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.
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 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.
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 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.
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
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
What is a logo and why does your company need one?
Quite simply, a logo is the face of your company. It’s a symbol. A logo is a graphical display of your company’s identity and is the first thing potential customers see as a representation of you. What’s more, a good logo design makes your company recognizable and, more importantly, memorable.
Learn why creating a storyboard will save you time
Creating a storyboard is key to establishing well thought out animation. Storyboarding is a very important step in setting the tone for telling a story. Storyboards can help express thoughts, ideas, and direction visually to create the story you are trying to tell. Jumping straight into animation with no foundation or groundwork can cause problems down the road. In doing so, an animator will be less likely to work quickly and efficiently. Eventually, this can cause him or her to have to backtrack to rework an idea—resulting in wasted time and energy. However, storyboards can also allow you the freedom to work spontaneously, whether client or animator.
A tech scout can make your production days easy(er).
Somewhere in process of telling stories through video, before the camera comes out of the bag and after the shoot decision has been made, a tech scout takes place. (Or, at least it should.) There are a number of things that a tech scout should provide, but more than anything, it provides piece of mind that you’ll have the right equipment to be able to react to any unforeseen hiccups during your production. Saving money by not scouting can leave you scrambling last minute, running into over time, and having to sacrifice creative to meet financial and time restraints, so spend a little extra upfront, you’ll be glad you did.