Thursday, August 12, 2010

In a crisis, NEVER late is better . . .

What do Tiger Wood, British Petroleum and Jet Blue all have in common?

All three were late responding to a crisis.
Crisis Management can prevent hair-tearing.
Responding instantly in an age of instant communications is pretty much Rule Number One of crisis management. When newspapers ruled the news world you had 24 hours to come up with a response. With television, about a day. Today, news travels at TwitterSpeed. Your crisis has been blogged world-wide before you can say, "Houston, we have a problem."

Four good rules to remember about crisis management:

Prevent crisis. Not always possible, but in Tiger's case, certainly. Assume that if you do something, anything, it will end up in the public view sometime, somehow. And once it's on the internet, it's there forever.

Plan for crisis and remember, a crisis can come at any time, from any direction. The Jet Blue / Steven Slater incident is a classic example. It took Jet Blue two days to stop gaping and start talking. Hint: Talking to a crisis management expert today can mitigate many future problems when a crisis strikes,

Don't stall or spin. Spin is distortion of the facts. When you're wrong, admit it. Then, immediately redirect the story by talking about how you're fixing the problem. In BP's case, they should have immediately said, "Look, we screwed up Big Time, we're really sorry. We're cleaning it up and we have an Economic Disaster Response Team walking up and down the coast handing out big wads of cash to the folks who are being financially damaged by all of this. We're also taking steps to make sure this never, ever happens again."

Be empathetic. In the wake of 11 dead oil riggers, BP CEO Tony Hayward could not have been less empathetic when he whined about wanting his life back.

Dennis Dean is an Emmy-winning former reporter and crisis management consultant with Dean Group Media. He may be reached via email or at 262-238-8740.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why Use Social Media?

Why consider social media? Ask consumers. A recent survey by industry analyst firm Yankee Research Group shows 70% of consumers want to interact with companies over social networks (think Facebook, Twitter) but only about 30% of businesses are prepared for it.

Earlier this month Old Spice launched a blockbuster advertising/social media campaign that caught everyone’s attention featuring ex-football player Isaiah Mustafa. Social networks lit up and the Old Spice YouTube Channel ( ) went viral with 75 million views. The campaign was a smashing success because it took a dusty product everyone thought was “their fathers’ brand” and instantly made it hip and trendy. Result: Old Spice is opening some powerful new markets.

Social media is changing the way businesses, customers and employees interact, said analysts who conducted the survey. That creates significant opportunities. Old Spice realized that, and is realizing the benefits.

Can your business utilize social media? Yes. How? That takes a little more thinking. But here is food for thought:

Social media is useful for almost every type of business. A hugh misconception is that social media is only for online brands. it’s not. Small retailers, manufacturers, professional services and others can use social media to build their online reputation and increase trust.

Social media is about community. It’s not about advertising or public relations, where a single outlet (Big Corporation or Big Media) broadcasts a tightly controlled message to many listeners. It’s about networks - hubs - communities of people with similar interests, all taking part in a community dialogue. It’s more like walkling around your block, talking to your neighbors, than sitting in your living room watching television. .

You can take advantage of this phenomenon by creating your own online social networking community and participating in others. The benefits include making your business more accessible and more personable while developing valuable long term connections.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Marketing with Video Pt VII Landing Pages and Micro Sites + SEO

Landing pages and Micro Sites -

It's about Search Engine Optimization...

Video is pushing traditional words and images to the side in many websites. Landing pages and microsites are no different. When they have video, they work better.

Landing pages are specifically designed to score high on search engines by focusing on a single search term to attract visitors interested in that topic. They can also work by utilizing the popularity of your clients.

Dean Group Media used this technique to build a landing page for its trade show presentation and video production services and featuring its client, Cooper Power Systems. We also show off our talent on other landing pages, such as our landing page featuring work done for the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians.

Landing pages are great tools for increasing the draw of your website through search engine optimization. And, they hold viewers longer when they have video.

Microsites can also be enormously successful. Note the microsite for the Patient Centered Medical Home concept and part of the website of the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians. The idea for their micro site was concepted by The Dean Group, and features two videos by Dean Group Media. Unlike the Academy's main site, the microsite deals with just one topic. And guess what? It's become one of the most popular sites in the nation for physicians and patients wanting to learn more about medical homes. The reason? Content. The site provides useful information and offers clear, compelling videos explaining medical homes.

Not every site needs a micro site. But they can be extraordinarily useful whenever you have a topic that needs its own special focus and is not quite ready to break out into its own website.

Remember, the key to success with microsites and landing pages is good search engine optimization and viewer-retaining content. Visitors will find your page if it has good SEO and good content - especially video - will hold onto them.

Dennis Dean is an Emmy-winning producer, communications consultant and Managing Partner for Dean Group Media. Email him at

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Marketing with Video Pt VI Other Ways... too numerous...

Other Uses of Video

Too many to categorize...

Recruitment Videos – Use video of your own employees to find other employees. They’ll relate best to the new recruits you’re searching for. Videos with company employees should highlight corporate culture and promote the direction of the company.

Video Blog (VLOG) As long as you’re blogging, turn on a camera! The VLOG can include what your printed diatribe can’t: emotion and personality. But don’t just use video – post a text version as well to take advantage of tags and search engine optimization.

In Store Video - Video works in stores as well online. Product promotions and how-it-works videos, played next to the products they promote, increase sales.

Company Lobby / Waiting Room Video – Tell visitors what you do on an impressive HD display – in your lobby or reception area. First impressions are lasting – so jumpstart your chances as soon as your guests walk in the door.

Mobile Video – It’s here and it’s going to get nothing but bigger. Watch for short 10-20 second messages that will be highly targeted and extremely effective. Look for mobile video to be the biggest category outside of broadcast. Coming soon to a phone near you.

Market research, focus groups and polling - Marketing companies are using video to record interviews with customers and target demographics. They not only get the survey data, they pick up the emotional likes and dislikes as well. The information these videos reveal can be invaluable.

Website FAQ Video - Use a video to take folks through the basics in an FAQ format. Simplicity, clarity, brevity are key, along with suitable visual support materials. A list of FAQ’s answered by a company expert is an example of such a video.

Video White Paper – These can be valuable when well done. Someone reading his/her paper on camera isn’t well done. The video should be as interesting as a good marketing video. After all, you are selling something, aren’t you? Information?

Video Magazine – You can deliver serialized content to customers and others via video. You must do it on a regular basis, with information the customer wants and is willing to view through a subscription service.

Dennis Dean is an Emmy-winning video producer, communications consultant and Managing Partner of Dean Group Media. Email him at

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Marketing with Video Pt V PR Support, Community Relations

PR Support and Community Relations

Nothing promotes a cause better than video!

Video News Releases (VNRs) – News releases can be pretty dry. Stock your news release room with video and you’ll tell a far more compelling story. Use video to support important company announcements – and start focusing on the customer, not the company.

PR Support Materials - Successful PR practitioners make it easy for networks, bloggers, reporters, trade pubs and others to promote their industry by providing video of company and industry-related b-roll, cover video and sound bites. Offer the video that will make their stories more interesting and they’ll be more likely to use.

Community Relations Video – If you’re a responsible corporate citizen, show it off. Capture your efforts on video for the world to see. If you don’t toot your own horn – who will? Blend coverage of your efforts and your not-for-profit partner dedicated to an issue (charity, agency, etc.) and you substantially increase the odds of your video being used.

Event Presentation video – Events are a great opportunity for picking up video of your corporate execs, sales leaders and product experts in action. Presentations based on these events are useful and valuable for internal and external audiences.

Round Tables - Put your best customers and other industry experts around a table and let them talk – about industry trends, issues and the future of your industry. It’s highly valuable content and, again, beneficial to internal and external audiences.

Q&A Expert sessions. Trade shows and other industry events present great opportunities for flattering industry experts with offers to interview them. Informal question and answer sessions on topics of concern to your customers will present high caliber video that draws viewers and prospects.

Dennis Dean is an Emmy-winning video expert, communications consultant and Managing Partner of Dean Group Media. Email him at

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Marketing with Video Part IV Training, Support, Internal Communication

Training, Support Video, Internal Communication

Although these aren't exactly marketing videos, they improve organizational effectiveness, productivity and the bottom line, as well as your product.

Training - Online video is a great and highly efficient way to train, whether for service, support, sales, personal development or management. Online video replaces expensive classrooms.

JIT (Just in Time) Learning – Sounds like my college major! Contextual training videos are becoming very popular on the web. ‘How-to’ videos, video manuals, on-site video reference, quick assembly demos, and other types of video are being used to supplement or replace traditional training. Mobile video will increase the popularity of this type of video. We’re not talking long how-to videos, but short step-by-step. Each step is a brief video. Perhaps the video only shows how to hold the alternator bracket with the left hand and how to approach the mounting points with the right hand – a video worth its weight in gold if you can’t describe the technique in words or a simple drawing. Bonus – the video probably cost less to produce than the drawing!

Post Sale Support and Maintenance videos, or, “Now that’ I’ve bought this, how do I use it?” No one reads manuals. NO ONE. So save thousands in post sales support – not to mention printing costs – with creative, informative assembly, installation and maintenance videos for your products and services.

Internal Communications

Departmental Promotion – Why not a video explaining what your department does? The larger your corporation, the fewer the workers who understand the role of every department. More importantly, who appreciate your department. Make it easy on them! Create a fun – or at least entertaining – video that also explains what the hell you guys have been doing all these years, and why you’re so damn important to the rest of our operation. Internal videos should highlight business plans, new business activities and achievements. They can improve knowledge transfer and lead to more effective communications. They are also a great way to show off your local hero’s.

Event/Conference and Trade Show Communications. You spent how much going where? And for what? The cost of knowledge to beneficiary ratio is exorbitantly high on these junkets, er, tradeshows. In other words, a lot is spent, few use. So share the knowledge if not the wealth. Capture the presentation, demos, interviews, commentaries, etcetera – on video for all to see.

Employee Orientation – Here’s the scenario. I once worked at a television station where a receptionist received – and through away – a ratings diary. (!) We were bludgeoning one another for ratings points and here was an employee who did not know what we did for a living!

Employee orientations should be interesting, informative, and provide an efficient way to get staff up to speed. It’s also a way to communicate company history, structure, procedures, policies and behavior codes. (After all, who’s reading all those employee handbooks at the bottom of the desk drawer or locker?) Idea: Give away one free employee handbook with each viewing of the employee orientation.

Health, Legal & Safety – In today’s litigious society, supplying an easy-to-understand safety and training video for products, processes and procedures is a great way to minimize accidents and lawsuits. Package the video with the product, plus clearly label where it can also be found online.

Dennis Dean is an Emmy-winning video expert, communications consultant and Managing Partner of Dean Group Media. Email him at

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Marketing with Video Pt III - Advertising & Promotion

Advertising, Marketing and Promotion

This is what it's all about!

Commercials - While advertisers are becoming more selective in how they chose to spend their promotional dollars with broadcast television, other venues for commercials such as online video pre-roll, online sponsorships, in-game advertising, event sponsorships and in-theatre advertising are starting to take the place of broadcast / cable commercials. A proliferation of video screens cropping up on every building, device and structure will create an even more diverse set of advertising opportunities. The challenge will be to create specialized content targeted to an ever -shrinking niche audience.

Viral Video – Videos go “viral” when they become extremely popular, with lots of people wanting to watch the video. To go viral, a video has to be incredibly entertaining, shocking or meaningful. Viral videos have to be extremely engaging, entertaining, shocking or meaningful to be successful.

Email Video - Testing has shown that open rates can double if you include video in your email marketing activities. To be effective the video should be purpose-built to elicit as specific conversion activity such as requesting a demo, more info etc.

Infomercials – Nothing new here. If you’re doing an infomercial, do it well and use search engine optimization to drive visitors to it. They work as well online as on television. Infomercials are extremely effective at selling certain consumer products, usually those they can demonstrate during the infomercial.

Content Marketing – Watch this grow. Most web content remains focused on selling something. With content marketing, you market information; specifically – solutions. By focusing on solving your customers’ problems first, then associating your brand with the solutions, you market more effectively. We recently created a “How it Works” video for Xact Wire EDM. The video, which can be seen on their website and on YouTube, was completed this fall and is already drawing new business for Xact. The video focuses on how the process of wire EDM works, not on Xact’s proficiency with the process.

Dennis Dean is an Emmy-winning video expert, communications consultant and Managing Partner of Dean Group Media. Email him at

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Marketing with Video Pt II Corporate Video

Corporate Video

In this segment - the Corporate video and its iterations...

Corporate Overview – The video equivalent of a corporate brochure, but with motion, sound, music, graphics and effects. The videos are intended to give new visitors to a website a better idea of the company. Corporate overviews can easily become too long. For best results, divide and conquer. Produce more targeted segments. Total viewership will increase because more people will be watching shorter videos that mean more to them.

Executive Presentations – Puts an executive “face” on your industry. Regular presentations, quarterly updates, responding to a major event... all are good uses and good reasons to face your constituents and stakeholders. Don’t try this without a speaking and media training coach unless you are already a professional presenter.

Staff Presentations - Social media and other Web 2.0 trends have caused companies to rethink the ways they communicate with external audiences. Senior leaders are fine, but rank-and-file staff members offer considerable credibility. Your customer service reps, technical experts and legacy workers are all valuable considerations for this new type of corporate video. There is more trust associated with the folks in the trenches than senior C-levels in the executive tower. The difference with staff presentations is that you’re selling to the influencers in your target market, not necessarily the decision-makers. So it’s important to represent your company with the people your customers and prospects relate to.

Corporate Tour – See Our Gear! – Once popular, now not so hot. Your customers want to know what you can do for them, not how much equipment and plant space you lease. Equipment is better showcased in a video about what you do well, not what you use to do it. The moment they see your facilities and equipment, the experienced viewers will know your capacities, without you mentioning it. Still want to show off equipment? Show off the people who are using it instead. These are your most valuable assetts.

Dennis Dean is an Emmy-winning producer, communications consultant and Managing Partner at Dean Group Media. He may be reached at