See Me, Feel Me

"See me, feel me, touch me, heal me. ...
His eyes can hear ... His ears can see."
"Tommy," The Who

Roger and the boys had it right. Now, major news sites offer proof that it's high time public relations pros counsel clients to dive into the online video age.

"Web sites such as CNN.com and ESPN.com are discovering that readers ... are a lot more likely to want to interact with their content when video clips are a significant part of the overall package ... The trend suggests a new wrinkle in the way people want to experience online news and information." The New York Times (Nov. 11, 2009) 

New wrinkle, come on! Brands need to open their eyes to the reality of the communications process. Astute visual marketing strategists like Toniq's Cheryl Swanson have long advocated what neuroscientists have proven -- 70% of human stimuli arrives via our eyes, a meager 15% enters the ears. So if you want to successfully communicate your brand story ... go to the video.



In a death struggle, major media are moving video front and center on their websites, through syndication and video streaming sites, to attract eyeballs wherever they are. As The Times correctly stated, "The attention to video mirrors changes in how consumers are experiencing news (add all mediated reality). Major events -- be it the presidential election or the death of Michael Jackson -- bring a surge in video stream viewings by new users ..." Well, duh ...

It's high time the PR industry takes the lead, gets out of its blog and pods and moves into the spotlight. To do so, PR pros need to overcome two client hurdles: fear of expense and fear of transparency. Transparency is an issue that corporations simply cannot back-burner any longer as consumers continue to take the high ground through social networks and mobile apps. Another myth -- "the TV/movie look video is beyond my budget." Not true.

Visual identity designer Limore Shur of Eyeball puts it succinctly, "The closer your eyes to the screen, the more you are willing to accept lower image quality in favor of gained intimacy." In other words, people aren't willing to watch YouTube videos on 50+ inch home theatres, but they are perfectly acceptable on iPhone screens six inches from their eyes.

Enter the FlipVideo. This cheap, ridiculously simple-to-use HD camera literally puts the power of video in every PR (under age 30 anyway) pro's pocket. Included is software to create and upload videocasts and, voila, that plant tour and interview can become an instant video feed.

New companies like Pixability will send you a Flip video camera to shoot whatever you wish -- an interview, testimonial, product-in-use segment, etc. Send the camera back and they will shoot you back a professional-quality video with music, titles and company logo ready to embed in client news releases, websites, promos, events, e-newsletter, sales presentations, blog, Facebook pages, and marketing plans.

So what are we waiting for? Maybe it's time to download that "Tommy" video.

4 comments about "See Me, Feel Me ".
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  1. Mike Darnell from Treepodia, November 29, 2009 at 4:29 p.m.

    Hi Len,
    I love this post.
    I enjoyed the "Just Do It" spirit you advocate and believe that, especially with video, this is the way to go.
    The reason I say "especially with video" is because there's indeed this perception that there are barriers to entry here, that don't exist with blogs or podcasts.

    The only way people are going to get over their fears is by jumping into the pool or, to paraphrase Eli Wallach: "When you have to sell…Sell! Don’t talk" - more on that here: http://blog.treepodia.com/2009/11/when-you-have-to-sell-sell-dont-talk

    : )

  2. Tressa Robbins from Burrelles, November 30, 2009 at 2:05 p.m.

    Great article. This cements what I learned when I recently attended a workshop at the International PRSA conference - and subsequently wrote a recap blog post (http://budurl.com/f4fc).

    One of the speakers, Greg Jarboe, had this to say about using video as part of the PR toolkit: “PR needs YouTube. Do it offensively, do it defensively, just do it!”

  3. Kyle Sharick from New York University, December 1, 2009 at 1:55 a.m.

    This is an obvious direction all industries need to move towards. No one goes into business with a product not worth marketing or which they think is generic. Therefore your product contains some unique characteristic(s) which you can promote through any medium with just a little bit of creativity.

    Large budgeted productions are not what the social media platform is about and should therefore not even be a concern for companies worried about spending too much on video. People move towards the social environment because they want to be apart of something "real" and not doctored up.

    The most successful online videos are DIY, or small parodies performed by members of companies which are pleasing to the eye, comical, yet still deliver the message.

  4. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., December 1, 2009 at 1:18 p.m.

    Blogging is for losers and people who drool on camera. I think it's fairly revealing that the majority of the folks who have commented on this also included links to their blogs (especially considering the article says "It's high time the PR industry takes the lead, gets out of its blog and pods and moves into the spotlight.") - Wake up and smell the digital video, people. You can get a product video put together for $100 these days and load it for free all over the place. Feel free to write a blog about this - I won't be reading it.

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