change and implementation can be fun. On the flip side, complacency leads to falling behind and it takes a lot of work to catch back up.

Innovation doesn’t just apply to video at Spiracle, but to everything we do. It can mean scheduling optimal times to brainstorm, becoming more efficient at managing clients or getting better in our thinking and research. Anything that makes the process or product better and more efficient is innovative. We all have the power to tweak the way we engage our work and the products we seek to deliver. Innovation need to be at the core of our thinking.

At Spiracle Media, creativity is a part of everything we do. It lives in the way we shoot cover video and interviews. It touches the editing process as we discover the best way to tell a story that connects with the intended viewer. In many ways, this type of creativity has become routine and consistent – something that our clients have come to expect.

On the contrary, the “creative” video is a completely different animal. It may seem as if everyone is on board during a brainstorm meeting – but often the client is scared out of the idea by succumbing to the fear of being different or untraditional.

We recently worked on a project where different was the goal. It was fun to be part of the creative process as conservative clients are the norm and tend not to push the bounds of being different. We worked hand in hand with Orbital Socket, a creative agency here in Charlotte. They came up with the concept and then it was up to us to bring the pieces to fruition. The campaign centered around producing three videos.

I’ve learned a few things over the last handful of years when it comes to clients and creative video.

* Identify a clear vision from the beginning and make sure everyone is on board. There is always a risk when it comes to being different.

* Apply a deepened creative vision when it makes sense. Only a small percentage of projects warrant this direction. Traditional is often best in attaining the desired result.

* Pay attention to the details. Details will be amplified when you are looking to pull off something that’s untraditional. Make sure that everyone is aware and focused.

* Don’t rush the process. These types of videos take more planning, scripting and extra time on both the front and back end. Extend the process if there are any lingering concerns.

As with everything, taking a risk has its perils as well and rewards. Creative video is no different. It has to make sense. Is the client on board? Is this the right client for this type of video? Is the best team in place to execute? Would a traditional video work best and achieve the specified goals?

If you can answers all of these questions with clarity, then you should have your direction. Creative videos are great – but they have a time, a place and a risk.

Marketing is a critical component of companies large and small. It gets even more critical when it comes to smaller businesses that depend on consistent growth and the identification of new clients for day-to-day survival. If these two areas are struggling, the ever present stress that’s involved with leading a business cranks up a notch.

At Spiracle Media, we have circled back to our own marketing efforts on several occasions. What’s the right plan of attack? Where do we focus our efforts? Is a concerted effort and resources necessary?

These answers tend to be quite complex when 99% of our time is spent engaged with client projects and the referrals are consistent. We haven’t come up with a plan of attack that has stuck, but one variable has remained constant. That variable is relationships.

In the content driven world where we reside, knowing our clients and presenting their stories is important. This knowledge starts with having or forging some sort of relationship. Success depends on it. The end product depends on it.

This has led us to change our approach to marketing for the time being. It has become more about initiating a personal connection that allows business to naturally happen. I am not a believer in the hard sale. I never have been. Despite my confidence in our work, it’s still uncomfortable and business shouldn’t feel forced. This doesn’t mean missing a chance to present to a room full of potential clients. That’s a must. It means valuing the relationship and conversation more than getting a “yes” before leaving.

Business is still based on genuine relationships and trust. Focus on the relationship first. Make plenty of trips to the coffee house to meet in person. Combine those two with a solid product or service and the business will follow naturally.

With the new year in full swing, I want to focus on something that encapsulates some if not most people when it comes to how they live their work lives. A trap that’s so easy to fall into. The trap that confines you to the zone of negativity. It’s easy to land there when you allow the dissatisfying factors around you to dictate your thought process. When it comes to running a business and owning your career, this sentiment and behavioral characteristic can produce a recipe for dissatisfaction.

Get your mind rightYou hear all the time about the power of positive thought. I think that’s extremely important and leads to positive results. However, I want to key in on the effects that negative thoughts play on different facets of your business, yourself and those around you. It’s effects are far reaching and impact all of your efforts, large or small. It even spills over into our ability to craft effective social media posts or produce an impactful video.

It’s easy to think of all the ways that you can fail. If I’m being honest, I enter that world once and while — but I don’t stay there long. I truly believe that if you think you’re going to fail, you will fail. Thinking you will succeed doesn’t guarantee success, but at least you’re giving yourself a shot. Building on the positives will put you in a much better place regardless. Things tend to fall into place much quicker when positive mojo is part of the foundation. 

Here are a few areas that might trigger that negative alarm bell and why reversing that impulse is critical.

Clients

We all have those not so fun to get along with clients. The ones that try to suck the life out of you no matter what the task is. Thankfully we only get one of those once in a while at Spiracle Media. It’s important to remind yourself that this isn’t the status quo. If it is, it might be time for self-evaluation as a person and a company. A positive or relaxed mindset breeds a sentiment that is naturally passed onto the client and quells the urge to get frustrated. In time, that mindset becomes your default mode even when stumbling upon a challenge. The right mindset is imperative in making sure all clients are treated the same.

Money

This is a subject that can be very uncomfortable to talk about and even harder to broach when you encounter a dwindling bottom line. Money isn’t everything, but it is everything when you’re running a business. It’s hard to take money issues with a grain of salt. The livelihood of your employees, yourself and the prospects of growth depend on it. The best case scenario is to win the small battles when you’re down and to exercise some caution when you’re up. Invest in areas that make sense. Check the trends and do your best to make sure that the people or tools you’re adding allow for maximum benefit. Slow times happen. Get your mind and bank account right so you can weather those dips in business. Those moments tend to arrive unannounced.

Loss of Creativity or Drive

Complacency is a vice. It leads to a lack of willingness to put 100% into every project. I received some great advice last year during a meeting with a comparable company in San Francisco. Treat every project with the same degree of care and creativity no matter how large the client or cost of the project. You must buy into the mantra that improvement, even in incremental steps, leads to larger projects and an open window to expansive creativity. Don’t bring the rest of the group down. Pumping adequate energy into everything you do will yield surprising results and opportunities.

Negativity in my eyes is a function of the mind that stems from your ability to deal with your immediate environment as well as the results that are a part of it. Those results are usually connected to your efforts. At the end of the day, it comes down to consistency in the departments of determination and ambition. I am thankful each and every morning for so many things. Spiracle Media and the people I get to work with on a daily basis are certainly in the top 3. We turn four in March and I make it a point every day to bask in the possibilities, even if for a moment, of what we can become. I know a big part of that depends on my attitude and work ethic. How well do you deal with the negative and let it go? Don’t be that leader or employee that’s an obstacle to success. Growing a business or brand is hard enough without the unnecessary strain. 

I’ll side with the positive option every time.