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  • Hello, I'm David Hoffman, filmmaker, and you're about to see an interview that was conducted with me by Michael Craig Zeman.

  • He has a show called CX Oh, talk.

  • See, XO Talk is for senior managers, CEO's head of marketing, and he's just superb.

  • So I said, I'm going to do it.

  • Why is Michael asking me to do an interview?

  • Well, I make my living in part by helping start ups and some large companies communicate goal of communication, reached the intended audience, the target audience and influence them to take a step to go further.

  • That's my core competence.

  • It's always been my core competence.

  • These days, I'm using YouTube.

  • Michael Craig's been a picture of the interview with me, in part because at a conference I stated, Look, people don't read anymore.

  • They skim.

  • We all skim, I skim, particularly when I'm looking at some website.

  • Oh my God, it's just stuff on the page.

  • What do I look at?

  • Look at the Amazon page.

  • It's not this.

  • It's got that.

  • How many of you actually look at what Amazon is offering in all these different things?

  • People skim, they don't read, they don't pay attention.

  • That means they do pay attention to one thing.

  • Video.

  • And these days on Google, there are, let's say, four billion searches a day on YouTube.

  • 3.8 billion searches a day.

  • So business people, corporate leaders, communicators are searching YouTube when they really want to get a sense of get a feel for somebody to touch it, to be emotional, they're not just skim.

  • So dig a.

  • Listen.

  • I hope it's helpful to you, even if you're not in the business of marketing and communication or being the CEO of a startup or a big company in business.

  • Telling stories is crucially important.

  • And today, on C XO talk, we're gonna learn how to tell stories with video.

  • David Hoffman is a very prolific and very successful documentary filmmaker.

  • I'm a documentary filmmaker using reality riel to tell corporate stories start up stories on occasion, My stories on occasion, individuals who wanna share their stories.

  • Why am I saying stories?

  • Because it's the form that I use to attract the audience and then engage the audience.

  • What about video?

  • Makes it so viscerally makes a touch us in that visceral way.

  • Video, first of all, is emotional.

  • It's very difficult to be emotional on a Web page or on a page over the written word these days, particularly since everybody skims so video is emotional.

  • The face is enormously powerful, especially on a cellphone.

  • 73% of Americans are watching most of their videos on cell phones, including B to B.

  • People are not sitting at computers the way they used to.

  • It's this size scream with this size screen, you know, giant landscapes.

  • Beautiful pictures are irrelevant.

  • All the stuff that corporations put into their videos with four K just silly looking at on this big an image, the face is really powerful.

  • My face is powerful.

  • I think your face is powerful, Michael, but face brings authenticity and credibility.

  • 90% of the videos are totally inauthentic.

  • They look like public relations, which is a bad word, or even worse, advertising.

  • And if you're a millennial and that's just about half the workforce now, you don't like advertising.

  • You didn't like it when you had to watch it on television.

  • You didn't like it when you could cut it off with the DVR, which everybody did, and now you don't like it on the Web, either.

  • So the idea of fancy production.

  • Four K two cameras.

  • Oh, what a waste.

  • You guys talk into the camera and then all the sudden he's looking like this.

  • They looked like that that is looking like that, all set up with music and panning shots with the camera moving all wrong.

  • What we want is authenticity.

  • What's authentic?

  • A credible person speaking.

  • I give you two examples.

  • Michael and the audience.

  • Very interesting.

  • Means they're kind of Harvard business case when his term carvell.

  • Now, if you're from the North East, you know Carville and Michael, you're from Boston.

  • So you know Tom Carvel gets on the radio and television and does something like this.

  • I can't exactly imitate it, but it's Hi, I'm Tom Carvel were here in 110 River Road River, Mont.

  • Riverwood, New Jersey Um, do you make fresh ice cream?

  • John?

  • Sir, we make the freshest ice cream every day.

  • Tom cover looks to the camera, says Tom Carvel.

  • If you're in New Jersey, stop off here.

  • The advertising agencies who don't like that kind of advertising it's cheap, and it's easy to d'oh blasted.

  • The guy at age blasted the guy and his business, and those ads took off.

  • Another one is Crazy Eddie, same era.

  • Who did the same thing?

  • He just talked The idea.

  • When I go to a company like Bechtel, I was just looking at Bechtel, for example, and they have 600 videos.

  • All look the same.

  • Same silly PR style.

  • What I call PR style.

  • No insult to the public relations concept, but the agency's they're selling your soap.

  • In my view, authenticity is not about fancy.

  • Authenticity is about riel.

  • Even if you are selling soap, you don't need a big budget to be authentic.

  • In fact, sometimes the big budget gets in the way.

  • I get big budget primarily to think out the idea to think out the story long before production is ever made.

  • You know what the biggest budget should be in understanding the audience?

  • One.

  • Understand who you're talking to?

  • What do you mean?

  • There's no single audience on YouTube or on television, their audiences millennials.

  • People who have technology savvy people in the United States.

  • Women, uh, people who care about their looks, people who don't care about their looks.

  • There's 100 different ways of looking at this when you understand the audience, who's We better put the money knowing who you're talking to, how they feel, what they think, what they'll stick around for and what they'll connect away from or cut away from.

  • We click the button and go away from you or your video.

  • Then production production is about making certain that you are the audience in production.

  • Filmmakers, for example, who wanna win nice awards at advertising festivals, as I used to do when I made ads.

  • Um, these guys are making things for themselves.

  • Wait a minute.

  • We've got to do it again.

  • It doesn't look beautiful.

  • Is a little reflection in the light over there.

  • Could you say that again?

  • Without the alma not know you need the domino.

  • You need the mistakes, anything.

  • Let me rethink that to be really credible distribution.

  • Some money needs to be put into distribution, but the primary dollars Aaron understanding writing, thinking it out.

  • Moderate production values don't go fancy unless she's going for the big screen.

  • Let's gonna produce a commercial for a big screen theater.

  • Then I say, Okay, you know, I always tell guests on this show.

  • I say imagine you're having dinner with a group of intelligent friends who don't know your business.

  • Aim it there and that's an invitation to simply be honest and be straightforward and explain whatever it is you d'oh!

  • What I advise people to do is first off, reduced down to what the audience wants to hear and keep that audience in your mind.

  • What I do when I don't know what the audience wants to hear, I do two things.

  • One, I do my own independent search on YouTube.

  • I become the audience and I say, Where is that audience looking at?

  • And because I'm a YouTube creator, I see statistics about how much time the audience is watching so I can get some sense there.

  • But if I really need to, I call some people.

  • Hey, you all right?

  • I just did this reason that you're a radiologist.

  • Uh, what kind of radiological paper do you use and how do you use your computer?

  • And it's important to you.

  • The answer I got back was so shocking that it changed the job.

  • I was totally, which is they said, we don't care about the radiological paper and we don't care about the program.

  • We're using.

  • We can't about insurance if I have not talked to that particular radio.

  • Just I changed the whole messaging around insurance because I learned something I never would have known.

  • So you do have to know your audience.

  • Having this kind of seemingly casual conversation that I described earlier requires a tremendous amount of upfront planning.

  • And there's this kind of paradox of creating video, which is there's all of this setup, including the audience research, including research.

  • The person researching the person that you're speaking with, the technical set up, all of it.

  • And then when you have that discussion, you need to kind of forget it all.

  • I'm an interview like you.

  • I can't know what the other guy says and what I'm saying, but we're interviewers.

  • If you were a corporate guy, you tend to keep feeling that something's missing.

  • You should say more.

  • The PR folks, just same or you should state the product's name.

  • All that is needs to go away when you do the interview, and you need to credibly believe in your product.

  • Believe in your product.

  • There's so little these days by senior employees, since that they actually believe what they're saying that's a matter of credibility.

  • People watch what interests them if attention to what they hear interest them.

  • It's about audio.

  • We haven't talked about that, Michael.

  • If that's you, give me a second.

  • I I'd like to share with your audience.

  • We're talking about audio here.

  • We're not talking about video.

  • This is a small screen at best, even if it's a television screen.

  • Even if it's five feet, it's still a small screen audio drives story.

  • Audio drives information to spend your time looking at something.

  • In fact, even in the car reds, which are incredibly dumb, the car is continue to sell young men, for the most part and pretty women.

  • My wife keeps looking at these cards and saying they are not talking to me.

  • We love our infinity, but it's not talking to us.

  • It's going through the snow and speeding around the corner.

  • What are you kidding?

  • Who were they talking to?

  • Well, that's a very expensive ad agency.

  • Have a Detroit or New York or L.

  • A.

  • That spends a $1,000,000 making one of those things which everybody skims by even the people who want to buy cars except young men and pretty women.

  • I guess there's such there's such a need.

  • They feel such a need to inject their marketing messages, even though, really, at the end of the day, nobody likes to be sold to.

  • And Arslan Khan on Twitter makes the point that it if you're producing a brand related video in the end, it has to be, as you said about the audience, about the benefits and everything else really is just fluff.

  • When the brand is looking to present itself, brand values do matter, but they only matter in the context off the audience.

  • What does the audience care about these days?

  • Let's be honest.

  • One thing they care about is, Are you selling something that really does what you say?

  • How true are you?

  • How authentic are you?

  • Is your Pepsi Coast Coke commercial People in Central Park that tasting Pepsi?

  • And that's history Coke, and this one is better, and it turns out to be Pepsi.

  • That's very convincing to me.

  • But then, when agencies do it, they very often make it fake.

  • Two cameras when camera like this when I'm like that might relate that Look, why is this guy talking over here?

  • you should never be talking about.

  • You're talking to me.

  • So why they do that style?

  • I don't know.

  • But I certainly the comparison of truth This is really true.

  • Also challenges When Ronald Reagan was asked a question classic Harvard Business Case and he said, I don't know.

  • I'll have to look about that.

  • I'll have to check on that.

  • The press said.

  • He's a disaster.

  • The public's.

  • His ratings went, I think, 76% the highest reading you ever had.

  • He was believable.

  • If I'm not sure if I'm working it out, if it's not yet quite there, what's there is this, folks?

  • You can create a piece of music using my tool just by singing.

  • Is it perfect?

  • Not yet.

  • We're working on it.

  • If somebody said that everybody would stay watching, everybody would stick on it.

  • YouTube is not a social network thing about that.

  • Don't not use your social network people for you to YouTube is a network.

  • It's a network, it za center, driven by one thing.

  • Searchers.

  • The searchers are searching for a bunch of things, and up comes if you're lucky, your video, either as an end or is a real video.

  • If the searcher is the right person and you've presented the right video, they will watch, so you may get fewer views.

  • And of the viewers, 80% may drop off in one minute.

  • You want that?

  • You're only looking for your target.

  • And if your video is working, that target is watching the whole thing.

  • I find some marketing people are really savvy because they understand the difference between marketing and communication.

  • Others really don't.

  • They think marketing is communication or they have a mark calm person who follows the marketing and creates the communication.

  • Communication is about attracting the audience and responding to what the audience is thinking.

  • It's responsive court.

  • If I'm talking to you right now and I am not relating to you, that's my fault.

  • I'm not finding the responsive chord that will hold you to Michael's program and what we're talking about, so you remain interested for our YouTube channel.

  • The focus as you, as you said earlier, really is on retaining viewer attention, and so we spend a lot of time trying to figure out who is Theo audience for every single show.

  • What's the angle that we need to take to address those audience needs.

  • And then what kind of content do we need to create in order to attract that audience?

  • There's another factor.

  • Kindness.

  • We live in a very fractured America and really a fractured world.

  • Partisan divide.

  • Horrible as it was in 1968.

  • And I'm old enough to remember, maybe worse.

  • People are angry, a lot kindness, kindness from the speakers, from the presenters from the interviewer.

  • One of these I like about your videos.

  • Michael is his kind is coming from you, and there's a sympathy for the worker for the hard aspects of being a worker in today's corporations.

  • It isn't easy.

  • Maybe it never was, but I think fantasy, maybe that it was easier when my dad was working in a company than it is now.

  • One of the issues, one of the major problems that many brands have is they are unwilling to.

  • They don't have that the bravery almost that's needed to express honesty and vulnerability, and that puts up a barrier with the audience.

  • And as you were saying, when you're open, when you're when you allow yourself to be vulnerable and not perfect, and if you inject some warmth into that.

  • It's very it's unique and it's appealing, and it's authentic to use your term and it becomes credible as well.

  • Here's something I want you to think about everyone watching and listening to this style.

  • There's a style right now, which is the standard video on the Web style.

  • It has certain panning.

  • It hasn't zooming.

  • It has titles that come up.

  • It has music of a certain type.

  • It is so similar that rather than turn the audience on that style turns the audience off.

  • It be like every feature film being made with the same exact technique.