The lack of open offices and in-person connection due to COVID-19 has presented many challenges for companies of all sizes. Navigating this unprecedented pandemic — which has impacted the day-to-day operations in every sector of the business world — has been a test for many employers. SRW, a Chicago-based agency, is helping companies adapt by teaching them how to integrate video into their communication practices.
The brand’s client portfolio, which includes more than 20 CPG brands, have all increased their use of video by at least 20 percent. And according to a 2020 Hubspot report, 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool — up from 63% over the last year and 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video.
In a time when you can no longer communicate face to face, many brands are in need of strategic thinking on how to best connect with customers, and each other, while existing in a purely virtual world. SRW co-founder and chief video officer Brian Rolling, who is also an award-winning filmmaker, has tips to create top-notch content in a world where in-person production is risky.
According to Rolling, whether companies previously relied on a highly trained in-person sales team, conventions, or a more traditional production processes for video creation, there are still ways to produce quality content now that those options are off the table.
“The pandemic has proven the traditional methods of video production are outdated and now is the perfect time to embrace video. At SRW, we’ve always had a very flexible and efficient production process, so we were able to quickly adapt to the new reality,” said Rolling. “That ability has allowed us to serve the greater demand for video, which has contributed to our growth during this time. SRW is on pace to sustain, or even exceed, our video revenue in comparison to last year, which is a big accomplishment considering the hurdles the pandemic has placed on production.”
The company recently helped Google convert all of their new employee training, which used to occur as in-person events, into virtual learning sessions. With that in mind, Rolling wants to share the top video recommendations he provides clients to help them better communicate during these times.
- Storytelling is still the most important part: What moves the needle in an in-person meeting is still relevant in video. The big difference is, instead of a 30-minute meeting with the ability to ask questions, you have two minutes. So focusing on the most important two or three points you need to get across is key.
- Audio is the most important piece of equipment: If you’re putting money into equipment, prioritize audio first — then focus on lighting and camera. The first thing I tell my clients is to get a microphone. If they can’t hear you, nothing else matters.
- Location, location, location: Where you shoot is more important than with what you shoot. Smartphones and webcams can capture a nice image when there is a lot of light in the room, so pick a place with a ton of natural light. Try not to shoot in front of a flat wall. Find a place in your home to give you some depth in your frame.
- Lean into the new reality: COVID-19 has forced us to not look for perfection. For Google, we found equipment that works with the environment the team was already in: green lights, USB microphones, the camera they had available (iPhone, webcam, etc.) and then created a simple kit they could make on their own and still provided a nice level of production.
- Remember the human connection: Talk into the camera, don’t try to create a “video.” You’re just elevating what people are already used to seeing on a Zoom call and crafting a more concise story or pitch.
In the meantime, SRW intends to continue their strategy of small crews and remote shoots, but they are ready to adapt when the time comes. To learn more about SRW and what it means to quit advertising, visit www.srw.agency or on Instagram at @srw.agency.
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