Here’s a compelling statistic: 69% of B2B marketers use case studies to help generate leads. Pair that with the 88% of video marketers reporting that video gives them a positive ROI, and the business opportunity for a case study video really comes into focus.
Here, we outline seven tips that have helped Karbo Com create videos that won over the minds of target audiences, (and the hearts of judges and award committees!).
Most recently our client, Penguin Computing, came to us to help promote the company’s involvement in Director Ang Lee’s blockbuster film Gemini Man in advance of the film’s world premiere. Karbo Com harnessed the power of a video case study to highlight the company’s solution and convey how it was essential to making the film a reality.
Managing the entire video production process from conception to completion, the Karbo team developed a project plan and led the initiative smoothly, ahead of schedule and within the scope of the budget. The final videos were strategically released on social media, online, and at Penguin Computing’s biggest trade show event of the year. In recognition of the Gemini Man case study videos, Karbo Communications was awarded a Gold 2020 Hermes Creative Awards and won the 2020 Silver Telly Award.
1. Define Your Target Audience
The foundation for any case study starts with clearly defining who that target audience is and what drives their decision making. Honing your message to cater to a clearly defined audience will propel your case study video to have the greatest impact possible.
Don’t know where to start? Ask your comms team to assist in developing personas to outline actionable insights about your target audience. Communications teams are experts at understanding where your message should land and how to get it to stick.
2. Precisely Outline What You Want to Accomplish
The next step in the development process is crystalizing your communication goals and objectives. Begin by understanding what compels your target audience to take action by answering the following questions:
Once you have a firm grasp of what your goal is and what your objectives are, gather assets such as white papers, customer testimonials, and statistics to help illustrate your points. Having a specific goal and clearly articulated objectives allows you to evaluate materials you can use to support your “case,” and eliminate what’s extraneous. With those materials in hand, your communications team can begin crafting questions that guide your subjects to tell a compelling story.
3. Ask Leading Questions To Craft Your Story
When spearheading the development of a case study video, you’ll need to coax the right answers from sources. Guide your subjects to help tell your story by developing questions that cut to the chase.
Ask questions that provoke your subjects elaborate on the following aspects of the project:
Keep in mind that questions should always remain open-ended to stimulate interview subjects to expound on their thoughts. Follow that protocol and you may find yourself with some additional soundbites you didn’t even know you wanted!
4. Storyboard & Script the Narrative
A storyboard is a visual representation of a film sequence and breaks down the video’s elements into individual panels. Storyboarding your case study video will allow you to clearly establish the flow of the narrative and visualize how shots will flow and work together. It’s important to keep your visual brand identity in mind throughout the process to keep the video’s look and feel consistent with your brand. Ensure you have complete internal alignment on language, tone, and visuals before starting on the storyboard. The last thing you want is to discover the need to pivot halfway through production, wasting both time and money.
In the script, clearly articulate the opportunity, the solution, and the positive outcome. Support those key components with exciting and engaging visuals that illustrate, give color, and provide visual context to the story told by your interview subjects. Substantiate your successes by including data points in the script that highlight the impact your solution provided.
Lastly, include a “call to action” in your case study that drives your target audience to engage with your brand or your product. Remember, the greater goal of your case study video is to support marketing efforts, ultimately contributing to your bottom line.
5. Project Management is Critical
Assign a project manager to lead the planning process and handle day-to-day coordination to streamline production. Their role will be crucial in developing a production schedule and anticipating any roadblocks that could hinder progress. There are many moving parts from scheduling interviews and securing b-roll, to managing budget, location and props. It only takes one broken link in the chain to disrupt the entire production. Avoid that unnecessary headache by setting a realistic production schedule, emphasize production design and experienced direction, and secure buy-in from key stakeholders.
For the case study we orchestrated for Penguin Computing, the Karbo Com team assumed the role of project manager, setting the project budget, developing the storyboard and scripts, hiring a production team, and creating a launch plan that was ultimately executed and measured. Organizing all those components under one management umbrella allowed for a seamless production.
6. Keep It Brief
Video length matters! In fact, there’s a significant drop in viewer retention for videos longer than 2 minutes. Of course, length will vary depending on the content and the platform you are publishing to, but keep in mind that less is often more.
The best practice is to create cuts of varied length to best suit your website and social platforms. We’ve aggregated the optimal lengths per platform:
For Penguin Computing, we developed a number of videos at varying lengths — allowing us to optimize each video for the specific platform it was published on and maximize engagement.
7. Launch Strategy
You’ve just finished your video. How do you decide when, where and how you’ll use it in your marketing efforts? There are a couple of ways you can boost visibility right off the bat:
To drive further visibility, work with your PR team to gauge where, when, and how content like a video case study should be promoted. Leverage your PR team’s expansive network of relationships with reporters, analysts, and influencers to get your message in front of the right people at the right time.
Thinking about creating your own case study video? Get in touch with us and see how we can work to develop a video that will help you achieve your goals.
Last week, our CEO Julie Karbo led a Coaching Circle at the 2020 Women in Technology International Virtual Summit. A marketing expert who has helped thousands of craft successful brand narratives, Julie shared pages from her playbook on how to successfully move markets.
Branding & Positioning: Why It’s Important
Why is branding important? If you’ve got a better product it will sell itself, right? If only it was that easy. The streets of Silicon Valley are littered with failed companies that had great products, but didn’t tell their story in a way that moved hearts, minds and wallets. We’ve all seen examples of messaging that fails to accurately communicate a company’s value, differentiation and vision.
Branding exercises lay the foundation of a company’s communications with customers, partners, investors or any other entity that has a stake in what they do. The branding exercise itself is complex, time consuming and rigorous. It requires a commitment from the CEO to participate wholly and she or he must mandate the same from other members of the C-Suite. It’s critical that there be a commitment to unflinching honesty and self evaluation, with an exercise leader that asks the right questions, keeps the process productive, moving forward and free of arrogance and power plays. Those are just table stakes. Then comes the hard part.
Nailing Your Message
Branding is never a one-meeting-and-you’re done proposition. It takes a great deal of internal and external research, the ability to audit key audiences, collaboration across the highest levels of the organization, and a willingness to test its efficacy. Without this commitment companies can fail to craft the right narrative. It’s not as rare as you think. According to Forbes, only 1 in 4 corporate brands is perceived as different from their competitors.
Know What You Need to Know
Where does it all begin? With the customer. Do you have robust persona(s) of your target customer(s)? What are their demographics? What do they read? How do they make product purchase decisions? What do they do in their spare time? What keeps them up at night? What’s causing and alleviating their pain and what’s not?
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. A quality persona profile reflects the prism by which your customer judges you. Many executives believe it’s based solely on their product features. This is partially true, but remember your solution isn’t simply your technology platform and product, it includes the quality of your management team, what reporters, influencers, partners, your support teams and the competition say about you and more. At Karbo Com we call it the Whole Product Prism.
Getting Branding & Positioning Right
Once we have our foundational research done, we begin to craft the narrative. At Karbo Com, we manage the overarching process, and will craft the first draft of straw man messaging according to three categories: market, technology/product and company. These straw man messages are discussed with the whole team and once these narratives are finalized they are tested with customers, partners and other influencers.
How Do We Know It’s Working?
Measuring branding efficacy requires accountability, and accountability starts with the identification of qualitative and quantifiable KPIs. Karbo Com then uses analytic platforms to help determine success metrics. One size doesn’t fit all. Measurement is a function of the unique needs of each company. Key components can include sales leads, sentiment, competitive response, influencer concept tests, share of voice and a host of other metrics.
Executing the branding exercise flawlessly is one of the most important things you will do as a company. Devoting resources is important. But just as critical is making a commitment to truth, introspection and collaboration. Finally, you have to pledge loyalty to your narrative — to tell your unique story in a way that moves markets.
Looking to up-level your branding & positioning? Contact us.
Technology marketing is unlike any other. It demands a different way of thinking and rapid adaptability. Tech marketers, like Apple’s famous tagline, ‘think different’. In the past, tech’s expansive influence on the world granted us the ability to thrive, even in hard times. But we’ve moved from the Wild West to Westworld. While we crave normalcy, nothing may ever be the same.
How can brands and PR teams create an island of calm for employees, customers, partners and prospects when the environment around them is tumultuous? How can we help ensure that our relationships continue to work? Nimble PR and communications are a critical element of a company’s HR, marketing, sales and new business strategies and actions. Here are five communication tips to consider in these unprecedented times:
The current climate has affected many companies’ ability to operate at full capacity. If the pandemic has affected your team’s ability to deliver services or products, communicate with your customers and community immediately. Set expectations for delays while confirming your ongoing commitment to the quality of your relationship. Regular updates will likely buy you much needed patience.
With inquiries from the media, customers, and prospects alike, don’t leave anyone hanging. A quick acknowledgement of receipt to confirm that you’re working through requests can go a long way for brand sentiment.
Continuing marketing activities is a priority, but keep in mind that everyone is receiving communication from what feels like every vendor they’ve ever had contact with and a host of new ones. Many simply ask if there’s anything they can do to help. Limit your communications to what is necessary and focus on relevancy and targeted solutions over concerned platitudes.
The news cycle will be heavily focused on global health for some time. This is to be expected for a once-in-a-hundred-years event. While different industries, including the media, adjust to what may be the new normal, their priorities and interests have shifted. The major announcement that you’ve been planning for months may not be able to be a top priority for reporters at the moment. Consult with your PR team on messaging — does your product have impact and new relevance for your customers and their customers? If so, recast your messaging for greater impact. If not, assess your timeline. Be realistic about releasing company news right now, and whether revisiting your timeline or new vehicles for these announcements makes more sense and means better results.
While your company news might not make the most sense for media right now, identify other ways your team can be a resource. For example, do you have insights or data that validate a market trend the media is seeing during these challenging times? Package them in a way that is clear and poignant.
As tech marketers, we’re used to adapting to and creating change. While we’re not driving this revolution as we have others, we can control the way we respond. We can help make sure our relationships continue to function and grow as we navigate this ‘new normal.’
Increasingly, brands are realizing the value of brand storytelling on social media, yet countless tech companies continue to use their channels exclusively to shout product announcements and updates into the ether. Don’t get us wrong: promotional content can be an important part of the equation—but if your company’s editorial calendar consists only of announcements and CTAs, you’re failing to embrace the full potential of your brand’s social media presence.
Purposeful and effective social media content strategy begins with a clear understanding of how shared content supports company objectives. We’ve identified three essential—yet often overlooked or underutilized—types of social media content designed to support key objectives whether your tech company is B2B or B2C, including instructive examples from those companies doing it right.
Educational social content provides your audience with informative, relevant content—it’s not about making a hard sell, it’s about building a relationship and positioning your brand as a trusted authority. The key to producing educational content that resonates is knowing your audience and addressing their pain points by connecting them with the information they need.
Do you know about the new R&D tax credit? If not, you could be leaving $250,000 on the table. Here’s how it works and how to claim it. #AskGusto
Posted by Gusto on Wednesday, September 12, 2018
The ongoing talent shortage continues to pose major challenges—a recent Gartner report ranks the global talent shortage as the top risk today’s organizations face, above accelerating privacy regulation, cloud computing, and the rapid pace of change. Social media is a great place to communicate the benefits of working at your company that aren’t adequately captured in a job description alone. If your hiring-focused content is limited to job opening announcement posts only, consider broadening your social strategy to include content that highlights important aspects like your company’s culture, ethos, and perks.
Your job isn’t just about showcasing your company’s innovations—it’s about showcasing the people behind those innovations. In tech we often deal with abstract ideas that need to be molded into human-facing concepts, and companies that need to be transformed from purely transactional entities to institutions people can connect with emotionally. All too often organizations lack humanity in their messages, and when this happens it can be difficult to create a meaningful connection with your audience. Part of your social content strategy needs to be dedicated to forging and nurturing that connection by telling those human stories about your people and the people they serve.
We made socks to celebrate the transit systems in Mailchimp’s 3 U.S. locations. Estela is a Customer Support Technician in our Atlanta office.
“I’m prone to staring out of windows and people-watching, so MARTA’s a perfect environment for a daydreamer like me,” she says. pic.twitter.com/q0KVPekVDH
— Mailchimp (@Mailchimp) August 14, 2019
Interested in upping your brand’s social media content next quarter? Karbo Com can help. We specialize in creative PR services including:
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Who has time for the seemingly trivial and vanity-fueled pursuit of personal branding when you’ve got a business to run? Executive positioning, or the strategic art of defining, promoting, and leveraging an executive’s personal brand, rarely tops the C suite to-do list. The ROI on executive positioning is indirect; dollars and cents logic might dictate that it’s a luxury businesses just can’t afford.
Yet now more than ever, executive positioning is crucial.
Consider today’s sociopolitical climate. The ubiquity of social media has set new precedents for personal visibility and self expression; today it’s normal to actively and publicly share your point of view. And now more than ever it feels important to speak up. Polarizing politics and social issues amplify our differences, moving us to define and defend our beliefs in the public arena. This feeling is reinforced by the fact that many of the most profound, socially impactful, culturally altering moments in recent history have started with someone coming forward to speak up.
This new era belongs to the visibly purpose-driven.
This applies to brands just as it applies to individuals. In today’s world of brand activism, companies are expected to define their beliefs, to be vocal and transparent about those beliefs, and to act in accordance with them. Purpose-driven companies like Patagonia, Google, and Nike are setting the standard. Consumers now expect brands to be purpose-driven, and are less trusting of those who are not. The enlightened consumer doesn’t want to be sold to, they want to share a set of principles and beliefs. In the aftermath of recent, serious breaches of public trust, customers are rightfully skeptical. In order to trust brands, consumers must agree with the brand’s principals.
And companies are recognizing that brand purpose is more than a stunt, it’s a driver of business growth. Increasingly, consumers are making purchase decisions based on a brand’s political position and stance on social issues. Purpose-led brands report higher customer and employee acquisition and retention rates.
Now, in order for a company to be genuinely and successfully purpose-driven, that purpose must first be embraced by the company itself—its employees, starting with the company’s leadership. Successful purpose-driven companies are led by leaders who embody company principals. These leaders act as the primary brand evangelists both within the company and externally, effectively communicating and representing the brand’s position. They are visible and apparently aligned with and invested in the company’s core values.
In today’s cultural climate, executives who are not strategically aligned with the companies they lead, who are not visible, active proponents of company causes, and who are not outspoken risk compromising brand trust and, to that end, are a liability. Only when a company’s purpose is aligned with the purpose of its employees and the purpose of the consumers buying the company’s products can you have an authentic brand movement. And that alignment is contingent on successful executive positioning.
Executive positioning isn’t about inflating an executive’s sense of self importance; it isn’t an exercise in vanity, nor is it an exercise done in vain. If ever executive positioning was a nice-to-have, in today’s world it has certainly become a need-to-have.
A few tips for doing it well:
Craft your story
Master your storytelling
Tell your story
Interested in learning more about what executive positioning can do for you and your brand? Get in touch. Karbo Com specializes in executive positioning services including:
Contact courtney [at] karbocom [dot] com to learn more.
Search engine optimization is constantly changing. What worked last year (or even last month) may no longer be an effective strategy.
Just look at the way SEO has changed in the last decade.
Ten years ago, keyword-dense pages were viewed as the surest path to the top of search results. In response, marketers started stuffing keywords everywhere — on the home page, in half-baked blog posts, even on the background of pages in white (read: hidden) text.
After that it was backlinks. Google no longer trusted marketers to be honest about their sites, so it turned to external sources as a form of social proof. The more links pointing back to a website, the more relevance and value Google assigned it.
Of course, enterprising marketers quickly found a way around this as well. Websites full of spoofed content sprang up overnight, providing hundreds (if not thousands) of fake backlinks to companies.
Today, Google is taking a new approach to SEO. Instead of relying solely on content to determine results, the search giant is also looking at user experience.
The logic behind this is fairly simple — a search engine’s primary function is to serve people the best results. If a page is slow to load, riddled with pop-up ads or hard to read on mobile devices, it negatively impacts the user experience. Google views these pages as “poor” results and penalizes them in its search algorithm.
Making sense of the latest trends
Right now, the prevailing thought among SEO experts is that the following issues negatively impact a website’s ranking:
As a content marketer or web designer, this presents a unique challenge. How do you optimize your website for the future if the rules are constantly shifting?
Fortunately, everyone has to play by the same rulebook. The brands that find success are the ones that:
That last bullet point is especially important. It doesn’t matter if you rank highly for keywords your audience is no longer searching for — you need to meet them where they are already located.
If you want to rank higher in search results, your website needs to be optimized for the current best practices. That means a responsive design that works on all devices. It means pages that load quickly and aren’t bogged down by too many ads. It means informative content that’s easy to access and gives people a reason to stay.
Why does my bounce rate matter?
Imagine opening a report on your website’s traffic and discovering that your home page has a bounce rate of 50 percent.
In simple terms, this means that every other person who visits your home page leaves without clicking anywhere else on the site.
Are alarm bells ringing in your head?
They really shouldn’t be. As a general rule of thumb, a bounce rate below 40 percent is considered excellent. Anything between 40 and 60 percent is considered average. It isn’t until you hit rates of 70 percent and higher that there is real cause for concern.
Of course, no marketer worth their salt is going to be happy losing half of their potential customers. If 40 percent is considered excellent, why not push for 30 percent?
Lowering your bounce rate is one of the most effective ways to improve your website’s ranking in search results. If your rate is too high, Google assumes that you were a poor result for that search query.
How do I lower my bounce rate?
There are three things you can tweak to lower your bounce rate — your content marketing, your demand generation strategy and your website’s design:
If all three of these elements are working in lockstep, your brand should have a content marketing program that is targeted, easily accessible and front of mind for any website visitors.
At Karbo Communications, we specialize in content marketing programs that increase visibility and drives sales. Our team of marketers and search engine experts can help your brand cut through the confusion around SEO and deliver lasting results.
Oh, to be an ad man in the 1960s.
If you believe everything you see on TV, marketing back then was a simpler game. Successful ad campaigns looked something like this: one perfect slogan, jotted on the back of a cocktail napkin and delivered en masse to a single audience.
Marketing segmentation? Not needed when your “ideas guy” was equal parts intuition, good looks and whiskey. Hyper-personalization? Heck, they hadn’t even gotten to personalization yet.
Halcyon times, indeed.
Fast forward to today’s marketers, who understand that effective messaging requires a more personal touch. Modern consumers want to be recognized – and treated – as individuals. The success of most campaigns is determined by a company’s ability to interpret consumer data and predict future behavior.
Getting up close and hyper-personal
A big trend in content marketing is hyper-personalization, or campaigns tailored to an individual’s past behavior. Modern consumers expect companies to get them on a personal level, and they prefer nuanced, relevant messaging that speaks to their interests.
In fact, Marketo found that 79% of consumers will reject an offer from a company if it isn’t tailored to their previous brand experience.
Today’s personalization goes far beyond yesterday’s tricks of inserting a subscriber’s name into the body of an email or sending a reminder about the toaster sitting in their shopping cart.
Hyper-personalized campaigns can predict when a person is most likely to open a message, whether they respond better to emails or push notifications, and even where in the customer journey to send a discount code or BOGO offer.
Target the right people… the right way
Few things are more frustrating to consumers than the kind of “spray and pray” marketing that led to the creation of junk folders.
According to a recent Accenture survey, 75% of people are more likely to buy from brands that provide recommendations based on their unique wants and needs.
Data-driven marketing that drives hyper-personalization campaigns can help brands reach consumers more effectively by answering these questions:
To answer these questions, marketers are collecting data at every touchpoint — and using artificial intelligence to help make sense of it all.
There and back again: Facebook and Cambridge Analytica
In March 2018, The New York Times and other newspapers reported that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that counted former Trump aide Steve Bannon among its board members, improperly used Facebook data to build voter profiles before the 2016 presidential election.
The scandal – and resulting fallout – landed Mark Zuckerberg in front of Congress and brought “big data” into the national zeitgeist. This event triggered millions of people to start to realize just how often their private information was being used by businesses.
By May 2018, a number of companies and public figures had paused their Facebook marketing campaigns or deleted their profiles outright. Additionally, Facebook suspended 200 apps amid an ongoing investigation into whether services on the site had improperly used or collected personal data.
The long-term effects of the scandal are still unknown, but it has forced companies to re-evaluate their data collection practices — and how they communicate these policies to consumers.
What’s next for data-driven marketing?
The age of big data and personalization is upon us.
A recent study by Frost & Sullivan concluded that customer experience would overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator within three years.
Unfortunately, the Cambridge Analytica scandal has cast a pallor over the industry and raised questions about data-mining practices going forward.
How do companies deal with privacy in a world of readily available personal data? How should they collect information that will help them make better business decisions, without betraying customers? Most importantly, how do they communicate this to consumers in a way that builds trust?
Getting people excited about hyper-personalization
While it would be a stretch to draw too close a parallel between most hyper-personalized campaigns and Cambridge Analytica stealing private data, there’s little doubt that people want to know when, where, how and why their information is being used.
As a brand, how do you build trust and communicate the value of your data-driven marketing efforts? Try some of these best practice guidelines from your peers:
The ability to send more relevant, better perceived messages is changing the way brands and consumers interact.
As companies gain new insights into the way people think and behave, they have a growing responsibility to use this information in an open, honest manner. Failure to do so – as demonstrated by the Cambridge Analytica scandal – can have disastrous effects.
So how should you communicate your brand’s data-mining practices?
Like all the best marketing campaigns, the right strategy will be uniquely tailored to your brand and audience. As long as you pay attention and listen to the data, you’ll be able to share this information in a way that builds trust.