Do You Flip?

This isn't exactly your average column geared toward supply chain strategies, but since it's the holidays let's step outside the box a bit to thank existing and prospective clients for their business. Show them why they chose, or might want to choose, to do business with your company.

{complink 1131|Cisco Systems Inc.} could have tapped this strategy when earlier in the year it experienced product shortages and long lead times — between six and eight months — to deliver on goods. So, “Do You Flip?” That's Cisco's tagline for the holiday campaign for the Flip video camera, a small portable video camera that lets you point, shoot, and upload the video to your company's Website or to YouTube, where clients can view, download, or post to their own blogs or Websites.

Flip video is gearing up to ask consumers that question. This year's holiday spots will ask for creative video from everyday consumers using their own Flip video cameras, as well as personal footage from celebrities such as Jenna Elfman, Brooke Burke, Evgeni Malkin, and the band OK GO. Why not share the same strategy with existing and prospective clients that require assistance from your supply chain?

This year's holiday campaign is expected to follow last year's. It relied on 10-, 15- and 30-second clips shot on Flip video cameras by everyday Joes and such celebrities as Usher, Tony Hawk, and Weezer. Cisco turned the clips into TV commercials, as well as online social media and rich banner ads. Chances are you won't make TV spots or banner ads from the Flip video clips, but nothing's stopping you from posting them on your Website or YouTube to promote a little holiday cheer.

Manufacturers of components can also make videos of finished goods to show consumers the products on their {complink 4644|Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM)} or {complink 3538|Motorola Inc.} smartphones, as well as {complink 379|Apple Inc.} iPads or {complink 5114|Sony Corp.} laptops. Spread a little holiday cheer. After all, during the Black Friday weekend, the National Retail Federation estimates, consumers spent $45 billion.

During the first 33 days of this year's holiday season $16.8 billion has been spent online, up 12 percent compared with the same period a year ago, according to comScore. The most recent week saw four individual days surpass $800 million in spending, led by Cyber Monday, which became the heaviest online spending day on record at $1.028 billion.

Tuesday, Nov. 30, reached $911 million, making it the third heaviest online spending day on record. Wednesday reached $868 million, and Thursday $850 million, also record levels. And although growth rates for the season subsided in the latter half of the week, there's still plenty to cheer about.

If you were to share a 30- to 60-second video with clients, what would it convey?

19 comments on “Do You Flip?

  1. eemom
    December 6, 2010

    I confess that I bought a Flip video camera for my daughter, and I haven't even seen the commercial.  My decision making process came down to cost/value.  For a pre-teen asking for a video camera, I had to take into account the fact that it may get lost or at the very least not get treated kindly.  In searching for an affordable video camera, I could have spent $70 or $80 on a camera that had decent reviews or spend $100 and get one that has gotten excellent reviews.  Well, the decision was easy and maybe mom can even borrow it every now and then when I want something easy and small for the road.

    I'm not sure just the campaign would have sold me on the camera though.  Again, I always do research and try to find the best value for the dollars I'm spending.

  2. Laurie Sullivan
    December 6, 2010

    eemom, I've been contemplating buying one of these for more than a year. But of course, I want the HD quality Flip video camera, the one with two hours of video record time. I keep telling myself what a great tool to video interviews or places I visit. Could have used it when I visited Google's offices in New York. The price is a bit high, but the quality is pretty darn good. If I ran a manufacturing plant I'd walk around interviewing co-workers sending well wishes to clients. Then I'd post the video on YouTube and send my clients a link to the post. It provides a human element to the digital world that sometimes seems all too consuming. I'd love to hear from some manufacturers. Do you Flip?

  3. Anna Young
    December 6, 2010

    Laurie, I flip and like it a lot. I don't use it as often as I would like and I've never done any corporate work with it but it is easy to use and the quality is fine enough.

    The question I have about your take on the use of the Flip, though, is on public perception. If I compile video testimonies from my clients sounding happy and excited about the products I sell them, how believable really is the output to the viewer. Will they really accept that this is not just another marketing campaign?

  4. Laurie Sullivan
    December 6, 2010

    Hi Anna, I'm not suggesting you shoot happy customers. I'm thinking more about taking a video of the people who work with you. Share the experience of your work environment with your clients. Show them how you manufacture the widgets. What goes into making the products they use. 

    Cisco actually did this a couple of years ago. They gave nearly everyone in a small town a Flip camera and had them take videos of their everyday life to share experiences with others. Consider it social marketing, but what you're really doing is sharing your experiences with others. I think it's all part of the company/client relationship. Do you?

    Anyone else Flip? 

  5. Ariella
    December 6, 2010

    I haven't bought a Flip and have no intention of doing so.  I have nothing against the product; it's just not something I'm interested in doing for now or for the near future. But I do think that some people will get very excited to get their 30 second of fame (maybe then they can look forward to another 14 1/2 minutes down the road to complete the 15 that everyone supposedly gets).  Though it is using a somewhat modified medium, it still sounds like the equivalent of offering what exactly you like about the company you “Like” on Facebook.

  6. Mydesign
    December 7, 2010

        Laurie, I don’t think it’s a nice idea to shoot the working environment and sharing the video clip through social networking sites. Many way it’s becomes a violation of industrial security and may against the company’s policy. I think customers are not that much interested, to know the working cultures and other facilities, but may more specific for their end product.  Other outside employees, who wish to work with that company, may eager to know working culture and social activities happening inside.  More over personally am not entertaining my private things to disclosure through networking media.

        if you are interested in HDD flip video camera, you can find some good models from any of these manufactures like Sony, Panasonic, Kodak etc

  7. Laurie Sullivan
    December 7, 2010

    Interesting, Toms. Your perspective is interesting. I've been following and covering news about companies like Google for the past five, the culture of the company and how management treats employees with perks like free food and daily exercise  routines. It appears from your description that Google's open culture is completely different. I realize you wouldn't want to show or share any trade secrets, but you really think clients don't care to know more about the type of environment you work in? A clean, well-organized environment, even a manufacturing floor, shows something about the organization. I understand your commitment to protect privacy. And, understand the fact that you think clients are not interesting to know the working cultures, but rather would like to know more about the end product. Sure, everything that goes into making the end product is a reflection on the company and how well the end product runs. 

    Thanks for your thoughts Toms. Always appreciated. 

  8. eemom
    December 7, 2010

    I think this all depends on the culture of the company and whether or not they would want it broadcast.  I do see a much more social application to this camera, however, than taking small clips in a work environment to share with others.  Think of friends taking small video clips of gatherings, parities in schools where you can take clips to share with the parents that did not attend, graduations, etc. 

  9. DBertke
    December 7, 2010

    Hi Lurie,

    I think you have identified a very interesting use for the Flip Camera and using video clips to both inform and extract information.  The idea of having a whole town take videos for a commercial is just scratching the surface.

    Consider using these Flip Cameras to document daily progress of your project instead of doing a tedious weekly report.  Think of the time it would save, plus you gain a detailed project log for post mortem analysis for both the good and bad elements of the project.

    Doing a new product idea with a video of the initial brainstorming session sent out on the Internet to let others comment.  In one short segment, you can touch potential users, retailers, suppliers, potential customers and very important suggestions on addition uses for the concept.  Granted, you may be giving away some information to your competitors, but what you would gain would far outweigh the risks.

    Reguardless of the business you company pursues, capturing and analyzing the events during the process leads you directly to the heart of true process improvement.  A Flip Camera can easily collect a lot of the information without any tedious forms or rigidly formal processes.

    You have definitely lit the fuze to a lot of potential applications.  Well Done!


  10. SP
    December 8, 2010

    Thats a nice tag line “Do you flip”. A small video with different activities, may be very casual one but still getting the message across always is liked by buyers. It also motivates the buyers to atleast go and checkout the product.

  11. Laurie Sullivan
    December 8, 2010

    Thank you, DBertke, for taking the time to comment. I don't always have the answers, but always hope to spark an idea.  

  12. Laurie Sullivan
    December 8, 2010

    SP, valid point. Thanks for the comment. I was surprised when Cisco bought the company, but it seems to fit them well. It educated consumers about their brand. Always a smart move. 

  13. hwong
    December 11, 2010

    My friend said that his company TSMC would not even allow  employees carry a camera phone because the company does not want their “secret” spilled and captured “accidentally”

  14. Eldredge
    December 11, 2010

    It is certainly the case with any defense company, and I suspect many commercial companies as well, that camera or video phones/equipment are not allowed inside facilities.  I'm actually a little surprised that someone hasn't marketed phones without  cameras to market toward people who call on these types of businesses.


  15. itguyphil
    December 11, 2010

    You're right. I just read an article about how the US military is cutting down on the types of devices that are being allowed in govt facilities. No more removable media, camera-enabled devices, or anything to allow data leakage. Wikileaks helped to expose the security loopholes.

  16. Eldredge
    December 11, 2010

    Defense contractors also restrict devices with cameras in their facilities, and I'm sure the restrictions will get tighter with the attention that WikiLeaks brings to the subject. Any site I have visited requires all cell phones with cameras (pretty much all of them these days) to be left with the receptionist. I wouldn't be surprised to see commercial facilities implementing similar policies for their own IP protection – time will tell on that one.

  17. itguyphil
    December 11, 2010

    Absolutely. They're probably having their lawyers draft the new compliance policies as we speak. Not too many organizations can afford to deal with data leaks and 'stolen' data.

  18. elctrnx_lyf
    December 12, 2010

    Even though most or to say any company will not allow the employees to use these flip videos to be shot and to share external people. But as we all say single picture is worth of 1000 words a small video is worth of 10000 words. The company management may always use the videos to communicate the message across to their customers. It doesn’t necessarily a video clip using the flip but a very small length video less than 30 sec to show what a company does is really a creative one.

  19. Tim Votapka
    December 13, 2010

    I don't want to open up a whole “free speech” debate, but in the case of video-flipping, it comes down to the greatest good for the organization. Certain info that is not appropriate for public dissemination should remain well guarded, and any promotional communication should be left in the appropriate hands of the organization.

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