Jeff Bassett

Jeff Bassett

Video has key role in web marketing

Sproing Creative gets film rolling for local businesses

The MC lifted the microphone and told the folks to take a seat. The lights dimmed. The projector screen flickered. At table 25, Sproing Creative’s table, palms were damp and hearts thumped. And not because they’d been nominated for a Greater Vernon business award.

“It was kind of like prom night for us,” said Heath Fletcher, a founding partner along with Clint Ingham of Sproing Creative, which recently merged with Real Rousseau’s Real Focus Consulting.

Until that March week, Sproing was a marketing and web design agency about to debut their video production services with 30-second videos of all 33 awards finalists.

The screen rolled. The music, jazzy and mysterious, sounded. The crowd laughed — at Caufield Engraving’s spoof of an eighties aerobics video, at Sun FM’s Brian Martin posing sexily on the boardroom table, and at Whitehouse Mortgage’s Deb White drinking from a flask at her desk and dialling a yellow rotary phone as part of the 1960’s Mad Men theme.

“We all put so much work into it and really put ourselves out there,” said Fletcher. By ‘a lot of work’ he means 160 hours of storyboarding, script editing, filming, recording voiceovers and editing 33 nominee videos, essentially commercials, in 10 days.  “Once they started rolling, and we heard and saw the reaction on people’s faces — people were really enjoying them — that was huge.”

At the table, Fletcher raised a glass to his video team: photographer Jeff Bassett; Keli Westgate, the producer and voice over artist who narrated the videos; and Joe Pinheiro, the newly hired video editor/director heading Sproing’s new video production department.

It was official: Sproing was doing video.

“It was one of those things we were getting asked to do, and we did it when it came up, but it was really increasing in demand,” said Fletcher, a photographer who could light and shoot, but didn’t have experience writing scripts or editing scenes. At one time, he said, people called and asked for websites. Now they call and ask for websites with videos.  “But we were hesitant to add it as a service until we had all the right talent in the room to really deliver. And Joe was really the missing link for us.”

Pinheiro, a Vancouver transplant who has been working in the film and music industry for more than 15 years, said video is now entrenched in the corporate world

“It’s exploded online. This is how people search and shop,” said Pinheiro. “People have short attention spans, they want to learn how to do things, and you’ve only got a minute to get their attention.”

Last June, Searchmetrics reported that 65 per cent of searchers tagged the word ‘video’ in their keyword. For example, someone looking for a place to play hockey in Vernon is apt to type: ‘Vernon rink video.’

Even before Google’s marriage to YouTube, the way Google began delivering results for that searcher changed too.

A Forrester Research study shows if Google offers video results for a keyword (ie Vernon hockey rinks), a site with a video has a 50 per cent higher chance of appearing on the first page than a text page in the index for Vernon hockey rinks.

And it’s not just industries that do things—tourism or manufacturing—that benefit from having a video presence. Start-ups have a story to tell. Professionals who spend their days at desks, such as accountants and lawyers, can communicate their approach and personality.

“A photo no longer gives you that get-to-know-you feeling,” said Pinheiro. “Even a small introductory video, done well and creatively, makes you stand out in your industry.”

Sproing was recently hired to help Vernon inventor Nancy Wilde demonstrate in a video the benefits of The Juicebox, a truck-bed toolbox that stores battery and solar power to give construction workers, campers and entertainers a source of silent and portable ‘juice.’

“I needed a way to show people what the Juicebox can do because I can’t bring it inside,” says Wilde, who used her video to audition for CBC’s Dragon’s Den and to compete in Community Futures’ Enterprize Challenge.

“The video got the point across, and now it’s reached so many more people.”

The full service creative marketing agency also just shot a video for the Allan Brooks Nature Centre to promote their annual Flights of Fancy fundraiser and tell nature-lovers they’re open for the season.

But video is not for every business. It’s an investment that requires a four-figure budget. However, where DIY entrepreneurs can take smartphone videos, videographers tell stories.

“We’re filmmakers, so we’re illustrating what you do and who you are in a visually captivating way that’s in line with your overall strategy and vision for your company. That’s the difference,” said Pinheiro.

It’s not just about traction and views. For Fletcher, it’s about building businesses.

“When you help somebody achieve a goal like a branding package or a logo, you’re really giving them the confidence to move forward with their business goals, and now we can help give their website a real online presence. We’re supporting businesses to step out and say, ‘Hey, this is me.’”