// Strategy

// Thought Leadership

Talking with Rebecca Garnick Ast, VP Program Development at Tippingpoint Labs

One of our most creative and insightful partners is Tippingpoint Labs. We were delighted that Tippingpoint’s Vice President of Program Development, Rebecca Garnick Ast, recently made time to talk with us about what it takes to create great videos. Below are some notes from the chat.


Tippingpoint Labs is a Content Marketing Agency that lives and dies by process. What’s unique about your process and the way you employ it to guide and influence the expression of client content, particularly in the realm of video production?

Rebecca Garnick Ast

Process leads to creativity, in my opinion. I know, I know–it is not an opinion shared by many! Lots of people feel that too much process can tamp or thwart creativity but for me process is not about red tape or putting up barriers. Instead, it’s about removing them so we can be truly free–first to understand what we are trying to accomplish and then to explore, innovate, and examine the creative possibilities. If I’m harried, rushed, or don’t have all the information needed, then I cannot effectively create.

The video process begins with pre-production, which at Tippingpoint Labs is about unearthing the ways in which we can influence the viewer’s behavior. We do this by understanding the business objective for the video, grasping the audience, and then diving into the distribution platform. We conduct a discovery exercise not just to master the messaging that the video needs to convey, but to understand if that messaging is something the audience can relate to or even cares about. “Pre-pro” is where a video’s success is determined.

From there, it’s all about production. And that comes down to having the best equipment, crew, graphics, animation, and a clear vision for the look of the end product. We don’t believe in over-polishing if it’s not required. We believe in showing an authentic version of a brand, product, or service–and those attributes are not always glossy.

Everything comes together in post-production. One of the ways I measure a project’s success is by the number of edits it takes to get the content approved. If we’re over a certain number then I haven’t gotten something right. At the point we start editing, our team should be able to make the right decisions as to what to keep, what to cut, how the music should make the viewer feel, and how to pace the piece. If we have gone through the process properly, the editing should simply flow. Funny–it never exactly feels like that, of course, but that’s the goal.

Jim Costco


Content really has to be perceived as authentic in order for it to resonate with its intended audience. What does it take to help clients deliver video content that is the truest representation of their brand and what they want to communicate?

Rebecca Garnick Ast

Well, that’s a tough question. The first thing it takes is having that understanding of, as you say, what is the “truest representation of their brand.” Some clients know what that means. Some think they know. And some have no idea. And that’s ok.

To get to a true representation of what a video needs to communicate we have to excavate and distill the essence of what the audience needs to hear–not necessarily what the brand needs to communicate. Sometimes what the brand wants to share is not what matters the most for viewers at a particular point along the buying journey.

Depending on the project and client we might take a somewhat academic approach that involves applying primary or secondary research to create a customer journey map. Or we might take a slightly more–let’s call it “whimsical” approach. But either way, we attempt to understand audience behavior and then fit the message directly into their decision making path. Being “audience-first” is often where we find authenticity.


To continue poking at that topic a bit, some videos are standalone in the sense that they aren’t part of an integrated campaign. But no video—or any type of collateral—exists in a vacuum. What can you share about best practices for clients who want to ensure that their video content fits snugly within their branded universe?

Rebecca Garnick Ast

I love this! No video exists in a vacuum even if it is a one-off. The video may be shared on social media. And so, there is text that accompanies it. Some videos are shared via email so the email will have content as well. Some live on a website with 400 words of text around it. And all live within the context of the company, the brand, the product. Nothing ever exists in a vacuum.

To fit snugly within a branded universe, we think about the elements that tie one marketing tactic to another. We consider tone of voice, style of design, cadence, participants, messaging, and the like. You don’t want to create something that feels completely disconnected from other efforts.

Of course, we often feel campaigns and ongoing content are more effective at building relationships and influencing the buyer journey we just spoke about, but “stand-alone” videos can be very effective if shared at the right time, on the right platform, with the right audience.


What are some recent trends in videography that you believe will open up new opportunities for clients? And what about the opposite? Are there certain techniques and trends in videography that you believe clients should avoid? Why?

Rebecca Garnick Ast

Questions about trends are tricky, right? If I say I don’t follow trends then I sound out of touch and if I list a bunch of trends, then maybe I’m chasing too many new shiny objects. I’ll say this, fundamentally Tippingpoint Labs is focused on strategic marketing. We use the tools at our disposal.

We try to think through the lens of skilled marketers who live in 2022 with once unimaginable marketing options at our fingertips. We understand that new types of video emerge all the time. The 0:06 bumper, the interactive video, live or streaming video, personalized video, etc etc. But, there are no trends not to try and no trends that any brand must try. It comes down to employing the best tool or technique that’s available, that fits within the strategy and again, is right for the audience.


Some content is better suited to one medium than another. When—if ever—is videography NOT the right choice for the expression of client messaging?

Rebecca Garnick Ast

As much as I would like to say that video is always the right medium–you are right–It isn’t. I think about the proliferation of podcasts. These are often serialized stories, rich with drama and intrigue or filled with information and education. Why is audio and not video the right choice for these?

It comes back to the audience and where they will be consuming the information. Podcasts have tapped into the multi-tasking abilities of humans who can drive and listen, cook and listen, shop and listen, etc. They likely cannot watch and do all of those things and we probably do not want them to! So, at Tippingpoint Labs we first think about where the audience is likely to consume the content. If watching is not an option, then we think of other mediums.

I also think about how visual the topic is. We believe in showing and not telling your story. Video is about showing. We want to have something to show. If there is nothing visually stimulating to share then we may consider using a different communication tool. But we always come back to video–because it is multi-layered, rich, and dense. Video is not just what the camera captures or the animator designs but the layering of voice, design, music, images, cadence, emotion, and so on. These layers offer many, many ways to make a video interesting.


What advice do you have for clients who may be newbies in the realm of video production?

Rebecca Garnick Ast

My advice is try it! It will not bite. Video has a reputation for being time consuming and expensive. It’s one of those things companies put off. They think it will get done after the logo is designed, after the messaging gets final sign off, after their big budget is approved, after the full team is in place, after the product launches, after we speak to this client or this partner. The reasons to not jump in are endless. But many of those protests are actually terrific reasons TO create video. What if more brands let audiences see the logo design process or the messaging development or the product testing? Wouldn’t that then go back to your earlier point about creating authentic content that is “the truest representation of their brand?”

For those who are newbies or are waiting, I say jump in. The right partner can help navigate the process to get the best, most creative work possible within budget.


The world has changed a lot post-COVID–what impact, if any, has the pandemic had on video production?

Rebecca Garnick Ast

The pandemic changed video production. For starters, people could not physically be together. So, that forced a lot of quick innovation. We saw virtual video production explode and companies started to invest in at-home video equipment. Everyone from CEOs to my mom bought ring lights to place in front of their camera to make them look better. Studio-in-a-box setups were created with better cameras, lights, and microphones to more closely mimic a true studio environment. And the number of virtual recording platforms for live streaming and capture just exploded.

All of this led to viewers being more accustomed to seeing less polished, less sophisticated videos. I think this is both good and bad but I won’t delve too much into it. The pandemic broke down a lot of barriers for video. People wanted to connect, they wanted to see each other. Putting together quick and dirty videos allowed for that in a way that other mediums did not. Whether this will have a lasting impact, we will see. I think, likely, it will.


Finally, let’s sum it up! What makes a great video that can be on brand while cutting through the digital noise? Can you share an example of a video that you personally believe just KILLS it?

Rebecca Garnick Ast

The digital noise is real. Cutting through it goes back to determining the message, the medium, and the platform that best suits the audience. I am really proud of a project we did for a SaaS company that was looking to make an impact with a brand video that was meant to entice and inspire. They came to us knowing they wanted content and video, but not sure the direction that should take.

We spent time learning about the brand, their audience of existing customers and prospects, and their product roadmap. Eventually we delivered not just video concepts but brand positioning and messaging to C-level executives, the sales and customer support teams, and many other people within the organization.

The video we produced makes a very strong statement about the brand. If you want to check it out, you can find it here


Read more about Tippingpoint Labs and Rebecca Garnick Ast.


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