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Elena: Hey, everyone, this is Elena Valentine from Skill Scout. Welcome to our webinar series where we talk about all things workplaces storytelling and video and today, we have brought our good friend, James Ellis, the employer brand nerd bomber. Introduce yourself, James.
James: Well thanks. I'm James Ellis. I'm an employer brand, I don't even know what to call myself. All I do is think about this stuff. I've done in house, I've done agency, I've done consulting, I have a podcast, I write, I speak, I do all the work. Employer brand is how I spend my time. So I'm super thrilled to be here to answer interesting video questions.
Elena: Yeah. So the big burning challenge is this. So your team, you're all on board with video, super excited to jumpstart that employer brand or drive your recruitment. You walk into the key decision maker and they drop the bomb and say, "We have no budget for video." What do you do?
Elena: So the question then becomes, "Okay, "but we have a little something," if you had a thousand dollars to spend on video, how would you spend it?
James: I think you have to start by changing your mindset. If you look at a thousand dollars as, "Gosh, "we won't be able to film a commercial, "we won't be able to film a major motion picture."
Elena: You mean we can't be Martin Scorsese under a thousand?
James: Not even Richard Rodriguez-- or Robert Rodriquez. Or not even Tarantino. Not even just, you can't do it. You have to say, "What's a different way to approach it?" Let's embrace the constraints and say, "If the limitation is a thousand dollars, "what can we really, truly maximize?" I think if you change your mindset and say the glossiness is actually glib. The glossiness is actually fake. The glossiness is a function of over-polished and a sheen that's trying to hide something.
Elena: It's so 2000 and late.
James: You know, it looks like stock art or it looks like, you know, it just looks like something you're trying to hide things. Now, if I see a picture and everybody's smiling and it looks really glossy, I go, "Okay, yeah, great. "But what's really going on?" But if I see a picture where there's clearly someone blinked. There's clearly someone who forgot that it was picture day at the office and wore the wrong shirt and was like, "Oh, yeah, it's that shirt."
Elena: Or an old company logo
James: Oh my goodness. Oh yeah, God forbid, not the old logo. You're not on brand. And the wet noodle gets flogged. That's actually a good thing. I think it suggests that this is authentic, this is something that happened, we took a picture, we took a video, here it is. And not to say, "Well this is all we're allowed to do," but to say that that authentic video is much more meaningful and important and impactful than something glossy.
Elena: Great. So we're all in agreement, okay. If we're gonna do this for under a thousand dollars, can't be glossy, great. We're on board with that. How do we think about this next?
James: So I would split my money in half. I would say one should be an investment in a camera. Now, I think you go crazy. The cameras that are out there these days, so many different options. You can invest in a 360 camera, you can do complete wraparounds of video of people walking around an office and there's so many things you can do with that. It can be a thing you install for a party, it can be a thing you can do a walkthrough on the building. You can use it anywhere you want. At an event, at a recruiting event, there's so many different ways to tell stories and that camera's like $300. Or you get one of those really cool Gimbals I'm seeing on, you know, ads for all the time. It's like $250 and it does nice little pans and it makes your phone look like a really slick camera. You can invest in some apps that do interesting things with the video footage that make it look like someone drew it just 'cause it's cool. Or don't. Maybe use a Snapchat filter where everybody's goofy and the dog tongue lolls out. It's always that stupid thing but everybody does that, right? That's authentically human. So there's half your money. Once you invest in that, make bigger idea videos. You know, that 360 video is a three minute video of the tour, a tour of the office, or the cool Gimbal is the walk and talk as you give a tour as you walk through the office.
Elena: So it could be in one take? So it's not like there has to be any major editing to be done. Yeah, okay.
Elena: Tell me more about these small stories. Is this 60 seconds long, 30 seconds long?
James: Oh my goodness, no. I think if you can shoot something for 15 seconds that's vaguely interesting enough that say, your mom might actually wanna see it, that is something that is truly about the company, you've nailed it. That is all the criteria you need to hit. Now, the trick is not how do you make 100 of those 15 second videos, it's how do you get everybody to help you make those 15 second videos? So what I would do is ask them. Oh wait, that's not gonna work. Because if you ask everybody to make a video, they'll look at you and go, "Oh yeah, sure, I'll get to that," and they never do. So you could do it a couple ways. You could say, everybody, make a video and the first 10 gets a gift certificate, or a coffee, or what have you. Or, what I would do and what I've had success with is finding the cheerleaders in the office. Like the 10 people who are always game to do that stupid, goofy...
Elena: We all know who those are.
James: We do, right. Yeah, you already have that list in your head. Go to them and say, "Here's what I'd like. "15 seconds, interesting, real, go nuts." And if we love it, we'll give you a gift card. Just ask them directly. Not a mass email, something that people can ignore or hide from. A direct, "Hey, can you make this video?" That's really what's gonna make it happen. So if you ask 10 people to make a video, you're gonna get five. And of the five, two are gonna be pretty bad. So you'll end up with three. But those three will be great, they'll be telling a very specific story and a specific part of the office about specific people about something that happened that day. And then you put it on Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn, and Glass Door, and all these other places and everybody's gonna say, "Where'd that come from? "How did that happen? "How can I do that?" And you say, "Oh, "you just have to make a 15 second video that's authentic "and really interesting and that's all we wanted "you to do."
Elena: So really, for under a thousand dollars or less, what we're doing is kind of creating the snowball effect...
James: Absolutely, yes.
Elena: For video. And inevitably, making the case potentially for more budget if need be.
- Oh my goodness, yes. 'Cause it shows the success. When you have those stupid little 15 second videos and they get 30 and 50 and a hundred clicks, and likes, and shares, and you're like somebody's responding to this. And they're learning something about us and it's reaching people we wouldn't normally reach, those are all words the company goes, "Money, money, money money," and they fund all those ideas. Brand awareness, and reach, and sentiment enhancement. Those are things they fund. And if you can make that happen, a thousand dollars is gonna look like nothing in a second but really, focus on those smaller, interesting videos. Those snippets, those tidbits, those just little moments that happen in your office that were just interesting enough to capture.
Elena:You've heard it from the nerd bomber himself, for a thousand dollars or less we can jumpstart video and do it pretty successfully.
About James Ellis:
Elena and Abby bring you innovative stories from the workplace.