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How to Produce a Great Video – Tip #2

Whether you are making a corporate overview video, explainer video, training video, web video, marketing video, employee communication video, sales and new product video, or interview video, the most important ingredient for the successful production remains always the same.

Articulate your objectives clearly and completely.

This is the first and possibly one of the most critical assignments you and your team must tackle in order to ensure your investment will pay off in the end. All effective communication depends on a clear understanding of what is to be communicated (the message), its goals and objectives, to whom (the audience) and in what time frame (the schedule) and how (the distribution plan). This seems so painfully obvious that one wonders why it is so often ignored.

Fact is, it’s difficult to clearly state objectives, to get buy-in from the owners of the messages (often your CEO) to describe the real audiences and to come up with a workable distribution plan. Be fierce. The time and energy spent at the front end within the organization is going to pay off tenfold through the video production and its rollout process. In many instances, everyone is always in a hurry to produce and then ends up spending all the time in the world to rework, revise, revise again and again… and completely ruin a project in the end. Not to mention, all the carefully planned schedule and budget are out the window as a result.

We can’t emphasize this enough. Write them all down, review with your team, revise and get a sign-off from your boss. This document will set the right path to the successful project outcome and be the guiding light for critical decisions you will make in the lifecycle of the project. Not to mention, the document will become a foundation of your RFP.

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How to Produce a Great Video – Tip #1

Not all corporate and marketing videos are created equal in quality and effectiveness.

Videos used to be expensive.   Professional equipment was expensive and took a small army of highly-skilled professionals to operate it and highly-talented professionals to write and produce it.  It was a luxury communication item reserved for Fortune 500 companies.  Many executives loved it because a well-crafted corporate video was extremely effective to reach/influence their audiences.

Now, the equipment got smaller, cheaper and easier to operate. Videos are everywhere. Over 300+ hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Anyone with a smart phone and a laptop can shoot, edit and post a video at a fraction of what it used to cost.

But one thing remains the same.  Only a good corporate & marketing video delivers its communication objectives and engages, informs and inspires the audiences.  And that is hard to do.  Especially in today’s business world.  There is just so much garbage out there.

Here are some tips for how to make a great corporate and marketing video in 2016.

Tip #1

When should you use video for corporate and marketing communication?

– Use video when the message requires moving visuals.  This is the clearest criteria.  If you are creating a training piece of a sales pitch for an earth-moving machine or a jetliner or a robotic paint system or a dance school, then video is simply the most reasonable medium to choose.

– Use video when the message requires an intense emotional response.  Nothing evokes emotion as well as the combination of visuals in motion, sound effects, music, words and graphics.  One exception — if the CEO should make the presentation in person for various reasons, put him/her on an airplane.  If he/she doesn’t “have time” to talk directly to his/her people about something vitally important to their lives, such as a company restructuring or reorganization, well, enough said.

– Use video when the message needs to be consistent, timely, authentic and carefully presented throughout the corporation.  Conventional wisdom aside, there’s nothing wrong with “talking head” videos, as long as the talking heads are well-spoken, the message is direct, compelling, sincere and believable and the production is simple and straightforward.  Easy said than done.

There are many times when a well-crafted corporate video of the CEO or other senior executives will be exceedingly effective.  For example, when a new strategy is unveiled; when the corporation has outperformed the norm and congratulations are in order; when a new product or service or division is launched, specially when customers are directly involved,  etc.

Stay tuned for the Tip #2.


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How Much Is a Corporate Meeting? – How to Budget Meetings and Events (2 of 2)

How to Create a Budget for a Corporate Event/Meeting – PART 2

Next, look into booking travel and hotel accommodations for your staff, keynote speakers, and other VIP personnel.

For the best pricing, ask about room blockings and group rates. Hotels will offer deals depending on what time of year the event is held, organization, or potential for repeat business.

Always read the cancellation policy before signing an agreement, there can be hidden fees if not negotiated correctly.

Time to think about marketing materials.

Plan and produce all pre-conference, conference and post-conference communication materials, such as emails, presentation materials, theme graphic, brochures, agenda/programs, registration packages, signage, post-conference survey, etc. and put them in the budget.

Additionally, put together a cohesive digital marketing campaign and start promoting the event through various platforms, social media, intranet, internet, emails, etc.

Now everyone’s favorite topic to discuss: food!

This is where it’s important to remember your audience. Normally, conference receptions will serve buffet-style courses, allowing attendees to mix and mingle around the space. However, if you want a more formal feel, choosing to serve plated courses at your reception might be an option. When you speak with a catering director, tell them your needs and goals for the event. They should be able to suggest and steer you in the correct direction. And before deciding, don’t forget to taste the food. That’s the best part!


Set aside 10% of the total budget for contingency. There will always be unexpected expenses and enhancements even when you were so prepared and careful about the budget.

Once logistic details are in place, the day before the conference becomes the time to review, review, and review.

Have a team meeting and go over all the arrangements before the conference kicks off. Make sure the staff, crew, volunteers, coordinators and suppliers all have a final briefing and their detailed responsibilities are distributed.

On the day of conference, complete your final walk-through of the space. There is always something very special about live events. Remember this is the time where the event should fall into place, be happy, excited and enjoy!



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How Much is a Corporate Meeting? – How to Budget Meetings and Events (1 of 2)

How to Create a Budget for a Corporate Event/Meeting – PART 1

It’s not easy to put together an estimate for an event or a conference. Unlike other marketing communication initiatives, small mistakes or oversights could quickly add up to a huge unexpected cost especially in a larger-scale meeting.

Mapping out a preliminary budget is key in developing your next corporate event. Factor in all the costs related to the event: registration fees, staff, audio/visual services, technology, freight, hotels, travel, entertainment, print materials, venue rental, keynote speaker fees, travel, etc. The tiny details add up; so remember to not just focus on big picture expenses.

– Create your agenda and theme

Creating event agenda can be a challenge. A good guideline to start the process is to define the following.

– Know your conference’s purpose and objectives

Is it educational? Business related? Fundraising? Social?

– Know your audience.

Are they investors, board members, employees? What are their interest?

– Know estimated number of attendees.

Mapping out your target audience will enable you to create an overall event flow, and generate meaningful content.

– Find a venue.

Once you determined your conference objectives, the next task is finding a location. Here are some questions to ask as you research venues.

  1. How far away is the venue location from a major city, airport, or other means of transportation?
  2. Can it hold the number of people expected?
  3. Does it support the Audio Visual or technology required?
  4. Can the location work within my budget?

– Then go, visit and get the layout of the venue.

Meet with the onsite coordinator and understand how the staff handles other events held at the venue.

  1. Is there a place to ship and store event materials?
  2. How does the reception and hotel space feel?
  3. Can you hear the speaker clearly through the sound system?

Be a detective.

We’ll post the conclusion of “How to Budget a Corporate Meeting/Event” next week.

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The Perfect Pitch – Key #9 for Successful Sales Presentations

Key #9 – You Came to Sell; Not to Present

We have seen and heard countless great presentations that did not result in sales. So, unless this is a meeting of the Toastmasters Club, the object is to get the business; to change a prospect into a client. If you spend all of the time at the meeting worrying about whether you and your team are making a good presentation, rather than whether you’re connecting with the prospect and his/her needs, then the prospect will shake your hand, tell you what a great job you did in explaining your service and that will be that.

So, move the meeting through the selling process—from acknowledging needs through a description of your relevant services, to a summary that shows how you can help achieve the objectives, to an expression of how passionately you want to work with the prospect, to asking for the next step in the process.

…which leads us to the summary of the Perfect Pitch

One. Three messages about your service that are distinct, compelling and powerful.

Two. Know the three key needs of your prospect that align with your product or service.

Three. You need to be sure that your Perfect Pitch gets you the business.

This is the final series of The Perfect Pitch.  Thank you for reading!

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The Perfect Pitch – Key #8 for Successful Sales Presentations

Key #8 – Active Listening

Most every business executive has taken a course or two in active listening. We’ve all read about it, but few of us do it. All we can suggest is re-read the books. Really engaging your mind with the prospect’s is critical to any successful presentation experience. Practice. Practice on your children or spouse. They’ll appreciate it. Practice on your colleagues. They’ll appreciate it. Hey, practice on yourself. Actively listen to yourself. You’ll appreciate it. Most people believe that great presenters are great talkers. Maybe. But, great presenters who close sales are great listeners.

And, that brings us to the last and most important “key” coming up next week!

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The Perfect Pitch – Key #7 for Successful Sales Presentations

Key #7 – Don’t Let Nerves Make You Nervous

Everyone gets nervous before major presentations. It simply manifests itself in different ways for different people. You need to understand how you behave when you’re nervous and work on that. Some common nervous reactions:

– Fast Talker

Simple technique. Just make yourself slow down the first three words of any sentence. And, breathe. Once you do this a few times, you’ll automatically slow down.

– Droner

This is harder. You stay with a monotone that quite literally puts your prospects to sleep. If you are using text, you can mark it for emphasis. This sometimes works, but can be a little artificial. Best suggestion is to find something in what you are proposing to the client that you passionately believe in and present it with all the enthusiasm you can muster. Also, work on making your words more colorful—more active verbs, adjectives and exclamation marks. Keep your remarks short.

– Tongue-twisters and malapropisms

Leave your dictionary at home. Short and simple words are far better than big words used incorrectly. This is endemic in the business world and there are some people (possibly your prospect) who can hear the difference between a word used correctly and not. Similarly, business speak is tedious. How many times do you use the phrase, “at the end of the day?”

– The sweats

This is really hard. Some people just drip when they get nervous. Obviously, a triple dose of strong deodorant is in order. Lightweight clothes are another answer. No caffeine that day helps. Water (with no ice, ice closes the throat) helps a lot. Try not to be the opener of the presentation. Let someone else do it so you can sit back and try to relax until your section. Focus very hard on listening to the prospect and watching for reactions. This gets your mind off of you and onto him or her, which is a good idea, regardless. If none of these suggestions help, then work with a top speech coach. A few sessions should improve the situation immensely.  Careful not to get a speech coach who wants you to do all sorts of artificial things. You will end up more nervous and sweaty than before.

– The fakes

You are you. You have a set of special qualities to bring to every presentation. If you try to be someone else, it will make you and everyone else in the room uncomfortable. If you are a serious person, then be serious. If you are lighthearted, then be lighthearted. A smile is always appreciated. If you are a listener, then listen. If you are a talker, then talk. All within the construct of the meeting strategy that the leader has set out.

Key #8 coming up next week.

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The Perfect Pitch – Key #6 for Successful Sales Presentation

Key #6 – Dress for Success

It’s harder than ever to know what’s appropriate. Business casual in Los Angeles is entirely different than in Atlanta. Business dress in London is different than in Houston and so on.

Some advice:

– Conservative is always the best choice, unless you’re selling creativity or wild eccentricity. The genius researcher or brilliant writer can wear pretty much what he or she wants.  Make sure the prospect knows beforehand that the genius is coming and won’t be put off by the appearance.

– Black is your friend.

– Dowdy is dowdy is dowdy. If it’s more than ten years old, use it for something other than a major presentation, even old Armani looks like old Armani.

– Never wear excessive jewelry.

– Shoes, briefcases, purses are important. There are people out there who judge you by your leather and often they are potential clients.

– Hair? That would be an essay in and of itself. Suffice to say, neat, well cut, reasonably in fashion and if you color, make sure the roots don’t show!

– If it’s golf-and-a-presentation or any other sport-and-a-presentation combo (and it happens), wear the proper clothes and most important, the right shoes. Parrot colors should be left at home.

Key #7 coming up next week.

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The Perfect Pitch – Key #5 to Successful Sales Presentations

Key #5 – Do a Q & A Rehearsal

You want to  make your presentation highly interactive with your prospects.  Your #1 objective is to gain as much understanding as possible about their business goals, what they are planning to do to achieve them and how your expertise fits into that process.  More questions from the prospects are better.  Someone should write out the handful of questions that the prospect is likely to ask and the answers to those questions. Pay particular attention to your weaknesses vis-a-vis the competition and make sure you have strong, confident answers.

Key #6 next week.

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The Perfect Pitch – Key #4 for Successful Sales Presentations

Key #4 – Support Materials


A key factor in gaining recognition of your brand, your product or your service is advertising. Whether via TV, radio, print, the Web or other specialty advertising, the important factor, as far as your presentation is concerned, is the integration of your advertising messages and the messages you convey in the presentation. All messages must be aligned.

Letters, Calls and Invitations

Again, as with advertising, the messages should create a foundation that you can build upon during the in-person presentation. Messages are graphic, as well as written words. The look and feel of all these communication elements must support your core brand messages.

Final confirmation of presentation

We all have about a nanosecond’s worth of time to review an upcoming meeting. Your communication to the meeting participants should be concise and cover, at minimum, the purpose of the meeting, the agenda, the time frame, the logistics and any special information such as maps, dining arrangements, and most important, a list of attendees.

Presentation Materials

To PowerPoint or not to PowerPoint. Generally, if you are presenting to more than three people, the information is detailed, the presentation will be longer than 15 minutes and/or graphics are important, we recommend PPT support.

If you use PPT,

  • – Keep the deck as short as possible; roughly two slides per minute is a good rule of thumb.
  • – Bullet points—no paragraphs unless you are reviewing a final copy statement.
  • – Charts must be consistent, one format only and, for financial services companies, the format ought to be a generally accepted one.
  • – Look and feel of the slides must reflect your brand identity.
  • – Always, always customize the first and last slides to your prospect. If you use the corporate logo, make sure it is correct to their brand standards.
  • – Never read slides, always follow the order of the points on the slides.


If you have it, use it. It is extremely memorable. Always keep it short—under five minutes. Be sure the equipment is in order before your presentation.

Print support materials

If you are doing a detailed presentation, it is valuable to leave the information behind in printed form, unless there are competitive issues. A presentation or proposal letter and accompanying brochures should be well packaged and several extra copies should be available.

Have business cards on table in front of prospect team. If presenting to an international audience, make sure that translated business cards are available.

Key #5 coming next week.

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