Make your budget go further with 8 Northumberland Avenue

Delivering a fantastic event on a budget can be a challenge but certainly not impossible. To help you make sure your budget goes that little bit further, 8 Northumberland Avenue has rounded-up their top tips for cutting down on cost, not quality:

Be flexible with your dates:
Choosing a Monday or Friday for your event can save you, on average, 25% on venue hire and sometimes even up to 50%. A Monday conference is a great way to initiate a productive week and a Friday reception will allow your guests to really let their hair down and with potential savings of up to half-price, you really have nothing to lose.

Think about the month
As with days of the week, some months are more popular than others. We have found that January and April are great months to book when your budget is limited, as they tend to be slightly less popular meaning prices are generally lower than more sought-after months like August or July.

Limit your options, not your quality
Opting for a limited menu means saving up to 10% on costs but at 8 Northumberland Avenue we ensure this does not compromise on quality for our guests. Our event partners AlchemyLive will guarantee impeccable food and service no matter what your budget may be and will work with you to deliver your event vision at a realistic and achievable cost.

For more information on how to deliver a fantastic event regardless of your budget, contact the team, today at events@8northumberland.co.uk

Cavendish Venues celebrate 21 years of business

Cavendish Venues is celebrating an impressive 21 years of business and to celebrate the milestone, they asked CEO Tom Mayers and MD Rachel Applegate for an insight into the key secrets of the company’s success and hopes for the future:

What has been the most memorable event of your career?

TM: Party for a group of Saudi Princesses at the Mayfair Conference Centre.

RA: Diabetics UK, London Bridge Walk.

Biggest challenges faced in the industry so far?

TM: Multiple terrorism attacks in London in 2005.

RA: Ensuring all venues are full to capacity.

Most satisfying achievement so far?

TM: Working with happy colleagues.

RA: When an event is a success to all parties concerned.

Biggest challenges you foresee for the industry?

TM: Everywhere is becoming a venue!

RA: Keeping up with trends.

What drives you individually?

TM: Happiness.

RA: Happiness.

If there’s one lesson you’ve learned?

RA: Do not panic or lose heart.

TM: Keep going and do one thing at a time!

 

During the 21 years, the privately-owned firm has been proud to achieve numerous accolades including securing titles at prestigious Conference Awards for four consecutive years.

Continuing to welcome clients with a high level of service, you can enquire for your next successful events at enquiries@cavendishvenues.com or call 020 7706 7700.

The benefits of being part of a venue collection from One Great George Street

Being a stand-alone, independent venue is not always easy. While it definitely has its advantages, such as full control over day-to-day management and procurement which allows us to pass on the very best produce and services to our clients, we do everything ourselves without the helping hand of a sister organisation. Without drawing on a larger pool of manpower, Marion and I need to be selective in choosing which trade shows, forums and networking events will best showcase our fabulous venue, One Great George Street (OGGS).

We jumped on The Westminster Collection (TWC) bandwagon 5 years ago and are still current members due to the excellent ROI we receive year on year. For example, in the last 12 months we have received approximately 77 referrals and confirmed over £25,000 worth of business – a very healthy return on our membership fee of just £1,700! There’s also very real value in the affordable access the collection gives us to exhibition shows, FAM trips and networking events.

For example, The Meetings Show is a very popular industry trade show which we try to attend as part of TWC (offered on a first-come-first-serve basis). It takes place once a year, attracts over 3,000 industry professionals and provides us with pre-scheduled buyer appointments. This year we received 17 new enquiries and over 300 scanned leads which we are now in the process of prospecting for new OGGS business. This is a free event which has provided me with over 300 fresh contacts – sounds too good to be true right? But it’s true and it’s great! The next event will be TWC’s very own showcase which takes place on Monday 3rd October – sign up to our newsletters for more info.

When contemplating the advantages of joining a collection, I can say that One Great George Street has been able to utilize collections such as The Westminster Collection to support us with sales opportunities and also become part of a friendly and constructive environment with our competitors and industry peers.

Please find the original blog post from One Great George Street here.

Free webinar: The Event App Challenge

Central Hall Westminster is hosting a free webinar featuring a panel of industry experts who will debate ‘The Event App Challenge – costs, logistics & engagement’

Thursday, 5th February 2015
09.00am – 10.15am

The events industry is talking ‘apps’ but are your questions answered?

What is the service scope of event apps?

Which one is right for your events?

What is the actual cost of an event app?

What is the planning process?

… and most importantly…usage. How do you drive engagement successfully?

Central Hall Westminster’s expert panel will include 3 event app providers (servicing low, medium to high end market segments), an engagement specialist and representatives from the industry.

The session will give you a solid understanding of the opportunities/challenges involved to enhance the event experience through apps, covering practical questions, feasibility, shared best practice and more.

Join this free webinar online at 9am on Thursday 5th February and get a head start to ‘tech-proof’ your future events.

REGISTER HERE: www.c-h-w.com/webinar

Season’s threads: S/S uniform trends

What colours, prints and cuts are influencing uniform fashions this season and next? Will McCann reveals his tips

The event and fashion industries have been and will always be synonymous with extravagance. Both push boundaries, whether it’s the new must-have colour or print, or the latest delicacy to grace the canapé tray.

When it comes to how we dress our staff in the industry, uniform fashion should always remain a focus of an evening, but perfecting that look can be quite an investment. The visual presentation of staff is regularly overlooked, with standard all-black uniforms, or the white shirt, black tie combo rolled out en masse. How very drab, you might say, but actually, 75% of the time the white shirt, black tie ensemble is perfectly appropriate for an awards dinner, for example, or for a drinks and canapé reception.

Why shouldn’t the industry try and adopt more of the trends falling off our catwalks in the booming British fashion industry, though? One of our clients adopted a new style for all of their staff combining a waistcoat (black or tweed) with a pink knitted tie and a tailored white shirt – it’s on-trend and looks fantastic!

While this has meant giving out new uniform at an event and then monitoring stock, it does look truly brilliant and unique and it distinguishes this client’s staff from other event caterers.

A big trend in the Autumn/Winter 2013/14 season has been the use of checks, squares and my personal favourite, tartan. In fact I’ve just recently purchased the most splendid navy tartan suit for myself. As with all winning trends, tartan’s popularity shows no signs of waning and we can expect to see this edgy fabric continue on into the spring/summer season. Its widespread availability makes it a smart and relevant look for special events.

Forget garish red tartan; think of a more toned down, sartorial version. Navy, burgundy and green tartan fabrics are very smart and they look particularly striking in the form of a waistcoat teamed with a tailored white shirt, or as a tie paired with a tailored shirt. That sort of look exudes class.

Floral is another trend with legs for the summer months – a look we’ll see bloom in hospitality uniform fashions this coming spring season. For a summer wedding or other summer event, use the floral uniform trend to bring an event theme to life. Imagine female waiting staff in fitted white shirts or blouses paired with flowing, floral skirts or more figure-hugging pencil skirts adorned with floral prints. It’s professional, yet has a whimsical air of informality, in contrast with the severe look of a black shirt and black trousers.

And for the die-hard monochrome crew, you’re in luck, because this uniform fashion trend is a keeper, but you should make an active effort to keep it updated. A little alteration here and there to the custom event wardrobe can transform the look and feel of a brigade of event staff and the effectiveness of an event theme.

For a trendier event, consider a cropped or turned up trouser with a sockless shoe in the summer. Tailoring is a must – a fitted shirt and trousers always look splendid and exude elegance. Team with simple accessories, such as a monochrome flower tied around the wrist, a plain cravat or a different coloured tie or trousers, and you have easy and affordable techniques for elevating the look and feel of your all-important staff. Never underestimate their ability to make an event experience memorable.

Will McCann is operations manager for leading events industry staffing agency and training academy Off to Work.

Unleash Your Creativity forum: The speakers

Don’t miss incredible nuggets of creative wisdom from true experts in their fields at a special panel debate taking place at Destination Westminster, The Westminster Collection’s annual venue showcase and networking event.

At 9:00am, a specially selected panel of marketing, food, social media and live event gurus will kick off the Unleash Your Creativity forum in the Old Billiard Room. They aim to open your mind to what can be achieved when you inject imagination and resourcefulness into event planning and focus on creating new and memorable experiences.

Katie McPhee, Senior Community Manager, Eventbrite UK

Katie McPhee, EventbriteKatie joined Eventbrite from the BBC in 2011 and was the company’s first employee in Europe. She runs the UK’s social media, co-ordinates all Eventbrite events, sources partnerships and manages a growing community of event organisers in the UK. Katie also works closely with event organisers advising on social media strategy.

 

 

 

 

Jez Paxman, strategy & creative director, Live Union

Jez Paxman, Live UnionJez helped found Live Union in 2009, based on a belief that the role and potential of events within the business and internal communications landscape was rapidly shifting.

An approach anchored in understanding where the true delegate value lies for a particular audience has seen Live Union build a client base that includes EDF Energy, Oracle, AXA, TripAdvisor, Nokia and Amnesty International.

A particular passion for Jez is the merging of live and digital channels to redefine what an event can be and what it can achieve for audiences.

Jez regularly participates in industry forums, blogs on all things live and contributes to the Narrative Environments MA course at Central Saint Martins.

 

Katy Hadcroft, general manager, RSA House for Harbour & Jones

Katy Hadcroft, RSA House Katy started her career in London after four years of studying Hospitality Management at Manchester University. She quickly became the Event Manager for Searcy’s at the Royal Opera House which saw her organise many high profile and glamorous events including the BAFTA awards for over 1000 celebrities, Condé Nast flagship GQ Man of the Year Awards and Chelsea Football Club’s Centenary Dinner.

Wanting to develop her skills further, a move into outside event catering led to experiencing a career defining moment…Lewis Hamilton arriving by helicopter to Exxon Mobile’s Silverstone Grand Prix party for 650 with oysters and amazing cocktails.

Katy’s career path then entered the world of contract catering where she joined boutique and sustainable catering company Harbour and Jones as a General Manager in 2010 working at 76 Portland Place before taking a short career break to travel. She re-joined Harbour and jones in January this year firstly working on projects and then becoming the General Manager at the Royal Society of Arts.

Katy is happiest when she is putting together creative quotes for clients, organising events and sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for food.

 

Sam Michel, founder, Chinwag

Sam Michel, ChinwagSam founded Chinwag in 1996 to support the nascent digital marketing industry. The organisation has grown alongside the industry, whilst Sam has held positions as arguably the UK’s first paid webmaster for Time Out magazine, part of the founding management team of the UK’s first web agency, Webmedia and the start-up team at digital off-shoot of TV firm Carlton (now part of ITV).

He’s launched numerous events including Chinwag Psych, international startup series Digital Mission and he’s the Executive Director of Social Media Week London, part of a global collaborative event series taking place in 26 cities wordlwide. Sam is a member of the global advisory board. Consultancy clients include UK Trade & Investment, Open Data Institute, the BBC, the Technology Strategy Board and he’s an active participant in a number of start-up accelerators.

http://chinwag.com/blogs/sam-michel

http://www.toodlepip.co.uk

@toodlepip

 

Stephen Moore, founder & chairman, IP-Config.com

Stephen MooreStephen has 25 years’ experience in business, founding, financing and operating a number of companies, including IP-Config.com, a business performance consultancy specialising in innovation and growth. Stephen is also chairman of 8 Northumberland Avenue, HarvestDigital and Visual Voice. He believes that innovation is an evolutionary process for survival, differentiation and sustained business growth. An essential component of every business, the skill is running innovation effectively and making it a core cultural component of the organisation.

 

Jonathan Byrne, chief operating officer, Royal Aeronautical Society at No.4 Hamilton Place

Jonathan ByrneJonathan Byrne has a wealth of experience in the Events and Hospitality industry, culminating in his current role as Chief Operating Officer of the Royal Aeronautical Society where he is responsible for the operational functions of the learned society, including marketing its Park Lane, Mayfair, headquarters No. 4 Hamilton Place as a meeting and events venue.

Jonathan joined the Society from Westminster’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre where, as Commercial Director, he oversaw the planning for the Chilcot Enquiry. He worked previously with Mint Hotels in the group-wide role of General Manager – Meetings & Events, developing the hotel group’s meetings and events product. For the seven years prior to this, Jonathan was Group Sales & Marketing Director, responsible for driving the brand and leading the sales and marketing functions at a strategic level across the nine businesses of the Crown Group.

 

To register for FREE, and for more information about the timings and full programme for the showcase and panel discussion, click here.

Book now for Off to Work’s Event School 2013 – 9th & 10th April

Award-winning event staff supplier, recruitment consultancy and professional training academy Off to Work is delighted to launch its Event School for 2013, with a special focus on style and design.

With names like Masterchef winner Keri Moss and former The Apprentice contestant Miriam Staley within the speaker line-up, bookings are expected to be snapped up quickly for the two-day workshop series, which will run on Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th April at the London Irish Centre, Off to Work’s dedicated Training Academy in Camden, London.

Building on the success of last year’s school, Event School 2013: Style & Design will bring together renowned professionals from successful creative businesses to deliver a practical, workshop-led programme focusing on specific areas of the event planning and delivery cycle.

From a designer ‘mocktail’ mixing masterclass with Sejuiced and a lesson in wine buying for events with Blanco & Gomez, to workshops in food styling and event storytelling through photography with Red Photographic, room theming and lighting with Wise Production, plus content marketing and event communication tips from Custard Communications, Event School 2013 is aimed at event planners, event coordinators and managers, event agencies, caterers, F&B staff, chefs, marketing staff and business development teams.

Highlights of the programme include a networking lunch and concurrent panel debate on ‘Menu design for events’, featuring Keri Moss, winner of MasterChef: The Professionals 2012, Nick Mead, director at Eden Caterers, Vicky O’Hare, managing director of Party Ingredients and Gerald Aberdeen, executive head chef for Table Talk. These expert menu developers and chefs will share tips and tricks for planning a show-stopping selection of dishes that are not diluted by challenging dietary restrictions.

The workshop style of the programme means that delegates can pick and choose which ‘modules’ best fit their job role and requirements and attend these sessions as one-off learning experiences.

Attendees working in events and hospitality will leave inspired and equipped with tangible skills to aid their career development and to maximise the impact and profitability of future events.

“We’re pleased to welcome our clients, our team and all events professionals to attend any or all of the Event School’s workshops. We’ve designed workshops to be intimate, with a cap on 20 people, to ensure you can enjoy a focused and interactive learning environment,” said Philip Atkins, managing director, Off to Work. The exceptions to this are the educational, networking lunches.

A vibrant and sociable company, Off to Work has been providing the finest, skilled staff to the events and hospitality industries throughout the UK and overseas since 2001. Throughout this time, the company has stayed true to its guiding principle ‘to help provide some of the best experiences and memories people have ever had’ – something they achieve by remaining committed to hiring only the people most passionate about hospitality.

Event School 2013: Style & Design will take place on 9th & 10th April 2013 at London Irish Centre, Camden Square, London, NW1 9XB. For the full workshop programme, to find out more information or to book, please email Lucy Katan, call 020 3155 1975, or visit the dedicated website page.

Workshops are priced at £40+VAT each and package rates are available if you’d like to attend multiple sessions.

Seize your London hotspot now, not later

 

Set on hosting an event in London in 2012? Forget the hype and bluster surrounding venue unavailability before, during and after the Olympic Games. Some of the capital’s top venues remain up for grabs right on the doorstep of world famous landmark eye-candy – and it’s first come, first served.

 

“The early bird catches the worm,” says Tim Barrett-Jolley, Sales & Marketing Manager at RSA House, a refashioned Georgian property nestled just off the bustling Strand between Waterloo Bridge and Charing Cross. The perception that prime locations are all locked up by LOCOG, have sold out or are priced beyond reach is a bubble that needs to be burst.

“Companies looking to hold one-off events or a series of events are still just at the enquiry stage,” so until confirmations come through, some of the very best venues in the heart of London remain ready for the taking, he says. “If you want to secure your preferred venue of choice, I would suggest you book early.”

A majority of clients are looking for long-term hire with flexibility to entertain, do business, hold press conferences and generally make a statement during London 2012, says Clare Jones, Senior Marketing Executive at 116 Pall Mall, the headquarters of the Institute of Directors. Shorter-term event leads are still being pursued with similar vigour though, she says. “We certainly would not turn any business away to hold out for the ‘million pound deal’ that everyone seems to be waiting for. We are looking for both. As with everything during the Olympics, we say the key word is ‘flexibility’. If you are not flexible you will not appeal.”

Like moths to an Olympic flame

Venue operators in Westminster have admitted they are bemused by talk that the London Olympics are spurring central city boycotting. “We are seeing some with this mindset, but not the majority,” says Craig Wallace, Conference and Events Manager at One Wimpole Street, a high-spec technology-focused venue that houses over 10 charismatic meeting spaces and two luxury auditoriums. “Many organisations feel they need to be represented by hosting an event during the Games. Demand trends indicate brand hospitality is a favourite purpose for venue sourcing, as is having a central London base for entertaining clients.”

For sponsors of the Games, the branding opportunities are unprecedented, particularly for those who have recognised the benefits of aligning with a venue that mirrors their brand personality and values, has a premium location on the doorstep of sporting and official Olympic events, other community based events and famed tourist attractions.

Central Hall Westminster’s iconic dome presents a one-in-a-million opportunity for marketers to thrust their brand onto a global stage, with Maria Schuett, Marketing Manager at the 30-room venue, revealing that the exterior dome and roof space is still available as a branding platform for one lucky organisation, as is hire of the Great Hall, with its magnificent 4,731-pipe organ, which is housed beneath the dome.

Central Hall Westminster offers premium exposure to the swathes of tourists, Brits and broadcast journalists who will flood the streets around Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, as does its close neighbour The UK Supreme Court, a majestic and Gothic style Grade II listed building available for corporate event hire.

In-between the two is the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, which will reinvent itself as ‘Casa Italia’, home to the National Olympic Committee of Italy (CONI) and its public exhibition of Italian companies, for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Even companies not directly involved with the Games can hop on the back of the buzz that will bring London and the UK alive during July and August of 2012. “It’s a great time to showcase your business and your capital city,” says 116 Pall Mall’s Clare Jones, whose venue sits three minutes’ walk away from the Trafalgar Square ‘Live Site’ – one of 22 big TV screens and event spaces in urban centres around the UK offering live information, video, news and community events – and near the volleyball events on Horse Guards Parade.

“In central London the streets will be themed, so they will look spectacular. Pall Mall will be transformed during the Games, so we are hoping that people will take advantage of this and choose to host events during this time, rather than shy away from London, ” says Jones.

“We have one National Olympic Committee who will be using two of the 12 event spaces available in 116 for the entirety of the Olympics and they will be hosting VIPs, athletes and sponsors during this time. We still have a good selection of different event spaces available and we are now seeing more interest in one-off events such as large banquets and drinks and canapés,” says Jones. “We also have a 30-room media centre which we are hoping that a company wishing to relocate staff for the Olympics would be interested in taking.”

Work and play combined

Cultural Olympiad director Ruth Mackenzie has announced that there will be more than 10 million chances to see free London 2012 Festival events throughout the UK, with the Mayor’s Office planning to create “unforgettable experiences” for attendees with a series of events in all 33 London boroughs.

A “huge event for our vibrant, buzzing city”, delegates are in for a treat with their pick of “some of the world’s best venues, hotels, eateries, attractions and theatres,” says Jonathan Morris, Commercial Director of No.11 Cavendish Square, a Grade II listed townhouse minutes from Oxford Circus and renowned for its stunning Orangery and secluded Courtyard Garden.

“Clients need to know that not all event spaces and equipment have been allocated to the Games. Enquiries have come in from clients of competitor venues disgruntled that those venues will not be able to accommodate them during the 2012 Games. At No.11 Cavendish Square we are taking a ‘business as usual’ approach and will not be bought out by one Olympic federation,” says Morris.

Waiting for last-minute discounts is foolish

Feedback from members of The Westminster Collection has indicated that lead times have shortened noticeably, suggesting that a culture of last-minute bargain hunters is changing the venue sales cycle significantly.

Much like you’re unlikely to see discounted bedrooms released en masse in central London – owing to demand being higher than the capital’s 123,000-strong room supply – conference, meetings and events venues in premium locations like Westminster have stressed that the focus is firmly on ‘value-add’ rather than price slashing.

“Discounting is not something the client always wants in our experience,” says IET London: Savoy Place’s Sales and Development Manager, Sarah McQueen. “We signed up to London & Partners’ Fair Price Charter as soon as it was announced. We have not planned to increase our rates during this time, but to offer rates that have always been competitively priced within the London market.”

“‘Value-add’ is a far more rewarding proposition than discounting,” says Chief Executive of The Westminster Collection, René Dee. “Event bookers need to know that it’s OK to book in advance and we actively encourage it to ensure there is sufficient time to plan polished, well thought out occasions with good lead times for clients to market their events, whether that’s fashion shows, product launches, press conferences, discrete meetings, corporate hospitality or complete venue exclusivity. Most of the activity in 2012 is targeted at corporate hospitality and brand communication.”

Church House Conference Centre’s Robin Parker remains hopeful of securing a booking for the whole period, but “as every day goes by” he asks himself the question, ‘Do we stick or twist?’ In other words, “do we start taking enquiries for individual dates as opposed to that elusive long-term hire deal?”

If a client wants a particular venue or area for a significant hire period, there’s no merit in waiting, as the number of premium Westminster venues available for the whole Olympic period will soon reduce dramatically.

“Most of the enquiries we have received so far have been for Olympic Houses. We would love to secure a National Olympic Committee who would take over Church House for the duration of the Games. Our central location and 24/7 access makes us ideal for such a client,” says Parker of his elegant 19-room facility which combines traditional design and architecture with advanced audio-visual facilities including CAT 6 cabling and Wi-Fi access.

Be proactive – book a site visit

“Get your foot in the door and be proactive with making site visits to get a real feel for the venue’s character, the staff and the proximity to the action,” says IET London: Savoy Place’s McQueen. “The initial contact to the time of the site visits has been the longest part of the process. Once the client has viewed the venue, then the next stages progress much quicker.”

The availability of complete venue customisation is the stand-out USP at 76 Portland Place, a 13-room conferencing facility located just a stone’s throw from London’s Regent’s Park. It’s in this well-loved green space that a temporary 3000-seat facility will be built for viewing the conclusion of the Road Cycling event.

Hopeful of securing an exclusive hire contract, venue manager Jenny Hullock says, “We’ll work with you to create a unique, creative backdrop for your event. Come and see us. Whether you are looking to host press briefings, office space, meetings or corporate hospitality during the 2012 Olympic Games, the events team will tailor your Olympic experience to meet your requirements.”

Quintessentially British hotel The Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel is taking a similar approach to customisation to convey the flexibility of its rooms for hire. With bedrooms at the hotel largely booked up already, Matthew Tolchard, Director of Sales, is keen to promote corporate entertaining and other unique uses of rooms well suited for events. “We have been getting to know our residents as well as we can and have suggested our event spaces be used as lounges or offices, amongst other things, particularly because many of our guests will be staying in a hotel room for one month or more.”

 With 55 very unique venues to choose from, The Westminster Collection is a logical destination for anyone wishing to enjoy premium customer service, high quality, technology-forward venues with Westminster locations that simply can’t be rivalled by other boroughs in London. “Enquire early, don’t delay. There are some incredible opportunities to seize your London hotspot now, not later,” says Dee. “We’re a tried-and-tested borough when it comes to event management – just think about The Royal Wedding – and on a global stage, that’s experience you can trust.”

 

55 CHARISMATIC VENUES. ONE SINGLE SEARCH TOOL.

What are you planning? Let The Westminster Collection help.

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Web Video: 5 Top Tips and 3 Big Benefits

By Andrew Carver, Co-Founder, Raindown

 

There’s good reason to get excited about using video online. At present, YouTube alone has over two billion views per day and 24 hours of video are uploaded every minute. By 2015 Cisco predicts that a staggering 90% of global consumer traffic will be made up of video. As Google US Managing Director of Travel, Rob Torres confirms: “High quality video is the future.” So what are the benefits?

3 Big Benefits

Web video boasts a whole array of tangible benefits for those in the hospitality industry. Here are just three of them:

1. Increases Sales and Bookings

Research has continually shown that video can directly lead to new sales and bookings online. Internet Retailer recently revealed that customers who view product videos were 85% more likely to buy than those who didn’t. Videos have a powerful effect on people’s purchasing choices.

2. Grabs and Retains Attention

People are much more likely to click play on a video than read a page of boring text. Video instantly engages a viewer, connects with them and draws them into exploring the rest of your site.

3. Builds Trust

Transparency is key. Build trust with your audience by enabling them to see, hear and meet you online. Video builds a relationship and acts as virtual face time.

5 Top Tips

How do you capitalise on these benefits and go about producing great web videos? Well here are five top tips to get you started:

1. Keep It Short

Keep it succinct and under three minutes. The average YouTube video is about two minutes 30 seconds whilst some of the most successful viral videos are 30 seconds or less. Having 10 different 30 second videos is often more effective than having one five minute video.

2. Share Your Story

Everyone likes a story and video is a great way of sharing yours. Where and how do you source your food? What’s the tale behind your happy customers? Tim Hayward’s Guardian video series is a good example of sharing stories behind the food and drink.

3. Get Interactive

Interaction is at the heart of any social media tool and competitions are often great ways to generate this. Starting a competition where users can generate their own video content can be a great way of engaging with your audience and driving traffic to your site. Other ways to get interactive include the use of annotated tags or embedded user-generated content such as Fairtrade’s A Fair Story.

4. Keep it Personable

Whilst flashy graphics have their place, the simple power of personal communication should not be underestimated. In a recent interview we shot with Richard Branson for A Good Week, he shared personal insights into what ‘good’ meant to him. Having posted a link on his Twitter page and embedded it on his blog, the video gained 2799 views in just two days.

5. Back it with Budget

Although there’s a time and a place for the rough and ready flip cam, if not done well it can damage your brand’s profile. Quality and style matter so it’s worth getting your videos professionally produced. Invest in high quality and the video will pay for itself.

For more tips and insights about web video follow us on Twitter: @rain_down. Andrew Carver is co-founder of Raindown, a visual production company that specialises in web video and film.