As professional communicators and marketers, we are working hard to understand what the current situation means to our clients, and how it affects their marketing and communications needs. Whether it’s for us or our clients, it’s clear that one focus must stay constant: maintaining responsible marketing and communications.

These times we’re all experiencing together offer us an opportunity to proactively manage our marketing and communications in a responsible way as well as to prepare for the positive bounce-back that we’re all looking forward to. With this in mind, we hope the following tips will help you make the most of the current marketing environment.

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

In new and threatening situations, the natural reaction tends to be reactive. Covering up. But it’s dangerous to be too reactive. First, reactions focus on the specific threat, creating instant tunnel vision. If you’re keeping your eyes open for opportunities, the last thing you want to do is hyper-focus on the one thing that you see as the problem.

Being reactive also causes stress. Instead, taking control of your destiny creates a positive stance, ready and eager for what’s next.

Familiar Territory

So much of marketing today is virtual that, on the surface, it seems like one of the least affected industries. This is partially true, but subtle changes have already happened. While it sounds counterintuitive, some industries might see more competition than before for online attention. This is especially true for email campaigns. Also, some businesses that are traditionally in-person, bricks-and-mortar only, have managed to be nimble enough to shift workers to online jobs or offer virtual versions of their traditional services. So, digital marketing and communications will continue to thrive and morph at the same time, embracing some activities and marketing needs that were once almost totally offline.

All Systems Go

The increase in virtual contact drives communication levels up, so you’ll want to remain responsive without doing everything as one-offs. That’s when your existing systems such as CRM and email marketing (hopefully connected to your CRM) play an important role. Good marketing demands engagement on your customers’ terms, so make sure to use every tool at your disposal to respond and serve as needed.

Tools of the New Trade

If you haven’t utilized webinars or podcasts before, this is a good time to start. It has always been an effective way to share your insights or demonstrate the value of your product or service with minimal commitment—and substantial opportunity for engagement—from your audience. To a certain extent, the same holds true for short videos, blogs, or the tools of public relations including media releases, by-lined articles and networking with the writers and editors.

Along with the latest business communications tools, do not overlook your social media. This is a new era of engagement that calls for the highest standard of messaging and content. 

One-to-One

Whether it’s texting, calling, video chatting, or via any other means, reaching out to your customers and clients has become more necessary than ever. You’ll realize at least two big benefits from increasing your one-on-ones: communicating what actions you’re taking these days and gaining insights and other perspectives from others. If it isn’t already part of your daily business life, being proactive in your one-on-one communications should become an essential part of it now.

We are Not Alone

If your inbox has already filled with more emails than usual from companies you’ve done business with, keep that in mind when you plan to send one of yours. Not only will it need to pass the usual gauntlet of spam filters and subject-line relevance to earn an open, the message inside will need to be different from all the others in order to resonate in a meaningful way. The correct approach is actually the same as it ever was: offer something of unique value, including the experience of doing business with you.

Take on High Road

Now is the time to be a proactive partner with your customers, clients, vendors, and others. While it’s important that you show your confidence in every interaction, there is no excuse for overreaching to the point of becoming opportunistic. If you have a product or service that you can offer for free, for instance, do it as a positive gesture and acknowledge that it’s because we’re all in this together. Your responsibility, as always, is to serve the needs of your customers or clients.

Stay Strategic

Even when business was business as usual, putting out fires was much easier than stopping long enough to focus on strategy. Try not to get sidetracked by the immediate situation. Whether it’s your messaging strategy, marketing strategy, or business strategy itself, focusing on the big picture will likely pay big dividends going forward.

Stay on Message

Your business should already have a solid messaging strategy in place, so everyone knows what to say to support your brand and its mission. There is no reason to diverge from this because of the current environment. Instead, take this opportunity to augment your messaging platform with those messages that are newly important. Everything still needs to work as a comprehensive system and stay fully aligned with your strategy.

Stay Social

Just as important as staying strategic and on message: keeping your brand active socially. Use the tools of public relations and social media to widen and deepen engagement with your audience. The media and publishers are hungrier than ever for content that can enlighten and entertain. Seek out opportunities to appear as a guest on radio and podcasts as well. As for social media, make an extra effort to engage more often and more directly with followers. Now, more than ever, going beyond posts to pursue actual dialog with your audience will increase the sense of connection—so important to any brand.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

We’ve started to notice one positive indication that life beyond the curve is going to happen. The news outlets are letting the “normal” stories inch back into the news cycle. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We just don’t know exactly how long the tunnel is.

As for us at Next-Mark, each of our clients has adjusted differently to the changes. While some are clearly focusing on their internal actions, others have actually accelerated their communications and marketing outreach. And, we’re happy to share, with have welcomed new clients who see as an important partner in developing strategic communications and marketing programs in this new era of business. If this is what the new normal looks like, then we’re feeling good about the future.

As always, we encourage you to reach out anytime. Whether you need a sounding board or you want to share some your own insights, we are here for you. 

Although a lot has changed in our past 15 years in business, some things have remained constant. Among them is our belief in the importance of core messaging. That’s why whenever we start working with a new client, we strongly encourage them to let us help create a core messaging platform before they start any other marketing initiatives. Messaging is that important, and here’s why:

The Voice
Why do we insist (or at least try to insist) on developing a core messaging platform? Because every brand, every company, every organization needs a clear voice. With an established core messaging structure, this voice is fine-tuned to help the client’s customers and prospects quickly understand the value of its products and services. Actually, the benefit is not limited to sales; staff, executives, and potential hires also win when the messaging house is put in order.

Fast Forward
Establishing core messaging virtually eliminates the tendency to return to square one on every project, wondering what to say and how to say it. Anyone in the organization can refer to the messaging guide for keywords, talking points, a positioning statement, the brand promise, and more. Target markets come into focus, and buying personas within the markets become more lifelike and easier to address.

Time and Money
And did we mention that this saves clients time and money? Every marketing project started after the messaging platform has been created will run more efficiently, whether it’s done in house or by an agency. That’s because people can cut to the chase in meetings, because they’re not getting sidetracked by confusion over messaging. Plus, marketing budgets are no longer hijacked by guesswork, because the core messaging helps spotlight the differences between good spending and bad.

Messaging Power
While the process of developing a core messaging platform requires a substantial amount of work, it is well worth the effort. In fact, we enjoy this type of project and think clients should look forward to the experience as well. They always find the process to be empowering, because it helps them see how far they’ve come, understand where they are now, and articulate where they want to go in the future.

The Takeaway
So, now you know why we grabbed Marshall McLuhan’s classic “the medium is the message” and gave it a new twist: “The Messaging is the Message.” McLuhan never meant that the message wasn’t important; he wanted us to appreciate how important the context of the message is. A core messaging platform provides both the context and the messages that spring from it—and that’s very good for any business.

Next-Mark earned two 2020 Silver ADDY Awards at AdFed of the American Advertising Federation. AdFed Suncoast is the Sarasota region’s club . These awards are especially rewarding, because they span multiple categories that directly impact our clients’ business success.

 

One of our many projects for Elsevier won in the Sales & Marketing category for a Product or Service Sales Promotion Campaign entitled “‘Summer of 79’” is Memorable Again.” The colorful design and themed messaging combined to deliver on the client’s project needs, and we’re happy that it also stood out for the judges.

Our other win, also for a 2020 Silver ADDY, was in the Cross Platform category for an Integrated Branded Content Campaign for another major client: Medecision. This complex campaign including videos, cube design, signage and collateral, and it was called “Innovative Targeting of Personas” Liberation.

We’d like to thank these and all of our other clients for their constant support and creative collaboration on every project we work on together.

By the way, the venue for the awards, CinéBistro in Sarasota, added another level of satisfaction for us, as Next-Mark provided the marketing and PR that launched CinéBistro when it opened. Today, it’s the top location in the company’s entire upscale dinner/movie cinema portfolio.

 

It seems not so long ago that I was at home launching a business while my kids played in another room. Now those children are young men with wives-to-be, and that business is 15 years old and a full-service operation based in Florida, serving clients locally and globally.
As those years flew by, I learned a lot about myself and this business. Thus, on this 15th anniversary of Next-Mark, I’d like to share some of those insights with you:
1. Always be grateful for what you have and share it whenever you can.
2. Failure is not an option; there is no Plan B when others have put their trust in you.
3. Kindness is key in all relationships.
4. Positivity is contagious. There is always an upside no matter what the situation.
5. Loyalty is a precious commodity that needs to be recognized and valued.
6. Communication is core to success in any business.
7. It’s all about having the right team. I have had the privilege of working with some of the best, and I will continue to grow our team with new people with fresh ideas and talents.
8. Every business relationship has a beginning, a middle and an end, and a true professional knows the difference.
9. Creativity goes far beyond color choice and design. It’s an intuitive process that is intrinsic to all we do.
10. Love your competition, as they can help you learn and grow.
11. Patience is more than a virtue, it’s an imperative in life and work.
12. Value innovation. Never stop looking for a better idea or better way.
13. Celebrate your failures! They always possess more information than your successes. Make them right and then grow from them.
14. Treat everyone with the respect they deserve.
15. Embrace humor. A smile is a powerful motivator. (And, some days, you just have to laugh.)
Above all is how much I appreciate the team we have assembled and the clients we serve, have and will gain. It’s been a wonderful ride, and I look forward to the road ahead.
Thank you for your friendship, support and kindness.
JOE

One day, long ago, I was raking leaves next to a busy road in Maine. Yes, there are such things. A car stopped, and the passenger asked me how to get to a certain park. I gave them such clear and concise directions that pride welled up in me as they disappeared down the road. Then it occurred to me that I had given them excellent directions, but to the wrong park. What’s worse, they would need to drive right past me again to get to the right park. So, as I figured how long it would take them to drive back to where I was, I stopped raking and hid inside the house.

In marketing, it’s rare to give your agency’s team members direction that is exactly opposite to what they need. But even the best marketing managers or directors find themselves giving direction that can almost do more harm than good. To help you help someone else (who definitely isn’t you) give better direction in creative projects, here are twelve quick steps.

1. Relax

Relax! Of course you don’t have time to relax when a big, threatening deadline is looking over your shoulder. But you also won’t have the time—or budget—for later corrections caused by giving vague or ambiguous direction right now.

2. Read

Take the time to review any materials being used as background or input for the new creative project. Missing key elements now will likely be harder to fix later on. Don’t just read the current version of the project; also read the overall project direction and guidelines occasionally to make sure you’re still on track.

3. Timing is Everything

If you’re responsible for setting delivery deadlines, be realistic. Whether your team is in-house or an outside agency, everyone is juggling multiple projects and deadlines already. So, setting an unrealistically short deadline is often counterproductive. When unnecessary time pressure takes over, that’s when mistakes get made.

4. Think CTA

Including an effective call to action (CTA) is just good marketing. Using the CTA as a focus will help you produce more effective direction, because it’s harder to stray from precision when you know exactly what you want your reader/viewer/prospect/customer to do next.

5. Get Your Specs On

Whether the end product is digital, video, print, radio, or whatever, it will need to follow all necessary specifications. Designers, for example, will need the exact dimensions of the image size and restrictions on file size. For copy, it’s normally word count. Every organization should have a brand guide that specifies proper usage of logos and colors in all applications, too.

6. Include Everything

They say editing is the hardest part of writing, but this step is actually about including all the elements required for the project. Little will frazzle a designer more, for instance, than adding an image or logo element they’ll need to include in the design after they’re already halfway finished. It’s similar for writing copy, too. In short, try to get everything to the project team at once, before they get started.

7. Copy That

Provide clean copy whenever possible. True, adding comments and marking up copy changes within a PDF can be expedient. And placing the comment exactly where the change needs to happen, that’s a good thing. But providing clean copy in a separate document is still the best way to make sure nothing gets lost in translation. After all, it’s very easy to miss or misunderstand copy changes when they’re embedded in comment blocks instead.

8. Mark it Up

I just gave some love to marking up PDFs for a reason. Whether you use Acrobat, Preview, or another tool to proof and indicate necessary changes—or use the “Track Changes” within Word—aim for clarity in your markups. Having marked-up versions along with clean-copy versions will make it much easier to backtrack at any point, if necessary.

9. Re-read

Sorry, just when you’d started forgiving me for asking you to read project materials more thoroughly, here I am asking you again. But investing a bit more of that time you don’t have will pay project dividends. Be empathetic and as much of a mind reader as possible: if there’s anything that might still be unclear when a project is approaching perfection, now’s the time to fix it.

10. Version Control

Software companies learned long ago that being very specific about versions—though painstaking—would help avoid confusion in the long run. For example, MacOS Catalina is actually Version 10.15.2 (19C57). Establish and stick to a straightforward system for tracking versions as changes are made. This holds true for copy and artwork.

11. Finally FINAL

As much as possible, avoid including the word “final” in the names of project files. This is extremely tempting, and much too common. By the way, capitalizing “FINAL” never prevents making changes later, either. It’s all about version control, so if you’re not using a meta-tag or filing system to identify status later on, at least use meaningful terms such as “print ready” or “with so-and-so’s markups” to distinguish among the many iterations you and your project team have created. As with version control, the goal is to avoid confusion for now and for later.

12. Distribute Wisely

Just as important as the specific direction is how it’s communicated to the project team. Take care to avoid ambiguity regarding who needs to do what. So, if you’re copying several people at once, parse the tasks and call out the team member responsible, in order to make it extra clear.

There are certainly worse habits to kick that giving less-than-perfect direction. But you (I mean your friend) will be pleasantly surprised by the improvements that can be made to creative marketing projects by following these steps.

I recently spoke to the Florida Public Relations Association on “Building and Nurturing High Performance Teams.” In preparation, I polled a number of seasoned marketing communications professionals and senior executives, asking for their expertise, candor and insights into building and nurturing high-performance communications teams.

My questions were couched in the key assumption that high performance goes well beyond traditional communications skills or technical marketing acumen, as well as in acknowledgement that we’re talking about people with a lot on their plates, both professionally and personally, from unrelenting deadlines to family obligations.

Still, something this important must get done. And it’s well worth the effort – for everyone involved – as employees are inspired to do their best work and stay in place, contributing to the bottom line for overall business sustainability and success.

To build anything, however, you have to know what it should look like. And that’s what my respondents provided, with their advice culminating in 10 traits that define a high-performance communications team.

  1. An Environment of Trust. Trust is the foundation for every functional team and must flow across the business continuum among peers, clients, subordinates and colleagues. Successful marketers actively guard this characteristic, as broken trust is almost impossible to restore.
  2. Self-Awareness that Challenges the Status Quo. This requires staying involved without over-managing.While you need processes in place to ensure accuracy and compliance, you don’t want to become the team proofreader or a bottleneck. It’s also important to develop input sources with multiple points of view including customers, prospects, lost clients, sales team members, etc.
  3. A Culture of Learning. Those who truly excel at their craft foster continuous learning, both formally and informally. Be sure to stay open minded about new technologies and new ways of doing things — and learn to do them yourself instead of deferring to the early adopters. That said, never let go of your professional past experience — your wisdom may be indispensable.
  4. A Willingness to Move Beyond Labels. If someone is better than you in a particular discipline, think of them as a complement to your talents rather than a threat.Teams should be a well-rounded mix of energetic and savvy younger talent, coupled with the wisdom of tenured industry experts.
  5. A Passion for Excellence. High-performing teams have a profound passion for excellence. They champion each initiative with a drive toward greatness. They neversettle for average, but strive for the next level of success. They also are self motivators. The most successful members of any team are the ones who don’t wait for the request – they’re the ones who think about the objectives and look for both new and tried-and-true ways to achieve those goals.
  1. Celebration of Failures. Really? Yes. Let go of the small things and move on from mistakes. You can’t control everything, so focus on big-picture ideas to achieve team success. Don’t dwell on your shortfalls; use them as a springboard to your next level of achievement.
  2. Willingness to Share Risk. Your team needs to stay on top of the plan to make sure the ball doesn’t get dropped. That’s why it’s imperative that you help them understand the strategy, not just execute on it. Teams are always more effective if they understand the “why.”
  3. Sense of Humor. A shared sense of humor must be present. The demands of any profession are serious; however, there needs to be room for appropriate hilarity.Laughter is essential – if we can’t take the time to laugh, something is damaged at a basic human level.
  4. Mentorship is Integral. Seek mentors outside your group and completely different than your team members for an alternative perspective. Mentor even the more experienced team members to help them stretch and move toward their career aspirations.
  5. Embrace Success. Do not succumb to cynicism. Be authentic in your journey and attract the team members and business colleagues who share your values. Above all, don’t be afraid to take risks.

Here are a few direct quotes that are well worth remembering as we strive to foster performance that drives excellence.

“True professionals understand that communications is a discipline — it’s not glad-handing or a creative think tank.”

  • “If you inherit a team, give yourself time to trust their insights before changing up everything.”
  • “Self-awareness means keenly understanding your individual and collective strengths and weaknesses.”
  • “To survive in marketing communications, you need to re-invent yourself twice a decade or more.”
  • “Your failures will always have more information than your successes.”

This past week I spoke at the Digital Summit Charlotte on “Amplifying Thought Leadership through Content Creation.” I want to share the key points from my presentation with you here. In a world of too much information, quality information is gold. Being the source of that gold is an advantage in the marketplace and an opportunity not to be missed.

 

That, basically, is what Thought Leadership Content Curation is all about—gathering relevant, engaging, fact-based information, then adding value and sharing that information with targeted audiences. It involves tapping into the talent, experience and passion inside your business, or from your community, to answer the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience.

 

This is done with the goal of establishing yourself, your organization or the position you represent as the “go-to” for credible, sustainable and powerful content, enabling you to enter the conversation early in the consumer journey. Such thought leadership also creates an affinity for your brand and develops a new level of intimacy with your audience. It’s also extremely cost efficient.

 

When I say “thought leaders,” I’m not talking about self-appointed pontificators. Instead, I’m talking about informed opinion leaders who are trusted, inspirational and aspirational.

Ready to raise your visibility (a.k.a. amplify your thought leadership) in your space? Here are 10 steps to guide you in launching a sustainable Thought Leadership Content Curation program for your organization:

 

  1. Get Buy-in From the Top.Thought Leadership Content Curation requires high-level support and impetus to create and maintain a viable effort.

 

  1. Build Your Thought Leadership Platform.

A few points to consider:

  • Do not “curate” images that you don’t have the rights to. Be aware of copyright issues.
  • Link back to the original source. Provide appropriate references – make it a win-win.
  • Make it your own. Don’t just copy, put it in your own words.
  • Start with content that is of the highest value. Curate content of interest that is shareable.
  • Elevate the conversation. Dare to be bold.

 

  1. Identify Your Sphere of Influence. This is done by asking three simple questions: Whom do you want to reach? What will resonate with your audience? How will you do it?

 

  1. Move Beyond Influence and Create a Conversation About Your Brand. Tell your story, aligning your leadership message to your brand, in a consistent and ethical manner.

 

  1. Build an Arsenal of Thought Leadership Assets. These “weapons” include infographics, blogs, facts from trusted sources, case studies, social media posts, white papers, executive briefs, etc. Remember that the same information can be used different ways; make the most of your content.

 

  1. Stand Out in the Crowd. Curate thought leadership content that drives results by identifying topics that align with your brand, maximizing the opportunity to gain share of mind and adding value to existing content that is memorable, shareable and sustainable.

 

  1. Select the Optimal Channels. Know your audience and choose the appropriate channels to move your message forward.

 

  1. Always be Strategic.Thought Leadership Content Curation is goal-driven. Each single effort should add to the whole.

 

  1. Measure your Results.Perform routine audits to measure results including online metrics, response rates and monitoring formal and informal conversations about your brand.

 

  1. Communicate your Success. Remember to share your results with your team.

 

And throughout it all, remember:

  • Seek to showcase excellence.
  • Create engaging, thought-provoking content.
  • Be authentic, concise and fact-based.
  • Attract the appropriate audience for your message.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks.

 

There is a wealth of thought leadership content that is never promoted to its full potential. Make yours work for you and your brand.

If we can help with your next thought leadership initiative, please contact us, We can be reached at 941.544.2765 or by email. For more information about all of our capabilities, view our Online LookBook.

Marketing research has one primary purpose: to fortify decision-making. Marketing Research should always fit within a larger scheme of strategic intelligence. This enables you to gain a knowledge base that is comprised of data, ideas, and business drivers. Within each are specific information sources useful and vital for decision-making. It is one of the most profound ways to listen to your customers.

It can support a very specific question or it can be a “compass” pointing your organization in the right direction. Whether you want to measure client or employee satisfaction, identify attributes for a new product or generate new ideas for your business, here are ten points to consider:

 

  1. Begin with the End in Sight– When initiating any research project, it is critical to consider your long-term business objectives before starting any project. Be as specific as possible.

 

  1. Be Strategic– Marketing research may very well be your most important support tool in developing your strategic plan. Use the intelligence gained to support your long-term strategic goals.

 

  1. Objectivity Matters– Remove all biases when conducting research studies. Most research is conducted externally to ensure objectivity.

 

  1. Use Leading-Edge Methods– The marketing research arsenal is filled with powerful comprehensive analytical tools to support your research project. From conjoint studies, online surveys to focus groups, among a multitude of others. Familiarize yourself with a wide range of choices in supporting your research program.

 

  1. Quantitative or Qualitative– Understand the important difference between securing quantitative versus qualitative information. Both are critical in your success. Each study should provide a balance of both.

 

  1. Do it Yourself?– There are numerous online tools that are easily accessible for marketing research. Although they can be very helpful, remember marketing research is a science that cannot always be satisfied with quick techniques and spontaneous answers. Be cautious in using these online tools. Although useful, they may not provide the comprehensive approach your business may demand.

 

  1. Consider the Continuum– It is important to understand that marketing research should be part of a continuum of analytical activities. Although one research method may satisfy your needs, it is sometimes best to integrate a range of research tools at different phases of your research plan.

 

  1. Maximize Your Metrics– Numbers matter. Establish measurements to track your marketing research effectiveness and direction. This will allow you to benchmark results.

 

  1. Do the Analysis– Gathering data is only one aspect of a marketing research initiative. It is critical to analyze each phase of your research initiative. Conduct intuitive and detailed analysis to interpret the results of your study and analyze the data gathered.

 

  1. Communicate the Results– Perhaps the most important aspect of any marketing research project is communicating the results of the study. This is an important opportunity to share critical insights and establish a platform for objective discussion within your organization.

 

The Next-Mark team has conducted a wide-range of marketing research studies including brand research, employee and client satisfaction, product research, pricing analysis, among others. We creatively design and execute market research engagements to deliver insight, experience, and highly reliable marketing research results.

 

If you are considering a marketing research study, contact us and learn how we can assist, Please give us a call at 941.544.2765 or email us to get in touch. For more information about all of our capabilities, view our Online LookBook.

 

 

 

Essential Elements for making more effective videos

Whether it’s online, corporate, YouTube, a trade show booth or kiosk—whatever the device—your company should be using videos to further its cause. For business, videos can take many forms and serve a wide range of purposes. Live action, motion graphics, interviews, whiteboard animation, voiceover, and music can be used to communicate stories that move your brand forward with video.

Here are 10 tips to help your business develop more effective videos, ones that will function as valuable strategic content.
  1. Be Strategic!

As with anything in business, starting from a strategic standpoint will always pay dividends. Some videos will need to sell a vision, others must explain a product concept or teach essential skills. Still others will leverage capturing live events in a way that can be shared and extended to maximize their value. Always start with a clear idea about what each video is supposed to accomplish.

  1. Tell Your Story with an Impactful Script

It’s all about the story, and writing the script professionally is the all-important stage when the story really starts to take shape. All the elements—words, sounds, motion graphics, animation—must be ordered and presented in a way that effectively communicates what the finished video will be. Next step: storyboarding.

  1. Create a Storyboard that Visually Embodies Your Message

Videos are built one sequence at a time, and the best (and most cost-effective) way to visualize the whole story is through a storyboard. Walt Disney Studios developed the concept in the 1930s to help bring its ground-breaking animation work to life. Storyboarding is just as important for live-action and explainer videos, as it forms an important bridge between the script and the screen.

  1. Let Your Sound Choices Resonate

Sound must be an integral part of every video. Choose music, voiceover, and any other sound sources based on how to best tell the story and stay true to your brand. Also, though we’re about a hundred years into the sound era for film, many viewers still watch video on mobile or desktop without the audio turned on. Consider adding closed captions during the editing stage. Plan ahead, though. Captions should be handled during the scripting phase as well.

  1. Minimize Text to Maximize Impact 

Viewers of news programs have become used to a deliberate overload of text elements on screen. In most cases, this is the exact opposite of the approach to take when producing a video for business. Viewers process images and infographics much more quickly than they do text, so keep text to a minimum and make sure that every bit of text earns its keep by delivering or at least reinforcing your key messages.

  1. Leverage Infographics for Dynamic Content

If any part of your video needs to convey data, use infographics, never simple numbers. From a two-colored pie chart to stylized people and objects that move and change, your video will communicate with more clarity and power with infographics. By the way, as a client, you won’t need to supply the infographics; your agency will create them for you.

  1. Let Video Empower Your Brand

Of course, every aspect of the video should follow brand standards regarding use of logos, fonts, and other design elements. Not so obvious, but just as important to consider: the new video will become part of your brand. Make sure that it has the correct tone and production values it needs to fit in.

  1. Time is Everything

That’s not a typo. Timing is important, too, but the point here is to keep it short—but not always. YouTube considers four minutes as the limit for a “short” video. Shorter videos are more likely to be shared, too. But never rush a story. If the script runs longer because you’re covering lots of territory or the topic is complex, then the length of the video will have to stretch as well.

  1. Parse it Out

You can increase the value and ROI of every one of your videos by planning them to be parsed later on. Modular videos can be repurposed for kiosks, trade show exhibits, and social media. For training videos, for example, consider breaking a longer video into several smaller ones, each with a step or two in the process. Take advantage of the video platforms’ playlists to organize the videos for viewers.

  1. Power Up Your CTA (Call to Action) 

In most cases, you will want your video to inspire viewers to take action. This can take the form of a call, a visit to a website, or sharing the video on social media. There are even ways to add interactivity such as polls or quizzes to your videos. Especially for longer videos, include a call to action well before the end. It’s related to the old sales warning to “never talk past the close.” If the viewer has already grasped the value of your video’s message, they should have the option to take the next step already.

At Next-Mark, we help clients develop powerful videos, taking them from concept to completion and beyond. If you’d like help creating videos that work effectively as strategic content, please give us a call at 941.544.2765 or email us to get in touch. For more information about all of our capabilities, view our Online LookBook.

No matter what your business, the basics of quality client relations are the same. Admittedly, these are not necessarily novel ideas. But unfortunately, they’re not always applied. 

The following are the actions and attributes we believe are important for healthy, effective client relationships – and the way we commit to doing business each and every day.

  1. Strong Communications

When working with our clients, we find it’s best to be fully informed; that is, as much as you want to be. Some clients need regular updates to be comfortable with communications plans; others prefer to just see results. As we consider ourselves part of your team, it’s important to meld into your workflow to make the process seamless and smoother.

  1. Strategic Understanding

We hate to waste time. That’s why we frontload our process, learning as much as we can about a client up front to create a strategic messaging strategy to fuel ongoing, dynamic communication. Our clients find this invaluable, especially when they see that they have grown beyond what they once were – but often are still communicating.

  1. Honesty/Candor

As “hired hands,” we ultimately will do what you want. As a trusted, collaborative partner, however, we will never waiver in first giving you our advice on the best and most cost-effective ways to reach your marketing and communication goals.

  1. Trust/Integrity

In an era of “fake” almost everything, trust can be difficult to earn. For almost 15 years now, we’ve managed to achieve it, however, matching our goals with client needs, meeting deadlines, delivering consistently high-quality work and instilling confidence.

  1. Collaboration

We believe collaboration with our clients is essential to success; both our success and the success of our clients. Your input and guidance fuels our success and provides synergies throughout every engagement.

  1. Transparency

We always encourage our clients to be perfectly honest with us, as it’s difficult to address issues we are unaware of, and false claims could be made that make matters worse. Such trusted full disclosure can be painful, but it can save a great deal of time, resources, embarrassment and even more serious consequences.

  1. Mutual Openness

Wait! Isn’t this the same thing as “transparency” above? Not quite. Though often used interchangeably, there is a subtle but important difference. Transparency is a clear view of the present in order to adapt to a reality or improve it. Openness is about human interaction and receptivity to things different from the traditional or one’s own. In our business, that means never saying, “we’ve always done it this way.” New ideas and ways to do things come along every day! Some are even worth becoming the new norm. That’s why we urge clients to join us in keeping minds open to the new and different.

  1. Fairness

Fairness in this context means treating people with a standard of performance that is consistent, and giving clients fair value for their hard earned money. Fairness is concerned with actions, processes and consequences that are morally right, honorable and equitable.

  1. Loyalty/Respect/Courtesy

These are big words here. They’re also a vanishing art in some places. Loyalty, respect and courtesy are vital to creating relationships that are healthy and an atmosphere that inspires creative thought.

  1. Managing expectations

In past times, some clients expected a banner headline for the simplest action. Today, it’s a million hits for a pithy quote. Neither was, nor is, likely to happen. When expectations are not effectively managed, it can result in disruption to a strategic plan. That’s why we always will share what you can reasonably expect at each stage, building on it to create a cohesive communications whole that can be every bit as good as that highly coveted “splash.”

If all the above seems obvious – good! It means you put these principles in place at your shop, as well. It also means that you are exactly the kind of client that fuels our enthusiasm for what we do. Thank you to our existing clients who inspire us every day and a hardy welcome to those who wish to join our fold.

We welcome the opportunity to learn more about your marketing challenges and share our capabilities. Give us call any time at 941.544.2765.