Think You Can’t Produce Real-time Video from your Brand Newsroom? Think Again.

Here’s the deal:

Video is notorious for being expensive. But if no two projects are the same, how can the budget ring true for them all? In the past, video production needed big camera equipment, a production crew, food, lodging, and a lengthy edit process.

Not anymore. It’s not the way the world works, especially in a world of extreme digital consumption. If you’re running the same creative for a year, your audience is going to get tired – very, very tired. So don’t put your eggs all in one basket… or one :60 spot.

Modern brands should create a newsroom that allows for real-time production.

The production battle:

Over the last few years, we’ve all seen a shift in how quickly video can be turned around – going from production to live within days or even hours. And up until recently, you could grab the video content you needed through popular social networks like Instagram and YouTube, getting the job done through User Generated Content (UGC.)  Using content like this is fantastic because it’s trusted by the audience. To consumers, UGC doesn’t feel like an advertisement. When used properly, UGC sounds like a good friend letting you in on a tip.

The problem is, in most cases, you need approval to take someone’s work on Instagram and share. It can feel like users are holding quality content hostage from you, when all you want to do is share it with the world and credit them as the source; and maybe even pay them a little for it.

That’s where User Directed Content (UDC) comes into play.

A step further:

In a recent project we kicked off with our friends at Visit Dallas, we were asked to tell a story. Not going to lie, it was a good one. So we put our money where our mouth is and kicked off a UDC project to better tell it.

Forty-eight years ago, Mariano Martinez was tired of making frozen margaritas in a blender. His customers wanted the same type of drink every time they walked into his establishment, and it took longer than desired to serve his customers a quality product. Through determination and engineering, the frozen margarita machine was born.

You’re welcome world – that frozen goodness comes from good ‘ol Dallas, Texas.

Instead of grabbing our camera gear and heading out to tell this story, we decided to ask the public to tell the story for us. Through a new service of user directed content, we created a shot-list that would ultimately be needed to create an end product that was marketable.

directing ugc content

Once our shot list was created, we handed over the keys to a group of influencers that would eventually help us launch to the public. We asked our influencers to submit their experiences, normally documented on popular apps like Instagram and YouTube, to us directly.

The coolest part about this entire process is we get to sit behind a computer screen and interact with our influencers while content is uploaded in real-time. It’s a brand new world. The director, producer, editor, and talent all collide without ever meeting.

As influencers went from a set list of locations, we interacted with them via push notifications – just like any other app out there. Without following them around with a big camera rig, it allowed the influencers to be comfortable, and have real experiences without added pressure. There’s no scripts here.

After receiving enough submissions to create a launch video for the project, we pushed the project live with influencers – who in turn shared with their audiences natively on their channels.

The strength of User Directed Content is that, unlike UGC, which can be anything– good, bad, or unfocused, UDC is guided by the brand but with the freedom to carry the story out in new ways. This is an approach that combines the best of all content, in real-time, at an affordable rate – all powered by the end consumer.

promoting ugc

Comma, not a period:

tourism ugcBesides asking individuals to  journey on the Margarita Mile, capturing quality content was key to the overall success. When users submit content, they are entered to win VIP concert tickets, hotel stays, Cowboys tickets, and more. Think of this like rewarding good behavior. The better the content, the better the reward.

The long term result for this video project is for Visit Dallas to build up a community of content creators. Once a user participates in this project, we can interact with them whenever we’d like. Overtime, Visit Dallas will know who to go to for quick snippets of content. And they’ll receive that content in real-time via the cloud.

The intention is to create a story with no end.

We don’t end stories after publication. In fact, the Margarita Mile story has just begun. We did our part and set the stage for people to take it further with UDC. You can think of the process as ending with a comma– not a period.  

90% of this was shot by our consumers, following our direction.