Creating a Video Channel for Your Business: A Delicious Case Study

The NextWomen September Food & Fashion Theme.

The reason why I started a video series for my chocolate was to share the information I’ve learnt about my craft, to better inform my customers to make the best decisions for themselves. They don’t have to choose mine, but I wanted the whole process to be better informed – not just dark and milk chocolate - and to blow the myths out of the industry, with respect and elegance. We do zero marketing at my company, and literally only rely on word of mouth and a little bit of social media sharing. It was a big decision for me to decide, with limited resources, to create a video communication channel for my company which typically is B2B in the luxury industry – about a product that is usually quite ubiquitous.

In this article, I will share with you the how, when, where, why, what and who of my Masters of Connoisseurship video series, which just literally launched a few weeks ago and has already stimulated b2b and b2c revenues for my company.

Before that, a little background.

With a predominantly b2b business, I couldn’t help but build a b2c following at the same time.

We weren’t ready for b2c for many reasons, yet I felt the need to nurture the community, be thankful for their input, ideas, and sharing they constantly pinged. It’s very old fashioned, and probably how the businesses of our parents and grandparents were before ‘followers’ were created.

These are caring and smart individuals who have supported me and my business along it’s journey. I don’t call them followers because that’s such an undervalue of what they mean to BLYSS and me.

They are my beloved, the ones who tell me, No Lyss, you can’t do it like that, or Give me more of this NOW, or I didn’t like that last series, or Pump it into my veins! The voice of reason, the source of truth and my absolute north.  So I started on my little macbook to make videos speaking directly to the camera to my ‘inner circle’ about what was going on – in the business, what I was thinking of, what we made recently. And then my little list grew too big, without a proper CRM or video hosting, and then trying to make vids, compress, send etc. One day I remember working at the atelier all day, making a quick video, driving 500km north to deliver a luxury cognac and chocolate evening and the first thing one of the guests said was ‘oh, I saw you wearing that dress on the video you sent out today – I absolutely don’t believe you did this all at once’.

And at that point, I realized the power of an authentic, shot from the hip, take it as you get it type approach.

In this over-saturated world of image films, 2 min flashes and attention deficit-ed vision addicts, it’s actually quite refreshing to receive communication that’s from the heart, not overly produced, leaving in the mistakes, and prepared with authenticity.

That’s how I prepared for the video above, by writing the script in 20 mins, and we shot it the next day.

So, I went from making my own content on the macbook to having the blessing of working with two brilliant companies who helped me polish things up a bit more, while ensuring the original voice was still there. One company, Interwall, helped me to soup up my communications basis, getting an email communication system, linked to social media (and soon to be new website) together to host and manage the communications we produce. Another company, Goebel und Mattes, shoot and produce my videos with laughs and stylish contributions.

As an entrepreneur, who has built and genuinely unique product, I feel this combo, of standing by transparent content and having a team to support its transformation has been an essential part to being able to reach out our message and mission beyond our Inner Circle, and our customers.

Of course this all happens in conjunction with the other communications that are being done – I do keynote speeches, article contribution, evening events and give interviews.

How

  • I made an editorial plan that has a theme every month – all my speeches, interviews, social media and articles reflect the topic of the month. Means I only have to prepare once in a month, about the content for that time period.
  • All my content revolves and is a reflection of our mission. That’s why it is so easy to create. I believe, with all my heart, about influencing reform in nutrition and food sovereignity, through the world of luxury chocolate. I did the work in my business to learn about how the industry functions and the influences over the last 5 years. Nothing has to be prepared, it is illustrated with every decision we make daily, and the customers we accept and don’t, and the activities we are involved in or not. It’s not rocket science  to make the videos, because they are just like sitting down in our atelier for a coffee and listening to what we are talking about on that day.
  • I create the content by asking a specific set of trigger questions (see below). So once I know the topic, I answer all the questions and write the answers on post it notes. Then, I arrange the post it notes into a flow that makes sense.
  • I try, to think of something funny / interesting. This is hard, because in these particular videos it’s sort of boring topics – processing of cacao. But I try, to think, of one little thing that can make it possibly interesting.
  • I shoot from the heart

When

We book a day and shoot about 4 videos in 5 hours. This includes lighting and sound set up, going through the script of what the key points are and shooting the entire concept twice. Interwall are masters at supporting this, and Goebel und Mattes process it and line it up in the comms channel we pre-prepared.

Where

We shoot in my atelier in Frankfurt, Germany.  It’s the heart of the action.

Why

Just like we don’t believe in flavours, additives or sweetners in our chocolate, I don’t believe in that for the communication either.

My customers, are highly accomplished business people, entrepreneurs or corporate, who are specialists in their field.  They have an interest in food, and appreciate to understand the attributes which makes differences between sourcing and processing – aka wine buffs. They pride themselves on making good choices according their priorities (quality, or purity) and want to be on/ahead of trend of the gastro-scene. They are allergic to advertising, they DO have an attention span that is longer than 20 seconds and they demand to be treated with the same respect and honour they give their own customers. They don’t accept being tricked and have little time for faffing about. They want facts, truth and clarity. I noticed, they loved my little macbook videos, shared with their friends, and used the information I shared with them at their next dinner party. I know this, because over a year I received umpteen emails with follow up questions, requests to attend dinner parties, requests to give speeches, requests to just – keep going.

Who

My videos have three target groups

  • My b2b customers – to give them the follow up security of BLYSS expertise, my manner, and they often forward our materials around the office and get creative with cooperation ideas.
  • Inner Circle beloveds – many dear Inner Circle members wanted to share the content I sent them with their friends, so they too, could learn more about chocolate connoisseurship.
  • The ‘greater universe’ of chocoholics who care about their bodies and earth, and want to know the differences beyond dark and milk. Who are educated and informed about other areas of their life, and want to fill in the gaps on chocolate. Who, although might not have access to my chocolate, will ask better questions of their local chocolatier, support the artisans who they will understand their work better of, and denounce the corporations who make people the sick with their unacceptable standards of stock-price-driven-decisions.

So, if you are an entrepreneur, be proud of your geek-like knowledge of your field and recognize that by informing and empowering your customers, they will be better for it.

In their decisions, in their acceptance of their current choices, and in the teaching they give to their children. I believe, with my whole heart, that is the first way we can make positive difference in the world, with our little company contributions.

See more on this, in my TEDx talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS-eN33vnfw

Alyssa Jade McDonald is the founding MD of BLYSS GmbH. The name BLYSS comes from the English word „bliss“, which literally describes a state of profound happiness and joy. Alyssa Jade felt the fusion of bliss and her own name, Lyss, was a commitment to bringing joy into the world via a consciously-indulgent gourmet experience and evolving business methods to bring communities forward together, from addressing diabetes in the Gulf to standards of living in South America.

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