UK Enterprise Awards 2021

202 | UK Enterprise Awards 2021 Best Video Production & Marketing Company – Northern Ireland Making affordable, social media-ready video for businesses and organisations is the name of the game at SmartVideo. We speak to Paul Connolly about the services offered and how the firm sets itself apart from competitors. SmartVideo creates videos, animated explainers and 3D virtual tours for SMEs, charities and public bodies. With core values consisting of flexibility, innovation, value-for-money and customer service, the firm has come along in leaps and bounds since its initial inception. “Company values haven’t changed since its establishment in 2014, but our products have,” explains Managing Director, Paul Connolly. “We started life as a video news agency but have since developed into producing commercial videos to help customers with marketing and brand awareness.” Before switching to video production, Paul was an award-winning journalist for more than 25 years, in a career that has covered many aspects of print and digital news gathering from reporting to senior management, and holding a range of positions at the Belfast Telegraph, most lately Group Managing Editor (until 2014). Until August 2016, Paul was a member of the Board of the UK Society of Editors. He has freelanced for Time Magazine and the News of the World. Northern Ireland has a competitive video market with more than 70 video providers in one small region, yet SmartVideo aims to distinguish itself by providing exceptional value-for-money, particularly for SMEs. “Our challenge is to stand out,” explains Paul. “We believe we do this by becoming a one- stop-shop for all things video: corporate video, animated marketing videos, virtual tours and video marketing. An essential go-to place for your video needs.” Being based in the UK, and in Northern Ireland in particular, gives access to highly educated and motivated employees. It remains to be seen how NI will develop vis-a-vis the EU, but potentially SmartVideo could be poised to take advantage from being an economic part of the UK, with opportunities to export products like animated videos into the UK. Paul and the team believe the pandemic has accelerated ongoing digital trends which favour the further adoption of video products and SmartVideo intends to capitalise on this by adding new products and exploiting new marketing tools. “We intend to expand our services in coming months to capitalise on the latest switch to digital caused by the pandemic and the expanding demand for video products,” he continues. “Video is at heart a people business and making videos traditional way was very difficult when restrictions were in place during the height of the pandemic.” There were, in fact, some months in 2020 where SmartVideo shot no traditional video at all due to lockdowns, and this experience has instead increased the company’s focus on animation, virtual tours and other types of non-standard video production. “Whilst it was tough at times, the pandemic really only accelerated existing digital trends - for example, people have now whole-heartedly embraced video conferencing.” With a friendly, obliging, hardworking and innovative internal culture at its core, SmartVideo sees itself, and its people, as easy to get along with and it is in part this approach which has helped to secure the company the prestigious title of Best Video Production & Marketing Company – Northern Ireland. “We do all this whilst maintaining high standards,” Paul finishes. “Everyone conforms to this philosophy and we’re happiest when making videos for our customers.” Contact: Paul Connolly Company: SmartVideo Ltd Web Address: May21456