Joy of the Job: Turning Work into Play

As communication professionals, work is often less about where we go than the things we do. Often our work is done at home, while seated in 23A, on location, or somewhere in the cloud. Yet how fortunate we are to work in a profession that provides an outlet for creativity and imagination. If that’s not how you see your work it’s time for a mindset reset.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” This quote from George Bernard Shaw offers the philosophical view. Business entrepreneur and investor, Sir Richard Branson, puts it into actionable terms, “Create the kind of workplace and company culture that will attract great talent. If you hire brilliant people, they will make work feel more like play.”

Not part of a company? Doesn’t matter. Branson’s analogy still holds. Communication work is normally done as a team. Some projects can be done solo, but more often than not our work is done in teams. What about turning work into play? It doesn’t mean you don’t work hard or never face boring tasks. But would you rather be doing something else?

I asked a number of friends and professional peers about their experiences in the business and how they find joy in the work they do. Here is a quick mindset reset about the Joy of the Job.

Freedom to Create: There are many ways to structure a communication that meets client objectives. Once you understand what the client needs to communicate, look for ways to construct the project that will interest you and keep you excited. “Too often, we operate under the premise that Corporate Video needs to be dull and uninteresting,” suggests Bill Marriott, Sr. Marketing Director – Video Communications & New Media at SAS and CMMA Southeast Region Director. “Dull and uninteresting are not great differentiators for a business. As a producer it’s important to find something about a project that pushes you to deliver work that excites.”

Make it a Team Effort: Last year the Boston Red Sox won baseball’s World Series title. Some argue they didn’t have the best individual players among teams that made the playoffs. What they had was an intangible, they played as a team and looked like they were having more fun than every team they played. While other teams stressed under pressure, the team of “Beards” became more than the sum of its parts. Gary Shifflet, a former MCA-I President, recently started a new position at Creative Solutions Group as Sr. Project Mgr./Technical Director helping create large-scale trade show exhibits. “I joined the team with the specific goal of helping enhance the interactive experience of visiting an exhibit space.” Gary hit the ground running because of his experience and skill working with production teams towards a shared goal. “Every division is responsible for their own tasks, but also empowered to help each other to reach their goals. It’s an awesome feeling working in a collaborative environment!” Working with a team of empowered professionals is one of the great joys of working as a MediaPro.

A World to Explore: How many professions offer the opportunity to learn something about almost everything? We participate in developing programs on subjects as diverse as our client base. “As a voice talent, one of the aspects of my job I love the best is the variety of industries I get to voice for,” says Liz de Nesnera, Owner, Reservoir Road Productions and MCA-I Secretary. “In fact, it was through a narration job that I discovered the wonders of hydraulic cement! Thanks to what I learned in voicing that job, I was able to fix quite a few leaks in my old basement floor! Who knew? Voice a job, fix your basement. Bonus!” Whether working as an independent or as an in-house MediaPro, the range of topics we’re exposed to can be fascinating if you really pour yourself into a project.

Tools of the Trade: We have great, fun tools to work with. That’s why so many groups across an enterprise want to create their own video productions. As exciting as it must be to fuse a framersham, it’s much more fun to make a video about it. Chris Barry, AMM, Sr. Director, Yellow Tag Productions at Best Buy and CMMA President reminds us it’s not cameras, edit systems, and encoders that make great programs – its people. “Technology has revolutionized our business. The tools we use today to light, shoot and edit are more accessible and less expensive than ever before. But, the skill, experience and ability to use these tools to tell great stories can’t be commoditized.”

Opportunity to Show Off: The projects we deliver are often viewed publically. To clients, the release of every project is like a Hollywood premiere. While most corporate projects don’t have credits… we know. If a program is posted to YouTube, tell me you haven’t sent a link to someone and told them of your role in the project. “I love making other people look good! That’s half the battle,” admits Gerry Harriss, Media Services Manager at Asurion, LLC and CMMA Eastern Region Director. “To be able to craft a message from your work environment and elicit an emotional response is what pushes me toward the next best production. There is no better feeling than people throughout your company saying, I laughed, I cried, I thought, or I felt proud because of the video you produced. You made us look great.”

Ours is a fun profession, or it should be. Golf writer and CBS Sports Analyst Peter Kostis likes to use the phrase, “work like a major leaguer but play like a little leaguer.” If you’ve played any sport you know that practice is hard, but that’s usually not a problem because practice itself can be fun. The same should hold true when managing the work of communication project. It’s work. Yet if in the process you surround yourself with teammates who make the work fun, amazing things can happen.

Article contributed by Tom Morse with SAS and CMMA Member

What Communications Professionals Don’t Know About Video Analytics CAN Hurt Them

Communicators that practice marketing know that video is becoming pervasive in today’s modern organization. We use it to market and sell our products, to build communities on social media, to train our employees, and to message across our geographically dispersed organizations. No matter how your company currently is using video, it probably measures video performance across three industry-standard metrics: impressions, views, and engagement.

This data alone can be helpful in determining general audience tastes and preferences and for measuring soft targets such as affinity. Where this data proves insufficient is in providing the evidence a marketer needs to measure hard targets such as sales or loyalty. To date, the link between videos watched and products sold has been hazy at best. Perhaps the viewer shared a video link or tweeted their enthusiasm for what they watched. But did they eventually purchase a product or service, and what role did the video play in accelerating that purchase? That data is harder to tease out.

As communicators, we regularly piece together 360° portraits of our customers. However, we are less accustomed to putting together 360° views of our videos. Historically, we haven’t demanded more from our videos than the traditional views and impressions KPIs. Transformations in the technical landscape are changing that. Video management tools are rapidly evolving, and as a result, video analytics are becoming more sophisticated. With the advent of enterprise video platforms (EVPs), a content owner’s ability to stay tethered to each and every video throughout its lifecycle, including the purchase process, is becoming possible. Gone are the days of publishing your video out to the online ether and wondering how many of those “Likes” and “Shares” will actually translate to sales. Now you can not only track where your videos live and who is watching them, but also what your audience buys as a result of having viewed the video.

Here are just a couple of examples of the new ways in which those that lead marketing are requiring more from their video beyond ‘views and engagement.’

Track the revenue generated by video by integrating video with your sales or CRM software
Your organization is probably already running a sales or CRM platform such as Salesforce. While the native analytics in these systems are strong, most are not video-enabled, thus missing an opportunity to associate content viewing with buying behavior. To have the best of both worlds, leading edge organizations have begun integrating the video management power of their EVPs directly into their existing sales and CRM platforms. This creates a “1+1=3” scenario where the best of each system is married up into a sum that is greater than the individual parts. By capturing the video analytics available in your EVP and tying them to the customer data available in your sales or CRM system, you can complete the missing piece of the 360° view of your videos, i.e. their impact on sales.

Create Measurable Commerce Experiences that Travel Anywhere Your Video Does
Communicators that use video are accustomed to thinking of online video as a tool to capture audience attention, build interest and then drive the audience to a specific destination – a website that you own, or a point of sale — where you can convert interest to action. This presupposes that the actual buying has to take place on a website or app designed for e-commerce.

Technical advances have turned this process on its head. Purchasing capabilities can now be embedded directly into a video player, traveling with it wherever it goes because video players are becoming transactional environments that can live anywhere. Rather than focus on creating videos that get a certain number of ‘views’ or ‘shares,’ it will soon be incumbent on the marketer to also package up entire brand or commerce experiences that can travel on a single embed code, easily “popping up” for the viewer, wherever they come across your content.

Again, the video KPIs in this new world order will begin to task videos with generating measurable revenue. What’s more, by aggregating your video analytics in a single place via an EVP, you can also measure which destinations drive higher purchases relative to the number of video views.

Advances in video distribution and publishing are revolutionizing video analytics and our ability to link content viewing to purchase behavior for a clearer 360° view of our videos. To stay on the leading edge, marketing organizations must explore these and other opportunities to push video KPIs beyond the current ‘views and impressions’ paradigm to truly capture more bang for their video buck.

Article contributed by Lisa Stuardi is SVP of Marketing and Business Development for uStudio and CMMA Partner

Mobile Telepresence Technology Brings New Level of Virtual Interaction to Live Events

With a surge in new mobile telepresence technology in the market, companies have more options than ever to integrate remote presentations into live, staged events. One start-up company making headway in this space is Double Robotics. They’ve invented the “Double” – a robot-like mobile teleconferencing system that is controlled remotely. Put simply, the device is an iPad on wheels. The iPad becomes the “face” of the remote person who controls the robot from another iPad or a web browser.

Our creative team was recently tasked with integrating this new technology into a high-level live event showcasing Accenture’s Chairman & CEO Pierre Nanterme, addressing from Paris, France, a large audience at Q Center, our conference facility in St. Charles, IL. The road to success involved several detailed planning stages and coordination among several teams including Accenture’s Technology Labs that provided the robot and used it as part of a larger research and development effort around digital workforces. Here is a breakdown of what we did to make it all work:

  1. Figure out Why. Our first task was to understand why the client wanted to integrate the technology. Knowing “why” informed nearly every other aspect of the planning. Our client was interested in the “cool factor” of the robot, but it was also about creating an “intimate” environment that would allow Mr. Nanterme to be up close and personal with the participants.
  1. Communicate and Delegate. Once we had a clear end in mind, we started laying down a stable path forward by establishing who needed to be involved in the planning and how decisions would be made along the way. We established a clear production schedule that outlined deliverables and responsibilities, including specific touch points with the client and extended production team. How would the robot get on stage? Who would help Mr. Nanterme control the robot from Paris? What was our backup plan if the Double failed?
  1. Test the technology. Then, test it again. And again. Testing was a key factor to our success. We setup two formal testing times before the event where we could have the remote operator in Paris control the robot in a similar environment to the live show. These testing sessions proved critical for success because they allowed issues to surface well before the show date.
  1. Make it Interactive. Remember, our client wanted to feature interaction between Mr. Nanterme and the audience. In the end, we decided to change our game plan for Q&A and invite participants onstage to ask their questions to Mr. Nanterme “face to face.” This aspect of the event made the Double even more fun for them, and allowed us to maintain visibility of the action with our cameras. Each Q&A participant was rewarded for their bravery with the opportunity to take a “selfie” with Mr. Nanterme’s double.
  1. Debrief and Celebrate! Whenever you have a new production element to a show, it’s always a good idea to reflect on what worked and what didn’t – especially with a popular piece of technology that is likely to be used again in the future. We put our heads together for a debrief conference call within two weeks of the show to make sure we documented best practices for next time. We were also thrilled to hear that the use of the Double garnered recognition in Paris’ local press and was a popular feature internally for Accenture.

The Double robotic technology was a huge hit for Accenture as the company continues to experiment with emerging telepresence technology, and it was a unique way for the participants to get in touch with their Chairman & CEO at an important event. As our team looks to integrate other high tech gadgets into our production repertoire, we’ll be sure to follow a similar path in managing the technical and functional considerations to deliver a memorable show.

Article contributed by Thomas M. Densmore, AMM, CMMA Board Member

You Want to Produce What in My Studio?

Creating a Multi-Purpose Studio with Modular Sets
Product support, compliance, training, human resources, do-it-yourself, executive suite outreach, internal customer communications, talking head/ interview/ moderator themed shows …. How does a studio media manager/creative producer satisfy the set needs of its diverse internal customers while maintaining the production quality that best represents the corporation? Just consider the challenges of producing a Human Resources training video on the same set the CEO uses to deliver the company’s quarterly results.

One way studios are adapting to meet requests for diverse show identities are through easily reconfigurable sets.  The Boeing Company recently found themselves in just this situation in their Seattle Studios. “The Boeing Seattle studio was originally designed as an instructor operated classroom. It slowly morphed into a production studio for live events. We needed to update the look and add versatility”, stated Richard Gay, Producer Creative and Information Services at The Boeing Company. “A dedicated set was considered as an option but the decision was made to keep the space customizable. We have many internal customers with varied design needs.”   In creating a multipurpose studio space The Boeing Company is producing live and taped training, compliance and corporate communications from their studio reinforcing “in-house” to be the appropriate approach to these projects.

At EMC’s Education Services organization where their 3 video classrooms deliver streaming and recorded training a transformation is taking place. “Over the past year requests have skyrocketed to produce more talking head and interview style recordings” said Steve Howland VILT Production Team Leader at the EMC Corporation.   The first step taken has been to incorporate a versatile desk system that can be set into 7 different configurations and is easily transported into any one of their classroom studios.   Classrooms can now be used for traditional programming in the morning and set for an executive briefing in the afternoon. “The next step is to add a more versatile back wall system that’s more “executive” looking, transportable and will allow for the expansion of chroma-key” added Howland.

Video is becoming the new power point. As noted by Andrea Keating, Owner/Founder & CEO of Crews Control, Inc. in her CMMA Vision Blog posted in June, “Corporate Departments are using more video, more often for more reasons”. But at the same time demand for internal video production rapidly increases most of the infrastructure to support these efforts is being reduced. Never before have studios needed to be more versatile and nimble with their lighting, cameras, editing suites, set elements, program/show identities and staff within an ever more competitive environment to secure funding.

Whether you are in a position to install an entire multipurpose studio today or are looking at incorporating some level of versatility in your existing studio(s) there are 10 questions to consider:

  1. Does the set I’m considering require any on-site assembly or construction?
  2. How easy is it to set and strike the set elements?
    1. Can they be reconfigured without having to be disassembled
    2. How quickly can set changes be made: minutes, hours, days
  3. How are set elements stored and moved?
  4. Can the set be relocated easily to another location?
    1. Will set elements and storage carts fit through standard doors and hallways
  5. How will the set allow me to integrate chroma key and virtual set elements?
  6. How can the modular set be customized to incorporate unique branding or visual requirements?
  7. Can the modular set approach be rolled out into other studio and videoconferencing locations throughout the enterprise?
  8. Is the set design able to be configured by the customer freeing up studio production staff?
  9. Can the set be expanded at a later date (phased-in)?
  10. What’s the cost and what’s the payback?

We hope this information assists you in satisfying the set needs of your diverse internal customers while maintaining the production quality that best represents the corporation.

Contributed by Brian McKinnon, UNISET and CMMA Partner

Quality Music is the Key to Captivating an Audience

Whether you’re conscious of it or not, we all listen to music most of the day. From the TV shows, films and online videos we watch to where we dine, shop and even work out – music is everywhere.

It is called sensory branding. It appeals to consumer’s senses to connect to them emotionally, or on a more personal level, so they associate certain thoughts/feeling to the brand or product. Marketers use sensory branding because it works. As a matter of fact, research also found that almost all brand communication focuses on sight and sound.

Although we hear music everywhere we go it takes the right tune to really grasp someone’s attention and not just become a part of the noise.

After all we see and hear day-to-day, businesses must put more thought into what will be an “attention-grabber.” Quality sound not only creates the mood, but also makes the production more memorable. It’s all in the details. We must think about what sound will stand out in the world of today to help our production become successful.

It’s important when working on a production to ask yourself: Do the visuals and copy flow with the music? Does it all create the emotion you desire in your production? And finally, is it memorable?

It takes more than a well-written script to captivate an audience. For years, music has been used to enhance an advertisements success. The music in productions can make it easier to be recollected, as well as cause people to feel a certain way about the product or service – which can drive sales.

Music is a powerful tool – especially when it comes to a business’ production. Overlooking the details can greatly impact the success of your production.

Article contributed by Nancy Aguirre at FirstCom Music, CMMA Partner

Web Distribution- Do We Need Measurement Tools Any Longer?

I began my career in TV and special effects. Everything we did was measured both visually and aurally. I prided myself on surviving the transition from analog to digital, knowing color space, black levels, and the transition from 0VU to -20db in audio levels as reference points for any content sent out for air.  My first foray into Internet delivery started with building one of the first Microsoft encoding platforms for MSN. I noticed very quickly that all of my history and pride went out the door when I looked at the results of this content on the web. If you could get past the variable frame rate and low sample rate of the audio, I noticed that the content looked washed out when set up to color bars. It took an intern to show me that his video looked a little richer by adding contrast and increased color values outside of legal limits to make video look good on the web. The interesting thing is the intern had no training in color space, broadcast levels, or any understanding of the use of color bars and reference tone, he just knew it looked better. After a few heated discussions and feedback from our Internet customers, we adopted profiles that were not compliant for broadcast. Recently we have experienced the same transition in audio.

The web, in many ways, is the Wild West. I’ve personally measured hours of various audio content played from the web and the levels are all over the place. With much self-generated content making its way to the web in such places as YouTube, people can output at whatever level and quality they like. This can become a problem for professionals as broadcast levels are typically much lower and delivering a separate, louder mix may not be a possibility.

Recent developments in the audio industry have brought us tools for measuring loudness in a much more accurate way. These tools demonstrate audio loudness in LKFS or LUFS. By and large these terms are interchangeable with LUFS being a more current rendition. Starting in Europe and now being adopted in America, LUFS metering has become what could almost be described as the first universal standard for audio loudness metering with it becoming the law in many regions across the world. In America, we have the CALM Act to keep commercial loudness at bay.

Here at MPS, our audio team has been investigating this situation for the better part of five years. As a result, we have arrived at what we believe is a great solution for delivering content to broadcast legal audio levels while having a louder, more competitive spec for online. Compliance with the CALM Act requires a program loudness of -24LUFS and a peak level of -2dbtp. That’s an additional 8db of headroom or dynamic range compared to previous program levels which peaked at -10dbfs. Some material may benefit from this additional dynamic range such as movies or dramatic TV shows, but by and large, news, reality TV, and music may still choose to peak limit lower than -2 for a less dynamic audio experience. At MPS our audio team has chosen to work at a level spec that is louder to the CALM Acts requirements since the bulk of our deliveries are for web. Our online spec is -2dbtp and -16LUFS. What’s great about this is that content does not require re-mixing if used for broadcast. Simply normalizing the program audio -8db or to -10dbtp and -24LUFS would make the content broadcast legal. You could say that the same mix creates two deliveries. Pretty cool.

From a management perspective I have good and bad news. Bad news is I rarely see the use of scopes or measurement tools. The good news is how much money we saved by not having a suite of measurement tools in every production room.

Article Contributed by Brian Honey, CMMA Board of Directors

A Unique In-House Resource

Have you ever had to justify your department’s existence?  If you’re like me, maybe more times than you’d like – it’s not a fun exercise.  It can be precipitated for several reasons…your company’s soft or declining business results, a restructuring or reorganization, a new senior executive looking in the wrong place to save money, or worse yet, an outside consulting firm brought in to identify cost efficiencies.  For some, it might be part of your regular year-end process.

Whatever the reason, you need to be prepared and ready to demonstrate the value of your department.  To make it even more challenging, you might be preparing a report for someone who doesn’t know you or have a clue what you do and how well you do it.  I’ve been involved in several of these justifications and fortunately all have resulted in positive outcomes – hence, I’m still around to write this!  Our approach to these reports is simple and straightforward – we’re confident that we have a good story to tell, careful to not be defensive and report as many “facts” as possible.  Here’s what we include:

  • Our department’s mission/vision statement that articulates what we do for the company and how we deliver business results.
  • Testimonials, especially from senior management and other influential clients.
  • Regarding costs, we are a partial charge-back department.  We charge for our all our production services (graphics, video production and editing, staging and technical direction) and pass-through all outside costs (freelancers and equipment rental).  We provide creative and producing consultation at no cost.  For the report, we benchmark outside production companies and include a cost comparison against our internal rates for similar services.  We try and maintain our chargeback rates at 10 – 50% below “street prices.”  Using the outside rates as a reference we calculate what the company would need to spend to if our department didn’t exist – and to be fully transparent, we subtract our salaries and expenses.  We also include actual cost-savings examples from client projects; e.g. what a five-day edit would have cost on the outside versus in-house.
  • While cost is obviously a very significant component of the report, I feel the following has become almost as important.  It’s a separate document that describes what we call “Inherent strengths UNIQUE to our department that benefit our clients.”  We’ve developed and fine-tuned the list over the years – here it is:

Company Knowledge – We know the company exceedingly well – our history, people, culture, values, priorities and our business strategies – we’re in a unique position to see across the broad organization day-in and day-out.

Shared Goals and Vision – With our clients, we are equally vested in the success of the company; we’re system first; clients can trust us to do the right thing…we’re on the same team.

Value – Financial profit is not our motive; reasonable prices for our services allow us to deliver a unique in-house value to clients, while positively impacting G&A.

Program/Event Expertise – We are experts at producing our company’s programs and events; often, we are the consistent link.

Visual Assets – We possess and manage the largest, most complete collection of our company’s visual assets anywhere in the world – photo and video.

Confidentiality/Security – We operate behind the corporate firewall; our visual assets are secure; we provide company staff for confidential programs.

Responsiveness – Being in-house, and working with our staff communications partners, we are well positioned to respond to urgent and even crisis communication needs.

Seven simple but very impactful statements that make this section of the report what I enjoy sharing most.  No outside production company or agency can lay claim to any of these strengths.  And of course it goes without saying, (and my internal clients need to agree) that my internal Creative Services and Meetings & Events team is as good or better than any outside production company or agency.

My wish would be that you’re never in a situation that necessitates the preparation of a department justification report, but if the need ever arises, I hope you find the above information useful.

Article contributed by Tom Bowman, CMMA Board of Directors

Be a Valued Business Partner

Have you ever felt like you are an order taker, taking in client requests from a request form like a Chinese food menu?  Order one from column A and one from column B.  Most agree that request forms have their place and value but it doesn’t have to be so transactional.

To thrive in today’s business environment, striving to be your client’s valued business partner can help separate you and your team from the appearance of being just an order taker to being a service; a service offering a partnership that, enhances value, shares experience and builds trust.

  • Partnership:  You are in it together.  Achieving success as a team and having a shared desire of a successful end product.
  • Value: Not only financial value but the value of your collaboration, skills, and innovation.  Embracing the out-of-the-box solution, doing the basics flawlessly and consistently while providing legendary service.
  • Experience: Best practices can be one of your most valuable assets.  Your team does this work every day, your client maybe a few times a year.  Guiding them through the successes and pitfalls from past experiences instead of just doing what was requested shows that you care.
  • Trust:  Building and cultivating trust are the results of your partnership, value and experience.

Take a look at this YouTube video I found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7XqZxsIyks.  We are reminded that “at 211 degrees water is hot, at 212 degrees it boils.  The extra degree makes all the difference.  The one extra degree of effort in business and in life…separates the good from the great!”

Valued Business Partner
When providing a webcast for example, you could easily just come to the venue, setup in the back and wait for the presentation to start.  It would meet expectations, but would do little to increase your value.  To exceed expectations you could also make sure the PowerPoint is projected and formatted correctly, provide best practices when working with a hybrid audience, brief the presenters on the presentation technology used in the room, and to provide logistical support in blocking their event to name a few. Most of all make sure you are visible and available for any client need, in scope or out, to help ensure their success (and yours).

By becoming your client’s valued business partner you can seamlessly integrate into their business and become an invaluable resource to them and their fellow employees.  What are some examples of what you have done to add that extra degree?

Article contributed by Jim Fox, CMMA Board of Directors

The Do-it-Yourself Video Production Trend

Should we embrace the growing demand for Do-it-Yourself video production?  The use of video is exploding and becoming a more dominant communications preference. Therefore, the need to create video is also exploding.  Our department goal is to effectively and efficiently support our corporate growth strategies through video communications.  Nowhere in these goals does it say, “Only high-end productions”.  In fact, it is our responsibility to help employees be aware of all the video resources available to them.

At the recent CMMA National Conference, I shared a case study about the installation of our new Do-it-Yourself (DIY) video recording studio and editing suite.  Many of the media managers in attendance shared their same challenge with this business dilemma.  Being associated with the low-end productions concerned my colleagues as it might dilute their department’s brand name or quality reputation. However, satisfying our client’s business requirements has enhanced our reputation.  Another concern was the DIY facility would take away business.  In some cases, these new clients are validating the need for a video to meet their business objectives, and after digging in, they realize they are not qualified to produce video. As a result, they come to us for a producer and we’ve gained a new customer.

The more important question to ask ourselves may be: what will happen if we don’t embrace DIY video productions?  If producing low-end, YouTube, or DIY, style videos truly is a new business requirement, employees are going to find a way to shoot and edit these projects on their own.  We think it makes better business sense to have a centralized, minimally supported, shared production facility than it does to have little DIY studios popping up all over.  In addition to the overall cost savings, this model gives us a better chance to implement production and format standards and asset management.

We started supporting the DIY trend three years ago with an internal Video Library (ala YouTube) and now have over 7,500 user generated videos in the system.  It didn’t take long for employees to start asking for a production facility.  Our objective was to provide an easy to use, low investment, HD video production facility to capture and edit video with minimal support.  With a few muslin backdrops, LED lighting, a remote controlled camera, and simple video capture software, we find with a little training our DIY producers can create great looking videos.  The editing suite is simply an engineering workstation PC running Adobe Elements 10, consumer oriented video editing software.  So far we’ve only sent out one e-mail communication about this new service and are already seeing 70% usage.

Should you embrace the Do-it-Yourself video production trend?  Absolutely!  Your group will still be seen as video experts in your company, but also as a group that listens to customer requirements and is willing to adopt new business models to meet them.  Adding DIY production capabilities is really a low risk/low dollar investment; you’ll see some fresh creative concepts along the way and engage a whole new group of clients.

Article contributed by Doug E. Salmela, CMMA Board of Directors

Top 3 Benefits of Hybrid Meetings

Are you looking to increase audience participation and engagement for your conference? Have you tried a hybrid meeting? For most people, I’m sure the answer to the first question is a resounding “yes.” However, many people have not added a webcasting component to enhance the conference experience.

Hybrid meetings integrate in-person communication and virtual meeting elements, which allows attendees to connect and share information across the globe. Participants who are unable to travel due to time or budget constraints now have easy access to participate in the event, either live or on-demand.

If you’re considering a hybrid meeting for your next conference, consider these key benefits:

Increased Participation – While many businesses may think webcasting will cannibalize their event participation, it actually helps increase engagement. By offering an alternative to onsite attendance, those who are unable to attend due to travel costs or timing can still enjoy the conference experience. Businesses that provide live and on-demand viewing options have an even better chance of distributing their conference messaging as attendees can watch at their convenience. Onsite attendees may even decide to tune into the virtual experience – you never know when conflicting presentation times may cause conference attendees to miss a presentation they would like to see.

Also, speakers and other thought leaders that may be unable to travel to the conference can lend their expertise by presenting virtually. As a result, you won’t be missing out on incredible presentations and can connect and collaborate with individuals across the globe.

Convert Webcast Attendees to In-Person Attendees – Content is king, so if your business secures strong speakers, organizes interesting panels and provides attendees with networking opportunities with key constituencies, online participants will think it is absolutely necessary to attend in-person next time. After all, there is nothing like meeting face-to-face.

Education and Promotion – Hybrid events not only provide participants with another means of attendance, but the archived webcast can be used as an educational and promotional tool. Edit and re-purpose portions of the conference/meeting for sales and marketing tools to attract future attendees or use as an educational piece for new employees, organization members, etc. The content can also be shared through social media channels to generate additional interest.

In a business environment where increased communication and participation are paramount, companies, and conference organizers in particular, are leveraging technology in combination with their tried-and-true event strategies.

Physical events are here to stay and will continue to exist alongside virtual ones. Talk to your conference/meeting attendees to determine what they are looking for an online event component.

Then, choose a webcasting provider that will work with the onsite event AV team. This will minimize production issues and provide a better experience for participants.

Finally, use polls and exit surveys during and after your hybrid event to find out why attendees participated online. All of this information can help you create an event that works for all of your constituencies. You’ll gather real metrics, real data and real results.

This article was contributed by TalkPoint – CMMA Partner Member

Editor’s Note:
At the upcoming CMMA national conference in Nashville, TalkPoint will help CMMA execute the organization’s first hybrid meeting, using webcasting to facilitate increased communication and engagement with conference attendees. They will provide the webcasting technology to capture key elements of the conference including speaker presentations and case studies.