Crafting a :90 second brand experience

BOOMTOWN - How It Works Video

"So, what does BoomTown do?"
We had all heard it thousands of times... But, as a brand we didn’t have an easy or compelling way to tell the world exactly who we were. As we evolved, and departments grew, it became easy to sell ourselves short because we didn’t have a consistent story. With a complex platform like BoomTown that comes with a front-end website, a CRM for lead management, and a large services component, the problem would always be present.

The best way to present ourselves was through video. It was personable and would give us our biggest bang for our buck.

It would allow us to articulate the feeling of using the product vs. using a literal representation. Our product at the time was dated but, extremely powerful. I’ve learned on previous projects, to get buy in at a conceptual level it's easier to point to a few projects and say it’s inspired by these projects. That allows everyone to be on the same page for what the intended output will be.

Zendesk had recently launched a great overview video and another great example was Shopify. They were both around :90 seconds, had voiceover, live action and incorporated their product into the environment. These were huge pieces of inspiration we wanted to take with us to our final product.

My Initial Brief:
Summary: Short :60-:90 second video, showcasing people using our product. Gives a concise overview of our product, but does not go too in-depth to lose a first time viewer.
Budget: $$,$$$
What is the single purpose of the video? To make prospective clients, current clients, & future employees understand the basics of who we are and how we work.
What are the long-term goals? To have a video we can point prospects to that succinctly sums up what we do at BT.
Audience Profile: Prospective clients, Current clients, & prospective hires.
Perception/Tone/Guidelines: Fresh & clean - communicating the vibrance of the brand and the simplicity of our product.

We didn’t have a brand book, a mantra or any of the other positioning that made it easy to talk about your brand. We asked questions like: Do we talk about ourselves in the third person? First person? Do we use humor? Are we un-buttoned? Are we buttoned up? Should we use a voice-over or an actor? Who's narrating?

We started with a rough cut, gathered input from the team and wrote another cut. Another cut. Another cut. Scrapped it. Another cut.

At about round 15, it was becoming easier to see how this could shape itself into a :90 second spot. We even figured out a great little tag that we’d use in several follow-on videos. (And that's your business with BoomTown) We recorded a first pass with our voiceover talent and that would help us navigate through the rest of the project.


From there, we immediately created a storyboard. If you’re not familiar, when planning videos (or other linear projects) it’s easy to communicate the vision by matching visuals (frames) to words. This allows you to gauge the timing and sequencing before you get into post production. From there, we were able to bring on We Are Cream and Tijo Media to help us execute animations and production. Because we were so diligent with our storyboard, we were able to keep the shot list tight and the crew small which saved us time and money come production time.


Remember when I spoke above about not knowing how our brand speaks? We had a very similar experience about who our users should be on the big screen. A lot of this was driven by our target market and future target. Were we friendly? Buttoned up? Progressive? This was another deep reflection point for our brand. We landed on two, great actors that helped us bring the video to life. “Jay” our client and “Sarah” our home buyer. We wanted to target progressive, tech-savvy brokers and their youthful clients that they’re trying to connect with.

location scouting

We chose to shoot in Richmond VA. This was the home to both our animation studio and our production house. This allowed us to pick several areas closely together and pack it into a two day shoot. Our locations were: a house, a public park and a furniture store. The furniture store offered us the “home” and the “office” for two different shots. We were able to identify the look of the shots before we were on set. We knew exactly what we were going to shoot, when we we arrived. (again, saving time & money)

shot planning

Shot Planning
We created a slideshow that lined up our voiceover to the what we hoped to capture in the coming shoot. This helped us nail down timing. We quickly identified a few areas of the script that were not critical to the outcome of the video. This also set us up perfectly for shooting.

day one shoot

Since we pre-planned so well, we had a tight but, packed 2 day shoot. The total crew was 8 - One van and a ton of gear. That allowed us to stay on budget and be nimble when it came time to move across Richmond. We started with our neighborhood shot, moved to the park and finished our second day in the furniture store. The second day was split in half. First half was our "home" setting and the second half was our "office" setting.

This was by far the largest chunk of time in the entire project. We had all the pieces but, tying them together was where the magic would happen. We worked in chunks and broke the video down into 3-5 pieces. This allowed us to focus on each one individually and refine it. This also allowed Dave (We Are Cream) to render specific sections without getting lost in the entirety of the video.

Dave was one of the best collaborators I’ve ever worked with. We were able to riff on each others ideas and improve the project down to several nuanced tweens and animations. We came out with an awesome final product.

day 2 shoot


Prosper $$$
This video has seen a lot of use. The video embedded on the homepage alone has had over 100K unique views. Which it turn means 100,000+ people know what our business is and what we offer before we get on the phone with them. It's also been used for top of funnel campaigns, facebook ads, email campaigns, sales follow-up campaigns and employee onboarding. It also was attributed to a large enterprise opportunity the first day we launched an ad on facebook. This was our gateway to investing in a video team at BoomTown and gave us a great piece of branding to hang our hat on.

The Team:
Chad Engle - Creative Director
Graham Cerceo - Art Director, Video
Brandon Tijo - Producer, Tijo Media
Dave Swain - Animator, We Are Cream

My Role:
Concepting, executive buy-in, writing, editing, creative directing, UI designer, on set producer, project manager, facilitator, travel booker



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