Get to know Dan a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.
Hi, I’m Dan, and I’m the founder and creative director of Slow Clap.
What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?
I wear a lot of hats. Which I think is a theme of my career. I like to consider myself a “generalist” (as opposed to a “specialist”) and I also always tell the team that they too should think of themselves as generalists (albeit, with one or two specialties where they hold deep knowledge).
I suppose my formal roles are Executive Producer and Creative Director. I love overseeing the creative process, and guiding a group of creative folks to create something amazing. But I also love the logistics and budgetary side of things. In our field, these problem-solving tasks are sometimes just as creative as the “creative” side of things!
What’s your prior experience? What made you interested in founding Slow Clap as a company?
My “craft” background is in editing and post-production. Which I think is a good foundational skill set to have in video, in terms of storytelling and understanding what’s possible. But what editing doesn’t teach you is how to effectively communicate and collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders and partners to bring a vision to life. I guess what led me out of editing and into the world of production was the constant thought in my head of “why didn’t they get this shot?” and “what on earth were they thinking?” And can I tell you, after a decade in production, I feel a lot more humble about it. Nothing ever goes as planned on set, and it’s always easier in hindsight. Which… again… is part of the fun of production! If you can’t handle uncertainty, don’t bother applying.
Jumping into production was one thing. Founding a company was a whole nother thing. Slow Clap started as a side project with my friend Katy Montgomery. We made a few short films and passion projects. Then I decided to leave my job and try to do Slow Clap as a real business thing.
At my old company, which was also a boutique production company like Slow Clap, we made lots of videos for tech companies, also like Slow Clap. But the work we made tended to be a bit more geared towards lucrative projects. Which, don’t get me wrong, is great, and smart business. But I wanted more out of my job. I wanted to feel like the work I was producing was making an impact, and I wanted the opportunity to tell stories that otherwise might not be told. So with Slow Clap, we’ve made it a priority since day one to always work with nonprofit clients at below-market rates (and, depending on our calendars, often well below market rates). You can see many of the videos we’ve made for Asian Law Caucus, SFILEN, the San Francisco Foundation, Artsy, and more to see some of our cause-based projects.
To me, the amazing part about getting to tell these stories is not just being able to contribute to social justice causes, or telling amazing, creative stories. It’s getting to see my team in action, working on these videos, and being so proud of these projects after we complete them. That is what Slow Clap is all about, coming together around a joint cause. And, yeah, also, making some lucrative tech videos to make sure we stay afloat!
Favorite Film? What am I watching?
I’m not really one for favorites. I tend to think something is good, bad, or really good.
Recently, I’ve seen examples of all three. Good: Black Bird. Bad: Everything’s Trash. Really Good: Luce. Oh, and actually recently I watched something really bad: You People. Lauren London needs to quit acting. Jonah Hill needs to reassess what the hell he’s doing with his life.
My hobbies for the last eight years have mostly just been my business… Before that, I wrote a lot. I even have a book of poetry published, as well as some poems and short stories in various journals.
These days, I’ve been getting back into tennis, which is great!
But mostly, I just enjoy hanging out with my wife, Rahel, and two dogs, Salty and Peppa.
Lastly, favorite project you’ve worked on?
I’ve been part of pretty much every Slow Clap project for the past eight years, and there’s too many to pick just one.
I will point to a few that I think best summarizes and achieves what I think we do best at Slow Clap, which is to tell authentic stories for brands and causes in a way that entertains and elicits an emotional response.
GitHub Future Builders – Optikey: This was part of a multi-video series about “Future Builders” we produced for GitHub. It documents some of the folks who are “building the future” using GitHub. I think these videos really were the culmination of a lot of hard work we did over the first four years of the company. I like to think of them as “the first time we actually got paid to do what we love to do.” These videos are similar to many of the stories we got to tell for our nonprofit clients, but we got to do it with a healthy budget and nice production values.
Built in Slack: Another great intersection of cause-based work with a client’s agenda at the center of the story. We got to document several nonprofit grassroots movements that were using Slack to make an impact during the pandemic. I love telling these stories about changemakers.
Adobe – Jessica Chou Spotlight: I’ve always loved telling stories about artists. We’ve done this for many years pro bono. But this video is probably the first time we were hired by a brand to tell an artist’s story. Another example of the powerful documentary-style storytelling Slow Clap excels at.
At Slow Clap HQ, we’re (obviously) always trying to deliver the best content for our clients so that more audiences clap…more…slowly. But it’s deeper than that— we want to inspire viewers to act, whether that be sharing, subscribing, or signing up. In order to do that, we need to pay attention to more than just beauty shots and captivating storylines. We need to think strategy, we need to think trends— we need to be ahead of the curve.
And it’s quite a big curve to get ahead of. Video is, quite simply, exploding:
And despite the global economy taking a hit, 64% of marketers expect their video budgets to increase in 2023.
So here’s our two cents on what’s coming up in the industry and what to look out for:
BE A SHORT KING – Now this isn’t necessarily groundbreaking news that short videos can be more successful than longer ones. Maintaining audience engagement is one of the hardest things to do when making a video, so keeping a piece of content short and sweet can be instrumental in achieving it. As a video production company in San Francisco, we’ve known this for a long time and there are ever-more data to prove it:
64% of marketers surveyed claim to say the optimal length of a short-form marketing video is 20-60 seconds.
Leveraging the power of short-form content is essential to any video marketing strategy. As long as it stays true to your brand, there’s no reason to shy away from it. It doesn’t have to be all about TikTok, but keeping your videos succinct and to the point will increase messaging and access to your audience.
It’s important to note, however, that this is not a blanket rule, and the length of a video should also be discussed in the context of the platform it’s going out on.
BE HUMAN – In a nutshell, successful videos are informative but also relatable. A recent study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found that half of the respondents create videos to raise brand awareness and nearly 40% said one of their primary goals was also to create a human connection. There are multiple ways to do this— you can use real employees or customers over hired talent or delve into the world of UGC (user-generated content):
75% of brands feel that adding UGC to their marketing mix makes their brand content more authentic.
Not only do user-generated videos provide more value in terms of authenticity, but they also drive higher engagement and are often a good way to save time and money.
STRATEGIZE THIS – Creating content is all well and good, but if you don’t have a strategy to lead it out into the stratosphere and support it while it’s there, then you might as well stand on a hill and watch it roll down.
Setting a video strategy is essential to provide direction and focus for your videos. If you publish a video without a strategy, and it doesn’t get seen, that’s not the fault of the video— it’s the fault of your strategy.
Put your money behind the videos.
And that’s it! Good luck with all your video marketing dreams for 2023.
As the Slow Clap team gets ready for 2023 (wow, we never thought we’d make it but here we are), we took some time to reflect on 2022, the busiest, craziest, most fun year in our company’s eight year history of making videos. Take a look at our year condensed into one minute:
Our first assignment of the year got us out of the office, and into the water. We partnered with the Port of San Francisco, a longtime client of ours, to produce a video highlighting the fisherpeople of Fisherman’s Wharf, who recently started selling live crabs right off their boat. Tourists and locals alike really enjoyed gaining access to the “working Port,” and getting to talk directly to the folks that catch the crabs. It’s like an open air farmers’ market on the wharf.
Glide is one of the coolest clients you could think up. Their no-code platform lets anyone turn spreadsheets into mobile apps, whether or not you’ve ever seen a line of code. How cool is that?
We’ve been lucky enough to partner with them to tell their customer success stories for several years. This time around, we got to go big, featuring the PGA, who used Glide to develop apps for the Ryder Cup. We captured interviews at PGA’s Texas and Florida HQs, plus even got to film some product shots and reenactments at our Oakland studio. But most importantly, this customer story video is surprising and entertaining.
Our client at Glide said it best: Their team doesn’t create videos that are off the shelf. They create something that engages the viewer emotionally.
We love partnering with our government clients like the San Francisco Treasurer. Telling stories of huge impact, like the Kindergarten to College (K2C) program’s success, gives us a chance to be part of something bigger, something that affects our community. The video we produced does just that, featuring stories of kids and parents who have taken advantage of the K2C program to save for college.
This educational video is seen by nine million jurors a year, and is used as the primary tool to make sure we have an educated jury of our peers. The video has a shelf life of ten to twenty years. At 100+ million views, that’s blockbuster status baby!
We were also excited to simultaneously launch a documentary about the history of Jury Service as a companion piece to the orientation video. We had the amazing challenge of condensing several hundred years of history into ten minutes, and we got to learn how essential juries are to a healthy democracy.
Another huge production challenge landed in our laps with Ironclad’s summer virtual event video. Ironclad has always been thinking outside the box for virtual events, but this was on a whole nother level. The theme was 80’s high school in the style of John Hughes films like Breakfast Club and 16 Candles. So we scoured thrift stores and local area high schools to put together an authentic expression of this fun theme. We rented a high school that hasn’t been updated since the 70’s, put together a classic gymnasium school dance scene, rented a 1980’s Porsche, and so much more. Our production design team had a blast with the 80’s period pieces. There’s enough in there to watch this video 10 times before you catch all the easter eggs.
We celebrated Slow Clap’s eight year birthday party in a big way at the Alice Collective in downtown Oakland. We’ve celebrated every Slow Clap birthday with a party, inviting our clients, our team, our collaborators, and their loved ones to celebrate another year of amazing video projects, and connect over some banging food and drink. 2022 was no exception.
In August, Katy Bailes joined the team as a producer, to help lead our increasingly complex and large body of work. Katy came from the Economist’s documentary films division before joining Slow Clap, and brings her top notch storytelling skills and can-do attitude to all our projects. She’s been a huge asset to the team, and to our clients, in the short time she’s been here.
We also added Keely Liles to the team as a camera and post-production assistant. Keely brings her fresh ideas and fun personality to all of our projects.
The Slow Clap team tackled a new challenge in 2022, partnering with San Francisco Bay Area regional retail chain Beck’s Shoes to create a brand story video about their unique approach to retail. Shoe cinematography is unlike any other challenge. These are fashion items that move at ground level. But of course, the most important thing is the look on a customer’s face when they find that perfect fit, which is right up our alley.
We always reserve a portion of our calendars to partner with cause-based organizations, offering below market rates. This year, we partnered with Public Advocates, one of the first public interest law firms in America, to produce this short documentary about their 50 year history. We worked with the folks at PA for the entire year to go through decades of archival material and film several new interviews. In the end, we produced a brand film that shows how Public Advocates “makes rights real.”
In addition, after three years of development and pandemic delays, we finished a five-part documentary brand film series for the iconic Napa Valley winery Freemark Abbey. From being founded by a woman in the 1880’s, to winning top prizes at the Judgement of Paris, Freemark Abbey has been redefining what great is since its founding. It was fascinating and exciting to get to be the team to bring this story to life.
Another one of our cause-based clients is Asian Law Caucus, who we’ve been partnering with for eight years. In fact, they were our very first client!
This year, we helped them celebrate their 50th anniversary by producing several videos. Our favorite among them was this moving montage featuring several of the best interviews we’ve captured with ALC clients over the years.
We’re used to being behind the camera, but in December, the whole team got to try something totally different: we turned the camera around, and starred in the Slow Clap holiday card video. It was a blast, and an opportunity for the team to poke fun at me, in the style of The Office.
Get to know Katy a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.
Hello! Nice to meet you! My name is Katy and I am Slow Clap’s newest recruit! I am originally from London in the UK and have been living in San Francisco for around 2 years now by way of marriage to my lovely husband George! Prior to joining Slow Clap, I worked at the in-house documentary film team at The Economist newspaper. There we made short(ish) documentaries about anything and everything from start-ups in the world’s largest refugee camp to what led to Trump’s victory in the 2016 US presidential election.
What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?
I am a producer at Slow Clap which I’m very happy about because I love producing! In general, I have always wanted to produce and make documentaries because I’ve always been interested in what’s going on in the world. It may sound a bit simple but that is simply it! From a young age, I was always fascinated in the stories of my friends from different places and the stories of the new places I visited and lived in and so making films and specifically documentaries just kind of made sense to me as a job. I like the mix of creative organizing (if that’s a thing!), whereby you have an idea or a concept and you make that a reality through solid processes. I love working in a team and truly appreciate the collaborative nature of filmmaking in all its forms.
What’s your prior experience? What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?
I was interested in the role firstly because I wanted to diversify my experience from documentaries into more commercial work. As Slow Clap is a corporate video production company in San Francisco, I really love that Slow Clap works with a large variety of companies from large tech organizations to smaller NGOs and I was impressed with the documentary style of the work they produce. To me it was sort of the best of both worlds— I could continue working in a style I was used to and appreciated but rev it up a bit with new clients and processes. I also really liked the photo illustrations of each member of staff and the inclusion of the company pets!
What am I watching?
Anything from Keeping Up with the Kardashians to old Brazilian classics like Black Orpheus! This year I am excited for the new series of Succession but am also looking forward to watching some new documentaries like To The End and Descendant which is about African-Americans tracing their ancestral roots.
I’ve always loved dancing from ballet to dancehall and so I try and keep that up! I am a big fan of anything Brazilian and so I enjoy reading and keeping up to date with what’s happening over there and on the continent in general, as well as speaking Portuguese as and when I can. Now that I live in California, I am embracing the outdoors and love a good hike to watch a sunset and am even considering taking up paragliding!
Lastly, favorite project you’ve worked on?
I have to say probably Public Advocates’s 50th Anniversary as I got to piece together 50 years in a paper edit, continue to develop it throughout the editing process, and see it come to life. It was an honor to learn about the many stories of Public Advocates as well as highlight the systemic changes that they created in the community.
Get to know Keely a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.
Hiya! My name is Keely Liles and I am a photographer, filmmaker, and one of the recent hires of the Slow Clap team! I moved from Washington to California in the Fall of 2021 to pursue my filmmaking career. I was trained in non-fiction, documentary filmmaking and two years ago developed, directed, filmed, edited, and produced my own documentary film called, Embrace Your Pleasure.
Since the completion of that project I have been branching into narrative film by teaching myself about screenwriting, directing, and getting on to film sets as a production assistant.
What’s your role?
I am the Camera and Post-Production Assistant. I was hired to support our Post-Production Supervisor, Jake Richard. In my role, I am responsible for loading and unloading the grip truck, setting up and tearing down equipment, managing media files, and prepping Premiere Pro projects for our editors.
What made you gravitate towards this craft?
I have had a camera in my hand since I could walk and I have the photos to prove it. I started with photography and naturally gravitated towards filmmaking later on. I think what initially drew me to filmmaking was watching the behind the scenes specials included on DVDs. I loved watching how the story was created and as I learn more about all of the artistic choices that are involved with making a movie, I love filmmaking even more. I am that person who will interrupt the movie to point out a cool filmmaking technique.
What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?
I have been freelancing for several years and have had the opportunity to do a number of interesting and engaging projects, but I was ready to be part of something bigger than myself. I wanted to join Slow Clap because I was ready to be part of a long-term, collaborative, creative team. Slow Clap is a commercial video production company in San Francisco. Slow Clap’s mission to create authentic stories for their clients resonates with me in my personal and professional life. In my career as an artist, I want to act as a catalyst for change and I see filmmaking as a way to do so. The collaboration between filmmakers and their community acts as a catalyst that ignites movement. It’s cameras, lights, and audio equipment in the hands of passionate people who are brave enough to ask themselves and those around them, “who are you and what is your story?”
When I don’t have my hands on a camera, I am painting or drawing. I make so much art that I love gifting my art to people. It’s one of my love languages. Pre-pandemic I would go swing dancing and salsa dancing. I used to do Irish dancing and hope to get back to it one day. I love spending time with my friends and going hiking, making a meal together, seeing a movie, or just hanging out in the living room.
UpCity spotlights the most trustworthy of over 70,000 B2B service providers. For Slow Clap to win the UpCity Local Excellence Award again in 2022 is really exciting for us. Slow Clap is also a listed and trusted vendor on review sites like Clutch, 50Pros.com, and Design Rush. We love helping our clients tell their authentic stories.
Here are a couple of things our clients had to say about our partnership in our UpCity reviews:
“Dan and the Slow Clap crew were very professional, conscientious, and worked very hard to deliver a great production under budget and on time. They had to work with some difficult restrictions and they smiled through every adversity. I would highly recommend them.”
Mark Hornung, Employer Brand Consultant
“As someone who has personally worked with Slow Clap during the filming and editing process, they are wonderful to work with. Slow Clap are not just filmmakers, but advocates and storytellers as well. They are invested in helping you tell the best story.”
Casey Tran, Asian Law Caucus
Thanks to all our clients who have chosen us to help tell their stories. It’s your support that has made this award possible and helps us evolve as storytellers. Can’t wait to see you on our next project!
If you or someone you know is interested in making a video, let us know! We’d love to share our knowledge and help you get started. Share your ideas with us here.
Get to know Darissa a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.
Hello there, and thank you for stopping by! My name is Darissa and I’m Slow Clap’s Production Assistant. I’m from the Bay Area and graduated from University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Managerial Economics and a minor in Sociology. With my major, I wanted to gain knowledge that could be applied to the business side of many industries. Soon after, I also became interested in sociology and in finding a way to make a positive impact through my career.
What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?
As a Production Assistant, my role is to support the team especially in the pre-production phase of producing a video. I help with planning the logistics of a shoot, including managing legal documents and researching locations/equipment. Sometimes, I am also a PA on set for our shoots. I may assist with crafty set-up, camera/lighting set-up, and behind-the-scenes photos. Alongside helping with video production, I support company operations, such as marketing, company events planning, general administrative tasks, and anything else our team may need.
What’s your prior experience? What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?
I have general experience in outreach, marketing, and HR. I have helped prepare informational interviews for different organizations, including a start-up social media app for college students and a podcast focused on diversity and social impact in the film industry called Rewriting Hollywood. I was in search of gaining experience as a PA since I was interested in storytelling in media. As I was looking for different opportunities, I was surprised to find a PA position with a company like Slow Clap. I was really excited about finding a company that really cared about different causes and shared values about diversity and fostering an encouraging environment where you are able to learn and grow. Slow Clap tries to partner with community-based organizations to help tell their story. I am so glad to be a part of a team that wants to make an impact and help people through the power of storytelling.
What am I watching?
Since I watch a lot more dramas than films, I think one of my favorite Korean TV dramas is My Mister. Watching it during the pandemic and without spoiling the story, I found My Mister to be very comforting and relatable in emotions to watch. It is a slice-of-life drama that is very understanding of different life experiences and can be encouraging to see how those characters overcome hardships.
In general, I like to spend time with friends and family, especially trying out the new foodie spots in town that we haven’t tried before. I also really enjoy watching movies/dramas and learning languages.
Lastly, favorite project you’ve worked on?
As it was one of my first times being on set, I’d have to say that my favorite project is the Judicial Council of California’s Juror Orientation Video. For Slow Clap, it’s one of our larger projects, and I think that’s why I found it exciting. Over at least eight days, we had a crew of about 20 people and over 30 people for talent. I even got to clap the slate! (Check out the BTS photos below!) Seeing behind-the-scenes of how so many different folks could come and work together to create this video was amazing. I had the opportunity to connect and learn from veterans in the industry who were kind and patient in showing me the ropes. I am so grateful that our team kept an eye out for me and guided me throughout my time participating in this project and the many more to come!
Although I haven’t worked on many projects yet, some of my favorite work from Slow Clap also includes:
In this post, we’ll explain what case study videos are, show you five great examples, explain why they work so well, and tell you how you can borrow their tactics to gain trust with new audiences.
When making a purchasing decision, reviews and testimonials are pretty much a requirement today. You can find a testimonial shot on a smartphone on nearly any kind of product. But in the B2B world, it’s still a challenge to easily find objective reviews of niche products and services.
Can you connect me to somebody who has invested thousands in this particular B2B product? I’d like to know if it’s worth our time, money, and reputation.
Thanks, Sally Shot-CallerBig Company, Inc.
Because the demand for this information exists, it’s a good idea to make sure your audience can see a testimonial of your product. And there’s no better way than to present that testimonial as a complete story, in the form of a case study video.
A case study features a real B2B customer discussing the impact a product or service had on their own business problems. The customer is the hero, and your product was the magic sword that shaved 20% off their overhead and got them promoted.
Good case studies don’t just shoot from the iPhone. They’re planned, produced, and edited to tell a real-world success story using your product.
But case studies are doubly powerful because they establish trust as they inform about a product. Instead of making predictable “marketing claims,” the video provides human proof. And with good production, they do it while entertaining, informing, and ultimately, selling.
So here are five great case study videos you can use to inspire and plan yours.
Slack is a multi-billion dollar company with clients worldwide, but it’s useful for the most agile organizations too. And in this case, that was part of the point: small and large teams can find success together, as evidenced by Masks for Docs and Frontline Foods.
The video really shines where it gets specific, with Frontline Foods hero Jacinth Sohi explaining how they got rid of email and used Slack instead – and how their impact multiplied as a result.
Another great point: it finishes strong. “I don’t know if we would have been able to do it prior to Slack being around.” Hard to beat that.
Built in Slack was produced by Slow Clap, and screened at Slack Frontiers 2020 to much community love.
02: #WhyWeWork – Duet
Duet Display is an app that lets you use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac. While that sounds basic, users like Jared Erondu use these displays for top-tier design, making for a beautiful demonstration of how the app enables him to create any time inspiration strikes.
Duet Display used a subtle hero story in their #WhyWeWork series of case studies: feature somebody compelling, but show up in the background as the “sage” or “muse” who enables their growth. So Duet captured Jared telling his story, shot footage to match, and is invisible but present: they’re hidden in the screen he uses to design.
In selling supplements to gyms, Six-Pack Shortcuts uses NewVoiceMedia for live data on prospect and closing rates in its call-center. The video uses immersive visuals to bring the audience into the unique culture at SPS, and lets the narrative tell the success story. The result is an uplifting and straightforward success story.
04: Marriott is a Trailblazer – Salesforce
Marriott is a Trailblazer is the story of real employees serving a family that is a stand-in for all vacationers. To give vacationers everything they dream about, Marriott uses Salesforce to organize tasks and communications.
The Marriott video is a good example of what Hollywood screenwriters call “A Story/B Story.” The employees do their jobs, and the family has the time of their lives because of it. It’s easy to put yourself in the shoes of both parties, so it’s easy to understand how Salesforce helps Marriott succeed.
05: Valpak is a Trailblazer – Salesforce
Valpak is a national company with thousands of contracts around the U.S. They managed all of their contracts on paper. That gave them problems. Sometimes the paper process delayed a customer’s advertising. Other times, those contracts got lost.
So Valpak switched to the most powerful CRM in the world and has enjoyed an upward trajectory ever since.
This video gets right to the problem without unnecessary chest-puffing, and it keeps the pace with visuals that explain the client meeting process, and the relief that Salesforce provided for their complicated workflow.
How to make a case study video
Creating a case study video depends less on creativity than on research. The story already happened, but you must figure out who to talk to, what questions to ask your customer, how to visually convey the story, and how to arrange the story to be clear and powerful.
Find a champion
Creating a case study worth watching starts with a great client, a “champion.” You’ll need somebody who will tell the story of your partnership, and tell it with enthusiasm.
You can create case studies with just text facts, but the audience will know that you’re the one telling the story, and not an objective third party. So capturing an authentic interview with someone that’s going to be a great ambassador for your company or product is key.
Plan your story around your audience
Before you begin writing, consider your audience. Answer the following questions:
What do they believe is true about their industry?
What result do they want?
What do they need to hear to take action?
Write questions for your champion
With those answers in mind, you need to write questions for your champion. Here are good starters:
What problem led you to seek us out?
How was this problem affecting your business?
What did we offer that interested you?
How did our solution help your problem?
What was the result of working with us?
How do you feel now that we work together?
It’s a good idea to have a brief conversation with your champion before filming anything. Ask them these simple questions.
Estimate your audience’s reaction
Ask yourself, “Is this story believable? Is it too miraculous? If it’s a dramatic change, what will we need to prove it’s true?”
Get additional perspectives
Often the answer is corroborating testimony – which, outside of Law and Order, means another point of view. Somebody else to help tell the story.
Get data – even anecdotal data
Numbers are gold. If your client’s sales went up by 29%, that’s invaluable. But even a ballpark estimate can be valuable, such as “it used to take us half a day to load a truck. With the RoboGo, we can load one in around an hour.”
Choose the right music
The theme is already “success.” But music can provide the atmosphere and backdrop that makes the story enjoyable for your audience. While a software video may rely on Indie music popular with office jockeys, a cattle company will seem odd when paired with a generic version of The Arcade Fire.
Open with a hook
Get to the problem right away. “We sell copy machines, but they often broke during shipping.”
Give the solution a clear transition in the story
Sometimes the solution can get buried in your customer’s account. Don’t let that happen.
Give a pause before and after introducing the solution. “When we used PenguinPack, none of our machines broke on the trucks.”
The one thing you need associating with your brand is the solution. Your logo should be all over the place when the problem gets solved.
Keep the length just right
How long should a case study be? You may feel tempted to add too many details about your client. They may want to talk about their company mission. But this is neither the time nor the place.
If any shot, sequence, or sentence doesn’t support the story of how you succeeded together, cut it.
Don’t let them forget your brand
Use your colors and fonts in the video. Don’t use a sub-brand or anything confusing.
Include branding throughout the video, but only where it’s natural.
Finish with a result that highlights your brand. “If I hadn’t consulted Dr. Jaime” or “because we packed a RoboDog…”
Conclusion: you lived this story. Share it.
If you helped a customer, that’s a good thing. Others need your help to realize their dreams and potential. And a case study is often the right way to tell that story: you’re talking about a customer of yours, but done well, your audience will realize you’re talking about their success too.
Get to know Beijo a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.
Hi everyone! My name is Beijo, and I am Slow Clap’s Associate Producer. I am a video producer and content creator born and raised in the Bay Area. I attended the University of California, Davis earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cinema and Digital Media. I am passionate about authentic storytelling and representation on screen. I’m excited to dive into the projects here at Slow Clap!
What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?
I’m the Associate Producer, and my role is to help manage the client projects and handle logistics for production from start to finish. I have always loved film and video, especially, the art of authentic storytelling through documentary-style film. I believe that each creative person has their own unique specialty in this industry. I happen to love the logistics of production and being able to oversee a set. Though I do enjoy the occasional camera operating or editing, my joy is working behind the scenes as a producer.
What’s your experience in video production?
I produced my first short film in high school and then the rest was history. I’m kidding! My first professional film set experience was being a production assistant on an independent featured film set in 2015. It was a great experience working with over 100+ professionals in a fast-paced environment. After graduating from university, I interned at BAYCAT, a non-profit video production studio in San Francisco, and they really empowered me to become a Media Producer and taught me the ropes of the industry. I then produced marketing video campaigns for a small apparel company in the Bay Area before joining the Slow Clap team.
What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?
As a Media Producer, I enjoy being able to work on projects that capture stories focused on real lives and people. I saw that Slow Clap’s philosophy and work reflected the same values that I have towards storytelling and then it just made sense! Slow Clap has wonderful partnerships with great companies and organizations that desire this type of authentic storytelling – and it’s so powerful! These are the stories that I want to tell and be part of. There are so many good videos that Slow Clap has produced! Some of my favorites are Earl’s Story and Thi Bui’s story.
Being a Bay Area native, there’s something about the story that hits home for me. It has a good mix of humor and heartfelt moments. And Mont is my favorite character! I definitely recommend you watch it.
I have so many hobbies! I enjoy photography, yoga, hiking, biking, dancing, and I recently became a plant mom! So my home office is now filled with plants. Haha!
Lastly,favorite project you’ve worked on?
My favorite project I’ve worked on would be for The Port of San Francisco’s PortTV episode! Check out the whole series.
Big data, 360 video and more: a preview of the biggest video trends of 2021
This is an overview of what’s new in video in 2021, what continues to improve from 2020, and how to use each rising technology.
Slow Clap Productionsis a San Francisco-based creative video production company that helps brands like GitHub, Blue Shield of California, and Capital One use video to its full potential.
2021 feels like the year of the comeback, but in video, it’s been an uninterrupted campaign of internet domination. While marketers continue to shout, “brands must use video today or risk everything!”, video marketing itself is not risky. Because in 2020, people consumed a ton of video, and data gives us a great picture into what will continue to work in 2021.
This means you have more data than ever to create the right video for your favorite audience. But here’s the twist: 2021 may be the year to let others tell your brand’s story, and get better results. And not only are influencers bringing audiences into familiar company – more brands will bring audiences into their world using relatively new technology, including one that used to just be for people who “gotta catch ‘em all.”
Here’s how that will look.
Artificial Intelligence will improve audience matching
In 2021, “big data” will continue to improve video effectiveness by showing targeted videos to the right audience.
With more consumer data available every second, algorithms can increasingly predict which videos will garner more likes, subscribes, and sales.
This is already the strategy for YouTube and Facebook ads – but how about emails, popups, or celebrities who show up in a 360-degree virtual space?
Create demographic tiers based on variables native to your audience
Create A/B versions of videos or CTA landing pages and see how they compare
But influencer marketing remains more trusted
Influencer marketing is still on an upward trend. With ads everywhere – and soon to appear in immersive 3D worlds (more on that later) – advertisement fatigue is massive.
But humans continue to know, like, and trust each other – even online. We also value authority. And that’s where everyday people become influencers – by being likeable and knowledgeable.
YouTube changed the face of video, from entertainment to news to yes, even marketing. It’s possible to learn to fix your own car, build your own computer, and know which boots will last the longest – thanks to helpful video content.
But the hard-to-replicate element is trust. Humans value free and helpful information, and they really value it from other humans who act, look, and think like them. And in this age, they earn more credibility if they have nothing to gain by sharing that information.
The future of credibility may be in “brand advocacy,” where ordinary (but trusted!) people make videos about your products and services. Their opinions are the difference between being the giant evil corporation and the community business people know and trust.
HOW TO USE IT
Make it easy for influencers to test and review your products and services
Offer partnerships with influencers
Don’t ask those influencers to exclusively use your products and services – they will lose their trust with the audience
Virtual conferences become a weekly event
Just as live streams are the influencer’s sold-out concert, virtual conferences are multiplying. You’ve probably been to at least one. A virtual trade show. A Q&A session with an expert. A discussion group.
But even in live streams, it’s good to step away from talking heads when you simply have to “show” your audience what you can do for them. Last year, Slow Clap made a testimonial video for Slack Frontiers 2020, showing the audience how fast and effortlessly they can both gain momentum and pivot with the right communication platform.
We also helped with Adobe MAX 2020, creating a fast and fun showcase of creatives empowered by Adobe – while staying focused on how accessible creative work is for anyone, anywhere.
HOW TO USE VIRTUAL CONFERENCES:
Choose a theme based on what’s trending in your industry
Build attendance with a full-fledged campaign
Protect the event with a great video and tech team
Bring in well-known experts as keynote speakers
Repurpose great talks and Q&As as content after the event
360-degree video grows more accessible
360 video is where the audience can move through and look in any direction. And like The Matrix, sometimes you just have to see it to understand what it means:
Virtual events: feel like you’re there with the live attendees
Movie promotion: let the audience explore the asteroid belt from a space pod
Education: learn to watch the pitcher’s tells in a virtual baseball training
Travel: Following along as explorers dive an ancient shipwreck
Health Care: Learning the layout of a hospital before you visit
Home Decoration: tour the house’s Christmas decorations
360 video is not new for 2021, but it’s reaching its adolescence, and it’s growing muscles. Once the exclusive realm of video games, 360 is now less expensive, and therefore more accessible to imaginative businesses everywhere. That’s because the technology continues to decrease in price. Though if you want super high resolution, you’ll want to hire a team like Slow Clap.
Augmented reality is now more than just a game
AR is the converse of 360 – instead of placing a user in the brand’s world, it places the product in the user’s world.
Augmented reality was, for most, seeing a Pokemon on their kid’s phone as they walk through the park. In 2021, it’ll be a lot more than cartoons, and many of us will see it through our glasses, too.
While not strictly “video,” augmented reality nonetheless brings products, services, and education into perception in a novel way. And for the B2B environment, this can mean ideas like:
Training employees, like where to place objects when a shelf is empty
Seeing if office furniture fits (and looks good) in a preview
Identifying an out-of-place part or product instantly – just point your phone at it and find out what department it belongs in
HOW TO USE AUGMENTED REALITY:
Start with an idea. What can you bring into your customer’s world that they want or need?
You’ll have to build an app – or integrate it into an existing app
You’ll need 3D footage or a 3D animated model of the objects
Education videos are still a tried-and-true video entry point
Educational videos continue to make up a huge portion of YouTube viewership. While it would seem that every “how” has been answered on YouTube, it makes lot of sense for any brand to find out what questions their customers ask most, and make content about it, because:
It positions you as a thought leader
It creates value, which builds trust
And it drives inbound traffic to your brand
For example, RepairPal created simple, professional how-tos that, frankly, anybody could have made with a shaky phone camera. But in both content for businesses and customers, they contrasted themselves as an organized and reliable source for repair.
HOW TO USE EDUCATIONAL CONTENT:
Find the most-asked questions about your product or service
Write a script – or consult a scriptwriter
Shoot the video yourself – or hire a production company
Upload it to the platforms your audience uses
Name, tag, and keyword it effectively
Public platforms continue to attract different audiences
Your platform is wherever your audience already is. But odds are you’ll use more than one platform.
YouTube remains the biggest host and curator for video on the internet. YouTube is largely about sitting down with people from around the world as they share their perspectives.
As such, traditional commercials don’t fare well unless run as ads – but educational content still makes up around half of YouTube views. And of course, reality shows and influencer vlogs are doing just fine too.
One more reason to use YouTube: videos hosted there can greatly boost blog posts on the same topic.
Tik Tok grew tremendously in 2020, in spite of legal restrictions. It is deliberately short-form and works well for younger audiences.
Tik Tok doesn’t yet have the filtering of older platforms (YouTube), which allows disruptive newcomers to kick down doors with clever and trendy ideas.
LinkedIn now has 700 million users. LinkedIn’s culture is deliberately workplace-safe, but if you can balance the platitudes with a dose of real emotion, you can build an audience.
If you’re a B2B brand, pay special attention: LinkedIn is the first place many businesses turn for their needs. It’s where their partners go, their audience goes, and often where it’s safe to spend a little work time visiting.
A note: share your videos by uploading them directly to LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s algorithm prioritizes natively hosted videos, and we’ve seen view counts as much as 4x higher just by uploading directly to LinkedIn.
Facebook video is worth prioritizing if most of your audience is already on Facebook. They’re more likely to see videos hosted on Facebook in their feed. And Facebook is, naturally, a more social platform than YouTube, leading to more shares and likes.
That said, Facebook’s video tab suffers from weak recommendations – geared more toward total views than the appropriate audience.
Instagram, an influencer’s best friend, lowers the bar to admission for brands of any size. But it remains primarily oriented toward B2C.
As video grows, private platforms help leaders inspire
Sometimes it’s just faster – and more impactful – to send a video to your employees, colleagues, or coworkers.
This is why internal platforms like Wistia, Brighteon, Vimeo, BombBomb, and others are strong options for keeping your messages away from prying ears.
Pants optional, but lights are now dress code
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, video chat, complete with screen sharing, grew exponentially in 2020. And while we can’t stay inside forever, it will take some time before in-person meetings become a regular part of life again.
For some companies that may never happen. That’s where having a video-chat friendly setup makes you look and sound as professional as you are.
A good web camera is nice – but bright and even lighting and a good quality microphone are better gifts for your audience and your personal brand.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT VIDEO CHAT EQUIPMENT
Search YouTube for options within your budget and technical needs
Shoppable video will be assessed for effectiveness
The fewer clicks between the consumer and a product, the easier – and more likely – it is for them to buy. So why not let them click right there in the video?
As more customers shop online due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as generational trends and preferences, this – and an integration with 360 environments – could become a major market share. And for those of us who live miles away from our favorite stores, this could be a new form of freedom.
But shoppable videos’ effectiveness is still a question mark. Big data will help with that, but given that this is standard in Instagram, there is reason to be confident that shoppable videos will continue to rise.
HOW TO USE SHOPPABLE VIDEOS
If your brand is a lifestyle, it’s a no-brainer to give tours of an iconic scene with products they can buy
If your sales lean on an influencer, let them showcase your products with affiliate links
Make videos about your best-selling products first
Principles that haven’t changed in 2021
Focus on your customer, not your company
The highest-ranking and hottest-selling videos – be it content or advertisement – are stories where your customer is the hero, and you are merely a guide.
This can be an ad about your customer saving the day with a better fire extinguisher, or content teaching them how to fireproof a garage. But videos about your company’s greatness should be saved for the people who make your company great.
Value is still king
As in, content that shares helpful information will outlast and, over time, outperform the best ads. You still need ads – but even those should focus on your customer’s journey.
So when you begin planning your videos, here are some highly successful examples to draw from:
Yes, earlier we insisted you have time to make good decisions. That’s true. But this next step should go into your schedule for this week.
If you don’t yet use video in your marketing, figure out what video your audience wants most. Then set that video in motion. And if you need help making it, contact us.
Hook ‘em from the start:
In your video thumbnail, show them what they can expect in the easiest to understand way possible. If you can, make it so a 4th grader will understand.
Then in the first 15 seconds of the video, make it clear that you’re going to deliver on the promise that brought them there. “Today I’m going to show you how to hook your audience” is a lot more trustworthy than an open loop (“later I’ll show you how to hook your audience, but first let me tell you about SuperCorp”).
Make your videos searchable
Google still can’t “read” videos, but it can read transcripts. And while YouTube provides automatic transcribing, it’s often inaccurate – which is a problem for Google and for your audience. To counter this, include captions whenever you can. Services like Rev make it easy and inexpensive.
Stay in the conversation.
In our crowded mindspace, people need constant and value-rich reminders that you’re great at what you do. So make a list of the rest of the videos your audience needs, and schedule them to launch at set intervals. And then, create a plan to repurpose your content.
Most of the time, keep it short
YouTube prioritizes long videos because they can then show more ads. And for some content, a comprehensive approach is best. Or when you want to hang out with your fans for a long livestream.
Google knows it irritates most audiences – and they continue to hunt and kill it. It’s better to blend your marketing into value-rich content than to shout at people while they look up dinner recipes.
Conclusion: try something bold in 2021
Whether it’s partnering with an influencer, or investing in Augmented Reality, or experimenting with 360 videos, or just creating good educational videos about your products and services, 2021 is a great time to start using video. And if you need help with any project, contact Slow Clap.