Using Video to Put a New Spin on an Old Story

Web video screen shotI’m struck by a wistfulness in some of my clients when we work together. They tell me that the work on which we collaborate — creating their brand and web experiences is the most fun they have in their job. I’m happy to represent that for them and feel that as hard as we all work, it’s important to find some joy and perhaps tap into that passion that originally led us down the path to where we are today.

My job seems to many to be fun. My company makes things. There is creativity in what we produce and subjectivity in how it is received by clients. But, while this is true, even in our field, there is repetitiveness and some of the mundane. Back in June, I began thinking about a fresh way to convey how RainCastle thinks, on our new website, which has now launched. Watching HBO’s “In Treatment” one night, I had an inspiration. For those of you unfamiliar with “In Treatment,” Gabriel Byrne, a terrific actor, plays the part of a psychiatrist and each night of the week he sees a different patient. These dramatic and expertly crafted sessions make up the show. You get to follow psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Weston (Byrne’s character), as he guides each patient through issues and crises, in most cases toward greater self-awareness. I’ve often felt there are parallels with how we consult with our clients, and the approach of a shrink. We’re both diagnosing a problem by analyzing a symptom and sometimes delving into its root cause. In our case the patient may have an underperforming website, marketing campaign or brand.

Once I considered this notion, I wrote the script for the first video, “Web’s Home” attempting to capture the nature of how I problem solve, which is to guide my clients down a path that enables them to draw the right conclusions and make the best decisions about their brand or interactive experience.

Inspired by “In Treatment,” I called my show, “InTension,” because, after all it is marketing that we’re doing. I wrote each script as a metaphor, made up the tongue-in-cheek t-shirts with the “patient” names printed on them and recruited friends to play the “patients.” In “Web’s Home,” my friend Doug plays the role of Web. He feels loneliness and isolation because everyone who comes to his “home,” leaves as soon as they arrive. As the “Dr.,” I ask him why he thinks this is happening and through the ensuing dialogue, lead him down the “healing path” to a home (page) renovation, aka, a new website.

In 2010, there is little mystery in creating a website, assuming a website is the end game. Why clients need a “web Dr.” is that their websites have become a critical marketing tool connected to and sometimes the centerpiece of an increasingly complex, multi-faceted marketing ecosystem that conjoins search, email marketing, social media and traditional media. Viewing the website as a commodity or ignoring its place in the marketing ecosystem is a sure way to negatively influence the health of your company. And in that instance you’re out of luck, since I’m not licensed to prescribe medication.