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. 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.
To make effective B2B videos, you have to think differently than B2C.
This is a guide to making B2B videos, or videos that sell from one business to another.
Is there a difference? Put simply, the B2B audience is small and practical. They are company decision-makers, managers and CEOs. They have strict budgets, stakeholders to please, and employee jobs to protect.
B2C markets don’t have to be so methodical. While a B2B software company may have 10,000 real-world prospects, a B2C software company may have 10 million or more. And their purchase habits can be guided by logic – but they can also be for curiosity or comfort.
Therefore, while all advertising requires emotion to sell, B2B depends heavily on concrete data to close a sale. Statistics, industry knowledge, and proven results are required.
Sounds daunting, right? Well, in a lot of ways, we’ve found that B2B video can actually be easier than B2C, because if you know the industry, you know precisely what the players need. And creating videos to position yourself as an indispensable guide can actually be fun.
Slow Clap Productionsis a San Francisco-based creative video production company that helps B2B brands like GitHub, Slack, Blue Shield of California, Capital One Small Business, and Insightly use video to its full potential.
This article will show you:
How B2B video is different.
The best types of B2B content to make.
How to choose which content to make.
And where to deploy your videos for maximum results.
So let’s get started.
Great B2B video starts with B2B marketing fundamentals
B2B video follows the same principles as any great marketing, but differs in the where and how the message is delivered.
Start by thinking about who buys. Are they the director of marketing? Purchasing director? Or field supervisor?
Next, what does this person want? They may have a large budget, but misspending can damage the company and possibly cost them their job. A B2C customer can suffer a broken hair dryer, but a B2B customer may not be able to survive faulty software.
Your customer’s first desire is safety (not to lose), but their hopes are pinned on products that go beyond “staying the same.” They do want software that really does save them an hour a day.
Because these are the stakes, the goal of B2B marketing is first and foremost to build trust.
To build trust, We suggest you demonstrate five things:
You understand their industry. You know their operations and supply chain. You speak their language, including industry-specific lingo. Our testimonial video collaboration with GitHub, for instance, targets a very specific audience interested in cutting edge cloud computing, featuring Spotify, Google, and the Apache Foundation.
You can prove your results. You gather testimonials from other customers – ideally recognizable brands, but at least companies in the same industries as your prospective customers. The video we made for NewVoiceMedia (now Vonage) about DoorDash does a great job of laying down the concrete benefits of their product.
You can show relevant data. This includes test data, like “our drills lasted 40% longer in an independent study.” And related data, like “tungsten has shown to outlast other metals by as much as 90%” Our animated videos for States Title, for instance, use data points to make a strong case for their solutions.
You know the culture of the industry. Like CRM, where sarcasm and color are encouraged. Or IT, where being efficient and correct are virtues. Or law, where reputation and power matter most. Stampli’s audience is Accounts Payable, one of the least sexy silos in a business. But they know their audience and know that AP teams love a good sense of humor. We made sure that shined through in our Stampli brand videos.
You have a clear message that wraps the first four together. “Suppliers who use HoverTruck pay half as much in mileage costs, and it’s trusted by brands like FedEx.” Blue Shield of California did a great job of this when discussing new emerging technology, Virtual Consults, in our animated video series Health Reimagined.
How to use this knowledge in your B2B video best practices
Video is arguably the most powerful marketing short of a friend’s referral, but it faces the same problems as every other type of online marketing, including:
How will we get them to find it?
How will we get them to click on it?
How will it resonate with the audience?
How will it persuade the audience?
To tackle these, answer the following questions.
Who is the hero of the video?
More specifically, who is your customer “avatar?” What are their demographics and gender? How do they dress? How do they talk? If using actors or animated characters, you’ll need to make these decisions so you can include characters with whom your audience can identify.
“To be good at sales, you have to be good at basically duplicating and mirroring the person you’re selling to and giving them the personality they need to feel comfortable to buy,” says Benjamin Denehy, CEO of The UK’s Most Hated Sales Trainer.
What story does your customer need to hear?
It’s a simple formula – your customer has a problem (X), so they obtain your product/service (Y), and get a specific outcome (Z).
Even in B2B video, most of your storytelling should be about your customer. This means skipping the office tour video unless it’s relevant – for instance, if you want to show that your employees all share a background in the same industry as your clients.
How is your customer searching for answers?
You solve a problem. Your customer asks about how to solve that problem in different and sometimes unexpected ways.
Promising these answers is the key to being found, being watched, and (eventually) being purchased.
This is first a problem of defining the answer, and then using keyword research to find out exactly how your audience is really asking it. For example, if you run a SaaS company, a frequent search is “software as a service vs. subscription.”
Source: Answer The Public
One way to begin is by using Answer the Public, which is sort of a reversed search engine. You type in a topic, and you’ll get questions and queries most frequently searched in Google that includes that search phrase. Be sure to try different search phrases – and consider comparing them in Google Trends to see which one(s) are searched most overall.
So maybe we don’t exactly “buy with emotion and justify with logic.” But either way, data is necessary to sell. Here are four easy-to-use forms of data for your B2B videos:
Before & after: Whenever possible, show the problem, action, and result
Testimonials: “I’m director of marketing at TechCorp, and video helped us grow tremendously.”
Primary data: “In our tests, video had a 20% higher conversion rate than email.”
Secondary data: “According to X, 90% of marketers say video brings them success”
During planning and scripting, consider adding every credible form of proof to your video. Rank them by how impactful they are to your avatar. Safety is always the first concern, with success coming second.
Where will they watch this video?
The last consideration in this set is choosing where to launch your video for best results. This involves some knowledge of platforms.
Start with these questions:
What platforms will you use?
Is that platform’s culture best for this content?
What are their size limits?
What are their runtime limits?
Should you upload the video natively on the platform, or embed it from another platform (e.g. Wistia, YouTube, or Vimeo)?
If you’re hoping to be found organically, ask these:
What keywords would bring your customers there?
Are the keywords found in the video? Or the video’s description?
Is your thumbnail eye-catching to your customer avatar?
And if you’re using advertisements, consider these:
Which platforms have the most professionals?
What keywords would target them best?
The best formats for B2B videos
A customer’s success story is worth… well, don’t tell them how much it’s worth, or they may invoice you. All the data in the world still doesn’t compare to a trustworthy recommendation. Even better: a human from a brand recognized in your industry.
For instance, our case study video of how Asana’s legal operations pros use Ironclad is worth its weight in gold. It describes a story of a company department (legal ops) on the cutting edge of an industry (business contracting) all powered by Ironclad.
Ask an outspoken customer who loves your product for help.
Film them in their native environment, using a professional production team.
Have them speak to an interviewer. It’s easier than talking to the camera.
And for basic interview questions:
Who are they, and what does their business do?
What was their problem?
How did they know that your product had the answer?
What was the result?
Do they recommend you?
Explainer videos aren’t always about animated characters facing abstract problems. They can be live action, too, with a company representative talking about their methods. The common element is that they sell by explaining their unique solution to a problem.
You’ve seen a million of them – but they don’t need a million views. They only need to be seen by the right people. So targeting and promoting is just as important as creating a clear message.
Webinars live or die on audience participation, so we recommend you devote a large portion of time to answering questions. Lecturing through a pitch deck is boring. Keep your presentation short and open up the mic as soon as possible.
Besides planning, spend time promoting your webinars. Use your email list and your social media. And offer value. Your webinar should be worth skipping lunch. Two great methods include offering answers customers can’t get elsewhere, and offering discounts on your product.
Lastly, make sure you partner with an event production agency, or have an internal event producer, who knows the ins and outs of attendee registration, and how to turn registrants into high quality vetted sales leads.
Interviews with Experts
Often in B2B marketing, the word of an expert can be as good as a testimonial. If you make medical-grade masks, talk to a microbiologist who can verify that some masks – like yours – can stop even the tiniest of viruses from passing through.
People understand that experts are busy and often live far away, so they don’t expect a full-scale production. Their first concern is getting answers. So your two priorities in expert interviews are good audio and good questions.
To create great expert interviews:
Contact the expert with full disclosure about who you are and your intentions
If they’re unwilling to host a film crew, ask them to record in a quiet area, preferably with good lighting
Educational videos naturally include teaching your customer how to use your product or service. If you don’t show them how, somebody else will, and you don’t know what they’ll get wrong, let alone what they’ll say about you.
If you have no video content whatsoever, this is the B2B video marketing strategy we recommend:
A great explainer video. Your customer must first understand how you help them through a problem.
Testimonials. Even when filmed on a phone, testimonials can build trust. But capturing them professionally demonstrates your success and reliability.
Webinars. These help you build email lists, meet people interested in your product, and find out more about what they value. It’s win-win stuff.
Educational videos. First, create some on how to use your product (if necessary), and second on heavily-searched topics related to your business. If you recorded a great Webinar, it can easily become an educational video.
Interviews with experts. They’re essentially more educational videos, but it’s harder to predict if the content will answer specific questions your audience has. Sometimes, though, you need somebody with more authority to prove your own credibility.
Choosing the right platforms
As always, go where your audience goes. But in B2B, that’s a somewhat predictable breakdown:
If you’re starting from scratch, build your presence in the top four platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube). You can use programs like Hootsuite to post to every platform on an automated schedule.
Remember that total views and total subscribers are nice, but they’re not the metrics you want. Your goal is engagement with actual customers. It doesn’t matter if you only get 25 views in a month if one of them is a major customer.
Tips for better videos and better outcomes
Start with a script. It’s a lot easier to change paths on paper than it is mid-filming or in post-production.
Add captions. Captions make your content friendly to hard-of-hearing and increase engagement from users scrolling down feeds. Some platforms offer them for free. Rev.com offers them at just over $1/minute.
Hire a top-notch production company if the video is going to directly impact your sales. Reach out to us to start the conversation.
Follow the 80/20 rule. Spend 20% of your time on creation, and 80% on promotion. Use it in ads. Put it on a social media schedule.
I often receive emails from marketers wanting to work with us on their video marketing project. Sometimes, those marketers have a video production company they want to work with, and are just looking for competitive bids to make sure the price is in the right ballpark. Sometimes, the marketers really like the work on our site, and want to produce a video project that falls into some of our strengths (authenticity, documentary-style, big emphasis on storytelling and the human angle over visual polish). And sometimes, they just knew somebody who has worked with us successfully in the past.
Whatever the circumstance is, we’re happy to develop a proposal for our potential clients’ project, or even brainstorm some creative ideas together. In a proposal, we include an overview of the project, some ideas on creative approaches, a budget (or several budgets), a detailed timeline for the project, and info about our company and our team. But the one thing I always tell marketers who have asked for a proposal is, make sure you consider other options. After all, we may not be the best fit for your video project, and there are a few other video production companies in the San Francisco Bay Area that do really great work.
Here’s a list of my favorite production companies in the Bay Area and, based on my observations, the type of work I think they’re best at:
These guys make really brilliant, cinematic branded content and customer testimonials. They have an amazing knack for creating something that feels more like an advertisement, or a film in the movie theater, but is actually a documentary-style story for a brand. This is something Slow Clap is also quite good at, however, our approach is a lot more focused on authenticity in storytelling and capturing authentic moments, whereas their approach is heavily curated and clearly storyboarded frame-by-frame. I especially admire their series for BMW and E-surance about motorcycle lovers:
This video production firm has something that most others in the Bay Area don’t: a true voice. Their work is unique, different, and feels very much like it is part of the same body of work, similar to how all of a director’s films might share similar traits, themes, or motifs. While Avocados and Coconuts’ quirky, edgy, and hip aesthetics and storytelling might not be the right fit for every company, when there is a proper fit, the results are lovely:
Corduroy’s visuals are excellent, but they also have strong storytelling skills. They’re a great firm to go to if you want help with both creative storytelling and a high level of visual polish. The work that I’ve seen them really excel at has been scripted and storyboarded. They’re almost more of a creative agency than a production company, in the sense that they do everything top-to-bottom and put a huge emphasis on creative. If you’re looking for someone to produce a scripted project and have a big budget, I recommend considering Corduroy. Carl, the founder, is warm, smart, and creative. Here’s a video of theirs that I love:
This team of high-end filmmakers make some of the most polished, highly produced visual stories in the Bay Area. They partner with a lot of advertising agencies on big budget stuff, but also work directly with brands to tell stories that look as slick as a traditional broadcast spot. If your budget has no upward limit, I suggest reaching out to Jordan and the folks at Heist. This is my favorite video from their portfolio:
Did I miss any great video production companies in the San Francisco Bay Area? Let me know, as I’m always interested in connecting with peers, and watching some great work.
In 2018, the City & County of San Francisco passed a proposition to reinforce the Seawall, a barrier that protects the City’s waterfront from flooding. The Seawall is over 100 years old and is in desperate need of reinforcements to protect from earthquake and sea-level rise. As part of the project, Slow Clap was selected by the Port of San Francisco to produce videos on an as-needed basis.
Phase one of the Seawall was to conduct a series of tests to diagnose all the problems with the Seawall. This complex, wonky undertaking had to be explained in a simple, digestible format so that residents could stay informed about and proud of the foundational research that will eventually guide the multi-billion dollar project.
“We were really proud to have been selected by the Port of San Francisco to create video for the Seawall project, which will leave an impact on our city for generations to come.” – Daniel Lichtenberg, Creative Director, Slow Clap
Execution & Challenges
The Port collaborated with Slow Clap and communications firm Civic Edge to condense the Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment (MHRA) studies into a simple, easy to understand, short, animated video. These tests include laser measurements, drilling, seismic monitoring, traffic flow studies, and many other components. So, the challenge was to find the best way to condense all this info into something that San Francisco Bay Area residents would find welcoming and informative, instead of overwhelming.
“Through this work, I’ve learned about drilling techniques, data collection, and structures for taking care of our water system and sea. It was such a cool challenge to create these illustrations and help promote public understanding of such an exciting environmental initiative.” Rose Tully, Graphic Illustrator, Slow Clap
Slow Clap worked closely with the Port to identify the best way to visualize each concept in the MHRA. We chose to hand illustrate the whole video, in a style that is somewhere between a whiteboard infographic style, and a cartoon style. We felt it was the perfect balance to strike a tone that felt both official and educational, but also friendly and accessible. Our voice-over talent, a warm, welcoming voice, was chosen for similar reasons. The illustrated scenes were animated as though they had been hand-drawn onto the screen, to inject an extra sense of fun and curiosity.
The result is a short, accessible, engaging video that has several thousand views across the Port’s various social media platforms, and has been used at every community engagement event about the Seawall since its release.
“The Port of San Francisco loved the final video. They felt that the video captured the technical assessments conducted in a fun, visually engaging manner. It was even useful for other Port staff to learn more about the MHRA.” – Tira Okamoto, Civic Edge
Slow Clap has fostered a relationship with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and D&A Communications over the past five years, developing and producing video stories that highlight the SFPUC’s work to live up to its Environmental Justice and Community Benefits policies and good neighbor programs. As part of ongoing communications about this work, the SFPUC came to us to tell two community members’ stories, Misty Mckinney and Sonia Davis. Misty, one of the SFPUC’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) members, works with the agency to design, implement, and evaluate policies that impact communities. Born in the Philippines, Misty has a strong background in environmental justice and cares deeply about diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“This is one of those projects that reminds me why I love documentary-style video content so much. It was amazing to get to spend a day with Misty and her family, meet and hang out with her son Turtle, and learn about their story.” – Daniel Lichtenberg, Creative Director, Slow Clap
Our goal was to highlight Misty’s environmental advocacy and her role as a CAC member while educating viewers about the SFPUC’s community and capital investments. The key was to communicate all these important messages, while also humanizing Misty’s story.
To accomplish this, we told her story through the lens of family, and how when she was growing up in the Philippines, access to clean water was viewed as a privilege. But for her son Turtle and for her community, Misty wants to ensure clean water is a right for all. Although we had just one day to film interviews, we were able to capture several activities that told the rich picture of Misty’s life with her family.
“Dan and the team at Slow Clap always make sure to focus on the authentic story in their videos. That’s why our collaborations have been so successful.” – Darolyn Davis, D&A Communications
Misty’s story takes us for a “day in her life.” We learn not only about her responsibilities as the Environmental Justice Chair on the SFPUC’s CAC but also about her family’s participation in SFPUC programs. Through her story, we learn about the agency’s Adopt-A-Drain, Drink Tap, and CleanPowerSF Programs while getting a sense of how rewarding it is to take part in these initiatives. All the while, we made sure to feature the most important thing of all: Misty’s strong bond with her family, and how the SFPUC keeps them healthy, happy, and engaged local citizens. With her video, we told a holistic, human-driven story as best we could and it paid off. Misty’s story is one of the most viewed videos on the SFPUC’s social media channels, with several thousand views. We also created several shorter versions of the video for social media, and with Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog translations for San Francisco’s diverse audiences.
At Slow Clap Productions, we believe in authentic storytelling. We believe all voices should be heard, and that everyone has a story. We stand behind the Black Lives Matter movement and with our friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors of color who are sharing their authentic stories through protest, murals, social media posts, and conversation.
The injustices that members of the black community have suffered cannot be ignored. The only way we can grow as a community, city, and country is to acknowledge and address the systemic racism that black people face every day.