A Marketing Trilemma: Good, Fast, or Cheap?

As a marketer, there’s constant pressure to deliver great content. Effective content that looks good, costs nothing, and goes viral every week to every audience segment you’ve got, right? The problem is, this is the real world, and you have to work within budgets and meet deadlines. So here’s the puzzle: you can only choose two out of the three key elements in making a piece of content: make it good, make it fast, and make it cheap.

Let’s break it down:

If you want to prioritize quality (we’re a fan of this prioritization) and make a good video, you’ll need to invest in high-quality equipment, hire experienced professionals (quick glance to the Near Future team waving adorably from the other side of the room) and spend time on post-production. Your video will be top-notch, with crisp visuals, smooth transitions, and a clear message. But it will also cost you a pretty penny (a reasonable and fair amount, if you work with us…) or might take longer than three days to produce.

If you need to prioritize fast, and churn out something ASAP, you might need to cut some corners. Maybe you sacrifice and use lower-quality equipment, work with less experienced professionals, or skip some steps in post-production. Your video will be finished quickly, but it may not be as polished or effective as you’d like. ORRR, the help-quick-we-need-this-now nature of your job might come at a bit of a premium in terms of money. But hey, at least you’ll have something to show your boss, right?

And if it was your grumpy CFO that asked you to make this video, and you need it on the cheap… well, sure, you can do that. You’ll need to use low-end equipment, work with less experienced professionals, and edit it yourself, maybe… (um, do you know how to do that?) That’s ok, you have time to learn, right? Because this doesn’t necessarily need to be done quickly or anything, just cheap. Your video will be affordable, but it may not be as effective or professional-looking. But hey, who needs quality when you have a video that was made for pennies – maybe it’ll blow up on TikTok?

No matter which two you choose, authenticity and effectiveness are paramount. After all, a video that’s not effective is a waste of time and money, no matter how good, fast, or cheap it is. When we’re sitting down to concept for new clients or projects, this is our priority. We believe that something can look good AND perform well at the same time. How can we weave in key value propositions in an authentic way? How can our story connect with the community on an emotional level but also help them learn something new about a product or brand? Our goal is to raise awareness and gently nudge someone to act, while making a healthy deposit into the brand bank.

How it works, when you work with us: We start with a brief and creative discussions with your team. Then we share three to five unique concepts, choose the best one, and create a script, treatment, and storyboards. We quarterback the process to deliver a beautiful, on-brand final product on your schedule. The typical timeline is 8-12 weeks, but we’re experts at working under tight deadlines. Let’s tell your story and make some magic happen! Shoot us an email anytime, or check out some of the fantastic work we’ve done here.

Julie Care: Embracing Reality and Empowering Women

When we got the chance to collaborate with our pal Esther King on Julie Care’s emergency contraception spots, we couldn’t pass it up. Julie’s mission to change the way we talk about sex and contraception, combined with Esther’s incredible talent as a writer and director, made this project an absolute blast. The script’s tone was spot-on, bringing emergency contraception out from behind the “women’s only” curtain and injecting just the right amount of levity and authenticity.

Julie Care – Friends With Benefits

Let’s Get Real

One of the things we absolutely loved about Esther’s script was its ability to bring emergency contraception into the realm of everyday-ish conversations. No more secrets or shame – more like sarcasm and comedy – this script embraces reality… and we mean *really* embraces it, by making emergency contraception a normal, and can we all agree comedic, part of the dialogue. It empowers individuals to make informed choices about their reproductive health without feeling judged or pressured.

Empowering Women, One Script at a Time

Women have shouldered the burden of managing this sort of *situation* for far too long, and preventing unwanted pregnancies has often been seen as their sole responsibility. But Esther’s script flips the script (pun intended). It recognizes the reality while empowering women to take control of their sexual and reproductive well-being. By ditching the shame and secrecy, the script sends a powerful message: women have agency and autonomy over their bodies, and they deserve support and respect when it comes to making choices.

Changing the Narrative

The collaboration between Esther and Julie Care goes beyond emergency contraception – it’s about changing the way we talk about reproductive health as a whole. Through clever dialogue and relatable (“My boyfriend doesn’t believe in elevators…?) scenarios, the script breaks down important information about emergency contraception in a friendly and approachable way. We can imagine many a text to a bestie mimicking the lines woven into this one. By bringing emergency contraception into the spotlight, the script challenges outdated beliefs and biases. It signals a collective effort to dismantle barriers, foster inclusivity, and provide access to vital information and resources without fear or judgment.

We don’t usually pick favorites, but for at least 30 minutes this morning, this spot was our favorite project ever. With a friendly tone and a touch of levity, Julie Care has normalized conversations about emergency contraception, empowered women, and created a more inclusive, informed and casual approach to sexual well-being. Bravo, we loved to be a part of it.

Have something in the works that needs creative support? Hit us up!

Humanizing Your Brand: The Power of Customer Stories

As a creative studio that specializes in creating engaging content, we know firsthand how powerful customer stories can be in marketing. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, incorporating customer stories into your marketing strategy can be a game-changer for your brand. Here’s why…

Customer stories build trust

It’s no secret that building trust with customers can be a challenge, especially with so much competition and noise out there, but they’re a powerful tool in establishing trust with your audience. By sharing stories of real people who have had positive experiences with your brand, you can amplify your brand’s value, and build trust with potential customers. In fact, a survey by Salesforce found that 54% of consumers consider customer stories to be an important factor when making a purchase decision.

Customer stories create emotional connections

As humans, we’re wired to respond to stories that touch us on an emotional level. By sharing customer stories that demonstrate how your brand has made a positive impact on someone’s life, you can tap into this emotional resonance that drives customer behavior. In fact, a study by the Corporate Executive Board found that emotional connections are four times more powerful than rational connections when it comes to driving customer behavior.


Customer stories are more memorable than statistics

Let’s face it: most people don’t remember statistics and data points. But stories? Those stick with us. It’s rooted in empathy for people we “meet” – even if we just meet them through a screen. By telling customer stories, you can make your brand’s messaging more memorable and stand out in a crowded marketplace – leveraging compelling narratives to cut through the noise and leave an impression on your target customers. For example, Erin (on our team) doesn’t care a ton about baseball teams – but she likes the game, mostly because it’s a fun way to spend a few hours outside on a nice day, with snacks. When the LA Dodgers recently shared the story of former player Andrew Toles’ battle with mental health, and their decision to renew his contract for $0 so Toles could keep his health coverage, Erin bought herself a Dodgers hat.

You don’t need to be a do-gooder or have a heartbreaking story, though. Just telling a real, authentic, human story about your brand is compelling enough.

Customer stories showcase your brand’s values

Every brand has a set of values they stand for, whether it’s global sustainability, social responsibility, maximizing profits, or world-class customer service. By featuring customer stories that align with your brand’s values, you can “show-don’t-tell” your brand’s commitment to these ideals and differentiate yourself from competitors. For example, if your brand is committed to sustainability, you could feature a customer story about someone who chose your product because it’s environmentally friendly. Or, if you care about customer satisfaction above all else, you can highlight customers who had an absolute breeze overcoming the rare-but-still-frustrating issue they had in the purchase process of your product. Bam, empathy and values alignment all in one.

Customer stories drive customer loyalty

When customers feel like THEY are the priority, that their stories are being heard and valued, and that your company’s values align with theirs, they are more likely to feel loyal, perhaps even evangelizing on behalf of your brand (the holy grail of branding and marketing…) By incorporating customer stories into your marketing strategy, you can develop a sense of community and build long-term relationships with your customers. According to a survey by Ipsos, 72% of consumers say that positive reviews and testimonials make them trust a business more. By featuring customer stories that showcase the positive experiences people have had with your brand, you can build that trust and foster loyalty.

Square Customer Story – Spinning Bones

And last but not least…

Customer stories are high on ROI

Customer stories offer a valuable investment opportunity for businesses looking to create long-lasting marketing assets. While the production process for these stories may require an initial investment of time and resources, they have the potential to become evergreen assets that resonate with audiences for years to come. By focusing on high-level product benefits and brand value propositions, your stories will remain relevant even as products and services change over time. Additionally, customer stories offer a valuable return on investment by providing a wealth of content that can be repurposed across multiple channels. They can be broken down into shorter clips, used across social channels, and shared across various digital platforms, providing businesses with a variety of ways to connect and reconnect with their audience.

It’s definitely not true, but we kind of feel like we invented the “testimonial” style of storytelling on behalf of our clients. Lather, rinse, revise, repeat. It’s tried and true, tested and effective. Ready to get started telling your brand’s story? Give us a shout!

A Brief Walk Down Memory Lane – 2022 It’s Been Real

Zenosyne (noun): The sense that time appears to be moving faster and faster, especially as one grows older. We feel that.

But, in reality, it’s been a really great year for the team at Near Future; we tried some new things, we made some new friends, and we made some really great work. So, as any good walk down memory lane starts (at least one from a creative production company…) here is a recap video featuring some (but not all or we’d be here all day) projects we worked on with, or without you. Thank you for making 2022 a memorable one!

Now, let’s get down to the real story here: statistics.

The Team Grows By Leaps and Bounds
We grew so much we wrote a whole blog post about it here.

FirstsCheck out our blog post diving into each of these fun firsts for us here.

Top 8 Crafty Snacks
Did you think we could list them all here? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Check out a blog about the snacks here.


From January 1, 2022 through the publishing of this blog post, we have processed 32 TB of video data. That’s a lot. That’s ~ 32,000,000 MB. Woah. In practical terms thats:

• 23 MILLION floppy disks
• 6,784 DVDs
• 128 average-person Macbooks
• The entire Library of Congress, three times. THREE.

Should we keep going? It’s a lot. That much data comes from the 96 projects we worked on together. (Let’s try to beat this next year – challenge?)

Top 5 Videos on the Near Future Site

You came to our site, you watched, and the results are in…

1. eero: Hidden Connections – check me out
2. eero: Wifi for All – we get it, you guys like eero – check this one out
3. Helium: Glad You Asked – big wifi people we see you – check out the first one / check out 2.o
4. Modern Treasury: Move Money Easier – check me out
5. Aspiration: Start Somewhere – check this out


Coffee Intake

To get through all of those projects, the team drank 22,880 cups of coffee (yes, we did the math) over the course of the year. Well, ok, maybe we accounted for some coffee that helped us make early morning pre-work tee times… should we tally up our rounds of golf? Maybe not – just know we played a lot of golf, and drank a lot of coffee. Balance.


And finally, one of our favorite stats – people we know and love, doing other cool things.

1. Syra, who you might recognize from our Helium projects here and here, was also in The Dropout – check her out.
2. Steve, who you would recognize from our eero work, was in Hacks – check him out.
3. Casey Ford Alexander, from Scribd, was in Dopestick – check it out.
4. Steph Barkley, from this Kitty Poo Club project, was in Quantum Cowboys – check her out.


Overall, a good year. A great year. And at the close, we can’t wait to see what comes together in 2023. Thanks for being a part of our family. Have a wonderful holiday season and happy new year!! We’ll see you in January!! (Except for those of you that owe us feedback, we’ll be emailing you today…)

Firsts of 2022

We tried some new things this year and frankly, we’d do them all again!

1. Shooting with a Buffalo: thanks for the memories, Clyde!

2. Shooting in New Mexico: yes, eero can get you wifi all the way out here.

3. Shooting in an LED Wall Studio: shoutout to Hivemapper.

4. Meeting Holly in real life: and her golf game was indeed “fire”.

5. Speaking of fire… Shooting with a fire truck: we honestly cant believe we hadn’t done this before now!

6. Shooting in an Axe Throwing Studio: danger Will Robinson.



7. Shooting with Butterflies: as magical as it sounds.



The Team Grows By Leaps and Bounds

It’s all about growth. In business, in our personal lives, in our relationships, and the list goes on…This year was a year for growth at Near Future and not just in the number of projects we worked on!

Some of our more notable and exciting growths as a team this year were…

We brought another Square alumni into the Near Future family when we hired Erin to keep our creative production trains on the tracks. She’s about to be out for a little bit to have a baby (new hire #4) but we couldn’t be happier to have her on the team.


We also hired a Nashville-based creative PM, Holly, to come in and teach us how to golf well help manage some of our bigger client relationships. 


Our producer Chris had a sweet baby, Lucy, who’s brought some very real stoicism to an otherwise ridiculous group.


And, baby Rome Stevens is new hire number four for the year! He joined the team on Friday, December 2nd (like any good employee does). That’s like 30% growth YOY for all of the math fans out there.


Top 8 Crafty Snacks of 2022

Honestly, this was the hardest list to narrow down… you get eight. You’re welcome.

1. Mini Banana Pancakes – yes, exactly as good as they sound.

2. Trader Joe’s Ghost Pepper Chips

3. Trail Mix – for the healthy option on the go.

4. Bananas – for the purists

5. Peanut Butter Cups – obviously.

6. Trader Joe’s Chili & Lime Rolled Corn Chips – a healthier Taki (or so we convince ourselves).

7. Pretzels – filled with peanut butter, salted, covered in chocolate, dipped in wasabi, rolled in cheese – any shape, any size.

8. Candy – a little sugar pick-me-up never hurt anyone.

Safety First!

We miss seeing our friends and family on set and location…those hugs and high fives. We’ll get back there. For now, the way we make content has changed. But our ethos remains the same, provide high quality production, creative thinking—without ego, and good old fashioned value in a safe and responsible way. And here’s how…


We won a bronze Telly for Cake!

Tooting our own horn here for a sec. But we just learned that we won a bronze Telly for our Cake Browser commercial (directed by the incomparable Adam Patch). This was one of our favorite projects from 2019. We brought back the extremely talented and hilarious, Esther Povitsky (this time she had a side kick).

Watch the full-length here: Cake Browser

Veronica Belmont – Product Manager, Adobe

(We work with some pretty amazing people. They’ve been gracious enough to spend a few minutes answering some questions so you can get to know them like we do.)

Fave book, album, movie, TV show right now.
I just finished a quaran-binge of Schitt’s Creek (all 6 seasons) and it was absolutely delightful.  For books, there are too many to list! I do a book podcast (Sword & Laser) so I’m constantly reading, which is definitely a First World Problem. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal was a recent favorite, as was The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan.

App you’re addicted too.
Easy, Instagram and Reddit. I can’t believe how much time I spend on those, I can’t even look at that little report Apple makes for me every week, it’s too embarrassing.

Which comes first idea or brief?
How can you write a brief without an idea? This feels like a trick question.

What surprised you most about making a video? Why?
Mostly nothing, since I used to do that for a living. But I think I always forget how much space gear takes up, even in the room you’re shooting in. The shot is always so perfect, and yet there’s about 1000lbs of gear strewn about just out of sight of the lens.

What’s something agencies or production companies should avoid doing?
Listen to clients exactly. We have no idea what we’re talking about, seriously. Do what you do best.

Short form or long form? Or what is the perfect video length?
I’m a big fan of 30-1:30, but I will often watch long-form content on YouTube, so what do I know. For social media the rules are very different.

In early or work late?
Working from home has definitely changed my schedule a bit, but I’m still more of a morning person than a night person. I usually get on my laptop around 8:30am, try to bang out a bunch of emails or Slack messages, and then I’m typically in meetings until 4-5pm.

Three tips for making a great video.
1. Know what the goal of your video is before you start planning. Are you trying to get people to download your app? Learn something? Laugh and share?
2. Listen to the people who know what they’re doing (see above).
3. Make sure to grab footage you can share to social media, or teasers!

Do you call references or just look at work?
I have a weird aversion to the phone, so I look at work. It’s good to have an in-person meeting too, to make sure your personalities mesh well.

Do you get more nervous in a product meeting or on camera?
Hah! Depends on who is in the meeting. Fortunately, my on-camera life taught me a lot about controlling those kinds of nerves 🙂