Friday, April 25, 2014



Catch My Tweets

Follow us on Twitter

Receive Our Feed

rss icon You know how it works. Click the icon and receive our latest blog posts.

The CoffeeTable Exchange

We created The Coffee Table Exchange as a place to share ideas, tips and information about using media for your business. You will also find helpful, important, interesting and relevant information about personal branding and marketing for your business as well.

If you run across anything helpful or interesting that you'd like us to share, let us know about it using our Contact Form.

Each week I look at actual video and/or social media used by small businesses. I look at what works and what doesn’t as well as how I could take a different approach. That way, you can avoid similar mistakes and duplicate what works.

This Week’s Business Video 

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing - 23600 El Toro Road, Suite D303, Lake Forest, CA 92630

The Breakdown

What Works

The video presents the Unique Selling Proposition (USP): The Punctual Plumber. A number of video elements support the USP.

There’s two solid testimonials in this video. The first details some heating work done for a customer. She is pleasant and gives a good account of her problem and how Benjamin Franklin Plumbing (and Heating) solved her issues. The second shows support for a professional real estate agent. This shows Ben Franklin as a good B2B business as well.

What Doesn’t Work

Slow, slow, slow start. My first instinct was to move on after the first :10 seconds. Shaky camera work created an “amateurish” feel to the video. A full :20 seconds to hear anything spoken is way too long. The footage is harshly lit in the daylight, creating hard light and shadows. Also, the shots of the plumber are too far away. This makes it hard to connect at a personal level.

Pacing of the video is WAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY too slow. Snail-like. Which equals “boring”. 

The plumber looks very uncomfortable, which makes me, as a viewer, uncomfortable. Additionally, the video tries to do “too much”. It’s a commercial, an infomercial, a testimonial. Which translates to…too long.

By :59 seconds, I was done with the video. But I pressed on to see the rest of the 8:10 of video, wondering, “What could they possibly say in that time?” Nearly 10 minutes of video is way too long for the average viewer. Period.

What’s A Different Approach

The strongest element of this video is Monica Gonzales’ testimonial. She has a story to tell. We relate to stories. So I would focus the video on the story: Monica’s problem and how Ben Franklin Plumbing solved her problem.

I’d use more B-footage to show her problem areas and how they were solved. Show the furnace unit, show the registers, etc. Keep things moving and interesting. Additionally, I’d use closeups of Monica as well. Remember, people connect with people. And we connect best with our eyes. So let us see the eyes of those speaking on video.

The main elements of the story and supporting details could be told in about 2:00 minutes. I would not try to do anything more than that. Monica’s testimony is powerful. Let it stand on its own without wasting the viewer’s time.

Final Word

I think the video tried to do too much, which ruins its effectiveness. Focus, focus, focus on ONE message. It will keep your videos short and consumable, as well as give you more options for more videos. 

Truth be told, there are two separate testimonials and a profile video in this footage alone! Remember, small, bite sized chunks are more attractive to your viewers. Keep your portions small!

Remember, these opinions are entirely my own and are just that - opinions.

Your turn. What do you think?

How To

I tweeted about an article that presented three videos as examples of good storytelling. The next day, Karen Dietz quoted my tweet, stating that “these were disappointing.”

In an article, she explained the videos were not stories, but profiles. I saw the quote and the article. At first, I thought wondered what she was on about. Until I looked at the videos again

She was right. Poop.

Here I am, Pronoya Video, with a simple mission statement -- tell your story. And I didn’t even recognize that the videos weren’t stories. Oi! Very embarrassing.

So I decided to get out my camera and respond to this fiasco. This is my story.

In a related article, here's a fantastic infographic detailing the difference between story and corporate speak.


I want these videos to go viral!”

I was discussing video with a potential client and asked him why he wanted to produce video for his restaurant. “Viral” was his response. So I asked him the question I ask in this situation.

“How do I shoot viral?”

My client looked at me and tilted his head slightly. They almost always tilt their heads. “What are you trying to say?” he asked. “Exactly!” I responded. 

What Are You Trying To Say?

This is the most important question to ask yourself when creating a video. “What do you want to say?” Another way to ask this question is “What do you want the viewer to know or to understand after they watch your video?” The answer to these questions expresses your intention for the video. Your intention is your “Why?”. Why do you want to create the video in the first place? 

For my restaurant client, here were some of his “Whys” for creating video:

  • “I want the viewer to see how nice my restaurant is and how good the food is.”
  • “I want the viewer to know how cool a cool guy my bartender is.”
  • “I want my viewer to understand that my head chef was trained at the Cordon Bleu Culinary School and knows how to prepare excellent food.”

These are all excellent reasons for creating video. This means I can create video that shows how nice the restaurant looks: the decor, the plush seating, the tables, the lighting, the menus, the tableware. Because as I’m shooting the video, I’m thinking, “How can I show the viewer how nice the restaurant is and how good the food is?” 

As I’m thinking about how to answer this intention, I think about showing different signature dishes ready to be served. Maybe I can show a couple in an intimate tryst, their eyes lingering as they sensuously stroke tall glasses of a rich merlot. Maybe I have shots of friends laughing while the bartender prepares a snifter of fifty-year-old brandy.

You see, intention is the story you want to tell. Which makes it easier to come up with creative and interesting ways to tell your story. 

Don’t Mistake Your Story For Results

One of the biggest mistake business owners make when creating video is confusing intention with results. What’s the difference? In our example, our intention is to show the viewer to see how nice my restaurant is and how good the food is. A result could be:

  • the viewer understands how nice the restaurant is and comes to have a dinner
  • the viewer likes what he sees and “Likes” the restaurant’s Facebook page.
  • the viewer invites his friends to celebrate his birthday at the restaurant.

These results are all desirable. Any one of them would be a happy result after viewing our video. However, these results are completely separate from “creating” the video. That is, they come AFTER the viewer watches the video.

Another way to view results is to remember this: Intention helps you create the video. Results are what happens after the video is created. Or think about is this: You can’t measure intent, but you can measure results. A strong intent helps you create a strong video, which, in turn, helps drive strong results.

So when you’re ready to create your video, sit down and think about what you want your viewer to know or understand after watching your video. Answer that question, and see how easy it is to come up with creative ways to communicate your intent. Clear communication of your intent will give your videos the best chance of helping your viewers understand your message. Which is what you want.

Video and Photos

Each week I look at actual video and/or social media used by small businesses. I look at what works and what doesn’t as well as how I could take a different approach. That way, you can avoid similar mistakes and duplicate what works.

This Week’s Business Video 

Nick’s Pizza And Pasta - 2300 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92626

The Breakdown

What Works

Food! Lots and lots of food! This is a restaurant after all. They do a pretty good job of showing different kinds of food. From the pizza to the pasta, seeing the food prepped in the kitchen and presented finished on the plate got my mouth watering.

The exterior shot of Nick’s gives potential customers a visual cue for finding the restaurant. It’s on a corner, next to Supercuts. Saves time looking for the restaurant next to Walgreens.

The interior shots show Nick’s as a busy, popular place. IF all those people like, maybe I will too. This could lead a customer to Yelp in search of a rating or reviews. 

What Doesn’t Work

Cheesy zoom outs, and I don’t mean the pizza. One zoom, maybe, but three in a row to open? Zooming out is meant to reveal something new. So if it doesn’t reveal something new, don’t do it.

Only one shot of the interior, from one angle. While we see the restaurant, we don’t get a feel for the space and it’s ambiance. Same with the one exterior shot the restaurant, too far away.  I think they really dropped the ball with showing the actual restaurant. 

Lastly, the music is seems incongruent with the message. A bit dark and brooding, which doesn’t help create an inviting atmosphere.

What’s A Different Approach

I like starting with the exterior shot, but one shot isn’t enough context. I would use a number of different angles to create a better context for the restaurant while providing a few more visual cues for customers. A standard “beauty shot” is good for the final shot, but use the opening to create context and provide visual cues.

People like a restaurant for it’s ambiance and atmosphere as well as the food. Is this a family restaurant or a quiet place for lovers to tryst? Thus, I would use numerous shots of the interior, showing what it’s like to sit in the restaurant. I would highlight the booths, the tables, the decorations, the help staff, the bar, and, most importantly, happy, smiling customers.

In the kitchen was a great idea. I’d improve it with more closeup shots of the food prep and use different angles. I’d also use a studio lighting setup for the food tp make look as good as possible. If you’re going to show the food, make it look yummy.

I like the logo and information on top of the interior, so I’d use that too.

Final Word

Keep in mind that video is a language. So keep it simple. Zooms can get distracting and cheesy if you use them too much. You can create interest by using more shots from different angles. This helps create energy and movement in your video.

Remember, these opinions are entirely my own and are just that - opinions. Your turn. What do you think?

How To

Your customer has a problem. He’s tired of dealing with it. It’s annoying. And frustrating. A consistent time-suck. And energy suck. Frankly, as long as he has this problem, it just sucks.

All he needs is your product or service and “Whalla!” Problem solved! No more pain. He’s happy. And so are you.

But how does he find you at the point when he needs he problem solved?

Help Your Customer Find You

Here’s the age-old marketing conundrum: How do you connect your customer and their problem to your solution? How do you close the gap? 

Think like your customer.

Your customer has one thing on his mind: his PROBLEM. So when he sits down with his iPad or iPhone, he wants a solution. He’s not thinking about features and benefits. He’s not thinking about your sexy website or your legendary customer service. He wants a solution.

So he starts with the obvious search. “How do I fix my problem?” 

Find The Keywords

Time to jump on Google’s Keyword Tool. Think like your customer and try different search combinations. Play with different scenarios.  What kinds of complications can happen from his problem? Could his problem come from an unrelated issue? Explore the different keywords and find out. 

For example, look at Orabrush. Their initial video has the keywords ‘orabrush’, ‘cure bad breath’, and ‘bad breath’. Looking on Google’s Keyword Tool, (searched on 1/19/2012) ‘bad breath’ reveals 301,000 global monthly searches.

You see how this helps us identify the kinds of keywords used. It also helps you discover the specific ways your customer searches for a solution. What may seem obvious to you may not be obvious to your customer. And vice versa. 

For example, with Orabrush,  ‘cure bad breath’ shows up under a number of different variations, all with good searches, but, surprisingly, no searches for that specific phrase. Still, the keyword is useful because of the breadth of its reach. Searching keywords can help you take advantage of shorter phrases and still be effective.

Your keyword list is foundational. Your SEO efforts, your social media strategies and your content marketing optimizations ALL rely on keywords. If your customer can’t find you, you can’t solve his problem. So spend some time playing with different searches and variations and build your list.

Present Content To Solve His Specific Problems

With your keyword list, you can now tailor and focus your content to solving your customer’s problem. This is where you can showcase your knowledge and expertise, not for the sake of stroking your ego. Rather, create content - articles, how-to videos, white papers - that specifically deal with your customer’s problem and how to solve his problem.

What’s nice here is that you don’t have to solve the problem with one article. Breaking the specific issues out into a series of articles or videos builds your body of content. AND, because you’re dealing specifically with your customer’s problems, you’re building in keywords into the content. Which is good for your SEO.

This, of course, helps your content move up the results ladder, making it easier for your customer to solve his problem. With your product or service. 

So, do you have your list of keywords?


Page 1 of 4

girl on phone


We can help. Use our contact form for fast answers. Or if you prefer, call us at 949-478-0839, M-F, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Contact Us

Signup For Our Free Newsletter

We respect your privacy. We'll never sell or rent your email to anyone. Ever.