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How InVision Blazed a Trail for Filmmaking in the SaaS Industry

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Three months into his tenure at InVision, Ben Goldman found himself crammed between hundreds of designers in a New York City movie theater. He was attending his new company’s red-carpet premiere of their documentary Design Disruptors and the excitement in the room was palpable.

As he sat with a bag of popcorn in one hand and a Coke in the other, Goldman, new to the tech industry, couldn’t help but ask himself, “Does every SaaS company do this?”

Disappointingly, the answer was no. But Goldman would soon find out he was about to spearhead the movement that would prompt brands to ask themselves, “why not?”

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Check out this clip from our Change the Channel event and hear from Ben Goldman himself about how this documentary helped InVision garner more attention and interest from their audience.

A passion project of InVision’s CEO Clark Valberg, Design Disruptors set out to prove a product designer’s value to the business world. By showcasing how iconic companies like Google, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, and Airbnb use the power of design to dominate their respective industries, InVision was able to resonate with the design community and turn the film into a catalyst that could drive a larger cultural change at their organizations.

“After watching the documentary, an executive who didn’t know much about design can now understand, appreciate, and value it on a whole new level,” says Goldman. “And that’s a big reason why the design community had such great sentiment for the film. It could change people’s minds.”

Design Disruptors became InVision’s most evergreen piece of content, generating over 100,000 leads and 2,000 independent screenings, where organizations sign up to show the film to their design team, executives, or important stakeholders.

“Design Disruptors became InVision’s most evergreen piece of content, generating over 100,000 leads and 2,000 independent screenings.”

Boasting stellar quantitative data, Design Disruptors’ qualitative data is arguably just as impressive. Not only did the design community badger InVision to make a second film, but the overwhelming majority of InVision’s sales and customer service reps all agreed that Design Disruptors was their most valuable piece of sales collateral.

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Two years after Design Disruptors’ release, it became crystal clear that InVision’s target market absolutely loved the documentary and crafting binge-worthy content was good for business. Starting a films department was a no-brainer, but InVision needed the right person to take on the challenge.

At the beginning of his career, Goldman worked in television, interning at The Colbert Report and even selling a pilot to MTV during college. But after graduation, he stumbled down the path of reality TV and the industry’s toxicity burned him out. He eventually left television to launch his own news app, sparking his interest in content marketing, tech, and ultimately helping him land a job as a content strategist at InVision. After working there for two years, it became clear that Goldman’s expertise and invaluable background in television made him the ideal person to launch Invision’s films department. However, building something that not many other brands in the industry had done before was uncharted territory.

Goldman’s vision for the films department

Goldman wanted the films department to be a creative arm dedicated to authentic documentary storytelling. In other words, he wanted to tell stories that didn’t make people feel like they were participating in some sort of case study.

To meet this lofty quality standard, Goldman’s department had to operate like a production company, hiring independent filmmakers to create and direct their films.

“Collaborating with independent filmmakers allows us to bring real filmmaking passion to the table and lean on a variety of voices to drive our narratives,” says Goldman. “Relying solely on in-house risks the outcome of creating the same type of film and hitting the same note every time.”

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But as a SaaS company that had only created one documentary before, InVision had a weak connection to Hollywood. The film department had to start spinning up a web of filmmaking talent — fast.

Building a bridge to Hollywood

At the beginning of Goldman’s stint as the director of films at InVision, he would scour the internet for short films and documentaries that played at festivals and won awards. Then he would reach out to their directors, editors, producers, and directors of photography. If any of them lived in New York City, he would take them out for coffee or lunch. Goldman also met with production companies, freelancers, recent film school graduates, and current film school students.

This went on for months. But soon enough, all of Goldman’s networking created a digital rolodex of film professionals that he could call on when his team was ready to green-light their first project. And when the time came, all they had to do was thumb through their network and match the right professionals to the right projects. Building these relationships ended up being one of the most impactful things Goldman ever did.

“All of Goldman’s networking left him with a digital rolodex of film professionals that he could call on when his team was ready to green-light their first project.”

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In October 2019, InVision completed the editing process for a film they’ve been working on all year called Squads. The documentary looks at the way businesses are adopting new organizational models to better enable teams to move fast and innovate. With 28 different cuts, hundreds of pages of transcripts and interviews, and even an original composer, producing Squads was no small undertaking.

“A culmination of all that work just happened,” says Goldman. “And it’s one of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever experienced.”

After the editing process, the film department showed the video to a focus group, and they absolutely loved it, shouting praises about how they want to show the film to people they work with — especially executive stakeholders. But what was even more invigorating than finishing the film and hearing the applause from the focus group was the process of actually creating the documentary itself.

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“Going into these companies, meeting these leaders, having real conversations with them, and highlighting passionate people solving real problems,” says Goldman. “That’s what I loved most about this project.”

1. Make your case with data

InVision is an innovative company, but two years had passed and new layers of management had formed when the idea of the film department was still brewing. Fortunately, Goldman could measure Design Disruptors’ impact on InVision’s bottom line and collect valuable customer feedback from social media and their sales and customer service teams. With all of this data backing up the film department, it was easy to make their case to management.

Be sure to measure and present your binge-worthy content’s quantitative and qualitative data — they’re equally beneficial to track. If you need help determining the effectiveness of your binge-worthy content, check out our guide on measuring brand affinity. And if you’re just getting started and don’t have any data to present just yet, check out this post and learn how to convince your boss to start investing in creating binge-worthy content.

“Be sure to measure and present your binge-worthy content’s quantitative and qualitative data — they’re equally beneficial to track.”

2. Make sure your first hire is a producer

Hiring a producer, especially one from the media industry, will help you figure out how your team can create binge-worthy content on your own (or if you need to hire an agency to do so).

At Wistia, our creative team helped us realize that we could craft Webby Award-winning content in-house. At InVision, they tapped Goldman, who had previously worked as a producer in TV, who decided it was ideal to collaborate with an external network of talent to craft binge-worthy content.

Regardless of the path your business decides to take, it’s important to have someone dedicated to overseeing the creation of this content in a way that is aligned with your vision and goals.

3. Build relationships with Hollywood

Two brands that are leading the binge-worthy content movement, Mailchimp and InVision, both collaborate with independent filmmakers to craft their shows and films. Remember that your audience expects a brand’s binge-worthy content to be high-quality and truly entertaining, so if it’s within your budget, hire the professionals who can take your video series to that level.



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7 Fashion-Forward Video Series to Keep Your Eye On

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Who said videos about fashion were only made for the big screen? The Devil Wears Prada might be a pretty high standard to live up to, but in reality, tons of brands are already making innovative shows and video series to help move their businesses forward.

In fact, we recently stumbled upon four fashion-focused brands that are all creating entertaining, binge-worthy video series, that even Meryl Streep herself might be interested in watching. Businesses like Vans, Refinery29, Marc Jacobs, and Foot Locker stood out to us as top-dogs in the branded content space because their shows are so clearly focused on attracting a niche audience, which is a key part of executing an effective brand affinity marketing strategy. Plus, they’re just plain fun to watch!

Who doesn’t love a good surf video? Have you ever wondered what it really means to be a “sneakerhead”? Take a look at what these creative brands put out into the world and get some insights into what you can do at your business to make an awesome series yourself!

We bet you know someone in your life who owns a fresh pair of Vans. But if you’re not familiar with the brand, Vans is the original action sports footwear, apparel, and accessories brand promoting creative self-expression in youth culture across action sports, art, music and street culture.

Vans decided to showcase those company values with a video series called Weird Waves, which follows the gnarly journey of Dylan Graves as he introduces viewers to “the weirder side of surf culture and the characters who chomp weird waves.” In two seasons, he links up with people from the underground side of the surf scene to ride everything from waves in wintery Great Lakes to waves formed by falling ice in Alaska. This show is no joke — things get weird!

To successfully showcase what their brand stands for, Vans identified the perfect brand ambassador to be the host for an engaging binge-worthy series. While not everyone can relate to riding waves in unthinkable places like Dylan Graves and his friends, viewers can be entertained and identify with how Vans is a champion of creative self-expression.

In a more fashion-focused realm, Refinery29 is an online media and entertainment hub that appeals to young women who may be interested in style, health, careers, technology, and a whole lot more. To pique the interests of their target audience, they’ve created an award-winning video series called Style Out There exploring “the connections between clothing, community, and culture across the world.”

Style Out There features hosts Asha Leo and Connie Wang as they travel the world to learn more about “the ways clothing has given women a way to speak out, look within, and identify the forces that limit their potential.” In season one, watch Leo dig into Decora style in Tokyo and how it goes against the mainstream, or jump ahead to season three and learn about Afrofuturist fashion with Wang and why it’s more than just a costume for black women.

For someone interested in style, this series goes deeper than the outward appearance of an outfit or accessory. It shows the significance of fashion for people to express themselves around the world.

Now, if you’ve ever wondered what the inner workings of a high fashion label look like days before a runway show, check out Marc Jacobs’ The Making of RUNWAY.

This six-part series follows Marc himself, Joseph Carter, Creative Director of Runway, as well as many of the faces working to run the ship five days before Marc Jacobs’ February 13, 2019 show. From fittings and design meetings to set and music planning, they show you what it takes to make a fashion show a success.

Marc Jacobs is a world-renown brand, but the way they shot their behind-the-scenes footage could be pulled off by any company big or small. Whether you’re aspiring to work for Marc Jacobs or a fan of the brand, this simple series gives you an authentic look at the people, the work, and the creativity that makes Marc Jacobs what it is.

In the fashion industry, Patagonia is famous not only for leading the fight against climate change but also for spearheading the binge-worthy content movement with their visually stunning and thought-provoking documentary series.

To promote their signature line of work-friendly attire, they blended their passion for the environment with the art of storytelling to craft a video series called Workwear.

In this seven-part video series, you’ll meet farmers, eco-friendly automotive technicians, conservationists, fishermen, and more to learn what drives them to work so hard day in and day out and how they protect the environment while doing so.

Even though Workwear is meant to promote Patagonia’s line of work clothing, they don’t draw any direct attention to their products.

Instead, Patagonia focuses on the real reason each person in the video series chooses to make an honest living. And with over 2.5 million views on YouTube, they’ve reached and resonated with plenty of people who share the same “why” when it comes to their work.

Lululemon is an athletic apparel retailer with strong roots in yoga, running, and any other activity that makes you break a sweat and feel great. However, when they think about their marketing, they make sure not to just focus on the physical aspects of these activities. They also make sure to highlight the mental and emotional side of physical fitness.

To celebrate the International Day of Yoga, for example, Lululemon released a video series called Yoga Changed My Life to tell the stories of three people who used the power of yoga to overcome a traumatic experience.

From conquering teenage homelessness to a near-death experience due to a complication from Crohn’s disease, you’ll learn how powerful yoga can be for the mind, body, and soul.

Most athletic apparel retailers try to generate demand for their products by emphasizing the physical benefits of exercise, but Lululemon understands that truly resonating with an audience requires a message much more inspiring than that. You can’t just strive to look good — you also need to feel good.

Nike’s I Am Giannis tells the origin story of Giannis Antetokounmpo, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks and one of the best basketball players in the NBA.

Giannis is known for having a strong work ethic and bulldog mentality that rivals the game’s most iconic players’. And after watching this five-part video series, you’ll quickly understand how his humble beginnings in Athens, Greece have fueled his fire to reach the upper echelon of the basketball world.

You can’t help but smile as you watch Giannis’s story unfold. From getting selected in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft to attracting thousands of Greek and Nigerian fans to each of his games to designing his own signature Nike shoe — the story is both uplifting and inspirational.

As marketers, we recognize that Nike knows how to tell a compelling story, especially with just a few words. But by venturing into long-form storytelling and spinning a narrative about one person’s life over 20 minutes of video content, they might have just told their best story yet.

After seeing the ideas these brands have come up with, we hope you’re feeling inspired to start creating a video series of your own! Start by figuring out what makes your brand unique and what your current audiences like about you. The next concept for the perfect video series could be right under your nose!

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5 Food and Beverage Video Series That’ll Make You Hungry for More Content

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Do you remember the iconic “how many licks” Tootsie Pops commercials from the 70s? What about the heartwarming snowman that thawed after eating a satisfying bowl of Campbell’s soup?

Many food and beverage brands are famous for their clever and memorable advertisements.

However, only a handful have taken their creativity to the next level and crafted full-scale video series that rival the very TV shows they place their ads with.

We’ve rounded up five of the best video series in the food and beverage world so you can draw inspiration for your next project. Read on to cook up some delicious ideas for your next show!

As the most popular energy drink in the world, Red Bull naturally gears its brand toward pro athletes who participate in extreme sports. One of the ways the company connects with this cohort is by crafting thrilling video series about the world’s most extreme athletes. From a video series about wingsuit fliers to one about the top athletes in their respective extreme sport, you can get your daily dose of adrenaline from a single episode.

But out of all of Red Bull’s video series, the arguably most compelling one is about the athletes who have overcome near-impossible odds to ascend to the heights of their extreme sport. It’s called The Way of the Wildcard.

In this wild video series, you’ll hear from a two-time cancer survivor who holds two world records in cycling, a former prisoner turned Iron Man triathlete, working-class brothers who won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in rowing, and many more impressive athletes.

All of the stories in The Way of the Wildcard are naturally chock-full of conflict, which grips audiences from start to finish. And by showing audiences how these athletes achieved their dreams with the odds stacked against them, it inspires viewers to do the same.

Growing up, a day out with your friends during the summer usually included a swim at the pool, a bonfire, and a can of soda. Was there anything more carefree?

Coca-Cola wanted to tap into this nostalgia to forge a closer bond with their audience. Their bold idea? A video series called One Last Summer, which follows a group of incoming college freshmen as they enjoy their last summer together.

Throughout the four-part series, you’ll learn all about this friend group’s future plans, watch them cross off their summer bucket list, and navigate the complexities of their high school romances.

Each episode of One Last Summer focuses on a single character. This approach allows you to get to know them personally, understand the dynamic of their friend group, and understand why it’ll be bittersweet for them to split up when it’s time to go off to college.

One Last Summer is sure to transport you back to your most carefree days as a teenager — and it might even persuade you to crack open a Coke while you’re at it.

When you think of Cadbury, you most likely think of rich, creamy chocolate. And when you think of chocolate, you might reminisce on the good old days when your mom or dad would slip you a piece of chocolate after dinner.

That’s why Cadbury decided to create Families Reunited, a video series that aims to reconnect parents with their teenage children by giving parents a crash course on their children’s passions.

In this two-part video series of 20-minute episodes, you’ll watch a dad learn how to pop a wheelie on a BMX bike just like his son. Then, you’ll watch a mom learn how to conquer the ice and figure skate with her son. At the end of each episode, the parent ultimately proves to their kid that they’re not as different as they think. Even better, they can also spend time bonding over a shared passion.

Almost every parent goes through a rough patch with their kids, especially when they’re teenagers. But Families Reunited lets parents who have drifted from their kids know that they’re not alone. It also inspires them to truly understand their kids before they try to rekindle their relationships with them.

Known for their fun, playful brand identity, Taco Bell stuck to their guns when they released The Taco Bell Show. It’s a game show that features celebrities — including Drake Bell and Spencer Pratt — known and loved by Taco Bell’s young target audience.

On the show, the host and the guest celebrity play Taco Bell-inspired games, like “Diablo Dare.” It’s Truth or Dare, but instead of doing a dare, participants have to drench a tortilla chip in diablo sauce and eat it. What a creative way to plug two of their products into one game — kudos, Taco Bell!

The Taco Bell Show draws you in from the beginning by immediately informing you what it’s all about — a game show with celebrities. It then keeps you glued to your screen by having the celebrities play fun, creative games. If you ask us, that’s definitely a recipe for binge-worthy content success.

Another brand that leans on humor and lightheartedness, Kentucky Fried Chicken released a series of satirical Shark Tank-esque pitches for outlandish business ideas called KFC Innovations Lab. These ideas include Colonel on Ice, a bow tie that also serves as a GPS locator, and a walking cane that doubles as a remote control for your TV.

All of these pitches relate to KFC’s founder Colonel Sanders in a creative way, which makes the video series one of the funniest in the food and beverage industry. After watching it, you’ll laugh so hard that you’ll work up an appetite, and KFC hopes it’ll be for some of their famous fried chicken.

Crafting a creative and compelling video series is just like cooking. It’ll be hard. It’ll get messy. And there’s a chance you might burn the dish to a crisp. But, hopefully, with these examples, you can put together a recipe for a video series that will please your audience’s palate.

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Announcing “Built to Last”: An Audio Conference from Buffer and Wistia

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If you’ve watched an episode of Brandwagon or tuned into our Change the Channel event last year, then you know there’s nothing we love more than talking to people about what it takes to build a great brand. And now, we’re super excited to continue that conversation with Buffer, a social media management platform, throughout Built to Last — a free audio-conference for brand builders.

Taking place on August 19 and 20, this first-of-its-kind conference will feature guests (including our very own Chris Savage!) from companies that are invested in building stronger brands and creating compelling content in all forms. If you’re looking to learn how to foster organic growth, take marketing risks, or develop an audience of engaged advocates — this conference is for you.

Attending a marketing conference once meant spending an entire day in a windowless ballroom or glued to your computer screen for hours on end. By leveraging the power of podcasts, our conference sessions will be available for your listening pleasure no matter what you’re up to.

Wait a minute — what does an “audio-conference” really mean?

We’re taking the concept of an in-person conference and delivering it as a podcast. Built to Last attendees will receive access to a private podcast feed where we’ll release seven episodes over the two-day conference. Each episode will feature lessons and insights to help you craft memorable content and campaigns that create devoted audiences.

By signing up to attend this conference, you’ll get access to the content in real-time or on-demand (with show notes!). We encourage listening while making a meal, getting some fresh air, or moving your body. In other words — you do you!

Beyond the podcast episodes, we’re encouraging attendees to join our private community to network with each other, participate in facilitated discussions, and interact with select speakers live. Simply sign up to attend Build to Last and you’ll be invited to join — simple as pie.

We hope you’ll join us for this interactive podcast experience. If you’re as pumped as we are, then head on over to the Buffer site to register, see the full list of speakers, and get all the conference details. Oh, and be sure to charge those headphones so you’re ready to rock ’n roll!

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