Author: JarodLatch

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.

I’m not sure if it’s because I spent the formative years of my career immersed in a technological landscape that was rapidly progressing or not, but I have been for the most part receptive to change. I traveled 3.5 hours to attend college (not too far), moved to North Carolina not knowing anyone in 2007, lost a job in 2009 and started a business in 2011. I know what change feels like. That doesn’t even touch the relationships, family situations and additional life happenings that have been mixed in along the way.

Now a days, change can be both intriguing and exciting.

change_ahead_sign

There are two types of change. Forced and preemptive. Both are okay and necessary in life and business. It’s part of the game when it comes to staying relevant.

We see a problem, we react by making changes. We see a problem down the line, we start tweaking the plan. What do we adapt to? There are a number of things. A shift in your audience, employee turnover, availability of new technology or a change in your financial situation are just a few. In every case, your goals remain consistent. Adapt in order to be as efficient as possible and to remain in a place of relevance.

As a small business owner, it seems like change is lurking around every corner. One of the worst lines out there is, “That’s the way we do it because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Not a good thing to hang your hat on in most cases. The reason that line usually comes up is because something is not working as well as it should or is on the brink of being broken.

I am not advocating that you change your entire look or plan just for fun, but be aware that change can be a great thing. Firing on all cylinders most of the time takes focus and self-evaluation. Don’t let complacency get in the way of healthy change. Change is the only way to reach your growth potential.

We all put our faith in something. Those things can include God, our ability, a team or the system that we are a part of. Whatever the case, our decisions are often driven by two things, faith or fear.

It can seem like a constant battle when it comes to keeping things aligned and in sync on a day-to-day basis. How can you keep fear in check and instead breed confidence in whatever you are doing? Here are a few things to consider.

Take Calculated Risks

This is more for the business owner. Taking risks is a part of the deal, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be careless risks. Know the possible outcomes before you make the choice. Most should be fairly obvious. This will help weigh whether the risk is worth it. Minimizing the damage should always be a goal.

Prepare

It sounds simple enough and it really is. Take a few minutes to scan available information or at least gather some surface knowledge about a new client, employee, project or product. A small effort can reap a big reward.

Read Up on Others Experiences

Most successful people were in the same boat as you at some point in their career. There is no better way to learn than comparing your experience to the experience of others. Grab a good book and enjoy! You’ll probably be surprised at the similarities.

Mistakes Happen

Mistakes are part of the game. I have learned my greatest lessons from mistakes and screwups. Somebody recently asked me if I would change anything since starting Spiracle Media. My response was absolutely not. You don’t learn anything from being in a flawless environment. I actually think that’s a red flag. A flawless environment can lead to comfort, which leads to complacency. Never a good thing.

Surround Yourself with Good People

We hear this all the time, but it’s the truth. You are who your friends and co-workers are. Check your circle. If you want to be successful, surround yourself with people that are ambitious, genuine and talented. Do your priorities in work and life align? The people around influence your behavior more than you realize.

At the end of the day, believe in what you’re doing. If you expect others to buy in, you must completely buy in first. Keep in mind that just because an outcome doesn’t meet your expectation doesn’t mean it was the wrong thing to do. Acknowledge it and move on. It won’t be the last time you’re challenged or left unfulfilled by a result. Just aim at minimizing that sentiment.

Video is on fire and it should be. Decision makers across the board are saying, “we need to do video!” Obviously, we agree. It’s hard to find a legit reason not to do it and money should be at the bottom of the list. There are plenty of ways to get creative without a pile of money. Aligning yourself with a solid partner is key in that process.

If you’re an organization that cares anything about getting your message out with clarity and having it digested by a target audience that triggers a response, than video is must.

Before you jump into the production phase of the process, there are a few things that need to be in order.

1) Define a Decision-Making Team or Individual
imgres
Too many hands on deck will make for a painful process for everyone involved. Identify a team (2-3 individuals) that will have most of the say when it comes to developing and moving the process forward. I am all for feedback, but there must be some structure and a filter in place.

2) Set Goals

What is the purpose of the video(s)? Can we spin off the main video into smaller pieces of content? Those are critical questions. By evaluating the use, distribution and call to action, you are on the right track to maximizing your investment. You can create a beautiful looking video, but if you don’t define a clear purpose than you might be wasting valuable time and resources.

3) Pinpoint Your Audience

Everyone has an audience. Reaching them exactly where they are is the challenge. Once you’re able to do that, actionable results will follow. Take the time to figure out what your audience is interested in or what they enjoy. How and when can they be reached? Do you want to leave them informed, encouraged to donate or place an order? Those are all things to consider.

4) Establish a Timeline

Let’s face it. Things get done much more efficiently when there is a timeline in place.
Establish one and stick to it! There should be allotted time for meetings, capturing video, editing, review and delivery. Once the expectations are set, you should be off and running in the right direction.

Video is a necessary asset for every company, organization, etc. However, it can be misused quite easily and not taken advantage of to the fullest. Everything you do should be about maximizing your investment. That starts with having a plan and a purpose. Video is no different.

We have been blessed throughout this year when it comes to working with some incredible clients. In the past month, Spiracle Media had the opportunity to work collaboratively on this video with EverFi, the NHL and NHLPA as the trio launched the Future Goals program. We are thrilled to be a part of it!

The Future Goals program is a North American education initiative that helps students build their STEM skills using the fast-paced, exciting game of hockey as a learning vehicle.