Helen Twose

Personal finance and KiwiSaver columnist at the NZ Herald

Success: Corporate videos keeping it real

Kim Goodhart had to overcome early doubts about her ability to face up to senior executives. Photo / Chris Loufte
Kim Goodhart had to overcome early doubts about her ability to face up to senior executives. Photo / Chris Loufte

Kim Goodhart and Reuben Pillsbury are tearing up the script in favour of a more ad lib approach to corporate videos.

While the traditional corporate video is likely to be a well-choreographed affair featuring the head honcho, the pair might take the opportunity to use fly-on-the-wall accounts starring anyone from the checkout operator to the board chair to deliver a message.

The reality TV veterans had worked side by side before the idea for their business, Real TV, got off the page.

"We always loved working together because we had the same vision for every TV show that we were creating," says Goodhart, 36.

"I guess at the heart of it, it was really the zero to hero story."

They realised that a well-crafted television story had the power to transform viewers' lives.

"That's one of the aspects I've loved about business actually is you do have to step up all the time, you do have to face your fears and you do have to just go out there and do it and believe in something and make it happen."
Kim Goodhart, Real TV

Their idea was to take reality TV techniques to the corporate world, to create video content that was engaging, watchable and took the audience on a journey.

Goodhart, who has a psychology degree, says she was keen to use reality TV-style videos to empower and inspire staff.

"I guess what I was really interested in is this notion of once people feel this sense of autonomy in their own lives they're far more productive, they're far more creative and happier and it was really about how you use these two skill sets together to be able to achieve various organisations' goals."

Real TV, which launched in 2009, now counts Mainfreight, Carter Holt Harvey and Mitre 10 among its clients.

Starting a business in the shadow of the global financial crisis turned out to be a boon, Goodhart says.

Real TV was able to offer a cost-effective alternative to creating organisational change or improving staff skills, she says, without the need to send a senior manager out on the road to talk to staff.

A project with Mitre 10, begun after it found it was lagging behind its main rivals in customer service, resulted in a 16 per cent lift in sales.

"I certainly never envisaged myself as a company director or doing what I've done and yet I realise that as we've gone along the way, that actually my natural personality attributes fitted that role."
Kim Goodhart

"We were offering something that actually suited the climate at the time."

Less than two years after launching, Real TV was a finalist in the Westpac Auckland North Business Awards.

Goodhart says the awards were an opportunity to evaluate the business, see how it stacked up against others and confirm what they were getting right.

"We also met a lot of people in the business community who were able to offer advice and support us as we grew."

It did take some work to convince potential clients in the beginning, when they were just pitching an idea without any completed videos to show off.

"It was always going to take somebody who thought outside the box to believe us."

Goodhart admits she's not a natural salesperson and initially doubted her ability to talk to a room full of senior executives, but she had absolute belief in the product.

"That's one of the aspects I've loved about business actually is you do have to step up all the time, you do have to face your fears and you do have to just go out there and do it and believe in something and make it happen.

"So I'm not afraid of that anymore."

Learning the business of running a business was her greatest challenge but she has immersed herself in business books and courses.

"I certainly never envisaged myself as a company director or doing what I've done and yet I realise that as we've gone along the way, that actually my natural personality attributes fitted that role."

While Real TV has its sights set on taking its brand of corporate storytelling to the world, it also has a hand in creating videos to tell New Zealand business stories to a global audience.

"Business has actually become a real passion.

"Now that I understand how much of it is about getting your message out to the right audience, being able to use video to work with companies that have got these great ideas and they want to take them out into the marketplace internationally; being able to help them tell that story or promote their product in a way that means that they can send it to anyone, anywhere in the world, rather than having to fly out there and demonstrate it."

Goodhart says Real TV not only wants to be the best in the world at this genre of corporate storytelling and help businesses improve, but she also wants to use it to benefit society at large.

Citing an example of a series of videos used in India to address domestic violence, she says it can be a powerful tool for helping society change and grow.

- NZ Herald

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