As the founder of AnyaZMedia, Anya is one of Southpaw Insights’ most exuberant and creative collaborators. Anya is a “triple threat” as a videographer, a producer who specializes in video market research and social media, and a market research moderator.
So great to talk with you, Anya! Let’s start off with how you landed here as a multi-disciplinary research professional. Did your video skills come first, or the research skills?
Anya: In college I experienced a pretty devastating injury that ended my rowing career – but the upside is that it gave me the time to do a double major in psychology and broadcast journalism. Then, after college, I worked at MTV Radio Networks where I honed both my technical skills and my interviewing skills by learning how to help celebrities feel comfortable talking to me. My transition to market research came when I helped a client by taking a lot of footage and providing them with a short, edited version that communicated the essence of the findings. Then I started moderating, and now my work is about half video and half moderating.
When you collaborate with Southpaw Insights, how does your video work help make the research findings stronger and easier to grasp?
Anya: With audio/visual you are helping busy executives who may not have the time to go through a whole research deck – or who take things in better with AV. The video component also reminds clients that we’re talking to real people, who are the heart of it all. For instance, on one project we were interviewing young moms who were still nursing, and the clients wanted to get footage of that. And that was where I was really able to make the moms feel absolutely comfortable and trust in the process and know that we were not going to ever violate them, while being able to bring the client into an extremely intimate moment between a mother and her child. When you see these women nursing, you feel that without the video component, the client just would not have really gotten the point.
Can you share with us another project in which the client just would not have gotten the point without the video component?
Anya: Package- and website-testing are good examples. Often, the people who design stuff just can’t understand why consumers have trouble with what they’ve designed – like why you can’t open the bottle or why you can’t find the website menu. Video is such a helpful way to deliver the visual information so that these clients who are really passionate about the design, understand that they’re not at fault – but also that we as consumers are not stupid. It is only when we finally show the designers video clips of people trying to open a lid – or showing that people do not scroll down to the bottom of the web page – that they understand what needs adjustment.
What do you find the most fun when it comes to creating videos for market research?
Anya: I treat every video, from three minutes to 30 minutes, no matter what subject, as a mini-documentary. And when you approach it like that, you can do really cool things – even in Zoom videos –that help to draw viewers in and make the people in the video seem more human. Some of the small, fun touches that I pride myself on include using camera cuts or zooming in on someone’s background or adding in B-roll or stock footage. I like to go a little bit above and beyond, and the reward is it looks better. And the clients feel better because all those added touches make it much more engaging to watch. Part of the creative process is knowing that all of my editorial choices are designed to elevate the content.
What about trends? Are you seeing any trends in research videos?
Anya: I think people realize that Zoom is a way to access and film people affordably, so there seems to be this desire to make more highly-produced videos with Zoom footage. Two other really helpful trends are the blurring that we can do as part of the privacy uptick and captioning for folks who are hearing-impaired.
To wrap things up, can you describe what’s special about your collaborations with Southpaw Insights?
Anya: What comes to mind is how grateful I am that I get to work with Southpaw because of the people, the types of projects, and the work environment. Because there is so much trust and respect between me and the rest of the team, I’m comfortable making unorthodox suggestions or thinking a little “out of the box” about a video. I have such a belief in the company, and I really love being able to flex the muscles and show off what Southpaw does in a different way.
Is there an opportunity for you to bring research to life with video? We’d love to help you. Contact us.
Interview by Julia Strohm.