Selling your dept? (inside the corporation)
Any recommendations on "selling" your production department to the rest of the corporation? I'm googling for an essay but not finding anything yet.
Basically, we recently have gained the potential to do short jobs inside the company. We need to create a demand for the product and introduce department heads to the idea of paying for productions. So far we've done a demo DVD hand-out and a lunchtime screening..... and nothing yet.
Any quick tips on a focused strategy to get these internal clients? Or a link to an essay? Amusing anecdote?
Be careful not to over-extend or over-promise right away. It is much harder to overcome the negative buzz from that, than to just be under-utilized. Build credibility slowly and surely. While you may want to evangelize your service to the company people, you don't want to suggest video is the panacea. I have seen a LOT of bad video so-called "training" in my day, for example, and nothing sours people on using video faster than seeing it used poorly or inappropriately - don't cheapen the medium, only play to it's strengths.
I would say, for a first effort, prime the pump by doing some stuff like a piece on the company's big charity effort, something like a promo for United Way participation. Get together with HR or whoever is in charge of corporate giving. Create a piece that explains the benefits and gives some examples of people/charities helped locally by your employee's salary deduction/donations. Make it a 15-minute or less piece. Make employee sound bites part of the script. Shoot them at their work areas. This lets you work around the entire company, getting noticed. People seeing you work will get the idea that you are actually an available resource. Nobody wants to be the first victim, but once some else has gone first, jobs should start popping up. At year's end, make the follow-up video to the campaign kickoff, one that recognizes the employyee for their contributions and celebrates the new record set for corporate giving. It will be a feel-good piece everyone will enjoy, because they are the stars.
The sales people are typically early adopters of in-house video, you might suggest they use it to tape themselves giving their pitches, to see what they look like to customers. Might also use it to tape focus groups of customers or potential customers, to get a better idea of how to meet their needs.
If your company is one where there might occasionally be a face to face with news media, you could offer some personal media relations training for the corporate spokespeople. Practice some nightmare scenarios and teach them grace before the lens. Hit them with the unfair leading and rude and provocative questions. Then if the bad stuff ever happens for real, they will have their wits about them and minimize the bad press while making the best effort at spinning the positive. This is something the folks from legal would probably like to sit-in on.
Our department has never had to advertise, all our clientele is from word-of-mouth, or from people observing us working for others... and we are usually booked up at least six months to a year ahead, with some holes in the schedule here and there for handling sudden surprises...
A concept I endorse is to provide a "virtual Billing" or "value summary" sheet if you don't actually charge your clients. Make up a bill with local average rates and show them what the free work would have cost them if done outside. This is useful for several reasons, but one of the best ones is, for those clients who can;t seem to finish up and leave you alone, you can show them the hours and virtual cost of the work to date, then tell them you've exceeded the allocated aounts for their account for that month, so they'll just have to wait till next month, or they can pay real dollars to continue the overage at the present time. Come year-end reporting time, you can total up the virtual bills to show the value of service you gave, and what money was potentially saved by doing things in-house.
Typically, though, if you are an internal service, you've got them on some kind of revolving fund, in which case the numbers aren't virtual, they're real.
First, I'd start small. I realize that the small projects don't build the "sex appeal" that you might be hoping for, but people need to get used to the idea of doing videos and it is easiest to take on a small budget project as a risk than a large one.
I might start approaching departments and asking what their biggest problem is...and see if you can figure out a way to solve it with video. After all, that's what the objective is with Corporate Media...
Kolb Syverson Communications,
Creative Cow Host,
2004-2005 NAB Post Production Conference
Premiere Pro Technical Chair,
Author, "The Easy Guide to Premiere Pro" http://www.focalpress.com
"Premiere Pro Fast Track DVD Series" http://www.classondemand.net