Archive for January, 2013

The Curse of Knowledge Can Poison Your Message

This morning I was listening to a Fresh Air interview with Ben Affleck about his latest movie, Argo. As he described the creative process of directing a previous movie, he said, “I didn’t like it when I saw the first assembly…”

There was more chatter between him and Terry Gross before I realized that “assembly” likely meant a first edited version of the footage, though I can’t be sure.

In his Ignite Seattle talk at Town Hall, author and Common Craft creator Lee LeFever calls this the Curse of Knowledge: When you know something so thoroughly, it makes it hard for you to understand what it’s like not to know.

Don’t be an organization that communicates under the Curse of Knowledge!

It’s rude to your visitors, who will be too distracted by their lack of knowledge to fully digest your message.

Our friend Lee LeFever just released his first book, The Art of Explanation. We highly recommend you check it out!

Why You Should Leave the Explaining to an Expert

When crafting a video to explain what you do, the most important thing you need is a great script, because whether your video is animated with stick figures, a white board drawing, or a screencast, it will be ineffective if people still don’t understand what you’re talking about.

This is rarely disputed, but some would argue that an “outsider” shouldn’t write your script. For instance, Neil Patel says,

The video company doesn’t know your business like you do. They don’t know what pain points your customers are experiencing.

Well, duh.

There’s a difference between a production studio and a team who knows how to unpack your story. The first would be happy to churn out an animation from your script cheaply and quickly.

But what many organizations need is someone to help them figure out what the hell to do because whatever they’re doing now isn’t working.

The bottom line is, a good consultant asks the right questions in order to understand your customers’ pain points and how you solve their problem.

For example, these are the challenges some of our clients have described:

  • It’s not a widely understood concept.
  • It’s difficult for non-technical people to understand.
  • Where do we start?
  • It’s challenging to be brief.
  • We don’t describe it practically.
  • We’re too heady.
  • We can’t get around all the lingo in our industry.

If your organization is facing similar communication challenges, hiring someone with an outside perspective is the right thing to do.

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Successful B2B Videos Preview the Main Event

Using video in your B2B marketing efforts is a great way to show your customers what it’s like to work with you or use your product.

As this ReelSEO article says:

In B2B videos, it’s not enough to merely demonstrate, explain or show a product. Successful business video presentations, those that lead to more clicks or a phone call, are resonant, authentic, compelling and memorable.

This was so true for our client at BlitzMasters.

For this project we wanted to tackle three issues:

  • everyone dreads cold calling because it’s awkward and/or intimidating
  • it’s tough to reach the decision makers and get anyone to call you back
  • sales training is boring and ineffective

Because our client’s corporate sales training programs are engaging and produce measurable results, it was important to capture her personality and energy as we explained the benefits of her services.

If you can’t see the video below in your feed, click here to view it on our site:

As you can see, we told her story though a faux movie trailer, which previews the main event you’ll experience when you hire her team.

Adding a little personality into your B2B marketing videos connects with your customers and helps you stand out from your competition.

To see more of our work, visit our portfolio.

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Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

This week I was reinvigorated by Simon Sinek’s Tedx talk on how great leaders inspire action. It’s an oldie, but definitely a goodie.

He says that when we communicate through features, benefits, and facts, we inform our audience with vast amounts of complicated information… but we don’t inspire them.

I want to be in the business of inspiring. You?

If you’ve hit a dry spell in your marketing strategy and want to change the way you tell your story, spend the next 18 minutes watching this video.

If you can’t see it below, click here to watch it on our site.

Also, be a dear and subscribe to our blog.

Make New Employee Orientation Less Boring Through Clever Animation

Plan to increase your hiring this year?

Introduce the personality of your company through a series of animated training videos your new hires will actually want to watch.

Cover company policies such as:

  • Vacation and sick leave
  • Overtime
  • Performance reviews
  • Dress code
  • Emergency procedures

Review general administrative procedures, such as how to file a purchase request or expense report, where to get an ID badge, or how to schedule the conference room.

Batch videos together for training new employees, then post them by topic on your company’s intranet for all employees to access.

Clever animations are engaging and help your employees retain information. Like this FAA safety video from Virgin America, for instance:

Important safety demonstrations don’t have to be boring, and neither do your training videos.

Contact us for more information on developing a series of training videos for your company.

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3 Ways to Improve Your Recruiting Efforts Using Animated Video

A simple animated video on your corporate recruiting site can set the right expectations for applicants early on and can also be used to show off your corporate culture.

Here are three examples of how you can use animated video to improve your recruiting efforts:

Map the journey of an applicant’s resume.
Every job seeker wonders if their resume disappears into a corporate black hole, but most HR departments don’t have the time or resources to personally respond to hundreds or thousands of inquiries. With animated video, you can visually explain how a resume travels through your organization and when an applicant might get an update.

Put your hiring process on a timeline.
Your hiring process has a plot line with a climactic ending for each applicant. Walk them through the beginning, middle, and end of the story with a timeline of events so they know what to expect along the way.

Show applicants what hoops they need to jump through.
If your company’s hiring policy dictates the need for certain tests, assessments, or certifications, use a little humor to lighten up the tedious formalities.

An animated video placed front and center on your corporate recruiting site can set you apart as a great organization, and maybe you’ll even brighten the day of a weary, hard working job applicant.

Why Your B2B Marketing Video Sucks

Compared to consumer facing videos, B2B marketing videos tend to be dry and riddled with industry jargon.

Why put on such a serious face? Companies are made up of people, and people are moved by stories. So lighten up! Serious is a slippery slope into boring, and boring won’t convert leads into clients.

People have more personality in real life and don’t actually say things like, “We help you successfully and efficiently maximize your revenue stream” over a couple of beers after work.

(Or maybe you do talk like that and need a vacation.)

Why not just come out with it: “I hear you want to make more money. We can help you do that!”

People who make buying decisions on behalf of a company or department want you to get to the point, so quit worrying about all the wordy words you think they want to hear.

For example, here’s a B2B marketing video we made that doesn’t take itself so seriously:

To watch more videos, check out our portfolio.

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