Author: JarodLatch

Decisions are pivotal to all aspects of life and business. We make multiple decisions each day whether we realize it or not. There are obvious choices and those that we mull over, discuss and second guess. Is now the time to add a new piece of video equipment or online tools to enhance our social media efforts? New employees? Then there are those that get made on autopilot with not much thought at all such as setting a deadline for a project. Each is impactful and often times those that seem small have the greatest impact.

2012_05_VisionDecisions can certainly provide a level of anxiety especially when multiple people are involved and financial well-being or investment are part of the equation. That’s where it becomes imperative that the end goal and vision of the business remain the central focus. Far too often, personal preference tends to creep in and disrupt the decision making process. Not that personal preference should be eliminated from the discussion, but if it’s contrary to the overall vision then it need not be applied.

I observed a situation recently where a team was put in place to evaluate a member of an organization. The team members were responsible for providing feedback. However, all feedback was made available to the individual. This lack of a filter created a destructive environment that resulted because one team member provided feedback that was weighted more toward personal preference. The ensuing discussion and end result was not healthy for the company at all.

Listening to multiple viewpoints and ideas is critical when it comes to employee buy-in and decision making. This buy-in is as important as anything for a number of reasons. It should be a major priority and goes hand-in-hand with clearly laying out the vision. This ensures that each employee and partner is on the same page. If that’s been accomplished, the process of generating productive and constructive feedback has begun. Feedback that will help propel the business in the right direction.

Opinions and personal preference are important, but not when they compromise the integrity of the overall vision. Keep those out of the decision making process as much as possible.

You probably heard your college advisor(s) say network, network, network. There is no doubt that who you know has a direct impact on success and advancement. At least that’s the case for most of us. Hard work and talent will only get you so far. You need help along the way whether you believe it or not. No one makes it totally on their own. The same is true for a small business.

Networking

When we started Spiracle Media in 2011, it was our network of contacts that were essential in getting us off the ground. We knew quite a few people from our time as Charlotte media members. However, it wasn’t a hard sell that got us the business. It was about building on the foundation that had been cultivated over time.

I think there is a misconception out there that networking needs to reap instant results. That approach is totally off base. A business transaction is still a human transaction between two people or teams. As humans, we want to feel a deeper connection and that’s no different in business. You might continually network with someone that will never yield a direct business transaction and that’s just fine.

Networking is about much more than making money and locking down contracts. It’s about sharing advice, stories and making a genuine connection. That’s the mark you need to aim to make with every client or associate you encounter. If you treat people the right way, they’ll notice. They’ll become recurring customers, providers of referrals, drivers of your extended network and contributors to your knowledge base.

Some will share nothing more than advice, wisdom or friendship. Those components will prove to be most valuable in the long run. Everything is better when you surround yourself with friends. Business is no different.

Video testimonials remain one of the most effective ways for a company to show off the impact of an initiative or product. We spent two days in Boston in June capturing sessions from EverFi’s Annual Research Summit as well as interviews that could be used in individual pieces like this.

Throughout the course of a day, we make several decisions. Most of them snap judgements that need no further thought. Other times we sit and ponder what things would be like based on the selection of a particular course of action.

What will make our business click at a higher level? How can we improve the value proposition that we offer our partners? What’s the next big thing in video or social media and how do we stay ahead of it?

I have witnessed and read about the decisions of individuals that have reaped amazing results as well as those that haven’t worked out too well. One thing that I have always respected about the decision makers even in failure is that they were courageous and strong in their conviction. They owned it.

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Decisions
Own your decisions. Snap decisions are sometimes best, in fact most of the time your gut is correct. We tend to spend too much time evaluating what seem like big decisions rather than acting swiftly. Being too cautious about everything can hurt your productivity and drive you crazy.

 
Mistakes
Own your mistakes. There is nothing more frustrating than someone who doesn’t take responsibility for their own actions. As a business owner or decision maker, that’s part of the deal. With increased responsibility comes the need to make choices. Be careful with throwing others under the bus. Always protect your employees as they are the lifeblood of the operation.

Improvement
Own getting better. There should always be a sense of urgency to the way you go about things. Urgency in self-evaluation and awareness of your surroundings is imperative. The idea that things are going well does not alleviate the need for improvement. If anything, it should mean quite the opposite. Improvement means staying in a position of productivity.

Being a Fair Friend
Own being a fair friend. Friendship or mutual respect should provide the baseline for every relationship. Take time to know those around you, especially your clients. Genuine companionship will always reinforce business and come full circle. People will always remember how you treat them. Don’t give them a choice when it comes to your character.

One thing that I didn’t mention was success. I don’t want you to own it, but I want you to certainly enjoy it. There is a certain peace of mind that comes with success, but it can also present its own peril. You can easily get caught up in it and miss critical factors in the present moment. Success on the current path doesn’t lead to long-term sustainability for the majority of us. No matter how good our services or products are, tweaks and changes will be needed at some point.

When that time comes, own it.

Quality and price have always gone hand-in-hand. You can cut corners in some areas and sometimes you have to because the money just isn’t there. That’s reality.

When it comes to producing video content, there are plenty of talented freelancers and yes, even Uncle Tony has a new camera that he has been playing with. They might be a great fit for capturing an event or working on a one off project, but not for telling the story of your brand.

As a business, you need more than that. You need a team that’s going to have sufficient time to evaluate and capture the essence of what and who you are. As video continues to influence customer actions, the quality of storytelling and presentation matters. Better video has a longer shelf life and creates a stronger impact. Bringing the consistency of your messaging to video is critical.


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This isn’t our hobby, it’s what we do. I think that stigma still exists out there for many of those making the decisions. They look at video as a complete add-on rather than a necessary part of marketing. On the other hand, there are plenty of businesses that get it and we work with a number of them. YMCA of Greater Charlotte and EverFi to name a few.

We lean on a team of two for our location shoots. This isn’t done so we can add to the price, but to enhance the end product. It’s that much better with a second camera and second shooter/producer. There are plenty of things that need to be done at the office, but this is how we choose to deploy our resources.

Quality vs. SavePrice points have always been a painful topic internally, but we are confident that we fall in the sweet spot where quality of content and cost marry together. I get it. Cost matters. It matters to us when we hire a new employee or purchase new equipment. But as my pap used to say, “it only costs a nickel more to go first class.” Well, it costs a little more than that now, but the point is still the same. Saving a few hundred dollars in this case could come back to haunt you.

Spiracle Media provides experience, partnership and maximum effort on every project. That’s naturally part of the deal. It’s contained in the fabric of who we are and who we choose to be. At the end of the day, whether it’s with us or someone else, you get what you pay for and that one’s on you.

Last month, Spiracle Media spent the day in Virginia Beach taking part in what turned out to be a really cool event spearheaded by client EverFi and enjoyed by over 800 attendees. The job included capturing Pharrell Williams and the announcement of a partnership between the singer/producer’s charity, From One Hand to AnOTHER and EverFi.

Our background in television played an important role in documenting the event as we felt right at home in the fast paced environment. After spending the morning and early afternoon shooting scene setters around the school, the next few hours were a blur following the arrival of Pharrell at his alma mater, Princess Anne High School.

And yes…we did ask for a pic.

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There have been plenty of “necessary” tools that have made their way into the process of marketing over the last few years and have coincided with the continual evolution of how people communicate online. A few of the necessary tools of yesteryear that have become essential to your online presence are your website and social media efforts. Having a clean and functional website has been a no-brainer for a long time while social media is no longer the new kid on the block.

Let’s take a moment to remind ourselves that social media doesn’t just include Facebook and Twitter. Merriam-Webster defines it as such: forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos). It’s the last point of emphasis in that definition that I want to expound upon, VIDEO.

Video is now in the necessary category when it comes to communicating with customers, employees, donors and just about anyone you’re looking to connect on a deeper level. It activates emotion and helps promote action. The days of pondering video are long gone, it’s no longer optional. Feeding the consumer’s desire for visual stimulation is at the forefront.

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Montezuma Creek, UT

Storytelling is a great way to connect the viewer to human emotion while spotlighting your brand in the process. At Spiracle Media, we know that storytelling is our bread and butter. Every member of our current staff has spent at least a decade writing, shooting, editing and telling stories. There is certainly still a need for long form pieces, but you can also tell a great story in a minute to a minute and a half. After all, attention spans are at an all-time low.

Just as critical as telling a great story is having goals going into the process. Make sure to identify the right message and map out how you plan to use the finished product. By establishing goals, you can maximize the use and shareability of what you produce. Think shelf life and the maximization of your investment.

There are plenty of options to consider when it comes to the goal and type of video. Video can be used to reach an internal or external audience. We have all seen testimonials that connect a viewer with a particular brand or experience. The storytelling piece that encourages donations or an event recap that helps to line up sponsors for next year.


Testimonial


Storytelling


Event

Two words of advice, start simple. Simple is usually the best method of attack. Let the story stand by itself. At the end of the day, video has a place and use for every business and brand. It’s hands down the best way to emotionally connect to an audience.

I’m sure that most marketers are consistently posing the question: what are we missing? I know that we are. It might just be the video.

An excerpt from the about section of Comcast/NBC’s “The More you Know” website reads: For more than two decades, NBCUniversal’s Emmy award-winning The More You Know public service campaign has given viewers easy-to-use, concrete, manageable steps to help set realistic change in motion.

A great concept when it comes to the world of PSA’s that has certainly been impactful. You are probably thinking already where is this going. Well, I want you to apply that same concept to yourself when it comes to your role of creating content especially video. It’s time to address “The More you Know.” How much do you know that’s actually helping to spark improvement? Is your knowledge helping the company reach its goals of quality and relevancy?

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Over the past 13 years, I have been fortunate to work in broadcasting and media in various capacities. I have been a part of the digital evolution of the internet and the changing landscape when it comes to how things are created and shared. Something that’s hard to summarize when you’ve lived it.

I can look back with certainty and come to the conclusion that it has put me in the position I hold today — Co-Founder of a company that specializes in social media and video production. Our strong suit is visual storytelling, something that is supported by 11 years in television and a handful of years doing freelance video projects. Would I have guessed I would be where I am three years ago? Not at all. Did I ever plan to work in TV? Nope, but it has been an exciting journey.

When I started in television, the idea of posting stories to the internet was a new concept and that wasn’t even that long ago. When I left, whole broadcasts were available online.  Now, station websites and social channels are a source of 24/7 news and information. My first exposure to populating content to a website took place in 2003 during my first full-time job. From there, things took off in multiple directions.

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I was pretty much self-educated when it comes to shooting video after absorbing tips from a few senior photographers at the station. I will be forever be in debt to them for giving me a solid foundation when it comes to the fundamentals. I of course enjoyed writing stories and being on-air, but the job demanded much more than that.

Over the years since, I have strengthened my skills when it comes to visual composition, editing, writing, shooting and on-air delivery. Reps are a big part of growing, but you still need to critique, observe and indulge in different areas of the process. I have been a yes man most of my life and that has led to competence editing on four different editing platforms and exposed me to different types of situations. A mentor told me a long time ago, say yes and go figure it out. That might be scary, but it’s a great way to promote personal growth. Hint: it should be something you already understand a little.

You might say well you were forced to do all these different things. There is a yes and no aspect to that question. The yes is that I was forced to add different tasks and aspects to my plate. The no pertains to the fact that I didn’t have do it well and could have probably slid by just fine doing a mediocre job for the immediate future.  However if I would have ultimately settled for the status quo, I can say with confidence that I wouldn’t be in a position to lead a company that is growing in so many areas. It doesn’t make it any less challenging, but it does add a sense of peace in truly believing in what you’re doing for clients. It’s a confidence that I can carry into a conversation every time I look a client in the eye. I relish the ability to see things from a 360 degree view when it comes to video.

Staying relevant is part of the game and because I accepted the challenge of learning new things, I continued to be a valuable ingredient in somebody’s plan. I became versatile.

My goal of this blog wasn’t to share all the things I’ve done — but rather share the positive of learning multiple skills well. I am a proponent that you should specialize in one thing, but there is no reason that you can’t be really strong in other related areas. It may take time, but don’t frown on the idea of picking up something new. Having a complete view of the process is critical when it comes to being a consummate team player. You’ll also have a greater appreciation for what others are doing. It will keep your stock high within the company and add credibility when dealing with clients. Bringing a 360 degree view is immeasurable. Start working on developing yours.

 

Google Adwords originally was developed to share “sponsored links,” but many businesses are missing out on the valuable addition of using video with AdWords. Using video ads allows you to engage and entertain possible customers on websites that partner with Google. It’s a “pay per click” system, meaning you only pay when someone clicks your ad as a result of a related search within their search engine.

While there is a lot to learn about Google Adwords, here’s some information about how this service could benefit your company in 2014.

It’s easy to get started!

It’s simple. All you have to do is create an account, upload your video ad, choose the target audience that’s right for you and you’re already targeting new customers!

Reach 

When you consider that YouTube is the #1 video website and the second largest search engine in the world, it’s safe to say the audience is there. They’re already watching these videos, and currently other people’s ads! Why not yours? Find the exact customers you want by targeting them specifically by keywords, demographics or topics.

Customization

You can customize your ad to fit your personal needs. AdWords works with TrueView which provides multiple formats for you to pick from.

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Cost

One of the most attractive features -which we mentioned earlier- is the pay per click system. This means your never throwing money at advertising and crossing your fingers that people will see it. You ONLY pay when your targeted audience chooses to watch your ad. Another great aspect is those who aren’t interested can save you money by skipping your ad instead of sitting through it.

Advantage of video

Video has proven to be one the best ways to capture an audience by delivering a more engaging experience. AdWords gives you the option to be authentic and personable with your customer base. After all, who knows your business better than you? Describing or demonstrating your product or service is much more effective than detailing it in a paragraph.

Track your progress

You can easily track your success by using the provided analytics to see views, clicks, costs and more. With this powerful information, you can make decisions on which video ads are the most successful and which ones you may want to pull.  Contact us here at Spiracle Media if you have any more questions about Google AdWords with Video and if you need help producing a video.

During the initial phase of a new job or onset of a significant task, treating it like a rookie is a natural and essential part of the process. It’s a time where you’re exposed to new people and ways of doing what you may or may not have been exposed to in the past. Your ambition and willingness to learn is a strong indicator of how well you will succeed.

More than ever, the ability to adapt is crucial when it comes to succeeding with technology. At Spiracle Media, we’re always looking to stay ahead of the game when it comes to online tools, video and strategy that lead to phenomenal results when reaching the target audience. That’s where continual evaluation comes into play. The ways of yesterday may be extinct tomorrow or at the least lose their shine. It’s an obvious concept, but one that takes focused effort to combat.

 

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First, don’t get stuck in your ways. There are always new pieces to add to the puzzle that will assist in reaching the goal. It’s critical to evaluate and  re-evaluate on a consistent basis. Make it part of the routine. Understand why things happen and realize that your ways are not always the best ways despite getting the desired result.  The bar of evaluation should be unreachable.

Second, social media and video are introducing new tools every day. Some are relevant, while most probably won’t make a difference in what you’re trying to accomplish. However, having a basic idea that those things are out there is a must. What’s in demand? Who is using them? Is there a correlation between these tools and our efforts? After that, you can weigh whether it makes enough sense to slightly change direction.

This all ties back to the attitude of a rookie, but not just any rookie. A rookie that takes pride in further education and consuming information that doesn’t completely consume, but adds to your productive knowledge base. One of the biggest pieces of advice that I can throw out there is don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Easier said than done especially when things are working fine. I get complacent just like the next person and stubborn to new ideas once and while. But overall, I am up for a learning experience. It should be an exciting process as the things you are testing today will be in play before you know it.

Treating it like a rookie will keep your ideas and your actions fresh. You will naturally want to learn and that’s a powerful thing. Don’t get complacent in who you are and what you are doing. Remain productive at all times.  A good summation of that concept is found in this quote by John P. Kotter, “A higher rate of urgency does not imply ever-present panic, anxiety, or fear. It means a state of complacency is virtually absent.” Complacency might not lead to ultimate failure, but it will certainly be a failure in utilizing your talents and abilities to maximum capacity. Treat everything like a rookie!