Using the power of Video to change a City


Video can touch us in a variety of ways, but most of the time it succeeds the most when it features real people doing extraordinary things in creative and authentic ways.  Things have not been good economically for the people of Grand Rapids Michigan.  Not long ago it was voted at the top of the list of “Cities in the US that are dead or dying.”   So the people of Grand Rapids used video to change the perception.  This is absolutely worth your next nine minutes.  People are amazing.  Enjoy!

Use Video in 2013 to Market to One Customer at a Time



Since starting this blog in September 2011, I’ve been preaching the importance of creating a strategy to authentically tell your brand’s story through video, to one valuable person at a time.  My team and I believe strongly in sharing our video marketing expertise to educate those of you who are the keepers of your organization’s story, so you can grow your brand through the power of video.  As we’ve expanded in this last year, so too has the incredible impact of video.

Consider these statistics compiled by Steve Strauss from USA Today:

• According to Cisco, online video now makes up 50% of all consumer Internet traffic and will be 55 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2016.

• Last year, almost 200 million Americans watched online videos every month, and

• On any given day, 100 million people will watch videos online.  This number is up 43 percent from 73.7 million in 2010.

Strauss continues, “What does this mean for your business? Plenty. People love video, and it turns out that video increases sales. says that its conversion rate is up to 45% higher with video and says it sells up to 30% more when videos are used to display a shoe.  The upshot is that you need to strongly consider adding video to the mix, be it an online video brochure, a tour of your store, video newsletters, or just some instructional videos.”

Steve Strauss made a compelling case by letting the numbers speak for themselves, but no one makes a more passioned plea for making a one on one connection to your clients and customers by using video through social media than Gary Vaynerchuk.

Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk is anything but a shrinking violet.  Many love him, some hate him, but you gotta give it to the guy, he tells it like it is with gusto when it comes to business and building an audience in the world of social media.  Called the “King of Social Media”, Vaynerchuk is one of the first Facebook users to max out his friend limit, with over 17,000 pending friend requests. He is in the top 100 people followed on Twitter.

In 2011, Vaynerchuk, through video, gave his no-holds-barred take on how modern businesses must adapt to thrive in a social media-driven culture.  It’s even more appropriate as we enter 2013.

“The internet hasn’t even had sex yet, and it’s dominating!”
                                                                                                Gary Vaynerchuk

Vaynerchuk’s recent book, The Thank You Economy: How Business Must Adapt to Social Media, makes the case that it is more and more crucial to deal with our clients one at a time and treat them with dignity and respect and mostly to listen to them and share what we know, than ever before.

“Our Grandparents are more suited for social media because we’re going back to small town rules.  Marketing is about to get really fucking hard.  It’s about to get really one on one…you can’t just pound down the message.  We all think we’re so damn smart.  We’re going to market it and figure it out.  The reality is the consumer’s bullshit radar is so much better than anyone in this (marketing) game realizes.”

In other words, we all know when something is advertising and marketing and when something is an authentically shared idea.  Nothing communicates that better than video.

As Vaynerchuk asks it so well, “Do businesses have the ability to be human?  Do we strategize for sales, or do we actually give a fuck?”  Moreover, he talks passionately about the importance of extending the story through video from traditional TV advertising to social media and leveraging the power of both.

My Dad used to always tell me that if I was ever to run my own business in my hometown, I had to treat everyone like they were the only customer I had.  “You can’t screw anyone over here, it’s too small a town…and it’s not right anyway.”  Thanks to social media, we’re all living in that really small town now and we have to tell authentic and true stories that emotionally connect with our neighbors to succeed.  Nothing tells those stories more honestly and with emotion to one customer at a time, nor is noticed by them more, than video.  Make it a part of your business strategy in 2013.

On-line video viewing takes a huge jump in 2012


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“30 percent more Americans watch online video content on an average day than they did a year ago”.  That’s a statement’s worth repeating.  According to a recent Comscore article, 30 percent more Americans watch online video content on an average day in 2012 than they did on that same day in 2011.  Online video is exploding and there’s no end in sight.

comScrore graph

What does that mean for your organization and your brand?  For most companies like yours, information like this will do one of two things for you in 2013.  You will either bury your heads further in the sand about investing in video (Why should I?  I might need it, but I don’t know where to begin!) or you will once and for all commit to telling your organization’s story through video and create a video strategy.

Here’s a couple of stats that jumped out to us the most from the recent ComScore article:

1.  Nearly 100 percent of people ages 25-34 and 35-44 in the U.S. are internet users.  

2.  More than 4 in 5 internet users are consuming on-line video in a given month.

If you want to tell your story, especially to that ever influential 18 to 44 audience, you have to increase the amount of online video stories you are currently telling, especially compared to traditional broadcast television advertising.  You must have a video storytelling strategy that connects to that audience more and more with web video. The key is to create video content that will play well in both mediums; TV & web. Here’s an example of hitting that 18 to 44 demographic for television that also segues incredibly well to web video.

Mary Eberle is, as far as she knows, the only paper florist in the country and also happens to be a member of STCU, the largest credit union in Spokane, who we’ve been working with for the last 14 years. Here’s the first of several TV spots about Mary that will run throughout 2013.  Soon to follow will be extended web videos that let the viewers know even more about her fascinating life and her connection to STCU.

“Digital ad formats are very effective at driving short-term sales and are on a par with the impact of television advertising over one full year.”
ComScore Article

For those brands whose strategy involves some television advertising, It’s important to have a balance of both web video and television presence.  The key is to be everywhere you can with your video stories and best if you can link them together.

According to ComScore, “For Multi-Screen consumers exposure frequency was about half from TV and half from the internet.”  Especially for that 18 to 44 year old audience you have to have a balance of both TV and web.  The key is to create stories that play well in both mediums.  The more of a balance you can strike between the two the stronger your effectiveness will be.  You also have to make sure that content plays well on mobile devises.  It will be interesting to see if the balance shifts toward more web video viewing or stays an even balance with TV ad viewing as we enter 2014.

These are just some of the factors that go into building a powerful video marketing strategy. Here’s to 2013, a year of great promise, prosperity and creating a powerful video strategy for your brand!

“…clearly what has happened, through the development of new digital technologies and platforms is that TV now lives and breathes in a multi-screen environment. Cross-Media consumers represent an emerging segment of the marketplace that must be marketed to in new and creative ways.”

Videos with passion and honesty make our world smaller


Winthrop Kelsey BasketballWe had to share this remarkable moment in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown Connecticut. Winthrop University head basketball coach Pat Kelsey seized the moment when he knew the cameras were rolling to make a passionate plea for Americans to band together and find a solution to the mass shooting tragedy.  He understood the power of video to connect people from across the country in just under two minutes.

Coach Kelsey transcends his industry and his profession and creates common ground with everyone who watches this.  This has nothing to do with sports and everything to do with bringing people together.

The 3 pieces of video strategy


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The world of video is changing, driven by changes in technology that make the necessary tools more accessible and the advent of the internet (and high-speed connections). The result is that video can be utilized in dozens–if not hundreds–of ways that wouldn’t have been practical or cost-effective just a few years ago.

Still, most production houses and ad agencies stick to models that were developed decades ago when the only place to see video was television–before computers and camcorders.

We make an effort to work with local businesses and non-profits, and there isn’t always a budget to pull out all the stops for a massive production, so we started thinking about how we could make dollars go further. Over time, we have developed Continue reading

Are “case study” videos right for you?


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With the advent of the internet, the number of ways you can use video has exploded. We’ve talked before about how different kinds of video should be incorporated into your strategy, and here’s an in-depth look at one of these varieties: case studies. We’ll look at the advantages, whether they’re right for you, and how to incorporate them into your video strategy.

What is a case study video?

A case study video showcases what you’ve done for one specific client. For example, take a look at the case study we recently made for 2nd Watch.

Why use a case study? Continue reading

Is Twitter or Facebook better at pushing out video?


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I stumbled across an interesting graph by the social media mad scientist Dan Zarrella the other day that analyzes the click-through likelihood of posts that include the word “video” on Facebook and Twitter.

Our take-away is that if you’re trying to use Facebook to build your business or brand, using video increases the likelihood of people sharing your post by almost 30%.

I also think it’s fascinating that using the word “video” in a tweet actually decreases the probability of a retweet. It’s an interesting reminder of the strengths of different social media sites and how they complement one another. I’d be curious to see if the same trends are reflected in the number of people who view video links on Twitter.

For more details on how Zarrella collected the data and a host of other fascinating social media statistics, check out his website.

Enjoy your weekend!

Don’t forget the most important video ingredient


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I’ve written, directed and produced a lot of videos over my career, but few have meant as much to me as this video I recently created for my high school, Gonzaga Prep.

This year is G-Prep’s 125th Anniversary and I was asked to create a video to play during their Blue & White Gala Ball, specifically just before a paddle raise asking for donations as large as $10,000 and as small as $50, in an attempt to raise $100,000 from those in the room.  If the goal was reached the school would receive a $100,000 matching gift from one very generous donor.  The Pennington Ball Room at the famed Davenport Hotel was festive all evening, with classmates reminiscing with each other and constantly talking over those at the podium, including the Mayor, the Bishop and the President of the school.  Until the video played.

Thirty seconds in, you could hear a pin drop in the room of over five hundred. Everyone was completely captivated.  I was shocked by the attention given and even more surprised by what came next.  The paddle raise generated over $335,000, easily the largest single amount raised in one evening in the school’s history.

As we all spilled out of the ball room and on to the dance floor, I was stopped by a longtime friend who’s daughters were featured in the video.  He said, “That video was incredible.  It moved me so much seeing the history and then when I saw my daughters in it, and my senior picture, I lost it.  Before I knew it I had raised my paddle and donated $2,500.  I’m not sure where the hell I’m going to get it, but I’ll figure it out.  It’s for the kids, right?  I love that school.”

We all love that school and he was right, it is for the kids.  And for their kids and the kids that come after them.  That was the message I wanted to convey.  There would be no Gonzaga Prep now if it hadn’t been for those who came before us and it’s up to all of us to do our part to continue the legacy.  My son Nick is a fourth generation Bullpup and as we talked about the ingredients this video needed, one was how important tradition is to the school, specifically the families who’ve sent countless kids and grand kids there.  They’re still there and that message was important to share.

Frank Swoboda, Jim Swoboda, Conner Niblock & Nick Swoboda filming Gonzaga Prep 125h Anniversary Video

And the secret ingredient, was love.  This is a love letter to my alma mater.  And it’s delivered by the students who represent that tradition, including my son Nick and nephew Conner.  They both helped my brother Jim (and his beautiful cinematograph) and I film it (thanks also to Corner Booth’s Rob Culp for his brilliant editing).  All four of us products of that school, sharing our gifts and honoring those who came before us.

The love the four of us have for that school shows up on the screen.  Love is the reason it resonated so well in that banquet room and on YouTube since.  This video has more hits than any I’ve ever created, over 1,500 in a week.  It will continue to be passed around the globe by those, like us, who share it with friends and family, reconnecting and spreading their love for the place that helped shape who they are.

Happy Birthday Gonzaga Prep!  Go forth and set the world on fire.

Create a Social Enterprise through Video & Close the Generation Gap

I’ll never forget the time my very conservative Dad, forty years my senior watched Blues Brothers for the first time.  This kid who grew up on the road shows with Hope and Crosby was completely skeptical about watching a comedy by those irreverent Saturday Night Live guys…until he watched it.  He never laughed out loud that much in his life before or since and for those two hours the generation gap between us was closed up completely.  We found common ground.

Video and the creation of a social enterprise for your organization that is fueled by stories told through video can be a bridge that connects this ever widening cultural and technology gap.  We all are connected by stories, especially movies, TV and video.  Use it to close the gap.

“To any CEO who’s skeptical, you have to create a social enterprise today,  You have to be totally connected to everyone who touches your brand.  If you don’t do that I don’t know what your business model is in five years.”  
Angela Ahrendts – CEO of Burberry

I consider myself a pretty astute student of where the edges in our culture are, particularly when it comes to video and the impact it has on a business and it’s brand.  I have to come clean.  Until eight months ago I was in full avoidance mode that not only is there a generation gap when it comes to social media and blogging, but that I was on the wrong side of it.  I’m convinced that the only two things that saved me were that I work in the field of marketing and video strategy and second that I have a very savvy team that I completely trust that is on the right side of the line…and dare I say, the younger side of the line.

Well, yes, I have to say younger because If I’m 28 how do I convince my boss that investing in social media and video strategies to tell our story is critical to our future as an organization when my 60 year old boss doesn’t even have a Facebook account?  If I’m that 60 year old boss, can I be open to hearing what my team is saying and trust them when they advise me to invest in getting the word out in a new and different way?  There’s the gap so let a social enterprise fueled by video be the bridge.  Trust that if it’s done well it will inspire and cause us all to stop and watch.  To connect and be emotionally moved.  We may not all understand what a blog is or have a Twitter handle, but we all know the power of a great video when we see one.

To those who manage a brand internally or externally and need to convince your executive team why it’s important to invest in creating a social enterprise for your organization, start with a video to tell your story, to connect you and get you noticed.  To do it well, you can’t not have it connected to every part of your social enterprise to be effective.  You have to have a plan for who sees the video and how it reaches your target audiences and you have to utilize the social media networks to do it.  You have to have a website that not only can play video, but is designed with it in mind.  And you have to create a video strategy to ensure the investment is being maximized.  It’s all connected.

No one understands this better than Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, featured in the video above.  This iconic fashion company founded in the 1850’s is one of the hottest brands going in its industry because they have made significant investments in creating the ultimate Social Enterprise incorporating social and mobile elements across the entire organization, and connecting with their employees and customers in a whole new way. It’s inspiring and something every organization can learn from, no matter how big or how long they’ve been around.  Create a Social Enterprise fueled by video and you too will be around when the next great wave comes your way.

I’m Giving Away my best Video ideas…just for you!

This coming Wednesday February 8th at Noon in the Launchpad classroom, I will be giving away my best ideas.  Yep…all of them.  It will be the final workshop in a three part part Launchpad series on how to effectively use video to grow your business by getting your brand noticed through video.

Here’s a little inspiration:

At Corner Booth Media we work with new clients all the time and we make it our policy not to work with them until we help them create a video strategy that works for them first.  That way we know exactly what videos are right for them and where those videos should be seen, before we start producing anything.  Our process isn’t rocket science, but it works.

Before we create any video, we work with our clients to determine who their audiences are for the videos, what measurable goals they’d like to achieve from the investment, which kinds of video they should create first and when and where those videos get launched and viewed.

We’ll also analyze their website, social media presence and how robust it is to launch video so their videos actually get watched by the people they want to work with.

I’m going to work with two or three of you on your video strategy, so come prepared to share with me who you are and what you do as an organization, but mostly to dream about what you’d like the world to know about your brand.  If you do, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know to create your organization’s own, powerful video plan.  See you Wednesday!


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