Why I’m Installing Theater Seats In The Studio

I’ve always been service oriented. To me it is important to make sure clients and customers are comfortable and well looked after. I feel like there are very few jobs and professions where this should not or does not apply. Maybe that’s my nature but I believe that this approach has helped me succeed not only as an employee but even more so as an entrepreneur.

In my agency days, the client was king. We would wine and dine clients like it was their birthday. We would jump through hoops to make them feel special and want to work with us. Now for the record, I’m not a fan of trying to make people like me by throwing money at them. That’s not the point. I actually did forge some great relationships because we just had a lot of fun together.

Now I’m at a point in my life where wining and dining and especially late night partying on a Wednesday is not really my thing. But there are still ways to go above and beyond to make clients feel extra special and welcome.

Here’s where the Theater Seats come in. When I was originally planning my studio, the concept was just a couch and and a TV. Somewhere to comfortably screen client videos that was not on my tablet or computer screen.

Well my Wife went searching and found these theater seats which seemed too perfect. And just like that, the simple and modest client screening area snowballed into a mini theater with authentic seating and a projector screen.

Currently I have most of the platform built. It is also on wheels so that I can move it around by myself and turn it to face whatever wall necessary. I have a few more boards to cut and lay down for the flooring and then I need to permanently bolt the seats to the boards. Like some of my projects in the studio, it is still a work in progress but I wanted to show it off and see what people think. is it too much? A little over the top? you be the judge.

Stay tuned for more progress as I finish it off and install the the projector in the next few weeks.

Why We Don’t Shoot Weddings, And Other Life Advice

Yes, I know there’s money to be made from weddings… but not by me. I feel the need to answer this question as it comes up often. Especially after producing a promotional video for Around the Bay Wedding Show in Wasaga Beach this past spring.

… in case you missed it…

Most people are perplexed that I don’t do wedding videos or photography and insist that I should because it’s “easy money”. Well, here’s the short answer; it’s not in the business plan. If you’re a fellow entrepreneur, I hope that should suffice. for everyone else, please continue reading.

You see, one very important lesson I learned while trying to pursue fine art as a career was this:

EVERYONE has an opinion of “what you should focus on”… but only YOU know what is best for you and your business.

I wish I had been better at ignoring that advice in my youth or rather, developing and sticking to a plan. Who knows, I might have been a successful contemporary artist by now, but instead I fell victim to pursuing the creative advice from random people, focused on easy money. Some call that being a “jack of all trades” or “selling out” and I guess I was a bit of a sellout but at least i drew the line at Pet Portraits… well damn, there was this one.

PetPortrait

Without going into a big long rant, the bottom line is that I don’t have experience producing wedding videos. I do have over 10 years of experience in marketing communications, and video production. I don’t even have a desire to start shooting weddings. I do have a desire to create professional advertising and documentary films. When it comes to bfresh.media, anything outside of that is simply a waste of time.

So that’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it. Because as much as I wish there was, there is no such thing as “easy money”.

What is Direct Response Advertising?

Direct response advertising is very popular among retailers and not for profits because when done properly, it is a highly effective form of advertising. In my experience, most small businesses use this form of advertising without even knowing it. So what is DR? well let’s break it down. The term “direct” refers to the targeting nature of DR. Response is just that, a response mechanism that allows advertisers to track efficiency of the ad and the medium, in order to optimize campaign performance.

The best example to give you is direct response TV, otherwise known as infomercials. Infomercials popularized DRTV because they proved that you could sell a $20 product like “slap chop” during a $100-250 commercial spot and make a profit. And unlike conventional advertising, the results are instant and measurable. Meanwhile, other industries such as financial and not for profit have since come to rely on direct response as a valuable sales tool.

The key components of direct response can be applied to other forms of advertising under the “direct” umbrella that you can and should be using such as direct mail or direct response print.

Here are three components which differentiate a DR Advertisement from a conventional brand advertisement:

1. The offer

Everyone likes a good deal. This is most often the sale price, discount or GET A FREE _____ (often in full caps with excessive punctuation) anything you can offer that adds value will help to catch someone’s attention and get you that much closer to a sale.

2. The call to action

This is what you want your audience to do. Examples may include Call the number, visit the website, or basically buy right now before you forget how much you need this. The call to action is not always about finalizing sales. It can also be getting people to provide contact information like signing up for a newsletter. The goal here is to be able to say, each advertisement cost me this much, and I made this much in return. If your call to action is to have your audience sign up to your mailing list then you must ask yourself: “how much am I willing to pay per signup?” and aim to achieve that goal.

3. Establish a sense of urgency

This is to assist in that immediate response and what makes DR so trackable. Infomercials are notorious for their repeated announcements that inform you this is a limited time offer; that you must call now, or better yet, if you call in the next 5 minutes we’ll throw in this extra gift completely free!! They do this because they know that if people don’t call within 5 minutes; chances are they are not calling in at all. Adding the urgency does improve the rate of success and there are ways to add urgency without sounding like Billy Mays. For example using wording like “call now” or “visit the website today”, or wording like “limited quantities” will add just a little more urgency on the call to action.

Again, these three key components are part of any good direct response advertisement but they do not need to be applied to just TV or print. You can apply these principles to any form of advertising including online and social media or even one to one sales.

The most important part however is testing and optimizing but what most small businesses don’t do because of the complexity and time involved. DR is more of a science in the way good marketers test various media, headlines, designs, demographics to find that perfect storm; The right ad, in the right place, at the right time. It can take a lot of time and money, but when done right, direct response can have a huge payoff, and make it all worth while in the end.

The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising

I was recently asked by a new client, What is the difference between Marketing and Advertising?

Well this may seem like a simple question to some, it’s actually a fairly common one. To me, there are no simple questions I always take pride in trying to educate (even potential) clients, to help them up their marketing game.

Marketing vs. Advertising, bfresh media production

So for anyone who has wondered but never asked, here is your Marketing 101 for the day, The difference between marketing and advertising:

Advertising is merely a component of marketing because marketing is defined as the planning, execution, control, and analysis of various business activities that are meant to bring together buyers and sellers. These business activities include advertising as well as many other components like branding, direct sales, market research, public relations, and community involvement. There are many other components of marketing but these are ones that are most relevant to my clients.

To further wrap your head around this, here is a definition of each of those marketing components:

Advertising: A sponsored message from producers to consumers in order to persuade buying activity. Advertising is communicated across media such as TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, outdoor, direct mail, online, or on a mobile device.

Brand: is the identity of a specific company or product. A “Brand Identity” refers directly to the symbols, colors, sounds, imagery, and even thoughts and feelings that are associated with a particular brand. You as an artist can think of your brand identity as your style, subject choice, medium, and even your signature. Later on I am going to talk about how to build your brand in more depth.

Direct Sales: Any form of face-to-face solicitation. Example: Public art exhibit; you’re not just talking to people, you are selling yourself. Later on I will talk more about the dos and don’ts of direct sales.

Market Research: is an objective collection and analysis of data about a particular target market, competition, and/or environment. The purpose of any market research project is to achieve an increased understanding of the subject matter. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, simple forms of market research can be conducted through surveys or by simply speaking to the public or customers about your product.

Public Relations: refers to the actions of a corporation, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc. Artists are often contributing to charitable causes or community organizations through participation and donation and these are forms of public relations. Basically any new person you meet is an act of Public Relations, so don’t forget to give them a business card.

Community Involvement: is similar to public relations, however, the key difference is leadership. By actively engaging members of your community and leading the charge to promote a local event, charity, organization or an exhibit, you are taking pr one step further to community involvement.

So, as I’ve said before, one of our goals is to change the marketing landscape with small businesses and that begins with education. So if your business doesn’t have one, consider writing a marketing plan. You need to think of every decision that you make, from where you show your ads to the look of your website and business cards and your participation in community events as part of your overall marketing plan instead of just buying a single print ad. You might already be doing these things with your business but it’s good to be able to apply these terms to your actions in order to understand the value of your marketing. And with a little creativity, who knows where that will take you.