–by Jon Harcharek, SBDC Expert Marketing Consultant
As a business owner, you already know the value of an elevator pitch. You can explain your proposition in the time it takes to ride ten floors. You’re great in a boardroom, convincing decision-makers why they should hire you. Your message is compelling. Motivating. And emotionally moving.
Which is exactly what Steve Besserman does best as founder of AriJoe Productions in Trenton. For a growing list of clients including tech companies, non-profits, and those who want to forever preserve their family history, his video documentary company gets to the heart of every story. While often tugging at the heart, memorably.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures,” Besserman points out. “It’s an invaluable tool on websites, in social media, during presentations, and for conveying content people remember.” As AriJoe’s “Chief Storyteller,” he notes that today’s consumers aren’t looking for sales pitches and slogans when deciding to choose your services or donate to your cause. “They want to relate to you as a person and believe in you.”
An Award-Winning Beginning
People have believed in AriJoe from its very first project. Realizing a lifetime ambition of bringing his parents’ Holocaust Survivor love story to the screen, Besserman produced, wrote and directed Only A Number. Earning multiple film festival accolades, it has been broadcast on PBS stations nationwide and is now used as part of the curriculum in New Jersey schools. After 15 years at CBS Television where he was responsible for prime-time broadcasts of more than 400 feature films, plus creative marketing positions in corporate communications, Besserman was well prepared to launch Arijoe Productions in 2010.
Hit the fast forward button to 2016 and the company is still moving ahead, helping small- to mid-sized businesses affordably put their stories online. Working closely with business owners, Besserman offers free consultations without obligation. “If you’re creating content for the web, I work with you to tell your story, presenting it in a way that builds trust and makes people want to know more about you,” he adds. “The goal is to create good stories with staying power. Everyone may not recall the exact words, but we remember our feelings as we heard them and the thoughts they churned up inside us.”
This may take the form of testimonials from customers sharing their passion for your product. It could be your key staff explaining what makes the company tick and how you all solve problems. Or it could be immersive. For HomeFront, a Central New Jersey charitable organization dedicated to helping the homeless, AriJoe created a 12-minute video taking viewers behind the scenes, meeting those who’ve overcome struggles to house and feed their children. The effect: like you’re having a personal conversation with someone. Donors got to know the residents, volunteers, teachers and workers involved with the construction of a new facility. So when they were asked to give, they had a greater understanding of how their funds make a difference.
Content is King. Authenticity Is Everything.
“That’s the difference,” Besserman says. “You’re really there, especially emotionally.” In the online digital age, marketing gurus have long preached the gospel of good content. Blogs. Podcasts. Social media. Yet businesses often get fixated on their search engine rankings or keywords instead of evaluating the most important component to any marketing campaign: The message. Is it truly believable? “Hearing it in their own words, seeing emotions on someone’s face, sitting in their actual homes or offices can really hit home,” he adds. “You’re involved, and want to involve others by passing it along.”
True to AriJoe’s roots, his firm still captures the legacy of loved ones on camera to pass down through future generations. “How many of us wish we had our parents or grandparents here with us now?” he asks. “So we could share their personal stories we miss or never heard? Although we proudly work with businesses, it’s also rewarding to preserve a bit of family history for others. While we still can.”
Besserman acknowledges that his business was fine-tuned thanks to involvement with the SBDC. “When I first opened up, our plan was to be a marketing communications company with a broader scope of services. After taking advantage of their free consultations and other networking events, my own story is more focused.”
And so is his camera, on future success stories.
A recent documentary will also be available starting May 3, 2016 on the NJTV/NJ Docs website at www.njtvonline.org/programs/njdocs