Company to Watch: Viz-Bang
Creating Online Video — and Opportunities — for ClientsDave Sweeney and Marty Langford believe in practicing what they preach.
And what they preach is that video on the Internet is a very popular medium — more than 70% of U.S. Web surfers view video on line, they say — and that business owners should take full advantage of this popularity to “advance their brand.”
So if one visits their Web site — www.viz-bang.com — he or she can see a clip featuring Sweeney and Langford talking about video, their company, and how they can use a host of platforms to help clients get their message across.
“If you don’t think this Web-video thing is real, what are you doing right now?” asks Sweeney shortly after introducing himself on the two-minute video. “You’re doing it — and your customers are doing it, too.”
The two partners, who launched Viz-Bang nine months ago, alternate with commentary throughout the video, with Sweeney saying at one point, “we make videos that move people — in a good way,” with Langford following with, “kick-ass videos.”
But the two were quick to point out — in both their video and an interview with BusinessWest — that they do more than create videos. They also combine them with some of the latest social-media vehicles, such as Twitter and Facebook, to give clients a diverse and cost-effective package of options for relaying a message to their intended audience.
All this means that there is a large educational component to their work, said Sweeney, adding that while most business owners are aware of the various social media outlets, they don’t know how to take full advantage of them. “So there are two conversations we have with people,” he explained. “We talk to business owners and managers about being on Facebook, Twitter, or a YouTube channel, and all the reasons they should be on those platforms. And then, what you hear often is, ‘OK, you’ve convinced me; now what are we going to say? What are we going to put out there?’ And that gets to the content question, which we can answer.’”
Doing both the convincing and the content has been the job description for the two partners since they came together late last year, confident that their talents would complement one another effectively.
Sweeney has a background in corporate communications (he spent 10 years with Cigna), while Langford has spent his career in video-production work. After working for other people for many years, the two went out on their own with entrepreneurial ventures. They collaborated on a few projects, and the resulting good chemistry prompted talk of going into business together — talk that eventually turned into action.
As he commented on video and the Internet, Langford said many business owners are taking advantage of advancing technology such as Web cams to gain visibility, tout their brands, and inform customers. But often, the product is lacking needed quality.
“As soon as the video question comes into the conversation, you can see it working in people’s eyes, you can see them tossing it around as we’re talking to them,” he explained. “They say, ‘I have a video camera, I have a Web cam on my computer, and I’ve seen lots of video blogs and links on sites for companies where they’re sitting at their computer blabbering away into their Web cam for five or six minutes.’
“That’s content,” he continued, “but it’s not particularly good content that’s maintaining and supporting the brand that they’ve established. It could actually hurt a company — we’ve seen it hurt clients and potential clients. There might be some good stuff in there, but production-value-wise, it’s probably lacking.”
Adding value that will enhance the brand is what the two partners say they specialize in, to the point where they’re using the slogan, ‘creating digital video they’ll wanna watch.’
But generating video is just part of the equation, the two stressed repeatedly. Another big part is taking that video and putting it to effective, cost-efficient use.
“One piece of video shouldn’t live or die based on one distribution method,” Langford explained, adding that he and Sweeney can work with clients to spread the content over several platforms, ranging from traditional media to social media.
The two partners said Viz-Bang is off to a solid start, with growth coming slowly and surely. They have been actively engaged in building awareness of their company, products, and services. Methods for doing so including participation in a series of seminars on social media called Online Impact, involvement in community projects such as the Big Theater restoration, and work on some high-profile projects such as the Art & Soles initiatives (those 5-foot-high sneakers visible throughout Springfield) and BusinessWest’s 40 Under Forty Gala, for which the company produced a humorous video introducing the Class of 2010.
And they also do it through their own marketing, which includes all those platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, that they pitch to their clients.
“Viz-Bang is more than a video-production company,” says Sweeney toward the end of that promotional video on the company’s Web site. “It’s more than a product or service; Viz-Bang transcends commerce.”
Perhaps, but for now, the two partners are working to build some commerce for themselves. They say their book of business is growing steadily, as evidenced by calendars that have a healthy number of appointments booked. They expect to become increasingly busy as word gets out about them and more business owners come to say, ‘OK, you’ve convinced me; now what are we going to say? What are we going to put out there?’
— George O’Brien