In 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted many different businesses across the globe. Lockdowns imposed in many countries have forced many businesses to operate from homes. While major vaccination programs are being carried out worldwide, new variants of the COVID-19 virus create new challenges. New surges of infections in some countries recently amidst a shortage of vaccination supply could mean that things might only return to normalcy in 2022. Fortunately, the light remains at the end of the tunnel.
In recent years, video production has taken a centre stage in marketing strategies of brands and businesses. Videos are effective in boosting online visibility by improving website traffic and rankings in search engines. The positive impact it has on search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine ranking (SERP) means that more and more businesses are investing efforts into video production.
However, the pandemic affected many production houses as the lockdowns and social distancing rules hindered many activities, including video production, most specifically live action production. Studios are forced to operate from homes.
To get some insight into this dire situation, we interviewed Alex Safavinia, the CEO and Creative Director of Kasra Design.
Kasra Design is an award-winning video production company that makes really interesting explainer videos in the form of animation or live action. Alex has been running this business for over 12 years and during the current pandemic.
Ok, time to jump into our interview. Here is our entire interview QAs:
How long has Kasra Design been around?
Kasra Design was established in the year 2011. The concept of online video production was still relatively new at that point, but it was gaining traction. With my background in animation, I thought it was a good area to venture into as more and more businesses were growing online and they needed effective marketing tools to promote their products and services.
What kind of clients does your company work with?
We work with clients from many different industries. Some of the big names that we’ve worked with include PepsiCo, Panasonic, Shell, Tokio Marine Insurance, the International Air Transport Association (IATA). We cover all continents and support a huge list of languages.
How did you cope with pandemic in general?
To tell you the truth, it was hard in the beginning when everything seemed so uncertain. We weren’t familiar with the concept of working from home and we were unsure if clients would reduce budgets in video production due to the challenges brought upon by the pandemic.
Does it affect your video production business? How do you operate currently?
Our team started working from home since March 2020. We quickly ironed out the issues in the initial phase by making sure that our employees had access to proper workstations at home. Live action production is limited due to the various social distancing rules put in place, but we saw a growing demand for animations. After all, video is still a very much sought-after marketing tool by businesses especially during this challenging times. People are confined at homes and they spend more time online so in order to reach out to them, video is still the best method available.
What are the challenges of running the business remotely?
In the initial phase, we had to make sure that all our employees have high-end workstations to work from homes because our work is greatly dependent on the latest hardware technologies and graphic cards. So, we had to move everything from our office to each employee’s home. As we’ve been doing this for more than a year now, our team have gotten used to collaborating online. At some point, we still miss having discussion face-to-face so the next best thing for us now is a Zoom meeting.
Does pandemic incur more cost on operation? (No, less so far)
Fortunately, no. It has in fact reduced our cost on operations as we don’t need a physical space. In addition, our employees save on travelling times and expenses. We can use the extras that we have to spend on things to improve business operations such as tools or software to make online collaboration easier.
Did pandemic affect your sales?
No. Quite the contrary. We saw a decline in demand for live video production but an increase of demand for animated videos. Animated explainer videos are still relevant especially when people are stuck at homes during lockdowns with nowhere to go. Online video is one of the best ways for brands to reach out to people. So, when they can’t opt for video shoot, the next best option is animated styles. Thankfully when it comes to animation, the possibilities are endless. It can cover literally every industry in the world.
Are you facing any problems with HR and hiring process? Do you get enough applicants during these extraordinary times?
Yes, we see new challenges with new hires as training becomes harder since we do not see them face-to-face. It takes more time to prep a new employee to manage the tasks.
We do receive more job applications than before as the pandemic has affected many businesses and job opportunities are scarce.
What is your view of the future of video production with the ever-increasing online businesses and technologies?
Video production will stay relevant as there is a growing number of businesses going digital. In fact, the pandemic has fuelled more businesses to accelerate their digital marketing strategies to stay afloat in the market.
What is your advice for businesses struggling with social distancing and lockdowns currently? (Adapt and change, employee health is important, don’t lose hope, innovate and adjust)
I know social distancing and lockdowns are hard for many businesses but we’ve got to innovate and to change according to time. The pandemic has brought upon the realization that nothing is predictable in the business world, so we’ve got to be able to adapt according to the changing trends. Also, employees are the driving force of any company so we must ensure that they are safe and healthy to continue contributing to the growth of the company.
The take-away from this interview is that although the unexpected happened, a shift in the methods of video production and the ability to innovate managed to keep many companies afloat, like Kasra Design. Thanks to new technology, it is possible to organize meetings online and collaborate on creative projects which usually requires face-to-face brainstorming session.
And of course, having a strong online presence will ensure the steady stream of clients when traditional ways of acquiring clients might be impossible.