The Video is the Message

When Todd Rollins wants you to get the message, he will likely send it in a compressed, digitized Internet video.
In the past year, Rollins, founder of Rollins Communications, has shifted much of the focus of his communications and media placement firm to the production of what he calls VIMs, Video Internet Messages.
And, as he says in his own Rollins Communications VIM on YouTube, “in 24 hours, we can create a quality Internet message that is inexpensive to produce and ready for Internet delivery at the click of a button.”
Short and sweet and, apparently, effective.
In the past year, capitalized billings for the firm have increased 20 percent from $5 million to $6 million, much attributable to the VIM business, he said.
“Since the video, we have done very well,” he said. “We have made quite a few dollars with that.”
Working out of a house converted to an office at 3336 E. 32nd Place, Rollins enters his 14th year of business with clients ranging from car dealerships, fast food enterprises, banks, television stations, drug stores and more.
A former television anchor and reporter in Texas and Maryland, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas and a master’s in computer science from the University of Oklahoma, it’s not hard to see how Rollins would jump to the connection of using video in an Internet-friendly format to deliver the message.
“I have always kind of been around computers and trying to make them work for you, because they are really inexpensive employees,” Rollins said. “Two to three years ago, my clients started asking me to do more than just what I do, and so I needed to expand and find the right people to help me do it, which I have done here.”
Working with a staff of four, Rollins is able to write, edit, shoot and produce the messages for about $2,000 per VIM in his own facilities. His Web site,, includes a video library of messages he has created for clients.
“A lot of our business is media buying and making sure people get the most they can for their investment. But people wanted more from me, and I knew I could do it because my history is in television news, how to communicate,” he said.
He said Rollins Communications concentrated on delivering the message for a long time and now also concentrates on creating the message.
“I went full circle,” he said. “Our crux is media and creating these VIMs. We really like the Internet.”
Rollins said the increasing speed of Internet access has opened for additional uses of video. The Internet has been difficult for companies to utilize for marketing and advertising their businesses, Rollins explained.
“People just don’t read as much, and the Internet is all about reading,” he said. “But people will sure watch and listen, because that is easy. It is a great way to deliver information.”
He said he realized he could take advantage of the video inroads on the Internet and be producers of the message, too.
“That’s what we do. We help people create a message and deliver (it), whether it is on TV, radio or cable or on the Internet,” he said. “And we can deliver it for them if they have an e-mail database, or we can buy e-mail lists. It is so much cheaper than direct mail, plus you can use it over and over.”
Rollins said the VIMs can be used as an outgoing message sent by e-mail or as a static message on a Web site, “where you are telling a message about what your company does.”
“What you are trying to do is present yourself so you stand out,” he said.
Rollins said companies are finding success by having their sales people send VIMs to potential clients, with a message that varies by the level of the customer’s interest.
“We show them how to sell that piece,” he said. “Here is the cold call case, here is the warm call and here is the hot call – three different videos that we help them create and show them what are going to be the hot buttons. It’s almost a bit of a sales technique, too.”
He said firms are also using VIMS as “effective and relatively inexpensive ways to advertise and keep getting your word out” as well as means of sending out company information or providing training materials.
A key advantage of Rollins’ VIMs is that he is able to produce a fast turnaround inexpensively.
“We have same-day and following-day turnaround without breaking the bank,” he said. “When most people think video, they think, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is going to be expensive.’ We are not trying to recreate a Steven Spielberg movie; we are trying to create sales and have this thing pay for itself. We want to create the message that people can understand and get it out.
“You, the owner of the business, can tell the story better than anybody. You don’t need actors and actresses. It’s still powerful, and that is what people need to remember when they are doing these messages.”
VIMs also provide a means of reaching a targeted audience, he said.
“TV is broadcast, this is narrow cast. We are focused,” he said. “That is the one of best things that sales people have. Sales people come in with a stack of business cards all the time. You take that same stack and send out video e-mails to these people, you are going to get a return. If you present your credentials on video, you are going to increase your opportunity to present.”
E-mailed VIMs even provide additional ways of measuring effectiveness. Rollins will show potential clients the readership response to his newsletter and the information that can be captured from his e-mail database.
“You can see where I have sent to 200 names and 100 were opened. That’s 50 percent,” he said. “You can even measure how long you spent with it. Those are the kinds of things that people like to touch, see, feel and analyze.”
The client demographics can be built into an e-mail database giving feedback on who is responding to a particular VIM mailing.
“If you have 10,000 names you just sent to, and all of them opened it and no one responded, then you know you need to change it,” he said. “How nice is that?”
Rollins characterized his target client as “anybody questioning anything that they are currently doing.”
“I tell that to any potential customer,” he said. “Just listen to what we have to say because there may be a time in the future that you need options. We can help provide you options, and we will tell you if there is something that we can’t do.”
While his clientele is primarily located in Oklahoma and Texas, Rollins sees the market for VIMs is “reachable just anywhere.”
“This is still new. This game is going to explode,” he said. “But what I am bringing that is different is common sense and cost effectiveness, and that’s what people are looking for, especially in this time of economic downturn. People are looking for alternatives.”

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