Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

YouTube and Living outside the Box

upside down videoThis week, my “darling children” (Jamie 14, and Aedan 12) convinced me to use my virgin YouTube channel. I can honestly say that anything related to video-production scares me. (Not quite as much as improper server setups, but close; see article IT How Pennywise Would Have Done IT for some scary IT). I prefer the written word, but I do understand that not everybody likes to read, and video can be easier to learn from. Yesterday afternoon, my darling children and I sat down at the kitchen table and brainstormed ideas, wrote a script, and proceeded to record. In the past, I have struggled with video. I have had experience with being filmed, and it has never went without a hitch. The moment I look at the camera, I panic. End of story. It doesn’t matter if it’s video or still, it makes me squirm, and there are many pictures of me with some weird smile on my face. I don’t have the same problem when giving a presentation or teaching a class, until I notice a camera is capturing every word I say. I can be speaking very confidently, but the moment I see a video camera, I stumble. It would be much easier to avoid this altogether, but if I do that, then all I’m teaching my children is to hide from what scares them. I’m always telling my kids to live outside the box, and yet when they suggest something outside of my box, I try to crawl back into my pre-established comfort zone.

After working up enough courage to set up my phone (yes, I only used my S3), review the script, and try to find a way to keep the phone propped up, I took a deep breath, and started talking to my phone. My first couple of tries were horrible and frustrating. The language I was spewing would have resembled that of a Green Day concert (that I took my darling children to at ages 8 and 10). I hated every moment of it, from the hair in my eyes, to looking at my script, to squirming in my chair. But the kids kept encouraging me and told me that I couldn’t quit because I was uncomfortable, and that that would be going back into the box, where it’s safe. After a few more tries, we ended up with something I could work with.

Next came editing. I thought doing the recording was scary, but editing is a nightmare. My software kept crashing and wouldn’t save my edits. It was slow and I had to really get a feel where to splice the sequence (except for the part where I accidently left the “1, 2, 3, go” in). I am fairly happy with my final product, considering I had no idea what I was doing. Some of the outtakes are hilarious.

Next, I was ready to upload the video to YouTube. Again, the kids came to my rescue. “Mom you need to add a description. Mom you need to edit your profile. Mom you need to name your channel.” This quick little video was rapidly becoming a lot of work. Finally, I was uploading the final product. My kids couldn’t wait to view and critique it. Once it was up, they quickly loaded it and then started laughing hysterically. My heart dropped. What could be so funny about my video? It looked OK on my computer, was there food on my face, boogers hanging out my nose, maybe a funky hair thing? None of the above. My video was upside down! My first attempt did not go as planned, considering I pride myself on being the “infamous Guelph computer geeky girl”. I suspect this happened during a modification I made to the software to prevent the crashing issue. At least that’s my story.

I hope my first video – my introduction video – will be the wonkiest. Moving forward, my videos will be about topics I know, understand and speak about all the time. I am hoping my natural speaking ability will come through and I’ll get more comfortable with the camera itself.

I have come to realize you can’t always do what you are comfortable with; you’ll never grow and learn new things if you don’t try anything new, as scary as it may be.

Life’s too short to be stuck in the box.

If you wish to see my right-side-up video, click here.

How to Ruin Your Company Brand

This is a perfect example of how NOT to treat your customer base, and worse how to exclude your company from future sales.

A client of mine, I will call Client A (CA for short), purchased a very expensive piece of medical equipment from niche manufacturer (MFG for short) several years ago. The device came with an extended warranty; this warranty has now expired. The cost of purchasing a new warranty is not in the clients’ budget. (Renewing the warranty is a third of the cost of the purchase price.)

An explanation about the device and the market is required before continuing. The equipment is an expensive “medical” device used for training, teaching and consultations. It is part of an emerging technology, but more players are entering the market every year. MFG has been the world market leader for several years, but other companies have started making strong inroads into this field and market share. There is a handful of players using this technology and only a few manufactures, but both are growing very quickly. It is a small, international community and word travels fast among users and manufactures.

CA uses this device to help train future technicians and expose them to the new technology. All future technicians from this facility have used the MFG product.

About 6 months ago the equipment started failing. CA called MFG for help. CA is tight on funds (due to the nature of their funding model). MFG said they could attempt to diagnose the problem remotely, but CA would have to agree to their price. CA felt the cost for this service was extremely high (I agree), since there is no guarantee the problem would be found. The session could be made remotely, over the Internet; no one would have to make a trip to the site. The entire session would probably last 30-60 minutes. I even offered to be on-site for free if needed. If the problem could be found, CA could then make a decision about a repair based on cost, time etc. This is a specialized piece of equipment that only MFG can diagnose and repair.

Currently CA is extremely upset and angry over the situation. Worse, CA is expressing their frustrations to that very small niche community they belong too. MFG has an opportunity to keep a past customer happy and turn them into a current customer again. Even more significant, MFG is turning away potential future clients because the users of the CA device will no longer be using and loving it. CA will now have to outsource their needs, and use a different device. CA is already looking at other manufactures to replace this equipment, because of the lack of customer service from MFG. The kicker; one of the ways CA is planning to fund this new equipment, sell the MFG device to the competition, to be reverse engineered.

Please do not misunderstand me; I am a firm believer in paying for services, as long as the fee is reasonable and just. MFG should have stepped up to the plate and offered to diagnose the issue at no cost, to salvage their deteriorating relationship with CA. This would have satisfied CA, even if the unit could not be fixed. More importantly, CA would be spreading the word that MFG did try to help.

Is saving your company brand not worth an hour of your time?

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