We recently created a video as part of RDG’s cross-country studio tour – an inside look into the creative spaces and teams developing brands and creative communications from coast to coast. As a studio, we knew we wanted something other than the typical ‘real-estate’ style tour of our space. We wanted something that would not only stand out from the other tours, but also be used to introduce our team to new clients. So we reached out to our friends at Astrodog Media to work together on creating a not-so-typical, memorable studio video.
After completing our tour video, Robin & Phil sat down with Matt from Astrodog to talk about the overall experience and how they help clients be the best representation of themselves.
R – Let’s start at the beginning of a project, even before production gets started. What’s Astrodog’s secret sauce/approach to creating videos?
M – We love when teams bring us a creative brief and ask “How would you approach it? What are your suggestions?”. Our approach is a 3 step process, where we start with discovery/diagnostics to learn about the client, then strategy where we look at reference and inspiration to determine tone and feel, and finally creative development that includes the final narrative outline. The output of this process is the creative package, that fully outlines the project production. It gives us a reference to come back to should there be any changes to direction mid-project as to the objectives of the final piece.
P – Everyone has a process. Talking about the process can be boring, but going through it, you realize the work that goes into it, and why it’s so fundamental to the final piece.
R – It sounds similar to our website development approach, where we dig into our client’s business and understand what they need their website to do. It pulls back the curtain a bit for clients to see what goes into a successful project. There are so many different pieces and requirements to be considered.
It can be hard to look at ourselves. So it’s good to have someone help you see yourself from an outside perspective.
M – So here’s a question for you – what did it feel like being on the other side of the table as the client?
P – It can be hard for designers to look at ourselves, and talk about ourselves. So it’s good to have someone help you see yourself from an outside perspective. We really valued you saying, “Can we explore the idea of…”. You heard what we were saying and then came back with a different idea that made the final video better.
M – For sure. There’s always different ways a client can approach a project. Often when clients provide a creative brief or share what they are thinking other teams don’t suggest any new ideas. They’re so used to executing the client’s vision, especially when timelines are tight. Would another team have just done the typical tour video? It would still be a good video. It all depends if you are looking for something better than good.
P – It’s a leap of faith for clients. It’s being open to different ideas, and trusting in the expertise and experience of the team you are working with. For clients with internal marketing teams, there is also the fear of making yourself redundant or seen as not skilled enough if you bring in an outside team or use an idea that’s not yours. But we look to compliment our client’s internal team and skills. We always want to make our clients look great – both to their audience and to their leadership team.
R – The other risk is that you can get stuck repeating what everyone else is doing within your industry. You see what your competitors are doing and then work to do some variation of it. When you are open to different ideas from an outside team, it’s more likely that the end result will be unique to you.
M – Another thing we’re noticing more is the different expectations people have when it comes to videos. We’re all so used to watching TV and movies and can expect internal videos to have that same quality. But then there are videos for social media, where shooting on an iPhone can work. So it‘s also thinking about where the video will be shared.
P – Teams are also considering what is the long-term ROI, where they can use the video across multiple channels or events vs. getting a high number of likes on a single social post.
M – For sure, and our team is all about creating videos that will last for the long term and have a high impact. Sharing the value proposition for a new product launch that will be on their website as well as used for their internal launch. We’ve also done Kickstarter videos where the client hit their target in under 5 minutes of launching their campaign. In both cases, the video needs to tell a pretty compelling story.
P – Not everyone is a good storyteller, and it’s a term that gets thrown around a lot. How does Astrodog bring storytelling to their projects?
M – Storytelling is definitely an art form. Stories can translate across videos, photos, virtual reality experiences and music, it’s all a story that you are telling.
P – We like to help develop a story framework as we go through our branding process with clients. We outline the different elements of the company’s brand values, beliefs, and differentiators and give that to the team so they can take them and present the brand in their own words. It makes it feel way more natural than if everyone is following a set script that they’ve memorized.
M – Absolutely. We love being able to help the client better understand their values and their value propositions, help them talk about their product or services better after than before the shoot.
P – In addition to better understanding your company, it can also be seen as a team-building event. Going through the whole experience, it really brought us together.
R – Yes! We had fun working with you to come up with ideas and playing with the different personalities in the studio. You and Erik really nailed it with poking fun at ourselves, showing that while we take helping our clients seriously, we like to be playful while doing it. Plus I think we all learned a little bit more about each other during the whole thing – in planning and during the day of the shoot.
It’s being open to different ideas, and trusting in the expertise and experience of the team you are working with.