Canadian Consulting Engineer

Why video is a useful marketing tool for consulting engineers

Clients buy from people they like. If someone is considering your services, they will first see if you have the qualifications and experience they need. But another big deciding factor will be whether or not they like you.

September 25, 2012   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Clients buy from people they like. If someone is considering your services, they will first see if you have the qualifications and experience they need. But another big deciding factor will be whether or not they like you.

As many lonely hearts have found in their search for Mr. or Ms. Right, one of the best ways to convey one’s personality is through video. Accordingly, many dating site profiles now sprout links to online videos, which convey personality along with factual information.

Video is also useful for presenting engineering services, due to its ability to add the visual element. In a video talk you can include diagrams, charts and images of completed projects. Interviews with clients taken on-site are another powerful way to demonstrate an engineer’s skills.

It’s not that difficult

Four main factors are pushing the growth of video:

Easy recording — even simple point-and-shoot cameras can shoot acceptable video footage, as can some of the latest mobile phones such as the iPhone 4s. Consumer-level DSLR and video cameras turn out footage that can dazzle on a computer screen.

Easy editing. Programs such as iMovie (Apple) make it easy to cut out unwanted parts of a recording or to add cutaway images, whether they are images or other video, or add music. This kind of editing was available only through professional studios just a few years ago.

Easy distribution. Firm websites can easily host video, and free hosting services such as Vimeo and YouTube offer universal access to your work.

Easy access. Any networked computer equipped with speakers becomes an instant theatre. The increasing penetration of mobile devices, whether smart phones or tablets equipped with earphone jacks, makes watching videos easy from almost anywhere.

You can, but should you?

However, the old adage applies: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” When does it make sense to outsource your video to a professional production company?

It may be best to “go pro” if the video will be a major showcase for your firm or practice — it would be the equivalent of a glossy, full-colour brochure. There is great value that a professional can bring in terms of sound quality, lighting, production and general polish.

The do-it-yourself approach may be best if there is a need for speed — maybe to convey breaking news, to meet a proposal deadline, or to have something for a trade show booth.

DIY may also be best if you are striving for a low-cost, informal look, called “business casual” video, like the no-budget clips familiar to anyone who spends time on YouTube. The “casual” approach signals, “We’re cool, we’re flexible, we’re adaptable (and cost-effective).”

One of the best ways to learn about DIY video, is, ironically, YouTube itself. The site posts many short videos, some of which carry excellent information. Some, both in their content and presentation quality, fairly scream “this is an example of what NOT to do.”

But a little learning and a little practice can have virtually anyone producing short videos, of one to three minutes, that help you project your personality and your expertise.

Carl Friesen, MBA, CMC, is Principal of Global Reach Communications, based in Mississauga, Ontario.


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