Tag Archives: USC

Turning Old Material Into New Content

I think a lot of us are nostalgic by nature. Things from the past trigger memories, they allow us to dream about a time gone by and in some cases provide us with a look at a life before our time.

Companies have archive material, especially well-established businesses with a long history. Don’t just let it sit on the shelf. Use it to provide your customers and prospects with nostalgia.

What’s old is new again

USC just did a masterful job of this, posting on YouTube never-before-seen film of the way the Trojans football team trained back in the 1950s and 1960s. It has no relevance to my life today, I only recognized a couple of people, and yet I couldn’t stop watching.

Businesses can do the same sort of thing. Whether it’s showing old commercials, highlighting old catalogs, long-out-of-date training film/videos… you name it!

Take materials from the past and turn them into your content of the future.

–Tony Gnau

PR/Marketing Lesson From The Pool

I know I’ve blogged about this before, but the USC athletic department’s “Matt vs.” video series is pretty awesome.

For those of you new to the series, USC quarterback Matt Barkley and some of his teammates have been competing against other USC athletes in their sports. In this week’s video, Matt and defensive captain T.J. McDonald got some pool time with the 4-time defending national champion USC men’s water polo team.

You heard me… a couple of novices playing alongside the national champs.

I’ll be honest, none of the videos I’ve seen have been hilarious, but they’ve all been entertaining. The idea is to show another side of Barkley and his teammates, highlighting their personalities off the field. The end result is something business leaders need to pay attention to.

Businesses could do this too

Any business could do this sort of thing. Who’s the public face of your company? Why not a series of videos where that person takes on someone else’s job at the company? They go work in accounting, the mailroom, etc.

The end result is a double-barreled hit. First, it makes that public face more endearing. A little humility and self-deprecating humor go a long way to getting prospects and the rank-and-file to warm up to them. Are you listening CEO’s?

Second, the video highlights the work of other team members. How many times is Janet in accounting or Phil in the mailroom going to be made to feel special? They get a boost and other employees see their co-workers being singled out.

The whole series would be great for morale.

–Tony Gnau

Heisman Candidate Loses Ugly

USC quarterback Matt Barkley lost this week. Now, if you’re a college football fan, you might be a bit confused right now.

Didn’t Barkey tie a school record over the weekend by throwing 6-touchdowns en route to a win over Syracuse? Yes. Barkley continues to impress on the football field, but on a tennis court… not so much.

Off the field, on the court

As part of USC’s YouTube marketing/public relations campaign, the school posted a video last week of Barkley and his center, Khaled Holmes, playing doubles tennis with a pair of USC tennis players. FYI… USC has won the last four NCAA Championships in tennis. In other words, the Trojan tennis team is pretty good.

Anyway, while Barkley might be the frontrunner for this year’s Heisman Trophy, he’s not going to be taking center court at Wimbledon anytime soon. The video proves it. It’s fun, self-deprecating and gives you some insight into his personality off the field.

Your company can do this too

Why should you care? Look at this from another perspective. Think of USC as your company and Barkley as the CEO… or the maybe the top sales guy… or the chosen “face” of the company. How great would it be to humble that person a bit by forcing them to do something outside their comfort zone?

How about a video series where that person takes on different jobs around the company? What a great way to humanize the company and show customers/prospects your willingness to have a little fun.

Barkley’s willing to do it. Who’s willing on your team?

–Tony Gnau

Perception Doesn’t Have To Be Reality

You want to change the perception of your brand… your company? Video is the way to do it. It’s better than any other medium at changing people’s opinions.

Take the University of Southern California. The school is a frequent source of examples here. One, because I went there. Two, because the school’s leaders have a clear video strategy and they just flat-out bring it.

So… perception. USC is a private university filled with spoiled students and arrogant football players. You know what… there’s a little bit of that, but there’s so much more to the school and the football team. That’s one of the reasons for the videos they’re producing.

The latest documents a trip several football players made to Haiti. I challenge you to watch this video and walk away with the typical “perception” of USC.

This isn’t a group of a few unheard of players. Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, T.J. McDonald… these are guys who’ll be first round picks in next year’s NFL draft. This mission was clearly a priority for them, their teammates, and it comes through in the video.

If it weren’t for this production, we wouldn’t know that. Sure, we could read an article about what they did, but it’s not the same. Not even close. You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. That’s what makes video unique.

Your business might not be sending anyone to Haiti, but you’re doing something. It doesn’t even have to be a charity effort. It might be a video about how you’re improving your customer’s lives in some way.

The point is to look for things you’re doing that will shake-up perception about your company. Video can do that.

–Tony Gnau

Employee Videos That Promote Brands

Video isn’t about facts and figures. Video is about emotion. That’s one of the reasons I actively encourage our clients to feature their employees because real people tap emotion better than products or services.

One of the organizations doing the best job of this lately is the University of Southern California’s athletic department… in particular the football team.

Yes… the USC Trojans… 6 Heisman Trophies, 11 National Championships, 24 Rose Bowl victories… those USC Trojans.

Watching the school’s videos, it’s clear the university’s leaders are making an effort to promote USC using their star athletes. Sure, they highlight their talents on the field, but more and more they’re figuring out ways to feature them off the field as well.

The theme to those videos… fun… and USC’s most recent video serves as a great example to businesses. It features Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Barkley and some of the team’s other stars walking around campus in their full uniforms… pads and all.

It’s goofy, but it’s goofy that serves a purpose. College and college football are fun.

Now, watch the video again with your business goggles on. If USC football is a company, the athletic director and coaches are senior management, and these players represent their top employees.

The company’s leadership is shinning a spotlight on their top people. They’re highlighting their personalities in an effort to promote the brand. They’re using “fun” to tap emotion.

Heck, they even provide the employees’ Twitter handles to encourage viewers to follow them on the social web.

I’m not suggesting that every business should go out and manufacture “fun” videos. What I’m saying is that they should look at the company and highlight the aspects important to the company culture.

At USC, they’re all about winning football games and having fun, so that’s what their videos are about. At your company, you might be all about excellence and ingenuity. Produce videos that highlight employees who embody those characteristics.

Real people, real spirit.

–Tony Gnau

Video Does It Better… Much Better

I read a couple of stories about a “Make-A-Wish” kid who got to attend this year’s USC Spring football game. A young boy with a rare blood disease whose wish was to play with a real football team on a real football field.

“Make-A-Wish” contacted USC… and this kid got more than he could have imagined.

The stories I read are heart-warming. They made me proud of my Alma mater. Proud to call myself a Trojan. Then… I saw this video.

Cue the tears.

That’s what video does better than any other medium. It stirs emotions.

Not every video is going to move someone to tears. I often say my hope for our clients is that our videos leave viewers feeling a sense of confidence in that company. The point is even business videos tap emotion… at least the good ones do.

Make sure your videos are capturing people’s spirit.

–Tony Gnau

Pairing Good Written Content With Video Images

AP Photo / Don Ryan

Videos may inform, they may educate, but words on a page or screen can do the same thing for less money. The reason smart marketers choose video is because video is much more likely to stir emotions and connect with an audience.

Looking for an example? Look at how college football programs market to their fans.

One of the biggest upsets of the weekend involved USC knocking off #4 Oregon. The Trojans create a video to show the team before every game, and they also share it on YouTube for all their alumni and fans.

Normally, it’s simply highlights set to rap or rock music, but this week USC kicked it up a notch. They took an inspirational speech by defensive line coach Ed Orgeron and spun it into a video that stirred emotions. The Trojans aren’t often the underdogs, but the school’s video team played up the role to perfection.

Good written content paired with music and beautiful images… storytelling at its best. Businesses need to pay attention. Video is a way for companies to connect with clients and prospects.

Could words alone have done this? Maybe. But I challenge anyone to tell me they’d be more effective than this video.

–Tony Gnau