Professor Zhang was a Chinese medicine practitioner based in Beijing. Rather than being known for his medical expertise, he found international fame for building this monstrosity on top of a 26-floor high-rise compound.
Needless to say, his neighbours weren't happy. It caused structural problems, water leakages and apparently it was very noisy. When quizzed on whether he was concerned about inflicting his home on other people, he replied, "Since I dare to live here, I am not worried about complaints". How considerate.
The story of Professor Zhang is a good example of a vision that is completely out of line with everything and everyone around it. I can only assume Professor Zhang was happy living there, so it served its purpose. But it was an idea in the completely wrong context.
In some cases, the decision to use video marketing appears to follow the same pattern (though with less destruction and controversy). When choosing online video, the reasoning should be purely practical. There are many statistics that show video content is being watched but there isn't much data on how effective this video content has been. So, the thinking behind using video has to be informed and with clear goals. For me, the greatest help is to think of video as a tool to help solve a problem.
Ignore video for a moment. Fundamentally, a solution is needed to solve a problem. At the core of every solution is an idea. The marketplace is full of ideas that will solve a business or consumer problem. For Apple, this is intuitive technology to aid the average consumer in their daily lives. For a marketer, it's how to effectively and persuasively represent business offerings. For logistics, it's ensuring items are delivered smoothly and efficiently, and so on. Where there's a problem, for a price you can use someone offering a solution.
In its many forms, video can be a tool to solve a problem, or at least help it. For example, A Level results day is an important date for some universities as it's a chance to fill vacant course spaces. The challenge is that many potential students may not be aware of what clearing is, what's available and how to apply. For Birmingham City University, we spent the day producing videos focusing on clearing and providing key information. The result was a 30% increase in volume of phone calls from last year, local media coverage and kick-started a process that the video content promoted until the start of term.
When once video for business was seen as a novelty, now it is a viable solution to a problem. Whether it's to differentiate an offering, promote a new product or train staff to speed up business productivity, video can have many direct and indirect impacts on a company's profitability. And that's more than Professor Zhang could say for his mountain villa.