Marketing that Actually Helps People

Do you trust most of the marketing that you’re bombarded with every day? Ever wonder if there’s a better way for businesses to not only promote themselves, but actually help people and be a responsible member of the community? How can a great story increase interest and make a positive impact for businesses and consumers alike?

In a recent collaborative effort with our long-time client Brain Prim (of the Prim Law Firm), Pikewood Creative produced a promotional video that tells the story of marathon champion and olympic hopeful, Clara Santucci.

Clara came to the attention of Pikewood Creative through her back-to-back wins at the Pittsburgh Marathon. We then learned that she grew up running the hills of Doddridge County, West Virginia and is one of the toughest, hard-working, and most sincere people you’ll ever meet. Her story is the stuff of great movies and novels… “Once upon a time, a hero is born from humble beginnings and overcomes adversity to save the world!” It’s a combination of the Rocky saga and Rudy all in one.

While our interest was piqued by the prospect of telling Clara’s story, we began to wonder how we could use the story to actually help Clara further her training and reach her goal of becoming an Olympic champion. The natural fit was Brain Prim. Brian is a proud West Virginian and his law practice parallels the core values Clara possess as an athlete. So the question arises, “what if Brain would be interested in supporting Clara’s cause?” He could finance the video, which would be used to generate funding for her training, and provide her with additional support as she prepares for the trials in Los Angeles. This would help Clara tremendously, and at the same time, show folks just how much Brian Prim wants to help the state of West Virginia and its citizens. Which says something about the way he deals with people and handles his practice.

Who wouldn’t want to work with a lawyer that uses his prestigious position to help someone? What about a guy who loves his state, his community, and the people that live there? I mean really loves them and is willing to take action and give something back. That lawyer might be the one you want for your next case.

At Pikewood, it’s always been a foundational principle to tell real, honest stories. We want to promote great people, organizations and businesses, and to collaborate with others who share our philosophy. So, we approached Brian with the idea of producing a video for Clara and he was happy to support the project.

Here’s the video Pikewood produced for Clara:

This video, distributed primary through Facebook and the Prim Law website, has helped Clara greatly in reaching her funding goals for training. It’s also boosted Brian Prim’s engagement through social media.

With the success of this digital video campaign, we’ve learned that it pays to always keep an eye out for a great story. You never know, you just might have a winning combination for helping a great person and promoting a great business all at once.

Isn’t that what great marketing should be?

Is Local Television Advertising Dead?

It depends on who you ask. This is certainly a controversial subject and a topic that will fuel debate among marketers. If you ask me, I would say that traditional advertising isn’t dead… at least not yet. We’re still seeing success in strategically investing in TV advertising and I’d say we’re still using it because it still works. Here’s how.

To help illustrate the point, I’m going to use an example of a local plastic surgeon, Dr. Tom McClellan. Here’s his most recent commercials so you can see the final result.

Dr. McClellan is one of the only surgeons in the area specifically trained in plastic surgery and reconstruction and he noticed that many patients were having bad experiences with untrained/unqualified surgeons. He runs a great business, but knows he can do better, be more competitive, and ultimately help patients have a positive experience. He made the decision to move forward with traditional advertising to compliment his existing social media, and content marketing efforts.

Dr. McClellan will be the first to tell you that he feels strongly that the quality of his visual marketing materials (e.g., television commercials) are crucial to the success of his efforts.

Quality

The quality of the product you’re using in your communication is more critical now that it’s ever been. Most people have been desensitized to advertising, they like to skip the commercials, and it’s difficult to get their attention. The human mind is very good at quickly deciding what’s important and what isn’t… and our minds get better and better at it because we’re constantly bombarded with ads. Therefore, you have to carefully consider what you want to say and deliver messages that get right to point in a way that resonates with the people you’re trying to reach. The quality also says something about you. In this case, we wanted carefully selected the right message and visuals that would well represent the type of business Dr. McClellan is running. We also wanted to speak to his audience (mostly women) and touch upon what they are feeling, their concerns, and how Dr. McClellan can help them.

Diversity

The success of a television commercial also has a lot to do with the other channels you have at your disposal. By that I mean things like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, your blog/website, etc. You must target the advertising as much as possible and think big picture. It’s not enough to run an ad on television and sit back and wait for the phone the ring. The commercial can help you, but you have to diversify and think about all the different ways you can use your video advertisement.

With Dr. McClellan we carefully produced commercials for him, helped purchase the television time, and then immediately started thinking about how the video can be used in the other places. Based on his targeted audience, a Facebook campaign was used to compliment the television advertising.

We also prepared the McClellan Plastic Surgery website to handle new visitors that would be coming from the Facebook and Television campaign. We purchased a new domain name for him (mpsurgery.com) so that folks would better remember how to get to the site, and included new visuals and content.

The Facebook Boost

A report from eMarketer reveals that “Facebook has seen success with video ad placements, and recent research indicates that TV advertisers are leveraging the social network to stretch the reach of their campaigns. – Read more…

Results

Within just two weeks of starting the TV commercials, Dr. McClellan started to notice an impact. July is typically a slow month for Dr. McClellan, but this year he not only had a record July but it became his busiest month of the year. He noticed almost immediate results from his investment.

We have many success story like this from using a combination of traditional (radio, television, print) and social media/Internet marketing campaigns. Even though one would think the more traditional forms of advertising are dead or dying, we’re still seeing an impact and using these channels. However, success comes from quality and diversifying your efforts.

Branded Video is Powerful

A recent report by emarketer reports that “Total video ad views leapt more than 50% year over year in Q4 2013.”

Major brands used video to their advantage in 2013. For example, GoPro used the “how will you GoPro” campaign, Volvo went with the great Jean-Claude Van Damme spots, and Dodge used Ron Burgundy to get some laughs and major views.

These are some big names and using video in this way probably seems out of reach for most people. So, allow me to present a practical example of how branded video can help your business.

One of our clients is a local car company… Northside Automotive. We’ve been doing business together for years and have established a strong, integrated campaign that includes marketing materials such as billboards, radio, sponsorships, etc. The company markets to a statewide audience and has experienced much success and growth.

Over the past several years, we’ve added branded video in form of 30 second spots that run regularly as pre roll ads online. We complimented and enhanced the brand with a specific look and feel and consistently produce new spots to let buyers know about specials offers, etc.

We’ve also helped establish new “sub-brands” such as a pre-owned auto outlet.

Branded video is a powerful, flexible, fast, and effective way to increase business and awareness. Video can do what no other medium can accomplish.

Check out one of our Northside commercials and let us know if you have questions.

Find out more about branded video at eMarketer.com

Using Video to Promote STEM

The theme for the 2014 FIRST Robotics competition was “What I thought. What I got. This is FIRST.” We produced a short video that captures the essence of this idea and it was used to kick off the 2014 robotics competition season.

For those that don’t know, FIRST Robotics has become one of the most exciting and most effective ways for young people to become interested and develop skills in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). They’ve formed quite a reputation for making kids into science and technology super stars. Many FIRST alums go on to have great careers in industries like biomedical and aerospace engineering. FIRST is a great initiative and activity for youth. I think we all agree our country needs to promote STEM and they’re starting a STEM revolution. They claim to be the “sport for the mind.” And they are. These kids can do some amazing things.

However, the concept behind the video as well as the message FIRST is trying to communicate is that there are a few stereotypes and unexpected benefits/results when it comes to being involved in FIRST programs. In short, the message is,”don’t judge a book by its cover.” Or, “I thought I was gonna get this, but instead I got that.”

For example…

Individual Growth

During the 2013 competition season, a film crew went around and asked parents, competitors, staff, and mentors what they thought they were going to get when they joined FIRST, and then followed up with the question… “what did you actually GET out of it.”

Over and over the responses were about growing as an individual, watching kids mature and develop their skills, etc. The process of learning, preparing, and competing in the context of FIRST promotes growth and a deeper understanding of how STEM can be applied to life.

Nerds are Cool
Many people think that FIRST is just for geeks or nerds. But really, what’s wrong with being a geek or a nerd? Nerds are cool!

Nevertheless, that stereotype can give the impression that FIRST isn’t for everyone. What many kids find when they engage with a FIRST team is that they quickly start to have fun and build meaningful relationships. They also see that using a combination of creativity and brain power to produce something like a robot is certainly an achievement that rivals that of any other venture.

Work Ethic

If you’re a parent, you know that kids can be difficult to motivate. Some would even refer to their children as lazy. They may posses a great deal of talent, but haven’t yet found the proper motivation to use it. Or, they’d rather just play video games for hours on end.

Whatever the case, participating in FIRST has a way of bringing out the best in young people by letting them experience the satisfaction of a job well done as well as the benefits of hard work and commitment.

The Power of Team

Perhaps the most compelling part of one’s involvement in FIRST is making life-long friends. When participants, parents, and others are asked about teamwork, they typically respond with statements about life-long buddies, and in most case they refer to each other as family. It’s very similar to what you’d hear from veterans who spent time together in battle.

These kids go through quite a bit in preparation for the competition and they apply their skills and talents in a way they’ve never experienced before. The deadline is tight and they must work together in order to succeed.

It’s More Than Math

What many participants find is that there’s more to robotics competition than just robots. For example, there’s the business side of things. How do you market and raise money for your team? What are the logistics involved in getting ready for competitions? And so on.

Kids are surprised to find out that there’s a job for almost any skill set and talent in the context of a robotics team.

Many of the kids that participate in FIRST are completely surprised by what they got out of it. They experience learning, growth, change, and relationships in a powerful way.

What they thought, isn’t what they got. We’re proud to support FIRST in their efforts to transform our young people and our nation.

Having attended a regional FIRST competition, I can tell you there’s nothing like it. It’s a great experience that rivals any sporting event. If you get the chance, check out a regional competition near you.

Find out more about FIRST >

Find out how Pikewood can help you connect and engage >

Why you need a social media expert

Social media has become an essential part of the marketing mix. It’s no longer an option. It’s a necessity for businesses. Your customers live in that world. You need to as well. We understand this can be overwhelming. Not sure where to even begin? Worried about dedicating the staff to keeping up? We can help. Whether it’s a consultation to get you started, day-to-day management of your sites or a promotion to help boost your “likes,” we’ve got you covered.

How much help do you need?

Are you just getting started? Do you need help in setting up your Facebook and Twitter accounts? Do you already have your sites established, but need some help generating content and buzz? Would you prefer someone handle content development, social listening and posting for you so you can concentrate on running your business?

United Bank YouTube Video

This viral video has received more than 30,000 views.

Price Ranges

Your price will be determined by the number of people needed to work on the project and how many hours they will need to dedicate. The type of content you want to produce will also play a role in price. Graphic design, short video production and animation are all types of content that can be produced.

A one-time Facebook promotion with graphic design elements included would start around $500-$750 per month.

Understanding your goals

The best way to arrive at a price is to openly communicate with your production company. What do you hope to get out of social media? What do you need to do better? How much do you want to spend? Having an idea of your budget range will help a company put together the most effective plan for you. Social media can be a difficult and confusing world if you enter it without a plan. However, if you do it right, it can be one of the best promotional tools your business has ever used.

Sample Project

The Book Exchange

A Facebook Sweepstakes promotion resulted in a 29% increase in ‘Likes’ in just two weeks. The promotion was viewed more than 1,400 times in the two week span.

BX-entry

BX-fangate

How much does it cost to produce a video or television commercial?

Behind the Scenes - Pikewood Creative

Here at Pikewood Creative, one of the first questions business owners have is, “How much is this going to cost?” Although this question is certainly a valid and important one, there really isn’t one answer.

Video production, like any type of custom designed product, will range in cost from free to literally millions of dollars.  Did I say free?  Yes, there are some local television stations that will not charge for commercial production, because they’ll recoup their expense when you buy commercial time on their station.  And, yes, some commercials produced at the highest level can cost well over a million dollars.

Ok, let’s remove the extremes and provide some realistic budget ranges for video production.

Cost is determined by several factors:

Commercial Production Time

Exactly how many combined hours will a production company spend on your project?  This total includes planning, actual production, and post-production.

Crew Size and Numbers

How many people are involved in the project?  This could range from one person to more than a dozen.  The level of complexity required to acquire the shots or create the images determines crew size.  The expertise of crewmembers is invaluable.  On-location shooting can present a myriad of challenges that require a crew to be nimble and creative.

Equipment Needed to Properly Produce the Commercial

Just how much and what type of equipment is needed to produce your video or commercial?  A camera and microphone may be all you need for a very simple project.  However, equipment ranging from cameras, lenses, jibs, cranes, helicopter, lighting and electric truck, green screen, etc. may all be needed to properly execute your production.

Average Commercial Price Ranges

A single-day production utilizing a crew of up to three people can range between $500 and $5,000.

A crew of up to 10 people and a complete HD camera package and lighting/grip truck can range between $10,000 and $50,000.

Multiple day on-location productions that include crews up to 10 or more, and equipment that includes custom designed sets, helicopter aerials, professional actors, animation, and extensive post-production can range between $50,000 into the millions.

Understanding Your Budget

The easiest and most efficient way to determine your budget is to tell the production company how much you’re willing to pay.  That may sound counter to how we normally transact business, however it actually helps everyone involved.

A production company can provide examples of past projects that are in your budget range.

We’ve found this process to take away the cost mystery.  Ultimately, the client has the commercial they want produced within their budget.  The production company has done its part by meeting, and hopefully exceeding, the client’s expectations.

So there you have it.  The cost of video production can range from free to millions of dollars, but in reality you can produce professional content for the budget you have available.

Still curious and want a more refined answer as to what you might spend on the production of an image video or television commercial?   Contact Gina@PikewoodCreative.com or call us today for a free consultation at 304-554-3910.

Ronald McDonald House Charities wins free promotional video

Pikewood Creative offered readers of West Virginia Executive magazine a chance to win a free promotional video for their business/organization. Out of all of the entrants received, Pikewood’s staff voted for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Morgantown.

While these facilities can be found nationwide, and carry the McDonald’s name, they each operate independently and have to promote themselves and fundraise independently as well.

Families who have children that have to be treated at a hospital far away from home, can take advantage of the Ronald McDonald House in that hospital’s area. They can stay there at a minimal cost (or free if the family cannot afford to pay the minimum), they will be fed there, and they’ll be able to empathize with the other families in similar situations.

Volunteers cook meals each day for the families. The Houses also accept donations for everything from food to laundry detergent to paper towels. Monetary donations are helpful too.

The Morgantown RMHC wanted to be able to share their story – if you’ve never needed to stay at one of these Houses, many times the surrounding community is not aware that they exist; or, if they’re aware, they don’t know how they can help.

This video illustrates how the local community member can help to foster an already established program to keep families warm, fed and cared for during what is often the worst part of their lives.

The promotional video was created and produced completely from scratch by the Pikewood Creative team.

For more information, visit rmhcmorgantown.org

On-Camera Attire Do’s and Don’ts

If you’ve never been on camera before, doing so for the very first time can seem like a daunting task. The possibility that your role in the production could be seen by a significant amount of people can feel a little overwhelming. Luckily, you can prepare yourself ahead of time by knowing some of the basic tricks to looking and feeling your best on camera before your interview rolls around.

Here’s how to make the camera love you:

DON’T

Wear logos, stripes, polka dots, or other busy patterns
High-definition cameras will pick up on anything from the tiniest pinstripes to the boldest floral patterns. Any distracting shapes, stripes, and logos can divert the main focus onto the patterns themselves instead of on you.

Choose harsh colors as your outfit’s main focus
The same principle applies to loud colors and stark shades. The eye will be immediately drawn to your alarming yellow blazer and, before you know it, the audience will have missed half of what you said. Even wearing colors such as all black or all white fails to translate well through the camera lens.

Wear jewelry that rattles
Layering multiple bracelets (especially metal pieces) often creates a distracting clanking noise when speaking with your hands. Some necklaces and dangly earrings can create the same rattling sound. If possible, keep your jewelry to a minimum so your voice can be heard with total clarity.

Wear Tinted Glasses/Sunglasses
Clear, everyday glasses are completely appropriate on camera, especially if they are part of your everyday wear. However, some people may overlook that many everyday, transitional glasses may adjust to a darker tint and stay that way in indoor lighting. If you want to avoid the Bono look, plan to wear contacts or bring an extra pair of transparent glasses.

DO

Be comfortable
Wearing a crisp, new suit on camera seems like a great idea…until about an hour into filming, when your sports jacket starts to feel more like a straightjacket. It’s best to stick with a staple outfit you know you’ll be comfortable in. When you feel good, you will appear to be much more relaxed on camera.

Wear solid, neutral colors
Solid, neutral colors are always the safest bet on camera. They allow you to be the focus without overpowering your appearance. That said, neutrals aren’t just limited to the standard tans and browns. Navy blue, gray, cream, light purple, and grayish greens and blues are all toned-down hues that translate nicely on camera.

Turn off your cell phone
And beeping watches. It will save time, energy, and battery life!

Bring spare clothing options
Bringing a few extra wardrobe changes will be helpful for both you and the production company for several reasons. For one, it ensures that you won’t blend in to a matching background. It also makes certain that not everyone on set is wearing the same color, while also making sure that your outfit works well with the camera and lighting conditions. You may want to consider bringing a few options of the following pieces: shirts, ties, jackets, blazers, pants, glasses and jewelry. Realize that each option is one you may end up wearing on camera, so, again, make sure every piece will be comfortable for you.

Sources: ReelSEO, Media Training, Real Men Real Style

Emmy® Award for Graphic Arts & Animation

emmy2-1Pikewood Creative’s Interactive/ Creative Director, Dan Pauley, has received an 2012 Emmy® Award from the Ohio Valley Regional Chapter of the Academy.

Pauley won for his work in Motion Graphics/ Animation under the academy’s Craft Achievement category.

“As a group we’re thrilled that Dan has received an Emmy®. He’s an unbelievable talent that were so proud to have on our team,” Pikewood Manager Tony Caridi said.

The composite submitted for Pauley’s nomination included his animation and motion graphics work for Citynet, Muriale’s River Terrace and The Book Exchange.

This was Pauley’s second Emmy® nomination; he was also nominated in 2011 by the Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Awards Chapter for animations he created for the Robinson Auto Group.

View and learn more about Pauley’s award-winning work…

Online Advertising with Video

Recently I witnessed first-hand just how powerful, and inherently social, video really is. I have three sons and one day noticed my oldest (10 years) sitting around the house, looking at his iPod, and giggling. Over the course of a day, this transitioned to scenes with all three of my boys sitting around the small screen giggling together. It was very cute and my curiosity increased. Finally, I could no longer resist. I had to know what was going on. So, I approached the small group of gigglers, and asked to see what was so funny. My oldest, still giggling, handed me the iPod and I watched the video.

It turns out he had recorded a video of his cat with his iPod. The video starts with his cat sitting comfortably and contently in front of the camera for a few seconds. The scene then suddenly transitions to the cat attacking the iPod. The screen goes black and the viewer – this viewer anyway – is left with one thing in mind… you can’t trust cats. Just kidding. It was funny. I mean, I didn’t giggle about it all day, but it was good content.

My first born then proceeded to tell me about how he’d captured the footage, shared it with all of his friends, and how his friends had shared it with family and so on. I was so proud. My boy was making videos and viral ones at that.
What is compelling to me about this, on an albeit small and giggly scale, is what a great impact video can have. We take it for granted, but it’s an effective and meaningful way to communicate with others… Especially with all the social media and technology we have today. All of us can participate and experience success.

As far as businesses and organizations are concerned, the optimal way of communicating a message is in the form of a commercial. It’s been used for years on TV and is increasing in effectiveness with the addition of the Internet. At Pikewood Creative, we produce commercials for TV and online campaigns on a regular basis, and we’ve seen first hand that the real power behind using video in today’s market is the social aspect. The fact that people will share your message, if it’s good content, is exciting and powerful incentive for including video as part of an online campaign. Adding the social factor makes the ROI of online video production skyrocket, and the potential is unlimited.

eMarketer reports that “video is the fastest-growing ad format online, and social sharing capabilities can only help that growth by allowing users to act as curators and promoters, passing appealing videos to a larger and larger audience of network connections. eMarketer estimates US advertisers will spend $3.1 billion this year on video ads, up from $2 billion in 2011. By 2016, $9.3 billion in online ad spending will go toward video.”

There’s no better time to get started with online advertising with video. If you have content that will make folks giggle, then let’s get the camera out and produce something great.