How a Small Team at a Tech Company Scaled Video Production Globally
Zapier is an “easy-to-use platform that allows any business to automate their workflow without having to write any code.” You may be wondering, “So, how exactly does an automation tool sell their brand story using video?” We spoke with their Brazil-based Video Production Lead David Quintanilla to find out. He lets you in on how he is building the company’s production team from the ground up, managing global remote productions, and what he’s learned about the process along the way.
Shivan: David, thanks for joining Storyhunter for this conversation. Can you tell us about Zapier’s video team and your responsibilities as production lead?
David: We lead a small video team and are responsible for creating video for everyone across the organization. So, marketing needs video, advertising needs video, and product needs video. Our team is responsible for putting all that together.
My job was to help start and build a video team from scratch. Before I joined, Zapier was using video a lot for tutorials, for example, helping people understand how to walk through a specific process, and answer specific questions. But, in general, video wasn’t a big part of how Zapier communicated with its users. So, that’s something very new. I came in to build the whole team effort from scratch.
Shivan: Why are you tapping into video to tell Zapier’s brand story?
David: We see a lot of opportunity in being able to educate folks through video, being able to inspire people through video. A lot of people are very visual learners. We have a successful blog team that helps people understand how Zapier can benefit their day-to-day. The strategy was to think about how we could use video to amplify the amazing work that the team internally has already been doing and get our name out there more.
Shivan: What are Zapier’s goals when it comes to video storytelling?
David: I came from a company called Udemy. So, I love educating people. One of our initiatives at Zapier is creating educational content that helps a user exactly where they are. When I first started using Zapier, I used it for a simple use case. But there are so many other ways that you can use Zapier. For us, it’s important to help people understand the new ways you can use it that you haven’t even thought about, especially if you’re not familiar with the no-code space. Then, a lot of the other videos we create, especially with Storyhunter, are around inspirational things like being able to say, “Wow, this company was able to use Zapier in this interesting way to scale their business and continue to grow.”
Shivan: How do you manage video production as a remote company?
David: Zapier is a fully remote company. That is definitely a difficult challenge to solve. And when you have a small team, you rely on external partners to help you create great content. When I worked at Udemy in the past, I had become familiar with Storyhunter. I had worked on some really cool projects. So at Zapier, I was like, “I have this great story in the UK. I’m in Brazil. How am I going to film this?” I reached out to Storyhunter and figured out how to find the right crew to create the content.
I’m a scrappy video creator, so I have a lot of equipment. I can create educational content. But what I wanted was to tell a story. We were looking for an inspiring story of someone in the UK using Zapier in an interesting way. I’m a fan of seeing how Zapier impacts the physical world. We put a proposal together and sent it out on Storyhunter. We said, “We need help sourcing, vetting, and finding the right customer that uses Zapier. We also need help with the production and with editing.”
The brief was let’s find a great story. Let’s come up with the hero cut of the story, which would be about a minute and a half. And then let’s think about how we can cut it for social ads. So, how can we get a perfect sound bite that shares how Zapier is helping people in 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and a minute?
That was the initial request that I had, and Storyhunter connected me with an amazing team out in the UK, and we were able to make that all happen. It gave our team a lot more flexibility to continue working on projects that were business-critical internally while also being able to create one of these customer stories.
Shivan: Can you share more about this customer testimonial video project?
David: With the help of Storyhunter, we were able to identify a couple of different customer testimonials that we really liked. One of them that caught our attention was Taylor & Hart. They are a custom jewelry business in the UK. We liked that they are a small team competing with some really big names out there, but they’ve been able to leverage Zapier in a super interesting way to customize and speed up their process for creating rings. For example, they told us that the first custom ring they made took about a year, and now they were able to get that down to six weeks.
Shivan: What’s unique about using customer testimonials as a video marketing tool?
David: It’s very inspirational. It serves as a way to inspire folks to say, “I can see myself in them and this is something that I can also do in my business, regardless of what it is.” It’s interesting to spark people’s curiosity about how they can use Zapier to make their business a lot better. It also just helps put our brand more out there.
We are hoping to build a big collection of customer stories from around the world. We want to have a page where people can go and understand “Wow, these are all the different ways that people are using it.”
Shivan: What are your tips for businesses looking to follow in your footsteps in terms of creating video content?
David: I would definitely recommend seeing who inside their company has an interest or has some experience in video that can help out. It can be as simple as someone helping you write scripts. I don’t write scripts. And so I rely on people to help me with that. Someone to help outline, someone who is a good storyteller who can say, “Here is the customer story, or here’s what we want to say, but how do we create that story arc?”
See what you have internally and then start thinking about how you can rely on external vendors to build these relationships. It’s important to put together a creative brief. Is it going to be an ad? Is it just going to live on an Instagram page? Is it going to live on your YouTube channel? Understanding where the video is going to end up will impact your production process.
The biggest challenge is not having a process in place. Before I started, someone would just say, “Hey, I want a video.” The first step is putting together a good creative brief and then helping people understand what’s possible and what you get for the budget that you have.
Shivan: What are other factors businesses just getting started with video need to keep in mind?
David: Once you have a video, how does the review process work? What type of feedback makes sense? You need to make sure people have the time and the bandwidth to provide feedback. A lot of times you don’t really think about, “I’m going to need you this week to provide feedback by this date so we can keep the production schedule in order.”
Shivan: How does Zapier plan to continue leveraging video?
David: We are looking to embed video within your journey as a new Zapier user and an existing Zapier user to get you to play around with the product a little bit more. So, I think there are a lot of places and opportunities for us for video: How do we embed it more into the product? How do we share it more socially so people can see what’s possible? A lot of learning is going on, but video will be a big part of everything we do moving forward.
Interview by Shivan Sarna, Head of Stories