To meet the demands of discriminating consumers, a winning marketing plan requires that we reorient our thinking.

From market insight, digital and print considerations, content creation, and brand development, we have you covered. Focusing on the end-user first, Highlands brings you a complete top-down marketing blueprint that speaks directly to your target audience. Meeting the end-user where they’re at, precisely at the right moment, streamlines your business product supply chain.
Product video 2 blog image

10 tips on how to produce the perfect product video

October 14, 2017 

Welcome back to part 2 of our series on Video Blogs. In our earlier post, we understood why product videos were important. To recap 73% more visitors end up purchasing products after watching a video.”

In that blog post, we also understood the factors that need to be considered before we start shooting the video itself.   Now, let us take a look at how to create the best possible video that can help you sell your product. 

Why should the customer watch your video?   Simply put, to understand all the aspects of your product, so that he or she can arrive at a purchasing decision. 

What does a customer expect from your video? Product videos should resonate with the viewer. If your message resonates, not only have you communicated your message, you have also captured mindshare (and a share of the wallet too, hopefully). Viewers decide quickly whether to watch the entire video or not you have less than 30 seconds to capture their interest.   

Keeping these points in mind, let us see how we can create the ultimate killer product video! 

1.       Script is important.  Don’t think that you can wing it without a script. A script is not just the words that are spoken, its about what you see as well. A weak script can risk hobbling the otherwise great work from the other components like the camera work, or the product itself.         

2.       Context is king! Show how your product fits into the bigger picture. A good product video will start by showing this context around the need of their product for the target audiences. 

3.       Talk about your product (not your company). Use appropriate video shots and camera angles to capture your product. Use a good voiceover to introduce the product with a bang!  

4.       Remember though, that 50% of videos are watched without sound, so make sure you have subtitles.  And, if your audience is listening the subtitles won’t distract them.  In fact, evidence shows that people are more likely to remember your message if they can hear and see it. 

5.       Demo!  All that the customer wants. Keep it simple and clear. No extra information is required. The demo should tell the customer that it is easy to use and better than other competitors. 

6.       Testimonials from the existing clientele.  It should be to the point and exciting. If the existing client is excited about the product, the vibe gets carried across easily. 

7.       No scare tactics! You don't want to be identified as the cheap infomercial that uses FOMO tactics to get you to buy their product. Good product videos can be carried on their USPs, and scare tactics are not needed. 

8.       Make it look good. Although beauty is not skin deep, a good-looking product video does not do your business any harm. Product videos are an advertisement for your brand, and a good first impression counts. Let the video have some personality so that your brand can shine through the competition. 

9.       Logo. Have your logo included throughout in the video. This is a better option than having a pre-roll. Nobody wants to see an ad within an ad.  

10.   Call to action. How do viewers buy your product after watching your video? Include next steps. If the viewer makes it to the end, there is a purchase interest. A call to action can help seal the deal.   

Bonus tips: 

Ø  Make various versions of the video. This is very important as we can use the same video on different platforms. Make 5-second, 15-second, 30-second cuts, depending on where you want to promote this video. 

Ø  Thumbnail. Thumbnails should have product close-ups. This attracts the customer’s attention and there will be an immediate click on it. 

Ø  Zoom-in: Give an experience to the customer that they are examining the product closely.  Show all the parts your product has.     

Use all these points and inspire great sales through your video. Remember, video attracts more eye-balls resulting in more conversions. Seed your video on YouTube and social networks like Twitter and Reddit, in addition to your website, to spark additional engagement.       


Gordon Christiansen    
Partner & SVP Marketing

Gordon is a 54 year old Australian who was born in Denmark, lived in the UK for 27 years and now wants to live in Atlanta.  After breaking his father’s heart by leaving the family ships’ chandlering business in Fremantle, Australia Gordon embarked on a career in sales and marketing with Pitney Bowes and Canon before investing in and running an office products and graphic arts dealership in London called London Graphic Centre. 

Gordon is passionate about getting corporate messaging 100% clear and how alignment between marketing strategy, execution and sales effort will enhance and accelerate market penetration for Highlands’ clients.     Outside family, the things Gordon enjoys the most are cricket, Australian Rules football, music and socializing with good friends, good wine and good food.  So, for anyone interested in learning the intricacies of cricket or Aussie Rules I’m sure Gordon can be bribed with a charcuteries plate and a decent red. 

This is why you need to create videos for your e-commerce store!

July 12, 2017

Do you think creating videos for your e-commerce store is too much trouble or not worth the investment? What if I told you that using such a “cinematic” experience is an ideal way to engross your customers and boost your conversion rates? Read on, and let me know what you think! 

Product videos not only create brand awareness, but also instill top of mind recall to your target audience. People only remember 20% what they hear, 30% what they see and 70% of what they hear and see. Videos form part of a highly impactful variety of content, which is consumed by invested visitors to your site. In fact, 73% more visitors end up purchasing products after watching a video. Viewer impact is not the only benefit that you gain. More than half of American shoppers polled by Animoto, say they trust companies that have product videos. 

Still not convinced about the utility of video?  From an SEO perspective, both Google and Bing are building towards including video in search results. In fact, a Search Engine Land study reveals that we can see close to 14% of the search result real estate devoted to video! Think of the opportunities lost if your products do not feature in that 14% of space.

What goes into the making of a video? You may wish to consider the following before you begin your shoot:
  • Leverage, interactive, and collaborative features that invite viewers to participate in your story.
  • Simplify complex processes with a detailed step by step explainer video
  • Use a conversational tone and script that your audience can relate to.
  • Use concise messages that emphasize your point quickly that your audience can easily grasp
  • Considering the attention span of an individual is just ‘9 secs’, the screenplay should be tight.
  • Plan carefully; pick your location, know your schedule and have the right people available.

Now that you’ve invested the time, effort and money into creating this great content, what should you do next to maximize the impact?
  • Seed it in any content platform, such as your website, blog or other third party audiovisual platforms like YouTube or Vimeo
  • Make sure your video can be easily viewed on all devices
  • Include a transcript; search engines aren’t as proficient at indexing video content as they are with text
  • Make it shareable on social media platforms
  • And, of course, ensure its loaded onto the e-commerce platforms you’re selling the products

The power of video for e-commerce is simply too great to ignore. They increase the stickiness of visitors, increase conversions and help boost consumer confidence. Leveraging this strategy for your e-commerce website will help your sales revenue as well as branding. Feel free to sound off in the comments - how has video helped your business? What challenges have you faced in producing videos?
 In our next post, we will focus on specific things you should keep in mind while producing video content designed to promote your products.

Gordon Christiansen
SVP Marketing

Incentives icon

My dream of the perfect incentive scheme

June 27, 2017


Over the years, I have seen many and varied commission plans, incentive schemes and bonus structures.  All of them have had merit, some have failed, many have worked but none have been perfect.  The reality is that the perfect scheme probably doesn’t exist, although that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make it as near perfect as we can.  I dream of that perfect scheme....


Here are a few things you may want to think about.


Clarity  - Be clear on exactly what it is you wish to achieve.  Is it to grow sales?  Improve margin? Remember, your initiative is meant to change behavior, so make sure it does.


Alignment - Ensure the objectives of the organization are aligned to the objectives set out in your scheme.  This may seem straightforward however there are often conflicting objectives between management, sales or channel partners which you need to consider.


Achievable - Whilst you want your targets to be stretching, you need to ensure they are attainable.  If a sales person doesn’t believe they can hit a target, then there’s a good chance they won’t.


Make it Matter - The reward must match the achievement.  Small target, small reward.  Big target, big reward.  If the reward isn’t seen as being sizable enough, then the achievement of the target won’t be motivating.


Avoid Internal Conflicts - If there is a need for two people or groups to work together to achieve something and they carry different targets that may deter them from cooperating, then try to remove the conflict.  If not, inertia may reign.  You may even have to consider paying double commission if it’s the right thing to do for the business.


Avoid Channel Apathy  - Ensure your partners are fully engaged and that they feel suitably rewarded for their efforts.  They’re likely to have choices about which promotions or incentive schemes to run with so make it worthwhile, and if you can, fun.


Go Public - Good salespeople are competitive by nature.  Post targets and results publicly.  The desire to be ‘top dog’ will drive extra effort.  Make sure to keep the board up to date.  People lose interest quickly if it’s always wrong.


Be Flexible - The scheme you start with may not be the scheme you finish with.  Don’t chop and change too frequently but be prepared to make changes as your business needs change.  Also, consider short, sharp incentive schemes to boost activity, increase particular focus or product initiatives.


Keep it Simple - Try to make sure that everyone understands how the targets are set and how achievement is calculated.  If the salesperson can make a direct correlation between an activity they’ve undertaken and the reward, they will receive you’re on to a winner.


So, good luck with your scheme.  If you think you’ve created the perfect one, please let me know - I’d love to hear about it!            



Gordon Christiansen

[email protected]     

Flight Kit 2

Who cares about the English language?

February 26, 2017

Language is important.  My business partners Bob O’Gara and Shannon Blake must get bored when I keep harping on about this.  But, it is, and they agree…really.

As an example, we recently rebranded from The Highlands Group to Highlands.  OK, not a radical name change however there were various reasons for this, one of which was that Bob really disliked the company being referred to as THG.

Easy, kill the “The” and kill the “Group”.  THG becomes Highlands.  Boom!  Well it’s not that simple because despite Bob’s dislike of “THG” it had become endemic both inside and outside the business.  Sure we could tolerate (with a pinched smile) clients calling us THG but we must be able to get it right internally.  Slowly but surely we are weeding out and changing all those documents lurking in the deepest recesses of SharePoint and we’re truly becoming Highlands.

Once again my daughter inspired me to write about this topic.  For my recent flight from London to Chicago my Flight Kit included a book called F****** Apostrophes by Simon Griffin, a copywriter from Leeds in England.  It’s a witty and informative rant about the correct use of apostrophes.

Those who know me well will fondly remember those fun and invigorating conversations about the correct use of grammar and punctuation.  Particularly rich from a Danish born Australian who went to a middling comprehensive school in the suburbs of Perth.

Simon says, “The single most important rule of any punctuation is to help the reader understand what it is you’re going to say.”  Too bloody right.  As Lynn Truss says in her 2003 book there is a big difference between “Eats shoots and leaves” and “Eats, shoots and leaves”.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not linguistic expert, perhaps just a bit of a smart-arse pedant, however if you want people to understand your message is it not unreasonable to spend the time to try and articulate it properly? You never know, if you take that time people might actually understand what it is you’re trying to say.

That’s why all the best organizations take care to get their communications right.  Governments, charities, businesses, media companies all employ highly qualified people to help get it right.  Sure, nothing works all the time and sometimes so much care is taken not to offend that a message can become too bland and lose its meaning.  That’s not a reason to shortcut the process.

Well-articulated messaging is only part of the journey.  What we say has to be backed up.  A friend called any brand “A promise, delivered”. I really like. As an example, with the Highlands’ brand refresh we stated that our number one determinant in the recruitment and retention of staff would be cultural fit.  We have articulated this well into the business, now we have to deliver against that promise.

Reading Simon’s book and thinking about this topic has reminded me that we need to continually reassure clients that as we create their brand’s communication strategy we will take every care to ensure their “voice” is communicated clearly.   Whether it’s a website, a corporate brochure, a product flyer, advert or a promotional piece we will ensure their voice has clarity, is effective and resonates with the target audience.

And we’ll do that by putting the apostrophes, commas, parentheses, semicolons and colons in the right place.

If it’s worth doing, then it’s worth doing right.


Gordon Christiansen