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SMARTS Video Blog

Pitching for a Capital Raise; Video for Your Pitch

We’ve had several inquiries lately about the use of video in capital raise initiatives, from simply adding audio and video elements to standard pitch decks, to creating and producing “pitch reels” that make a connection, impact, and lasting impression on individual investors or investor groups.

Video is a terrific medium to add to this kind of outreach effort.   It can be used as a stand alone piece to “break the ice” and test interest, and also for use in support of more detailed pitch decks and presentation documentation.   Video can introduce more personalized character and content to capital raise campaigns, applying creativity, humor, and individualized themes in making these critical connections.

We recently produced a “Pitch Reel” for a new tech company that is seeking investment capital for launching and scaling its product.   In this case, the video was created and produced for an audience of “one”; Sir Richard Branson.  The video was produced around the common interest of the client CEO and Branson in the sport of kiteboarding.

This piece, created for HORN CEO, Lawrence T. Levine, built a story around Levine’s and Branson’s common love of kiteboarding, connecting special and very specific elements of the kiteboarding world and personal experiences of the two men with the technology behind, and applications of the HORN product.  The piece then proceeds with an overview of HORN’s present situation, successful history in tech launches and exits, and objective of scaling the product globally.

This pitch reel will be used to catch Branson’s eye, along with the rest of his exclusive review team, as part of the Extreme Tech Challenge (ETC) program.  The video will accompany a brief pitch deck and forms with necessary details, but the idea was to create a piece that would hit reviewers in the face, connect directly with Branson, and compel the ETC folks to focus on the HORN opportunity.

Check out the video and see if you agree with us that Sir Richard will want to check it out; and then take a second look for good measure!

Good luck to Lawrence and his team at HORN and thank you for trusting SMARTS with this important work!

Aerial Videography via Drone

Drones (used by SMARTS) are unmanned aerial vehicles that have been scaled down to four propeller “quadcopters” that are simple to fly. Most of the drones used for commercial video are very small, around 24 inches from prop tip-to-tip, and flight is assisted by GPS satellite positioning and even guidance. The drone we use has a gimbal-stabilized, high definition camera that can be controlled from a smart phone connected through a wifi network that is setup from the quadcopter to the remote controller and phone. Real-time flight video can be watched on the phone during filming, and adjustments to the camera view and settings can be made during flight.

Our applications for SMARTS-Force 1 (the first in our drone fleet) have been real estate, tv commercial production, and company “sizzle reel” productions for promotional videos that are deployed on websites, email campaigns, and social media posts. The aerial footage is incredibly stable and dramatically increases production values of each video through unique perspectives and motion dynamics. Home & property video is more inclusive and dramatic, adding a sense of majesty to beautiful architecture and surrounds. Filming with the drone can yield shots that were formerly too expensive or time consuming to capture, and low altitude, close quarters flights can provide producers and directors with many more creative shot angles and camera movements that really beef up editing options in post-production.

The small size of these drones, their toy-like characteristics, and basic safety features make the use of this equipment easy and safe for proximity to buildings and people, assuming responsible operators are at the controls.

The controller device and GPS data alert the pilot if the quadcopter enters restricted air space, and sensible deployment (or a no-go decision) can manage risks during production. Very few rules or regulations exist at present to limit or foster drone uses for film, although it is expected that the FAA will develop regulations as the population of private and commercial drone users continues to grow.

Referral Marketing – Trust Marketing

In this piece, SavvyCard CEO, David Etheredge, shares his perspectives on referral marketing: networking for personal and professional growth, building trusted relationships that add value to your life and business.   How do you value your network of trusted friends, colleagues, vendors, and customers?  Reputation, confidence, reliability seen and unseen; Trust Marketing.

SMARTS invites you to enjoy this excellent video!

Consuming Genius for its Own Sake

These days in the new economy, the idea and act of continuous learning are mainstream and, I think, acknowledged as necessity.  In my case I feel fortunate that consumption of new information in any form, but especially material on the technical side, has always been a fulfilling habit; I guess I never really got hooked on fiction or stories just for their own sake.  It’s obvious now that in order to simply keep pace with innovation and advancement in communications, productivity tools, and technologies affecting all of us, we have to pay attention and make the personal commitment to hungrily learn on a daily basis.

I had an experience last week that, briefly, snapped me out of my own robotic “must read this to keep up” frame of mind, and it felt refreshing and stimulating.  It still had everything to do with continuous learning, but it also had the added stuff that grabbed my attention and excitement about the opportunity to read this piece; in this case listen to the audio book.

einsteinFor me, the newly released book from this author represents a work of genius.  On discovery of its release, I immediately downloaded the book and felt excited about the time I would spend listening to it; as of this writing I am still looking forward to it.   I’ll keep the author and title of my example out of this post because the author and piece are genius to me (based on past works read), and I expect that this sense of value in a written or recorded work is rather personal.  Genius to you is assessed within the context of your life experience and belief system, so let’s leave the meaning of exceptional or genius work open in this case.

I know that when I invest the time to listen, I will be challenged to think, will be impressed and moved by brilliant prose and I, most certainly, will learn something.  Not necessarily about a new creative software tool or industry conference, but something absolutely of value to me.  More along the lines of a story that may or may not help my career directly, but will stimulate and reinforce my appreciation for learning for its own sake; for the joy of it.

My experience last week was stark enough to motivate this post.  To encourage others to be on the lookout for those rare pieces of great work, however you define them for yourself.  Consume and absorb the genius for its own sake.  It still counts as continuous learning, regardless of CEU value.

Buying Creative Services

Marketing Savvy

As always, companies seek out and deploy effective marketing strategies to build business.  In the new economy, the energy, urgency, and marketing options evolve and emerge at a pace that continues to accelerate, which presents opportunities for messaging through a variety of channels, in many cases, at lower cost.

As creative agencies adopt and leverage the tech-enabled tools of the trade, and open up distribution of graphic, motion graphic, video, and audio arts in service of clients through traditional and digital media in more ways than ever, buyers of these services will benefit from understanding the creative process and how these assets are produced.

In this video interview, Owner and Chief Marketing Officer of SavvyDog Design, Lisa Nalewak, shares her thoughts about the client-agency relationship.  She shares information about the skill sets and application of creative, technical, and strategic professionals in producing graphic arts for business applications.  Lisa’s insights will help build understanding and confidence in buying from these specialty service companies.

Branding and Marketing Planning with Dean Guitars CEO, Elliott Rubinson


The CEO of Armadillo Enterprises, Elliott Rubinson agreed to be the first contributing expert to the SMARTS Library entrepreneurship and business video project;  Armadillo Enterprises owns the popular musical instrument brands, Dean Guitars, Luna Guitars, and Ddrum drums; brands that Elliott and his team have built into one of the worlds largest musical instrument manufacture/distribution companies in the world.

Elliott delivers an interesting and informative look into the origins, strategies, and marketing planning aspects from formative years and present operations, and the shoot provides a look behind the scenes at their Tampa headquarters, warehouse, and USA guitar custom shop.

This is the first post in the new SMARTS Video Blog, that will feature successful entrepreneurs, business owners, subject matter experts, and thought leaders on a variety of topics of interest to business capitalization, leadership, marketing, advertising, law, technology, communications, interesting companies, and the media arts.

I hope you enjoy this interview and all those to come.