Customer Reference Video made easy

Customer Reference Video - Title
Something your customers can believe in

Nothing sells products and services as well as a recommendation from a previous happy customer. You only have to look at all the online tools used by retailers and traders to capture customer experiences – such as Trustpilot, Feefo, Bizrate and TrustedCompany to name but a few. And who would book a holiday these days without having a quick look at TripAdvisor? Potential customers gain a great deal of confidence in knowing others have bought from you first and had a fantastic experience.

However, all these solutions lack something – putting a ‘real’ face to the name. Commissioning a Customer Reference Video does this and a whole lot more.

Building trust with a Customer Reference Video

They say that the camera never lies – and this is true. Unless you’re watching an Oscar-winning performance from a seasoned actor then it is very hard to mislead an audience. People know how to read each other through body language (including facial expression, eye contact and gesturing) – all of which is lost within written online customer referral systems. With a Customer Reference Video you have all these tools available – enabling you to achieve a far higher level of trust from your audience in what is being said.

The most common format for a Customer Reference Video is what is called a ‘talking-head interview’. This consists of an interviewee (customer) and an off-screen interviewer. The line of action is between these two characters – and whilst the interviewee does not respond directly down the lens, the audience is still able to read their body language.

Filming customer references for BT
A typical Customer Reference Video talking-head shot

Finding suitable subjects for your Customer Reference Video

Any successful business shouldn’t have a problem in finding satisfied customers – but are they really going to be happy about saying how they feel on camera? The quick answer is… not all of them, but there will be some who would be. This could be that they just like the thought of appearing on TV, but there will also be some who stand to benefit from sharing their story. This is especially true if you trade B2B (business-to-business) as your interviewee will be gaining exposure for their own business within the interview. In fact, once produced you should be actively encouraging them to share the video.

Whilst every customer’s experience is important, there may also be the opportunity to record a Customer Reference Video with a figurehead or known personality within your sphere of interest. For instance, this could be someone known as the leading authority on the subject; or a widely celebrated artist; or an accomplished sportsman – or anyone who your audience would consider to bring additional value with their endorsement of your product or service.

Shooting and editing your Customer Reference Video

First of all it is important to know exactly what you want your customers to say and then develop a range of questions that will draw this from them in a sincere and enthusiastic way. Once you know these questions you should share them with your interviewee so they can plan their response. This doesn’t mean you can’t spring additional questions on them during the interview, but allowing them to think about their response will result in a more believable Customer Reference Video.

You should also get your interviewee to sign a release form. This is basically an agreement from them which will enable you to use the video, preferably in perpetuity, for a given purpose. These do not have to consist of lengthy legal jargon, but they do have to fairly describe what the agreement between you is. Without signed release forms, or at the very least getting them to say on-camera what they agree to, could result in you not being able to use their very valuable endorsement. (A good video production company will have a variety of suitable release form templates for you to adapt and use)

Creating the right atmosphere at the filming stage is also very important. A relaxed interviewee will give you a far more natural performance which will generate a much higher level of trust in the audience. Shooting these interviews professionally will mean the interviewee coming to terms with the glare of lights, cameras and microphones – but these are soon forgotten about once the interviewer engages with them and develops the rapport. You’ll also need to shoot some cutaway shots too – see below.

By the end of filming your interview you will probably have a lot more content than you’ll need – almost certainly far too much to be useful to release as a Customer Reference Video. At the editing stage you have the opportunity to pick out just the best bits and a skilful editor will be able to craft these into a seamless narrative. If you’ve prepared and phrased your questions correctly the story will be in there and the trick is to tell it as concisely as possible. This often means very tight cutting and pasting of passages within a reply and reordering – but never changing the meaning of the interviewee or quoting them out of context.

It can be very helpful to transcribe the whole interview and carry out what is referred to as a ‘Paper Edit’. This will allow you to set out the perfect reply in the shortest possible number of words, and then take this with you into the edit suite. This might result in many cuts in the interviewee’s response which looks very unnatural. The editor’s trick here is to cover these edits with cutaways (sometimes referred to as ‘B-Roll’ footage) of relevant images – leaving the audio from the interview in place. For instance, if the interviewee is talking about the product at that time you could show images of them using it, or unpacking it or simply just the product itself. If they are talking about their business – then maybe just a few shots of the building. This is why it is always better to shoot your interview first as you will then know what cutaway images will be needed to complete the edit.

Filming in the call centre at High Street TV
A typical location cutaway shot

The cost of producing a Customer Reference Video

Unlike other areas of video production, pricing a Customer Reference Video is relatively easy once we know locations, likely shooting durations and complexity of the edit. You could simply just refer to our Freelance Detail Sheet to work out what our costs would be. With good logistical planning and a concise set of questions you could easily shoot ten or more customer interviews in the same day. With a good paper edit to work to the editing time is greatly reduced – sometimes giving you as much as 1:2 shoot/edit ratio (1-day filming to every 2-days editing).

Hopefully now you’ll fully appreciate the value of creating a Customer Reference Video. You could of course create these in-house but, to achieve a more professional looking film that your audience will find more believable and sincere, you might find it more profitable to engage a professional video production company. If so, Video Artisan is just a telephone call away – 020 3602 3356.

Notes: If you like to see how a Customer Reference Video works, please click on the links below to view a few of the short films we’ve produced for British Telecom.

BT – Workstyle Managed Service

BT – High Street TV and Avaya IP Office

BT – N3 Mobile Health Worker

A guide to Conference Video

Conference Video Title
A quick guide to the benefits of commissioning a conference video

Thinking about a conference video?

With conference season about to kick off in earnest there will be many organisers still pondering on the thought of recording the event on video. I mean, it’s a whole lot of hassle isn’t it? Well no it isn’t actually. Producing a conference video can be the simplest of things to do and comes with range of benefits for the organisers, the speakers and the delegates – not to mention those people who were not able to attend!

A conference video can be anything from a single-camera production with basic intro/outro graphics and then shared online either publicly or privately to a selected audience – right through to a multi-camera extravaganza, with live external feeds to stage, post-event interviews with keynote speakers and so on, and so on. If your event is only weeks away your ambitions are probably going to be quite modest, but to let the opportunity of capturing something of the event slip by might be regretted. Reject having a conference video at your haste – repent at your leisure!

The benefits of commissioning a conference video

OK, at a very basic level, video is a great way to record an event for archiving or keeping a record of what has been said. It might not ever be used in any other way, but even at this level there’s great value in recording on video what we do. They are historic documents and could at some stage in the future be extremely valuable in illustrating a period in time or development of your business.

However, the real value to all concerned is to look to create a video record to be shared and used – and possibly create additional revenue for the organisers. You’ve probably invested considerable time and resources into the venue, speakers and general event management so you’ll certainly want to explore every possible revenue stream in order to make the event more profitable. Post-event conference video sales to attendees and non-attendees can be a very lucrative thing to offer. Password-protected and secure online video delivery is reasonably straight forward these days – or you could simply revert to DVD release to add more value.

Filming a Team Building Event lighting
The stage is set for another conference video

Producing a conference video might also help you to attract sponsors – certainly if their brand is going to be exposed to a broader online community. A properly indexed and tagged video hosted on YouTube or Vimeo will get to the right audience and, at the same time, help with your own search engine optimisation and online presence. You might find that a sponsor covers all the costs of production and distribution and the content is provided freely to anyone who wants to see it.

If your next event is just one of many then you’ll no doubt understand how useful a promotional video can be in selling your next event, and it doesn’t take much planning and imagination for a good video production company to have this in mind whilst shooting for a standard long-form conference video. Over time, with a number of events recorded, you could have a promotional video which reflects your history and expertise more accurately – updated periodically to keep it fresh and relevant.

For little more investment you could also consider transmitting your conference live (almost) over the internet as a webcast. In it’s most basic form there are ways to do this freely, but there’s all manner of webcasting tools available to you today to make the whole experience more interactive and audience-focussed. For instance, you could allow online delegates to post questions to speakers or panel members and engage “live”.

Conference video costs

There’s no logical way to menu-price a conference video service, but at the very basic end of the scale you could get your event professionally recorded for a few hundred pounds. In addition, tidying up the output and putting it into an online-ready format for distribution might only take a day to do – and perhaps just a little more investment post production could result in really useful promotional tool for your future events or purely to share with those involved.

If your ambitions are beyond the basic level then it’s going to take a little more effort in preparing a detailed proposal – which should also give you some further ideas on how you can start to benefit from commissioning a conference video. Either way, please contact us today if we’ve raised your interest enough to commission a conference video. Please call 020 3602 3356.

Note: Here’s a selection of case studies based on conference video and event coverage …

Case Study 1
Case Study 2
Case Study 3
Case Study 4

Commissioning a Product Launch Video

Product Launch Video title
A quick guide to the benefits of creating a product launch video

If you’ve got something to say… say it with video! This is especially true when it comes to launching new products. As video gains more and more traction as the preferred means of absorbing information over the internet, a product launch video has become the favourite communication tool for many manufacturers and marketing professionals. And it’s not just ideal for manufacturers – but also services industries, hospitality-based businesses and all manner of professional service providers. If your offering is all shiny and new then you’ll want to show it off in the best possible way.

What’s so great about a product launch video?

The overriding benefit of product launch video is that it can communicate your message, your brand identity and the key selling points of your product or service in a few minutes or less. Your client’s attention span is becoming shorter and shorter, and with so much information available to them online they are always looking for the shortest possible way to make their purchasing decisions. They say a picture can tell a thousand words, well video has at least 25 pictures every second!

A product launch video has many more advantages though. Another significant one is that video now plays a major part in search engine optimisation. If your website doesn’t include video content then it is going to rank lower than one that does. There are also some very neat tools on platforms such as YouTube that will help your product launch video to get seen – and by the right people. These include the addition of audience-pulling metadata, product and customer-focussed tags, geographical information, subtitling and embedded links. Video has become a whole lot cleverer these days, making it the perfect platform for spreading news about your new products and services.

Tom Pellereau
Tom Pellereau – a big advocate of the product launch video

Sharing and syndicating video content has also become very popular. Social media platforms have responded to this and offer various ways to help distribute a product launch video and facilitate onward sharing by users with similar likes and interests. Whilst YouTube and Vimeo are brilliant places to start sharing your content, the likes of Facebook offer additional free and paid-for promotional tools to get your video out to those who are likely to want to see it.

Apart from your own use of your product launch video, your distributors and resellers will also appreciate the benefits of this powerful promotional aid. They too will be able to share the video via their website and through their social media platforms – ensuring your product launch video reaches the furthest corners of the market. And it doesn’t have to be limited to online delivery as Blu-ray and DVD distribution, or large-screen playback at events or exhibitions, are still great ways of getting your message out.

Planning and costing your product launch video

When you launch a new product you have a very small window of opportunity to spread the news – whilst it’s still news! The time it takes to create a product launch video can be extremely short but it is better to plan this into your initial marketing activity and leave plenty of time for your video production company to come up with the best possible creative ideas on how to get your story told.

Every video production company prefers their clients to come to them with clearly defined aim and an approximate budget for achieving it. This way the video production company can limit or expand their ideas in order to provide a treatment which ticks all of your boxes. There is no useful answer a video production company can give to the question, “how much will a product launch video cost?”. Without knowing what’s involved they simply will not know the answer. So, as soon as you’ve think that a product launch video might be right for you, get in touch so you can talk through your aims and objectives in detail.

If you’re in that place now, please give us a call on 020 3602 3356.

Notes: Read the story behind the Nipper Clipper product launch video here.

The benefits of Video Sponsorship

Video Sponsorship title
Making your brand seen where it needs to be

Considering video sponsorship?

Are there events or other media-worthy subjects associated with your business that could be captured on video which your customers would be hungry to see? If there are, then video sponsorship might just be the perfect opportunity for you to get your brand in front of exactly the right audience.

The opportunities for video sponsorship are manifold – and the general public’s appetite for more and more online video content is ever increasing. Regardless of their interests (be that in a sport, activity, location, profession, art or craft or a regular calendar event), the chances are there will be a video on YouTube about it. However, very few of these videos are professionally produced and sponsored or commissioned by a business.

The benefits of video sponsorship

Producing the right kind of content will attract the right kind of audience, and through proper indexing, tagging and social media syndication these audiences can often be extremely large. Searching YouTube under any given subject (and listing the results by ‘most viewed’) will show you that even the most obscure of subjects can attract many tens of thousands of views. Now imagine that each of those viewers had been exposed to your brand.

Always hungry for video content, viewers will develop a stronger affinity to your brand and a greater understanding of what your business can offer them. In addition, sharing your sponsored video with your existing client base will help nurture customer loyalty and, at the same time, give you additional video content on your website to augment your video SEO activities and raise your search engine profile.

Ideas for video sponsorship

You’ve probably got a good idea what type of content would be good to hang your brand on, but here are some specific areas of video sponsorship which might be right for you…

Sharing Information and Specialist Knowledge
Films or documentaries which impart specialist or valuable knowledge present a great opportunity for video sponsorship and will help you present your brand in a positive way. Teaching the viewer how to do something better, more economically, more safely or by alternative means will naturally achieve traction if shared and syndicated through the right channels.

Specialist Knowlege
Winning customers by sharing specialist knowledge

Video sponsorship for local business
If your business is location-based, and you are trying to build a greater awareness amongst customers within that area, then the opportunities are probably endless… Documentaries about local festivals, tourist attractions, amenities, history… in fact any subject matter which is going to be of interest to the local community. Video sponsorship of this kind of content will certainly help put you on the map and demonstrate a commitment to serving the local population.

Sports and Competitive event video sponsorship
If you produce products or services that have a connection to competitive events then video sponsorship is a great way to raise your profile. This could be a sports event, an art or craft awards scheme – or any other event which had a competitive element. With competitive events you have the added bonus that your brand will be associated with success, especially if there’s an opportunity to include participant endorsements.

Winning line-up
Put yourself amongst the winners with video sponsorship

The cost of video sponsorship

Whilst video is seen as an expensive medium the costs are quite comparative to other mainstream media platforms. The secret is to keep production costs in-line with the potential returns you’ll gain from greater brand awareness. The simplest ideas are usually the best and, thankfully, often the cheapest. Whilst each commission will need to be assessed and priced independently, Video Artisan has produced sponsored event documentaries from as little as £1,500 – but we could equally envisage working on projects with a much lower video production budget.

If you have a video sponsorship idea that you’d like to develop, please give us a call to explore how we could help make it a reality – 020 3602 3356.

Further information:  Click here to see how we helped Supadance to get noticed in the world of ballroom dance.

The benefits of commissioning an instructional video

Show and Tell
An instructional video – the next best thing to personal tuition

Educating the masses with an instructional video

Never underestimate how complex a simple process can appear to be to someone who is unfamiliar with it. And never underestimate the power of video for enabling the “unfamiliar” to understand even the most complex of procedures. Video, with its pause, repeat, rewind and play ability makes it ideal for demonstrating operating, construction and basic care/maintenance procedures. Regardless of whether it’s highly complicated or ridiculously simple, from the construction of flat-pack furniture through to computer program control – instructional videos can hold the viewer’s hand through the process at their own pace.

Every manufacturing and service industry spends considerable sums each year on supporting their customers with materials that are designed to help them use their products or processes more efficiently. However, many businesses choose the cheapest possible way to impart this knowledge by use of printed or online instructions. Whilst this might be cheaper in the short term, the long term costs of dealing with customers who have been unable to understand these instructions, or followed them incorrectly, is unknown but likely to be well in excess of the monies saved initially.

Written and diagrammatic instructions still have their place, but in nearly every instance having someone show you how it’s done is much easier to understand and follow. You only have to look on YouTube to see how many films are based on filling in the gaps which manufacturers left out of their instruction manuals. These films are often produced by users who found the process challenging – which isn’t exactly great publicity.

Eye-bolts going in at the Hilton
“What I see I understand”

Producing an instructional video needn’t be expensive but has to be properly thought through and looked at from the perspective of the user. This isn’t always that easy to do from within the manufacturing or service supply business as they will be uniquely familiar with the process and unable to recognise where the challenges arise. This is why it is often advantageous to commission an outside video production company to develop the script and programme structure.

The benefits of producing an instructional video

The benefits of an instructional video to the user are plain to see, but the benefits to the manufacturer or service company go way beyond the cost savings on after-sales support. Here’s just some of the benefits that come to mind instantly…

  1. Providing an effective instructional video will help build a much higher level of brand loyalty amongst customers
  2. A better informed user base will result in fewer returns or damaged good due to misuse or bad construction – resulting in greater profitability
  3. Openly publishing your instructional video on the likes of YouTube or Vimeo can also drive sales amongst potential customers who’ll gain confidence in the product or service pre-purchase
  4. On a more subtle level, the process of developing the instructional video might also highlight areas where the product or service could be improved
  5. A properly indexed, tagged and well produced video hosted on the likes of YouTube can only increase your search engine visibility
  6. Videos are easy to make multilingual – by dubbing or subtitling

The cost of producing an instructional video need not be that high and could in fact be very comparable to producing printed material – with the benefit of easy adaptation and ways to re-purpose video from one instructional video to another.

If you’d like to explore the process and costs of producing instructional videos within your business, please give us a call on 020 3602 3356.