Episode Thumbnail
Episode 23  |  43:24 min

Making Media that Drives Business Results (with Luke Hale, Founder and Owner of Masters of Engagement)

Episode 23  |  43:24 min  |  05.06.2021

Making Media that Drives Business Results (with Luke Hale, Founder and Owner of Masters of Engagement)

This is a podcast episode titled, Making Media that Drives Business Results (with Luke Hale, Founder and Owner of Masters of Engagement). The summary for this episode is: <p><span style="color: rgb(32, 33, 36);">Luke Hale is the founder and owner of Masters of Engagement, a production and consulting company. Masters of Engagement was built on Luke’s widely varied background in media creation — which helps media producers understand and create content strategies and engaging media.</span></p>
Takeaway 1 | 00:55 MIN
Creating media with purpose
Takeaway 2 | 00:42 MIN
What type of sales funnel content converts?
Takeaway 3 | 00:38 MIN
Media has to be engaging
Takeaway 4 | 00:39 MIN
Nike has it figured out
Takeaway 5 | 00:49 MIN
Anyone can tell a compelling story
Takeaway 6 | 00:49 MIN
Know your audience and how your product will impact them

Luke Hale is the founder and owner of Masters of Engagement, a production and consulting company. Masters of Engagement was built on Luke’s widely varied background in media creation — which helps media producers understand and create content strategies and engaging media.

In this episode, Luke unleashes a wealth of knowledge about media production, creative content, and what’s next in media and marketing:

  • How different types of businesses tell their story using media
  • Using humor as a tool to break barriers, lighten up the buyer’s journey, and engage the audience long enough to deliver more information
  • Brands that are nailing engaging media, and what exactly is making their efforts so successful
  • The emergence of lifestyle curation to enhance storytelling
  • Every business has a sexy angle: How businesses can find the spark and tell a compelling story despite a “boring” business solution
  • How organizational courage and trust between departments enables more effective marketing
  • Defining conflict and applying it to your creative projects
  • The benefits of passive brainstorming
  • How content production is resuming to fill a post-COVID media vacuum

Where to find Luke and Masters of Engagement:

Listen to Video Production Daily (audio-only)

Watch Video Production Daily (video)

Check out the Masters of Engagement website


Apple Podcasts – https://apple.co/2xU2dYq

Spotify – https://spoti.fi/2XecKbF

Google Podcasts – https://bit.ly/3d5C7CC

YouTube – http://bit.ly/TobeAgency_YouTube

Thanks for watching and listening!

Guest Thumbnail
Luke Hale
Video ProducerLuke on LinkedIn

Luke Hale: I do think that oftentimes we have a misconception that if we're really just succinct and clear with our ideas in a piece of media, then everybody's going to understand those ideas. But the piece of media has to be engaging. You have to pull the viewer through the piece of media or else they're never even going to get exposed to the ideas, right? Most of us, when we engage with a piece of media, it is just for a second or two, as we're making a decision as to whether or not we want to continue to engage with it, and then we're moving on.

Jared: That's Luke Hale, founder and creator of Masters of Engagement. On this episode, we sit down and talk to Luke about what it takes and what it looks like to create engaging media, and we also dive into how difficult it really is to have a daily podcast. This is Lights, Camera, Grow. What's going on, guys? Welcome back to the Lights, Camera, Grow Podcast. My name is Jared. I'm sitting here again today with Ho, and today on the podcast, we have Luke Hale. How's it going, Luke?

Luke Hale: Hey, Jared, Ho, great to be with you. You guys are bright shining stars. Happy to be on the podcast.

Jared: Thanks, man. We appreciate the love. Luke owns and runs Masters of Engagement. It's his own brand. It's his own production company, and I will leave it at that because I know you're going to do a better job of introducing it than I am.

Luke Hale: Yeah, Masters of Engagement, it's funny, it's a nuanced brand, right? It's not one of those obvious things where it fits in like other players in the marketplace where you can just say, hey, it's an agency or a production company. I have worked as a producer for a very long time creating media, so I've done everything from heavy corporate product stuff to dance, exercise, comedies, and thousands of videos in- between, love producing content. Eventually, you produce enough content that somebody says, hey, we've got unlimited production budget, why don't you go make something for us? When you work on those projects, you want to make sure that people are getting a great return on their investment and it doesn't always work out right? Great production value does not always equal great results when it comes to media. So, Masters of Engagement, I set up to basically be a consultancy and education around, well, how do you make engaging media? How do you make media that drives business results? So, it's really a brand designed to help people like me, media producers, to create more engaging content and really kind of have an engagement strategy and understand video engagement strategy. Then also, help businesses understand how do I layer video on top of what my business is doing to have an impact on the marketplace? Whatever I'm trying to have. We're all trying to make mind viruses, or just make sure that our ideas resonate. Masters of Engagement doesn't necessarily produce content. We help other content creators master the strategy piece of what they do.

Jared: All right. I guess let's dive into it. When you're talking about creating engaging media, so how are you gauging that on your end? Are you doing like a lot of focus groups or are we just talking about purely metrics? What does that look like?

Luke Hale: Well, you can't ignore any of it, right? You can't have bad metrics and focus groups that love it. I find the most common thing that creators have, if they've really mastered the production value and they create great lucky media, customers get really excited. And the feedback that you get when you show it to them is usually positive, but that doesn't mean that the piece of media is actually going to function in the way that it needs to. So, you kind of have to know the goal beforehand, right? Otherwise, you're creating for ambiguity and that just doesn't work. The real question is, hey, have you won more people to your idea? If you know how to measure that, you're in great shape, either additional subscribers to your channel or you're going to move more product. I love sales funnels because that's just the easiest place to see whether or not your media is performing. Have you put media throughout your sales funnel and can you look at conversion points and see how the media is working from one conversion point to the next? And are you moving an increased percentage of people through that funnel? That's like the easiest place to put media and measure it. There's definitely places where you put media like brand awareness that it's a little bit more challenging, especially if you're not getting any kind of great metrics in return. Yeah. Then, even if people watch the piece of media, it's like, well, was that the objective? Views is such an interesting metric that everybody seems to use, and really, it usually measures the effectiveness of the publishing platform. It's not a great measurement for the video producer or the video creator to really gauge how well they're doing.

Ho: That's really interesting. Out of curiosity, when you do create media for sales funnels, what kind of media do you see working really well and how do you see companies utilizing that really well?

Luke Hale: Yeah, it's so interesting. Another thing that I do that I set up to promote what I'm doing with Masters of Engagement is a podcast Video Production Daily, and I create a lot of media there. One of the things I did this season is I talked to five different video producers who work in different industries with different objectives, and we looked in detail at, what are they doing? What is their story structure? And how well does it convert? I did find it really interesting that people that work solely in e- commerce are using different story templates than people that are working in entertainment or raising money for nonprofits or having different objectives. When it comes specifically to sales funnels, like if you're trying to make a sale, I think humor works really, really well, and getting attention top of funnel is a really challenging process. I think that media has to be simple, it has to be clear, it has to introduce itself. Well, you have to know what brand is being represented or what it's going to ask you to do. But then, with any piece of media, anytime you're trying to sell any idea, I think it really comes down to, can your piece of media create some empathy with your audience? Can your audience start to see the problem that you solve and can you start to win over their mind share so that they can see themselves using your solution and kind of being the hero of their own story?

Jared: That was a great summary. You're speaking our language. One of the philosophies behind our agency is, can we produce stuff that meets art and science? So, it's speaking to exactly what you're talking about there. We think about it in a very similar fashion like, where does this fit in the sales funnel? The humor thing is interesting to me. So, we've seen humor run from small brands, launching brands, to giant brands like GEICO, maybe a smaller brand that was launching, the most famous one could possibly be like Dollar Shave Club. The humor that you're telling, when your, I guess, goal of it to push them through, is it, I want them to remember this and feel, obviously you want them to feel empathy with the brand, but what's the trigger you're looking for in humor specifically?

Luke Hale: Well, I think the humor pulls down a shield, right? Like, oh, we don't have to take this interaction quite so serious. That can be really beneficial if you're in a funnel environment, where it's like, okay, all of the sudden, this relationship feels a little bit more casual and I'm going to jump in, and I can engage them in the next step, because the next step is probably also going to feel not so confrontational. Then, humor also has the added value of giving it a little bit of vitality. Then also, if you look at engagement level analytics, like how long are people consuming a piece of media, if it's really a factually driven piece or you know you're trying to give people stats, people are going to watch it until they feel like they understand, and then they're going to move on. If it's comedy, if it's humor and you can hit them with the joke every three seconds, they don't know the last 10 jokes in the video unless they consume the video. Part of it too, I think is just mind share, like how can you get as much watch time as you can to expose people to more of your ideas. I do think that oftentimes we have a misconception that if we're really just succinct and clear with our ideas in a piece of media, then everybody's going to understand those ideas. But the piece of media has to be engaging. You have to pull the viewer through the piece of media or else they're never even going to get exposed to the ideas, right? Most of us, when we engage with a piece of media, it is just for a second or two, as we're making a decision as to whether or not we want to continue to engage with it, and then we're moving on. It's critical, I think, to really think about the psychology of how people are going to interact with your media, why they're going to stick through it. And then you're going to have your opportunity to make your impact.

Ho: When you're trying to tell a story or keep these people moving through the sales funnel and you're creating media for it, how do you do that with just a product? Just-

Jared: Like a visual maybe.

Ho: Exactly. Yeah. I mean, you can show a sexy product, well, what does your process there look like?

Luke Hale: Well, I think it's, does the theme resonate with the audience? It's funny because media can be used for two things, right? You can communicate to an audience, but you can also use the media that you create consistently to gather audiences. If you're setting up your brand or your media effort to gather audiences that are going to become a fan of what you're doing, then it's really important that you create thematic content that resonates with your audience. If I'm all about showing that I have a great sense of style, then I'm going to associate with brands that put out that they have a great sense of style. So, what is the theme? Is the theme simplicity, ease of use? You can create thematic content that might not even feature your product, but what it does is it signals that your brand is aligned with a problem your customers are trying to solve.

Jared: Yeah. I think a good representation for anybody listening, it would be, I think this happens a lot in car commercials, and to some extent, I guess, other product commercials, but mainly cars always come to mind, because if you're looking at like a sports car or a family car, maybe they're only showing the product for like a second, but they're displaying the lifestyle that you're trying to attain. Right? Like Maserati commercial is going to show you the yacht and the yacht club, the golf course, and all these other things that are loosely, a few clicks away from the car, but it's going to invoke that feeling like, oh, this is why I need this car because I got to get up into this style of life. I always think of car commercials in that fashion.

Ho: Yeah. I agree. Not to keep going off on a tangent, but Lamborghini, I don't know if you saw or you guys know that quote, but the CEO is like, we don't create ads because our audience isn't watching ads on TV.

Jared: Right, that's a great-

Ho: And I was like...

Jared: That's pretty gangster.

Ho: crosstalk. I love it, first of all.

Jared: That's pretty gangster.

Luke Hale: crosstalk. He's just got to get that quote to spread.

Ho: Exactly.

Jared: Yeah, that's pretty gangster.

Ho: I mean, they're creating media for different uses too. Yeah, that's fascinating.

Jared: Okay, so let's jump really quick. Or I guess pivot. Pivot's been used too much in 2020, so I don't want to use it too much, but we'll pivot right here.

Luke Hale: Liar, let's jump in.

Jared: What's a recent product that you have not worked with that you've seen that had a great story, or maybe it's adjacent to an industry you're working with that you've seen, you're like, wow, that's a really great idea and a great story that they created through that product?

Luke Hale: Yeah. You know what's interesting? This is going to be a left field example. You know how we were all so obsessed like three years ago with what Red Bull was doing and their ability to tell stories and do live events, like the Red Bull is still an admirable brand, but I think that we were really so impressed with like sending a man to the edge of space and watching him jump off. Maybe we're a little space obsessed. It's a space example I've got for you. But I thought it was fascinating to watch the most recent SpaceX launch and to watch the astronauts pulling up in a Tesla. The infrastructure that they had built around the rocket, it wasn't just the scaffolding that was necessary. They put a little bit of polish on it. They put it in the future just a little bit. Just by having them pull up in the Tesla Model E, or whatever it was, maybe it was a Model Y, I'm not sure. But they pull up and it's just showing you the vision of the future, right? Like, this is the future where you get out of your sedan and you get into a rocket ship and you go to space. I think that, that is incredible storytelling, even though that's probably, just using the word storytelling is a hyperbole maybe. It tends to be a buzz word, and I hate that, because storytelling is something. But I do think that they've given you a vision of the future. I thought that that launch, it was a SpaceX launch, it wasn't a Tesla event, but what an incredible product placement and the way that they've really kind of built the vision for the future. As a kid, I was a NASA fan boy, and so now it's just so easy for me to slide into that fandom ship there and just love what Tesla's doing and what SpaceX is doing.

Jared: Yeah. Guilty. I'll maybe expand a little bit about that because I was pretty hyped about the launch too. I grew up in Florida on the space coast, so very familiar with all the space programs throughout the'80s and'90s, ad even when they sort of cut in, in the 2000s. But you're right, to see the storytelling, and again, it's more of like, this is what the future can be. It's great to have the product in there, but the vision that Elon has or his team has to string that together to give you that hope like this can be that for everybody is amazing. I think, I mean, but the branding is there, right? Because SpaceX designed these spacesuits that probably didn't need to look like... They need to look like a Tesla interior, but they do. The interior of the rocket looks like a Tesla car. I mean, even down to like the carbon fiber seating, like just all the details are there. Yeah, you're right. That is a great way of more, I guess, abstract storytelling, but yeah, it paints a perfect picture of what it can be.

Luke Hale: If you want to get into strict storytelling, I think the best storytelling brand of our generation, and it's always easy to pick the big ones. Because it's okay, who are the brands that everybody knows they're probably doing storytelling really well?

Jared: Like Disney, Pixar, right?

Luke Hale: Absolutely. I really think that it's Nike. Nike has really figured out how to position their brand in individual stories. Nike is never the hero in their own storytelling. They're always elevating an athlete or someone who's done something incredible. Their brand is the sidekick, it's the mentor, it's the Obi- Wan Kenobi. The swoosh just happens to be there as part of the story, but they're able to tell incredible human stories about athletes that have done incredible things, and they do it as the sidekick. And they don't try and elevate their brand to the hero status. I really think that, that's opened up a world of storytelling for Nike that has made them one of the most beloved brands in the nation. Right?

Ho: That's so true. Yeah.

Jared: Yeah.

Ho: Every campaign that they run is more than athlete, or even if you don't agree, whatever your political stance is, but they tied themselves to BLM, black lives matter, and it's always a story that's involved with the product. Right? That's really cool.

Luke Hale: Yeah. I thought their more political stuff right there. Their partnering with Colin Kaepernick, it's so interesting, because they had been... I mean, they're a human brand and that was them coming out and saying, we're a human brand and we're going to stand by people that are doing incredible things, even if it's more than athletics. Yeah, I think that, that was an interesting one to watch, but it was the same template. Standing up to oppression is equivalent in the brand story, if you look at it on a simple template to achieving something great athletically. Again, the swoosh is the sidekick, it's not the main character.

Jared: One that comes to mind that is probably more recent, but I think Target actually has a really good hold on doing this. They've painted this picture of, not only the store is great and it's amazing. Obviously they've taken a completely different aspect of a department store from like Walmarts, and even Costco to some extent, but I think what they do about just making it so inviting into your home, where they've opened up all these different product lines, because they've painted this picture of like, this is what life could be. All their ads, and again, I feel like maybe the target symbol shows up a little bit more than the Nike swoosh does, but I feel like it's the same thing, like the symbols of sidekick, which is why they painted on a dog, things like that, but yeah, that's interesting.

Luke Hale: Yeah. This is where it gets really interesting, because then you start melding it with business strategy. Marketing and business are so intertwined, because what Target is doing there is really product curation, like lifestyle curation, and that's what so many of us are willing to jump in for. I think Trader Joe's is another example of that. They produce very little media. I'm not even sure if they have an official Instagram account. I think I heard that maybe they do now.

Jared: They do have a podcast.

Luke Hale: Yeah, right. Then they've got like the flyer. But they do such a great job of curation that the story kind of tells itself. I think target is a good example of that also.

Jared: Yeah, curation is a better way to crosstalk.

Ho: Yeah, I like that, because actually now that you say that, I think about Trader Joe's, they understand who their audience is, and their audience is not on Instagram, they're listening to podcasts. So, it's like, if they're going to create media, it's very specific and they curate stories to where their listeners are or their fans are, if you will, if you're a fan of Trader Joe's. If I can just kind of ask you a follow up question to that, it's easy to talk about the Nikes and the...

Jared: Target, Trader Joe's.

Ho: Target's of the world. But we work with a lot of, for the lack of better term, like companies that think that they're not sexy, right? Or like small crosstalk.

Jared: Right, very business to business driven.

Ho: Yeah, how can they start to adapt that?

Luke Hale: I mean, I know that story so well. Every business has a sexy angle. Everybody's got a good side.

Ho: I love that, yeah.

Luke Hale: If you're in business, you solve a problem for a person, right? There are people that are interested in solving that problem. You've got to be able to identify who your audience is and tell a story in a way that your audience can be that swoosh and you can be the sidekick to whatever problem it is that they're trying to solve. Human beings are also very predictable in the themes that resonate with us and the things that we want to accomplish, the aspirations that we have. I think that it can be very easy for any brand to find an opportunity to tell a really compelling story. I know that people like to dog on some certain technologies or B2B storytellers that is not as glamorous of an industry, but I find so much rewarding work there because there are really interesting stories. You just have to work at it. You have to think of the story structure and story science. It's not the obvious story, but that's okay. Because yeah, I think any business out there can tell a story as compelling as Nike if they think about it hard enough. Maybe if you sell servers for a B2B use case, you're going to have to really think about it, but what are you enabling people to do? There's empathy that can be driven. You can help people have a human experience when relating to your brand.

Jared: Yeah, I actually have a good example, and we probably give these guys a lot of love, maybe even too much at some extent, but I think Whiskey is a great example of doing like kind of sexy, cool, creative B2B storytelling, where they paint this picture of how their product is. The product is almost a secondary thought, because you start building this brand affinity, as they would call it, they coined that term in a lot of their stuff with just how they operate, how they think about things, they're really kind of edgy and funny and cutting edge, and sort of, they portray that office lifestyle that you might want to be in. At the end of the day, they're just a video player that reports better metrics, but I think they do a great job at that.

Luke Hale: Yeah. They have a brand identity for sure, and it's one where you can get to know the personality, and if you stick around and you look long enough, you're actually going to get to know multiple people from within the company too, which I think is really interesting how they've not been afraid to create celebrities from within their organization. I think that, that's really admirable. I think there's a lot of companies that put up a bit of an iron curtain and you can't see the human on the other side of the bran, and I think that, that's usually a mistake.

Ho: Yeah. That's the way business was done for the last 50, 100 years, if not longer. There was always that sense of professionalism.

Jared: Right, there's the business and then there's the people that run the business and they were never really mixed or matched the same. Let's jump again. Actually, you touched on this, so business and marketing, you mentioned sort of work hand in hand, and I guess, in a lot of companies, sometimes they get separated too far. I feel the same way about creative and marketing. Sometimes it gets separated too far. How have you been able to sort of handle merging the two or thinking about the two since it's very, very tied into your strategy.

Luke Hale: Yeah. You can't have that divide. I think that, that's where you get poor engagement strategies when you have that divide. So often, what you see, when you have people that have that unlimited production budget, is beautiful content that just doesn't tell a story, it just doesn't make an impact. You're right in addressing the problem, finding a solution is so organization specific. Because a lot of it is about organizational courage. How do you break down the walls that exist right there? Then, a lot of it is about trust too, so how do you work with people for a sustained amount of time where you can get trust? Too often, the creatives want to tell a compelling story, an edgy story, but it's not in harmony with what the brand is trying to accomplish, right? Maybe they picked the wrong theme or they're pointing out the wrong conflict. I've seen some really incredible pieces produced for some major brands, that the brand has totally shelved, and people would have been extremely interested in the piece and their incredible videos and the world will never see them because the creators pick the wrong conflict. There's a huge amount of empathy that has to be there for this to work, and it has to go both ways. Marketing has to have empathy for the creative and realize what they're going through, and maybe it's because I am a creative, I really feel like it's even more critical that the creatives have empathy for marketing and for what the brand is and what the brand stands for, and that they listen to the minutia of what is the conflict that we need to elevate in our story. Brands don't usually want to talk about conflict, right? But the storytellers, they have to think about it, and they have to be able to discern what it is, oftentimes without bringing it up in the pre- production process in order to really nail the piece and to get people interested and then also to get the brand to like it. That is a huge mistake that I've seen, is people walk away from those pre- production meetings with the wrong idea, as far as what is the conflict in the story? Then they go elevate that conflict. If you're showing an internal struggle that the company is having, it's never going to fly, it's never going to go out there, so you need to make sure that you're aligning with the conflict that the customer's trying to overcome, and you really understand what the brand is trying to accomplish. Then you can go tell the right story. But again, these are relationships that are not forged over one project or two. I really think the very successful relationships are longer- term relationships, where... Because the nuance matters, and really getting to know a brand that you're going to be producing content for, it's completely critical for nailing this and bringing down that wall that exists between marketing and creative.

Jared: Yeah, I can really, actually really, really agree with you that the creative side almost has to lean more into having more empathy for the marketing side to see what they're going through. Because a lot of times, what they're going through, it's not fun, just to be honest. A lot of it is not fun, and it's obviously very results driven sometimes.

Luke Hale: It is results driven. I think creatives can have a lot of fun once they start to open their mind to what are the problems that the business is trying to solve with media.

Jared: Yeah. In fact, I actually think I work better when I get pushed into a box and I'm sort of like, okay, now these are the parameters you have to work with and these are the levers that you can pull and push, that's it. Then from there, it's like, oh, well, to me, it becomes a little easier because now I'm not often the abyss looking for some creative conquest on my own. So, I guess, maybe I think a little bit differently than somebody who's maybe on the more pure creative side, who's just like, no, I have my idea and vision. I'm going to go execute it one way or another.

Luke Hale: Well, that happens a lot, where creatives, they have this project that they've been wanting to do, and then all of a sudden, a brand wants to partner with them, so they're going to tell that story or make that project right, and they could have plugged in any one of 10, 000 brands. It's fun for the creative, and it can be career elevating to have those experiences, but that's not how you build those long- term relationships if you don't have empathy for what the brand is actually trying to do.

Jared: Yeah. The thing is like, if you sort of take a back seat and you can work into eventually getting the trust and the ability to tell that vision over a longer relationship time.

Luke Hale: Yeah, and you can find a way to let off creative steam. Your passion projects, they need to exist. They need to come into the world. There are opportunities to pitch branded content, where you're going in, you're making what you want to make, and then you get a brand to support and sponsor it. What are you trying to build? What are you trying to build? I think if you're trying to become the next Spike Lee, then that's what you should do. And you shouldn't be trying to audit what brands are trying to accomplish. But if you're trying to grow an agency or you're trying to create lasting relationships with brands that you want to help to elevate, then it's a different ball game. What is the end goal? You got to think of that when you get started, but you're definitely going to approach those scenarios differently.

Ho: You mentioned conflict earlier. Because that seems like the first approach, like defining the conflict seems to be step one to me, for any kind of brand to tell their story. How do you concept that? Where you even start with that? Because like for example, again, a B2B company, what are some like... I don't know. I don't know how to ask you this without giving you like a specific company, you know what I mean? But...

Luke Hale: Yeah. It's so interesting because it's this elementary exercise, but if you don't undertake it for every single project, your project is going to be a failure. What I think about first is, who is the audience that this business or organization is trying to talk to? Okay, what is the transformation that they're trying to make in this audience? They're either going from unaware of the product to aware of the product or interested in the product to purchasing the product. Whatever that transformation is, how can you tell a story... Now, it's going to sound really simple and we'll abstract it a little bit. But how do you tell a story of someone who's already made that transition from unaware to aware? How did their life change? Maybe you're just going to tell yourself this whole hypothetical scenario, right? Okay, there was somebody else who was in this boat, they didn't understand what this product was, they discovered what it was, they implemented it in their life and then they had this change. Well, what was the change? So, you don't have to tell that simple of a customer story of someone who made the change, but you need to think about the change. Maybe the change is about losing weight. That's a huge transformation that people want to make in their life. How do you elevate that story, that conflict of like, how do I overcome my weight challenges? How do I lose weight? You're going to elevate that conflict in your story. All of a sudden, you're going to be able to tell a story that's going to resonate with a specific audience who's trying to accomplish a specific thing, and show them that transformation happening. Then, okay, well, who was the mentor? Again, we're back to Nike, right? Who was the swoosh that was along for the ride as that transition happened? There always has to be that conflict, and that conflict is, what is the conflict ahead of your audience that's stopping them from making the transition that you need them to make? Then, how do I elevate that, either thematically or very practically to show the impact that, that transformation is going to have, and so the person that makes that transformation, that's the hero of your story, right? Your brand can't be the hero. It's got to be that person that makes the transformation. Then you can add some vitality to that transformation. How do we get thousands of people to make the same transformation? We need to show them how one person did it. I really think that, that's the simplest structure. But then you can abstract that. How do you tell that story without any people in it, or what if you could only tell that story with audio and you start adding different constraints and more creative obstruction? Then you're left with something that might be a little bit more artistically desirable and might also be able to impact a broader audience. I do think that if you have 30 seconds to write a commercial, you're going to just tell the simple story of a person who made the transformation that you need them to make. Then, with every week of additional pre- production time, you're going to abstract that further and you're going to be able to cast that idea onto a larger audience, but it's really all about that transformation. There is conflict that is in the middle of the apex of that transformation, and so that's the conflict you need to be thinking about.

Jared: Timeout though. You said extra weeks of pre- production, that never happens to us, so I'm just going to go ahead and pretend like I never heard that.

Ho: I wasn't going to say anything, but whatever, because I'm on the marketing side and Jared's on creative. He's like, dude, that's not enough time, and we're always battling like, dude, I need it in two weeks. He's like, no, pre- production itself is like four weeks.

Luke Hale: Well, this is why you have internal creatives so that they can think about these conflicts long- term and they can... I am a huge proponent of passive brainstorming. Like, if I hear about a project, I want to understand the project brief, and then I don't want to even talk to the client for another week until I've really had some passive brainstorming time to think about it. But is that a luxury? Yeah, it's definitely a luxury, but does it pay dividends? That luxury pays dividends. You can do great things with that pre- production time.

Jared: I'm going to propose that to Andrew next time. I'm going to tell him that I need passive brainstorming time.

Luke Hale: Yeah, get Andrew back in the room and we'll sell some passive brainstorming time.

Ho: Our CEO is going to be like, how much is this passive brainstorming going to cost us?

Luke Hale: Just remind them. You can be doing other things with your passive brainstorming time. Right?

Jared: We like to call it, there was a word for it, this is so funny. I don't even remember. If I remember it, I'll back.

Ho: Yeah, but it's really... Because Jared calls me every other night at 7: 00 PM, because I think that's when he gets his best thinking done when he's walking the dogs. He's just like, he brings up stuff that we talked about like a week ago, and it's like, that's when we have our best talks and opinion.

Jared: Yeah.

Luke Hale: There is so much to be said for that process. There's like a reality to what you just said.

Jared: It's so funny. The best ideas come to me when I'm in two places. One, and this is where the best ideas come from.

Luke Hale: It's in the restroom somewhere, is it?

Jared: The shower. The reason why I say the shower is because I'm only focused on literally one thing, but it's literally like, that's the only thing. I don't have a phone with me. I don't listen to music in the shower. It's literally just that. I think that's one reason why it happens. The second one is when I walk the dogs out, but I have my phone, I'm usually listening to a podcast at some sort. I think again, maybe it's also just getting a little bit more blood flowing, like exercising, things like that.

Luke Hale: We've all had a different year. I think this last year has been different for a lot of people. Schedules have changed a lot. Some of us are getting probably more or less of that passive brainstorming time, and hopefully, you can audit your own life and see a difference, and what do you need to do to adjust? I used to do a ton of urban walking. Then I've moved to a climate where that's not as accessible. Man, I just feel like I don't get that same thinking time that I used to get. Yeah, it definitely has an impact.

Jared: Innovation hours, by the way, that's what I was trying to think.

Ho: Innovation hour.

Jared: Innovation hour. That was the term we coined it. Like, can I get some innovation hours for that?

Ho: It's weird. I hate that one. I like passive brainstorming a lot better.

Jared: All right. Let's move back into Masters of Engagement. Tell us a little bit more. I mean, you gave us like the overview and sort of like the elevator pitch of what the business is, but tell us a little bit more about it, and I definitely want to hear more about the podcast show.

Luke Hale: Yeah. Masters of Engagement is honestly just something I absolutely love doing, and it is the nuance. There's a million brand stories being told out there. How do we tell them better? So, I just want to work within that segment and I'm honestly, still trying to figure out the best way to do that. I have done a ton of in- person workshops, love those. Again, this last year has been different, so I moved a lot of that online and done some workshops for teams online, and that's been terrific. Just helping them understand their media strategy and really dive into, okay, how can I make every video more engaging? Then how do I make a whole bunch of videos that are going to move my business in the way that I need it to move? Workshops is a key part of that. I'm also working on this Masters of Engagement digital experience, which is much more of a collaborative effort where people across the industry can come together and they spend one week going through, not just this Master of Engagement curriculum, but more importantly, bouncing ideas off of each other, and working through these really hard problems that are hard for media people to solve, and coming out in a way better at what we do. I really see Masters of Engagement as a piece of critical professional development that creators should be going through. Maybe on an annual basis, but I think it's really kind of the foundation. You should at least go through it once and make sure that you have these fundamental skills of engagement to do what you're doing. That's how I'm seeing Masters of Engagement. It's really professional development for creatives. Then, the Video Production Daily podcast has been really interesting too, because that has just opened up a ton of possibilities and opportunities for me, which I never expected.

Jared: I thought you were going to say problems.

Luke Hale: Yeah, so many problems. Well, it has. Okay, let's talk about the problems. There are problems too, right? Let's get right to the heart of the conflict. Don't ever launch a podcast and call it anything daily. That's just insane.

Jared: Everybody that's listening, please write that down. Or at least think about it before you decide to call it that, yeah.

Luke Hale: I really thought, I just need to publish something every day. It's going to be super simple. I'll just do it on my phone, and then 10 minutes later, I'm like, well, if I don't do this on my phone, I can really up the quality, I can do something better. Then, it goes from like a 15 minute commitment to get people five minutes a day, to all of the sudden, it's 45 minutes, an hour and a half. Now I put like four hours in per episode for a really short episode, but they're good. They're really good. I'm proud of them. Yeah, it has opened up a ton of doors for me. I've been able to monetize that in other ways, which has been incredible. It's interesting, once you start to collect audiences, that is a really valuable tool. Anyway, I love it. Right now I'm working on season three, so we've just launched exclusively with Brightcove for a while. They've got it up on one of their platforms, Play TV, but then it's going to be available in the podcast apps and YouTube, because now there's a video component to what we're doing, but the idea for this season three is, let's take five incredible video producers that create content in their given industries, and then let's march them through some really hard questions, right? We start with a softball, like how did you create your incredible career? But then we start talking about, okay, what does a pre- production process look like? How do you get feedback on what you're trying to do? What are the story structures that you use? What is the economic measurable impact you have on businesses? We've got seven weeks of content that just really go deep with these different video producers. I'm proud. I feel like I've created something really incredible. I'm glad that, that's rolling out, and I'm so overwhelmed. I'm not even thinking about season four yet. I'm still just trying to think, how do we finish season three? So, it's going to be a seven week consecutive experience. Yeah, I'm glad that it's getting done and it's been a labor of love, but it is... If you're interested at all in video, you really should check out this, specifically season three. All of the content is pretty evergreen, so there's something there for everyone. But yeah, this is going to be a true experience.

Jared: Nice. Do you guys touch on anything sort of like revolving around the climate currently in 2020, just like how things have pivoted? I know you mentioned it's evergreen, but just in case.

Luke Hale: Yeah, in season two, we did a lot actually on creating remotely. That's already out there in any of the podcasting apps. We talked to different people that were helping to solve that problem. Production is in an interesting spot right now because people are starting to get back on set with some really strict work arounds in place to make sure that you've got the social distancing and you've got all of the protective equipment that you need. It's a real ordeal. At the same time, there's a massive media vacuum where everyone wants to be consuming content. So, there's an opportunity for people who can make stuff right now. In fact, it's interesting, I was just having a conversation yesterday or two days ago for the podcast with Casey Schendel. He used to be an executive producer at Airbnb, at Tesla, and we were talking about all of these product launches, and with so much of the media landscape kind of on hiatus, it's a lot easier for these major brands, we already talked about the Tesla launch, or the SpaceX launch, but these product launches are really filling kind of an entertainment gap that we have. There's a huge opportunity right now for brands to make great content, but it's tricky to figure out how to do it.

Jared: Yeah. Great example of that, we actually highlighted this in our internal podcast about a week ago, but the Travis Scott collaboration with PS5, they did a short film for it. I mean the PS5 doesn't need any more love. It's been hyped up for ... I don't know. People have been waiting for it for like four to five crosstalk.

Ho: Yeah, and if anyone's listening and has two, I'm looking to buy one, so please.

Jared: He will pay double the price.

Ho: That's not true. Not true.

Jared: But yeah, so just jumping back into that, like the PS5 and Sony PlayStation brand itself doesn't need any more hype. But I think they saw a pretty good gap in the entertainment space to sort of do something different where they created this really abstract music video- ish commercial short film. I don't know if anybody's had a chance to check it out there. Definitely check it out. It's kind of weird.

Ho: It's weird.

Jared: It's kind of weird, but it's also really cool.

Ho: It's very Travis Scott.

Jared: It's very Travis Scott. Yeah. If you've ever listened to his music and you notice that there's sometimes three songs within one song, that's how this film feels. But yeah, that's a great example right there of sort of like what you're talking about.

Luke Hale: Yeah, if you can fill that media vacuum with something palpable that people want to consume, it's a great time to be able to do that.

Jared: That's why there are so many bad shows on Netflix right now, so many bad shows happening, but-

Ho: Which ones do you know crosstalk?

Jared: No, but-

Luke Hale: It's funny, I really feel like two years ago it was all about engagement, but we've had this weird year where it's like, man, if you just know how to create content, you're going to find tons of opportunities, because there's... Not only does that vacuum exist, but then also, with everybody trying to do every event digitally and just everything that's going on, it's an amazing time to know to have this.

Jared: This is really interesting. Quibi, as most people probably out there who are listening may know, that they launched and failed all during this period of time, which is really interesting, because they're in the middle of this vacuum where they did have a ton of content and quality, but I think, and I'm definitely not an expert in this by any means, but I think where they sort of failed to see the... Or the environment that they were sort of launching in, like YouTube was already serving the purpose that they were trying to get to, with the exception of the quality of the content and the star power in the content. But I think, had they taken a different approach, I think they could have... Sort of, the technology was amazing, this like ability to flip your phone in different directions and sort of like tell these short stories within 10 minutes, I think was really cool, but I just think they were... Somebody else's going to do it at some point and get it right, but they just sort of refused to notice that like, hey, YouTube has been doing this forever. The creators on YouTube are already doing this for free.

Ho: Yeah. Also, sorry. Also, people don't want... It's like this space that's out there like, people are kind of, they don't need high quality content anymore. It's just weird because we have all this technology on our phones that can shoot in 4K, but it's like, I don't care. As long as it's more authentic and...

Jared: Well, the content is still the king.

Ho: Content is still...

Luke Hale: I'm going to get selfish again, but this is exactly the question that drove me into Masters of Engagement, because it's like, it's not the production value. What is it? What is it? You have to have an answer for that. My whole thing is you have to at least have a theory of why your audience is going to be engaging with your content. Maybe it is authenticity. I think that, that's a tremendous one, but there are other principles of engagement out there too, and when you go to create a piece of content, you better have a pretty compelling theory as to why people are going to engage with it.

Ho: A great way to say, sign up-

Jared: I was going to say let's-

Ho: Yeah, sign up for Masters of Engagement if you're a content creator.

Jared: We will end on that, and I want to let the audience know, where can they find Masters of Engagement and all things Luke Hale?

Luke Hale: Well, you know what? Video Production Daily, the podcast is a great way to connect with the brand. It's kind of the content wing of what we're trying to do. I would look it up in the podcast app or subscribe on YouTube. The YouTube thing is brand new, so we'll be getting some episodes out there. But then, mastersofengagement. com, that's where you can find the most brand info.

Jared: Awesome. We will link all that in the show notes. Luke, thanks so much for spending a few minutes with us.

Luke Hale: Yeah, very generous of you guys. And two, I just want to say man, incredible content that you guys are producing. I have to say, being part of this podcast has been so enlightening because, I'll give the audience a little bit of a sneak peek, like the brief that they sent was exquisite. The introduction to the podcast, what it is, the invitation to be part of this, you guys are really doing something right, and I just would love to see your briefs that you guys throw around local projects, because I'm sure they're beautiful.

Jared: We'll do. We'll get that over to you.

Ho: Thank you.

Luke Hale: Yeah, it's been amazing to be a part of it, so thank you so much.

Jared: Thanks for listening to this episode. Thanks to Luke for being our guest and thanks to our team who put this together. If you like what you heard, don't forget to rate, subscribe and tell a friend about the Lights, Camera, Growth podcast. You can find it in Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcast.

More Episodes

The Importance of Content Marketing 2.0 (with Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute)

Using AI to Shape Customer Experience (with MK Getler, Head of Marketing at Alyce)

Scoring Data for Better Marketing Campaigns (with Lisa Abousaleh, VP of Customer Success at Neutronian, Inc.)

Thinking Outside the Jar (with Kate Rooney and Jess Guffey, Branding Team, Design Pickle)

Creative Marketing is the Name and Storytelling is the Game (with Chris Thomas, Creative Director at Cohn Marketing)

Small Business Marketing: Golf Edition (with Leo Rooney, Director of Performance at Urban Golf Performance)