10 Brands With The Best Customer Communities

What’s your favorite brand? Why?

The most successful brands in the world are more than just a great product. They build a community and lifestyle around their brand, thus entrenching their authority, status, and value for the short- and long-term.

This sort of community fosters not just loyalty but advocacy. Besides repeat business, superfans willingly promote your brand to their friends, family and most importantly social circle.

They’ll put your branded sticker on their laptop for everyone in the coffee shop to see. They’ll wear your product every day until worn out (and then buy another pair). They’ll share your content on social media.

Which businesses have cultivated a group of brand superfans, and what can you learn from those businesses to build a community around your brand?  

    1. Supreme

Diehard Supreme fans wait hours outside stores for a new clothing launch, all while wearing Supreme clothing head to toe and discussing the brand with the next person in line. The Supreme Facebook page has grown to 60K organic followers who all actively discuss the products. The group also resells old clothing way above retail price; this works because the Supreme community is so strong it’s established the long-term value of the Supreme clothing line.   

Supreme is an American clothing brand established in 1994. Although it started as a line for skateboarding and hip-hop, its reach has expanded drastically in the past two decades. It began with a group of “neighborhood kids, New York skaters, and local artists” who wanted to change the clothing culture in downtown Manhattan. These beginnings uniquely speak to their clients, often fostering a sense of loyalty among creatives and nonconformists.  

Although Supreme has a distinctive product, it’s their unique customer experience that sets them apart. From their top-notch season lookbooks to the “random” option on their homepage, Supreme focuses on the fun and hip aspects of the fashion world. This brand voice permeates their products, customer experience, and unique interaction on social media.

Takeaway: Own your brand’s history, and create a related brand voice that seeps into every aspect of production, marketing, and beyond.  

     2. Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson motorcycles have grown a reputation in the past 100 years as the “outlaw” bike. It’s well known as the “best bike” in the motorcycle world, even amongst people who don’t own a Harley. Hollywood uses Harley bikes to show off rebellious characters or exciting action scenes. Every aspect of Harley’s marketing, branding, and product iterate the same brand message: ride a Harley, be a badass.

Harley-Davidson also has a paid membership program called the Harley Owners Group (HOG). Harley owners love their bikes, and they love meeting fellow motorcyclists who also love their bikes. Though they could create their own communities, the majority of consumers are willing (and excited) to pay for the elite HOG club.

Takeaway: Use your brand to your advantage. Build long-term loyalty by encouraging your fans to invest in your brand outside of the product, like an elite group or supplemental merchandise.

     3. Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s has such loyal fans that these devotees are willing to wait in extensive lines just to pick up their groceries. Consumers are addicted to the unique Trader Joe’s branded products. These food products are typically whole, organic, and healthy, and they’re offered at a lower price than their name brand competitors.

Trader Joe’s product is the heart of their brand. They offer exceptional recipes and promote cook-off competitions on social media. They know they have a great product, and they utilize that strength when appealing to loyal fans that believe in inexpensive, healthy food.

Takeaway: Stick to your strengths, and match the value of your product with your brand.

     4. SoulCycle

This fitness company has such loyal fans that people have moved across town to live closer to SoulCycle locations. They create a loyal community through the addictive way they make their cyclists feel. With a positive environment and fun atmosphere, they make fitness fun and sexy.

They also inspire their customers to live a healthier life by promoting the empowerment of SoulCyclists. Consumers feel this dedication to health, and they start to respond to the brand with that same sort of loyalty.

SoulCycle actively works to pull cyclists together, both in-person and online. Along with branded merchandise, they also hold frequent cycling events and weight loss challenges for the community. They foster friendships between members, which makes users addicted to the comradery and fun they get from their fitness brand.

Takeaway: Inspire people to live a lifestyle that surrounds your brand.

     5. Fortnite

Fornite is more than just a video game. It’s become a community that “levels the playing field” between celebrities, grandparents, teenagers, and NBA stars. It’s made hundreds of thousands of dollars, out earning Overwatch and DOTA.

Fornite focuses on the consistency of the community. Once you stream the game, you enter a new world with other passionate, like-minded players. The game itself needs a community of players to work. They foster this community through the product as well as social media and online competitions.

Takeaway: Create a product that thrives on network-based relationships.  

     6. Disney

It’s hard not to be a Disney fan. Disney owns just about everything from radio to TV to movies to theme parks and beyond. But Disney knows how to create microcosms of highly loyal and dedicated customers. Marvel fans, Disney Princess fans, Mickey fans, Star Wars fans, and even Fox News watchers all belong to the overall Disney fan-hood.

They can create this loyalty not only through an innovative and unique product, but because they make it easy to be a fan. After they put out a movie, they have accompanying action figures, T-shirts, mugs, branded hashtags, roller coasters, fan theory pages, and more. You can instantly become a part of a community in every aspect both in the physical and online world.

Disney also has a consistent brand message no matter what they’re doing: it all started with a mouse. They focus on building the dreams of their employees and consumers alongside the Disney growth.

Takeaway: Diversify while maintaining brand consistency.

     7. Starbucks

Starbucks sells coffee, which is naturally addictive. With the regularity and concentration of Starbucks, it’s easy to pop into a Starbucks for your “fix.” They maintain a consistent product and level of service, so customers always know what they want to order and how to order it.  

Beyond their product, Starbucks is committed to the environment in which they operate. They have strong sustainability efforts, working to make coffee a more sustainable product. 99% of their coffee is ethically sourced, and they’ve committed to providing 100 million trees to farmers by 2025.

Their higher prices reflect an ethical and social mission, so loyal customers are more willing to pay the premium.

Moreover, Starbucks also focuses on the social aspect of their company. They have an employment empowerment program where they pay for training and tuition for their workers. Starbucks invests in their employees, which creates a return for customer service (and the bottom line).

Takeaway: Make your brand bigger than your product. Commit to something outside of yourself.

     8. Tesla

Even people who don’t have a Tesla car are committed to the Tesla brand. Tesla, led by the inspiring Elon Musk, is driving the world into the future of energy and technology. They’ve made “being green” cool for everyone.

They’re always innovating in new and surprising ways. Consumers never know what Tesla is going to come out with next. From a semi-autonomous truck to a rocket ship, Tesla is breaking barriers of clean fuel, technological advancements, and global transportation.

Because of this innovation, Tesla is considered one of the most prestigious employers. This prestige creates a loyal following of employees, potential employees, and customers that grows the goodwill of the brand—even without car purchases.

Takeaway: Surprise and delight consumers at every turn.

 

 

     9. Nike

Nike has been able to create a strong loyalty to their fitness clothing primarily through their advertising campaigns. With motivational quotes and celebrity endorsements, Nike has grown from a clothing business to a fitness lifestyle.

They have also been able to sign some of the biggest names in sports and athletics, from Michael Jordan to Tiger Woods to Sister Madonna. With each endorsement comes a range of fans who want to emulate their favorite athletes.

Endorsement instantly taps into a target audience of people who are willing and excited to buy their product. People who idolize Michael Jordan want to jump and play like him, so they want the Nike shoes that help him do that.

This loyalty is about more than just the celebrity. It’s about the lifestyle that those celebrities radiate while wearing the Nike brand.

Takeaway: Utilize your resources and marketing to build an inspirational lifestyle around your brand.

     10. Apple

This list wouldn’t be complete without an analysis of Apple. Apple has been able to build one of the most loyal and profitable customer communities of all time. Ultimately, their community building strategy boils down to three areas: brand history, innovative products, and a unique customer experience.

Apple’s history is inspiring to innovators in all areas of business. They failed multiple times, but they were persistent and became one of the most profitable brands of all time. The Apple community has been watching leaders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak since the beginning, inspired to keep persisting as the Apple brand has.  

Apple has always been committed to forward thinking and innovation. Their products are the first of their kind, and everyone—even non-Apple fans—anxiously anticipate a new Apple announcement. Their products are simple and user-friendly, which appeals to the laid-back fan base.  

Beyond their products, Apple offers strong user experiences end-to-end. Their “Genius” bar is always available to help, and they provide top-notch service at little to no cost. Their employees also stand behind them, creating a strong company culture. This engagement reflects the customer fan base as well.  

Takeaway: Be committed to your brand from A to Z.

Conclusion

These brands have been able to grow their communities through strong leaders, innovative products, top-notch customer service, and a unique brand voice.

One of the easiest ways to create this loyalty is through marketing and media. Nike uses video advertising to connect with their clients. Disney releases teaser trailers and cartoon shorts to maintain consumer excitement. Supreme shares random and fun videos to keep consumers entertained.

Media is the foundation of a strong brand-consumer interaction and relationship.

Do you have the media to attract and engage your customers long-term?  Contact True Film Production now to start building diehard customer loyalty through high-quality media marketing.

The post 10 Brands With The Best Customer Communities appeared first on True Film Production.

Elevator Pitch Mistakes that Keep Your Career on the Ground

In this post, successful entrepreneurs offer tips on how to avoid some common elevator pitch mistakes. Mistakes that just might keep your career from ever getting off the ground…

Sometimes getting ahead in this world isn’t about climbing the corporate ladder. Sometimes it’s about knowing how to use the elevator.

The elevator pitch… that is.

Whether your starting your own business or applying for your dream job, your elevator pitch can make all the difference. So we asked members of the Young Entrepeneur Council (YEC) this question:

What is one common mistake to avoid when delivering an elevator pitch?

Let their helpful answers take your career to the next level!

Starting with Your Name

Don’t say who you are or the name of your company at the beginning. You need to catch their attention with what you are currently working on, and then leave them with a name or nickname that they can search for online later.

Kevin XuMebo International

Swaying and Moving Your Hands

When delivering a pitch or any type of presentation, plant your feet firmly on the ground, about hip-width apart. Be mindful of swaying and moving your hands, which can make you come across as nervous and lacking confidence.

Natalie MacNeilShe Takes on the World

Talking About the Technology

Founders love to talk about their technology when they should instead focus on the pain that their technology solves and the value that it creates for their customers. If you hook the audience with a searing pain point, a compelling value proposition, an attractive market and a credible team that can execute, then you will get the follow up to discuss questions they have about the technology.

Douglas HutchingsPicasolar

Talking Fast

Elevator pitches are supposed to be quick, but not because you rattle off as much information as you can in as little time as possible. A good elevator pitch is concise because of how well-thought-out it is. When you slow down to deliver your pitch, you’ll sound much wiser and give your audience time to absorb what you’re saying.

Vladimir GendelmanCompany Folders, Inc

Rambling

Elevator pitches need to be short and convey your business to an audience. I’ve noticed when people pitch me ideas they ramble on and on and don’t actually say anything relevant. The best practice I got was during TechCrunch Disrupt launching a product five years ago. TechCrunch put us through the ringer and they helped us define what we wanted to say and how to say it concisely without rambling.

Andy LeffElectricity Labs/Warp Speed Labs

Starting With Features and Benefits Rather Than the Problem

A lot of people start going into the features and benefits of the device when they should really be capturing the attention of the listener by explaining the problem. They call this strategy “turning the knife,” where you get the listener to understand and relate to the problem emotionally, then you position your product or solution as the unique and correct way of solving that problem.

Andy KaruzaFenSens

Sounding Desperate

It’s easy to get lost in the passion you have for your project, and oftentimes that passion, coupled with the opportunity being presented to you, can lead to desperation. It’s important to have enthusiasm, but don’t allow desperation to bleed into your pitch. Investors and potential partners can respect a passionate owner, but desperation almost always has the opposite effect.

Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

Forgetting to Leverage Social Proof

It’s human nature to triangulate relevance from things we’re familiar with. Whether it be investors, prominent customers or press you’ve received, dropping these in tasteful ways will make the audience take you more seriously. These social cues make the listener draw on these associations and connect them with what you’re doing, enhancing the overall pitch.

Fan BiMenswear Reviewed

Starting the Speech With “I Am…”

Starting off on this note will usually generate a “so what” reaction, causing your audience to check out. Your elevator pitch should be engaging and compelling enough to leave the listener wanting to know even more about you. Try instead to start the speech off with an interesting hook, quote or question that initially locks in their attention.

Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

Not Making It Matter to Your Audience

WIIFM is an old sales jargon term for “what’s in it for me?”. While silly sounding, it’s fundamentally on point. If you don’t engage your audience during an elevator pitch enough to figure out why they should care, that is typically the end of the conversation. I like to say I help ____ to _____, as an example. Make it digestible for your audience.

Darrah Brusteindarrah.co

Getting Lost in Jargon

The best elevator pitches use simple words and communicates the benefits of your organization. If your elevator pitch uses words like “facilitates,” “synergies,” “empowering,” or other overused words, re-craft your pitch. What does your organization do for its users?

Mark DaoustQuiet Light Brokerage, Inc.

The post Elevator Pitch Mistakes that Keep Your Career on the Ground appeared first on True Film Production.

Why You Must Invest In Your Employees’ Future, Even If They Leave You

The reality of today’s employment culture is simple: employees aren’t sticking around for 40 years.

You’re lucky if an employee stays for four years… Most Gen Z and Millennials have a longer relationship with their first car than their first employer. While it may seem prudent to churn and burn employees, the deeper you dig, the more attractive investment into employees becomes.

Just because your employees won’t stay at your company as long as their parents would have, doesn’t mean that time is less valuable. You want to get the best 4(ish) years out of your employees and create brand ambassadors once they move on. Investing in their growth is hands down the best way to accomplish this.

Note that career development is not necessarily employee growth. Nor is growth necessarily a monetary investment. Employee growth is an investment in their personal development that may or may not be related to a career, and may or may not cost you capital. Growth is empowering your employees with new skills and the freedom to express their individuality.

Google is the prime example of a non-monetary growth investment. They give their employees 2 hours a day to work personal projects. While there have been employees who used this time to create opportunities that took them outside of Google, this policy also led to the invention of Gmail.

However, the employees who left Google are the most often-reported use case when it comes to inhibiting employee growth investment. Companies are afraid that because of short tenures, investment into employee growth won’t be realized within their walls. To an extent that’s true – a good investment into employee growth teaches lessons that last a lifetime. But don’t fret there are still immediate benefits when you invest in your employees.

Immediate Impact

Four years is the average employee tenure. Investing in your employees shows you care about them not just as people who work for you, but also as human beings. It’s likely that if you invest in your employee’s development, their tenure at your company will exceed the average.

If you’re investing in a time-management coach, then you’ll notice an improvement in your employee’s efficiency. Sure they’ll take those lessons with them wherever they work, but a) they’re first applying them at your firm and b) they’ll never forget where they picked those lessons up.

Even hiring a management coach is worth the investment – despite the fact that you know most of your current workforce won’t become managers within your company. One of your employees might learn something useful, get a management role at their next employer, and do something incredible with that information. That’s great! You should smile like a proud parent. While you don’t directly benefit, that employee will always remember where they learned that skill, and champion your company at every opportunity.

Personal Anecdote

Personally, I see investment in my employee’s growth as a must. It’s one of our five core values. We’re invested in each other as individuals, and as a result, our culture is positively impacted. If one of my employees leaves tomorrow for a better opportunity, I want there to be nothing but love between us. I don’t invest in their personal development for them to love True Film, or me but it’s a by-product that comes from the investment.

I’ve had employees leave to start bands and become pro kite surfers. I never invested in their coaching, but I gave them days off so they could make it to gigs. I knew their passions ran deeper than film production and when they could, they’d leave the industry. When they did eventually go, it was all hugs and tears. Perhaps one day one of them will become famous. Which brings me to my next point:

Long-Term Impact

I’ve heard of Fortune 500 companies who police their employee’s social media use, while at the same time pay thousands of dollars for social media influencers to shout out their product. Yes, there are boundaries to what an employee should and should not be posting, but if they’re posting content that’s in good taste while still getting their work done, then I think it’s ridiculous to stop them. In 4 years that employee could be building up a massive following and one day, out of the blue and for no cost, thank their former company for giving them the freedom to follow their passion – that’s massive, free, and positive exposure.

Conclusion

If you look at employee growth as something that should only benefit your company, then you’re never going to make a good investment, or an investment at all. You can’t have professional growth without personal growth. A good investment in your employee’s personal development will naturally benefit them outside the office – as it should be. While employee tenure length isn’t what it once was, that doesn’t mean your company’s impact on your employees should follow the same trend.

The post Why You Must Invest In Your Employees’ Future, Even If They Leave You appeared first on True Film Production.

Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Get Your Business to the Top of Search

How to Be SEO Friendly

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Create Industry-Leading Useful Content That Fills a Need

“Don’t just create content to create content. Create content that solves a problem, explains a solution or answers your customer’s questions. Invest in quality research and design to present that content to your customers in a way that isn’t boring, is easy to navigate and is better than anything else on the topic.” ~ Shawn SchulzeNames.org

2. Write to Connect With Your Customers, Not Search Engines

“The biggest mistake we see comes in writing for search engines at the expense of the customer. Remember that while the copy gets them to the front door, if they hate what they find when they walk in, they’ll leave. Since Google takes customer experience into account when ranking, a site that continually turns off visitors won’t rank well long term, even if the content is perfectly optimized.” ~ Jeff JahnDynamiX

3. Ensure Your Content is Mobile Friendly

“To keep your content SEO friendly, ensure your website is mobile responsive. Compress heavy image files, remove flash videos or animations, disable intrusive pop-ups and make sure all titles, tags and descriptions are optimized for mobile devices. Additionally, all content should provide value, but also be easy to consume.” ~ Kristin MarquetCreative Development Agency, LLC

4. Don’t Just Focus on Keywords

“Keywords are obviously an important part of the algorithms, but loading your content up with keywords is the opposite of what you want to do. Focus on fulfilling a need for your customers and answering their questions via your content. While the content can and should be centered around keywords, the quality of the content is what matters and will help it stand the test of time.” ~ Kristy KnichelKnichel Logistics

5. Go Above and Beyond

“What can you do to blow away all of the other search results for your target keywords? If it’s a list, create a custom list plugin with as much additional information about the topic that you can find. If it’s a difficult subject, create videos and mix them into the content. If it’s simple, perhaps the topic isn’t broad enough to create amazing content for. Go above and beyond and see how Google will reward you.” ~ Ajay PaghdalOutreachMama

6. Just Create Amazing Content

“The days of gaming search engines with little hacks and tricks are over. Google is far too advanced for that now. So what’s the secret to modern SEO? Just create amazing content that your audience is looking for. Simple as that. Sure you have to follow basic fundamentals like a responsive website, fast page load times, etc. But don’t get hung up on tiny details or trying to game the system.” ~ Jeff CayleyWorldwide Cyclery

7. Don’t Forget to Link

“Adding internal links not only shows your authority in a particular sector, but it can also lead to more posts that offer additional value. A string of value-added posts can make it easier for search engines to interpret your primary themes. External links to evidence-based, reputable source material show that you are a subject matter expert that is able to support your information with other outside facts and statistics. Be sure not to go overboard with the linking. Only link to internal or external sources that make sense. They should add something to what you are offering. Excessive linking can cause you to rank lower in searches.” ~ Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

8. Keep Creating Relevant and Fresh Content

“One of the biggest challenges with content marketing is creating fresh content on a regular basis. This is even more important than keywords or any advanced SEO tactics. Google favors sites that consistently publish new content that addresses readers’ needs. Don’t neglect other factors such as keywords and backlinks but consistency is the most important factor.” ~ Shawn PoratScorely

9. Optimize Your Thinking

You search for content every day. Next time take notice of what you’re typing into the search box. You’re either typing in words, phrases or questions. Now apply that approach to your content. Keywords are important, but the way you phrase your title and h2 tags should encompass the question, then the phrase, then finally keywords that you’re trying to hit — in that order.” ~ Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

10. Create Evergreen Content

“Providing SEO content is an investment that will render results three to six months down the line. By making it evergreen, you’re ensuring that your content will always be relevant. It’s information that can pop up in search engine results for years to come as long as the product you’re selling is still in demand.” ~ Patrick BarnhillSpecialist ID, Inc.

11. Bring Value to Every Piece of Content

“It cannot be said enough, don’t focus on SEO tricks, focus on value. The more you generate value for people, the more likely you will be to rank for the content. Yes, you need to have the right kind of distribution for the content and an effective strategy to engage any potentially relevant and influential blogs that may want to reference you. Otherwise, you must focus on value.” ~ Nicole MunozStart Ranking Now

12. Keep Audiences Engaged Over Time

“Extensive research is often the key to creating content that will keep your target audience interested and entertained. Creating content takes more than just writing ability. It also requires a level of expertise in your subject matter and knowledge of industry trends. It is unlikely that any singular piece of content will be a permanent resource for your audience, but regularly churning out insightful, consistent and up to date pieces will keep audiences engaged over time.” ~ Zohar Steinbergtoken payments

13. Enhance Social Media Management

“Sites like Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin rank very high in search engines. Maintaining and updating your businesses’ social media profiles is an easy way to piggyback off the giants who have mastered the art of SEO.” ~ Cassie PetreyCrowd Surf

14. Focus on Retention

“With SEO algorithms shifting constantly, it can be a Sisyphean task trying to update every piece of content to each change. What I focus on is providing excellent SEO when content is first published in order to drive up exposure and then attempt to retain as much of that exposure as possible through engagement strategies. This ensures that my content doesn’t have to be consistently SEO friendly to last.” ~ Bryce WelkerCPA Exam Guy

15. Don’t Overthink the Technical Side

“Much like how truly SEO-friendly content is all about adding value (not tricking the algorithm), your approach to technical optimizations should prioritize fastidious organization. Is it easy for visitors to find any and all content? Are your pages, written content and media files as simply organized and as clearly labeled as possible? Optimize to the readers, not search bots.” ~ Ryan WilsonFiveFifty

16. Allow Length to be Your Advantage

“Everyone repeats the same thing: “Forget about ‘The Algorithm.’ Just write for your audience.” However, “The Algorithm” adds more weight to longer content than your audience does. Plus, “The Algorithm” loves to see synonyms of your keyword. Longer content will automatically have more keyword synonyms. Longer content (with additional keyword synonyms) will appease “The Algorithm” and your audience.” ~ Christopher TedderClinger Holsters

The post Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Get Your Business to the Top of Search appeared first on True Film Production.

15 Rules to Follow When Creating Your First Business Video

Video helps draw in customers and increases engagement, but can be overwhelming with details to keep in mind, especially when your business is first starting out in the medium. That’s why we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council this question:

What are the most important things to keep in mind when creating a business video for the first time? How can you make sure your company’s first video will convey the right message in a professional, engaging manner?

1. Be Intentional

Make sure you understand where video fits into your overall marketing strategy. How will it be tracked? How will it be measured? What is your target audience? If you want your video content to see results, you have to be intentional about the content you’re producing. Otherwise, you’ll have no clear way to track ROI or attribute leads to your video marketing. – Michael Mogill, Crisp Video Group

2. Make It Simple

The best video is often the simplest. What are you teaching? Who is your audience? Speak directly to that person and connect! Don’t film in front of messy or busy backgrounds, and be sure you look like the best version of yourself. Keep it simple, straightforward and to the point until you know what your audience wants. – Jen Brown, The Engaging Educator

3. Know Your Goals

What are the goals of your video project? Every client I speak with hears this question, whether it’s their first project or their 100th. Once you know your goals, you can reverse engineer the rest: timeline, budget, creative concept and all the production nuances. Speak with multiple production companies about your goals, then figure out which company best aligns with them. – Stanley Meytin, True Film Production

4Stay on Brand

Make sure your content is appropriate for your brand. A lot of companies think they need to be funny, brash or professional, but random attention for a company isn’t good — it needs to be planned. Even though it’s not a CTA, all content should present your company in a way that appeals to your target audience, and not just for attention. – Artem Mashkov, DEVTRIBE INC

5. Use Professional Equipment and Editing

The shooting and editing of good video content isn’t something that can be dropped on an intern. Choose better equipment than a cell phone camera, and make sure that the editing is done by someone who has the experience to give it that professional shine. You can do this on a budget with your first sets of video content by having it done using short-term contracts. – Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

6. Have Great Audio

Make sure you have great audio. Invest in having someone help you set it up or run it for you. You can have an amazing looking video, but if no one knows what you’re saying, or the quality is so poor that it’s distracting, your video will be a waste. – Colbey Pfund, LFNT Distribution

7. Get to the Point Quickly

A strong opening is essential for video, especially mobile video. Those long title sequences are great when you have captive audiences, i.e., movie theaters, but branded videos need to cut to the chase much more quickly. – Sam Saxton, Paragon Stairs

8. Be Meticulous With Every Detail

Most marketers assume it’s easy enough to pick up a camera and start filming. While that may work for personal social media accounts, brands need more polished videos to build a meaningful and engaged audience. Be selective with the talent you hire. Carefully choose every word in the script. Use proper lighting, recruit a director and rent appropriate equipment. Remember that every detail matters. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

9. Customize Your Video to Each Platform

Be sure your editor has the skills to scale the videos across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and anywhere else your customers live. Shoot horizontal for YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, but be able to scale the video vertically for Facebook and Instagram stories. Keep the level of quality high across each platform and customize the length, depending on how users behave on each platform. – Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

10. Have a Clear Conversion Strategy

It’s all about how you plan to use the call to action in the video to convert your audience. I know many startups that go into a spiral, spending fortunes on video content and it doesn’t get them anywhere because they didn’t have a clear conversion strategy in the first place. I always start with understand my goals and how I want to use video to generate more traffic or opt-ins to a particular page. – Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

11. Repurpose Existing Content

If you already have a blog, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel for all of your videos. You can use a tool like Lumen5 to repurpose your blog posts into video format, with little work. This makes it easy to create one piece of content and use it in multiple mediums. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

12. Create Awareness and Transactional Content

An awareness video is putting yourself in your target audience’s shoes. You can do this by going on Quora and finding out what questions they have, then create content that answers their questions. Since they are searching for those questions, your video will appear. A transactional video walks the user step by step through a new integration, or shows them how to use a specific feature of your product. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

13. Consider Animation and Voice-Over

As with any content you produce, it’s important to consider how it will impact the perception of your brand. Consumers are accustomed to broadcast quality when it comes to video content — something that’s not easy to achieve on a budget. Consider using animation and still images coupled with a voice-over. Professional results are easier to achieve using this format rather than live action. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International

14. Be Consistent With Your Output

Most companies, startups and Fortune 500 alike, are way behind when it comes to using video effectively with their business. They often make the mistake of thinking one expensive and “amazing” video will change their business, but in reality, consistency is the key to building trust over the long run with your audience. They should also be consistent in theme and the audience they’re helping. – Dan San, Meural

15. Have Fun With It

There is so much video content on the web, and you want to stand out. Get creative and find ways to have fun with the videos. I always love getting team members together, expressing what the goal of the video is, then brainstorming new ways to execute that. It helps the team members think in a different way and makes the process really enjoyable. – Adrien Schmidt, OpenBouquet

The post 15 Rules to Follow When Creating Your First Business Video appeared first on True Film Production.

How a sandwich taught me everything about a company’s culture

When was the last time a brand made you feel special? When was the last time you said “Wow! Brand X is remarkable, I can’t believe they just did that for me. They didn’t have to!” For VIPs, this might often happen, although I can imagine the allure wears off. But for the rest of us it’s a rare occasion, sometimes once-in-a-lifetime.

You might be thinking, “Stan, you posted on your LinkedIn not too long ago how JetBlue made you feel special,” (and now you’re definitely thinking I use the word ‘might’ a little bit too liberally). Back to my point – yes JetBlue did make me feel special a few months ago. To recap (in case you don’t follow my LinkedIn activity) here’s what happened:

I was taking the last flight from Boston to New York after a long day of meetings. I hadn’t eaten all day and opposite my gate was a Wahlburgers restaurant. Tired and hungry, I didn’t consider how little time was left until I was supposed to board. So I went ahead and ordered a chicken sandwich. As I was waiting for my sandwich, I heard the “last call for boarding” announcement. I frantically headed back to the gate to ask exactly how much time was left. “5 minutes until we close the gate.”

Still hungry and tired, I wasn’t going to miss spending time with my family over a sandwich. So I told the gate attendant that I’d be right back, I had to cancel my order.

I boarded the plane empty-handed, sat down in my seat and put my headphones on. Within minutes I see the gate attendant walking down the aisle with a Wahlburgers bag. She handed me the bag and said: “You can’t leave Boston without trying a Wahlburger.” I was so caught up in the generosity of the act that I didn’t even catch the attendant’s name!

(I posted the flight details on LinkedIn, so if you can help me find the lady the universe shall reward you.)

This experience made me a JetBlue customer for life, but not once did I think to myself “JetBlue is remarkable, I can’t believe they just did that for me!” That wasn’t how I saw the situation because it wasn’t JetBlue who made me feel special – it was the gate attendant. It wasn’t the brand or the company that won me over. It was another person whose actions won me over!

Now ask yourself, “When was the last time a real person went above and beyond their job description to make my experience with his or her company better?” That too doesn’t happen often, but it’s not nearly as rare as a ‘brand’ making you feel special.

A company might create an algorithm to figure out your buying habits then send you a coupon, but that’s not special. There’s no emotional connection in a coupon, or a thank you letter that’s following a template with a (insert first name here) script. Genuinely making an emotional connection requires genuine human interaction. As humans, we’re simply not wired to feel emotions towards inanimate objects.

Google “best customer service story” and the top result is usually this:

A SouthWest pilot went against FAA regulations to hold up a plane so that an old man heading to see his dying grandson could board. In case you’re interested, there’s a lot more to that story.  

While it’s a coincidence SouthWest is also an airline, it’s no coincidence it was another human who went out of their way to make someone feel special. In SouthWest’s case, it was also a heartwarming story.

It comes as no surprise that SouthWest has a strong company culture. In fact, they’re one of the companies highlighted in Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why.” 

     

SouthWest was built off a strong identity and strives to this day because their strong identity has matured into a great company culture. As a direct result of their culture, they’re one of the best places to work, and their employees continually go above and beyond for their customers.

There’s one thing all employees who go the extra mile have in common: they’re proud of their job! Someone who doesn’t love his or her job is probably sitting, staring at the clock waiting to leave. They’re not motivated to do more than the required minimum – if even that…

According to Gallup “employees who are engaged (happy) are more likely to improve customer relationships, with a resulting 20% increase in sales.”

Engaging employees starts at the top, beyond the CEO or even the Board of Directors. An ‘engaged’ employee is part of a culture where their company as a whole has a purpose. When a company’s purpose is loud and clear, their employees feel purpose in their work and that, in a nutshell, is how great company cultures are formed.

Take notice the next time you’re treated exceptionally well by an employee. I guarantee that if you search their employer on Glassdoor you’ll find a culture rating of 4.0 or above. I propose a challenge to all who read this: if you’ve experience incredible customer service from a company with a weak culture call me out on our Facebook page.

When a company, or more likely their employee, touches you emotionally then you’re probably going to be a customer for life. Exceptional customer service is the cheapest way to win customer loyalty. Following that logic, employee morale is the best investment you can make.

The post How a sandwich taught me everything about a company’s culture appeared first on True Film Production.

11 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Handle Decision Fatigue

Whether you’re new to entrepreneurship or not, you’ve been loaded up with decisions to make. From choosing your brand’s colors to determining what to say to an unhappy customer, you’ve dealt with just about all of it. But making those decisions every day (or every minute of the day) can wear you down. There’s a term for it: decision fatigue. It’s where you’ve handled so many decision details that you start to get tired of doing it all.

There are a bunch of different ways to handle decision fatigue, and implementing one or a few of them will have you well on your way to making better decisions. We asked 11 entrepreneurs what they do when they have far too many decisions to make. Their insights are useful and can help you gear up to tackle the most important ones — without the exhaustion.

Q. Decision fatigue is a real thing — and something no entrepreneur wants to encounter. What’s your best strategy to ensure good decision-making while avoiding mental exhaustion?

Their best answers are below:

Step Away

It’s really important to step away and get perspective. For me, that can mean anything from traveling to taking a short break. Regardless of duration, you need fresh eyes and mind, and getting outside of the situation can provide a helpful perspective and refresher. – Darrah Brusteindarrah.co

Sleep on It

Whenever I have to make a big decision, I find that sleeping on it allows my mind to process it and think more clearly about it, so that the next morning I can finalize my decision. Making a decision in multiple stages has always helped me make better decisions, as I can fully weigh out all the options. – Diana GoodwinAquaMobile

Start with Why

The first question I ask when a decision reaches my desk is why is it there in the first place. Understanding why a decision needs to be made is key to making better decisions as an organization. If the same theme keeps coming up, it’s time to proactively engage in resolving it, or in uncovering where we’re failing to set expectations or create processes that will allow the organization to decide. – Jeff JahnDynamiX

Offload Low-Priority Thoughts

Thousands of thoughts a day fight for a front seat in your consciousness. Sifting through too many thoughts throughout the day can overwhelm anybody. So don’t! Prioritize your thoughts in a written list with the most important thoughts on top. Decide which low-priority thoughts to deal with later. With less congestion in your mind, you can focus on what matters most with less stress. – Christopher TedderClinger Holsters

Don’t React, Respond

The best advice I’ve ever heard was from Daymond John at a conference. He said that you should never react to someone or something. Instead, it’s far more effective to respond. Reacting is letting your emotions control your judgment and words. When you respond, you’re focused on separating the signal from the noise and providing a well-constructed and, often times, more productive answer or strategy to that decision. – Jarred King, Swagger Media

Write Down Your Decision Points

It’s hard to be objective when you have a lot of context and decision points in your head. Writing things down, even if the list itself seems exhausting, allows you to step back and be intentional about identifying patterns and interrelations in your decisions. You’ll often find that there are one or two critical decisions and the rest can wait. – Rob Duffy, Ship On Day One

Get Out of Your Head

Decision fatigue is merely anxiety. You already know the answer to the choices you have. It’s in your heart and aligns most with your values and your vision. Get out of your head by doing physical activities that keep you connected to your body. Look within yourself, and you’ll see that you had the answers all along. – Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint

Exercise

Studies have shown that working up a sweat releases endorphins as your mind goes into a different mode and you become more clear and focused on what’s in front of you. If you feel mental exhaustion coming on, tap into your fight or flight mode by scheduling a workout class with a friend or getting into the gym for at least 60 minutes on your own! Your body and mind will thank you. – Kim KaupeZinePak

Limit Your Options

The more choices we have, the more indecisive we become, or as scientists put it: decision paralysis. By limiting my options from the get-go, not only do I make more decisions, but I second guess myself less often. – Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

Don’t Fear Failure

I think that when people have a hard time making a decision, it’s mostly because they fear making the wrong decision. In my experience, and in studying some of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time, I’ve found that failure is never permanent. Prepare as best you can and do your research and then make the decision that’s most logical based on your knowledge. It doesn’t have to be perfect. – Shawn PoratScorely

Trust Subordinates

Decision fatigue is only an issue when I’m asked to make lots of small decisions throughout the day. I prefer to trust my team to make smart decisions and only come to me when they’re really stumped. – Vik PatelFuture Hosting

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

The post 11 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Handle Decision Fatigue appeared first on True Film Production.

6 Ways to Re-Engage an Unmotivated Employee

lack of motivation at work can manifest itself in many different ways. Maybe an employee misses a deadline here or there, or their work isn’t up to their usual high standards. Don’t ignore these signs. Take proactive steps to understand where they’re coming from and what it will take to get them back on track.

These six entrepreneurs share their tips for reigniting the passion of a valued member of your team — before you lose them.

Ask when, then why.

You can’t fix the problem if you don’t know the reason behind it. Stanley Meytin, CEO and creative director of video production company True Film Production, first pinpoints when the lackluster feelings started in order to hone in on the why.

“When my best animator wasn’t asking me questions all day, I knew something was up. He didn’t know why at first, but we figured out that he became unmotivated when we set a concrete number on project timelines. He felt he was prioritizing quantity over quality and no longer creatively expressing himself,” says Meytin. “Root out when first, then why. Every situation is different but the answer always lies in why.”

Offer a new challenge.

To break an employee out of their funk, Marcela De Vivo, CMO of working capital lender Mulligan Funding, breaks up their day-to-day routine. Evaluate what they are good at and assign them to an entirely new task, or even a new role.

“Monotony kills motivation. When we notice an employee seems disengaged, we offer to rearrange their workflow so that they can get involved in new, challenging projects,” she says. “Our outreach director had been doing an exemplary job for years but was growing disconnected. She did an excellent job when supporting a PR campaign, so we tasked her with creating new PR processes. The role helped her become invested again.”

Uncover the underlying issue.

“I like to have a private conversation with an employee in this situation. Often, there is a problem in their personal lives,” says Michael Dash, CEO and president of technology staffing partner Parallel HR Solutions. Sometimes the solution is as simple as approaching the employee with compassion, rather than accusations, and offering your support.

“They could benefit from some negotiated time off while they handle a medical or personal situation,” says Dash. “Other times, there is a problem inside the office. That one is easier for me to solve. When someone has a good reputation, I give them the benefit of the doubt first.”

Ask them to develop a career plan.

Show your employees that you are invested in their futures — before a valued member of your team decides to leave. After experiencing this firsthand, Brett Farmiloe, founder and CEO of digital marketing agency Markitors, engaged employees by asking them to share their career goals.

“We recently had a valued employee quit. This was the first time an employee we wanted to keep decided to leave. In response, we asked all employees to develop an action plan for themselves, including their career vision, objectives, initiatives and tactics,” he says. “By shifting career ownership from employer to employee, we’ve seen a shift in engagement.”

Provide a change of scenery.

Bryce Welker, founder and CEO of CPA review site CPA Exam Guy, knows that a change of pace can jumpstart an employee’s motivation. But if a new project isn’t in the works, allow them to switch up their environment instead.

“The easy answer to this issue is to simply assign your team member a different or more challenging task. However, in cases where this isn’t feasible, the next best tactic is to change their work environment. This could mean relocating team members to different work environments or allowing them to work from home. That small change could be all that’s needed to get their motivation back.”

Encourage personal projects.

“Many bored and unchallenged employees will start a personal project that they are more passionate about on the side,” says Jared Atchison, co-founder of WordPress form builder WPForms. This is a great opportunity to harness their passion to revitalize their motivation at work.

“Whether it’s blogging, creating YouTube videos or killing it on Instagram, chances are your unmotivated employee is more passionate about something else,” he says. “Figure out a way to align that passion with your business and build a team of mini entrepreneurs.”

The post 6 Ways to Re-Engage an Unmotivated Employee appeared first on True Film Production.

Why Your Social Media Channel Needs Video Right Now

“No matter what you’re selling, no matter what your company does, if you don’t have a video marketing strategy for the biggest video platforms, you are going to lose.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

It’s not news that social media is king in advertising right now. It’s also not news that video marketing is one of the most popular—and increasingly popular—forms of content today.  

Video is the top dog in content, and social media is the top platform for advertising. So what happens when you put them together?

Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined, according to Small business Trends. Facebook generates 8 billion video views on average per day. It’s impossible to ignore the huge market of social media and how video can give us a bite of this market share.

Utilizing a video campaign with your social media strategy is the ultimate way to improve engagement and conversion for your business.

 

Video Views Equal ROI from True Film Production on Vimeo.

Why should you use video on social media?

1. Video has a strong return on investment.

Social media is naturally low investment. It costs nothing to start a Facebook company page or a Twitter account. Companies like social media because the actual platform itself can be low cost.

Thus, it’s common for small businesses to be weary of paying for content on a free platform. It’s not uncommon to think, “Why would I invest all this money in a video when I can just use the free social platform to connect with my audience?”

But that question is innately backwards. You can’t connect with your audience simply because you’re on a social platform. You can’t interact with each person individually. The purpose of social media is to share content and build relationships through that content.

And video has the strongest return on content investment. In fact, over 83% of businesses say that video has the best ROI of their marketing campaigns.

Moreover, social media naturally allows for a strong organic reach, which can prove a higher return on investment per dollar. Additionally, Facebook videos have a 135% greater organic reach than photo posts. Together, this allows for a greater reach that can prove financially fruitful.

If you’re going to invest the money in building a strong social media platform with visually stunning and entertaining content, video proves to be the best use of that expenditure.  

2. Video builds trust.

Businesses use social media to connect with their audience on a more personal level. Video further builds this desired level of trust and engagement.

Take influence vloggers for example. They connect with their audience solely through video. They build trust by talking into the camera, showing their life, and providing value to the viewer.

Video puts a face (or faces) on the brand. It provides a story, a brand voice, and a deeper level of engagement. It also demonstrates that the company is committed to their social media channel. People prefer to “follow” or “like” companies who show dedication to their content and to their audience.

3. Video encourages social shares.

People are more likely to click “share” on an emotional or funny video than they are on an article or picture. This is because there is a higher level of engagement involved in videos, and they often make the viewer feel a certain way. When someone shares a video, they’re telling their friends to feel that same emotion.

In fact, 76% of users say that they would share a branded video with their friends if the video were entertaining.

Thus, storytelling is key here. Building a comprehensive story will elicit a reaction from your audience in a way that will encourage them to share the video.

4. Video boosts conversion.

Social media is first and foremost about building a relationship between the organization and the consumer (through content). But ultimately, that relationship doesn’t mean much unless those consumers are purchasing. This doesn’t mean that every post on social media will convert into a sale.

Rather, the goal is to build an active engagement. This means that the people liking and sharing your content are also interested in purchasing your products and services.

Ultimately, you ensure that engagement is active (not passive) by having relevant content with a strong call to action and some form of emotional gratification.

If you can create this sort of active following, your customers become loyal clients. Those loyal clients not only buy more, but they promote and share your brand to their friends as well.

Using video is the strongest way to increase these conversions. It provides the greatest opportunity for a strong yet subtle call to action that encourages viewers to purchase. Overall, 71% of marketers say that video shows the highest conversion rates of all their marketing content.

Moreover, video is highly shareable, as discussed above. This means that those loyal, active customers of yours will be willing to share the video on their own social media, thus spreading the word about your company.  

5. Live video is growing.

Social media platforms are now offering the opportunity to “go live.” From Facebook Live to Instagram Stories, from Snapchat to Twitter’s Periscope, live streaming is quickly taking over social platforms.

Viewers like live video because they get an “inside look” into what’s going on with your brand.

Moreover, on some platforms, live video allows for a one-on-one interaction that isn’t possible through other forms of content. Viewers can comment on the video while it’s live, and the broadcaster can even respond and acknowledge their viewers right in the video. This creates a personalized touch that shows a high level of commitment to the consumer.

Learn more about live streaming here:

The Bottom Line

The uses of video are endless. You can utilize video for just about any purpose—whether explaining a product, showing a live event, or telling a story. Video is more comprehensive than other forms of content, which makes it more adaptable to social platforms.

Video connects with and engages your audience in new and exciting ways. After experiencing some sort of emotional response, users can then quickly and easily share your videos with their friends.

Ultimately, this creates two key benefits: long-term engagement with loyal customers and word-of-mouth marketing for new acquisitions.

Not sure where to begin creating a social video campaign?

True Film Production can help.

We are marketers first and foremost. We know that a video is only as successful as the promotion and strategy behind it.

Contact us now to start building your video marketing and social media campaign.

The post Why Your Social Media Channel Needs Video Right Now appeared first on True Film Production.

Why I Love TFP: Alma Rodriguez

The “Why I Love” series is a Q & A session with members of the True Film Production team. This week we feature our Executive Assistant Alma Rodriguez.

Describe your role at TFP in 3 sentences or less.

I have 2 roles so I’m using more than 3 sentences 😉

I am our CEO’s Executive Assistant and the Office Manager at True Film Production HQ.

As Office Manager I’m in charge of all office related matters, including maintaining the office’s condition, updating and maintaining office policies, addressing employee queries regarding office management issues, purchasing office supplies and equipment, as well as maintaining proper inventory levels.

As the Executive Assistant I’m in charge of coordinating our CEO’s calendar – planning meetings, appointments, calls, and events, managing emails, providing reminders; as an executive assistant my tasks vary day to day, but the duty remains the same, assist our CEO.

What about your role do you find fulfilling?

I get the best of both worlds. As an executive assistant I get to work side by side with the person in charge of the entire show.

As an office manager, I get to work side by side with the entire TFP Team. I oversee my coworkers and that allows me to learn more about them as individuals.

What’s your favorite activity (other than work)?

I don’t have a specific activity that’s my favorite. However, there is one thing I have to do daily, no matter what: I journal/write. I  never miss a day of writing; even if I don’t have much to say, I have to end my day by writing what I feel or what’s on my mind, or creating a short story.

Go into detail about one of your 5 most interesting personal facts.

I’ve studied numerous languages throughout my life. I’m fluent in four languages.

English (duh).  

Spanish, but I don’t consider myself someone who knows the language just because they were exposed to it since birth. I know Spanish because I’ve spent years studying the language in depth. The journey began in elementary school when I was given the option to be a part of a Dual Language program. This meant that I would take all standard courses in English – but was also taught the same courses for a period of time throughout the week in Spanish. This continued until I reached High School, and allowed me to master the language. Not only can I speak Spanish, but I can comfortably read and write as well. Learning how to speak a language isn’t the only aspect of studying a language. When I reached High School I took Advanced Placement Courses in Spanish Language, Spanish Language History and Spanish Literature, which allowed me to dive deeper into the language and its history.

French. In High School I studied French for 4 years, and was placed in an Advanced French Language course.  When I went to college, although I was exempt from taking Language Courses, I continued studying French, and then went on to study Portuguese.

I’ve set a goal to learn and master every romance language before I take on a completely different language. I’ve begun studying Italian, but I first want to master Portuguese before I fully dive into the Italian language.

Learning a new language has always been extremely important to me. I’m interested in traveling and learning from new cultures, but I’m not interested in doing so solely through visual experience I’m interested in building a connection with other cultures through what I hear. I want to be able to communicate with the locals and allow them to comfortably express themselves in their native tongue, making our conversations more personal and sincere.

Why did you choose your specific superhero?

There are only two female superheroes that I really like and they are Wonder Woman and Storm. I’m not big into the world of superheroes so I don’t know any heroes other than the common ones I saw on lunchboxes as a kid. My choice was between Wonder Woman and Storm, so I picked the Superhero that doesn’t get as much love.

Why do I like them? WOMAN POWER! These ladies are all about leadership, they’re the bosses. Storm in particular? She’s not only a leader, she’s also a teacher and a guide. That’s a great quality for leaders – lead by example. I love what they represent: femininity and leadership.

What is your favorite movie and why?

Grease! A million times Grease! I’ve watched Grease over 100 times and have yet to become tired of it. I LOVE everything about Grease. I can’t narrow it to one thing. There’s something about the music, the fashion, the songs, the dances and performances, I just LOVE it all! I can recite the entire movie from beginning to end! That tends to annoy people but I can’t control myself, the Grease bug kicks in and gets me in the best of moods.

If you were recruiting someone to work for TFP, what would your pitch be?

Think about your past jobs, employers, and coworkers. When’s the last time someone cared about your efforts, or you as an individual? How many people were you able to build a true connection with that goes beyond “Oh, an employee/a coworker.” How often were you allowed to be yourself without being judged/criticized? When did anyone ever show interest in your professional and personal growth, and tried to assist in that journey? Have you ever worked at a place where your happiness was a genuine interest to your employers? We’re the true definition of a team. You provide your skills and experience, we value it, we value you, we work hard together, and we all move forward together.

What is your favorite TFP or TI video?

Blake Leeper – I’m all about self-love, confidence, motivational stories, and hard work. His story is a reminder that no matter what obstacles arise nothing is impossible to beat!

The post Why I Love TFP: Alma Rodriguez appeared first on True Film Production.