Apple’s launch of iBooks Author ups the ante for what’s achievable in content creation. It appears to be a fluid and elegant tool for bringing together text, animation, video, images, audio and interactivity. Certainly seems more fluid and elegant than my use of WordPress right now to craft this blog post. Providing environments for content creation, we at Market7 are pleased by enhancement of how people can extend rich, media-based experiences to other people. Yet, the iBooks Author launch also exposes several areas that could be improved:
There is the well covered limitation of distribution techniques via iTunes and to iPad devices for consumption. It is indeed ironic to leverage technological advances in order to elegantly bring multiple types of media together, and then unnecessarily restrict how the results can be consumed.
Collaboration is vital in bringing together substantial works, and especially in mixed media situations because of the varieties of skills and perceptions related to the different kinds of content, but currently collaborating on iBooks Author requires saving and sending files for teammates to work on in isolation.
While iBooks Author may be great for bringing media together, it’s more for high-level assembly of content built in other applications, and is not a comprehensive or consistent suite for the different types of content in isolation. Granted this is an unfair criticism of a new environment sure to take on more context and deeper functionality over time, but this tool coming from Apple does cast highlight on the fact that the same company has gutted its Final Cut franchise that had emerged as the leading environment for accessible work on video content, and that never seemed to benefit from the same stewardship prioritizing great usage experience that seems clear in the results of Apple’s newest applications.
You have a message. You’ve decided that you want to use video to communicate it. After considering your audience and what will appeal most to them, you now have a very important decision to make. What will be the most effective style of video to communicate this message? These days, just about the only limitation impacting what a video can look and feel like is budget. It can be funny, sad, emotional and nostalgic. It can be driven by music, dialogue, animation and narration. Whatever style and tone you choose for your video, think about how it helps to carry your message.
We’ve found some great corporate video that pulls from many various style techniques. It’s hard to fit any of these into one specific genre, so we’ve simply included the video and some commentary on why we think each is special.
This video from PricewaterhouseCoopers leaves all the dialogue to Harry Nilsson’s great “Everybody’s Talkin’.” We see flashes of video from around the world, following PwC workers and those impacted by them. People are working, laughing, learning and enjoying life. Throughout the video, flashes of the PwC logo are seen swirling about, suggesting that all of these experiences are made possible by the company that can provide “a relationship you’ll value.” It’s a bit long, at 3:40 minutes, but that’s what good songs and compelling imagery are for.
Communications service provider DiGi’s corporate video forgoes traditional video, opting instead for story-telling through animation. This will be a familiar style for anyone that’s seen their fair share of TV advertising over the past few years. Still, it is engaging and compelling. You’ll see that there are many, many messages communicated throughout the three minute run time. It doesn’t hurt that here also is a terrific song that plays as you read about all the reasons why DiGi is “always the smarter choice.” Note that it’s a song you probably haven’t heard before, but it’s got a nice melody, a nice message and isn’t annoying at all to listen to. But since it’s unfamiliar, it’s probably not distracting either. If you haven’t picked up on the trend yet, note that good songs played in their entirety can help keep andaudience’s attention longer. In this case, more than three minutes.
AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group make their message about sustainable metal technology interesting through story-telling and compelling video that was shot at six locations across three countries. Throughout the video, AMG emphasizes its long history in the space, talking about accomplishments and showing black and white photos of early work being done by the company. Employees also get a voice, and they’re shown working toward a greater cause and market innovation. Finally, we see, what it’s all for: airplanes, buildings, bridges, everyday products. This video is more than four minutes long – our attention is held through captivating images, interesting information and a good story.
Barclays Capital kills two birds with one stone (recruiting and industry leadership) and grabs our attention with this video that is a bit out of character for the traditionally conservative financial services industry. By using humor, the viewer is surprised and compelled to watch from one shot to the next as strange things happen to the actors. Goes to show that you don’t always need to communicate in the traditional tone that your audience is used to hearing you or your competitors use. This video is timed perfectly: one minute. After all, there’s only so long you can watch people falling through floors and ceilings before you’re ready to move on.
Pay close attention when you’re watching these and other videos. And you’ll start to see some of the same tried and proven techniques used over and over again. The best part is that you don’t always need a huge budget to pull them off. How can you put these techniques to work for your next project?
We tried a little bit to @reply and otherwise get some attention from @lilipip, and then last week we saw more twittering about her trying us out like this one, and this one. It was a rather public and pithy review of us including what she’s liked about our accomplishments and what she hopes to see from us going forward. A little more @replying by us, and soon a couple direct messages, and we were invited to converse by skype.
We pretty soon tried to voice-call by skype, but, in perhaps the story’s most dramatic turn, got an immediate text chat reply athat Ksenia was not talking due to suffering from a sore throat. But she very generously engaged in a 15 minute chat session about her experience with and reflections about us. With dozens of ideas laid out in our communications over various media, many about her specific needs and interests as an animator (as opposed to video producer), we now felt compelled to share a compilation of our reactions and intentions, in more lengthy & consolidated form than twitter or skype best support, so it was time for a new medium.
We sent an email of about 10 paragraphs laying out exactly what our service has now related to the preferences expressed and what our roadmap is for those towards which we are still building. Several elements were really just now arising through this particular interaction and its good ideas being raised for which we are grateful. And yesterday we received a reply back from Ksenia with her point-by-point reflection on what was raised in our email including some more new, good ideas. The email exchange also included our appreciation of the video with her entrepreneurial story on the lilipip site and its equivalent in a podcast of our founding and philosophy we did last week.
twitter, skype, email, podcast — a rich array of new (in most cases very new) communication methods, each used distinctively for an overall open and productive communication not only towards forming a new customer relationship but also towards authenticating and accelerating our progress by continuing to evolve our services based on direct, insightful feedback from our marketplace. We hope Ksenia’s throat is recovered.