The Quiet Man (Jeff Henderson)

Mad Bear co-founder Julian Williams was in Rio for the Olympics. This was his 4th Summer Games. After spending some time with gold medalist Jeff Henderson, he wrote this article.


A slim figure is bent over at the waist, feet together, a slight bend in his knees, sinewy muscular arms hanging low, fingers twitching over the indigo strip beneath him. He taps the surface thrice, tap tap tap, with his right foot and extends it backward, straightening at the waist beyond upright, leaning backward now at a 65 degree angle, while drawing his right arm across his chest; his left leg is extended straight in front him,  left heel on the surface, his toe extended in the air exposing glinting spikes protruding out of the hot pink soles of his Nikes.

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Taut, still,  his eyes burning into the middle distance,  in one motion, he leans forward, his left toe rocks down, his right knee explodes forward, with calculated choppy steps he accelerates, chop chop chop chop, building speed, 20 yards, chopchopchopchopchop, at forty yards, upright, knees like pistons, elbows pumping, spikes a blur, still building speed,  50 yards full throttle, approaching 25mph, at 60 yards, top end, a long stride, wham! His left foot slams into the white wooden board embedded in the runway, the spikes grip, in a fraction of a second his hamstring contracts, body compresses low, and uncoils as he explodes off the surface into the air and and soars, arms forward, legs flailing, flashes of pink and white and blue.

McAlmont, Arkansas,  ‘MacSide’, occupies almost three square miles smack dab in the middle of the state.  Population 2,000, Median house price $71,000.  Jeff Henderson attended nearby Sylvan High in Sherwood, where he starred in track and football.  Despite his speed, he received no Division 1 scholarship offers and only partial Division II scholarships.  Unable to pay for college for more than a year at a time he used partial scholarships to jump from one school to another finally landing up at Stillman College. It was here at a national indoor meet, bouncing between the 60m sprint and long jump, that he caught the eye of Al Joyner, himself a former gold medal winner in the triple jump.  Joyner offered him the chance to travel with him to California and train at the USOC facility in Chula Vista, CA.  There was just one problem; Henderson had no money, not even enough to buy a plane ticket to California.

Joyner saw enough in the young man to take care of the flight and put him up in a hotel for two weeks. Henderson recalls leaving with all his worldly possessions in two duffel bags, including two pair of Nikes. After that two week session, Henderson returned home to Arkansas, where Joyner would text him workouts.  His local high school had no proper track, so he conducted his workouts on the macadam “running track.”  He would travel to meets and  compete, living on a shoestring, with whatever help his father could provide.

He spent the next year back and forth between Arkansas and the USOC facility in Chula Vista, living in the dorms paid for by the USOC, his expenses  handled thanks to the benevolence of his coaches who believed in his talent.  In 2015 he had made the US team, where he represented the United States at the World Championships in Beijing.  He finished in 9th despite having the longest jump in qualifying competition.  He was despondent.  The depression turned to anger.  He swore he would win his next meet.

The next international meet was the Olympics.  Following the U.S. trials in Houston, which he won, Al Joyner gave Henderson his gold medal telling him to return with two.  Henderson returned the medal before he left for Rio, assuring Joyner he would return with one of his own.

In yet another unlikely twist of fate, during one of those visits to California, he met a photographer who introduced him to an agent friend who was looking for a track man with a background in football.  That meeting resulted in workouts with a wide receiver coach in whatever time was left over after track workouts,  which in turn led to a workout with  the Kansas City Chiefs.  They have asked him to join them training camp when he returns from pursuing his Olympic dream.

The flailing legs brace for landing as 175 lbs of desire descends into olympic sand,  his rear barely scraping the surface, bounding up and out of the pit, more antelope than human, bursting with adrenaline, sprinting across the midfield all the way to the far end of the track, he stares at the board…8.38 meters. 27 1/2 feet.  That’s your Chevy Tahoe bumper-to-bumper with a Mini Cooper. Better yet, that’s a gold medal. By one centimeter. That’s this far: (  ).  His hand raised in triumph he breaks into a sprint, 175lbs of blue lycra clad joy streaking across the matching blue midfield.

When Jeff Henderson returns to his innocuous apartment complex in Southern California, few will know the gold medal winner next door; he won’t tell them.  He doesn’t want people to know. He will return with medal for Al Joyner, this one all his.  He will place the medal in his mother’s hands who will not recognize him for she is in the last phases of Alzheimer’s.  He will join the Kansas City Chiefs, where he will be the fastest thing on a football field Kansas City has ever seen.

He’s not done.  He promises he will be back at the World Championships in London, and plans to defend his title in Tokyo in 2020.  So if you missed the quiet man in the kerfuffle surrounding swimmers, and gymnasts and mosquitoes, you have a another chance to catch Jeff Henderson on the long runway leading to glory, because no one is going to catch him on the football field.


About the Author

Julian WilliamsJulian-bio2

As Director of Photography and co-founder of Mad Bear Productions, all things visual pass before Julian’s creative and experienced eyes. He has been capturing the story as it happens from behind the lens for more than fifteen years.

Julian’s ability to find the extraordinary in the seemingly mundane is his gift. As both a cameraman and editor, Julian understands the importance of shooting the right material the first time. With a developed love for telling stories and a deep appreciation for being allowed inside the worlds of thousands of people, Julian loves shooting every kind of story.

From Shuttle launches at Cape Canaveral, natural disasters, historic elections, Super Bowls, The Olympics, a World Cup to a royal wedding across the pond; Julian brings his global experience and understanding for the latest technologies and trends to Mad Bear’s clientele.

Michael Phelps: The Most Underrated American Athlete of All Time…

Mad Bear co-founder Julian Williams is in Rio for the Olympics. This is his 4th Summer Games. Read on as he reflects on Michael Phelps: The most underrated American athlete of all time.


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A friend replied to me regarding Phelps with the argument that he has more opportunities to win medals; and while he does not really care for him, he does respect his accomplishments. That got me thinking…

Most people (no one else!) are physically unable to qualify for 6 (or in the case of Beijing 8) races in one games. Phelps does not just qualify, he wins!

Imagine if Usain Bolt ran the 100, 200, 400, 800, 100 hurdles, 400 hurdles, and two relays in the same games. Ridiculous. Anyone has the opportunity, but physically being able to go through that watery-meat grinder is a different story. Remember, for every final you watch, there was a qualifying heat to get there.

Phelps has done it over the course of 20 years! A swimmer staying elite, not just elite in terms of making it through trials for 20 years (if you make the US Olympic swim team you are an elite swimmer), but being essentially the overall best swimmer in the world for 18 of those 20 is simply absurd. It is just not done.

Every Olympics he has had rivals that challenge him, even beaten him, but four years later, they are gone, Phelps is still there and has been since 2000.

To put it in perspective, Ian Thorpe is an Aussie legend (5 Olympic golds and 8 Olympic medals total). Thorpe first beat Phelps in Sydney, when Phelps was 15, and he was 17; by the time Beijing rolled around Thorpe had been essentially retired for a couple years, and Phelps was winning eight golds. EIGHT GOLDS!  Two of them in the most physically demanding disciplines: the 100 and 200 fly; and the individual IM! Then, he comes back four years later and wins four more golds in London!

Yet, only someone who has been a competitive swimmer or follows swimming can even begin to wrap their head around what he has done, and continues to do.  To respect Phelp’s accomplishments is to disrespect his body of work; you should be in awe of him as you would a force of nature. For that reason, he is the greatest individual athlete in modern history at his particular sport; the only other person who comes close is Jack Nicklaus in golf and Tiger was getting close before he imploded. He is what Tiger might have been.

No one is getting close to Phelps. Phelps is a more dominant swimmer than Ali was a boxer. More dominant in his sport than Sergei Bubka. Serena. Roger. You name it. However, because of the place swimming holds as a sport in our country and culture, he is also the most underrated individual athlete in the history of our country, not in the swimming world, but in terms of the general public, the average sports fan, and the sporting press.

Keep this in mind tonight when you watch Phelps. Force your children to watch with you, for you nor they will never see the likes of him again.

Even if he doesn’t win, even if he is beaten by the younger men who idolized him growing up, men who will climb on the blocks tonight because he inspired them to take up the sport, and in the case of LeClos and Kasuke, he is the reason they chose to swim butterfly in the first place.

Know that merely respecting him is disrespectful. He is Einstein. DaVinci. Hawking. Picasso . El Capitan. Merckx. Bannister. In terms of swimming he is as big as Everest and meaner than the Matterhorn . He is all that even if he loses tonight. More from Rio coming soon…


About the Author

Julian WilliamsJulian-bio2

As Director of Photography and co-founder of Mad Bear Productions, all things visual pass before Julian’s creative and experienced eyes. He has been capturing the story as it happens from behind the lens for more than fifteen years.

Julian’s ability to find the extraordinary in the seemingly mundane is his gift. As both a cameraman and editor, Julian understands the importance of shooting the right material the first time. With a developed love for telling stories and a deep appreciation for being allowed inside the worlds of thousands of people, Julian loves shooting every kind of story.

From Shuttle launches at Cape Canaveral, natural disasters, historic elections, Super Bowls, The Olympics, a World Cup to a royal wedding across the pond; Julian brings his global experience and understanding for the latest technologies and trends to Mad Bear’s clientele.

A Feeling I Get

Not too long ago I pulled off the impossible. A surprise party. Months and months of covert planning, secret phone calls and shady behavior all came together for one purpose: A Reaction. It was priceless. Watching raw emotion and excitement unravel as a result of something you had a hand in, is in a word: AWESOME. I’ll remember that moment always.

Surprise!

I get the same feeling when I sit in an audience and watch a room full of people react to a video our Team produced. My heart skips a beat. I love nothing more than hearing people laugh at all the right places, take pause when it counts and rise to their feet, and clap at the end. It’s like watching someone unwrap a present that you know they will love, and then watching them freak out when they see it for the first time. We recently produced a series of videos for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida’s annual “Women of Distinction” event. To sit amongst hundreds of people – including the women and their families- and watch them react, was a feeling I won’t forget.

We are all hardwired to remember events that are more emotionally charged. Good marketers know how to leverage this fact. You need to help people feel an emotional connection towards your brand, and there’s no medium more emotional than video. It lets you convey so much more than words. Facial expressions show people your excitement, tone of voice tells a compelling story, and sometimes music alone can get people fired up about your product. Like this one we produced for BMW of Freehold.

Look for different ways to leverage this emotional opportunity. If your support team is interacting with customers via email, phone, and support ticketing, use a video to introduce those team members in a new way. You can even create an emotional connection to your product. If you use case studies as part of your marketing mix, try a video case study. Here’s an example from Wilson HCG.

Emotional connections are important because they help people remember you. The goal is to make people feel inspired, delighted, or joyful when they see your content. In remembering you positively, they’re more likely to buy from you, come back as a repeat customer, and even recommend you to someone else. An emotional connection will help you stay memorable and drive more sales your way.

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About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

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Touch it up? Or make it over?

I have a kitchen table in my house. I love the table. It serves the purpose, but it’s old and kind of ugly (not in an antique way either). It still functions well, but someone decided it wasn’t up-to-date with current trends. Should I stain it? Repaint it? Is this a DIY project? Or should I save my time and just get a new one?

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You can think of video much the same way. With all the content you produce, it’s inevitable that some of it may end up out-of-date as well. But that doesn’t mean you have to throw it out and start over. Sometimes all it needs is a quick touch-up. There are also situations that call for a complete makeover, and others that should just be left alone.

Leave it Alone:

Evergreen How-to Content: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Evergreen content is called that for a reason; if it’s still teaching a valuable lesson, leave it alone.

When to Touch-up/Refresh:

Culture videos: Has your team changed? If you’re interviewing a specific person in a culture video that no longer works at the company, consider replacing just their snippet with a new interviewee or shot.

Product videos: Do you use screenshots or clips of your product in your demo videos? If so, make sure they are up to date because products are always changing!

Research: New research comes out all the time, but that doesn’t mean you have to scrap last quarter’s video just because some updated research has come to light. You can always update one stat or add a stat in. This even works if the video is a motion graphic.

Testimonials: Sometimes your biggest advocate leaves the company they were working for and their testimonial is no longer as impactful, since … well, they don’t work for that company any more. As long as your customer team has been doing a great job of re-building relationships at that company, consider updating the speaker in your testimonial video. You can even do this while keeping most of the messaging the same.

Blog videos: Has a method or concept changed since you last published on that topic? You don’t necessarily have to update the entire video, but you could add updates throughout the clip with text annotations or a even a quick filmed update at the beginning or end.

Webinars: If your webinars are posted chronologically, chances are no one’s watching your hour-long webinar from 2013. Try updating it or even re-purposing it by cutting it into smaller pieces and adding it to a new blog post.

When it’s time for a makeover.

Home Page Video: This is the video that sits front and center. Unless there is a mistake or your tagline needs updating, you should simply create a new one. Change on a home page can be a great way to re-engage visitors and catch people’s attention.

Rebranded Video Content: If you’re going through an entire rebrand, an update to video content probably just isn’t going to cut it. Chances are you’ll need to start from scratch, and it will probably be a more efficient use of everyone’s time.

So how do you know it’s time to refresh your content?

When you’re wearing low-rise and everyone else is in skinny jeans, then you know it’s time for an update. When you’re talking about video it’s different. But with a good system of checks and balances you’ll be ahead of your content, before it becomes too outdated.

Keep Products Site Videos Updated: If you have any big changes in the company like a large number of new hires or layoffs, product launches or product updates you’ll likely need some refreshed content. For smaller changes keep a spreadsheet or a checklist with all the pages on your website and the videos on each page and the date they were made. Make note of those that might need a refresh and ensure your video team is aware of it.

Keep Content Marketing Videos Updated: A quick way to keep track of all video blogs is to use a specific tag or filter. Written blog posts require a bit more work. You would have to set up a personal system to remind yourself to update dated material. Remember even adding a quick update to a blog post can bring it back as up-to-date. Or you can always completely rewrite the post.

Alas, the table – much like some of your content- has legs to stand on and passes the test for a touch-up. Now.. that pool cage with the holes in it.. that’s a different story.

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About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

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Round We Go: Virtual Reality/360 Video

This week thousands have flocked to the California desert to attend Coachella, while a very different crowd flocked to the desert in Nevada, to gather in Las Vegas for the Coachella and the Comicon of the broadcast industry all rolled into one, the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters trade show, known in our circles simply as, NAB.

And while the buzz around Coachella 2016 has been old school (NKOTB and Guns n’ Roses are back!), the buzz in Vegas among broadcast/video geeks is clearly all about 360 degree video/virtual reality. Virtual reality has been around for a few a years, but with advances in technology placing it in the hands of the consumer, and putting affordable tools for creating virtual content in the hands of the content creators, the use of VR and 360 degree video seems to be on the verge of explosion across the media landscape.IMG_4063

At the same time, all the way across the country hundreds gathered for Imagination Day at the Tribeca Film Festival, headlined by entrepreneur and adventurer Richard Branson. The day long summit focused on the new reality of the not so distant future. Much of the focus of that new reality was the concept and possibilities of virtual reality.

But caution! We have been here before; in 2012 our visual world was about to be rocked by a 3D content revolution that has yet to be realized. Will VR be different? I believe so, more so because of accessibility more than anything else. The Oculus Rift headsets for VR gamers cost a third of a large flat screen TV, Samsung’s VR headsets, and Google Cardboard integrate with cellphones to make it a reality, and YouTube has reengineered its platform to allow for 360 degree video. At the same time, established visual technology companies ranging from GoPro, to Black Magic, to Nokia (remember them?!?!) have produced 360 degree cameras in a range of price and complexity that will serve everyone from the true professional to the amateur early adapter.

Video games, the creation of alternate worlds, the new frontiers of storytelling through virtual reality, its all thrilling and seemingly right around corner, but we are not quite there yet. As if to underscore the fact, a proclaimed “immersive reality experience, by the masters of virtual reality Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael” crashed repeatedly on the “master’s” MacBook Pro, and the duo had to walk us through their film using our imaginations to guide rather than being able to show us the exquisite 360 degree video footage they had shot over the past year.

While that technical failure proved an apt metaphor, Derek Belch, former Stanford football player and coach, exhibited a fascinating display of the power of virtual reality as it is being used right now in real time. His company STRIVR Labs, uses virtual reality video technology to help with training NFL athletes, allowing them to review and react to actual footage in practice situations that the players participated in the same day. And we didn’t even need VR headsets to experience it. If a linebacker or a quarterback can experience 100 “real” repetitions and see themselves and see a point of view perspective at the same time, it allows the to be on the field without actually being on the field. STRIVR has also created a fan experience, allowing anybody to feel what its like to be on and NFL field shoulder to shoulder with the team they follow, not as computer creations, but rather in three dimensional as they really exist. The only thing missing is the sour stench of sweaty shoulder pads. Does it work? 10 NFL teams have signed on, as well as a dozen college programs, as well as a handful of major league baseball hockey teams.

The possibilities are endless and many of them have already arrived. Storytellers can provide viewers with an experience more intimate than before. On the job training for those working in physically stressful environments takes on a entirely new dimension. VR and 360 video are here to stay, because they’re more than 3D and the headgear is optional.


About the Author:   Julian Williams

Julian-bio2

As Director of Photography and co-founder of Mad Bear Productions, all things visual pass before Julian’s creative and experienced eyes. He has been capturing the story as it happens from behind the lens for more than fifteen years.

Julian’s ability to find the extraordinary in the seemingly mundane is his gift. As both a cameraman and editor, Julian understands the importance of shooting the right material the first time. With a developed love for telling stories and a deep appreciation for being allowed inside the worlds of thousands of people, Julian loves shooting every kind of story.

From Shuttle launches at Cape Canaveral, natural disasters, historic elections, Super Bowls, The Olympics, a World Cup to the a royal wedding across the pond;  Julian brings his global experience and understanding for the latest technologies and trends to Mad Bear’s clientele.

Turning Content into Interactive Connectivity

What do we want?

Engagement!

When do you want it?

NOW!

Interactive video is a perfect opportunity to provide customers with a dynamic experience when learning about a product, service, brand, idea, concept, etc… It’s like a custom-tailored suit. By enabling them to shape the way they consume your content, you can offer a more personal interaction with your brand and get them the most relevant information faster. Plus, you get something in the process.

Here are a few ways to make your video more fun, engaging and … interactive.

Interactive Video PicClickable Content: Fundamentally, clickable video is any sort of online video that the user can interact with by clicking on it. That can be in the form of video overlays which allow you to display ads/ text without interrupting the content being watched. Different platforms offer different examples of this. Here is one from Wistia where we encouraged people to learn more about our TEAM:



 Cards and annotations with YouTube are a simple way to get people to click on           additional videos, links to your website, products and merchandise, and more.  Cards have some advantages over annotations, like being optimized for mobile and higher click-through rates, but both can be useful. Cards and Annotations are a way to add interactive commentary, including links to your YouTube videos and beyond. See the use of a “Poll” in the video below.


 

360 Video: 360 video is pretty much just that. Only it’s so much more. It’s created with a camera system that simultaneously records all 360 degrees of a scene. Viewers can pan and rotate a 360 video’s perspective to watch it from different angles. The net effect is a deeper level of immersion into the video. When you strap on some virtual reality goggles/headset… the experience goes to the next level, however, 360 video is viewable on computers, iOS devices and Android devices. If you watch on your computer make sure you’re using the latest version of your web browser (ex. Chrome, Firefox). Google created Google Cardboard which would give you a Virtual Reality-esque experience.  The Australian Tourism Board created this 360 video of Rottnest Island. Click and experience it for yourself.

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Tourism done right. The Australian Tourism Board gives viewers a 360 video experience. Click and take a tour.


 

Email Opt ins / Call to Action Buttons: These interactive videos contain social buttons and forms inside the video. They can include email opt in forms (like the video below), buttons (including “buy now” buttons), redirect actions, embedded html, hyperlink text, and more.)  While CTAs are great for generating leads, they can also help contribute to a different goal: growing your email list.

 

Interactive videos give viewers the opportunity to determine how their viewing experience unfolds. In fact, there are some brands that create multiple endings to a video and allow the viewer to select the ending they want to watch. Regardless of your tactics, the more that you can drive engagement, the better the result will be for your brand.

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About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

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How long should my video be?

You’ve probably heard people joke about human beings having a shorter attention span than goldfish, sadly it’s kind of true. If your content doesn’t capture a viewer’s interest in the right amount of time, they’ll move on to something else. We have to hold our audience very tight and not let them even think about moving, not even a tiny little inch (or pixel) from our content.

Video too long

In one of Wistia’s video lengths analytics, it’s clear shorter videos are better for getting people to watch the whole thing. Also, if you go to your YouTube accounts dashboard you will find an option to view your videos analytics. Their research supports the idea that  shorter videos produce a more engaged audience. That said, not all videos are created equal and you can’t always live by a one size fits all rule.

Length Matters

TV Commercials are generally 30 seconds in length. When they first came out, the spots were very expensive. So advertisers shortened their ads and that’s one of the main reasons why most commercials today are very short. And generally speaking that length works very well with human attention span.

Online Video Content Length is an important factor to consider when creating online video content. Viewers will only stick with your video for so long, but the optimal video length tends to vary depending on the purpose of your content.  There are so many different rules when it comes to the length of online marketing videos, it’s difficult to come up with a steadfast strategy. For example, we are in the middle of a campaign right now where we are dealing with videos that are between two to three-and-a-half minutes. THAT’S LONG. The completion rate is VERY low… uh oh.. you might think, BUT what we are finding is that within 20 seconds a higher than normal percentage of people are clicking the “learn more” link and as a result we are driving traffic early on in the video. Driving traffic is the goal, so the full length of the video does not even matter as long as the call to action is taken by the viewer.

With that said keep in mind that when it comes to snack-able video content, shorter is better.

Our "Brands We Love" social media campaign

Our “Brands We Love” social media campaign. Click and watch!

 

Crowdfunding Videos are meant to create credibility around the project, so there is       usually a “talking head” involved. And it’s usually the founder or inventor speaking about the product, and another part of showing the product and how it works. These videos can be a bit longer than commercials. The audience is looking to learn more. Think of this one as the Goldilocks of videos. One minute videos are usually too short. Five-minutes is too long. Two to three minutes is just right.

Crowdfunding Campaign

One of our crowdfunding campaigns for Trakbelt360. Click and watch.

Testimonials are informative, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be creative. You    want to show your customers and/or employees talking about your product or business. Keep in mind the audience watching this wants to learn more, so it’s more about listening than watching. While longer form testimonials aren’t terrible, if you’re going to use them for marketing purposes you wouldn’t want the video to last more than two minutes.

Our client testimonial for Wilson HCG. Click and watch!

Our client testimonial for Wilson HCG. Click and watch!

Campaigns/ Brand Videos The rule here is quite simple. In fact you can equate it to a rule of writing. Your copy can never be too long, it can only be too boring. The minute you stop being engaging, you’re going too long. So for these videos — make them as long as it takes to get the point across.

Our branding video for Italio. Click and watch!

Our branding video for Italio. Click and watch!

That’s all for now. Best of luck with your video production. It can all seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Allow the Mad Bear team to help. Start by clicking here.

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About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

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Video Domination: 5 Tips to Avoid Video Failure in a Video Saturated World

Huffpost Live is dead. So is Al Jazeera America. The New York Times is exploring how to use Virtual Reality in news and Samsung is opening a VR studio in NYC

Given the dominance of video and the proliferation of video-centric technologies, how do you fail at video? Or perhaps better stated, how do you avoid failing at video during the current climate of high video consumption?

We put together five simple tips to help you stay video relevant regardless if you consider yourself a media company, a small brand or a person in your garage.

1) Genuine and real should be the core of any form of video engagement. If you stray from this you risk alienating your audience. Whenever in doubt be yourself and speak honestly and from the heart. It makes no difference what you are talking about, who you are talking to and whether you are speaking for yourself or a brand… society has a very sensitive BS meter. Trigger it and you lose the audience.

2) Whether it is VR, AR or Micro-Casting; you have to remember, these are simply hi-tech tools. And it is our job as marketers to make sure we are using these tools correctly. By correctly I mean, are you creating and sharing content that utilizes the inherent uniqueness of the tool in a way that further engages and NOT simply using a tool because it is the latest shiny object.

3) Focus on creating an experience versus spoon feeding messages.  You do this by taking advantage of the specific platforms/channels you are using and asking why people use them.

For example, ask yourself why do people go on Facebook? And then think how that relates to your topic. Then remember, the video will autoplay on mute. So what does the combination of those two concepts mean for how you have to build the content?


Gary Vaynerchuk does a good job of furthering this concept.
(And remember, he did that talk in 2014. The concept has only evolved further.)

4) This one is for video marketers focusing on ROI*** While planning and forecasting, don’t get caught up in the limitations of language. Because our mechanisms of communication are evolving so rapidly our language can’t catch up. In essence, language is getting in the way of us understanding each other.

Was that video short-form or long-form? Does the word media adequately cover all forms of engagement? How do you differentiate between the words: content, news, media and journalism? Etc…

Many of these words have defined meanings that pre-date the digital age and can mean different things depending upon who you are, how old you are and what you do.

The best advice: begin your communication by focusing on the the result of what you are trying to accomplish and then move into how you plan on getting there. If you focus on the result first, at least your audience will know where you are going and then they will understand better what you mean.

5) The concept of making something social is misunderstood by a vast majority of people. While we are using social tools all of the time, most of us are not pausing to understand how they are benefiting us and in some cases how/why they are social.

Take the App Trivia Crack (I know… so 2015). I have always loved the show Jeopardy (despite Alex Trebek’s intolerable arrogance) so it makes sense why I am addicted to this game. But in addition to the fact that I love trivia stuff, the game allows me to challenge my friends in trivia and/or challenge a complete stranger. Plus, I can rate questions and/or even create my own. And there are metrics that allow me to see how I am doing against a larger collective. That’s all very social.

Or what about this… I just got the new 4th Generation Apple TV (fantastic by the way) and found a Karaoke game Sing! Karaoke by Smule where you are singing along with not only the artist but different real people who recorded themselves. How uniquely social.

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I hope these 5 tips have been helpful … now let’s go and collectively change the world of “video news media” or whatever the kids are calling it these days.


About the Author: Glenn Zimmerman

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Glenn has what is best described as “Superhero Syndrome.” His affliction began as a child and has progressed with age.

He got into extreme skiing and extreme sports before they were a thing because every superhero should try flying at least once.

While at Boston University, it was his desire to save the day that brought him to Post- Soviet Russia where he explored the emerging homeless population.

His Syndrome brought him to journalism school at Syracuse University to get his MS in Mass Communications. He later became an award winning reporter with the number one station in Detroit (WXYZ-TV) and with NBC’s flagship station in New York (WNBC- TV).

And, it was the reason he formed the video agency Mad Bear Productions.

With Mad Bear, he harnesses the power of story to help business, non-profits and events engage with their target audience. Video is his tool and he wields it mightily.

Glenn is a sought after speaker on video engagement and mass media. It is all part of his quest to help save the day, one story at a time.

The Power of Music in Video

The importance of music in video is indisputable. It is the subtle guide that commands an audience to sit up and pay attention. The right music can make your video memorable and moving. On the flipside, a mistaken choice of soundtrack can give the wrong impression about a brand, confuse a message and/or simply leave the story flat.

Mad Bear’s Co-founder and creative genius Julian WilliamsKnock it Out Music’s Executive Producer/ Composer Ryan Nach and Mark Malekpour with Beat Suite share some tips to help choose the perfect tunes for your next video marketing project.

Music and Feeling

1. Think about how you want your audience to feel

You know what I am talking about. You get a text from a family member and it says “Stop what you’re doing and watch this video.” A distraction from work sounds nice right about now, so you take the bait. A minute later, you’re holding back tears because the video you just watched was that good. And when a colleague stops by your desk to ask what’s wrong, you lie and say “My allergies are just awful today.” Try watching that video on mute; you probably won’t need those tissues this time. Nach says “the power of music to elicit emotional reactions is one of the reasons why it’s often referred to as the language of emotion – and it’s vital you get it right.” Malekpour adds “if you’re producing content that has a high tempo and is a visual feast, you need music that compliments that and carries the energy and tempo of the content… the music is used to keep the attention of the audience, maintain the flow of the video and help it along so that a 2 or 3 minute video doesn’t seem like a long, drawn out watch.” Remember, the music is a main ingredient that pulls them in, pricks their ears and grabs their interest.

2. Pick the right mood

The mood of a piece of music is one of the most important elements to consider when choosing a track for your video. “If I had to pick one of (Mad Bear’s) videos where the music set a mood and a pace it would be a video we did for Attorney Paul Edelstein. Right away the music sets a mood and a pace. And when it changes, it still drives the timing and edits under the voice over. It’s a great example of how music sets mood and determines the pace of a video.” How about music and sports? ESPN’s Monday Night promo for the Giants and Dolphins is a terrific example of how music and image complement each other…especially the first few bars of the Lil Wayne track.

MNF Promo

Music sets the mood

3. Use budget wisely

Budget will obviously factor in when it comes to the quality of what you can afford, but a small budget doesn’t mean your video has to appear cheap. “Production music catalogues offer a cost-effective alternative to expensive specially-composed or commercial tracks” says Nach. The internet has also made music more available. “There’s a common thought that if you can license music for next to nothing, then you shouldn’t be paying much more for it. However, you get what you pay for with music, just as you would with any other professional industry…the quality of the writer and composition of the music track, where it builds, where it breaks… the quality of the instruments… the quality of a drum can ruin a music track.” Williams adds that “music and images complement each other. Powerful images can stand alone but they are enhanced with music. And good music with some editing can enhance average images.” Check out how the music takes a fairly simple subject like “How to Choose a Lawyer” and turns it into something sexy.

How to Choose a Lawyer

Music makes your video memorable

So I think we would all agree. When chosen well, music sets the stage and allows your video to shine.

Our thanks to Ryan from Knock it Out Music and Mark at Beat Suite for their contributions to this blog. You can check them out at www.knockitoutmusic.com and www.beatsuite.com.

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About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

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Cause and Effect

Is fall your favorite time of year? Mine, too. But not because of the cooler temperatures and changing leaves. I love fall because it’s a great time of year for innovative cause marketing programs.

Maybe it’s because Giving Tuesday is around the corner? Or all the energy that’s given to the marketing of the biggest shopping day of the year? Whatever the reason, where there is greatness there is inspiration and creativity! Here are three ways to add more creativity to your cause marketing.

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Think Outside the Box or Cup: Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives (1999 to present): This has become one of America’s best-known breast cancer campaigns. The fact that consumers save and mail in millions of sticky lids to raise 10 cents each to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure is testimony to cause marketing’s motivational power. Yoplait does a masterful job of integrating this transactional program with its sponsorship of Komen’s Race for the Cure, continually refines the initiative and supports it with paid and earned media. To date it has raised more than $26 million.

Yoplait

Be Bold: Dove Campaign for Real Beauty (2004 to present): Unilever didn’t adopt a cause; it created one with breakthrough creative that sparked an international discussion of beauty stereotypes. It developed the Dove Self-Esteem Fund and hopes to reach 10 million young women with information on positive body image by the end of 2015.

Dove

Be Relevant: The National Foundation for Teen Safe Driving (NFTSD): The dangers of distracted driving is as real as a heart attack. We created this campaign for DCH Auto Group (now part of Lithia Motors) to help with their cause marketing initiative to support Teen Safe Driving.

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What did I miss? What do you think are the most influential cause marketing campaigns of all time? Drop us a line to share your insights.

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About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

IMG_9991