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Using Technology to Teach: Will Pokémon Go Lead Children to Van Gough?

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Image courtesy of Zach Tutor http://www.supersonicart.com

 

What do Pokémon Go and Van Gough have in common? Absolutely nothing – but the game’s developer Niantic, Inc., hopes their new technology will inspire a connection.

The latest innovations in interactive entertainment have people wandering around on a mission to collect creatures from a backdrop of virtual or augmented realities. I admire the technological advancement. I grew up playing Pong. Need I say more: Gaming has come a long way. I like the idea of immersion in that it moves players off the couch and out to explore the world. It’s a nice aspiration that gaming will lead one to discovering the local art museum or admiring a National monument. I just hope no one fails to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa or misses Van Gough’s Starry Starry Night in his or her effort to grab Mankey or Staryu.

The whole concept has given me pause to reflect and discover a new appreciation and perspective on what I learned from “the good old days” where we were not only entertained but we learned from interacting with technology through classic television and literature—media that continues to ignite my passion for developing inspiring content.

Before Pokémon Go, children’s hands gripped books instead of mobile devices. And I never once heard about a young person with their eyes fixed on a book falling off a cliff. When I visited the Aztec Ruins, it was to learn history not to find a Graveler.

When my generation plugged in, it might have been to a stationary television set with a rabbit-ears-antennae enhanced with aluminum foil, but it engaged us as much as mobile device. And granted, we had to get up to change the channel, only to find a handful of options, but our prize was found in what we learned from watching and interacting.

I realize now how fortunate I was to grow up in the “Sesame Street generation,” where a cast of lovable characters engaged and entertained while imparting education and values. I fondly recall eating a big, juicy apple in front of our first Zenith, box-style television and counting along with Count von Count while learning about numbers and math, spelling and vocabulary and moral character.

Mr. Snuffleupagus’ unique persona engaged my imagination. Big Bird showed me compassion. Oscar the Grouch taught me to be kind. Through Burt and Ernie I realized the value of friendship. My love for the color blue (and cookies) most likely was inspired by my favorite puppet, Cookie Monster.

I grew up in the generation where entertainment and learning went hand in hand and were balanced and supported by the summer reading programs that encouraged a love of reading. We actually went to the library and book fairs in pursuit of literature instead of wondering, mindlessly in search of Poke’ Eggs.

I grew up in an era rich with quality, wholesome, instructional and entertaining content. I was a beneficiary of mindfully creative producers and writers. I learned from watching television programs such as Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, School House Rock and The Electric Company. I absorbed the messages of authors such as Dr. Seuss and A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh) who gifted audiences with allegory – stories with subtle but life-enriching meaning.

It was a time of thoughtful content that gave me and countless other children a head start in school and role models with values worth emulating. That was – and still remains – the wonderful and valuable quality that is inherent in “classic learning television” and good old-fashioned books. They subtly teach while they entertain.

I challenge the great innovators who are developing today’s amazing technologies to keep the player’s mind, top of mind. When programming gaming technology and immersing children into virtual worlds, be mindful of your influence and create content and characters that will have a positive impact on our world.

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Blue Truck Media, Inc. based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, specializes in the writing and creative development of original screenplays, television programming and books, and offers customized marketing and video production services to corporations, worldwide.


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Blue Truck Productions Recruited to Market Emergent Services, LLC

Emergent Services, LLC, a company focused on helping veterans use their military skills and education in the insurance claims industry, is partnering with Kristin Pelletier, president of Blue Truck Media, Inc., to tell its unique story.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, (August 3, 2016)Kristin A. Pelletier, president of Blue Truck Media, Inc., announced today her company has been hired to provide writing and creative services for Emergent Services, LLC.

Blue Truck specializes in creating original content for entertainment and corporate clients worldwide. The media company’s production division, Blue Truck Productions offers turnkey marketing and production services including script and copy writing, storyboarding, producing, directing, filming, graphics design and editing.

Founded by disabled veteran Jason Waller of Sherman, Texas, Emergent Services is an independent claims adjusting firm specializing in catastrophic, residential, commercial, auto and flood claims. His company focuses on recruiting, training and hiring military veterans as independent claims adjusters because he knows first-hand that military veterans are well suited to the career.

Waller’s goal is for Emergent Services to become a preferred source of independent claims adjusters for insurance companies, giving military veterans who are small business owners the ability to support their families, and the opportunity to contribute to their local economies and play an active role in their communities. He created the 5-to-500 Campaign, to help him grow the company by reaching out to Insurance companies who recognize the difficulties that military veterans face in transitioning into today’s job market, and agree that military veterans are well suited to represent companies to their policyholders after a catastrophic weather event.

Emergent Services has engaged Blue Truck Productions to consult on brand messaging and develop corporate marketing materials. Blue truck will provide creative direction, editing and copy writing services for the company’s website, including scriptwriting and creating the storyboard for their online introductory marketing video.

“We are so pleased and excited to be asked to support Jason in his efforts,” said Pelletier. “He has such a great story to tell about his own military experiences and a mission to help veterans successfully transition back to civilian life after military service. We are honored to be a part of this mission and team. Our goal is to capture and portray the essence of Jason, his company and the role veterans will serve in the insurance industry.”

Emergent Services’ founder and president Jason Waller said, “Partnering with Kristin and Blue Truck was a great decision on our part. She understands the challenges a start-up company faces and has focused her creative talents on helping us to hone our messaging, build our brand and tell our unique story through web content, a video and other materials to market Emergent Services.”

“Because this is a start-up company with limited resources, we are keeping the cost of the video to a minimum, using an exciting and unique combination of still photography and vector graphics to create a dynamic animated video that introduces the world to Emergent Services,” Pelletier explained. “Stay tuned. Emergent Services is a remarkable new company with a worthy and inspiring mission.”

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Blue Truck Media, Inc. based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, specializes in the writing and creative development of original screenplays, television programming and books, and offers customized marketing and video production services to corporations, worldwide.

 


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Boost Your SEO with Video

Video continues to gain favor in the business landscape for its ability to effectively deliver messaging to key audiences. This is especially true as research develops surrounding search engine optimization (SEO) and the importance of a strong digital presence in the marketplace.

In brief, SEO relates to your company’s presence on Google and other search engine sites when someone searches keywords that relate to your business. So, for example, if you are a plumber in Fort Lauderdale, you want to be one of the top results when someone searches “Fort Lauderdale Plumbers” or “clogged drain help Miami” (just throwing those out there for the purpose of the example).

Search engines are today’s yellow pages.  Most people thumb through Google and other sites to get guidance on where to eat dinner or who to call when they need a handyman. So, how does video drive traffic to your site?

To paint the picture of how video provides a leg up in the race for search engine positioning, lets drop some statistics thanks to Brainshark’s 2013 article, “6 Cool Stats about Video SEO (and What They Mean to You). 2” First of all, Google owns YouTube and, consequently, “62% of Google universal searches include video2” (80% from YouTube). In addition, “video is 50 times more likely to get organic page ranks in Google than plain text results2” for two key reasons: people prefer video over text and videos are less prominent than written content. Therefore, video provides potential to climb page ranks due to a less is more scenario combined with user preference towards visual delivery of content.

Now, let’s take it a step further – as more people find and watch your video, the likelihood that your video will appear high in search rankings above other videos improves. How does that happen? Sharing.

Shareable content is a major driver for video’s effectiveness for search engine optimization. The term ‘shareable’ is self-explanatory – give people visual content they want to redistribute. While we previously established video is naturally preferred over written content, you still must create something that they deem worthy for the eyes of friends and family. Especially when someone publicly shares a link via social media, such as retweeting on Twitter or sharing on Facebook, they are putting their name and therefore their reputation and judgment behind the content.

Vision House described the power of sharable content in their article “Does Web Video Marketing Impact SEO?” with this comparison1:

“Each one of those shares creates a virtual road for your company that leads back to the company website.  Google likes those roads.  They make Google spiders happy, and their happiness means better rankings in Google.1

Best of all, it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Check out this simple and affordable animation style video, which is quick and effective in getting the message across.

Take it from expert opinions or statistics, but it is very apparent that companies who utilize video in delivering their messages are capitalizing on a huge potential in the digital marketplace. Could video be the factor that takes your company to the next level?

Blue Truck Productions offers broadcast-quality programming design and production.  We specialize in developing original content for corporations for use in marketing and social media. For more information visit www.bluetruck.tv.

Written by Chelsea Watts, PR Specialist and Staff Writer, Blue Truck Productions

Sources:

1Milton, L. (2013). Does Web Video Marketing Impact SEO?. Vision House. Retrieved March 28, 2014 from http://visionhouse.pro/does-web-video-marketing-really-impact-seo/

2Cournoyer, B. (2013). 6 Cool Stats about Video SEO (and What They Mean to You). Brainshark. Retrieved March 28, 2014 from http://www.brainshark.com/Ideas-Blog/2013/August/6-cool-stats-about-video-seo.aspx


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The Gift of Giving

Giving is good for the heart and soul.

I am the proverbial “Polly Anna.”  My glass is always half full.  I see the silver lining in every cloud.  However, a few years ago, I encountered a season of very gloomy, gray clouds. We all go through seasons of sorrow, but the stressors of life were weighing more heavily than ever.  I began to find it very difficult to keep my chin up.  In fact, I was feeling depressed.

I have always subscribed to the belief that through prayer, exercise, counseling and healthy living that one can overcome any obstacle.  However, the weight of sorrow I was feeling was not responding to a holistic approach to physical and mental wellness.  I found it increasingly difficult to put on a happy face, and put one foot in front of the other. Something was missing.  Then life gave me a gift in the form of a conversation with a friend.

Over coffee, my friend Rod was talking about the joy he experiences in volunteering. A sound byte from the conversation resonated in my soul. “The best way to feel good is to make other people feel good.”  Rod claimed that finding ways to serve others, volunteering and doing good deeds is the best way to increase joy in your life.   I took his words to heart. 

I began to look for more ways to serve and give.  I volunteered at more events.  I secretly placed flowers on stranger’s doorsteps.   I responded to the charity mailers. I left small gifts for people to find.  I covertly mowed my neighbor’s lawn.  I visited with elderly people.  I took dinner to a friend.  The giving feeling was addictive.  I began performing random acts of kindness at every opportunity I could find.  My blue feelings rapidly faded.  I suddenly felt happy again, even elated. 

Being the analytical type, I had to know: Was I simply caught up in the cliché: It is better to give than receive? Or, was there scientific evidence that something biological was happening to me?  So, I did what every good researcher does, I Googled it and found numerous research studies.  The feel good feeling I was feeling from giving was actually related to a release of endorphins – the feel good hormones – in my body.

When it comes to giving, I had always been told that you shouldn’t expect anything in return. That couldn’t be further from the truth.  By giving, I was not only creating joy in my life and the lives of others, I was actually improving my health and well-being. The act of giving was having a positive chemical reaction within the cells of my body; similar to the benefits of exercise.

Yet this key health discovery hasn’t made it fully into mainstream thinking.  Like exercise, it may take some time for everyone to adopt “the act of giving” as integral part of a holistic approach to health and wellness.  It all starts with awareness.  To that end, as a television producer, I feel a new calling to use my gifts and talents to produce a new kind of reality show.  

The Kindness Effect will be a 30-minute, hidden camera, reality program with a unique twist.  Similar in format to programs like Candid Camera; Betty White’s Off Their Rockers; and Punk’d with one major difference.  Instead of using the programming budget to play practical jokes on people, The Kindness Effect will “prank” people “for good” and change lives along the way.  Learn more here.

The gift of giving is not only something you give others, but something you give yourself.  It is no cliché. It is actually good for your health.  My journey in finding this truth was a difficult but extremely rewarding and enlightening breakthrough in my own life.  I hope you, too, find healing through giving and that the act of giving is a gift you give yourself this holiday season.


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Video Marketing: Putting You on the Tube

So far, in our video marketing article series, we talked about why video is a choice medium for sharing your message and how video appeals to the senses and the masses in helping you build a sticky brand. That’s our perspective. We produce videos. Of course we will continue to tout the benefits!

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Share Your Message in Video

What about our customers? Why do they choose to earmark precious marketing dollars to video production and what exactly are they having us write and produce? Ah, the inspiration of this article. More justification for video! Why and How our customers are utilizing video and the top three reasons you should, too.

When it comes to why, though we hear a lot of variations to this answer, we find they can all be boiled down to the following three key reasons.

Why Customers Use Video Marketing….

 # 1  “I have important things to tell people.”  

When you have something really important to communicate, say it in video. Video gives your message time to think before it speaks. The simple act of writing a script and crafting the precise language is a valuable exercise in and of itself. The script requires you to hone and sharpen your message until it is clear and concise, and can be readily understood by your audience.

Once the script copy is polished, matching the words with eloquent visuals will make that message come to life and, once on tape or in digital format, the master program ensures that message is delivered perfectly every time.

# 2  “I want to stand out from the crowd.”

If you want to stand out in a forest, don’t wear camouflage. If you want to be found, wear something fluorescent.  The same is true in marketing – it’s all about differentiation. Video allows you to communicate the unique properties of your brand to encourage consumers to choose you over your competitor.

Those “unique properties” become the identifiers of your brand, allowing consumers to identify you without a second thought, or brand awareness. Awareness is the first phase in the buying process, which can lead to brand loyalty and hopefully – provided you deliver on that message – a lifetime of happy customers (and their referrals).

# 3  “I want our company to have a prominent online presence.” 

Bottom line, you want your message where your consumers are – online. Video takes your messaging and makes it visual and sharable, which is appealing for our digital culture of consumers. While video can be shared through traditional means such as DVD’s, having an online presence with a video can instantaneously reach a large amount of customers and prospects with just a click.

Now that we established the “why” from a businesses point of view, we can shed light on the ever looming “how” that turns theory into motion, literally. While this list is in no way all-inclusive, it can get your wheels turning as to the functional uses of video.

How to use video in your marketing efforts….

Commercials, Infomercials, Marketing Videos…

The most widely recognized use of video is promotional. Business-to-consumer (B2C) promotion is a saturated market, so it is more important than ever to differentiate your brand through effective video and strategic messaging/imagery. Business-to-business (B2B) promotion also falls in this category; if you sell a product or service that helps other companies deliver their final product or service. Video, in this situation, can take a proposal or sales pitch to the next level.

Educational and Training…

While we often focus on the added value video can have on your marketing strategy − video can be purely internal. Use video to spice up meetings, to unveil new product releases or changes to the website. Save money and increase the efficiency of employee time by using video to train new employees or existing staff members on protocol changes or updated safety regulations. Video also makes employee training more flexible, allowing the person to go at his or her own pace and approach the content more thoroughly.

From a human resources perspective, video allows for recordable evidence that training has been provided and fully covered all issues. While this may seem minor at first glance, proper training is an important preventative measure against lawsuits and workplace malpractice claims.

Public Relations Efforts…

As the age of digital media continues to emerge, video news releases are more prominent than ever. Members of the media tend to prefer audiovisual content to the traditional press release style. With video, your words pack more punch and will better grab the attention of your intended audience.

Public service announcements (PSA) are another public relations tactic that translates effectively through video. Many times, PSA’s address more serious issues than typical press release and the serious tone is easily captured through the power of video. Product recalls and public apologies are often transmitted through PSAs.

Investor relations…

Maintaining positive investor relations is an important part of your company’s success. Video provides an avenue to communicate important information to investors in a sophisticated format that subconsciously communicates organization and sophistication. Video also allows you to capture and maintain their interest by providing visuals to support your numbers. You can also show your appreciation for their vested interest by using top company executives to communicate the information, showing them how much you value their investments from the top-down.

Creative brand building…

When creating and sustaining a recognized brand, you can’t be all business all the time. You have to find a way to be personable with current and prospective customers, which can be achieved in many ways. Philanthropy is one way to meet this goal and benefit others. Partnerships with charities and videos to promote that organization’s cause and your work with them are a great way to give your brand character. You can create awareness for a cause and your brand at the same time, without being too conspicuous.

Social media campaigns supplemented by video are another example of creative brand building. Engaging online followers to use a specific hash tag (#) on Twitter or post their own content to your Facebook wall allows company’s to make personal connections with their more important audiences. Kick off the campaign or program with a video getting viewers excited about participation.

Videos can, but do not have to be, completely calculated. While you always want a consistent message, videos can take chances and show the fun side of your organization. When posting sharable video content online, you touch on the concept of viral video. While this is considered a bit passé’ in the world of social media, there is definitely some merit to creating short, fun or meaningful videos that make people want to share across their internet presence.

Documentaries and docudramas are less recognized in the business world, but can provide historical value to your organization. Identifying important milestones can create an emotional connection to viewers that sparks interest in your product or service, thus building brand awareness.

Throughout the series, we established the what, when, where and why of video in a business environment. Don’t miss article one: Moving Messages in the Right Direction or article two: Appealing to the Senses. Appealing to the Masses.


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Video Marketing: Appealing to the Senses. Appealing to the Masses.

There is a lot of buzz in marketing circles about creating brands that appeal to all five senses.  “Brands have to be powered up to deliver a full sensory and emotional experience. It is not enough to present a product or service visually in an ad,” advises Martin Lindstrom, Author of “Brand Sense: Sensory Secrets Behind the Stuff We Buy.”

With that being said, one should never under estimate the power of a visual message in conveying that multisensory story. Here are the top five benefits to employing the motion of video in helping you create your own sticky, touchy, feely, aromatic and melodically awesome brand.

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Moving Pictures.
Don’t let the wrong medium,
steal your message.

1. Video is a Multisensory Experience

If a picture says a thousand words, video speaks volumes. Using video, marketers can create a multisensory experience that communicates their message in a dynamic format.

Unlike a print ad that is visually oriented, or a radio ad that is strictly an auditory message, video has the ability to engage both sight and hearing simultaneously. With carefully crafted scripting, music, sound effects and visuals, video can paint an even bigger picture that expands into our senses of touch, smell and taste.

By virtually touching multiple senses of the viewer, the information is more likely to be retained. According to Geoff Crook, the head of sensory design research lab at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, “83 percent of the information people retain is received visually.” We can assume that by simultaneously engaging other viewer senses such as taste, the message packs an even more impressive punch.

For example, images of a glass of tea coupled with appropriate audio can make viewers thirsty. We have probably all experienced this at some point in our life. It starts with the senses, but can quickly translate to a deeper connection. Slow motion footage of a father and son reuniting at the airport can evoke tears in the eyes of strangers sitting in their living rooms.

2. Video Evokes Action

Beyond engaging the traditional five senses, professionally produced video messaging has the ability to affect not only emotion, but thought and action. The script, audio features and visual elements all come together to communicate a unique message or set of messages that engages a viewer on an emotional journey and leaves them with a feeling or opinion.

Such consumer engagement is vital when attempting to elicit actionable responses from your audience. An actionable response is anything from a visit to your website or purchase of a product to attendance at an event. When you present engaging audiovisual content, you have a better chance of getting a response than a simple email or printed advertisement.

This is true especially if your viewer makes an emotional connection to your product or company. If a personal connection is made, viewers are more likely to convert into customers and if they are pleased with their experience and still possess that emotional connection and vested interest—you are more likely to create a level of loyalty that multiplies your return on investment (ROI).

3. Video Delivers Brand Consistency  

Being mindful of brand consistency is just as important as creating the brand itself. Brand consistency translates into brand recognition and with recognition comes familiarity. With familiarity comes trust. Trust converts shoppers into buyers.

Utilizing video allows a company to deliver a consistent and compelling brand message. By disseminating the same clear, concise message to all constituents, corporations facilitate and build brand trust and equity.

Not only are videos a perfect way to humanize your brand; giving it an identity for consumers to identify with and make a personal connection, video is also the perfect medium for introducing your brand to employees and training them on how to deliver that same message.

As your video is an extension of your brand, you will want to put your best foot forward in terms of content and production value. If your content is sloppy or is even slightly a misrepresentation of your brand, it could cause major damage to your reputation, and eventually, your bottom line. Put on a good show, however, and build your audience while reaping the financial rewards of your investment.

4. Video is User-Friendly

Video is not only a consistent way to communicate; it is also a quick and convenient method for customers to receive sharable information in a timely manner. Given the time constraints of consumers in our culture, concise messaging is no longer just suggested − it is required. With video, you can pack concentrated messaging into variations of images and sounds to engage the senses and make a significant impact.
Lets turn our focus to the ‘sharable’ aspect of video. Video can be readily transferred across multiple mediums through email, DVD distribution, Internet channels and to broadcasted or live events, exposing broader audiences to the brand. This could even be less formal in the form of viral video sharing through YouTube, Vimeo or even through social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

There are important implications to ROI when content is easy to share. If a video is interesting, someone may post your company’s video to their social media pages for their followers to see, who may also post it to their page (and so on). Thus, multiplication of shares potentially turns into multiplication of sales as more and more consumers are exposed to your video, and thus, your messaging.


5.  Video Translates Globally

In an increasingly diverse world, it is important a brand’s messaging is delivered effectively despite potential language barriers for comprehension. Given the state of modern video production technology, video is easily translated and allows a brand’s messaging to be multilingual.

By translating a video into multiple languages, companies can reach into the global economy and welcome a community of new customers. To accommodate multiple audiences, subtitles can be used to reach various members of a single viewing audience, if necessary.

If we take a second to look past the actual words being spoken, there are certain images and emotions that represent universal themes, understood by all. The feeling of peace, serenity and freedom don’t require a specific language, but can be translated through the power of video to reach a diverse audience.

The need for actual spoken words in a video differs depending on the message, intended audience and nature of the product or service. In the end, one aspect of production is standard – effective video production can elicit real emotion and action that far surpasses any barriers that may exist despite language or location.