“Show me the money!”

– Rod Tidwell

Who says B2B video content can’t be funny, entertaining or shocking?

People appreciate it when you can explain something both thoroughly and succinctly. Of course, that can sometimes be a tall order…but that was more or less the request that we had from Vestra Logistics, when they came to us looking for a product video. But what made this project so unique?

1. DON’T START WITH WHAT YOU WANT

Vestra needed a way to explain their new pricing model, which was set to revolutionize their industry…but they were struggling.

“I was pitching this myself for a year, and people were going, ‘Nah, I don’t understand that. It looks like you’re trying to screw me or something.’ ”

– Steve Docalavich
President/CEO, Vestra Logistics LLC

The pricing model itself wasn’t the problem; Vestra’s supply chain solutions focus specifically on transparent pricing and honest rates that benefit their customers…it just was a model that said customers weren’t familiar with, and they kept wondering, “What’s the catch?”

Vestra had already created a number of whiteboard explainer videos in the past to try and clarify how their pricing model worked, but they had not met with the success they were hoping for.

The company thought they just hadn’t made the right whiteboard video, and they asked us to create one…but then they sat down to a Road Map Session.

Their leadership team and Optimum’s digital marketing team went over every aspect of Vestra as a business, from their prospect personas, pain points, and competitors to their corporate color scheme.

One of the factors we pointed out to them was that whiteboard explainers might succeed at communicating how their product worked, but not other important elements about it – such as why they made it in the first place. That “why” was the memorable aspect that would make people more willing to understand the “how”.

The product in question was Vestra’s pricing model. It’s a paradigm shift in logistics not so much because it’s merely “different,’ but because it focuses on honest pricing and doesn’t prioritize Vestra’s bottom line over their clients’.

By the end of the meeting, we knew we’d done our job well because everyone on Optimum’s team ended up as a casual expert on logistics pricing models.

Even though most of us have never worked in that industry for a single day of our lives, our outside perspective and the thorough discussion ensured that all of us learned how to explain freight services off the cuff both backwards and forwards. And if we greenhorns could understand it, we were confident that Vestra’s clientele would, too.

Together we determined that TRANSPARENCY was the core of Vestra’s message, and so their videos needed to reflect that.

And right away we made one thing clear: there was not going to be any whiteboard explainer video.

2. FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU NEED

Vestra’s leadership team walked out of the session with a Road Map that listed three ideal videos for their needs, and a plan about how to build a campaign around them.

The first asset on the list was a video of Vestra’s CEO himself actually sitting down and explaining his reasons behind the honest pricing. As somebody who had previously worked on “the other side of the table” in logistics, he knew firsthand about the flaws in traditional third-party pricing, and so he was one of the most qualified individuals to explain that to his customers in a “face to face” format.

“The ability for the videos to take the place of a long conversation has been invaluable. So I can give a video that’s ninety seconds long, and it really explains what we’re doing in a nutshell better than I can.”

– Steve Docalavich
President/CEO, Vestra Logistics LLC

Our second recommendation was to begin building a library of interviews with existing customers, because testimonials would go even further for a lot of prospects who wanted to hear what real people thought of the service Vestra was offering.

Beyond the testimonials and the CEO’s explainer video, the third asset in the portfolio was a video that would help Vestra to communicate their product – but also give the company more of a personality, and communicate why they were doing business this way. That was the gap that their whiteboard animations had failed to fill in the past.

As per the plan laid out by the road map, the team would write scripts for both long and short-form versions of this product video. The different running times would be key, because we knew that not everyone on Vestra’s site or on social media would have the attention span for a full two-minute video.

After that came the big question: how many ways can we communicate “transparency”?

3. THEN GET CREATIVE

Out came the drawing board and the high-octane coffee. Any idea we had, no matter how dumb it seemed, got written down. A speech about logistics by an “Honest Abe” look-alike. A Wheel-of-Fortune show to determine shipping prices. A spokesman getting splattered in mud.

Eventually, after a long and laughter-filled afternoon, the Optimum team picked our top three concepts. Out of them, one had simply stuck in our heads and kept coming back to mind more than any other – which was a sign to us that the same would be true for prospects as well.

How about a salesman giving his pitch in nothing but boxer briefs to prove his honesty?

When we met with Vestra and showed them our suggestions, that option won out. There was still a script to create and a storyboard to doodle, but the idea was solid. It would appeal to their particular prospect personas, which was vital, and it would communicate transparency more than effectively…not to mention it would very likely generate a few laughs as well.

We all knew that the concept was a risky one, certainly…but it was extremely memorable, which made it the perfect choice.

From there came the production process. The Optimum team reached out to a number of costume designers and found one who could create a tailored business suit out of clear vinyl (boy, those were fun phone conversations to have). The designer we hired even went above and beyond by hunting down transparent buttons; creating a clear dress shirt to go under the jacket; and then lining the apparel with yellow ribbon to give the entire outfit more definition – as well as a dashing, trim look.

But why stop with just the suit? While we designed fake checks with the Vestra logo on them and waited for the vinyl graphs to be shipped in, our creative director hunted down a see-through briefcase and a set of transparent Oxford shoes, to boot! Actors vetted, locations scouted, crews booked; all the preparations fell into place. The boxer briefs evolved into a bright yellow speedo, which just happened to be Vestra’s color.

Then came the fateful day of production. Twenty people formed the cadre on location, from the main actors, the extras, the client, and the crew. With a shot list in hand, we progressed through the needed angles and actions with the whole location at our disposal. It was all hands on deck to make a successful shoot – even the still photographer voluntarily jumped in to help move furniture. The biggest unforseen challenge? Defogging the transparent vinyl suit.

4. ALWAYS MEASURE THE RESULTS

After the videos were complete, the journey was far from over. Vestra’s website was still under construction, and a digital marketing campaign didn’t quite feel feasible yet.

Since they knew that pitching the product in meetings had been one of their major obstacles, they just started there.

At the next few meetings with prospects, the sales team used the new video portfolio to explain their complex pricing model in a simple and dynamic way.

“In the two weeks or so that my guy has been out there pitching with these videos – and it’s only been him – [we’ve made] about twenty sales in twenty pitches.
I was pitching this myself for a year, and people were going, ‘Nah, I don’t understand that…’ And now I’ve got a sales guy in a meeting just clicking on these videos, and they’re going, ‘I get it.’ It upsets me, actually…”

– Steve Docalavich
President/CEO, Vestra Logistics LLC

Instead of monitoring digital analytics on their video to start with, the Vestra team had the unique experience of watching their audience react live – and the results were hard to argue with.

Suddenly more and more of those meetings ended with signed contracts.

Vestra even had to pump the breaks a bit and postpone any digital campaigning with the video, in order to keep their business from expanding too quickly and becoming unstable!

But the fact remains: by sitting down and determining their marketing goals and the core of their message, Vestra was able to move beyond any plain whiteboard animations and create a corporate identity for themselves.

Sales presentations that have opened just with the CEO’s short explainer video have closed over $5M in revenue as a result.

“I attribute it 100% to these videos. It’s $5 million in our pocket we wouldn’t have otherwise.”

– Steve Docalavich
President/CEO, Vestra Logistics LLC

And the best part?

Vestra’s already revolutionizing the world of third-party logistics, and their digital marketing campaigns have barely started yet.