First the Internet went social and then it became mobile. This phenomenon dramatically changed the relationship between brands and consumers, who were empowered by technology as never before, and now organisations and marketing officers seek for new and creative ways of engaging with their audiences. To make that happen they will need innovative tools such us Seenit, start-up which helps brands to create video with fans and employees through an easy-to-use app, who effectively become mobile film crews.
We interviewed Seenit CEO and co-founder, Emily Forbes.
Question. What’s your background and how did you come up with this idea?
Answer. There was only one thing I was going to do in life, and that was work in film. I worked at Working Title and Partizan in London before moving to Cape Town to work for a smaller production company as a Producer and videographer. At the time, I was actually trying to create my own documentary, when I first came across the power of user generated content. I wanted to create a story about Rhino Poaching and went to film a protest, however I soon found that my camera and enthusiasm paled in comparison to the amount of video content that was being produced by the crowd in front of me. A smartphone generation were readily documenting everything they saw. That’s when I put my camera down and instead focused on harnessing this potential new ‘film crew’. Their footage was personal, current and opinionated. That was when the idea behind Seenit all started.
Q. Brands already have a wide range of social media tools they can use to engage with their audiences, why would they choose Seenit?
A. With the demand for digital video expanding exponentially, brands need to find new ways of engaging and creating content. Seenit’s ‘toolkit’ enables brands to activate their audiences whether it be employees, fans or specialists around the world, to become their content creators using their smartphones. Unlike other user generated content platforms, clients have total control over the curation and creation of any uploaded video. They can ‘live direct’ their crew by using push notifications, and most importantly the brands then own this content. With Seenit you can set a project up in minutes, be reactive to what’s going on and because of our system turn branded content around whilst events are happening.
Q. What’s your pricing strategy for organisations?
A. We’re a pay as you go or subscription platform with varying price brackets depending on the amount of video that is uploaded to your online studio. We also have a verified crowd-sourced editor network who can log into our clients’ private studios remotely and do the editing for them, you can buy 90 second edits in bundles or pay as you go.
Q. Is it tough to get fans and employees to become mobile film crews? How do you incentivise them?
A. Yes, there no such thing as a free meal. You need to firstly work our who your crew you’re targeting is, find the advocates, the superfans and the ones who are just amazing at being in front of the camera. After all, it’s not about quantity of content, but quality, and who better then the aforementioned. To help incentivise, we have a starring points system so rewards and vouchers can be awarded. But incentives aren’t always material. For example, we were the partner app at this year’s Pride in London, and the driving factor behind that campaign was a strong message and ethos that the community wanted to be a part of.
Q. You’ve recently won ‘The Next Big Thing’ award at Ad:Tech. What has this acknowledgment meant for the project?
A. Winning the award meant so much to us. As an early stage business it’s easy to just keep your head down and you can become critical of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, so to then have leading industry professionals take a step back and look at what you’ve built and reward you for it feels monumental. It has also meant quite a few fantastic leads too… !
Q. At which stage is Seenit? What’s next?
A. Max Werner and I co-founded the company in January this year, we’ve gone through the Collider and BBCW Labs accelerator and are now in the process of closing a Seed round. We’re looking to expand our team with very exciting developments in the pipeline. We’ve signed up some incredible brands who now aren’t tied to the limitations of a traditional film crew. This is transforming the way they’re thinking about storytelling and communication… watch this space!
Q. Could you tell us the best moment along your entrepreneurial journey so far?
A. It has to be about 6 weeks ago when the team went from 3 to 5 and we had the first day in our new office space…we didn’t have a brand poster or anything so Max just stuck our business card on the wall and declared our ‘Seenit Team Meeting’ open. That was an incredible moment.
From left to right, Emily, Max Werner (Co-founder, Head of Product), Tom Miller (Head of Operations), Dave Starling (CTO) and Ed Pearse Wheatley (Creative producer).