When Hurrdat and I were in talks in the summer of 2015 to acquire my production company, Digital Hero Films, what intrigued me the most was the film and video work we were putting into the hands of digital marketers and watching how they used the creative work we produced in a tangible way. Since coming on board and launching Hurrdat Films this spring, I haven’t been disappointed.
There are great advantages for digital marketers and, ultimately, the client when video production can work directly with strategy from the beginning. Our docu-series project for LRS Healthcare—Opportunities With Latitude—certainly proved that.
Typically, when an agency hires a production company, there’s often a gap that’s difficult to overcome. It’s not by design, just by nature. Often, in this scenario, a production is purposefully kept separate and at a distance from the client.
With my past studio, Digital Hero Films, probably seven out of ten times, creative and strategy had already been pitched to client and signed off. For any issues or opportunities we might have recognized, we were mute at that point because a) things had already been approved, and b) there is apprehension to let a third-party vendor point out a new idea or opportunity. But by joining the Hurrdat family, we were able to sit down with the client immediately from the get-go.
LRS Healthcare understood the power of video in a general sense, but they had several ideas they wanted to feature. And also with their first step into video, they weren’t sure on budget. Getting in the room with them early on and being able to listen to their team really helped me find the story that needed to be told.
“I was excited yet skeptical but trusted in [Hurrdat Films’] creative minds…that’s why we hired [them] in the first place, ” says Joshua Johnson, VP/COO of LRS Healthcare. “Once we got into the middle of filming and seeing our employees’ feedback from their interactions with [Hurrdat Films], it became more and more evident that the end product was going to be special.”
LRS Healthcare is one of the country’s top travel nursing firms. They’ve strongly built their brand on the recruiter-nurse relationship. LRS Healthcare nurses aren’t managed by region. Once they get a recruiter/representative assigned to them, the recruiter holds that relationship for life.
We decided to create a docu-series that communicated the recruiter-nurse relationship in an authentic way. LRS Healthcare was very into the idea and helped facilitate bringing some nurses from their locations to their headquarters in Omaha. Some nurses would be meeting their recruiter in person for the first time—a person they’ve had a phone and email relationship with for years, who have helped through some tough situations like relocating to a new city.
Needless to say, there were some emotional and fun moments that were awesome to capture on film.
“I’ve been with LRS Healthcare for ten years, and [the production], as well as the premiere of the video, has been one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences that I’ve had with this company, ” Johnson continues. “I think it fully encompassed what we are trying to do here, as well as what we are trying to do for our employees both internal and out on the road. One of the organic responses in the video was, ‘If someone could care about me, and what’s going on in my life, certainly I would want to work with somebody like that.’ I think that epitomizes what we are doing.”
It wasn’t just what we could do for the client that was great about this project. What really started to get me excited was to see how the digital marketers at Hurrdat were planning to use the asset. The social media team would post the episodes and the trailer in consecutive months on the company’s Facebook page, but where things got really interesting is what the content marketing team decided to do.
Obviously, as the director, I think this film series is must-see content for everyone. But our team understands that the piece we produced would have the most impact with audiences considering entering that area of the field (i.e., travel nursing). Opportunities With Latitude would likely be a decision-driver for a nurse trying to make a decision “Do I sign up with LRS Healthcare or somebody else?”
Understanding that, Hurrdat decided to create a new page on the company’s website dedicated to the Opportunity With Latitude series. Here, the trailer and the episodes would live, surrounded by quotes taken directly from interviews contained in the episodes. A simple, elegant, and clear lead-capture mechanism was built into the page. The production budget was modest, so LRS Healthcare didn’t need hundreds of people to sign up. If the video influenced only a few conversions, it would yield a great return.
“When we do something like this, we certainly didn’t know what expect, but after the initial reactions, we know what we invested in the project is going to payoff tenfold for us, ” says Johnson.
What excited me was seeing our content marketing team cross-reference blogs posts and social graphics, pulling stills and dialogue from the docu-series to use as pull quotes. It’s this kind of integration that’s really the future of not just video, but digital marketing. It’s exciting to be working with a team on the right side of this progress.
Dan Napoli is Director of Visual Storytelling for Hurrdat Films. He is a writer, director, producer, and editor with over a dozen branded films from the worlds of action sports and finance to his credit. Earlier this year, his film FIFTEEN was accepted and screened at 2016 LA All-Sports Film Festival held in Los Angeles, CA. Check out Dan’s IMDb page and the Hurrdat Films reel.