How Rolls Royce is driving their PR with video in Asia, and how to not make boring videos!

By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

Andrew Clark is the partner of AsiaWorks and is now based in Singapore. He has done work for BBC and CNN, but for the last nine years, he has been with AsiaWorks, a video production company with offices in Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok, and Beijing. What attracts people so much to videos that they stop whatever they’re doing is primal, Andy believes. The colors, the sound, the pictures, the moving images all catch people’s attention, and he gave three examples of low- to mid-budget videos that he’s made as an award-winning video producer for his clients to help bring in PR results, putting into perspective the types of videos that can be created and the unlimited potential of the video space.

Andy’s best examples and his top tips for video creators

His first example is a series of videos that he made for Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce in Asia is in a position where they’re in the business of changing the perception of Rolls Royce as a car for slightly older gentlemen into a car that is more universal, younger, and attractive to an Asian audience. Over the last few years, he’s been working on a campaign with Rolls Royce to make stories and customer testimonials from Rolls Royce owners all around the Asia-Pacific region. They’ve filmed in Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia, and they’ve shared first person-told stories about Rolls Royce owners. This brought great results for Rolls Royce and ones they are very proud of. The second example Andy gave was of a medium-budget video where he worked with UNICEF to produce different types of content. During COVID, they made videos in Jakarta of best practices in the areas of hygiene and communicating UNICEF’s important messages. Again, produced great outcomes, but more importantly, he sees it as something that AsiaWorks as a company and UNICEF as a client can be proud of.” The third example is a project that Andy did in 2019 with a friend of his, Irfan Tayabali, who is an entrepreneur. Andy helped him make videos for a purpose planner, which is a written six-month planner that Irfan developed and sells online. They made a series of videos to help promote his planner on his website and on social media, and unsurprisingly, that’s turned out well for him.

Andrew’s examples were great. They were entirely different and entirely worthy video production roles. One of the main tips he could offer small entrepreneur-led companies or SMEs that want to make their own videos is to get rid of the assumption that videos must be kept short, around eight seconds or so, because that’s supposedly how long people’s attention span is on social media. While that might be true, he believes that, at the end of the day, once you’ve won someone’s attention, which is key, then the video can basically be as long as you want. Above all, do not to be boring. To find out if your video is boring, find someone you really trust, someone who knows you well, and show them the video. They’ll tell you if it’s boring or not.

Here are the three top tips according to Andy. Number one: the old KISS strategy, Keep It Simple, Stupid. Simple messaging. Keep it to two or three messages in the video. Anymore, you’re overloading the viewer, especially if you’re in a sales, product, or customer testimonial situation where you need two to three messages. Second tip is to be authentic and polite. Don’t go out to interrupt your viewer. Don’t use those sales-y style scripts or TV advert-style script lines to capture attention. Those are old school, and people don’t like that, because they don’t see it as authentic. They know they’re being sold to, so instead be polite and be real. Tell real stories and feature real people. Finally, end with a call to action. Make it compelling, and ensure there’s a specific action the viewer needs to take after they watch your video. So, number one, KISS, Keep it simple, stupid. Number two, be authentic, be polite. And number three, end with a call to action.

Do’s and don’t’s in videomaking

When it comes to filming, one thing Andy is not an advocate of is using a green screen. He says to go back to point number two in the three top tips, which is to be authentic. People obsess too much about using green screens. One thing which has come out of what’s been going on with COVID is the buying of a Zoom subscription, a green screen, and a nice microphone off the internet. The green screen, then, becomes a portal to put backgrounds that don’t look nice, that break apart, and that don’t necessarily make you look any good as well but in a DIY way. Also, people can get a little bit over the top with green screens in terms of making them add things that aren’t really there. Simply put, from an authenticity point of view, he would not advise using a green screen. Rather, he says to work on getting a nice shot in a place that’s real. That means going onto YouTube and learning about good framing, decent lighting, and what you can do even with a webcam.

There was a time where everybody seemed to be doing earnest, into-the-camera speaking videos on LinkedIn or Facebook, and this comes down to who you are as a person. Some people may have gotten bored of those. Nevertheless, it’s really about how well and how concisely you can present yourself. If you’re not good at getting it down right the first time, Andy says to practice and to ensure that the messaging is clear (remember: KISS!). In these and with these type of videos, he says to try to keep them short. Follow his top tips: two to three messages, Keep It Simple, Stupid, be authentic, be polite, and then end with a call to action. 

Assuming that someone has got the budget and realises the value of engaging professionals to create eye-catching video content sometimes doesn’t happen, but the good news is there are so many places you can go to outsource your video making. The bad news is, because there are so many ways and people and websites and solutions out there, it’s hard to get a gauge of things like market rates for doing a shoot or an edit. The simple fact is that if you want to find somebody to shoot something for free for you, you could probably find it. If you want to find someone to put a whole video together for free for you, or for very little cost, you could probably do that as well.

He says the best way to outsource video making is to find people like yourself, find out who they’re using, and to check your networks to find any potential partner. Look at the past work that they’ve done to see how good their work is and if it’s actually theirs, because some people could be passing others’ work as their own. If you’re looking for animation or editing services, websites like Fiverr or Upwork can be useful, but again, check the freelancer’s credentials and their portfolio.

Why one of the most powerful tools for video is your phone

If there’s one piece of technology everyone should have, it’s a smartphone with a good camera. Practicing first on a phone camera is a good place to start, since a lot of the peripheral stuff is overlooked in terms of buying equipment when making your own videos. Investing in a good tripod is also really important, and so is investing in a good microphone system that works with your phone or computer. You could get a USB microphone, perhaps, like the Rode-NT USB mic, which is excellent. If you’re going out to make a video and you don’t have any equipment, look into renting a kit. There are plenty of places or people online that you can rent camera equipment from, or there will be a local rental house near you as well where you can rent a good microphone, a tripod, ring lights, and more.

The work Andy’s done with Rolls Royce, UNICEF, and Irfan Tayabali on personal branding proves that video can play a key role and also that video doesn’t have to cost as much as it used to. There are people out there on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, for instance, that can bring the necessary skill sets. Remember, even the major filmes are made with basically a consortium of individuals who have come together for a project. Nowadays, equipment can be rented, so you don’t even have to buy lots of fixed cost equipment.

Video can and should play a key role, and Zoom’s made it easier by easily livestreaming Zoom calls directly to Facebook and being able to save the entire thing afterwards. Video production, both outdoors and indoors, online and offline, is becoming so accessible to business owners, and it really is becoming as easy as holding your mobile phone. Authenticity is what people are looking for, and letting people know what’s real with you is going to be the secret to success, especially because being authentic doesn’t cost anything at all. It just takes some forethought and planning. 

This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photos by I. U on Unsplash & Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

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