Executive Decisions: What's Cookin’ in Corporate Media?
By Russ Jolly - published September 2006
Start with a pound of freshly ground Persistence and mix in a
double dash of Patience. Place over a very hot fire, and stir constantly
while pouring in raw Perseverance to taste. This is just one of
my many delicious recipes for successful relationships with clients
in the wonderful world of corporate video production.
One of the things I love most about being a producer and director
of corporate media is that there is often a large amount of repeat
business once you have created a successful project for a client.
But the process of getting a client to make that initial decision
is not always easy.
In the event videography market, the project revolves around . .
. well, an event. Almost universally, event video shoots have a
preestablished date, time, and location.
Corporate media jobs, on the other hand, aren't always driven by
a firm deadline, and potential clients have a tendency to let media
projects get pushed around by other priorities within the company.
Sometimes those potential projects just evaporate into thin air.
It requires a healthy portion of Persistence, Patience, and Perseverance
to stick with a client during this process. But the reward can be
a long-term relationship of repeat business.
Here's a case in point: Last fall, we were approached by a local
company that wanted to produce a brief marketing video highlighting
a new exercise machine their business was manufacturing. The company
had found us on the web and had seen streaming video examples of
work we had produced for other clients. They had never used video
to market their products before, and they were very interested in
what we could do for them. After a few qualifying questions over
the phone, we set up a meeting with the decision makers at their
During our discovery meeting, it became clear that this could be
a highlight reel-type project. The company envisioned a three-minute
marketing DVD showcasing key features of their new exercise machine.
The disc would be included in a giveaway brochure at retail stores.
The company's in-house creatives had put together very slick, high-tech
graphics for their brochures and other collateral. We could easily
transform their designs into motion graphics in After Effects. The
exercise product had a sleek, contemporary design, and with our
planned sweeping crane and dolly shots of a model working out on
the machine in an upscale setting, we were on the path to a great-looking
video and a happy working relationship. The company representatives
stated that they wanted to get this job done quickly to coincide
with the rollout of this new product, and their declared budget
was tight but workable.
We hurried back to the studio to put together an action plan. Based
on the information gathered in the discovery phase, we put together
two different budgets. The first budget was in line with the investment
the company said they wished to make, but that budget would not
allow for some of the higher-end production values consistent with
commercials and infomercials for their competitors' products. The
second budget allowed for bringing in a steadicam operator and incorporating
more elaborate motion graphics.
We presented our plans to the company, feeling very confident that
this project was a sure thing. The company wanted to think about
it. And then they thought. And they thought. And they thought some
more. Finally, when pressed, they informed us that they were not
going to proceed with the project. They just didn't want to spend
the money. Ugh.
Those kinds of kicks to the sternum are tough to take, but we picked
ourselves up, thanked them for the opportunity to make a proposal,
and asked them to consider us in the future if they should choose
to proceed with video production for marketing their products.
And guess what? Four months later, they called again, inquiring
about our services for marketing a different product. We had a great
conversation about their media needs and the results we could help
them achieve. And on this go-around, they didn't waste any time
making their decision. They said "no" the very next day.
Wham! Another blow to the chest.
Perhaps you can understand why I was a little skittish when I saw
this company's name show up on our Caller ID about three months
later. I think I actually shuddered when I read the name, but being
the good soldier, I picked up the phone instead of allowing the
call to go directly to voicemail. Believe me when I say I had no
trouble keeping my enthusiasm in check. In fact, I was working hard
to drum up something that would sound like sincere interest to the
caller on the other end of the line. But I swallowed a little of
my Persistence-Patience-Perseverance formula and went to work trying
to help this client with their communication needs.
We set up a new round of discovery meetings. We put together a
new action plan. We pitched a new set of creative ideas. We laid
out new budget options. We set a timeline for the project and a
deadline for their executives to make a decision.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. This time they said "yes."
To top it off, they chose the larger of the budgets we laid out.
We worked very hard producing the video, and the company was great
throughout the process. Bottom line: the video helped them sell
more than $500,000 worth of product in a little more than a month
through a major online retailer. Furthermore, they want to do more
work with us in the future.
The Persistence-Patience-Perseverance recipe can sometimes taste
a little sour. But give it a chance. It gets sweeter the more you
Russ Jolly is owner of 214 Media: a Dallas video