Owner Stories: Sorin Pavelesco, Creative Director/Owner, Sorin Media, Montreal, Quebec
We met Sorin Pavelesco through our membership in The Networking Club here in the West Island of Montreal. Sorin has had an important impact on our group and he regularly shares the importance of visual branding and storytelling to further a company’s message. He understands how vital it it is to not only listen to his clients, but distil the information he’s been given into beautifully shot videos that highlight the client’s business. Through the process of putting together this interview, we’ve gotten to know Sorin a little bit better too, seeing his meticulous thought process put to action via the answers to these questions. We encourage you to read all about Sorin’s business below and reach out to him should you have any video needs.
Our interview with Sorin is below. Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Also, make sure to read our Local Business Owner Spotlight series. Also remember to support local businesses in any way you can while these physical distancing restrictions are in place.
Interview with Sorin Pavelesco, branding specialist (design, video and music)
10|20 Marketing: Hi, Sorin! Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. So tell me a little bit about your business and core services.
Sorin Pavelesco: I am a digital content producer, which means that I create content for my clients to help them brand themselves on social media platforms and the web. Because of my vast experience in branding and advertising I realized along the way that I’m very good at listening to the client’s story, distilling the information and identifying the key points and messages that need to be brought forth. Having taken journalism classes way back and having collaborated with many talented copywriters throughout the years I also realized that I have strong writing skills and this has really helped me when I need to write a script or narrative for my clients’ promotional videos. The real skill is to say a lot with few words. Everybody is competing for your attention and you don’t have a lot of time to tell your story. Classic elevator pitch!
Once the script is solid and agreed upon I start filming.
10|20 Marketing: What kind of videos do you make?
Sorin Pavelesco: I have filmed corporate testimonials, product launches, events, concerts, business spotlights, music videos and short documentaries. The range is quite varied as you can see. The editing is the third part of the process and this is where everything comes to life. The magic happens here. I also happen to be an accomplished music producer with my own recording studio and so I naturally compose the music to all my videos… this is extremely rewarding!
10|20 Marketing: So tell me a little bit about how your business has evolved over the years.
Sorin Pavelesco: Regarding the evolution of my business I would say this: 20 years ago people said that if you didn’t have a website you might as well not exist. This is when the white and yellow pages were starting to disappear and the big shift was towards advertising online. And so people spent thousands of dollars on their website only to realize that they also needed to give people a reason to come back to their site. Consequently the LATEST NEWS section became trendy for a while because it gave website owners the ability to quickly make daily updates—they thought that would suffice but that wasn’t nearly enough!
Social media eventually came along and companies were happy because they could interact directly with their clients but they were also faced with a new reality: the need to feed the media machine! After a few years companies finally realized you couldn’t just post anything, they needed to provide quality content because, after all, their brand was at stake by process of association. Not a single company wants bad publicity or negative comments on social media. It is like a cancer… one unhappy customer can destroy years of dedicated hard work because his negativity will spread to others.
10|20 Marketing: And in comes video…
Sorin Pavelesco: And so now we are here. If you don’t have a good quality video content with a coherent message that is relevant to your brand and your customers then you might as well not exist. As you all know Google (which owns Youtube) gives priority to videos that are featured on websites. If you do not rank on the first page on search results you are in trouble. Most likely your competition has a video, either on their website, Youtube channel, Facebook business page or Instagram page. If you do not… well… you are severely behind! Business-wise there are so many opportunities to create videos today for my clients, it is the greatest time for digital content creators in history. Almost overnight online communications transitioned from a supplement to the main form of reaching audiences. There will be a reduction in business travel, conferences, trade shows, in-person meetings, and with the increase in working remotely it becomes quite evident that digital content will only grow exponentially.
10|20 Marketing: And let’s not forget about the potential of video post to Google My Business!
Sorin Pavelesco: Let’s not!
10|20 Marketing: Do you have some concrete examples of how your videos have helped customers increase awareness, sales?
Sorin Pavelesco: A few weeks ago one of my clients started manufacturing high-quality homemade masks to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. I realized right away what made his models different from many other local productions was that his featured a front pocket with a high-density protective filter. I knew this was the greatest selling point and I made sure to highlight this key point in the 30 second video. We arranged the safe-distancing pick-up of the product, the briefing was done by phone and it was all filmed at my studio without ever needing to meet in person. He has been using this video to advertise online locally and nationally (Toronto Star and Globe & Mail) and the feedback has been fabulous. He is delighted!
Another example is a corporate video I produced for BASF (Black Academic Scholarship Fund). This organization helps young black adults complete their post-secondary education by way of grants. This cause truly moved me as I realized how only a few thousands dollars can directly impact someone’s life. Yes, corporations donate millions of dollars to combat disease, famine and poverty worldwide, it is important and we will always need that, but on a small local scale, to be able to help a young adult obtain his/her University degree… well that resonated with me greatly!!! It turns out their main fundraising event is a yearly golf tournament, the Jackie Robinson Charity Golf Tournament. I couldn’t believe they didn’t have a corporate video to showcase their wonderful organization!!!
Then again I wasn’t so surprised… there are so many worthy and important organizations that simply do not have a budget for professional video productions and so I donated about 30 hours of my time to produce a video worthy of their cause. I met with the Director, helped her write a heartfelt message that eventually became the introduction to the video and recorded her in her beautiful backyard garden. The other portion of the video was me filming the entire golf tournament at the St-Raphael Golf Club, starting with the 8am golf registration process to the end of the dinner ceremony at around 9pm. It was a very long but equally rewarding day. If my first video example was about sales then this one was all about bringing awareness to a great organization by donating my time, talent and services to make a difference locally.
10|20 Marketing: That’s amazing, Sorin, and so great to hear. What are some of the goals you typically aim for when embarking on a new video project?
Sorin Pavelesco: As far as goals are concerned I always strive to make my clients look good by elevating the perception of their service or product and hopefully make them look even better than they are! That means finding the best camera angle, the most flattering light, the strongest marketing message, the most poignant narrative or story to tell. The end result has to be memorable and hopefully incite the viewer to respond either emotionally or physically by purchasing, calling or emailing. Obtaining likes, positive comments and sharing is also highly desired on social media as you have to be “top of mind” to your customers. This is in the case of a commercial video of course… if I am doing something more artistic and personal then my goals are less focused on the marketing message and the call-to-action. For example I am currently developing a web series on artisans and the primary goal is to capture the beauty of their craftsmanship through the music, the narration and the visuals. The episodes are about 12-15 minutes long and I want them to be entertaining so I can afford to be more artistic and have the camera dwell on certain beautiful details if need be.
10|20 Marketing: Can I ask you what your advice is for small business owners in this new COVID-19 climate we’re in now?
Sorin Pavelesco: It has become quite clear during this global pandemic that the companies who had a digital strategy in place have fared better than the ones who did not. Posting relevant content on a regular basis on social media helps businesses to remain “top of mind” to their customers and this naturally implies strategic decisions regarding tone and messaging. I have seen some local small businesses in the health & wellness industry selling online gift certificates with a 20-30% discount but redeemable at full value once their business reopens and this is a great initiative especially since there is a growing trend to support local economy.
Another example is the local restaurants who have delivered free food to hospitals and caregivers… this wonderful and generous gesture also helps these businesses to gain new potential customers and provides them with the opportunity to be featured on local blogs. People will remember the ones who were there to help during the hard times and I think there is still a potential for many businesses to be relevant during this crisis, they just need to deliver the right content with the proper message. A personal fitness trainer can give free tips on how to stay active at home… A wedding photographer can celebrate the one-year anniversary of a newly married couple by posting the pictures they took last year… A chef can share photos of new, exciting recipes they are testing at home right now while their kitchen is closed… these are just a few simple examples off the top of my head on how you can stay relevant and “top of mind” right now.
10|20 Marketing: And how have you adapted your business as a result?
Sorin Pavelesco: For myself I have had three live events so far that I was supposed to film that were cancelled: two fundraising golf tournaments and one very important gala showcase in June, the highly-publicized Strangers In The Night benefit concert with Loverboy.—quite disappointed with that!!! Consequently I have shifted my focus to products and services, connecting with people that are selling products and offering certain essential services.
10|20 Marketing: It’s been really good having you participate in our series, Sorin. We appreciate you taking the time to so thoughtfully answer our questions.
Sorin Pavelesco: It’s been my pleasure, Mark. Thank you and all the best to you!
Here are some examples of Sorin’s work:
This interview is part of our Local Business Owner Spotlight series. If you’re interested in having your business highlighted, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re interested in a free online small business marketing consultation, we’re happy to set up a time to discuss your situation as well.