GeniusRocket Peter LaMotte recently led a ‘B2C video marketing’ webinar featuring Crystal, Audio-Technica’s Marketing Manager. Crystal bleeds the Audio-Technica brand and knows better than any other marketer that it is her duty to enhance and protect it. She had heard about the benefits of crowdsourcing, but admittedly she was initially ambivalent about crowdsourced video being capable of representing the quality of the Audio-Technica brand. It was only after she heard that GeniusRocket vets the creative community and works with only the highest caliber production companies in the United States did she decide it’d be a risk worth taking to work with us. She told us “I used to work in another division with a much bigger budget, and knew that the cost that Peter had quoted us was much less than what was typical. The low cost helped lower the risk and made us feel a lot better about our investments.“
In this webinar, she shares what the crowdsourcing process was like to find a winning creative concept and production company, and how her team was able to engage throughout the process to make sure the brand was always being protected.
The Creative Pitch
CG: In our creative brief, we indicated we wanted to reach the target market and create awareness for Audio-Technica’s Solid Bass Headphones. But that wasn’t our only objective. Audio-Technica is a really well known brand in the professional sector, but not as strong yet in the consumer sector. So we also not only wanted the video to not be just about headphones, but to also be about the brand. We wanted our target market to know that Audio-Technica makes headphones and that it does it well.
We noted that we wanted the video to have some sort of viral quality, to compel viewers to share the video. I didn’t know what exactly that would be, but we put that in a creative brief to try to stimulate the creative people to come up with something that is catchy or has some kind of hook to it. We purposely kept our creative brief simple so that we could give the creative talent extra liberty to spin ideas.
PL: We appreciated that Audio-Technica was willing and open to see what would come out of the creative process; that is how you leverage the power of the crowd to receive the myriad of creative and original concepts. Regardless of how much reliance the client poses on the creative community for ideas, though, we make clients absolutely positive that they are producing the video campaign as a tight and strategic reflection of marketing and brand goals.
The Selection Process
PL: GeniusRocket has a community of nearly 500 production companies including writers and creative directors- we rely on them to source concepts. Using our private and secure platform, we identified and signalled over 32 production companies that we found to be capable of producing the type of work that Audio-Technica was asking for. We received back 31 original concepts based on the creative brief. Through the platform, clients learn about the creative concepts, the production company that created them, storyline, messaging and how that translates back to the creative brief, the casting, music, and location.
[To Crystal] Of all the concepts that came in, what caught your eye?
CG: I was really surprised and pleased to get in there and see the number of different concepts; it was very difficult because a lot of the concepts were REALLY good and very creative. We formed a team of people not only from the marketing department, but also a couple of folks from the marketing communications department and even a couple of the “cool guys” in the office to get a gut check to make sure we were heading in the right direction in hitting our target market.
We needed to be assured of the professionalism of each agency we were seriously evaluating. GeniusRocket’s platform gave us the ability to view agency portfolios. We also had the ability to interact directly with the agency, so the companies showed us YouTube clips of their specific work that was similar to the concept they were pitching to us. A few companies even created unique videos on the fly to show us what they could do for us as a starting point. That was really impressive to us.
We moved to the storyboard round with a few concepts we liked; the professionalism of the storyboards was also amazing to us. We were able to narrow it down to 2 concepts: 1 funny, the other one being the Audio 911 concept. The comedy one was good, but ultimately, it didn’t fit the style that the brand was looking for; we could have probably gotten away with it just fine because Audio-Technica wasn’t fully established in the consumer’s minds yet, but we still wanted to portray ourselves as a professional audio company.
We decided to go with Audio 911. What was really nice was that all the pieces fit. Aside from making sure you always have the target market in mind, the biggest piece of advice I can give to marketers is to always have one or two questions that you go back to throughout the entire process. Ours were “will it resonate with the male 18-32 crowd?” and “will the video give the type of exposure that we want to give to the product?”. For Audio 911, we were able to confidently say yes at every step. DVI pitched dancing and music concepts that would have resonated with our target audience regardless of who did the dancing- we just got supremely lucky to have found Marquese Scott [a YouTube sensation known for his dancing skills]. Lucky for us, we ended up with the perfect storm for all things.
PL: By using a curated crowdsourcing model using vetted professionals, clients are taking advantage of the overcapacity of some of the best production companies in the country. DVI typically does work for big-budget brands, but they had the time and resources to devote to Audio 911. It was a great synergy involving a great idea with great timing with a production team that could pull it off.
PL: During pre-production, we make sure everything is set in place and in agreeance with the brand team; the cast and location are confirmed, and video scenes and scripting are reviewed. Our process differs from a contest where you remove yourself from the process and come back in 30 days receiving a finished product that you pray will work. We give clients the opportunity to give a thumbs up or down on every single aspect.
CG: Peter probably won’t want me broadcasting this, but throughout every step of the process there is a way to exit it and not sink all of the money you invested in the video production. The process is designed so that as a client, I wasn’t to feel uncomfortable in any possible way.
PL: We firmly encourage our clients to be on set. Production companies have their hands full on the quality aspect of lighting, sound elements, etc. The GeniusRocket team will be on-set as well in order to ensure brand elements are incorporated as envisioned, but at the end of the day, brand managers know their brands best and there may be certain elements they’re looking for that GeniusRocket and the production team may miss.
CL: I appreciate that GeniusRocket advocates this; I was honestly hesitant to go on set since I was busy, but Peter persuaded me to participate. And being on set, I stood there as a representation of my brand. There were certain things pre-production that people in the office talked about that they really liked in the video concepts and felt passionate that it be included; I was able to make sure those things were done and didn’t get cut out of the process. Even if it didn’t get used in the end, I felt good knowing I was the voice of the brand and the voice of what our expectations were.
PL: So we had a high quality video after a few short weeks- the question now was what do we do with it? The goal was organic growth. Fortunately for us, Marquese Scott was quickly rising to fame. We arranged to have him place the video on his YouTube fan page, where the target market already was, as well as placing the same video on Audio-Technica’s fan page. In addition to YouTube, GeniusRocket, Audio-Technica, and the production company all leveraged our PR agencies to get the media and thought leaders to write articles, blogs, and journals about the video.
CG: We really appreciated the amount of expertise GeniusRocket brought to the table; they were wonderful in helping and coaching along to find the right keywords and post the video in the right way so that it engaged with people in the right away. We did quite a bit of PR which included showcasing the video in tradeshows.
CG: This was wildly successful for us. The hits increased awareness in ways we had only hoped for. We had customers speak fanatically about how they didn’t know the brand before but now they did, and how much they loved the headphones and the brand. The video helped us to get product placement in stores that we were closed out of before and we continue to find placement in new channels.
The video gave awareness to a virtually unknown product and an unknown brand. No one had known that the headphones were beautiful if not for the video. The headphones had actually been on the market for almost a year, and sales were not good. We had tried Google AdWords, web advertisements, PR- but any force we were putting into it was not working well. The video worked because we honed in on our target market so specifically, and we knew YouTube would work since our audience was there.
Audio-Technica’s Audio 911 video garnered over 1 million views across 2 months and continues to gain media and consumer attention. You can access the video here. Have questions for Crystal or Peter? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be glad to forward them on to the respective contact.