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Millennial Marketing: the mystery.

A beginner’s course.

It’s a hot-button subject that nearly every client hastily approaching advertising seems to want to address. What’s the trick to millennial marketing? How do we catch that elusive fox?

In the digital age, it seems like the whims of the generation change from day to day—if not more often. Pinpointing what appeals to millennials is almost impossible. But, we can’t afford to not try. Millenials are on the brink of middle-age, thus representing the majority of the money-spending market. Furthermore, they’re the largest generation on the planet to date—even surpassing the baby boomers.

So, how do we market to millennials?

millennial pink by Boddy Doherty

Image by Boddy Doherty c/o New York Magazine

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From the Intern’s Desk

My name is Brooke Bandoni, and I am an 18-year-old high school student that will be graduating from Tampa Preparatory School at the end of May, and attending the University of Central Florida in the Fall. For the past three weeks, I’ve gotten the opportunity to intern at Company Man Studios in Downtown Tampa. I knew I wanted to go into the field of graphic design, editing, and video production in an advertising context, but I wasn’t sure exactly what aspect I liked the most. I am a business minded person and very interested in advertising and marketing, but I also really enjoy the creative aspect of graphic design and photography. Company Man Studios is the best of both worlds.

I have my own internet business, a YouTube channel, that I work on in my spare time. Brands will contact me to feature products or services on my channel. When I met Rob and Jon at the beginning of my internship, they were excited to discuss my channel. At the time, a company called WoolFresh had sent me a pair of socks they wanted me to review on my channel. Rob and Jon decided to give me some tools and insight into making sponsored product videos for my channel, and help me create a very nice video for WoolFresh.

Behind the scenes

On my first week, Jon, a producer at CMS, explained the process in which Company Man does video shoots for the companies they work with. He showed me a storyboard for a shoot I would participate in, and talked to me about shooting schedules, the roles of people on set, and how they feature products in an alluring way. That Thursday, I participated in a 10-hour video shoot for Alessi. By watching the entire process, I learned a lot about video production, food styling, and photography. It was an amazing experience to help with the setup, shooting, and tear down. The clients were at the shoot with us and giving input to the shots to make sure they’re pleased with them.

Behind the scenes at Alessi

photo equipment

Some of the equipment lined up

When it comes to sponsored products on YouTube, the client is rarely involved with the shooting process. Most of the time, companies understand that online content creators have certain style and audience, and most companies allow the creator to have a lot of creative freedom with their work. Being able to see how Company Man Studios did their video shoot gave me great insight into the professional world of video production.

After the shoot, I sat down at my desk and created a storyboard and shooting schedule for my WoolFresh sock video. I planned on filming myself doing different activities throughout the week and documented how the socks benefited my day. Each morning, someone at CMS checked in on my progress on my video and helped me along if I was stuck on any aspect of my filming, editing, and tweaking.

Throughout the week, I shadowed with a few CMS employees who helped me with my project. I got the opportunity to work with Edna Pabon, the senior editor at Company Man, who showed me some tips and tricks. I usually use Final Cut Pro X to edit my videos, but Edna showed me the ropes of Premiere and After Effects, as Adobe’s editing software is primarily used in the editing industry. Edna also taught me the proper way to organize footage, elements and project versions, just in case I need to make revisions or a client. I learned a lot from Edna, and it interested me in a possible career in editing.

I have been working on re-branding my content on my YouTube channel and creating a more consistent presence on social media. Jazz Fernandez, a graphic and motion designer, helped me create some new branding for my YouTube channel and showed me how she uses Photoshop and Illustrator to create transparent logos and dissect PNG files to extract vector images. She was able to create a beautiful custom logo for my channel, as well as some banner art for my social media websites.

By the end of my three weeks, I had produced a great sponsored video for WoolFresh. They brand was very pleased by my work and how the video came out. I ascribe my success to all the input and help I received from everyone at Company Man.

My experience with Company Man has been eye opening and an incredibly invaluable experience. I hoped that by spending some time at Company Man that I would have a more specific idea of what I wanted to pursue as a major and career, but instead, CMS has opened me up to even more ideas about the field and possible future career paths. I wish I could spend more time at CMS, but unfortunately my time with these amazing people is coming to an end. Over the time we spent together, I believe I’ve made some friends here, and I will definitely miss everyone when I leave.

Thank you, Amber, Jazz, Jon, Chris, Nathan, Kevin, Terry, Edna and Rob for this amazing experience!

– Brooke Bandoni, Tampa Prep

Branded Video: Because, who reads anymore?

Who reads anymore?

Yes, I am aware of the irony that this title suggests. Hopefully, you are reading this and not scrolling past it. Whether it is zipping through the numerous apps on your phone, poking around on your iPad, or searching on your laptop, we are surrounded by programs that allow potential clients and customers to watch, tap and listen more than ever. With all this being available, who wants to spend agonizing minutes reading numerous paragraphs about an info page? The answer: Consumers are opting out of reading when they can just watch and listen to a video instead.

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How to be a Better Interviewee

At Company Man Studios, we produce a lot of interviews. Whether it’s for a corporate brand video, a testimonial for a service or product, or just someone addressing a large group of people, we end up listening to—and editing—a wide variety of messages. The number one response we get from interviewees is “I hate the sound of my own voice!” Most people do (unless your last name is “Kardashian”), and there is scientific evidence as to why. The fact is, unless you’re on-camera often like an actor or reality TV star, you’re just not accustomed to hearing yourself speak from an outsider’s perspective. And, what makes the situation even worse, when people know they’ll be hearing or watching themselves on camera they often can’t focus on what they are actually saying—which is very inconvenient if you need to say something important.

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Customer Service: a “Competitive Advantage?”

Is making customer service a “Competitive Advantage” really the reason to value it?

Isn’t it kind of like claiming your humility, humbly? A business’ “success” is valued in terms of ROI, cost effectiveness, or bottom line. But, how do you prove that customer service plays a role in that success? How do you know the people that claim it actually have it? Is it even an “it?” Is customer service a commodity, or a concept? In my years, I’ve come to believe it’s a mentality. Customer service is a subconscious behavior that manifests itself in people that do what they love and genuinely do it for the right reasons. Why is that? You can handle any situation by placing principles before personalities.

Relationships

Relationships are the key to the existence and success of any business. Talk to a small business owner and you’ll find a common theme that is not about ROI or metrics, it’s about the relationships and the referrals that came from those relationships. Customer service starts “at home” inside your business with constant discussions. The key is to over-communicate: don’t just send an email; call. Ask “how can I help,” before someone has to ask for help. It’s your best shot to avoid the potential for an embarrassing moment for you and your company.

Conversations

Considering how you would want to be treated is, essentially, all customer service is. One of the most positive ways to provide excellent customer service is to have a conversation. Conversations regarding your product or service should always begin with knowing your product or service and being able to explain the fine details. Most of the time, when a client is frustrated, it’s due to a lack of communication. Being patient and engaging in effective communication can turn a negative situation into a positive experience—for both parties.

Digital Customer Service

Why can’t they just invent an app for that? Wait a second—they have and lots of them.

Today, we have greater ability to provide impeccable customer service employing analog principles in a digital world. I know, crazy. Just think about the potential of social media alone and the power it has to make or break a brand. Take a look at Christopher Heine’s article on Adweek.com and you’ll see the power of attentive brands.

Customer service isn’t a core value, either. And, having a list of core values doesn’t guarantee customer service—being thoughtful does. Is it “Old School” to care enough to write a hand-written note and mail it? Is it patronizing to send a little gift to a client on an anniversary or birthday? No, but it sure is rare. So, slow down. Take a deep breath. Think about how you would like to be treated. You might find you don’t have to learn customer service at all.

Congratulations myMatrixx!

Congratulations to our client myMatrixx on winning the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s #CoolestOfficeSpace contest! We are glad to have played a small role in their win. Check out the submission video we created for myMatrixx, showcasing their awesome space.

 

myMatrixx from Company Man Studios on Vimeo.

Amber’s First Blog: Starting at CMS

LEARNING THE IN’S AND OUT’S

I walked into the doors of Company Man Studios not knowing what to expect. Starting a new job is both exciting and nerve racking. I have been here a few months now and I already feel like I have become fully integrated into this amazing company. The charm the office has is unlike others. And, without a doubt, Rob (Founder and Executive Creative Director) knows how to make you feel welcomed and part of the team of extremely creative people producing amazing things.

Sitting down with our senior editor Edna is always a delightful experience. I was able to sit in on a few edits including one for Achieva Credit Union. It was a great opportunity for me to see the process of the footage Jon (Director/Producer) shot turned into an edit from start to finish in post-production. As well as the client interaction that happens throughout the process. The turnout was amazing leaving both the client and our team proud of the work produced. 

As I traveled around our office I made my way over to our two exceptionally talented animators. Kevin (Animation Director) and Jazz (Designer / Animator) know how to flow from a storyboard to the screen with ease. Producing fun and informational characters to help our clients like Tribridge easily get their message out about their company. Next up was a trip to the CXIS office, which gave me new insight on the continued abilities that Company Man Studios has. Making plans to transform the office space with Nathan (Senior Art Director) and Terry (Art Director) into a client friendly and welcoming environment. Putting plans into motion for future print and design changes to give their office the look they need. 

In a short amount of time, I’ve been able to be a part of numerous shoots, listen in on voiceovers, watch animations come to life, read finished scripts, view websites go through revisions and sit in on post-production edits. The capabilities of this company surpass what I thought when I walked in on my first day. Everything from production, print design, web, info animation, billboards and the list continues. Understanding what everyone does allows me to be able to seek out the correct potential clients – and the fact that Buddy Brew is next door doesn’t hurt either! 

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER 

Pancake Day at Company Man Studios

Pancake Day at Company Man Studios

Teamwork screams importance at Company Man—and not just with each other. It’s important that we have a collaborative approach with the clients, as well. We love to be able to sit down and talk in person with our clients about the content they would like to create. Whether it is working on the next promotional campaign for Achieva or scouting locations for Saint Leo’s commercials, everyone is available and ready to go. The environment that Company Man Studios has created is unlike the rest. I could see this from the moment I walked in and continue to notice it more and more every day that I work here. If you don’t believe me check out our 2016 recap video. Not only does it capture our awesome company culture but you get to have an inside look at the behind the scenes of projects produced throughout the year. Looking forward to an even greater 2017!

2016 CMS Recap from Company Man Studios on Vimeo.

Browser Extensions for Designers: Plug it in!

Useful Safari and Chrome browser extensions

Although web design isn’t our primary focus at Company Man Studios, a lot of the work we do involves the interwebs. On a day-to-day basis, we’re using the world wide web for design inspiration, tutorials, and to download movies illegally compelling imagery. There are countless sources of information online. If you’re not using the internet in some capacity to work more efficiently, you’re doing it wrong. That being said, there are also a ton of shortcuts and tricks to just using the internet. I’m talking about browser extensions.

(Stick with me. I promise this is going to be exciting stuff.)

For those that don’t know, browser extensions are tools that interact with the HTML on a page to help the viewer in some way. Extensions come in a wide range of uses, but the primary goal is to get the most out your time online. I have my favorites and, when I’m on a new device, the first thing I do is install them. So, I decided to compile a short list of extensions and plugins that I think are helpful for designers.

1. Measure it!

I’ve found this plugin to be useful, since so many social media sites are constantly changing their image requirements. With simple click, you can drag around an object and get the measurements of an image. This is way easier than googling the dimensions. Get it for Chrome here. 

2. Fontface Ninja

My FAVORITE plugin. (I can’t believe I’m even sharing it here because it’s so good I don’t want anyone else to use it.) See a font online that you love but can’t identify? Click it and hover over the text and Fontface Ninja tells you what it is. It even tells you where you can download the font. This is one of those extensions that makes me question: WHAT did people do before the internet?

3. Turn Off the Lights

This is a vanity app. However, if you’re particular about how things look—or, if you get distracted easily—give this one a download. It darkens your screen around a video player when you’re watching something. Try it out while you watch one of our awesome videos.

Everyone has a browser preference. A lot of designers prefer Chrome, because it’s customizable. But while a lot of people like to hate on Safari, it’s the browser I’ve always used and I’ve really gotten to know how to make it work best for the work that I do. And that’s really what this is all about: finding the method that makes you work smarter, not harder.

Setting the Tone

How do you set the tone in your video to strengthen your message?

Think back to some of your favorite movie scenes. Chances are, they evoke emotion. But why? What elements in the filming of that scene are used to strengthen the desired message? And more importantly, how do you set the tone in your video to strengthen your message?

Here are just a few of the tried and true methods that are easy to follow and help to set the proper tone in your production. Think of your image in three parts that all need to work together; color, composition, and contrast.

The first: color.

This refers to… you guessed it, the color of the image. Everything from black and white to vibrate primary colors will help to set the tone. Think of Sesame Street, those bold primary colors help to tell the viewer that the program is fun and lighthearted. Now, think of a crime drama. The color palette is probably no where near that of Elmo and the gang. The two images below, without any reference immediately tell the viewer two very different stories.

Once you have set a color palette for you video, you can then focus on the composition of the image. Where in the frame should your subject be and how they relate to the other elements around them will continue to drive the tone of your work. A white background with a single product in the middle (thank you Apple) says simplicity without having to spell it out. An interview of a craftsman in their work shop gives context to the image and immediately tells the viewer the interviewee is directly involved with the elements surrounding him.

Finally, contrast, which could also refer to the lighting, will quickly indicate the tone you are trying to convey. Similar to color, bright lighting will often set a happy tone where a dramatic contrast in lighting can convey a much more serious tone. We see this in interviews all the time. For example, in informative interviews the interviewee is normally lit with only a slight contrast on either side of the face, but when an interview has to do with a tragic story, often the contrast in lighting from one side of the face to the other is dramatically different.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are many other ways to set the tone in your video, and for every good rule, there’s a good reason to break it. That being said, color, composition, and contrast act as a starting place to help convey your message through video. By keeping these three concepts in mind while planning your shoot, you will ensure that the end result will ultimately be a stronger message delivered.

Happy Holidays from Company Man Studios

For our holiday card this year, our graphic artist Jazz created custom illustrations of each of the Company Man crew members (including Lucy Blu’!). In true CMS-style, we took it one step further: Jazz animated each of our characters for a fun take on the traditional holiday scene. Read more