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Decoding Digital: Rob Hallam

The next Door4 Decoding Digital event is fast approaching (25 February in fact – find out more or register here).

We took time to talk to one of our featured speakers, Rob Hallam – managing director at video production company Bigtank.

Hi Rob, thanks for agreeing to take part in February’s Decoding Digital event – for those not familiar with your work, could you tell us about what you do?

We established Bigtank in 2005 and began with some broadcast programmes for ITV, among others, before being asked to make a non-broadcast feature for a business. Then another and more followed, until that became the main focus of what we do. It’s the same principle as ever – just telling authentic stories for organisations that have something interesting to say.

And prior to Bigtank, did you work in TV/video?

Well I actually worked as an estate agent after school but I always had an interest in making things and being creative. And when my brother went straight from uni to working in telly, I was inspired to jump industries too.

How did you do that?

I wrote letters to over 100 TV companies, got replies from about two and ended up doing a week’s trial in the newsroom at Granada. While I was there, making brews and making connections, I impressed enough of the right people to get offered a job as a runner. My love of telling stories continued to develop and eventually I progressed to a presenting role on the Men & Motors channel.

So what prompted the switch from presenting to being behind the camera?

I’ve always been a good camera operator and back then it was all hands on deck, everyone mucking in to get the right shot, framing, colour grades and so on. Working with smaller independent production companies definitely stood me in good stead for setting up my own business later.  

And your clients must benefit from that wealth of technical expertise?

Yes but just as important is ensuring the focus is on the audience and what they need. Lots of companies spend money on video that might look great and be well produced but bears no relation to what people will respond to. 

As well as making films, we spend a lot of time coaching teams to understand the crucial thing about video as a marketing tool.

What’s that?

The most important part is what happens once someone stops watching.

The call-to-action?

What will the video make that person want to do? Click something, comment on it, ask for more info, pick up the phone – whatever it is.

It sounds obvious but the most effective video is one that’s been created for the person watching. 

And I’m increasingly interested in the mechanics of what will work in achieving the desired result in a video viewer – which platform it’s seen on, which device, how clear the goal was and how thorough the audience research has been.

If this preparation isn’t done properly, then your story can get lost among all the other messages we’re bombarded with every day. 

Is that what you’ll be talking about for Decoding Digital?

I’ll be touching on that and also, with the audience in mind, I’ll be talking about effective application of video for e-commerce businesses, like product content and how to use talking heads and interviews. 

And I’ve got some good examples of the best ways to broadcast and videos that achieve the goal of summing up a key point with impact.

We’re looking forward to it – and is there anything else in the sector that has excited or interested you recently?

Actually, old school authenticity. There’s a lot of talk of algorithms and the dark arts of being ‘served’ content, which is a great way of getting in front of people but no guarantee of engagement. We’re increasingly seeing that stories created from the heart are the ones that stand out and resonate with people.

Like I’ll always say, it’s about stories. And if your product has a story, whether it prevents fires or makes pets happier, then tell it – in an authentic way – and you’ll have the best chance of genuine engagement with your target audience.  

And what do you want to be the main takeaway for anyone who sees your presentation for Decoding Digital?

When creating your content, never lose sight of your audience. 

Thanks Rob!

Our next Decoding Digital event is on Friday 25th February at 10:00pm. Book your FREE space today to learn more.

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