One Day in Detroit

Michigan Creative Video is getting excited about participating in one day in detroit on April 26th, where we will be helping other filmmakers like ourselves to answer 10 questions about the great city of Detroit, like:

“What do you love about your city?”

“What is the best thing happening in your city today?”

We are excited to help tell the story of what great things are happening in Detroit! one day on earth is aiming to “inform the future of our cities”, and the videos, like this one in Detroit, are created by professional filmmakers, independent filmmakers, non-profits and citizens alike to create “an interactive geo-tagged archive and a TV series on the future of the American city”. Michigan Creative is proud to be a part of something like this! We are excited to be in Detroit, talk to the people that live in the great city, and put everything they have to say into what we do best: video! Showing this powerful story will make a much bigger impression than simply telling it.

We are so proud of our city of Lansing and love telling people about the great things going on here, and the same goes for Detroit. Being a small business with such strong ties to our city, we know how important it is to spread the good word about good things in good cities around the country!

~Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

 

 

Crisis Communication: What We Can Learn from General Motors

General Motors has been in the headlines recently because of their failure to fix an ignition switch problem from 2004, which has now led to a 2.6 million vehicle recall. What went wrong mechanically and why GM failed to initiate a recall in a timely fashion are questions I cannot answer.  However, this situation does provide an opportunity for all businesses to review what is involved in crisis communication and evaluate the strategies they have in place.

All business owners, small or large, need to have a strategy in place for when something goes wrong.  No matter how carefully a business is run, a bad supplier, employee, or small mistake will inevitably lead to the need to employ crisis communication.  In an ideal situation a response to a crisis is proactive.  The company identified areas of weakness ahead of time and created a crisis management plan. By having a plan in place, the communications team can act quickly and minimize damage to the company’s reputation.

There are a few basic elements that crisis communication plans usually have in common.

  • Determine a crisis communication team
  • Select a spokesperson
  • Create a media strategy
  • Determine potential weaknesses
  • Be honest! Do not try to keep secrets during a crisis
  • Evaluate the plan after the crisis and make changes as needed

Now let’s take a closer look at General Motors. If they had conducted the recall after the ignition switch problem was first diagnosed they would have had more control over the release of information.  However, the delay in response put the company and CEO Mary Barra in the hot seat.

Since the recall was announced the spotlight has been on GM’s new CEO Mary Barra, who took the reins in January.  This past week, during congressional hearings, Barra has proven she is calm and confident under pressure.  Barra, who was not made aware of the problem until becoming CEO, admitted that “terrible things happened.” During hearings she made it clear that the new GM is focused on a “customer culture” not a “cost culture.”  She was well prepared to address the issue and not get rattled by congress.

After two days of congressional hearings, Barra made several apologies and left the impression that she is trustworthy and cares about the public. However, family members of the victims and the general public were probably left hoping for more concrete answers about compensation, which Ms. Barra is unwilling to provide pending the results of the internal investigation.  In the end, Ms. Barra stuck to the facts and did not make any claims that could be called into question later.

In a statement to employees she mentions that the future of GM’s reputation will be determined by “how they respond going forward.”  In order to avoid a crisis of this magnitude going forward, GM needs to reflect on what was missing that allowed this situation to happen.  Moving forward Barra and GM’s communications strategists need to identify weaknesses and create better external and internal communications strategies.

What do you think? Has Ms. Barra and General Motors handled the situation well?

Until Next Time,
Katie

Brought to you by Michigan Creative

Sprint’s New Framily Frobinsons Commercial

Over the last week, Sprint has been heavily pushing it’s new ‘Framily Frobinsons’ marketing campaign. The two new ads feature a heavily mismatched family with a French speaking daughter, a hamster father, a son with a southern drawl, an African American grandpa, and an all too normal seeming mother, just to name a few.

Curious of where this bizarre campaign came from, I began to do some research. According to WSJ, the new campaign is based off of Sprint’s Japanese parent company SoftBank’s commercial with a dog as the head of the family.

This campaign has seen wide success in Japan and Sprint is now trying to introduce the new campaign into the United States. They have plans to create several of these commercials with a developing story line and even have celebrity appearances planned.

This new campaign replaced Sprint’s original advertising for the ‘Framily’ plan which featured a group of people standing in front of photographers that add and subtract members of their ‘Framily’ to reach the right amount of people and get the best deal. Sprint’s chief marketing officer Jeff Hallock says, “that work will not be returning, but the strategy is exactly the same.”

But is it the same? Will Americans find this new campaign as relatable as the last?

It’s always a risk to assume that campaigns will work across cultures. Values, perceptions, and general humor is simply just different between Japan and the United States. Many Americans will refer to Japanese game shows as bizarre and just plain weird. I’m sure Japan thinks we have weird TV as well-imagine what they think of Honey Boo Boo and Big Brother. So why would commercials be the same when TV shows themselves are so different?

I do think that Americans will find the diversity relatable in this campaign-things like having an adopted son or daughter and bi-racial mixes within the family. That being said, will this much diversity still make sense? American’s are used to seeing bi-racial marketing campaigns, but this new Sprint campaign really takes it a step further.

In the previous ‘Framily’ marketing plan we saw diversity as well but somehow it just makes more sense.

The old campaigns worked with groups like your fantasy league, boyfriends, and more. Why does this seem to make more sense? I believe it’s because these groups of people are more relatable to Americans; they are topics we are familiar with and understand. The ads themselves were straightforward-add more people, either friends or family, and save more money. The new campaign is more complex and abstract and overall just more difficult to understand in American culture.

Do you like the new campaign? Do you find the new campaign or the old campaign more relatable?

Let me know your thoughts!

Until next time
~Melissa

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Why does YOUR business need video?

A lot of people think that their business is doing just fine without videos, but have you ever thought about how much better your business might be doing if you did have video?

It’s been shown that people actually spend more time on a website or a page if it has a video. A lot of people prefer to watch a video rather than read a whole bunch of text, which is good news for your business! Why? Because you can fit a lot of information into a short video, meaning that you can get more information across to your potential customers in less time. So what does this mean? A lot of clients want to see video!

As you may know, we recently launched our new brand here at Michigan Creative. What was one of the first things we released to promote it? A new promo video! Video allowed us to get our new brand out their by showing who we are and what we can do, in a more entertaining way than simply writing about it on our website.

In addition to making your website more engaging, videos can be used for a lot of other things related to you business. Got a big presentation coming up? Want to reach out to potential clients? Show your video to that room full of people and show them what you’re all about, post it on Facebook and Twitter, email it, etc. Video helps you grow your reach.

To sum all of this up, video is important for your business! Whether you own a small start-up or a national company, video can help you take it to the next level.

~Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative [Video]

How To Make Your Social Media Posts Visually Engaging

Facebook is at again, some of you may have noticed that your news feed looks a little different.  In the latest round of updates, Facebook decided to focus on visuals.  Pictures are now the most prominent part of a post and the text playsa supporting role.  This got me thinking, we always list pictures as one of the key components of a good post but why? Also, not all pictures are created equal; some work better than others.  What criteria should be taken into account when selecting a picture to post? Below I attempt to begin to answer these questions.

The Michigan Creative team doing what they do best, having fun!

The Michigan Creative team doing what they do best, having fun!

First, why should you include a picture? Most social media platforms have one element in common, they focus on the visuals.  The adage “a picture speaks a thousand words” is useful to keep in mind when crafting your next social media strategy.  A beautiful picture catches the eye of the audience and will break up the sea of text on the screen. For a moment a user will stop scrolling through the list of posts and focus on your picture and your caption.

Second, when choosing photos for your social media site remember these simple rules, based on a study from Capulet Communications summarized by Kelvin Claveria:

Appeal to Emotions: Try to pick a photo that evokes an emotion, whether it is happy or sad, aim to make your audience feel.
Be Interesting: Would you talk about the events in the picture with your friends? Not everything is going to be interesting to everyone. However, if you find your post interesting chances are someone else will too.
Consider Adding a Simple Message to Your Photo: This is your caption, what is going on the picture? See more about this below.
Share Timely Photos: Sure an adorable animal will always garner engagement but will it get your message across? Try and find a picture that is relevant to what is currently going on with you or your organization.
Think About the Types of Photos You ‘Like’: If you wouldn’t be inclined to like or share the picture, then it isn’t worth posting. Keep looking!

Finally, pictures capture a moment in time but do not forget the caption.  A caption is there to tell the rest of the story.  Let people know who is in the picture or what was happening when the picture was taken.  If you are trying to get people to act, give tips on what steps to take first.  Also, remember the hashtags! Whether you are on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc., hashtags make it possible for users to search posts.

I hope these tips help guide you during the photo selection process!

Until next time,
Katie

Brought to you by Michigan Creative

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The Power of Video

Here at Michigan Creative, we like to send each other cool, funny, motivational, crazy, etc., videos, just for fun. A lot of times I end up posting them on the Michigan Creative Video Facebook page, but some of them are just so cool that I wanted to blog about them. I think that it’s so important for everyone to understand the power that video really has, and just how much you can do with it, whether it’s to help your business or just for yourself.

There was one video a few weeks ago that Brian sent to us and he said, “If this doesn’t show you the power of video…” The whole video was just 10 minutes of awesome. It really shows just how much video can capture and how much of an impact you can make with video.

(Best of Web 4 – HD – Zapatou)

We’ve also been on a bit of an inspirational kick lately… Brian and Melissa have been sending out “Motivational Monday” emails, posting cool quotes and things around the office, and we’ve been wanting to make videos of our own business and our city of Lansing. Ian sent us one video that was overall just very powerful with a great message.

(IF ONLY FOR A SECOND // Mimi Foundation // EN)

And then I found this video of Valencia, Spain, the incredible city that I had the privilege of calling home this past summer.

(Valencia – Love It)

These kinds of inspirational and motivational videos are great to watch, but can also be tweaked a little bit to help grow a business or to make people want to come to your city and start their business there.

Another video along these lines, also found by Ian, really showed how video can help one person share their journeys and experiences with the world.

(Rick Mereki – Move)

The last two videos are videos that show not only the power of video itself, but also the power of editing video. Yes, all of these video have had an editing element that make them what they are, but sometimes the editing has more of an impact. First, from Ian (he’s been on a roll lately!), was actually a Facebook user video.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=616588318379170

(Bardakas: Genius of video making)

Second is a video that Melissa found, that I thought showed the importance on cutting on the action.

(100 YEARS / STYLE / EAST LONDON)

All in all, not only can video show amazing things, but it can also do amazing things. The impact that video can have on us, and the impact that we can make with video, is incredible.

~Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative [Video]

 

Samsung’s Genius Oscars Sponsorship

If you watched the Oscars or even if you didn’t, you most likely know about Samsung’s sponsorship for the program. The phone brand negotiated a genius and incredibly effective sponsorship contract with the 2014 awards show.

The company purchased five minutes of ad time, costing them an estimated $18 million dollars. It was also reported by WSJ that Samsung had 10 large-sized Samsung television sets, 21 tablet computers, and 55 smartphones filling a wall in one of the waiting rooms back stage.

Samsung also negotiated to have it’s phone featured during the show. This meant true face time with this year’s 43 million viewers. To even further help their cause, Ellen decided earlier last week that she wanted to take and tweet selfies and Samsung suggested they use their phone.

This was absolute MARKETING GENIUS. It’s one thing to sponsor an event and put your name on a banner, but it’s another to be THE phone of the event. And even better for them, Samsung’s genius quickly combined with luck.

Samsung caught a huge break when Ellen decided to take a selfie featuring celebrities such as Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, and more. Then Ellen asked everyone watching to make this the most retweeted selife of all time. She not only accomplished her goal, she destroyed the old record of just under 800,000 retweets. As of this writing her photo has been retweeted over 3.1 MILLION TIMES.

Ellen Selfie

Was this direct exposure for Samsung though? Yes. Even though the phone itself was not in the photos, photos of the selfie being taken quickly circulated that featured the phone, it was shown during the taking of every selfie and the phone was mentioned in hundreds of articles that night and into the next day. And the wonderful thing is that most of the chatter was either neutral or positive! WSJ reports that 23% of the online chatter about Samsung that night was positive and 69% was neutral. Just a small 8% of the complaints were negative. Unfortunately, there were reports that Ellen was seen using her iPhone backstage, but this was a small blip on Samsung’s bright exposure during the Oscars.

Could have Samsung predicted such great exposure from their $18 million sponsorship? Maybe, but it’s hard to say. Lots of brands sponsor lots of events and fail to see such crazy brand chatter during and after the event. For this I commend Samsung and hope that they see a rise in sales as a result of their fantastic marketing efforts.

Until next time,

~Melissa

Facebook: The don’t read still share era

I would like to take this opportunity to vent a little on a phenomenon that I witness daily on Facebook and it’s driving me absolutely crazy. Last December, Facebook changed their algorithm, which gave viewing priority to liked and shared links over actual user made content. This change turned the social media platform into more of a blogging and news site. Sure, it’s great to get your daily dose of news mixed in with your friend’s updates, but the problem rises, which content is being selected to be exposed.

bored

The Facebook world is full of lazy people; the lurkers and scrollers who don’t necessarily interact with posts, but mindlessly wheel through hours and hours of updates. A recent study by Upworthy shows that a majority of the people sharing these articles hasn’t even spent enough time on these sites to read more than the headline.  This is where the problem occurs. Websites like The Onion and The Daily Currant have been writing satirical news for years. They don’t try to fool their readers into believing their stories, hell they even advertising themselves as satire! But when these links get posted on people’s newsfeeds, Facebook users read the headline at face value and assume these articles to be true.

fry

In the past month alone, I have seen COUNTLESS posts and reaction statuses of infuriated citizens, appalled by the fact that ‘Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colarado’s First Week of Legalization’, ‘Sochi Olympians Being Blood Tested to Check Homosexuality Levels’, and my favorite yet, ‘Boy Kills Brother Over Flappy Bird High Score’.  And no, the person responsible for the Olympic ring mishap was not assassinated by the Russian government! An Annapolis police officer even testified that marijuana had killed 37 people in Colorado in a fight against legalization, following the satirical post. We are taught endlessly in school not to believe everything we read on the internet, but when people click these links, barely even read the content posted from a seemingly believable news company, they take it as truth.

read

Who exactly is to blame for this new trend? It can’t be the writers because they have been doing this for years and never dealt with this problem before. I believe it’s a combination of the state of Facebook’s priority promoting of ‘news articles’ and the viewers fault. Before you believe everything you read, or don’t, yet still share to your wall, it’s a good idea to research a little where the information is coming from.

 

Until next time!

Josh

 

 

Having a Great Office Culture Rocks

Having a great office culture is something that not every business gets to experience. Being able to come into Michigan Creative every day and enjoy working with my boss and coworkers is such a blessing and for that I am very thankful!

Today I wanted to give everyone some insight on why we have such a great culture and what your business can do to have the same!

1. We can talk to each other about more than just work.

Many of us share our struggles and our successes and help each other through life. I consider every one of my coworkers, including my boss, to be good friends of mine. We are comfortable grabbing a beer after (or during) work and share a relationship that doesn’t end when we leave the NEO Center.

Working in this kind of environment not only makes it comfortable, it makes it enjoyable too! Each of us are excited to come into work every single day to contribute to such a great culture.

2. We have a slide in our office.

We do seriously do have a slide in our office, but that’s not the true point here. What I’m trying to exemplify is that we have a fun office culture. We believe that it’s okay to relax by playing with Play-Doh or participating in a rousing round of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. It’s okay to relax by watching some crazy YouTube video. It’s okay to read a book or do some sketching. It’s okay to have fun! No need for full suits and ties here; we believe in a comfortable and fun work environment where you don’t need to feel trapped by going to work everyday.

NEO Center

3. We understand that everyone has a life outside of work.

We are not your typical 9-5 business. Have a dentist appointment? Need to let your dog out in the middle of the day? Need to meet for a class project? No problem. Here at Michigan Creative we understand that all of our employees have lives and that they need to live them in order to be happy. Of course we all need to get work done and we certainly aren’t afraid to stay past 5pm to do so. But we know that a flexible schedule leads to happy employees!

Of course not all kinds of businesses can experience this kind of culture, but many industries could adopt some form of great office culture if they tried! In our experience, this kind of culture leads to an increase in productivity, motivation, and overall employee satisfaction.

What kind of office culture does your business have?

Until next time!

~Melissa

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person are
more productive, more satisfied, and more fulfilled.” ~Anne M. Mulcachy

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Which Video Editing Program Is Best?

What editing program do you use? Why do you like it? What do you hate about it? Do you ever just wish that you could take components from several different programs and combine them into your own, perfect, personalized video editing software program? Yeah, me too!

I have always used Final Cut Pro 7 and I love it. One of the main reasons I love it so much may very well be that I am comfortable with it and don’t really have to think twice anymore about exactly what I am doing, but I’m also a fan of a lot of the features it has. However, just last week, I started using Final Cut Pro X. I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about this program, but I ended up really liking it. There are a lot of aspects that are very similar to FCP7, but I almost feel like it is a lot easier to be more creative on. I love the option to view the effects on your clip before you actually apply them, and also the fact that X renders for you, automatically.

The one thing that I don’t like about X is that you can’t mark in and out points on the timeline. That doesn’t really make much sense to me, because it’s a great feature on FCP7 and, honestly, I miss it. But, on the other hand, it hasn’t really been an issue.

I have also started to learn Avid, which is quite different from Final Cut Pro. I still have mixed feelings about it, but I am still getting used to it. The same goes for Premiere; even though it is more similar to FCP than Avid, it still has a lot of differences.

So, what’s the point of knowing more than one, or even two, video editing programs? The main reason is just breaking into the industry itself. Right now, the industry standards are Avid, Premiere, and FCP. You don’t have to know all of them but, if you do, you will be able to work almost anywhere. And who doesn’t want options, right?

It’s hard to say that one program is better than another, or that you should use one over the other. It’s all about which you are most comfortable with and the type of career you want to have.
~Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative [Video]