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marketing Archives - The X Gene

A blue worm hole

Your Market Is What It Is, Not What You Want It To Be

By | Marketing | No Comments

I was just thinking about an old client story. We were trying to determine a voiceover choice. Our target audience was female (more depth to that, obviously), the brief style included ‘feminine’ and so we were looking at female voiceover artists. Three women who neatly represented the audience were listening in and passing comment. They ultimately wanted a male voice, because he was “less threatening”. When pushed for detail on that, they explained that, even though they knew they shouldn’t, they found themselves harshly judging the women VOs, picturing who they were and not liking them. Whereas the guy: no problem.

This cut against my little feminist instincts, because I know it’s often discussed that women could benefit from collaboration, not competition. Same for all of us! It reminded me, though, that the market, the audience, is what it is, not I want it to be. I’d rather those women didn’t cut each other down, and that they didn’t see another woman as a threat – but I’m creating a communication tool aimed at the now, at the reality, not the wishful thinking or even the progressive desire.

When you’re looking at your market, product, item, film, whatever, remember that: you can’t force desires or opinions on an audience. You have to accept who they are and how they think, generally, and create for that. It sucks sometimes, but an imaginary market won’t suddenly appear from a time-warping wormhole. You gotta work with what’s here, now. Or find a different market.

Agree? Disagree? Found ways around it? Tweet us your thoughts.

Image: Gathering of listeners in Inspire9 for This Digital Life

This #DigitalLife

By | Events, Innovation, Inspiration, Purpose, Technology | No Comments

Here’s some of the highlights on Twitter from our successful inaugural This Digital Life event. Four incredible women from digital work places shared their cutting edge stories from business, then explained parts of how they got their personal lives balanced. Thanks a billion to Girl Geek and Toya Ricci.

Image: video strategy is a part of content marketing by The X Gene a video production agency in Melbourne

What’s Content Marketing?

By | Marketing | No Comments

You’re going to see a huge amount of chatter on business and marketing sites about video and content marketing in 2015!

What’s that? Essentially, content is all the stuff that’s getting made for your organisation’s existence online: blogs, images, articles, photos, infographics, landing sites, VIDEO. Taking all of that and having an actual plan behind how you’ll use it to get people interested in your organisation, be attracted to what you do, and then visit in some way is content marketing.

The beauty of this for The X Gene is that the most popular type of content to market with has become video. Internet speeds and device acceptance has meant videos are everywhere. YouTube is now the world’s number two search engine. You’ll have noticed people saying they prefer to watch a quick 60 second video rather than read a block of text.

The X Gene has long called itself a video agency (rather than a production company) because we’ve long seen that video is an asset that needs to be fully supported by a strategy and marketing tactics. Our service, Video Strategy, is all about that! We want to make it easy for you to take advantage of video in 2015, and then make sure those videos do something for you – be that drive sales, create sign ups or spark conversations.

Having a Video Strategy is Part of Your Content Marketing

Video strategy is content marketing with video at its core. We find out what your organisation is about, who you’re speaking to, and what you want them to do. We then work out what videos we can make for you over 6 to 12 months – that’s the fun, creative, amazing bit we’ve always done so well – but on top of that, we create a strategy using online, paid and organic tactics to get that content seen, and turn passive viewers into active users.

It’s an exciting time to be digital and making videos. Please contact us to learn more about how you can be a killer video executive producer yourself!

A lion asking you for bravery designed by www.freepik.com

Fear and Bravery in Agency Land

By | Advertising, Innovation, Inspiration, Marketing | No Comments

I’ve been thinking about creative bravery. I’m on my way to an event to launch a fun fashion initiative by Porter Novelli. Hosting the night is Mandy Griffiths (who, incidentally, is one of the speakers at This Digital Life). At the event, a collection of communications and agency folk will be there. These are the people that create and execute the marketing, advertising and general communications strategies big brands need to make you know them and choose them.

These people are the key to groundbreaking, clever, brave, innovative, creatively thrilling content. We need those strategies and influencers to tell their clients to be BRAVE, try new things. Another fantastic woman, Richenda Vermeulen, said a very similar thing in her company’s birthday blog post.

Richenda is right: brands in Australia need to take risks, try different things, seek to be different. Digital is excellent for that because it can shift and change. Best of all, you can measure the success of a brave digital campaign with real numbers and clear pathways from the creative to the BUY NOW button.

I implore our strategy aunts and uncles – please keep pushing your clients to embrace the exciting world of digital. Work with specialists in their fields, find channel suppliers who can give you bold new ideas, then sell them with vigour up the chain. That’s what I’ll be asking the people I meet tonight – how are you guys pushing your clients to be BETTER. Different. Brave.

Zack G and Barack Obama on Between Two Ferns

Why Obama Making Fat Jokes Worked

By | Marketing, Video, Viral Video | No Comments

We finally got around to watching Prezi Barry Obams on Between Two Ferns, and from the first time The President makes fun of Galifianakis’ weight we were giggling our heads off. He calls the President a nerd! The thing we really like, though, is this video that is exactly like all the other Between Two Ferns – awkward, brash, stilted, deliciously mean spirited and funny – was used by the White House to boost sign ups at HealthCare.gov. They wanted to reach out and plug the site so more people signed up to their reformed healthcare system and ensure they have coverage after the imposed cutoff date. According to White House  communications advisor Tara McGuiness, it worked.

 

Funny or Die is Will Ferrel and Adam McKay’s comedy video site, and it hosts Between Two Ferns. It worked. Here’s what you can learn from all this to get your own stuff moving via video:

THIS VIDEO WAS EMBEDDED EVERYWHERE

The video was hosted on FunnyorDie.com, but there were comms advisors from the White House and media and PR people from Funny or Die speaking with and making aware every website that could possibly place the video into their own articles or blogs. I saw it on The Verge, but you could also find it on (as a smattering):

  • Huffington Post
  • E! Online
  • YouTube
  • Variety
  • Forbes
  • NY Daily News
  • Popwatch
  • The Wrap
  • Gawker
  • Mamamia

That’s a broad collection of audiences.

THERE WAS A BUNCH OF METADATA

Wherever the video appeared, there was at least a link to HealthCare.gov and you need that, you need the call to action and then a quick way for someone to execute that action. The best way for this all to work is when the form matches the function. This is a digital video, posted online, to drive traffic to another website. All someone has to do is click a link. Secondary follow up: make a phone call. But a link in an online video is the best way to take advantage of it all.

DON’T BE AFRAID

Before you worry about using comedy or something different to promote your stuff, think really hard about this: the President (stakes!) went on a show that is famous for being cruel to its guests, and makes fat jokes. Do you really think making light of white goods, or being silly with a corporate message is that scary?

Feature for blog about how much web video costs

How Much Does A Web Video Cost?

By | Marketing, Video | No Comments


Lots of people are curious about the price of video. It’s dependent on what you’re after, but here’s a handy guide to get you started.

The average web video is 1 to 3 minutes long. There’s juicy research from video hosting platforms that says a viewer will drop off at about 90 seconds in, so get your key messages in early.

Most of our clients use a web video to introduce a brand, service or product. They’ll deploy those videos on their site and throughout their social media network.

A commercial might be expensive, but web video is the entry point for small business. The Interactive Advertising Bureau releases reports about the digital space, and they say the stickiest sites are always those with video. That means people not only stay on the site longer, but are more likely to come back.

A ‘web video’ is a very broad category. They’re very different from video to video. To find out what’s right for someone, we start with a simple chat. We ask questions to know the brand, then understand the message. Finally, we go back and brainstorm three or four fun ideas, with budgets attached. Those concepts might be live action or animation.

Once confirmed, we take care of pre-production (concepts, scripts, storyboards, shotlists, schedules), production (cameras, lighting, cast, crew and locations) and post-production (editing, motion graphics, effects, colour grading, exporting, sound). Once it’s done, we help implement and deploy the video. This means we might work with a client’s web developer, or create different versions for different uses like online, trade shows or DVD.

The question on everybody’s lips: how much does it cost. You’re looking at $3,000 to $8,000 depending on how fancy you want to get. AU$5,000 is the average.

Honestly, the business that can afford The X Gene’s work in this area is a medium businesses with 10+ employees or an operating budget that can justify a more sophisticated marketing approach. We find that’s professional firms like financial managers, insurance brokers, and the technology sector. Animated videos tend to be the realm of government, not-for-profit and education institutions, often with dry or complex messages that need to be made more visually interesting.

So that’s a quick overview of web video. Wanna make one? It’s the next step in being rad.

A golden Mercedes Benz

Why Go Pro Video: The Reason it Costs What it Costs

By | Marketing, Technology, Video | No Comments

Here’s the thing about video – anyone can do it…but only professionals can do it well.

I’d be a moron to dismiss or ignore that as digital swept through and technology got cheaper, making videos became more accessible. A smart phone today will shoot some pretty nice footage (I like how the iPhones oversaturate). This all means businesses promoting themselves can have the same sort of fun with video that we have every day.

My job as a producer at a Melbourne video agency is to make content that promotes businesses, not-for-profits, individuals – anyone with a message. The challenge is finding a place for ourselves now that anyone can afford the basic tech.

Some companies have decided to go for bulk. Buy or build a studio (because that’s something harder to get) and pump out a huge volume of video content at a cut-throat rate. It works for these companies, but they’ll freely admit they are missing one thing: quality.

The X Gene has gone a different route. We’ve moved away from cheap. We come in when our client wants a premium product. A potentially lucrative contract with a big international firm? A line of clientele that take part in the finer things in life? A large audience, a large investment, high stakes? These are the types of things a little clip in a poorly green screened studio won’t help.

If you want big returns, you need high quality. That’s The X Gene. High-end cameras, complex lighting and audio setups, multiple edit suites and specialised post-production software – yes, we have all of that, but we also have something far superior: the years of experience and proven talent to utilise all this creatively. We create the best videos we can, and then push ourselves to do better.

That’s what you’re paying for when you get a video made with us. That’s why it costs more than the quick and dirty alternatives, or the overseas options from sites like freelancer.com. I’ve heard business owners in seminars talk about getting a video done overseas and not being happy with the result. They end up making three or four mediocre videos that probably cost them more than they budgeted for anyway. I’ve also been proud to see other owners and our clients show off a premium video and say it was a bit more expensive, but the results speak for themselves.

The old cliche is true; you get what you pay for. With all this talk in the news of Australia needing to accept it can’t compete on price when working against nations four to ten times cheaper, I hear a constant refrain, “IP and value added skills and expertise are the way forward.” That’s us. Quality in a service industry, making excellent content to make you cut through and stand out. That’s why you go pro video – to be better than your competitors. We strive to be better than our competitors, so who better to team up with to take over the world?

Cover image from old BandT

Cannes: ‘Move over Grandad’ (reblog)

By | Advertising, Inspiration, Technology | No Comments

The following is a rad article we loved and got us juicy. We’re one of the creative agencies nipping at the heels of the bigguns, and our work is changing the way video is done in Australia.
The article reblogged here with permission from Kevin Macmillan’s The Works, Sydney and was originally posted on B&T.com


I was very excited heading to Cannes 2013. As I pack my suitcase to head back to Sydney, I’m even more excited.

I don’t remember a time in our industry when young creative entrepreneurs have been more at the forefront of marketing.

The ordered approach to marketing we all know from the past few decades, the approach we all understood to be the correct way is crashing down around us. It was so evident in Cannes throughout the week.

Media is going through the ringer. Research is going through the ringer. Strategy is going through the ringer. And Creativity is thriving. The young creative entrepreneurs up on stage at the talks and the seminars spoke with conviction and were wide eyed about the future.

The older speakers from the old marketing world often appeared like rabbits caught in the headlights. Whether it be the boss of a big corporate organisation or the boss of a big agency, I somehow got the vibe they were merely warning us about the changing approach to marketing, rather than actually being part of it.

It’s always more interesting to hear from the creator of something. The person who made something. Not the person who was there when it was made.

Around the world, technology is allowing young creative entrepreneurs to make more ideas, deliver them quicker to market and use real live testing. So instead of “here’s what the future looks like” the Cannes festival was much more “look what I made”.

Cannes did not feel like an ad festival. If felt like an ideas festival. A place where young creative entrepreneurs could come and share creative stuff. There was a ‘Move over Grandad, you ain’t getting this shit’feeling in the air.

It confirmed what I already thought; that the marketing world would be a better place without all the marketing bullshit.  A better place if we were all brave enough to accept what marketing really is – a simple creative idea to make people love your product.

If I’m going to take one thing away from Cannes it’s going to be this; we are in the age of making ideas, not talking just talking about them. As a creative, that is unbelievably exciting.

Kevin Macmillan is founder and creative partner at The Works Sydney

Woman holding sign saying Don't Discount Journalism

Fairfax and the Truth About the Digital Future

By | Technology, Video Blogs | No Comments

The breaking news on our screens this morning is that Fairfax are dropping 1,900 jobs, closing the printing facilities in Chullora and Tullamarine, moving their print to tabloid format and erecting a paywall for their online sites. Our producer talks about the digital future, as seen through Fairfax’s crystal ball, and how it can help you.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-18/fairfax-cuts-jobs-goes-compact/4076732

The dot points, for those in a rush.

  • All media are adapting to digital. Fairfax is going through that painful transition.
  • The future of all media wil be smaller, niche, not as big – and there needs to be acceptance of that fact.
  • These changes had to happen. But workers can re-skill, or use their experience and expertise to set up their own new opportunities.
  • It’s a exciting time – wild west of the web.
  • Growing, understanding, will lead to, in my opinion, a more mum-and-pop approach to the entertainment and news we love and consume.
  • Fairfax workers, realise you have skills and knowledge. Find people you can work with and create your own visions.

ABC News: Who will survive the digital future?