The last decade has seen an impressive rise in the number of companies investing in video marketing. The advent of the internet and the growth of social media has made video one of the most effective ways to connect with potential customers and convince them to convert. For most companies, jumping into video can be intimidating.
In this week’s “From the Ground Up” interview, we are chatting with Marton Varo from Brandefy, an UpCity Certified Premium partner and one of the top video production companies in the United States. Below we discuss how Brandefy got its start, how they approach the video production process, and more!
Q: Tell me a little about your company and how it got its start.
A: Brandefy is a full-service video production/video marketing company. We like to consider ourselves script-to-screen, meaning we can take on a client no matter where they are in the video production process. They can come in with or without a concept and we’ll either work with the concept they’ve created or we’ll work with them to create the best concept for their project. Then, we can take that project through pre-production, production, post-production, and eventually delivery and distribution.
Q: I think a lot of business owners are interested in video but are just intimidated because they’re unsure of how the process goes and what to expect in terms of cost, etc. Can you talk a bit more about the video production process?
A: That’s completely right. Everyone is familiar with consuming video, but not many people are familiar with how to create it. We start all our projects with a creative brief that establishes overall goals and objectives for the project. This brief will ultimately drive the direction of the video, so it’s essential that we understand the client’s goals. Are they launching a new product and want visibility? Are they trying to convert visitors? All these things can affect what we decide to do. It also helps us begin the relationship on the right foot with every client. Because we understand their needs and their desires from the onset, we’re able to provide a really high level of service.'Everyone is familiar with consuming video, but not many people are familiar with how to create it.' - Marton Varo, Brandefy Click To Tweet
After we have a creative brief and goals are aligned for the project, we begin the scripting process. Our team takes all the information the client provides and organizes it into a workable format. It usually takes a couple of rounds of feedback, back and forth with the client until they’re happy with the script. Once we’re all satisfied that the message they intended to get across is coming through in the script, we’ll move to pre-visualization, like storyboarding, and the feedback loop starts again.
If it’s an animated video, we can jump right from storyboard to animation; however, if it’s a live-action shoot, we’ll need to consider logistics like casting, location scouting, equipment needs, crew scaling…those kinds of things. We take care of that so the client doesn’t have to worry about technical details. Once those details are finalized, we’ll schedule a shoot date and location and then actually shoot the video. We like to show clients a rough draft of the video so they can get an idea of where the project is headed before we spend the time and money on final edits and mixing.
Depending on the project, pre-production can sometimes be the longest phase of the process, but if we’ve done our job right and planned well during this period, production and post-production should be a breeze. Again, we’ll work with the client until they’re happy with the finished video.
Consistent communication is key in video production because unlike other marketing creative, you don’t always have the luxury of reshoots; reshooting a project or going back to the drawing board midway can be extremely costly.
Q: You mentioned that the process might vary depending on the type of video. Have you seen a shift in the TYPE of videos that people are asking you to create?
A: Absolutely. These days the vast majority of the work that we do is for web distribution. We used to do a lot more TV or broadcast videos, but now brands want to build a YouTube presence, they want a video that will go viral on social, they need explainer videos for their website, products and services. There has definitely been a shift and a lot fewer people are investing their advertising dollars into traditional paid media like television and are putting more of it into digital. Instead of doing one TV commercial, they’ll do a series of web videos, or they’ll make multiple versions of a video so they can A/B test and try on different platforms to achieve the best performance. I think people are just realizing that digital is a better bang for your buck than traditional media these days. When’s the last time you watched a TV commercial?
Q: A few years ago?
A: Exactly. To answer your question more specifically though, our business has definitely evolved over time. We started with a lot of live-action videos. We made a lot of “about us” videos, overview videos, that kind of thing. Then, people started to get into whiteboard animations and animated explainer videos. Those are still pretty popular, but now more complex motion graphics videos are starting to creep in and become more sought after. We’re also getting more requests for 3D animations these days.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced growing your company?
A: I look at our challenges from two sides: one is the creative aspect and one is the business side.
Creatively, I’d say the biggest challenge has always been finding the right talent. By that, I mean everything from the right cast, to cinematographers, to the right crew on set. I only want to bring on talent that shares the same goals and values as far as work ethic and culture are concerned. That can be really challenging, but when we find that type of talent, we hang onto those people for years. We develop working relationships with people so when we’re on set we can anticipate each other’s needs and next steps.
From the business side, finding the right marketing channels to invest in and focus on. Whether you’re buying new socks on Amazon or if you’re hiring somebody to provide a service for you, reputation is huge these days. People make buying decisions based on those five stars and when you have a solid reputation, organic can be a hugely effective channel. We’ve had a lot of success with SEO and gaining organic visibility on marketplaces like UpCity. A lot of our clients find us in a search and then read our reviews and after having an initial conversation we can seal the deal.
Q: Are you using any defined strategies for review generation or are you gathering reviews organically?
A: Because we find so many clients as a result of our reviews, they understand the value and importance of a strong reputation. Whenever we wrap up a project, we gently remind them that we’d appreciate it if they could share their experiences in a review. We may follow up once or twice with an email, but we try not to be too pushy.
A graduate of Chapman University (BA, Film & TV Production), Marton Varo is an award-winning filmmaker, having received notable recognition from a number of film festivals and institutions worldwide.
Having closely collaborated with Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Leonard Schrader (Kiss of the Spiderwoman) and Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Total Recall), Marton has a solid understanding of storytelling and a unique ability to bring stories to life, from script to screen.
Seeing an exceptional opportunity to combine his cinematic skills and talent with the marketing and advertising arena, Marton founded Brandefy in 2011 to challenge the “norm” of commercial and business video production.
Brandefy is an award-winning, full-service Los Angeles video production company creating TV and video campaigns that produce results. At Brandefy, our focus is story. Your story. Every successful campaign is driven by a well-told story and our goal is to enable you to tell yours to the world in a highly compelling and effective way.
Unlike many of our competitors, we take a cinematic approach to every one of our clients. With years of award-winning experience in the film industry, we approach every client’s story as we would a film project. Cinema and storytelling is at the core of our world and it shows in the unparalleled products we deliver to our ecstatic clients!
From script to screen, Brandefy is your one-stop shop for producing and distributing engaging content. With services including TV commercial and web video production, distribution and consulting, we strive to offer the highest quality work possible within your budget. Our highly experienced team will guide you through the entire process from development to distribution.