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Executive Decisions: What's Cookin’ in Corporate Media?
Posted Sep 26, 2006 Print Version     Page 1of 1
  

Start with a pound of freshly ground Persistence and mix in a double dash of Patience. Place over a very hot fire, and stir constantly while pouring in raw Perseverance to taste. This is just one of my many delicious recipes for successful relationships with clients in the wonderful world of corporate video production.
     One of the things I love most about being a producer and director of corporate media is that there is often a large amount of repeat business once you have created a successful project for a client. But the process of getting a client to make that initial decision is not always easy.
     In the event videography market, the project revolves around . . . well, an event. Almost universally, event video shoots have a preestablished date, time, and location.


Corporate media jobs, on the other hand, aren't always driven by a firm deadline, and potential clients have a tendency to let media projects get pushed around by other priorities within the company. Sometimes those potential projects just evaporate into thin air. It requires a healthy portion of Persistence, Patience, and Perseverance to stick with a client during this process. But the reward can be a long-term relationship of repeat business.

Here's a case in point: Last fall, we were approached by a local company that wanted to produce a brief marketing video highlighting a new exercise machine their business was manufacturing. The company had found us on the web and had seen streaming video examples of work we had produced for other clients. They had never used video to market their products before, and they were very interested in what we could do for them. After a few qualifying questions over the phone, we set up a meeting with the decision makers at their corporate office.

During our discovery meeting, it became clear that this could be a highlight reel-type project. The company envisioned a three-minute marketing DVD showcasing key features of their new exercise machine. The disc would be included in a giveaway brochure at retail stores. The company's in-house creatives had put together very slick, high-tech graphics for their brochures and other collateral. We could easily transform their designs into motion graphics in After Effects. The exercise product had a sleek, contemporary design, and with our planned sweeping crane and dolly shots of a model working out on the machine in an upscale setting, we were on the path to a great-looking video and a happy working relationship. The company representatives stated that they wanted to get this job done quickly to coincide with the rollout of this new product, and their declared budget was tight but workable.

We hurried back to the studio to put together an action plan. Based on the information gathered in the discovery phase, we put together two different budgets. The first budget was in line with the investment the company said they wished to make, but that budget would not allow for some of the higher-end production values consistent with commercials and infomercials for their competitors' products. The second budget allowed for bringing in a steadicam operator and incorporating more elaborate motion graphics.

We presented our plans to the company, feeling very confident that this project was a sure thing. The company wanted to think about it. And then they thought. And they thought. And they thought some more. Finally, when pressed, they informed us that they were not going to proceed with the project. They just didn't want to spend the money. Ugh.

Those kinds of kicks to the sternum are tough to take, but we picked ourselves up, thanked them for the opportunity to make a proposal, and asked them to consider us in the future if they should choose to proceed with video production for marketing their products.

And guess what? Four months later, they called again, inquiring about our services for marketing a different product. We had a great conversation about their media needs and the results we could help them achieve. And on this go-around, they didn't waste any time making their decision. They said "no" the very next day. Wham! Another blow to the chest.

Perhaps you can understand why I was a little skittish when I saw this company's name show up on our Caller ID about three months later. I think I actually shuddered when I read the name, but being the good soldier, I picked up the phone instead of allowing the call to go directly to voicemail. Believe me when I say I had no trouble keeping my enthusiasm in check. In fact, I was working hard to drum up something that would sound like sincere interest to the caller on the other end of the line. But I swallowed a little of my Persistence-Patience-Perseverance formula and went to work trying to help this client with their communication needs.

We set up a new round of discovery meetings. We put together a new action plan. We pitched a new set of creative ideas. We laid out new budget options. We set a timeline for the project and a deadline for their executives to make a decision.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. This time they said "yes." To top it off, they chose the larger of the budgets we laid out. We worked very hard producing the video, and the company was great throughout the process. Bottom line: the video helped them sell more than $500,000 worth of product in a little more than a month through a major online retailer. Furthermore, they want to do more work with us in the future.

The Persistence-Patience-Perseverance recipe can sometimes taste a little sour. But give it a chance. It gets sweeter the more you try it.



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