I recently received a pair of Blundstone hiking boots to wear in my travel videos. Blundstone have a long history in Australia of producing tough work boots. Although they did not request me to make a video about their new hikers, I decided to have a bit of fun and put together a short video.
Unfortunately, my attempt at humour bombed! The video has received only a handful of views.
Having this video fail made me think about online video marketing strategies for business.
I think there is too much emphasis on a video ‘going viral’ and business should instead concentrate on establishing an ongoing dialogue with their customers with videos that provide customers with straight forward honest information about their products.
Most business don’t have the large marketing budgets of multinationals and would be surprised to know that a lot of marketing videos that do go viral, get a large helping hand by unscrupulous methods such as purchased views.
I think a better strategy for business is to not rely on the success of just one video, but instead, to make a series of videos informing customers about such things as new products and upcoming events.
One company that is doing things well with video is Caribee. They make luggage and camping accessories.
I use Caribee backpacks and did a product review of their wheeled backpack while I was travelling. The video has done well and it is great to see that Caribee have started doing their own ‘in house’ videos.
I spoke with Managing Director Matthew Seve about Caribee’s online video marketing strategy.
1) Have you had an increase in sales due to your video marketing?
We haven’t noticed much change yet, but we are certainly getting a lot of positive feedback from our customers/retailers saying that it is helpful with sales and the consumer education of Caribee products. This is especially so with the online retailers, who say that the products with videos definitely sell better. (this still relies heavily on the brand/product though – as a crap product will still be crap no matter what you do to sell it.)
2) What made you decide to produce your own videos?
The increased amount of product reviews showing up on line for all types of products made us feel we need to put forward an official version highlighting the facts, before a backyard review gets posted claiming the product is made from something that it is not, does something it can’t, etc. We also feel it gives a starting point for independent reviews, once consumers see the manufactures “base line” claims and features., they can them make their own judgment.
3) How did you go about making your own videos, did you do it in house or did you hire production staff?
All in house – you will notice that we have played around with the back grounds, lighting and sound etc. There are quite a number of different quality levels, but we now feel we are getting to a level that is acceptable to be shown as “official”. Sound quality was the biggest struggle for us.
4) Do you view the exercise as a marketing success? Will you continue making videos?
Whilst we have no data on whether this is a success, online is not going away, and we feel that we need to keep advancing with the way people research their products. These product reviews will receive more focus from us as the year progresses.
Caribee are not after a one off ‘viral’ video hit! Their aim is to provide clear and concise information about their products. They are aware that over time, their catalogue of online videos will help position them as an innovator in their industry.
They provide a great example to business of how to use video to help promote products.
No not birds, the islands. This group of thirteen islands with seven main ones is off the North West Coast of Africa and is part of Spain. Holiday makers flock here for the weather – warm all year – for the beaches, the water sports, the nightlife and the scenery. An added bonus for some is the many nature reserves. Here’s a brief idea of what you might encounter on a holiday to the Canaries, it is just a case of finding the cheapest deals and getting on that plane.
The biggest of the islands and is also home to Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain at 3,178m above sea level. Teide is a National Heritage site as is San Cristobel de la Laguna, the second largest city. Tenerife is a favourite destination for holiday makers who spend their time on the beaches or surfing.
Fuerteventura is a Biosphere Reserve and is both the oldest and the second biggest of the islands. Perfect if you want to be at one with nature as you’ll find turtles, sperm whales and dolphins off the coast. There is some interesting marine life generally.
It’s the most populated island and one of the most popular with tourists. It has a good party vibe and the Maspalomas sand dunes in the south are a big beach attraction.
Lanzarote is the island closest to Africa and is one of the oldest. It’s also volcanic, which explains why much of the island is covered in black dust. Despite this it is a thriving holiday destination with beautiful beaches, water sports, golf and more. Local artist Cesar Manrique had a big influence on architecture on the island, so you will see no high-rise hotels here. What you will see is Manrique’s symbolic sculptures everywhere.
Its capital city is Santa Cruz de La Palma but is known locally just as La Palma. This island’s volcano was last active in 1971 and currently shows no signs of coming to life again. Beautiful beaches are the main attraction.
La Gomera has a Unesco World Heritage site, the Garanjonay National Park. This island is very much about nature and is not your typical tourist destination. All the beaches have black sand thanks to its volcano and there’s a deeply forested area in the centre of the island.
This island is the furthest West and also the smallest of the seven islands in this group. El Hierro is a Biosphere Reserve and has been for more than 12 years. It’s popular with those interested in nature, rather than more traditional tourist-type things. Its rugged coast equals great diving.
I join a tour with Hun Chi’ik Tours in San Ignacio, Belize to visit the mystical Crystal Cave (Cow Mountain)
We start the tour by hiking through the steamy jungle, I film my first Blue Morpho Butterfly. We then descend into the Mayan Underworld, going 150 metres down into the cave system, that has been used for ceremony since ancient times. Maya shamans and priests would enter into trance in crystal cave to conduct their ceremonies and rituals. We see huge caverns adorned with spelothems and crystalline formation, artifacts of pottery, beads, obsidian blades and human skeletal remains that have been calcified in the limestone floor.
Crystal Cave is located in the Blue Hole National Park. After exploring the realms of the Under world (xibalba), we hike back to the vehicle and drive for five minutes to the Blue Hole for a refreshing swim.
Hun Chi’ik Tours is a locally owned tour operator business. It was established by local tour guides with a combined experience of over 20 years, to offer unique tour services.
I’ve been producing travel video content for over 10 years. I’m feeling the need to do more than just production. I wish to help others, video producers and tourism business, realize the full potential of travel content.
I’ve been working on something very big that I have been researching since I have been traveling.
I wish to develop two websites that will team travel videos, tourism business and video producers.
Overlander.tv will team destination and tourism business profile videos with a tourism booking engine for flights, hotels, tours, car rentals and travel insurance
2minprofile.com will allow tourism business to find local video producers to produce tried and tested business profile videos.
Both sites will work in together, with 2minprofile providing videos for overlander.tv
To fully understand the alchemic magic of video and tourism, read google’s recent study
I used to enjoy watching Ian Wright on Globe Trekker. He was always enthusiastic about the locations he visited and respectful to the people he met along the way.
There is one telling line Ian says in the video above, ‘We don’t stitch people up’
I think it is important as a travel video producer to not be too critical and sensationalist with regard to the countries one visits. I think it is also important to try and avoid comparisons between one’s own country and the countries one visits.
Previously we relied on television stations to give us our news of the world. Now anyone can be a citizen reporter, giving their slant on the countries they visit. I’m always aware that in some countries, local people can get in trouble with local authorities, or victimised by their own people for things they say on camera. And I always make people aware of the possible repercussions of discussing any negative aspects of their own country. The last thing I want as a travel video producer is to have someone’s death or imprisonment occur because of something they say to me.
I was recently criticised in many comments, mainly from American’s, about my North Korea video. Before visiting North Korea I read a lot of books about recent events such as the 1990′s famine and the prison camps. I think anyone can watch the footage and see from the lack of cars and lack of farm machinery, that North Korea is not exactly booming! It seems that because I didn’t criticise the North Korean government, and only reported on what I saw, I was some how encouraging the dictatorship! The reality was, I was well aware that if I did a beat up story, criticising the government, based on 2nd hand information, people I’d met in Korea, could suffer the repercussions. I went in there telling people I would do a story on the fledgling tourism industry, and that is what I did!
I’ve read a bit about war correspondents, I find it fascinating that people risk their own lives to bring us such stories. It seems their biggest disappointment is that despite showing the world the atrocity of war, their reporting generally has little effect in bringing about change. Despite the lessons of the past, wars still happen!
So I think it is important for anyone wishing to produce travel videos to be well aware that there stories can lead to problems for local people, even if it just means online bullying! I interviewed a young man recently about outsourcing to the Philippines. I felt it was important to mention corruption. Even though Darby wasn’t really qualified to answer the question, and skilfully avoided so, he was attacked in the comments as unpatriotic by faceless pinoys! I don’t think there could be anymore more proud of their homeland than Darby, and he wasn’t expecting a backlash for what was essentially a harmless interview.
There are 25 hours of video uploaded to youtube every minute. That works out to be 600+ new videos. The competition to get found is intense and there is the temptation to sensationalise stories in order to capture eyeballs. I think it is important to practise some ethics in one’s work and to be honest in your dealings with local people.
I’ve managed to travel the world interviewing local people where ever I go, many who have never been in front of a camera before, many speaking in their 2nd language!
And a lot of this rests on my reputation, people can watch my videos and understand I am not out to make people look like fools, or do a beat up on their country. One can be honest about a countries problems without being sensationalist. And by doing things this way, people are more likely to open up to you and show you the best their countries have to offer, and also be honest in discussing any problems.
The video below represents a meeting of old and new journalism, New York Times vs Vice. David Carr is crushing in his regard for the shock tactics of ‘new journalism’ but it does remind one that one must at least try and be impartial in how one presents stories.
Mark Shea – atop a Mayan Temple, overlooking the Guatemalan jungle
I have worked in video production for more than 10 years. Prior to this I gained credentials in psychology and social anthropology, working as a youth worker, in a prison and as a workplace trainer.
I have always been fascinated by the mystical side of life. My first spiritual journey was walking the Camino de Santiago ( Way of St James) and making a documentary about my experience.
I have had success as one of the most watched travel video producers online. My ‘meet a local’ concept, whereby I interview local people about their hometown, has resonated with cultures around the world.
But…it is time to change direction!
Barefoot Mystic hopes to explore my own personal spiritual journey, my experience with mystical beliefs, and how they effect my world view. I will also be interviewing experts and featuring guest posts on topics related to mind, body, spirit.
‘I hope you gain something from the journey, feel free to add your comments and help guide it.’
Losing one’s wallet; all money, credit cards, identification, probably ranks as one of the worst travel experiences one can experience. I lost mine on Christmas Eve and would like to discuss what happened, because I think it is an interesting study into how NOT to do tourism.
I first rang my banks to cancel my credit cards (well tried to, one bank HSBC had the wrong number listed so there was no way to report my card missing). I then rang my travel insurance company to discover in such a situation, one is completely on their own. Well, at least I know from my Dengue Fever experience in Bangkok, medical expenses are covered IF you are willing to play the extended paperwork game! Always good to read reviews of travel insurance companies to understand what happens when the shit does hit the fan.
Anyway, next stop was the Police Station where I met tourist guide and translator, Fernando Merida.
Fernando Merida – Not the guy you want to meet if you lose your wallet!
I was basically told that if I wanted the police to do their civil duty, and write a report to state my wallet was missing, I would have to pay $450 pesos! A little difficult considering I had no money! On returning a 2nd time I realised the trick was to tell them you had no insurance, and that you didn’t need a police report to claim loses with an insurance company.
The last time I used my wallet to purchase something was at an OXXO store. They are the franchised convenience store of Latin America. They have security cameras and I thought it would be handy to somehow get access to the footage of me making my final purchase, so as to see if maybe someone pickpocketed me, or, I left my wallet on the counter. Asking the manager for information on how to get access to the video footage, you would think I was accusing him of stealing my wallet himself. He blew up into a terrible huff, cursing and all red in the face! It made me feel a little suspicious that he was hiding something. Anyway, finally he gave me an email address, to which OXXO recently replied:
“request to view the video should be made by the competent authority together with the complaint in the first 3 days of the event, which is why we can not meet its application as we would like. However, we invite you to come to our stores to be granted a complimentary coffee for the inconvenience caused”
So basically, despite the police visiting the OXXO store in question, speaking to the manager. The manager not wishing to give his name. The manager in no way wanting to help me in my request to view the footage. The manager acting terribly affronted that I should even make such a request…in a way that made me very suspicious of him. Without his help, I can’t get access to the footage and work out what happened!
The reason I wanted to write about my experience in Mexico, is because I want it to be lesson to Mexico Tourism, on how not to treat tourists.
Tourists accept that in most cases we pay more for all services. You make money from us, we get to see new and unique things…WIN/WIN!
But when we are faced with situations where things go wrong, robberies or injuries, loss or death. We hope that your legal and medical systems will not take advantage of us in our time of need, but ensure we are treated with respect and dignity.
There is no point encouraging tourism, encouraging people to visit, if you can’t at the most basic level, ensure their safety.
Palenque Tourism, I hope you can look into my case and ensure no other tourist have the local police try and extort money out of them for the simple civic service of writing a police report for missing property.