In Clear Focus: Creative Roundtable

In Clear Focus this week: future directions for creative in 2020 and the decade ahead. Research firm Nielsen has reported that for CPG brands, 49 percent of sales lift from advertising was attributable to the creative. Bigeye team members Dominic Wilson, Erik McGrew, and Nick Hammond discuss what the new decade might mean for visual design and consider the challenges of crafting effective advertising campaigns in a fragmented media landscape.

In Clear Focus: Creative in 2020

In Clear Focus this week: future directions for creative in 2020 and the decade ahead. Research firm Nielsen has reported that for CPG brands, 49 percent of sales lift from advertising was attributable to the creative.

Episode Transcript

Adrian Tennant:     You’re listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising. Produced weekly by Bigeye Hello, I’m your host, Adrian Tennant, VP of Insights at Bigeye – an audience-focused, creative-driven, full-service advertising agency. We’re based in Orlando, Florida, but serve clients across the United States and beyond. Thank you for joining us for our first episode of 2020. So this week we’re going to be talking to some of the creative team here at Bigeye about what a new year and a new decade might mean for design in marketing communications. A couple of years ago, the research from Nielsen analyzed over 500 consumer packaged goods brand campaigns that ran on all major media platforms, linear and addressable television, online, digital and video, mobile, magazines, and radio. Nielsen reported that almost half 49% of sales lift from CPG advertising was attributable to the creative. That is ad quality, messaging, and the context of the placement. And in a separate study conducted by the research firm Ipsos for Facebook, creative quality was found to determine 75% of advertising’s impact as measured by brand and ad recall. Joining me here in the studio today are senior multimedia designer, Dominic Wilson; designer, Eric McGrew; and designer Nick Hammond. So guys, let’s kick things off by considering how visual design has changed over the last decade. What are some of the greatest influences on visual design today, say compared to 2010. Erik?

Erik McGrew:        I think mobile has been a really big game-changer. I think kind of at the start of the decade it was sort of like an afterthought, you know, the main focus would be on the website and mobile would be great if you had it. I can’t think of a single website that doesn’t have a mobile version or an adaptive or responsive version of it.

Adrian Tennant:     Nick?

Nick Hammond:       It felt like recently we got into this gradient color gradient thing that everyone’s been doing, which is kind of the next adaptation of flat icons. I also think social had a huge role to play in a lot of it because now anyone can get on and start creating different things and put it out there and someone can see it and iterate on it. And so it feels like the design or art world in general fractured into these multiple different pieces of people putting different aesthetics together and mixing and mashing and it’s moving so quickly because you can see it instantly, and put it up instantly, and iterate on it instantly. Like as a tool that affected what design is.

Adrian Tennant:     Right. That’s interesting. So we have Instagram, we have Pinterest accounts. You referenced the availability of online tools – often free. Are we all in some way creatives now?

Nick Hammond:       I think everyone’s creative to a degree. And I think as a designer I see it having changed mostly in how I get direction from people. So it feels like you’re kind of getting more direction as a designer.

Adrian Tennant:     Erik, have you found that too?

Erik McGrew:        You know, everyone’s a creator and that’s great because it’s just more wells of inspiration to draw from. I always find myself going back and forth on how I feel about social because I think that’s great. And on the other hand, certain things can happen. Like Dribble’s a great website. I love going there, like checking out everyone’s work. But I think when you start associating likes to a piece of art, a couple of things can happen. One thing that seems sort of gets a little, I don’t know what the word is, like a little incestuous with like everyone doing the same design now because that’s what’s getting promoted to the front page. And then also just as an artist tying your own self-value to like, “Oh my gosh, this thing only got 20 likes.” I think that can be super detrimental. I find myself doing that a lot. So I think there’s really, really, really great things that social’s done. But I also think there’s kind of the tail end of that, um, is wrapping up like your own value as a creative in what other people have to say about your art.

Adrian Tennant:     So commercial photographer Chase Jarvis established CreativeLive and online creative education platform a decade ago and LinkedIn acquired the online software training company, Lynda.com a couple of years ago. Do you use any online resources for your own continuing education? Let’s start with Dom.

Dominic Wilson:     I used Lynda in the mid-two thousands but eventually moved on to demos and lectures found on YouTube and Vimeo, in addition to simply just experimenting.

Adrian Tennant:     Nick?

Nick Hammond:       The way that I think about what being a creative is, it seems like it’s continually being blurred. Where before I would’ve said, “Oh, because I have this experience, I feel like I’m labeling myself as a creative or as a designer,” and with these tools coming out now someone might, you might not see them as a designer or a creative because they’re using a tool as a first step. But you kind of also have to step back and say, “well, who’s to say that they don’t have some other form of thinking that they can bring to the table?”

Adrian Tennant:     Erik, your thoughts?

Erik McGrew:        I totally agree with that and I think for like a couple thousand dollars and buying a computer, you could teach yourself any of these skills at any of these colleges. I mean, I feel like every day I’m on YouTube or Google, like “how do I do this thing in Illustrator?” And there’s like a minute-and-a-half video that explains it. Yeah, I’m all for education and having it be free and collaborating and talking to people. I’ve worked with people who think they’ve discovered like some trick or like they some style that they kind of like act like a gatekeeper of and they don’t want to show you that how they do it. And I just, I just think that’s crap. Like I’m all about asking how someone did something.

Adrian Tennant:     All right. So every year Pantone announces its color of the year, which often influences fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design as well as product packaging and graphic design. In 2017, it was “Greenery” in 2018 “Ultra Violet” and in 2019, “Living coral.” So for 2020, Pantone has selected “Classic Blue.” The website states that, “as technology continues to race ahead of the human ability to process it all, it is easy to understand why we gravitate to colors that are honest and offer the promise of protection, non-aggressive and easily relatable. The trusted Pantone classic blue lends itself to relaxed interaction.” So first of all, what do you think about their choice, Nick?

Nick Hammond:       I don’t necessarily ever really follow the Pantone color thing and I always think it’s kinda funny cause we were talking about the design trends thing earlier in it. It feels like to me more of just a marketing thing on their part. They already have kind of a stranglehold on color. I mean the color itself makes sense.

Erik McGrew:        Yeah. I mean I think there’s a reason you have these huge companies like social companies like Twitter and Facebook using blue. It’s easy. I have a weird relationship with blue. I think it’s sometimes I struggle with color in general and blue always seems like a cop-out. I’m always like, “Hang on, I wish they would’ve done something cooler.” I always find myself gravitating towards like weird, like ochre colors or like yellows and oranges and I think they’re more interesting.

Adrian Tennant:     That’s the influencer part of the Pantone reference. Okay, if you were tasked with selecting the next Pantone color, what would it be and what would be the rationale behind it?

Nick Hammond:       I think you’d have to throw a curveball in there and it wouldn’t be a color, it would be multiple colors. I’m not sure if Pantone has done that yet or not. I’m sure they probably have. But to me it’s just very earthy now, you know, and kind of muted and it’s like, that feels like where a lot of it’s going is colors that are a little more subdued and kind of have a vintage retro-y we feel to them.

Adrian Tennant:     Okay. So Erik, any advance on multicolor…?

Erik McGrew:        I that would be super interesting. I didn’t even think of that. I would love to see like, I think kind of what you said, like a weird orange or like a mustard yellow thrown in there. The psychology of color is such like a weird, interesting thing. And I would love to see if Facebook had to re redesign all their stuff with an orange-based color scheme. Like what would that look like? I’d get weird with it. I don’t know. Something, some weird color

Adrian Tennant:     Hmm, Dom?

Dominic Wilson:     If you had kind of some hideous color choice, it wouldn’t be more exciting than just some muted pastel.

Adrian Tennant:     Right.

Nick Hammond:       It’s funny cause I feel like all of our answers to these things are just continually backing up. The idea that design is just fractured into a million different things and it’s you’re breaking the fundamentals of what design is. Ugly colors, weird different type, different structures. It just feels like it’s all over the place.

Adrian Tennant:     Let’s talk a little bit about video. Published research found that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to just 10% when they read it in text. Last year, $36 billion were invested in video-based digital advertisements. Do you foresee video becoming even more dominant?

Dominic Wilson:     Definitely. Those stats you just read confirmed that there are significant opportunities for businesses that haven’t leveraged video and motion graphics, especially in regards to saturating their own social channels and in the digital ad space.

Erik McGrew:        A previous job working primarily with like social media stuff and being able to see the numbers. Yeah, there’s, it’s almost like you can’t even compete in the early days. We would throw out not even good videos and they were just outperforming everything. So yeah. And I think that’s why there’s been such a rise with like motion graphics and I think people just want to watch stuff move and you almost get, just can’t compete with it.

Adrian Tennant:     Yeah. I think I read somewhere that it’s like 80% of digital revenue ultimately use some form of video. And now we have over-the-top TV as well. Video absolutely is King. So Dom, you’re the senior multimedia designer at Bigeye and you handle most of our video and motion graphics projects. What changes or trends have you seen in motion graphics in recent years?

Dominic Wilson:     I’ve noticed that more and more shows, movies, live events, commercials contain three D design elements and a higher level of sophisticated animation. You can see various examples in title sequences, food and beverage products, consumer goods, especially in athletic footwear and automotive. I mean, you no longer have to only rely on live video capture. You showcase what it is you’re trying to promote, which is why you see a demand for highly skilled 3D artists.

Adrian Tennant:     Erik, what do you think about typography? Maybe thinking about ads but also products and packaging design.

Erik McGrew:        Typography is what I struggle with the most sometimes just because I think it’s such a, I mean it’s a whole world in and of itself. You could spend your entire life just focusing on typography and probably make a living off it. It’s kind of overwhelming and I think it goes back to, you know, everyone has these tools to make their own set of fonts now our what used to be like such a specific art form, anyone can do it now.

Adrian Tennant:     How has your own personal design style evolved over the years?

Nick Hammond:       Yeah, so my design style had kind of started via looking at more marketing material that was coming out of a lot of clothing brands at the time. So back when I was getting out of high school and into college I had, my whole background was with the apparel industry and I was doing some work for a friend. I had run a paintball apparel company for a while and I was playing competitively. So I was kind of constantly seeing these messaging, these different, I was constantly seeing different forms of messaging that were geared toward younger males. And so it was very aggressive, lots of hard lines, kind of what Dom was talking about with lots of things kind of exploding and hard edges and bright colors and stuff like that. And so I think that’s kinda how I entered what design was. And over the years it’s been more of the process of understanding how to pare it back and get more of that edginess through subtlety rather than hitting you over the face with it. So it feels just a little more of a, uh, kind of coming of age, like putting that into the work and understanding how do you pare back to the thing that makes it feel the most true to what you’re trying to get at instead of just adding, adding, adding. So I think balance, I guess would be what the process has been.

Erik McGrew:        If there’s been any change, it’s kind of a stripping away of certain things. I’m trying to be more refined. I struggle with sometimes I get anxiety that I feel like my work is too all over the place. Like again, kind of like coming out of school, you know, you want this nice clean portfolio that looks like everything fits and I don’t have that with my body of work. And I kind of in the past couple of years have like leaned into that and sort of realized that I think that that it’s actually like a strength and it’s been exhausting. But I think I would like, I think I equate it to like I’ve spent the past 10 years collecting all these weird tools that don’t necessarily fit together, but now I have this toolbox of weird tools that I can make things that I personally like, I really enjoy. So it’s been good. So yeah, I think just realizing that maybe having a weird array of different versions of your style can kind of be a string.

Adrian Tennant:     So excluding the work you’ve done since you’ve been at Bigeye, what is the most rewarding design project you’ve ever worked on and what made it so?

Erik McGrew:        I think mine was, and it wasn’t a big project, I got to design a beer can. Which was kind of like a fun, like a personal goal. Like I’ve always wanted to do that, but we got to work with a brewery out of North Carolina and it was daunting because one thing that made it really great was I got to work with my buddy Michael Forrest who is like next level, but he’s just, he’s incredible. Like I almost want to use the word savant. It’s just he’s such a good person to just talk design with and he’ll say things that I think are like so prolific. And I’m like, “Oh my God, I never would have had that thought.” But working with him was great and we got to design this can for King Canary Brewing. And I said yes to the project and then they sent the style guide over and I realize that this brewery had been branded by these two guys that I’ve looked up to forever. Like, and so then I’m like, “Okay, cool. No pressure. Like I just have to do something that at least is this good.” But it was fun. I think we came up with a really cool canned design and it was just a fun month-long project to work on and it was also just really weirdly rewarding. I think the lesson there is like sometimes it’s those small projects that feel you as a person and the ones that you think are going to be cool and bigger, like where you into the ground and it’s really difficult to get through them.

Adrian Tennant:     Nick, have you got a favorite?

Nick Hammond:       Yeah, so I did a project with one of my old employers that I was at. They’re called Backcountry.com. They’re kind of like a smaller REI. And when I got in there, we were building out our own in-house private brands team. And so we were responsible for creating a brand, basically, start to finish and kind of working through some of the brands that they had already created and the separations between the two and how you were working to market them toward different demographics. And it was cool because I was able to kind of weave in my background with apparel and help create apparel from start to finish, but also all the marketing around it. And so to me it was incredible to be able to touch pretty much every single endpoint from start to finish of what not only one brand was, but what multiple brands were and watch that go through different segmentation processes and how that was being received and iterate on it. And we were pulling everything in from, you know, social stuff at the time. This was when Instagram video or like the whatever that is, Instagram live stuff had first started coming out. So we were using a lot of that. Yeah. And then traveling across the US on scene on location to do a bunch of video stuff as well. So, yeah, to me that was incredible because it was not only moving fast but you were, you were touching everything and so if you messed up something at one point you would deal with your own difficulties later down the line. And so I think that really gives you an eyeopening perspective of what other people do and how different factors can come into effect. Any number of things in the creative process,

Adrian Tennant:     Dom, have you got a favorite?

Dominic Wilson:     I had the opportunity within the past year to create and develop a 3D design and dynamics rig for a new admissions look at the Savannah college of art and design. The work was so well received that it was used in their first-ever ad placement in times square in three locations running for a week, which then led to two additional campaigns that ran thereafter. The final approved creative originated from a 3D dynamics rig I had developed three years prior and didn’t really have any use for it at the time. I also use the program called Cinema 4-D, which I was entirely self-taught in. Someone did send back a video of the ads running in the location, which was cool to see.

Adrian Tennant:     So where is visual design headed in the decade ahead?

Nick Hammond:       Absolutely no idea. It’s wild. It feels like it’s going in a million directions at once and like there are things popping up where people are doing stuff with programs that you never thought they could do. Programs are being pushed. It just feels like there are so many new doors opening and you can’t possibly keep up with all of the doors that are opening. So it’s, you’re just constantly seeing all this crazy stuff and trying to figure out is there something from that that I can pull either – whether that’s a technique or a way of thinking about a project or a solution to a project and yeah, it just feels wild. I personally am interested in when we get to the point where it turns into “Minority Report,” and we have like a full 3D-like room with gloves and all the designers are just creating 3D everything all the time. But I don’t think that’s going to happen for a while.

Erik McGrew:        It does feel fractured, like in, you know, what works in print doesn’t necessarily work on social media, which doesn’t necessarily work in the video space. And then even inside social itself, like what works on Facebook doesn’t necessarily is a different tone than what works on Twitter than what works on Instagram. So yeah, I have no idea where it’s heading. I’m excited about where it’s heading. I think I’ve seen illustration really play a huge part in design over the past couple of years and I would love to continue to see it. I think we will probably continue to see illustration grow. Sure, motion graphics are just going to get bigger videos is going to get bigger.

Adrian Tennant:     Great discussion guys. Thank you. So design in the decade ahead is going to be a wild ride but we’re happy to go along with it. Okay. Thank you. Thank you to Dominic Wilson.

Dominic Wilson:     Yeah, no problem. It was great.

Adrian Tennant:     Erik McGrew

Erik McGrew:        Thanks for having me.

Adrian Tennant:     Nick Hammond

Nick Hammond:       Thanks. Hopefully, I get to come back in the future.


Adrian Tennant:     You can find links to the resources we discussed on the IN CLEAR FOCUS page at Bigeyeagency.com under “Insights.” Please consider subscribing to the show on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player. And if you have an Amazon Echo device, you can use the IN CLEAR FOCUS skill to add the podcast to your Flash Briefing. Thank you for listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS produced Bigeye. I’ve been your host, Adrian Tennant. Until next week, goodbye.

References


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How to Use Video to Power Apartment Marketing

When it comes to effective digital apartment marketing, video has proven invaluable in a broad spectrum of circumstances and applications.

According to recent statistics, more than 75% of Americans now shop online. This means that, whether they are buying groceries or searching for a new apartment, consumers are responding to the ample information and dynamic features that only online marketing can provide.

The informative digital marketing authority Quicksprout reports that videos engender a 74% increase in overall understanding of a product/service when compared to still photos and, perhaps more importantly, boost the likelihood of an ultimate purchase by a whopping 64%. In fact, 80% of Internet users have strong memories of the video advertisements that they watch online, and 46% take some sort of direct action as a direct result of their video viewing.

The practical applications of video in the field of apartment marketing are virtually endless when it comes to boosting conversion rates among prospective renters. Of course, the road to these increased conversions depends on the unique qualities, deficiencies, needs, and goals of the apartment business at hand. Therefore, the first step toward using video to power your apartment marketing efforts is deciding upon the specific categories of video that you would like to immediately pursue. Here are just a few that you’ll definitely want to consider:

1. Listing / Tour Videos

The most prevalent form of apartment marketing video, the listing/tour video has proven very effective. Quicksprout cites statistics showing that listings with an attached video generate 403% more inquiries than those without. Although a virtual tour of the apartment itself is an absolute must, these videos are even more successful if they also show key aspects of the surrounding neighborhood, community, and/or city.

2. Interview / Testimonial Videos

In an interactive modern marketplace that is profoundly influenced by social media, social proof reigns supreme. Therefore, you simply cannot underestimate the value of a well-placed interview or testimonial video. Whether they are new to your community or have lived in it for years, satisfied tenants are an invaluable resource. By offering a few positive comments in their own words, your loyal tenants can become video marketing superstars.

3. Apartment Advice Videos

One of the most popular types of online video is the ”how-to.” As a result, some of the most effective apartment marketing videos offer advice on apartment hunting and/or moving process. Incorporating this category of video into your overall marketing campaign can drive conversations from an incredibly wide audience base.

4. Housing Market Update Videos

Like an apartment advice video, a video that provides information on the current housing market in your area can easily lead to a conversion. This is especially true if the information provided casts your apartment rentals in a particularly light.

5. Brand Promotional Videos

When it comes to centering your apartment marketing campaign, nothing works better than a good brand promotional video. Typically a bit longer than the average real estate video, your brand video can root your entire website and/or social media page in a central message that demonstrates your company’s unique approach and style.

Tips for Making Effective Apartment Marketing Videos

After determining the type of video you would like to make and the audience that you would like to reach, it’s time to start planning. Critical questions to ask during this phase include “who and what will your videos feature” and “how will this video attract/keep the attention and ultimately lead to conversions.” Whether you choose to produce videos yourself or hire experienced audio/visual professionals, you would be wise to keep a few industry best practices in mind. These best practices include…

1. Aim for Instant Impact

The typical viewer will judge your video within the first few seconds, so you must make an immediate positive impression. This means creating videos with high production values that scream “I am worthwhile” from the onset. Remember: customers have nearly endless options when it comes to watching videos online.

2. Keep It Brief

Research has shown that viewers overwhelmingly prefer shorter videos to those that are longer. Don’t test the attention span or challenge the time commitment of your audience. Generally speaking, a two-minute video is ideal for most forms of real estate marketing.

3. Avoid Auto-Play Videos

Most people simply don’t appreciate a video that begins blaring at them the second that they visit a particular webpage. Allow viewers to choose exactly which videos they might like to view on your website or social media page and click on these videos at their leisure.

4. Motivate Viewers to Take Action

To increase your chances of making a conversion, you should include essential information such as agency logo and contact details during both the introduction and conclusion of each video. (Remember that the modern consumer may only watch your video for a few seconds!) To drive conversations among viewers who make it all the way to the end of your video, consider integrating a clickable lead capture link or “shop now” button directly into the video frame itself. You should also take the time to include a compelling call-to-action that directs viewers to visit a particular online destination and/or enter lead information.

To learn more about the benefits of video

A full-service real estate digital marketing agency and an incubator for forward-thinking industry techniques, Bigeye has developed countless creative uses for promotional video. Contact us today and let us show you all the ways that you can boost conversion rates with video.

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How Slack is Making Product Marketing Addictive

Here’s what brands can learn from the companies and product marketing agencies that know how to sell products and design experiences at the highest level.

Slack, the social workplace messaging platform, has drawn lots of favorable notice in advance of its $23 billion IPO.  If you’ve used it, you understand why Slack has grown so popular. The overall experience is sticky in the extreme, encouraging near constant use. You don’t have to work at a product marketing agency or specialize in consumer marketing to recognize what an effective job Slack has done by integrating clever marketing with a deeply engaging user experience.

So how exactly has Slack been so successful? Let’s take a closer look.

How Slack uses clever copywriting to create highly addictive user experiences

If you’ve spent any time on Twitter in recent years, you’re familiar with a certain brand voice: Clever, self-deprecating, irreverent, but not offensive. In other words, the voice that many popular fast foods brands use on social media and featured in many startup marketing campaigns.

Slack uses its own version of this voice in its product, but deploys the voice strategically. The company understands that users have varying levels of receptivity to a lighthearted tone. After all, who wants to deal with jokes and puns when struggling to figure out an onboarding process?

Instead, Slack uses jokes and whimsical visualizations during so-called “end stage” or “empty stages” of the customer experience. These are pages or screens that don’t require any copy to help a user progress toward a goal — a “thank you for registering” page, for example.

While Slack takes a clever approach to copywriting, the company also understands that it’s important not to go overboard. Sara Culver, Slack content and design manager, listed a few of the company’s copywriting rules at a recent marketing seminar: 

  • Don’t make the user feel guilty. Anyone who has ever been asked to download an e-book or sign up for a newsletter is familiar with the standard guilt trip: The “yes” button includes language along the lines of “I want to take advantage of this incredible opportunity!” Meanwhile, the “no” button says something like “sorry, I’m not interested in subscribing because I want my competitors to put me out of business.” These guilt trips are annoying, alienating and defeat the purpose of using clever copy.
  • Voice continuity. It’s extremely off-putting to read copy associated with a product and have the language veer from voice to voice. Stick with your brand voice when creating product copy and users will be much more comfortable, and receptive to what you are saying.
  • Use active prose and eliminate repetition. Good product copy is lively and engages users from a slightly different angle than what they are used to. It also avoids repetition, which is clunky and unprofessional.
  • Great copy enhances product marketing but can’t make up for poor UX and/or functionality. Even the most clever and compelling copy won’t alleviate the stress users deal with when confronted by poor UX and confusing or inoperable functionality. 

What the right product marketing agency can do for you

If you’re looking for direct to consumer advertising and other creative services, you should have one key priority: Finding an agency that can deliver consistently compelling campaigns and strategy.

At Bigeye, we know the power of well-executed product marketing. If you’re looking for a product marketing agency to help you create the kind of sticky and hyper-addictive copy favored by Slack, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

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In Clear Focus: Audio Branding and the Spoken Word

In Clear Focus this week: audio branding and the rising popularity of spoken word audio entertainment. Twenty-two percent of the US population now listens to an average of seven different podcasts each week, but what lies behind the growing numbers of podcasts and listeners? Voice artist Jodi Krangle believes the medium itself may hold the answer. In this episode, we hear why Jodi considers audio branding the hidden gem of marketing, and how she launched her own podcast.  

You can listen and subscribe to Jodi’s new podcast about audio branding at: http://audiobranding.buzzsprout.com/

In Clear Focus: Audio Branding and the Spoken Word

In Clear Focus this week: audio branding and the rising popularity of spoken word audio entertainment. Twenty-two percent of the US population now listens to an average of seven different podcasts each week, but what lies behind the growing numbers of podcasts and listeners? Voice artist Jodi Krangle believes the medium itself may hold the answer.

Episode Transcript

Adrian Tennant:     You’re listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising. Produced weekly by Bigeye. Hello, I’m your host, Adrian Tennant, VP of insights at Bigeye. An audience-focused, creative-driven, full-service advertising agency, Bigeye is based in Orlando, Florida, but serves clients across the United States and beyond. Thank you for choosing to spend time with us today. In today’s show, we’re going to talk about an aspect of marketing that’s getting a lot more attention as a consequence of the fragmented media environment and use of digital devices for entertainment. While all marketers are likely familiar with visual branding – the use of images, colors, logos, and typefaces – it’s also possible to create a palette of sounds and music that align perfectly with a brand’s attributes. Now, while jingles immediately come to mind, audio branding – also referred to as sonic branding – can be more than a catchy tune heard on a TV or radio ad. We’re talking about the use of auditory elements to reinforce a brand identity, just as you might use certain colors or words. These auditory elements can extend beyond advertisements and be incorporated within digital apps or interfaces – think of sounds associated with a smart speaker, when a computer starts up, or for different controls in a car. And there’s another aspect of audio branding that is maybe less obvious than music, but no less important. A couple of weeks ago, National Public Radio released their Spoken Word Audio Report. This study, conducted by Edison Research, found that the share of time spent listening to spoken word audio in the US has increased 20 percent since 2014 – while time spent with music across the same time period decreased 5 percent. This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken word audio consumption on mobile devices, especially among those aged between 13 and 34. About half of the US population – 51 percent – have listened to a podcast at some point, but 22 percent of the population listen weekly for an average of six hours, 37 minutes – to about seven different shows each week. So it’s in this context that we’re joined today by a guest who has a unique perspective on the business of audio branding for advertising and the growth of spoken word audio. Jodi Krangle has been a voice actor since 2007 and has worked with clients from major brands all over the world in industries including healthcare, charities and nonprofits, and the hospitality and travel market. But it was quite a journey to get there – from selling computers at a time when not many women were doing that, to teaching herself about the Internet and the world it opened up. In 1995, Jodi created an award-winning songwriting resource website called The Muse’s Muse, and began a business of her own, doing SEO and Internet marketing. When Jodi switched to voice-overs, she was well prepared for the new world of online promotions and getting her own work. Jodi is also a singer: in 2015, she put out her own album of jazz, blues and traditional tunes. And over the years, and doing what she does, she’s learned a lot about sound and how it influences people. Fittingly, Jodi is about to launch a new podcast called, “Audio Branding: The Hidden Gem of Marketing.” Now, since this is a podcast, we’re going to take advantage of the medium and listen first to some of Jodi’s work. 

[Audio: Jodi’s commercial demo]

Adrian Tennant:     I love that! Welcome to IN CLEAR FOCUS, Jodi.

Jodi Krangle:       Thanks!

Adrian Tennant:     Quite a bit of variety in that clip reel.

Jodi Krangle:       Thank you.

Adrian Tennant:     What percentage of your work is coming from traditional TV gigs, like voiceover narration for spots and shows versus newer formats such as streaming audio ads?

Jodi Krangle:       You know, it’s, you’d think that it would be skewing towards online a lot more. AndI’m seeing the trend going that way, but I’m still sort of seeing television and I’m still seeing a lot of corporate narration but for internal presentations or for their own website or for their own YouTube channel. So yeah, I guess that’s online. So yeah. It’s, I’d say it’s it’s probably 50/50 right now, but I can see it going really skewed in the other direction. Streaming media particularly, you know, like Pandora and iHeartRadio and that kind of stuff.

Adrian Tennant:     Now you say on your website that, and I’m quoting, “The voice you use for your commercial campaign can either make you sound world-class or have your listeners fleeing,” end quote.

Jodi Krangle:       Uh-Huh.

Adrian Tennant:     Explain why that is. Why is the voice so important?

Jodi Krangle:       Well, I think it has a lot to do with audio branding. So it depends on what your brand is and what kind of voice would fit with that. If your message is different than the voice sounds, people are going to be put off by that and they’re not going to maybe realize why. I don’t necessarily think this is a conscious thing with a lot of people. But if you hear something that is so different from the branding you’re expecting in the voice or the music or even the sounds within a certain advertisement, for some reason it’s going to rub you the wrong way. And you may not even understand why, but you won’t want to listen to it again.

Adrian Tennant:    So you’re saying it’s kind of working at a subconscious level?

Jodi Krangle:       I do think that, yeah.

Adrian Tennant:    So in a previous life I was in network TV production and I regularly had to direct voice artists at sound facilities back in the UK, in London’s Soho district. Now, in those days, voice artists, they had to be at the studio in person. So everyone working on a TV spot really worked in close proximity to each other, collaborating on edits to the script, revising timings based on picture edits, that kind of thing. Jodi, tell us, how does the process typically work today?

Jodi Krangle:       Well I know that in the UK there are people who hire off of the demo a lot more often than they do in North America. So these days, a lot of what I end up doing is auditioning. So once you’re chosen for a project, you know, it really depends. It depends on if you were dealing with the end client or if you are one person in a chain from an ad agency. It really all depends. But generally there’s a lot of emails exchanged. There’s a script passed along. Pricing is figured out, whether that’s through my agent or through me. And then the script is sent my way. I have a look. If there’s anything that I have questions on, I’ll send those questions through. We’ll decide on a day and time. And typically I work out of my own five-by-four booth here and I have things like ISDN and SourceConnect and ipDTL so that I can remotely connect with anyone around the world.

Adrian Tennant:     Now, do you typically speak to a picture edit or do you prefer to record without seeing the contents, so an editor then marries your sound to the picture later? Do you have a preference for the process?

Jodi Krangle:       I really like working what’s called, “wild.” So I guess that’s without having the picture in front of me in the moment, I can watch that video previously to getting in the booth and recording. But seeing it at the same time, hmmm, it’s a little distracting. And in the case of some of my jobs, it can actually make it impossible for me to speak. And I say that because I’ve had to do some really moving commercials PSAs, calls to action for charities and that kind of stuff that are just heartbreaking. And if I watched that video both like while I was doing the job, I’d never be able to complete a sentence. There’s just no way.

Adrian Tennant:     Well, that’s interesting. You know, you work out of a home-based studio these days, which I know is where you’re joining us from today. What are some of the things that you enjoy most about working from home, if I can put it that way?

Jodi Krangle:       Well, I really like the idea of not having to drive anywhere and spend half my day in the car, getting from one place to another.

Adrian Tennant:     Right!

Jodi Krangle:       It just means that I’m more efficient with my time. It means that I can book a session, you know, one after the other instead of having to drive to some other place and leave a buffer of say, two hours. I can go from, you know, with a buffer of a half an hour, I can do more jobs on a day. And that doesn’t always happen. I’m not always going to have five jobs in the same day, but it certainly does make for more efficient working.

Adrian Tennant:     Right. what are some of the challenges about a home-based studio as opposed to say, working in a dedicated facility?

Jodi Krangle:       I think it depends on what type of a worker you are. If you are able to buckle down and get your, your work done in your own space without needing prompting, then I think it can be less of a challenge. If you’re someone who needs someone looking over your shoulder, waiting for you to complete something to get it done, then you may not like the whole home environment thing. I’m lucky enough that I’ve been either telecommuting or self-employed since probably 1999. So I’m a little used to this now,

Adrian Tennant:     Right. I mean, some of us like the interaction with work colleagues in a physical environment and clearly…

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah. And it can get lonely. Yeah. It can definitely get lonely. I’m sitting here talking in a padded room. I mean like that’s what I do all day long, so…

Adrian Tennant:     A little bit of cabin fever there, perhaps?

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah.

Adrian Tennant:     Okay. Well, look, I want to play some more examples of your work and then I want to interrogate you about some of these jobs.

Jodi Krangle:       Okay, sure.

[Audio: Jodi’s TV narration demo]

Adrian Tennant:     Again, a lot of variety in those clips. Jodi, tell us, how do you modulate your performance to match all those different types of content?

Jodi Krangle:       I think you kind of need to put your head into the space of where that is happening and what the pictures are going to be. I think you really have to have a good imagination. That’s really key here. Acting is learned. You know, like some people have an innate talent for it and all the power to them. I think a lot of people need to learn it. It’s like a muscle. You need to exercise and a lot of that muscle is exercised by your imagination just by being able to put yourself in a situation that would warrant using that voice. And I think that music helps a lot with that too. As a musician myself, I know that a particular piece of music can get me into the tone that I need to use for a particular spot really quickly. So that has a lot to do with it.

Adrian Tennant:     Jodi, I know that you are also an accomplished singer. You’ve put out your own album and how does that sort of musical background play into your role now as a voice actor?

Jodi Krangle:       It really helps with the musicality of a script and the beats of a script, I guess. So every script that I look at really has notes and beats. You know, you don’t want to be too samey throughout your speaking, but at the same time you don’t want to be too sing-songy, you still want to sound like a real person. So it can, it can be a challenge and it does take coaching. But the musicality of it really helps a lot. I can recognize the downturns and the upturns and where a certain thing should be more staccato or where it should flow. And a lot of those are musical terms and emotions, I guess. So it helps a lot. Yeah.

Adrian Tennant:     I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody describe a script, almost like reading a music score. That’s really fascinating. So I hate to ask this one, but you know, I’m going to, so can you, can you recall a situation, Jodi, when things didn’t quite go to plan?

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah, I totally can. In the very beginning of my career, I was doing a PSA for a company that was asking for donations for a particular program that they had and they were asking me to work to video and it was one of my first jobs and I had never worked to video before and wow, that was definitely a learning experience. And it took a lot longer for everyone concerned than it should have. I mean, nowadays a session, if it goes longer than 20 minutes, it’s usually, you know, that’s 20 minutes. It’s usually 20 minutes to an hour. It depends on how many takes the client wants. Then of course, you give the client what they want, but generally it lasts around 20 minutes for a commercial script. And this probably lasted almost four hours.

Adrian Tennant:     Whoa!

Jodi Krangle:       It was, it was really painful. And I mean for everyone concerned, you know – that’s kind of the first traumatic experience that I had working to video.

Adrian Tennant:     Okay. Now was that working remotely or is that working in a facility in those days?

Jodi Krangle:       That was actually in a studio. Yeah. I was face-to-face with these people and not giving them what they wanted. And that was, that was hard.

Adrian Tennant:     And I do remember the feeling of being on a time crunch and literally time is money and all of those people are there by the hour and you’re paying for them and there’s probably another client waiting to come in right behind you… Oh yes. I can relate!

Jodi Krangle:       It’s hard, yeah. I mean I’ve had experience since, because I’ve done some in-show TV narration and that’s kind of a similar deal, but it’s a lighter atmosphere, I guess, maybe? This was, this was pretty, pretty deep dark. So yeah, it was hard. It was really hard. I mean this business is a complete learning experience from start to finish. Like if there’s just, there’s always something new.

Adrian Tennant:     Well that’s why we love being in the creative industries, right? Because there is always something new,

Jodi Krangle:       Exactly, yes!

Adrian Tennant:     Now I don’t want to go all meta here, but for our more technically-minded listeners can you tell us what equipment you have in your studio?

Jodi Krangle:       My equipment’s pretty simple. I have a five-by-four sound-treated booth and I say sound-treated, not soundproof because soundproof would cost a lot more money and I would need like six-foot concrete all around me to really be soundproof. But it does a great job. It, it produces a nice dead sound so that the person on the other end gets audio that’s clean and they can add whatever color they want to put to it. That’s kind of the point. And I’m using a Sennheiser 416 shotgun mic, which is fantastic for the voice industry because it lets the voice pop a little bit. It’s typically used in film on booms, but many years ago, I guess the promo people in voiceover decided it was a great alternative and started using it and the rest is history. And yeah, it’s just a great mic and it’s a workhorse too. I mean, I could drop this and it would be totally fine. Not that I want to, but yeah!

Adrian Tennant:     I think if listeners have ever seen a film shoot and somebody is holding something oblong, that looks a little bit like a blimp – typically, that mic is inside of that blimp, correct?

Jodi Krangle:       Uh-Huh. Yeah. And other than that, I just have an audio interface. It’s a Motu Microbook. And it’s a pretty simple little interface. I’m actually using PC here, so no Mac stuff.

Adrian Tennant:     No Mac stuff? Oh my gosh. And you’re in the creative industries with no Mac? Tsk tsk!

Jodi Krangle:       You know what? I, like I said, I sold computers when the 386SX was new. And that’s quite a number of years ago. And I remember DOS, so I am so used to PCs that I just can’t consider using anything else.

Adrian Tennant:     I started this show introduction with some statistics from the new NPR/Edison Research study. Talking really about the growth in podcasting, which is really about spoken word. How do you, how do you feel about that growth?

Jodi Krangle:       I think it’s fantastic. Podcasting is not quite like radio because it’s a little more personal. It’s what I love about it and it’s a very creative medium where you can pretty much say anything you want to say. And you know, the only censorship you’re likely to get is people tuning out if they don’t like it. Right? You can’t make something for everyone, but it is a very personal type of way to reach an audience. Even more personal than radio and radio unfortunately, isn’t all that personal anymore. So I think people are just trying to fill that void.

Adrian Tennant:     Yeah. I noticed one of the stats suggested that those people who are listening to podcasts on a regular basis, weekly, I think I subscribed to six podcasts, but actually listen, listen to seven different shows each week. And did that, that number seems sort of in line with your own experience as a podcast listener?

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah, actually it seems pretty similar. I listen to a lot of podcasts that are voice-over-specific and I’m maybe atypical in the fact that I listen on my desktop computer instead of on my phone. Because I don’t tend to be traveling in my car long distances all that often. So I listen at home on my computer and doesn’t mean I don’t listen, but I’m not listening in the way that most listeners seem to be these days.

Adrian Tennant:     Right. And certainly one of the through-lines for that report was that it is actually the obviously use of mobile devices, which seems to be really powering this, this renewed interest in the spoken word for sure.

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah.

Adrian Tennant:     So I also, I also mentioned at the top of the show that you’re about to launch a new podcast of your own called, “Audio Branding: The Hidden Gem of Marketing.”

Jodi Krangle:       I am. Yeah.

Adrian Tennant:     What motivated you to do that?

Jodi Krangle:       I wanted to talk about how audio influences us because that’s what I do every day. It just, it makes more sense to talk about what I know. So yeah, I just thought it was an interesting topic and I’ve come across quite a lot of very interesting examples of this in my own research and it’s really interesting and it’s amazing how much money big companies are spending on this kind of thing too. You’d be really surprised.

Adrian Tennant:     So, you know, the name of our show is IN CLEAR FOCUS. What does having a clear focus mean to you?

Jodi Krangle:       That is a very good question. I almost think of it as having a goal in mind, knowing where you want to be in a certain amount of time and following that path. Not to say that that past can’t change. But knowing what you want I like to equate this to just life in general, knowing what you want in life because if you don’t have some kind of clear focus on what that is, you don’t know what you’re working towards.

Adrian Tennant:     Well said. Jodi, if listeners would like to know more about you and your work, where can they find you?

Jodi Krangle:       They can find me on my website that’s at voiceoversandvocals.com or just JodiKrangle.com will get you there too and if they’re interested in the music then JodiKrangleMusic.com is where the CD is. Well, CD… Album, no one listens to CDs anymore.

Adrian Tennant:     Jodi, thank you so much for taking the time to join us today. I know you are literally a very busy lady and time is money to you, so we appreciate your sharing your insights into the industry. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

Jodi Krangle:       Thanks so much for inviting me. I appreciate it.


Adrian Tennant:     Thank you. So, three things that stood out to me from the conversation with Jodi: it was really interesting to hear Jodi express the idea that, for her, podcasts offer a more personal form of media. I also found it interesting that Jodi was able to talk about the emotional power of the human voice as a kind of counterpoint for very emotionally-engaging visuals, perhaps even distressing visuals. And uniquely, Jodi’s approach to a spoken word script as a music score and being able to perform and adjust her expression accordingly. Thank you to our guest, voice artist Jodi Krangle. You’ve been listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising, produced by Bigeye. If you have questions or comments about the content of today’s show, or have ideas for topics that you’d like us to cover, please email us at info@bigeyeagency.com. Don’t forget to check out Jodi’s podcast – and you’ll find a link to that in the transcript of today’s show on our website at Bigeyeagency.com under “Insights.” To make sure you never miss an episode, subscribe to IN CLEAR FOCUS on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher, and other top podcast players. And if you like what you hear, please give us a rating. For IN CLEAR FOCUS, I’ve been your host, Adrian Tennant. Thank you for listening. And until next week, goodbye.

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How to Make Brand Videos That Move Audiences

If you aren’t taking advantage of the power of brand video, then you’re ceding an important edge to your competitors. Here’s what you need to get started.

Let’s say you’ve got an exciting new product and you want to introduce it to consumers in the most impactful way possible. How would you go about it? If you’re not immediately thinking “brand videos,” then we urge you to keep reading.

Why Brand Videos Have Become an Indispensable Marketing Tool

Right now, you’re reading a blog — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Blogs are a tried-and-true medium for short, informational content. Yet the blog should be merely a single arrow in your quiver. Audiences don’t always have the time or inclination to read, yet they can almost always find time to watch a short video — provided it reaches out and wrests their attention away from the other dozen things competing for it.

That’s one reason you’ve likely been deluged lately with explainer videos and all other sorts of branded video content. Videos simply work. People engage with them at higher levels than seen with ads or written content.

There’s another factor motivating the brand video proliferation: The learning curve and production costs associated with professional video creation have declined radically in recent years. This means that brands have no reason to avoid joining the revolution.

So How Do I Tell My Brand Story Through Video?

Here’s the good news: Connecting with audiences via video is relatively simple, provided you can follow a few smart practices. When creating brand videos, here are some key things on which to focus:

Story is paramount — and so are people. Creating brand videos simply because “everyone says people prefer video” won’t accomplish much. You still need a compelling narrative that audiences will relate to. Think about a simple yet effective way you can frame your brand story around human characters. Any newspaper editor or photographer will tell you that images of static buildings or landscapes don’t reach people or move copy. As humans, we are naturally drawn to each other, and this extends to our engagement with photos and video. Forego the facts, figures, and product features (or at least consign them to secondary status) and put people front and center in your videos. By focusing on one person, brands can make larger and more complex issues more relatable.

Our Approach

Take a deep dive into how we approach our work. Learn about our creative thinking and our strategical approach

Forge an emotional connection. Savvy brands have long known that a true emotional connection with audiences is the gold standard in advertising and marketing. Nothing converts and builds long-term loyalty like sparking a visceral, emotional reaction. Fortunately, brand videos are a fantastic format for forging these kinds of connections. By using images, dialogue and music to full effect, a great brand video can tell an emotionally resonant story in as little as 30 seconds.

Reach for the original. Remember how we mentioned that proliferation of video? That’s why it’s essential that you take creative risks and push for something original. Audiences today are extremely savvy and cynical about brand messaging. Yet you can penetrate their defenses by delivering something that delights or inspires. Here’s one great example. It’s important, however, to understand your limitations — nobody is looking for an avant-garde HVAC brand video.

Maintain your messaging. Your brand videos are ultimately an extension of your overall brand messaging. They should speak with your voice, project your values, and be calibrated to appeal to your specific audience. While it’s important for your content to reach for creativity and originality, this must still occur within the larger context of your brand messaging.

Don’t skimp on video production. This one is easy — there’s no excuse for a cheesy (unintentionally, at least) or cheap-looking brand video. The cost and skill needed to produce respectable content has plummeted.

The Benefits of Working With the Right Brand Story Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts at both brand story and video production, and we can help you take your brand videos to the next creative level. Contact us today for more information. 

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Next-Gen TV Trends and How They Can Impact Your Brand.

Next gen TV, also known as ATSC 3.0, is redefining traditional broadcast TV by breathing new life into the aging medium.

So now we answer the first question, what is ATSC 3.0? It’s the update that broadcast TV has been severely lacking. This new system will leverage current technologies to enhance picture, sound, framerate, and overall range of the medium without losing a moment of your favorite shows. ATSC 3.0 technology enhances everything about broadcast to bring it into the digital age. This will reinvigorate traditional TV, and dramatically increase its value as an advertising medium.

What will Change

The short answer? Everything. But let’s start with picture. The current—let’s call it classic, broadcast system caps out at 1080p. Next gen TV will span all the way to 4K! Making the new ATSC standard an HDTV over the air experience. Raising the quality of the experience without adding cost, the ATSC 3.0 system will drive conversion like never before.

Furthermore, next gen TV is designed to be an ever-evolving technology. Building on the concept of technological adaption, ATSC 3.0 is designed for easy integration as new technologies develop. This way, broadcast television will not fall behind as time passes. Allowing room for future growth is an incredible capability for any technology in this day and age. This system will entice users who want to get the best service over time without paying to switch hardware or service providers as technologies evolve.

This broadcast method will also have a stronger, wider range. Meaning that every user will receive more channels in higher quality without the need for a large antenna. The system will even allow mobile devices to access broadcast shows. By building in capabilities across devices, broadcast TV is broadening its scope and making itself a far more advantageous advertising tool.

The Impact

Next gen TV enables stronger geo-targeting capabilities than cable or satellite TV. As over-the-air TV is intrinsically contained in a specific geographic area, it is a medium that lends itself to area-specific messaging. This makes next gen TV the perfect platform for local businesses such as community banks, mom-and-pop shops, and more to reach their target market without breaking the bank.

How it Works

This system is able to achieve its unique capabilities by connecting on more than one front. The classic broadcast system is accessed simply by an antenna while the next gen TV system uses both an antenna and a wi-fi connection to strengthen the quality and broaden the service range; This is also what allows it to be accessed across devices.

Not only is ATSC 3.0 perfect for geo-targeting, but by enabling tracking as well as use across devices it presents as both a traditional and digital media. With next gen TV, experienced advertisers can reach their audience on a whole new level.

The Takeaway

Broadcast TV is getting a much-needed facelift that will skyrocket its importance both as a service and as an advertising medium. Paying attention to this change now will open up avenues for effective, low-cost campaign strategies that will reach the right people, at the right time, for the right price.

When you’re ready to enhance your advertising strategy reach out to our innovative channel experts today!

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