Corporate Video Thoughts

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine who is an executive at a large multinational company shared a video with me that their CEO had made, to announce a merger. The two companies in question have a net value in the billions, so it was a pretty big deal.

But the CEO’s marketing people made a huge mistake. Whether in an attempt to “humanize” the CEO and make him more relatable by the rank and file, or perhaps through pure laziness, they produced a video that looked absolutely terrible. The CEO had big sweaty shiny spots on his head that were blown out, the video was shaky, the colors were all wrong and made him look green, they video’d him against a plain white wall (except for a plant, which appeared to be growing out of his head), and the harsh, unprofessional light and lack of makeup made him look like the crypt keeper. What’s worse, they clearly did not spend much time directing and guiding the CEO’s performance. He was stiff, he stumbled on his words a lot, and there were a lot of “ummmm”s.

This abomination went on for 7 minutes. It was incredibly painful to watch.

My friend, who isn’t even in marketing, told me that the overall effect was incredibly demoralizing to the 6,000+ employees of this behemoth organization.

No matter what you do, quality matters. It shows respect. It shows that you’re professional. You wouldn’t go to work at this corporation wearing no pants and flip flops- it’s a suit and tie place. Their marketing should be similarly professional. Marketing people have the ability to make their organization look amazing, if they bring in the right teams to help them. They also have the ability to singlehandedly make a billion dollar corporation look like a joke.

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FAQ: Should I Go 100% Facebook?

A client asked me the other day if they should drop their website and go “100% Facebook”. I’ve had enough people asking about this that it’s really time to address it in a FAQ.

The short answer is, “no”.

No, you should not fully entrust your virtual presence to another organization. If they go out of business, so do you. If they change how their system works, it’s possible that your business will suddenly become invisible. Don’t think that can happen? Well, recently Facebook did just that by tinkering with users’ newsfeed display options.

More importantly, you should always have direct access to your customers and clients. Don’t get me wrong- I like Facebook, and it should be a part of many companies’ digital marketing plans. Yes, use Facebook as a way to meet and cultivate new clients and for turning fans into evangelists for your brand. But you should always have your own company website, blog, and so forth that are completely under your control.

As always, your website is your company’s most important digital marketing asset. Going 100% Facebook is lazy, shortsighted, and stupid.

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Interactive Media Award #2!

ANOTHER INTERACTIVE MEDIA AWARD FOR PATRICKORTMAN, INC.

STUDIO CITY, CA — PatrickOrtman, Inc., PatrickOrtman, Inc., an award-winning digital and interactive agency located in Los Angeles, California, today announced that it has been awarded Outstanding Achievement in Website Development by the Interactive Media Awards™ for its work on the PatrickOrtman, Inc. Website. The honor recognizes that the website surpasses the standards of excellence that comprise the web’s most professional work. The site was honored specifically for excellence in Professional Services.

The judging consisted of various criteria, including design, usability, innovation in technical features, standards compliance and content. In order to win this award level, the site had to meet strict guidelines in each area — an achievement only a fraction of sites in the IMA competition earn each quarter.

Patrick Ortman, CEO of PatrickOrtman, Inc., said, “It’s an honor to have our work recognized by the Interactive Media Awards. We feel strongly that our projects are world-class examples of how the Internet can be used to enhance a company’s message and branding. This accolade is further proof of this fact, and I’d like to single out and thank our design team, especially Ryan McMaster, for their efforts on this project.”

About PatrickOrtman, Inc.
PatrickOrtman, Inc. is the digital agency founded by Internet/digital marketing pioneer Patrick Ortman. He brings over 17 years of experience creating some of the best online and digital marketing projects around, including the first major rock concert on the Internet, successful large-scale website design projects,  genre-defining mobile and web series productions, and promotional and commercial TV and online videos. His work has been featured in USA Today, The Toronto Star, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal, The St. Petersburg Times, Japan’s NHK network, and many others. He has worked with 8 Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of smaller businesses and organizations.

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Another Neato Award

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We’re pleased that we’re one of the top 15 graphic/interactive design agencies in Los Angeles, according to Thumbtack.com. Hey, they even gave us this nifty badge. ‘Course, we’re a lot more than a design agency- but it’s nice to be recognized.

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How to Work With Creative Firms: The Bid

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Some of our clients come to us as seasoned veterans of dealing with creative firms. Some come to us as babes in the woods. Most fall somewhere in between. That’s OK. I’ve always felt that a big part of our job is to help educate our clients on how to best use our talents and skills, from the beginning to launch.

That’s right- this one’s about how to get the best project bidding process, so you end up choosing the right company for your project.

First, almost all RFPs suck. I don’t blame the RFP writer- more on that, later. But I’ve yet to find an RFP in its initial form that allowed a client to truly compare apples-to-apples, and make an informed and educated decision.

It’s often even worse when there’s not even an RFP to go on. For instance, a couple of weeks ago I was asked to prep a bid for a promotional video for a company. The sum total of information they gave me was “I’d like it to sort of look like this competitor video”. How lazy! How lame! No project description, creative brief, script, or storyboards. Just “tell me a price”. That’s like showing up at an auction and being told to yell out random numbers, bidding for items you can’t even see (kudos to Kathi for that analogy).

When we get an RFP or bid request that doesn’t show a lot of forethought from the client, my first inclination is to toss it in the garbage. And it’s not just me who thinks like this- most good agencies do.

There’s got to be a better way, right?

I’ve found one of the best ways to up the quality of the bids you get is to work with us, or someone like us, from the beginning- someone in your pool of agencies under consideration. You’re an expert at what you do. You’re the point person for your organization. But unless you’re very, very uniquely special you do not have the technical or creative chops to adequately explain and flesh out the nuts and bolts of what you’re looking for.

Think about it- a house built on a weak foundation cannot stand. But by working with an emissary from the pool of agencies you’re considering from the start, you’ll get a solid foundation and a much better experience all around. You’ll be able to speak our language from the start. And you’ll notice the quality of responses you’ll get will go through the roof.

What’s more, by doing a “test run” with an agency you’re considering, you’ll get a good feel for what the working relationship will be like, should you hire them to do “the big project”. Yeah, paying someone like us to work on your brief/RFP/script will cost money. But it’s an investment that will result in a much better end product for you.

In the end, you want bids that generally match in scope and quality, and which give you a solid estimate on pricing. You want your project to succeed wildly and impress the heck out of your peers and customers. We want the same thing. And we, like you, want a relationship- not a one night stand. By working together from the start in a cooperative way, we can make you look amazing.

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Levi’s 30 Second Spot

This 30 second spec TV commercial was written by Doug Tracy, animated by Tim Smyth, and directed by Patrick Ortman. We shot it on a Canon 7D, using Dragon stop motion software. It was edited in Final Cut Pro, using a lot of plug-ins to give a bit of a distressed film look. Enjoy!

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Interactive Media Award Press Release (MPAC)

Los Angeles Digital and Interactive Agency PatrickOrtman, Inc. Wins Outstanding Achievement In Website Design and Development from Interactive Media Awards

STUDIO CITY, CA — PatrickOrtman, Inc., an award-winning digital and interactive agency headquartered in Los Angeles, California., today announced that it has been awarded Outstanding Achievement in Website Development by the Interactive Media Awards™ for its work on the Muslim Public Affairs Council Website. The honor recognizes that the project met and surpassed the standards of excellence that comprise the web’s most professional work. The site was honored specifically for excellence in the Nonprofit category.

The judging consisted of various criteria, including design, usability, innovation in technical features, standards compliance and content. In order to win this award level, the site had to meet strict guidelines in each area — an achievement only a fraction of sites in the IMA competition earn each quarter.

Patrick Ortman, CEO of PatrickOrtman, Inc., said, “It’s an honor to have our work recognized by the Interactive Media Awards. Being granted entry to such an exclusive club by the Interactive Media Awards is testament to the true standard of excellence by which PatrickOrtman, Inc. operates. I’m thrilled with our design and development team, especially Ryan McMaster and Jeff Whitfield, who contributed greatly to the project’s success.”

About PatrickOrtman, Inc.
PatrickOrtman, Inc. offers full-service website design, social media marketing, and high-end video production company services to clients worldwide. They create digital marketing projects that range from website redesigns to TV and Internet commercials and promos, sometimes working in concert with a client’s advertising agency, and sometimes as the digital agency of record. Their clients range from the Fortune 500 to smaller companies and organizations. They are based in Los Angeles, California and are privately held.

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New Website Launch: TruckAccidents.com

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We’re happy to announce that we’ve completed a major overhaul and redesign of truckaccidents.com. The new website is based on web standards, and uses a state-of-the-art MODx CMS, with WordPress blog integration. The website also includes a bunch of new video content, shot on RED and posted at our edit suite in Los Angeles.

The website was a huge team effort, and we’d like to thanks our awesome teammates Amy Gallaher-Hall (lead designer), Jen, Gradiva, Crystal, Corinne, Tyler, and of course Jeff.

You can view the new website at www.truckaccidents.com.

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We Won an Interactive Media Award

We won an IMA Outstanding Achievement Award for our website we created for MPAC- the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Usually these awards go to much larger creative/design firms who have much larger budgets. So, we’re kind of stoked. It’s nice to be in the company of bigger agencies like Happy Cog and Huge, Inc.

We had a great team for this project, hats off to everyone! I’m especially happy that this award goes to our first collaboration with Collabpad, and that we chose MODx as our Content Management Framework.

Sure, we’re prepping a proper press release about all this. But in the meantime, here’s more about our award:

Congratulations! We are happy to announce that your entry into the IMA competition, the Muslim Public Affairs Council Website, under the category ‘Nonprofit’, has won the IMA Outstanding Achievement Award with an overall score of 462.

To win an award your entry had to successfully pass through our comprehensive judging system. Our judges utilize a points-based scoring system which allows each entry to receive a maximum of 500 points. By adhering to the specific guidelines and criteria of this system our judges are able to maintain the highest degree of fairness, accuracy and integrity; competently and effectively evaluate entries; and, deliver clear results.

Our individual scores were as follows:

Design: 91
Content: 95
Feature Functionality: 98
Usability: 92
Standard Compliance & Cross-Browser Compatibility: 86

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More Thoughts on Twitter for Business

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We were one of the first companies to get into Twitter as a marketing tool and way to stay in touch with clients and colleagues. But lately, something hasn’t been sitting right with us about Twitter. For us, it’s time to completely change how we use Twitter… and a big part of that is a massive reduction in the amount of time we’ll be spending on the service.

Quitting Twitter has become a bit of a fashion lately, with high-profile celebrities abandoning it for charity or personal/business reasons. For us, our decision’s been more of a pragmatic one: there’s just too much noise on Twitter to make it useful for us. Even when we had a fulltime person culling through our followers, setting up lists, etc., the signal-to-noise ratio made Twitter something that rapidly went from semi-useful to useless for us. Twitter’s become much less of a conversation, which is a shame. It’s more like a very noisy broadcasting and self-promoting medium, and that’s no fun.

We’ll still check our Twitter feed now and then. But we won’t be tweeting much, anymore. Sure, when something big and cool happens we may let loose a tweet. But I don’t see the point in adding to the noise, or culling through it looking for the good stuff, anymore.

That’s the thing about social media. It’s constantly changing. I completely understand that many businesses have done well with Twitter. And I know legions of self-described ‘social media experts’ will scream that Twitter’s awesome. But its time has passed, for us.

Subject to change, of course.

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About PatrickOrtman, Inc.

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is one of the top-rated video production companies in Los Angeles and New York City. We make high-end corporate videos, and commercials for TV and digital for clients that include 11 Fortune 500s.