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Smart, Smart Use of Video on Climate Change

Posted on by Hal Clifford

The World Meteorological Organization has launched a brilliant campaign: real television weather forecasters in 12 countries (including the U.S.) are give live forecasts on their local stations for the weather in 2050. These are totally terrifying. But there's also a call to action. Check out a sample weather report, and subsequent heart-to-heart by the on-air forecaster, from Belgium here.

Appleooz Wins Our Donated Video

Posted on by Hal Clifford

We were delighted to donate a brand video to the Naturally Boulder pitch slam prize package, which was awarded Oct. 1. More than 500 people attended the event, where 25 natural foods companies pitched their products and ideas. In the end Mark Wood, founder of the home-grown apple snack chip company Appleooz, walked away with it. Mark has a great story (he started out trying to figure out how to keep all the apples on his back yard tree from going to waste), and we can't wait to help him tell it in a compelling video.

Video is Key to Marketing ROI

Posted on by Hal Clifford

One of the big problem marketers face is "what is the return on investment?" For most of history, marketing was a black hole into which you threw money and from which you hoped customers emerged. That's changed with the rise of the web, but not as much as you'd think. According to one study, in 2013 seventy percent of marketers did NOT deliver quantifiable results (that is, tie their spending to measurable results like leads generated, sales closed, and so on). That sounds like a good way to create job insecurity.

Turns out, though, that video marketing can help solve this problem. As the Content Marketing Institute points out in this post, video behaves differently than text. You can track exactly how much of a video someone watched (you can't do that with a blog post!); you can use that viewing history to better score your prospects for your sales team; and you can import that history right into Sales Force or other CRM database, which means your sales team has a lot more data when they call a lead. 

Do all that, and the next time your boss asks what you spent your budget on, you'll have a solid answer that she'll like.

Why You Love Coffee -- And How To Stop

Posted on by Hal Clifford

OK, I don't really want to stop. But I found this post in Fast Company pretty interesting. We're not addicted to coffee itself, the author argues -- we're addicted to the habit of coffee. And we can change the addiction by modifying the habit. Well, today is National Coffee Day, and so it may not be the right day to try to quit. In fact, it's a day to celebrate coffee -- I went and watched one of my favorite projects (about Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, no less!) again, just for fun. 

Czech Republic, Here We Come (?)

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Our short brand film for Atomik Climbing Holds, Rock Wall Climbing, has been accepted to the International Festival of Outdoor Films, which is run by the Ministry of Culture and shows in 35 towns around the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It begins in early October and we've been invited -- I bet there's an Oktoberfest happening somewhere nearby. Sadly, it conflicts with our planned trip to Ghana for Zaina Lodge. But we're delighted all the same.

They Want You To Send Poop

Posted on by Hal Clifford

The American Gut Project is likely to change medicine as we know and understand it, and the film Redefining Human will be a big part of that. Our sense of who and what we are is going to be severely challenged -- and our shot at optimal health greatly improved. This is a great film project by some close friends -- check it out and support them if you like (hey, they want you to send poop!).

Why We're Working in Africa

Posted on by Hal Clifford

We have several clients who work in Africa, and we are especially excited to be teamed up with Zaina, which is launching the first high-end eco-lodge in West Africa in early 2015. The lodge, located in Mole National Park in Ghana, will cater not only to wealthy Americans and Europeans (who now typically travel to high-end safari properties in East and South Africa), but also to Africans themselves. Despite the steady drumbeat of stories about war and corruption that we see in the western press, Africa is making progress on many fronts. It's a continent made up of 54 countries -- any blanket statement about how it is "good" or "bad" or "corrupt" or "dangerous" is inherently inaccurate. Today the NY Times published this article about the economic expansion that is spreading through sub-Saharan Africa. Places like Nigeria and Angola are developing a middle class, which is critical to creating political, economic, and environmental stability. It's a nice reaffirmation that Zaina is on to something big, and we're thrilled to be helping them.

We'll be going to Ghana in October to collect materials for a big marketing push for the Zaina lodge. More to come!

This Is Your Brain on Story

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Here's a nice summary from Pacific Standard about the brain's predilection for story. We are, as one of the sources here says, "hard wired" for it. Story is the most effective, stickiest way to deliver a message. We've all known this intuitively for a long time; now, the brain science is catching up. Stories cause our brains to release cortisol and oxytocin (feel-good and bonding chemicals). They create visible and persistent neural changes in the brain. Stories, in other words, remain the most powerful tool for connecting with people.

Green Marketing Cage Fight

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Ted Page at Captains of Industry has put up a good post at Marketing:Green. As companies try to burnish their green credentials they're starting to bash their competitors. I agree with him that this is a good thing. It gets beyond greenwashing and means that companies are taking green cred seriously. If you're going to go toe-to-toe on your green chops, you'd better actually have green chops.

Our New Documentary Film Project

Posted on by Hal Clifford

We're delighted to be working with Ask Why Films to create a feature-length documentary about K-12 education in the United States. There's a lot of angst about education these days. Our film (still no title!) will hold up great examples of people and organizations who aren't reforming education—they're completely reimagining what it is. As Ask Why says in its overview, "Today, Google can answer almost any questions. So the 21st century needs thinkers. And we need an education system to produce them."

We'll post updates as we go.

What REALLY Goes Into a Great Video

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Tim Ferris, author of the bestselling book The Four-Hour Workweek, followed up with The Four-Hour Body. Ferris is a very driven person, and he set out to make a great book trailer to promote his book. Actually, in his own words, he set out to create "the best book trailer ever." He did end up with a great trailer, which clocked in at just under 60 seconds and cost him about $12,000. He notes that it could easily have run $40,000 - $100,000, given his vision. That's a bit steep; the point is he was willing to spend money for quality. And it shows. In a long and media-rich blog post, he tells, and shows, what went into building the trailer.

If you want to understand what it actually takes to make a good video, it's worth the read -- not because of all the the technical details, but because he opens a window on the nature of the collaborative effort and how much work goes on behind the scenes for things you might barely think about at the beginning (like music).

You don't need to spend $12,000 for a great video. But you'll make a better one if you understand what goes into making it great. 

Why This Is A Bad Blog Post

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Confession time: I started my career as a writer. I still love words and love to work with them. But the evidence is clear: words don't come close to visuals for sticking power.

If you want your audience to remember your message, don't rely on words alone. Check out this factoid: According to the Media Education Center, a 3M study found that humans process images 60,000 times faster than words. If you ponder that for a second, it makes sense. You can easily recall an image you saw yesterday, last week, or 10 years ago. But it's much harder to recall something you read. And that gets to the second point: not only do we process images faster, we retain them better than words. The communications expert Peter Temple says that information retention after three days rises from 10% to 65% if an image is added to words.

From an evolutionary point of view, you can see why this is true. We have been paying attention to our environments for hundreds of thousands of years, learning by looking. We have been reading for only a few thousand years. And even reading is actually the processing of images, since the brain learns letters and words as images themselves.

So why is this a bad blog post? For the same reason that PowerPoint is bad when the presenter reads the words on the screen out loud—it's just words. I should have added an image here, just as you should use compelling images in your presentations.

The Video You Don't Want to Make

Posted on by Hal Clifford

This is a brilliant, hilarious sendup of the generic, anodyne videos that too many companies and nonprofits are putting up on their websites and pushing out through their social media channels. Watch this to understand what NOT to do when you make a video: Don't be fake. Don't be inauthentic. Don't be generic. Don't underestimate your audience. And while it's a great advertisement for the stock agency that made it -- don't rely on too much stock footage.  

 

Colorado, Belize, Africa, Cambodia

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Jason and Hal slipped out of town for a few days over spring break. We went to slightly different places:

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Hal went to the high country of Colorado. Jason went to the low country of Belize. Hmm. Who made the better choice?

By now we've got the snow and sand out of our shoes and are back at it. The coolest new development for us is that we'll be headed to Ghana in the fall to help launch the first luxury safari ecolodge in West Africa. We'll be creating brand video, media kits, social media and video and still imagery libraries for the folks at Zaina, the firm launching the new lodge in Mole National Park. (Check them out here.) This will be Jason's fifth trip to Africa, his first to the western side, and Hal's first overall. We're delighted to be part of this team!

We're also thrilled to be moving forward with our project "Capturing The Killing Fields," a planned documentary film about Mac & Simone Leng, survivors of the Cambodian genocide of the late 1970s. We've raised the funds to conduct our initial on-camera interviews in May and June here in Colorado, with the goal of creating a development trailer for the full-length film. So Cambodia isn't quite on the calendar yet, but it's in our sights ...