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Archive For 'September, 2012'

5 tips for choosing a corporate video location

28 September 2012 at 06:41


Location, location, location might be the mantra of the real estate industry, but it is just as relevant to film production. And when it comes to corporate videos, choosing the right location can really help maximise the investment.

Halo Films recently recorded an interview with Trailblazer PR’s MD Sabrina at the beautiful Hawkwood College in Stroud. It was the ideal setting for what we wanted to convey. So, when we had a break between takes we asked Halo Films’ Managing Director Peter Georgi what his main criteria are when choosing a location. He gave us these five tips:

1. Ensure location and message are complementary

Location is about more than providing wallpaper. It adds depth to the message of a film and when it comes to corporate films, the location can speak volumes about the ethos of a brand.

At the outset of the project you need to define exactly what you are trying to achieve and what you want to communicate. Once you have nailed this, it is important to think very carefully about the location for the shoot, ensuring that it won’t detract from or contradict the overall message. Clearly you wouldn’t film the MD of a successful, forward thinking business against a shabby backdrop. But it goes further than that. With a little care and lateral thinking the location can really add something to the end product.

Hawkwood College was ideal for the Trailblazer PR shoot because it has a real warmth to it, and it exudes the composed air that you would look for in a communications consultancy.

2. Think about sound

Most people consider the visual aspects when choosing a location, but it is easy to forget the second vital component: sound (or lack of it).

When you are doing the initial recce, pay close attention to anything that might interfere with the audio. That might include traffic passing by, or it could be farm animals or barking dogs. Don’t overlook background noise, as it can cause a lot of problems once it comes to editing.

3. Try to keep control

 In an ideal world you would have complete control of the location and surrounding

In reality, you often have to contend with a lot of distractions and annoying interruptions. But with a bit of planning and communication you can keep these to a minimum and achieve some level of control. environment. There would be no risk of random people walking into the frame, or starting up their lawnmower in a nearby garden.

When you first visit the location, assess the surrounding area and consider any potential problems. Then work proactively to overcome them – perhaps putting up signs, or visiting neighbouring businesses or residents to let them know that you will be filming.

Advance preparation can help things run a lot more smoothly on the day.

4. Don’t set the interviewee up for a fall

When the main focus of the film is an interview, you need to be sensitive to the interviewee’s level of confidence. If they are likely to be nervous, it is a good idea to ensure the location is relatively private.

For instance, the staff canteen at lunchtime might seem like a fantastic, buzzing environment. But if you are trying to film a chief executive who has little filming experience, and they go to pieces in front of their employees, they won’t thank you for it.

It is vital that the interviewee is as relaxed and confident as possible. By choosing an environment that fosters this, you are making life easier and enhancing the outcome for everyone.

5. Remember parking!

It sounds mundane, but you really do need to think about how accessible the location is. Filming requires a lot of heavy gear, and you don’t want to be hiking over fields or lugging it up ten flights of stairs.

Try to arrange parking as close to the filming location as possible, then organise trolleys and whatever help you can muster to ensure the film crew aren’t exhausted before they’ve even done the first take.

 

Sabrina’s interview will be streaming here soon, but in the meantime, here are some pictures from the shoot, showing Hawkwood College in all its glory:

Trailblazer FilmingSabrina Pace-HumphreysTrailblazer Video

Tags: PR | Halo Films | Hawkwood College

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

PR & advertising collaboration of the week

21 September 2012 at 13:37

 

This week we want to celebrate a brand that has seized a situation that might have been a disaster and turned it into a golden PR opportunity.

The brand in question is St John’s Ambulance. You may have seen – or heard about – the organisation’s current TV campaign.

You can see the ad here – but be warned, it is quite emotive. In short, it shows a man diagnosed with cancer, undergoing treatment, then getting the all-clear – only to choke to death (or so it appears) at a family BBQ.

The objective of the campaign is to demonstrate that simple first aid techniques can save lives – and to persuade people to brush up on their own first aid skills. The relevance of the cancer link is that 140,000 UK deaths each year might have been prevented by first aid – the same number of people die from cancer.

Many people have been distressed – even outraged – by the ad. Some say it is too graphic, others say it belittles the ordeal faced by people with cancer. It has sparked a torrent of media coverage this week across print, online, broadcast and social platforms. 

St John’s Ambulance has been quick to ride the wave of media interest and – in our opinion – has done a sterling job at getting its message across. Spokespeople have been well-versed on the risks of choking and how it can be prevented, passionate about the importance of basic first aid skills, and sensitive about the public response to the ad. They have clearly communicated that the ‘big C’ statistic has been used to underline the importance of basic first aid, not to diminish cancer.

We think this is one of the best examples of integrated PR and advertising in a long time. It shows that when PR and marketing or advertising teams collaborate effectively, the results can be magic. The advert’s call to action was to apply for a free first aid guide via text. But the surrounding media coverage was also very persuasive in its own way. One of our own consultants heard the Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Show debate surrounding the ad when driving to a client meeting. She booked herself onto a St John’s Ambulance first aid course that day, without even seeing the ad itself.

Hats off to St John’s Ambulance’s in-house PR team, and to their agency Golin Haris

 

Tags: St John's Ambulance | Golin Harris | Jeremy Vine Show

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

5-minute tips to make your LinkedIn profile work harder

14 September 2012 at 13:37

 

Hands up if you have a LinkedIn profile?

Hands up if it’s more than a week since you last looked at it or updated it… or more than a month?

For many professionals, LinkedIn acts as a convenient online contact book. That’s all well and good, but with a little time and effort you can make the platform work powerfully to promote you and your business.

If you are new to LinkedIn, or don’t really feel that you are using it properly, these five tips will help you get more out of it. They only take five minutes each, so take a quick coffee break and enhance your online reputation!

 

1. Upload a photo

It’s so important to have a photo of yourself (not your company logo) on your LinkedIn profile page. But it is quite surprising how many people don’t get round to including any image at all. If you are one of them, take five minutes to do it today.

Not sure how to do it?

First of all, choose a suitable photo (i.e. one that you are happy for business connections to see) and save it somewhere on your system. It needs to be less than 4Mb, so if the one you choose is too big, simply downsize it using your own software or a free tool like Light Image Resizer

Open your LinkedIn page, hover over ‘profile’ on the top bar and click on ‘edit profile’. Then, hover over the icon where your photo should be and click through to the edit / upload photo page and click ‘upload photo’. Open the file where you saved the photo and click on it. Job done!

 

2. Make sure your profile is complete

OK, so this one may take more than five minutes. But better to attack it in five minute chunks than to leave it unfinished.

One tip – it can get really annoying for your connections if they get ten 'updated profile' alerts in a row because you are making a lot of additions at one time, or playing with the wording of your Personal Summary page. To avoid telling everyone each time you tinker with your punctuation, switch off your automatic updates until you are happy with your profile.

You can do this by hovering over your name on the top bar of your profile page, click on ‘settings’, then in the Profile section under ‘privacy controls’ you can opt to switch off your activity broadcasts. But don’t forget to switch them back on if you are updating your profile with something you want to tell the world about!

 

3. Personalise your URL

Did you know you can create your own memorable LinkedIn URL, rather than using the one that it is automatically generated when you sign up? This can enhance your search rankings, and it makes it easier to include your personal LinkedIn address on offline materials such as business cards.

Again, click through to ‘edit profile’. Then, under your photo, you will see your current LinkedIn address, probably beginning uk.linkedin.com/in/. Click on the edit button next to that, and you will be taken to a new page. On the right hand side you will find a box with a link to ‘customise your public profile URL’.  

 

4. Talk like a real person

If you really want people to respond to your requests to connect or to recommend you, it’s worth taking five minutes to write a personal message rather than using the automatic LinkedIn messages. Just overwrite the box that pops up with a few lines of your own – or add a quick hello and a note above the automatic message.

 

5. Take five minutes as often as you can

Many LinkedIn experts recommend that you spend 30 minutes a day being active on the platform: networking, making recommendations, joining discussions etc. But this isn’t practical or realistic for most people.

Instead, we recommend taking five minutes as often as you can. It doesn’t need to be a chore. Simply sharing links to interesting articles you have read, congratulating a contact who has a new job, posting a thought on an industry debate or connecting with people you have recently met in the real world are quick and easy ways to keep your profile active.

 

The potential of LinkedIn for reputation management is huge. This week’s ramble has simply scratched the surface, so watch this space for more tips on how it can play a role in your communications strategy.

We’d love it if you’d share your own five-minute tips for LinkedIn profiles below.

Over and out.


 

Tags: LinkedIn

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

Friday ramble: a good opportunity gone bad

07 September 2012 at 15:03

If there’s one thing worse than a missed opportunity, it’s a good opportunity turned bad. IT firm Atos Healthcare has discovered this, with its sponsorship of the Paralympics spectacularly turning around to bite it on the backside over the past week or so.

Atos Healthcare is an occupational health service provider, and one of its contracts is with the Department of Work & Pensions, providing the much maligned ‘fitness to work’ assessments for people claiming incapacity benefits. Clearly the firm is in no way responsible for ministerial policy decisions, but we all know that people can have a tendency to want to ‘shoot the messenger’ (or in this case, the assessor).

So, just as all eyes are on the Paralympic Games and positive media coverage surrounding people with disabilities is at an all-time high, hundreds descended on the firm’s UK HQ to protest against its assessment methods and practices. The Disabled People Against Cuts protestors have ensured Atos is in the media spotlight, but for all the wrong reasons.

Atos has responded by saying that it believes its services are professional and compassionate. But this message is lost in the many voices, including those of former Paralympians, who say that Atos is responsible for ‘destroying disabled people’s lives on behalf of the government’.

Why on earth did nobody foresee this inevitable backlash? With a more strategic and astute approach to communications, the Paralympic Games could have given Atos a platform to convey its own positive messages about what it does and its rationale behind supporting the Games. Even as late as this week, a more assertive approach to damage limitation / crisis management could have reaped some benefits.

This was Atos’ big chance to have its voice heard, but the firm seems to have blown it.

Over and out…

 

Tags: Paralympics; Atos Healthcare

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

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