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Client Spotlight – Boys Hope Girls Hope of Colorado
Deciding on the Right Video Style… Together.
One of the challenges in video marketing is making sure the style of video you’re producing is the right one to reach your target audience. Sometimes, that means making a change and opting for a new, fresh approach.
That’s exactly what happened when Boys Hope Girls Hope of Colorado tapped Fireside to produce its newest video. Boys Hope Girls Hope is a national nonprofit, with a thriving Colorado branch, that helps “academically capable and motivated children-in-need to thrive in college, career and life.”
For past video projects, BHGH Colorado used a Voiceover-Style approach. That’s where a narrator tells the story – often, weaving together interview clips to deliver the messaging. “We were pretty used to doing a video with voiceover because we felt like the people who were doing the video were the experts,” explains Executive Director, Mary Frances Tharp.
But when Mary Fran sat down with the Fireside team to start planning their 2016 video, she came to realize the real experts of BHGH Colorado were the people whose lives were touched by the mission every day – the students and scholars.
Fireside didn’t just change the style, though. Instead, we captured the interviews and planned for a Voiceover-Style Video. It became clear during the interviews that they had all the makings of an amazing video – without the need for scripted voiceover narration. Fireside suggested we work up a script featuring all interview sound – what we call a Natural Sound-Style Video – to see how it felt, knowing we could always change to a Voiceover-Style.
The result? Heart. Emotion. Impact. Authenticity. By using a Natural Sound-Style Video, BHGH Colorado’s video was narrated by the heart of their organization – their scholars. “Fireside Production coached us to be comfortable with telling our story… and having our scholars tell our story. It was really impactful to have our scholars talking about the program and using us as the experts.”
Working with our Clients and guiding them on the best ways to feature their unique stories is one of the most rewarding parts of what we do at Fireside Production. The message, audience, purpose of the video – all those factors weigh in when considering the right style and length for the finished piece. We pride ourselves on doing more than just creating a video; we work in partnership with you to understand your goals and to create the best video to achieve them. Sometimes, that means changing the way things have been done in the past. Sometimes, that risk makes you a bit nervous! But we’re committed to making sure you feel supported, confident and ultimately, elated with your final piece. We’re in this together.
Hello, Fireside community! My name is Emily Williams, and I am so excited to be connecting with you! After working with Fireside as a nonprofit Client for years, I jumped at the opportunity to join this dynamic team as Director of Communications and Marketing this past November.
For the majority of my career, I have worked in nonprofit development – most recently with a Denver-based organization called The Limb Preservation Foundation. Events, donor relations, fundraising, communications and PR, marketing, volunteer management – you name it, I’ve probably done it (and if you’ve ever worked at a small shop, you know exactly what I mean)!
My favorite time of year was when we worked with Fireside to produce The Foundation’s annual showcase video. This piece was part of a larger annual fundraising campaign that centered around patient stories. It always brought into focus why I did what I did – why I loved it and why it was important to me. It was all about connection or more specifically, the opportunity to create community through that power of connection.
Connection. Creativity. And Community.
This ability to create community through connection is in many ways the basis of fundraising and development. You’re striving to identify and connect a donor with the opportunity to support a cause that resonates with their values. When you do that – you’re going to meet your fundraising objectives. Mission accomplished!
But what moved me most about the power of story, was the ability it had to create hope. Hope for a cure, hope for a child’s future, hope for a healthier tomorrow…
Time and time again, I was humbled to see how the impact of someone’s story, when shared, had the power to create meaningful connections and build community. It may sound over the top, but seeing those kinds of bonds develop (often, between strangers) reinforced the way I see the world – a place of kindness, empathy and compassion. I loved that; not only because it positively impacted my life, but because I believe it’s the most accurate, honest depiction of our world and of humanity (even if we don’t always see it).
I was hooked by the power of story. I was fascinated by its ability to form meaningful connections across varied audiences. I knew I wanted to be creating opportunities for more of those connections, and I wanted to be doing it through a more focused lens of marketing and communications.
And then, rather serendipitously, a woman many of you may know, offered me the opportunity to do just that for the very business that first opened to my eyes to the power of a shared story. The prospect of pursuing my professional aspirations as part of the Fireside Production team was… well, a dream come true.
So that’s the abridged version of how my role as a member of the Fireside community transitioned from Client to team member (which sadly, doesn’t include tales of capturing b-roll in an O.R. with Tom, dressed from head to toe in scrubs, or watching a duck be anesthetized with Eric – but maybe we’ll get there someday).
I’m so looking forward making meaningful contributions to this thriving business, and to connecting with our Clients to implement new ways to help you best leverage your videos. After all, a story is best when it is shared. Let’s get to work!
Other Fun Facts about Emily: Mother of twins, dim sum connoisseur, Arizona native, cancer survivor, recent tea addict, avid home cook with aspirations of one day becoming a decent gardener!
Fireside Tips for Smart Phone Video Success
The ability to create your own videos is as readily available as the smart phone in your pocket! Whether you’re capturing messages for a tribute video, recording a video resume or streaming your first Facebook Live, Fireside is here to help!
I often say that when Tom and I started Fireside Production 11 years ago, we knew how to produce great videos… but we knew next to nothing about running a business. It constantly amazes me just how much we have loved learning the art – and science – of business ownership. I think that’s because growing a business means surrounding yourself with great people. We’ve done that really, really well!
With that, meet Emily Williams – the newest talent to join the Fireside team. We’ve known Emily as a Client for many years and admired her both as a person and a professional. We are so honored to have Emily heading up our marketing and communications efforts – but more than that, she’s developing tools and strategies to help you make the most of your video investments. Give her a holler any time to talk video marketing!
Our Clients are a constant source of inspiration as well. You’ve shown us the many ways you are improving our communities and our lives… and that has motivated us to want to give back. Be sure to watch video highlights from our Fireside Day of Service with Girl Scouts of Colorado and see how these girls are learning about the world around them. We’re pretty sure they’ll go on to do great things!
Today – more than ever, it’s important surround yourself with people you can learn from, who lift you up and make you better. We are grateful for each opportunity to discover your organizations and to share their many stories… and for your part in this chapter of the Fireside story.
Celebrating the stories of our diverse and dynamic nonprofit community is one of our greatest joys at Fireside Production. To show our thanks and do our part to make an impact in our community, Fireside Production proudly volunteers for a nonprofit Client each quarter. It’s our Fireside Day of Service!
For the first Fireside Day of Service of 2017, we teamed up with Girl Scouts of Colorado. With Troop Leader, Ms. Amelia leading the way, Fireside helped these Girl Scout learn about water conservation. It was a great reminder that no matter how young the person or small the action, we all have the power to make positive change.
Next, was the real fun part – playing with dirt! The girls used recycled water bottles to create terrariums, decorated with stickers and completed with a tiny tomato seed nestled in the soil of each bottle. A (conservative) splash of water later, and the terrariums were ready to take home and watch come to life!
The mission of the Girl Scouts is certainly one of our favorites; Building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. As a woman-owned business, Fireside believes empowering girls and women is one of the most important contributions we can make to our society.
Thank you, Girl Scouts of Colorado, for the work you do and THANK YOU for creating the opportunity for Fireside to volunteer with some of your brightest and sweetest Scouts.
Change is hard, it’s a universal truth. The great thing about change though, is that it isn’t only hard. It doesn’t stop there! To quote author Robin Sharma, “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.
It’s that “gorgeous end” that motivates us. Doing the same thing you’ve always done? That’s easy. And while there are certain times and places for ease (hello, instacart, Alexa and Keurig), we also know there are times when putting in the work is worth it.
We often find ourselves on these transformational journeys with our Clients. Whether it’s giving voice to their messaging, refreshing an existing story or using a new video style to communicate more effectively – we know that changing, innovating and discovering ultimately make us great.
February of 2016 marked a big accomplishment for Fireside Production – our 10th year in business! In addition to celebrating this great achievement, we saw this as an opportunity to shake things up. To do a little reflecting on where we’ve come from, what makes us special and who we want to be as we enter our second decade in business. In addition to refining our brand internally (more on that later), we decided the time was prime to refresh our beloved Fireside logo.
As we set out to uncover our new look, we were quickly reminded that change is hard! Our team had tasked itself with the balancing act of designing a logo that 1) honored our past while celebrating our future, 2) conveyed the modern storytelling experience we provide with every video, AND 3) reflected the innovation, growth and discovery that fuels the team and the process at Fireside! No small order, right?
“The old logo was something I was really, really in love with. So it was a fragile process and kind of difficult to go through,” remembers Tom McDonald, Director of Production and creative genius at Fireside. “That logo had been our brand for so long, so it was hard to let go.”
After months of collaborating and designing, countless pots of coffee and a few episodes of visual semantic saturation, a refreshed Fireside rose from the ashes. And boy, was it a sight to see!
“I almost smile every time I look at it,” laughs the once-hesitant Tom. “In the end, when we were able to incorporate some of the old features of the old logo – it turned out way better than I could have ever thought.”
Featuring the iconic Fireside flame, the new logo combines warm colors, simplified shapes and a bold typeface to create a more vibrant and current look; A look that is geared to accompany our small business into its next chapter.
“I think this new logo will represent our biggest successes to come, and our biggest growth and our best work. Our next chapter is a continuum of some of the dreams that we’ve set forth in the last ten years, and that is to be the best, most unique and efficient production company -not just in Colorado, but in the country. I look forward to this next era – growing a team that thrives on one another, the mission and is proud to come into work each and every day and represent that new beautiful logo.”
So here we are, the day after Fireside’s 11th birthday, proudly debuting to YOU our brand new logo. We know change can be hard, but we sure do hope you like our new look as much as we do. We also hope that hearing you’ve been about the journey behind the revamp might help motivate you to make a change meaning to. Was it hard? Yup. Messy? Sure. Completely and totally worth the beautiful ending? Without a doubt.
Cheers to your next change and to another great decade at Fireside Production!
By Dan Powers, Executive Director
Colorado is fortunate to be home to more than 30 federally-funded research laboratories and joint institutes, with world-class discoveries constantly being revealed in the realms of climate science, public health, agricultural production, geologic science and much more. While we often tend to assess scientific activity in how many problems they solve, how many jobs they create and other tangible metrics, the deeper rationale for supporting our scientific resources is the profound impact discovery has on our society.
There is an undeniable pride and unspoken expectation that brilliant insights and solutions to complex problems are part of the American way of life. Yet this reputation for scientific progress requires a constant influx of curious minds – which I suggest comes from two single-word thoughts: “wow!” and “how?”
The “wow!” factor is what we feel as we learn about a discovery that speaks to our individual sense of wonder. While different for everyone, at times we all feel jolt of awe when something the world has never known before comes to light. From a new star light years away that cold support a planet like Earth to a new creature discovered deep in a rainforest (and countless other themes) the power for discovery to enrich our lives is boundless. It would be a boring life indeed if we never were to be surprised by a discovery of something new. And for those who pursue any field of scientific research, finding your own particular “wow!” is intoxicating.
The “how?” factor is perhaps more practical, driven by a desire to discern, to solve and to clarify. Often prompted by pragmatic needs: how to cure a disease, make a safer machine, track and assess a toxic substance – the how driver of discovery matches our insatiable human effort to improve the world for ourselves and our children. The bulk of society has benefited immeasurably from the focused efforts of how-motivated scientists with a motive to guide, assess and mitigate forces and attributes of the natural world.
In this spirit, In October CO-LABS is proudly recognizing four projects from Colorado research labs that are the result of years of tenacious effort on the forefront of their fields. Speaking with the scientists who have lead these projects, I am always amazed at their humble demeanor and the consistent deference they give to prior researchers who came before them. Perhaps most inspiring is how they all can describe how their discoveries answer profound scientific questions – and prompt even more curiosity on what they want to discover next. From the furthest reaches of space to the smallest quantum particles to measurements of atmospheric gases and assessment of human B cell antibodies – this year’s winners in four categories are:
Earth Systems and Space Sciences: LASP Director Dr. Daniel Baker Leads Research on Critical Space Weather Forecasting Missions (Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics)
Foundational Science and Technology: The JILA Quantum Machine Team: Extending Mastery of Quantum Mechanics from Microscopic Particles to Human-Made Machines (JILA is a joint institute between CU-Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology)
Public Health and Life Sciences: Innovative Diagnostic Response to Public Health Emergencies – Zika and Yellow Fever Epidemics (Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases)
Sustainability: Preparing and Maintaining Critical Greenhouse Gas Calibration Standards and Methods Used in the Worldwide Monitoring of these Critical Atmospheric Gases (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth Systems Research Laboratory)
I am looking forward to hearing about these discoveries from the scientists and their teams directly as Fireside Production has been asked to interview and film our winners so CO-LABS can share their efforts broadly across Colorado and our national network of curious scientists, elected officials, teachers and everyone who loves to ask “how?” and even more so loves to say “wow!”
CO-LABS is a non-profit consortium of federal laboratories, research institutions, businesses and economic development organizations that provide financial and in-kind support for programs that promote the retention and expansion of Colorado scientific resources. Through events, economic analyses, strategic communications and networking activities we work to:
- PROMOTE Colorado as a global leader in research and technology
- EDUCATE the public about the labs’ impact and importance of sustained funding for research
- CONNECT the labs, universities and businesses to facilitate partnerships and technology transfer
To learn more, visit www.CO-LABS.org.
Denver-based Fireside Production is recognized with a national award for video production excellence for a piece it produced for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Fireside earned the 2016 Videographer “Award of Excellence” for the moving video created to showcase the LLS Boy and Girl of the Year.
We invite you to watch the touching stories of these two children and their families as they so courageously face a blood cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Fireside Production inspires action through the power of video. Its production team is made up of former television news professionals, who bring the speed of news and couple it with the polish of professional production.
Oftentimes, when money gets tight the first thing to go is your marketing budget. But hold on now – that could be a huge mistake. When revenues are down, that’s when you need marketing more than ever and as you know, video is a critical component of a strategic marketing plan! If you’re not marketing your services or products, how are you supposed to boost sales and beef up that bottom line?
Learn from the Past
Most of us still remember just how dark things were back in 2008 during the Great Recession. Many people lost their jobs and their homes. Even then, Forbes warned companies against cutting their ad budgets. They cited a study by McGraw-Hill that showed companies that didn’t cut their ad budgets during recessions dramatically outperformed their competition in the long run. “Specifically, companies that advertised aggressively during the recession had sales 256% higher than those that did not continue to advertise.”
Industry Week agrees, saying the best time to invest in marketing is during a recession and during the recovery. Industry Week also recommends organizations constantly assess their markets. If you’re seeing a decline in revenue, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your audience and your marketing methods.
Marketing after all has changed drastically since the launch of social media. Just a few years ago, video was not likely to be a key part of your social media strategy. Now, video is so crucial to social media – that even Facebook has taken notice. The social media giant is now pushing its Facebook Live platform as well as integrating video as an option for ads.
The Marketing Versatility of Video
In reality, when marketing gets tight, video marketing is one of your best options! You can easily re-purpose video across a variety of platforms. For example, if you invest in a video for your event or your website – an excellent move for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – you can turn that one video into several for a variety of purposes.
- You can use video footage from your shoot for social media advertising.
- You can take snippets from your interviews and turn them into their own social media post.
- You could even take sections of that video and integrate it into your blog posts (again, good for SEO).
- Turn a piece of that video into a GIF (people on social media love GIFs).
When it comes to video production, there’s this old notion that it’s expensive and will eat up a majority of your marketing budget. That’s just not the case. Cost truly depends on the type of video you want to create, the length and the approach of your video production partner. We’re always happy to talk through your options and help you get the most bang for your buck.
Before I joined the Fireside Production team, I was a Fireside Client. As a communications director with organizations like the American Red Cross, Mile High United Way, and IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver, I was tasked with producing engaging and memorable videos designed to inspire philanthropy.
The Client Side of Video Production
When it came time to choose a video partner to bring our concepts to life, I turned to the team at Fireside. Like most people, I thought we’d produce the video, debut it at an event, plop it on our website and be done with it.
Turns out I was thinking too small. It didn’t take long to learn the finished video was only the beginning. With each new video project, new lessons emerged. Lessons I am happy to share in hopes that they can help you convince your communications team to not only invest in a quality video strategy – but to also realize the maximum return on your video investment to build your brand.
Lessons in Video Production
- When planning for a video project, think of all the ways to maximize that footage – video thank yous, videos to promote your event in advance, clips for social media. We can help with that!
- Partner with a trusted video production company to not only produce an effective video but help to develop a plan to maximize that investment in a variety of ways.
- Track responses. Whether it’s Google Analytics or social media likes and shares, track how your completed video is performing.
- Document the performance analytics.
- Share those analytics with your organization.
- Expand your video reach.
- Once you have the first video production and distribution experience down, start planning for the next.
- Use your video performance analytics to inform your strategy.
- If you started with hosting a video on your website, consider expanding the distribution to your social media channels, electronic newsletter, etc.
- Involve your team! They may have uses for the video you may not have originally intended.
- Reach out to members of your organization to aid in distributing the video to their audiences of influence and contacts.
- Tap them for ideas for your next video. Form an internal video ideas committee with a diverse representation from different areas of your organization.
- Celebrate your success!
- Hold video premieres at your organization. Make them fun and energize your team!
- Tout the success of your video with your leadership – more sales, more donations, more volunteer engagement.
- Enter your video into awards competitions. If it’s good, why not?
Questions? Check out these helpful blogs for video production planning and execution.