TriCities… Can’t we all just get along?

“Can’t we all just get along?” – Rodney King

Every time I think of the Tri-Cites and the division among the communities, I am reminded of that quote. For those of you that don’t remember the context of that quote (those of you under the age of 30 may be in that boat) it was a crazy dark time for Los Angeles. The citizens did not agree with the “leadership” (I use that term lightly) and they revolted…literally. L.A. became a war zone. It wasn’t pretty.

Granted…we haven’t had, nor do I foresee, any violent uprising like that in our quiet corner of Washington. But for some reason, we just can’t seem to get along here in Tri-town…it’s concerning to me. I grew up in Virginia Beach, VA. Va. Beach was part of a 7 city area in Southeastern Virginia known as Hampton Roads. There were well over a million people there…and each person and city seemed to have a different opinion about what was best for the area. Norfolk was primarily the business center and had a thriving downtown. Va. Beach was the sprawling suburbia that attracted all of the tourists. Portsmouth was the other side of the tracks. Suffolk was the farming town. Chesapeake was were you moved to get away from Norfolk, Portsmouth and Va. Beach “problems.” Newport News and Hampton were on the other side of the water and were places you didn’t go to if you lived on the Southside. Stick with me…I’m setting up a story here.

In the early 2000’s, traffic had become a major issue…well much earlier than that truth be told. If you think 240 is busy here in the afternoon, you should have seen interstate 64 and 264 during rush hour. It was nothing for a commute to take 2 hours to go 10 miles. Norfolk and Virginia Beach had a plan to build a light rail that would take you from downtown Norfolk to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront with stops along the way. This was the busiest corridor in the area. It needed relief…bad. Problem was that Norfolk and Virginia Beach could never get on the same page. Norfolk went ahead with the plan and built it from one side of the city all the way up to the Virginia Beach city limit. It helped…but it didn’t cure the problem. That is what I am seeing a lot of here in the Tri-Cities. Ideas that help…but don’t fix the issues. Why? Because we can’t all just get along.

Each city has its own agenda, its own set of rules, and its own set of issues it is trying to solve. Wouldn’t it be in the best interest of the public to come together on these issues? I’m not saying having all of the cities become one (although that would help a lot of the issues…but not cure all, I know). I am simply talking about being able to work together…you know…like they taught us to do in kindergarten? It starts from the top and trickles down to the public. A bunch of agendas, shrouded by a bunch of personalities, and wrapped up in bureaucratic bullshit. We’ve all smelled it and probably stepped in it at some point. It holds up back from being a grand place to call home.

And that is what I am looking for…a grand place to call home. Hampton Roads had a bunch of good places individually, but it missed the opportunity to be GRAND as a whole. The same holds true in my opinion for the Tri-Cities…we are good individually, but we are missing the opportunity to be something more. Community is about the individuals working hard for the whole. Let’s not be happy with good. Let’s become GRAND!

There’s No Such Thing As Viral Video

There's No Such Thing As Viral Video

There’s No Such Thing As Viral Video

Seriously, there is no such thing as a Viral Video. There are videos that go viral, but one cannot set out to create a viral video. And this is one of the most annoying things that we get asked on an ‘almost’ weekly basis. When we get an email about requests for video work, it’s exciting. Love hearing about the ideas and possibilities of using our creativeness with video, but the moment the word viral come into talks, I can’t help but roll my eyes.

Viral Video is a possibility, but setting out to create a viral video is just not gonna happen.

For example, we work with The Tri-City Americans. Last year we had the amazing pleasure of creating a fun Christmas video using the players to act and lip-sync to Mariah Carey “All I Want For Christmas” and it was hilarious and fun! I won’t lie, I would’ve loved to see that video go viral. I mean seriously, who wouldn’t get a laugh out of large hockey players, ice dancing gracefully while rocking out to mariah Carey? But I knew, and I still know, that creating a fun video (as much as you think it is THE best video ever) doesn’t guarantee that it will be in the next headline of the New York Times, or broadcasted on the Today Show.

Funny thing about that video, it goes ‘viral’ (*insert eye roll) over in New Zealand. Never saw that coming.

A Video Is A Video

Which goes to say that any video that you make, is quite simply a video you make to share with your fans, followers and/or customers the same way you would share a Facebook Status update. It is meant to give those followers a different means to view and understand the product or service that you are providing.

Of the thousands of videos out there, there are plenty that are good or bad, and whether they go viral (or not) is really out of your control.

I love video. I believe that video is an amazing way to capture your brands essence into a visually appealing “something” to make it that much better for your fans.

The way that we approach creating stellar video is:

•Outline an online strategy around the concept for the video
•Keep an open mind at unique ways to leverage social media.
•Utilize a smart social media plan to ensure the campaign reaches the right audience
•Don’t over emphasize on the brand which can make it less engaging for consumers
•And lastly, never call it a “viral video”.

There is no such thing as viral video. You can’t create it. You can’t plan for it.

Video Drives Search Results

Video Drives Search Results

Video Drives Search Results

Including Video for your business is important. Why? Well aside from the fact that YouTube is the second biggest search engine (after Google), Video gives you the chance to interact with your current and potential customers by giving them the opportunity to get to know you and your business and feel comfortable with you in a more personable way.

Forrester Research Group says “video is 53 times more likely than text pages to appear on the first page of a search engine.

Simply put, video drives search results.

Video and Your Business

Including video for your business can be for branding, advertising, explaining your product or service, customer testimonials, company overview and the list goes on and on.

Regardless of the industry that you are in, showing customers rather than telling customers will help to build relationships with them and will keep them coming back.

Videos bring your product and service to life and a recent study nearly all (96%) respondents find videos helpful when making purchase decisions online and 73% of people are more likely to purchase after watching videos.

How can you not include video of your business after that fact alone?

Creating Video For Your Business

Creating a video for your business doesn’t have to just stop at posting it on your website. You can do so much with your video(s) and effectively integrate it into your entire marketing plan by sharing and posting it to places such as YouTube or Vimeo. The specific (and relevant) keywords that you choose will enhance your SEO effort in ranking organically.

You can include the video in your brick and mortar store on TVs or monitors throughout the store, and even include it in your email marketing tactics.

A picture is worth a 1,000 words, and now… (According to Forrester Research), a one minute video is technically worth 1.8 million words.