Don Schindler

Digital Strategy & Executive Social Media Trainer

Tag: 2015

How should you advocate for dairy farming in 2016? Check out how other dairy farmers did it in 2015.

In the most recent MyDairy newsletter, we asked dairy farmers to share how they advocated for dairy farming. The feedback back and comments were great and I’ve decided to share a few below.

 

danielle-mzyk-feeding-calf

Danielle Mzyk feeding calf at local Chik-Fil-A Family Night

Students Bring Dairy Farm Life to Chik-Fil-A

Danielle A. Mzyk, DVM/PhD Candidate at NC State, and several dairy  medicine focused students, a dairy science undergraduate  and a CVM veterinarian hosted a “Dairy  Day  at Chik-Fil-A” outreach event.

As a member of the 9th class of the Young Dairy Leaders Institute, I was charged with hosting an outreach event in our community. With the support of several CVM alumni, faculty, house officers and students, as well as the leaders of the Howling Cow  Dairy  Enterprise and Lake Wheeler  Dairy  Research and Teaching Farm, I brought two jersey calves to meet with the public and answer any and all questions they had about the dairy industry.

Over 100 people stopped by our booth to come take a look at the calves and talk with the future leaders of the dairy industry. We also had carnival games set up and prizes for the kids to win, as well as information, gifts and milk fact pamphlets donated from the Southeast  Dairy Association.

We have been asked by the management at several Chik-fil-a to continue this project and make it a regular occurrence! Continue reading

7 Videography Tips for Farmers

I recently taught a couple of workshops on photography and videography for beginners to some of our communicators. It’s amazing how advanced technology allows us to produce good videography by just knowing some of the basics.

Now does this mean that you will never need a professional videographer – absolutely not! Professional videographers have thousands of hours of training and can see things that you and I would never catch.

And I don’t claim to be an expert at this at all. I’m just passing along the basics that I’ve learned and that I believe will help you capture better video while you are on the farm or at the restaurant/market.

Here are seven tips that I’ve picked up on videography – I hope they help you out.

STOP – IF YOU ARE USING YOUR PHONE TO RECORD VIDEO, HOLD IT HORIZONTALLY. ALSO YOU NEED TO SHOOT ALL B-ROLL AND PHOTOS (for the video) THIS WAY!!!!

1. Lighting is everything.

light-videography-tips

You need good lighting. What makes good lighting? Indirect natural sunlight is awesome. Then after that sunlight. Gray days can be really good as well because they will make the shadows less harsh.

The problem with this video is that the sun is making her squint, but if the sun were behind her we wouldn’t see her face.  So, I guess it’s not all bad.  (And depending on what she’s talking about – like if she’s experiencing tough times or a rough situation, squinting is a good thing.)

 

2. Frame your subject to the left or right (try not to center).

frame-subject-videography-tips

There’s a Rule of Thirds in photography that basically wants you to put your subjects on the intersecting lines of the nine boxes created by a grid.

With videography, you definitely don’t want to center so you have the opportunity to put more information on the screen if necessary and it also makes the composition more interesting to the eye.

 

3. Mic them up because you need great sound.

mic-videography-tips

While cameras and phones have come a long way in the past few years with video, they still have issues with picking up sound. You are better off to getting a good microphone (wired or directional) to get some good quality sound from your subjects. Without it your video will suck.

 

4. Look at the background first and add depth if you can.

depth-videography-tips

This video has some great depth and strong diagonals to help the eye. You want to make the background as interesting as possible without being too busy (background movement will distract the viewer from the subject) so scouting your location for lighting, sound and background is all very important. Be intentional about your environment unless you can’t be.

 

5. B-Roll is awesome. Get some and then get some more.

b-roll-videography-tips

B-Roll keeps the viewer from getting bored and helps explains your subject’s words. While you can talk about kids dumping milk into a metal canister, the ability for them to see tells them a whole lot more about the entire process.

I usually try and add b-roll around every 4-6 seconds. When you capture b-roll, get at least 5-10 seconds worth a shot. You can always trim it down.

P.S. A pro once told me that he used extensive b-roll to keep people engaged especially when filming a boring or stutter-filled speaker. You can only edit a rough subject so much.

 

6. A cheap tripod is worth its weight in gold.

tripod-videography-tips

Some cheap tripods aren’t, but almost all tripods will help keep a stable, steady shot when you need it. Take the time to get one and it will save you a lot of hassle especially when you are shooting multiple subjects in the same place – a place with good lighting and excellent sound quality.

 

7. Zoom, zoom, zoom is for Miatas – not your audience.

zoom-videography-tips

I know it’s fun to play with auto zooms (bringing things in and out of the frame), but I would forgo it unless you have a serious need to act like a filmmaker.  If you want to zoom in and out, try lining up a different shot, zoom in or out to how you want the shot, and have them say the same thing. Or get another phone/camera and shoot at the same time. Then you’ll have more angles to chose from.

When it comes to good videography, being intentional is very important with your shots but don’t kill yourself over one video interview. Take lots and lots of them and sort through the ones you don’t like. That’s what is so awesome about today’s technology. Get lots of practices, definitely take a few classes if you have time and keep producing those amazing videos.

Also, if you need help with video editing, I  have a quick tutorial on editing with iMovie on an iPhone 6.

If you have a tip you want to share feel free to leave a comment or email me at don.schindler (at) gmail.com.

If you want to use my deck, you can download it from Slideshare.

 

10 Photography Tips for Farmers and Foodies

I recently taught a couple of workshops on photography and videography for beginners to some of our communicators. It’s amazing how advanced technology allows us to produce good photography by just knowing some of the basics.

Now does this mean that you will never need a professional photographer – absolutely not! Professionals have thousands of hours of training and can see things that you and I would never catch. And I don’t claim to be an expert at this at all. I’m just passing along the basics that I’ve learned and that I believe will help you capture better photos while you are on the farm or at the restaurant/market.

Here are 10 tips that I’ve picked up on photography – I hope they help you out.

1. Lighting is everything.

You need good lighting. What makes good lighting? Indirect natural sunlight is awesome. Then after that sunlight. Gray days can be really good as well because they will make the shadows less harsh.

lighting-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of Jalal Hameed Bhatti via Flickr Creative Commons

 

 

Check out the natural light vs. the in-camera flash on food. It can make the food look unnatural or look like it’s floating in space. Look how much texture gets blown out because of the light source.

nature-light-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of The Serious Eats Team

I loved the article on “Beginner’s Guide to Food Photography” from The Serious Eats Team and I recommend you check it out.

2. Look at the background first and add depth if you can.

add-depth-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of Dennis Jarvis via Flickr Creative Commons

This photo is great because it has serious depth, but he’s also using diagonals to drive your eye to the beautiful trees in the slight right of the center of the photo. Instead of being right up on the buildings, it’s great to walk away and look at them from different angles to see the uniques shapes and lines the photograph is producing.

 

3. The Rule of Thirds helps your composition.

rule-of-thirds-photography-tip

The Rule of Thirds courtesy of The Serious Eats Team

The Rule of Thirds is laying out the composition or elements of your photograph along the intersecting lines of the nine boxes created by the grid. Where did you find a grid? Well with most phones and cameras, you can turn on the grid in the camera settings.  This will help you align the subject of your photograph along these lines.

 

4. The eye loves textures and patterns – getting close can help you see them.

close-textures-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of Geraint Rowland via Flickr Creative Commons

Focusing in on your subjects can produce some amazing shots especially with animals (that people normally don’t get too close to). I love the patterns of the fur and foreground grass in juxtaposition to the background signs. You can also see the Rule of Thirds here as well with the off set subject but the dominate eye almost in the center.

 

5. With food, you have control over how to dress it up and style it.

foodie-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of The Serious Eats Team

The Serious Eats Team does an amazing job of showcasing how they dress up this plate of chili. I would recommend going over and reading the entire article. What I took from the article was how much control you have over the food. It’s worth the time to invest to get a good shot of the food.

 

6. Use diagonal lines to guide the eyes.

use-diagonals-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of Berit Watkin via Flickr Creative Commons

The diagonals of this picture are fairly obvious just like the picture above but I would also take note of the gaze of the animals as well and you can see how their gaze with the diagonals drive the eye to the center of the picture.

 

7. Use natural frames to frame your subjects.

natural-frames-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of MFer Photography via Flickr Creative Commons

Here’s a great photo that uses a natural frame as well as symmetry and patterns. You can definitely see the subjects (close to Rule of Thirds) framed by the building’s doors and then off set by the lean-to shed on the right. Great composition here.

 

8. Symmetry is pleasing to the eye.

symmetry-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of George Thomas via Flickr Creative Commons

You can see with this photo that the building is almost dead center and looks symmetrical even with the missing boards. But one thing you probably didn’t notice is the natural framing – do you see the two birds at the top. Great composition.

 

9. Rules are meant to be broken.

change-the-rules-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of The Serious Eats Team

There was a rule a while back about plating food on blue plates because it would make the food pop! That’s not true. It really depends on the food itself and the angle of how you shoot it. Here is a great example of food being placed in a natural flowing way on plates that put emphasis on the food and how the eye is moving around them. And it’s also cheese! Yay, cheese! Great composition by The Serious Eats team.

 

10. Take lots of photos – you’ll make mistakes but that’s ok.

practice-photography-tip

Photos courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

When it comes to good photography, being intentional is very important with your shots but don’t kill yourself over one photo. Take lots and lots of them and sort through the ones you don’t like. That’s what is so awesome about today’s technology. Get lots of practices, definitely take a few classes if you have time and keep producing those amazing photos.

If you have tip you want to share, feel free to leave a comment or email me at don.schindler (at) gmail.

If you want to use my deck, you can download it from Slideshare.

 

 

 

2015 Consumer Insights or What To Do About The Modern Mobile And Social Media Wielding Customer

When it comes to insights on today’s consumer, there are a lot of experts out there giving some expert opinion. I don’t consider myself one of them. But I do read a ton on the subject and I’ve gathered these nuggets.

From Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s book, Age of Context, there are several trends converging that will definitely define the next generation of products and services.

Social, Mobile, Big Data, Sensors, GPS Location.

With social, we spend more time doing that online than anything one thing – hence the popularity of Facebook and Twitter.

With mobile, we spend more time looking at our smartphones than our TVs. And guess what? We carry that device with us more than any other one thing. It used to be my wallet but that doesn’t even make it to my bedside table.

With big data, we have the opportunity to collect more digital information about our customers than ever. Buying trends matched with demographics, psychographics, and lifestyle can bring back some very predictive analysis of future trends.

With sensors, we are capturing more information about ourselves and using that to help maintain better lives – sleep, activity, location, food intake and giving this information to the web and the companies that promise to help us make better choices.

With GPS location, we can get better routes home to avoid traffic but it also gives insight to the companies trying to advertise to us exactly where we are and what we are doing.

Now all of this may seem very big brotherish but I believe it’s actually going to help us keep from wasting time and making poor decisions without all the right information.

 

 

So a big customer insight is the Moment of Need.

The Moment of Need is when the customer figures out they have a problem and they need a solution immediately – where do they go? They touch the nearest device and expect the answer to be right there.

moment-of-need

The Moment of Need

The customer tells us this:

I need the information right now, no matter what device I’m using. It needs to help me and, BTW, I need to find interesting and in terms I understand. GOT THAT? LOL

So let’s breakdown what the customer said into bite-size chunks that we can work with.

BE FOUND
Digital is overtaking the physical world. Understanding how search engines and social media work is crucial in the digital landscape. If you can’t get found organically, it’s time to pony up and buy it. What should you buy? The terms that you want to be found for.

BE FLEXIBLE
Your website or social properties should look great no matter what device the customer is using. Is your website using responsive design or is at least mobile friendly? Can I operate it with my thumb? Would it be better to have an application instead of relying on the web?

BE HELPFUL
I love my friend, Jay Baer, advice here. Stop getting in the way and make yourself useful. Don’t just talk about yourself and the problems only you solve. Talk about the industry you are in, the problems the industry faces, help them solve their problems even if you aren’t the solution to that specific issue. They will remember the help you gave them.

BE INTERESTING
Corporate speak is dead as well as logos. Your people are your best shot at staying relevant. If your people are your best assets, then why hide them behind a logo?

You need to set a voice for the company that matches the brand and then open up your staff to have a voice but teach them the best ways to do it with communications and social media training. And when they screw up as they most certainly will, then give them some place to go if they get in trouble like the PR and HR teams. Help them be proactive not reactive to your industry with a voice that is authentic.

Now the the Moment of Need has occurred, the next insight pops in. The Moment of Need plus Emotion and Logic Balance.

emotion-logic-balance

Customers need approval to satisfy both emotion and logic.

What is Emotion/Logic Balance? It’s the time in which the customer takes the time to justify his emotional need for the product or service with the logical side. He is searching for approval of his choice and he will find it.

The customer tells us now:

I need to know if this is the right thing to buy? What do the experts say? Do my friends’ approve? Is it the right price? Can I get it cheaper?

BE THE EXPERT CHOICE
Reviews from strangers count almost as much as reviews from friends. If you talk a lot about the product and service or about the industry, then you probably are expert at helping them make this choice for them.

People will refer to more experts as the cost of the product/service goes up so you need to be in multiple locations giving advice. And they will pay attention to the expert’s own reviews. Guess who is trusted the most – the academic/industry expert and a person like yourself according to Edelman’s Trust Barometer.

BE EASY
When you make it easy for them to ask their friends if they would approve of them buying your product, you are asking them to show you off. Would they? Yes, they want to.

This is why demoing product/services are so popular as well as taking things back if they don’t like them (Zappos model). This is also why beta invitations are so popular. They get to show off to their friends that they are now “in” and have the potential of letting them in as well adding to their social currency.

BE TRANSPARENT
Back in the day you didn’t have to worry about video recorders and camera that could instantly spread information via social networks. Customers now think they have the right to know what’s going on behind the closed doors and with more companies showing what is happening behind the scenes, then a customers trust goes up.

But for those that don’t, customers get a lot more suspicious than in the past. You can’t just say trust us anymore. You need to think more along the lines of “We’ll prove it to you so you can trust us.”

white-glove-love

Everyone wants to be treated special because they are special.

So we have the Moment of Need combined with the Emotion and Logic Balance and finished with White Glove Love.

What do I mean by White Glove Love? This is the customer experience matching the promises that were made via the Moment of Need and the Emotion/Logic Balance.

The customer says now:

Why can’t I just click to buy? Or press to buy? Or snapchat to buy? I want it today, can I pick it up now? Wow, so I got it – did you ever think of doing this with it? Now I don’t like it, you better take it back.

BE QUICK
The less fields, the better. Or how about no fields and I just touch my phone? Consumers love to buy as quickly as possible to get on with their lives.

BE COLLABORATIVE
If they really love the product, chances are they are going to tell you. Or show you how they are using it. Maybe it’s in ways you didn’t even envision. Make sure you are open to their feedback and if they want to recommend ways to improve it, be open to those. It will probably improve the product/service even more.

BE RESPONSIVE
The support call trees and email routing black holes are going the way of the dinosaurs. They want to talk to real people. They expect the product to do what you said it can do. They want their money back if they don’t have a receipt or it was a gift. Those that serve quickly and friendly, win over those with obstacles to climb.

With the power that customers have nowadays, I don’t see these trends and insights going away – in fact I see most of them as getting bigger and taking over more budget.

For example, I believe that customer experience and service will be the driving force of many products and service – it’s why you see many CMOs driving a customer-centric model.

Here’s a few takeaways to remember.

  1. Social and mobile are currently transforming all communications and marketing and are going to grow exponentially.
  2. Your customers will lead your company unless you meet their digital demands.
  3. You can get ahead of the competition if you adopt a digital mindset with your communications.

So what do you think? Am I missing the boat or did I miss a few crucial insights? Let me know and I’m happy to add them.

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