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Original illustration by Ruxandra Șerbănoiu

As humans, we yearn for authenticity. In our personal lives we gravitate towards those we perceive as genuine, and equally, we keep at arms length those we feel ‘aren’t being themselves’.

While defined as the genuine original, authenticity in marketing is actually more a perceived quality rather than the real thing, communicated in the way that something looks, feels or acts ‘authentically’ on screen.

We’re told that audiences value this kind of authenticity most, especially in an age where consumers can easily access other ‘authentic’ narratives through their social networks. …


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Original illustration by Ruxandra Șerbănoiu

In content marketing, campaign objectives are the entry requirements of every story we create. Objectives need to be delivered on and stories often need to be bent (gracefully) to better hit those objectives.

At the same time, we also have a powerful commitment to engage the audience. We know audiences value authenticity and transparency, and we know that while brand integration is largely the norm in content circles, it’s easy to step too far and sacrifice authenticity for brand fit.

In our work as a video agency, it’s not uncommon to get feedback on edits requesting a greater role for…


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Thinking is a powerful force. How we think leads to technological advancement, competitive advantage and new innovative ways of working through problems and developing solutions.

Similarly, telling stories of thinking can inspire our co-workers to follow our lead. More persuasive than information, stories about thinking can make us feel part of a larger company momentum, which motivates us to want to take part.

Most of all though, we need stories that feel like thinking.

Spend any time in a school classroom and you will see the makings of a story about thinking. In secondary schools, teachers draw out the internal…


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Original drawing by Ruxandra Șerbănoiu

In our private lives, when we are home on the couch, scrolling through our social media platform of choice (mine is Instagram by the way) we find ourselves quickly drawn to successful, famous and beautiful people (usually all three at once).

These people seem to exude an effortless significance, so that even their most minute daily tasks seem engaging. We tune in each day to hear the secret to their success, from working out to making fruit smoothies.

When it comes to service focused businesses, it’s easy to believe that clients and prospects will be similarly drawn into our stories…


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Original drawing by Ruxandra Șerbănoiu

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

The common interpretation of that statement is that the wasted half can be minimised through metrics. Digital marketing promises as much. Its key strength over broadcast or print is its ‘knowability’ which can lead to vast leaps in marketing efficiency.

This knowability leads us to strange places. In content marketing for example, we’re encouraged to think that we can use engagement signals alone to guide our way through the fog of mediocre work and emerge into the garden of great work.

I think…


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Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

Video will no longer be special in 2019.

According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Social report, marketers who never publish video dropped 25% to 14% from 2017 to 2018. In the same period, those that publish video daily doubled (6% to 12.9%). Imagine that a few years ago. 13% of marketers using video daily. Daily.

With LinkedIn jumping (late) on the bandwagon last year, native autoplay video is now in every major social network platform, from B2B to B2C. On Instagram, videos created each day quadrupled from 2017 to 2018. …


2021 Update: I wrote this review based on my experience with version 1 of Yoyotta, and have continued to use the software for the past few years through to version 2. Between 1 and 2, not much changed to the user interface that would require a significant revision of this review, but recently I was made away that version 3 is now out, and I’m told it contains a number of improvements and fixes to some of the issues I reported below. In the interests of making this review useful in 2021, I will update this review in the next…


Tips for guiding unscripted stories

“My advice to all interviewers is: Shut up and listen. It’s harder than it sounds.” — Errol Morris.

A great interview is the bedrock of engaging unscripted branded content.

As audience hunger for narrative continues to build, marketers are faced with great opportunity and risk; today there are more channels and avenues to reach audiences than ever before, with a renewed interest in short format unscripted content. In such a world, increasingly the way a brand speaks, acts, and is perceived by its audience, depends on the characters it chooses to speak for them.

Such…


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You might think that since brand films (or branded content) are typically concerned with positive emotions, they should be largely devoid of conflict. But the truth is, brands need conflict to bring their stories to life.

Conflict builds tension, drives narrative and acts as the catalyst for transformation, from bad to good and from point A to point B. Bound up in conflict (and its resolution) are a whole bunch of emotions that make a story good — like suspense, triumph, connection, love, loss and inspiration.

Conflict can come from almost anywhere, but there are a few key types usually…


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My five most frequent stops for daily inspiration and perspective.

Next Draft

Simply put, it’s the days most fascinating news delivered to your inbox. Curated with wit and intelligence by Dave Pell. A consistent source for inspiration for stories, and just a great way to understand more about the world we don’t read about.

Cinephilia and Beyond

The source for Directors commentaries, behind the scenes photography and video essays. A must for any enthusiast of the dark arts. It keeps the ideas flowing and doubles as your daily filmschool attendance.

BOOOOOOOM!

You can find just about everything at BOOOOOOOM! — art, film, music, design, misc. …

Mark Welker

Mark Welker is an award winning short fiction writer, filmmaker, day dreamer and company director at video agency Commoner.

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