1. What do you think are some of the biggest creative and strategic opportunities that video opens up for a brand?
There is something very relatable about video. It tends to trigger an immediate emotion – whether that be happiness, sadness, sentimentality, or wonder. Video provides the viewer with a unique perspective that feels personal. Makes a brand feel human and like you can reach out and touch it.
Emotion endears a consumer to a brand and ideally creates loyalty and advocacy. It becomes an important output of our creative approach to all of our marketing – video being just one part of a sound integrated plan.
2. Do clients have similar concerns or questions when discussing and contemplating video for their brand? How do you typically address them?
Cost is always a big one. There is such a huge range in video production cost primarily dependent on equipment, talent, music, locations, and travel. We provide a great deal of transparency in our estimate developments to set expectations appropriately from the start. We also work hard to provide multiple solutions that are actually executable. Great stuff is possible in video pretty much within any budget.
One other challenge brands can have is wanting one video to do too much. They put pressure on themselves to execute one amazing video that does too many things at once. So much can be achieved when you consider a short series of videos that allows greater simplicity in the stories you tell.
3. How is HZ’s approach to video different than other agencies or production houses?
First, we make sure that our video efforts don’t exist in a bubble. We make sure that we understand how video fits into our greater content strategy and ultimately impacts our business objectives and strategies. It is just one of the tools in the arsenal – not the only one.
Second: Back to the importance of emotion – we tell an amazing story. Every production shop says they are storytellers and yet no one seems to have a writer on staff. We have at least 10. No matter the quality of production, if you don’t have a great script, you’re dead in the water.
4. In the past months especially, social channels like Facebook and Twitter have put a pretty heavy emphasis on video integration—does this impact how brands concept, create, and distribute video?
I think it just strengthens the point that video continues to be the content of choice at the moment and social is giving customers what they want as unobtrusively as possible. Increased emphasis on this by the social channels just puts more pressure on brands to do more and more of it.
I don’t think it necessarily impacts the story that we tell, but it might impact the way we tell it on those platforms. “Snackable” video content might be ideal for social, but we might still take a longer form version in other places. Our approach is to gain insight into our target audience, develop a concept that pays off our brand strategy and then figure out how to tell that story platform by platform.
5. Are there any trends in video that you find exciting? Any that you’re already tired of seeing?
What’s interesting is, the trends runs the gamut.
On one hand, you are seeing a lot of really cool mini-movies. They are a little longer than typical, and are able to tell a really in-depth story. Production quality can be amazing and brands have the ability to really communicate. At the other end of the spectrum are the snackable videos. Quick hits that are here and gone within a day.
I also see people building video into their everyday communications. A colleague is trying to express his or her extreme excitement, and they find a movie clip that gets the point across and share it with the team.
Humor is always popular, but feels especially on-trend right now. There is a lot of serious stuff happening in the world, and it feels like comedy in video is just exploding, perhaps in reaction to this. Funny or Die led the charge with this years ago, but actors, comedians, and producers are generating loads of unique content – some on behalf of brands.
In terms of what I’m over?
Drones shooting video. Drones are annoying.
6. Tell us a little about yourself – when you’re not at HZ, how do you unwind? What are some of your hobbies? Any pop culture guilty pleasures to share?
Well I have 2 little boys (2.5 and 4 months old), so I unwind by… um… yeah, there is no unwinding.
But let’s pretend. Relaxation would involve binge watching The Walking Dead, Orange Is the New Black, and Sons of Anarchy, actually reading the book assigned for Book Club, and running – for fun, not to save a toddler’s life.
Pop-culture guilty pleasures? The Real Housewives of both Beverly Hills and NYC, and I’m not even a little bit sorry. Also, I think I would be friends with Kyle Richards, Yolanda Foster and Lisa Vanderpump (for you fellow trashy TV watchers out there).