CCC Intelligent Solutions and Enterprise Podcasting
uStudio Staff | Podcasting
We were fortunate to have Craig Stevens from CCC Intelligent Solutions sit down with us and our extended community of customers to discuss how his team has used podcasts and a private streaming media network to shift their approach to internal and external communications. For those who don’t know CCC, it is one of the most successful SaaS platforms for the property and casualty insurance economy. They power operations for insurers, repairs, auto manufacturers, suppliers, and more. If you've ever been in a car accident, there's a pretty good chance that one or more CCC solutions was used in processing your claim and or the repairs of your vehicle.
Craig has taken a central role in transitioning communications and even much of their product process to media streaming and podcasts. It started with the need for more effective communications with teams, remote employees and regional leaders, and has blossomed into a persistent change to how business is done in and around the company.
Grab a beverage, sit back and watch or listen to Craig’s insights on how they launched and built a formidable podcast program with excellent adoption and engagement.
As always, you can read the transcript below, click play to watch or listen to the entire conversation, or use your uStudio application to log into our Trial app to hear it through our streaming app.
Here are a few highlights:
(7:05) On why they chose uStudio, Craig says: “uStudio had this professional feel with an uncomplicated process to deliver content… It was scalable and we could even go external… Sold. We're in.”
(7:38) In talking about the dream Craig’s team had to replace the poor return from email comms, he mentions: “We had visions of our people in cars and on planes with their AirPods in listening to what used to be buried in their inboxes only months before.”
(17:16) On how to make drab content sound great, Craig talks about how “Sometimes the content you must deliver is dry and thick, hard to consume and rough to remember. It's okay to make it entertaining.”
(17:40) On the topic of continuous improvement and iteration, Craig says “…we got here by following three simple things. Let the appetite feed the recipe. Listen to what your employees want. Follow the metrics in the uStudio dashboard to see what episodes get the best reactions.”
Well, hi everyone. Thanks for joining. It's Zoe from uStudio. I'm here with our chief revenue officer, Alex Mitchell, and we'd like to welcome everyone to this week's Let's Get Podding webinar, how CCC information services uses private podcasting, presented by CCC's solution delivery manager Craig Stevens. This webinar will be recorded and we will be sending a follow up email to all attendees with the recording link. Q and A is encouraged and will take place at the end of the presentation. If you have any questions, please feel free to type them in the Q and A box in Zoom. The control for this is located at the bottom of your screen. So I'd like to go ahead and give Craig the floor. Craig, are you ready?
I am ready. So hello everybody. And welcome. And thank you for joining. As Zoe said, this is how CCC uses private podcasting. And I am going to take myself off camera because you don't need to see me or my kitchen. And by the way, welcome to my kitchen. I'm going to stop my camera right now and get started.Okay. So CCC, who are we? CCC's a technology company servicing the insurance and automotive industries. We're a leading SaaS platform for the property and casualty insurance economy. We help power operations for insurers, repairs, auto manufacturers, suppliers, and other businesses. So what does that mean? We develop and put technology in the hands of our customers to help them achieve success in their business. Sometimes that same technology ends up in the hands of the consumer like you, when you have a reason to interact with an insurance company or a collision repairer. So for example, if you've ever been in a car accident, there's a pretty good chance that one or more of our solutions was used in a processing of your claim and or the repairs of your vehicle. So that's who we are. Me? I'm Craig Stevens and I'm the solutions delivery manager within our automotive services group.
So solutions delivery is responsible for optimizing both our internal and customers' processes and getting them up and running successfully on our products as quickly and efficiently as possible. Whether that's by producing content that is delivered directly to them or by making sure our industry leading field staff is knowledgeable and certified themselves in order to service those customers directly. So today is a story about irony. Now don't get me wrong, you're in the right place. The next 20 or 30 minutes is absolutely about our podcasting experience with uStudio, but mostly it's about irony. And let me explain why we are a technology company yet like any company these days we have sometimes found ourselves challenged by how to communicate effectively with our people. For years, companies have struggled with identifying the right or best way to communicate with their employees effectively, whether it's via email or voice to voice, alerts, announcements, team meetings, each has its own unique challenge depending on the situation.
For example, at CCC, many of our people are remote, they're out in the field, always on the go. The challenge of getting information to them successfully and timely is magnified. Yet, despite all the available solutions, we still find ourselves on the hunt for the best way to reach out and touch someone. So let me paint a picture for you. At CCC, our employee, Diana Prince has a territory that encompasses three states. On Monday morning, Diana gets on a plane and heads to the furthest away of her three states. As she lands that morning, she notices a few emails have landed in her inbox, but she has to get her rental car and head to her first appointment. So, she'll check in later. The boss calls, leaves a voicemail asking if Diana saw that important email this morning, Diana continues about her day with multiple appointments still standing between her and her hotel room.
So she checks her email when she can and notices that things are stacking up. She decides she'll go through all of them in more detail after checking in later on. So here's the problem, Dianna, by no fault of her own, likely received a few important emails that morning as she was on the plane, a few more came in during and between her appointments throughout the day. By the time she checked into her hotel at 5:00 PM that evening, those first couple of urgent emails had been pushed down in her inbox by several more urgent emails and a whole lot of not so urgent ones. That probably sounds pretty familiar. Well, knowing that email was not an effective way to deliver important and timely communications to our people in the field, in 2019, we decided to survey everyone and ask them one simple question. How would you prefer to be communicated with?
So here comes the irony. Podcasting finished dead last. Yep. Last. What was first? You guessed it, email. We were a bit surprised at first, we knew our employees were frustrated by lengthy emails, conveying updates and initiatives and data, et cetera, et cetera. So how could they possibly choose email? Something occurred to us. Could it be that podcasting didn't finish higher in the survey, because it was just unfamiliar? Wasn't podcasting just an entertainment medium after all and how could podcasting deliver important information without being stale and boring? While it made so much sense to us, we could deliver content, important and urgent content, to our people that they could consume throughout the day in their rental cars on planes and hotel rooms. It was perfect. So the search began, the search for a solution. How do we even start? How do we record a podcast? Where do we house one? How do we deliver it?
Here comes another dose of irony. The two people tasked with this effort here at CCC had never listened to a single minute of podcast prior to this moment. That's right, my boss and myself while being pop culture and multimedia fans had zero experience with podcasting. Crazy, right? But wait, maybe not so crazy. Because of our lack of experience, we knew we needed a solution that was simple and relatively easy to use. We weren't sound or recording engineers and neither of us were going to be Joe Rogan. So after doing our research and signing up for a few demos, we landed on uStudio. uStudio had this professional feel with an uncomplicated process to deliver content. We would be able to utilize single sign on to gate access. It was scalable and we could even go external if and when we became the next Joe Rogan experience. Sold. We're in. Still without a minute of podcasting consumed yet time to start developing content for the big launch, we were running downhill fast.
So many ideas for shows and episodes. This will be great. We had visions of our people in cars and on planes with their AirPods in listening to what used to be buried in their inboxes only months before. We would have a show delivering a weekly industry report that was going unread at times prior. Recorded conversations with key people in the organization, sharing their stories, the idea of listening in on a conversation that you might not have ever had the chance to be a part of was suddenly becoming a reality. This is exciting. This is great. Then irony, a global pandemic, all travel suspended.
But on April 2nd 2020, we launched our new podcasting solution as planned. Everyone was excited, albeit skeptical of its success, especially in the current new environment. Our people were no longer on the road. Instead of AirPods and listening to conversations, they would be at home staring at their screens and monitors. Could we pivot? Then we realized uStudio provides the ability to deliver video content the same as audio. What if, and wouldn't it be cool if? These are two of our favorite phrases here in solutions delivery. Our senior vice president announced that we would take advantage of this time to develop our people and that we would come out of this pandemic even better than when we went into it. We would sharpen the saw and educate ourselves. After all, when would we ever have the opportunity again, to have a captured audience without the distractions of travel to hamper their ability to focus on themselves and their own professional development.
Hence, our first and most played or watched show at the time aptly named The Next Six Weeks, irony strikes again. It was named for the duration of time we felt that the pandemic would last. A learning series of live webinars that would be recorded and then uploaded to uStudio over the next six weeks. Needless to say it has been 60 weeks now, but what a journey it's been. So during those early days of COVID our senior vice president delivered weekly meetings by way of a live video call, it was essential to hear directly from leadership, what to expect and how we would navigate this unprecedented time as an organization. But also how would we help our customers through it? Pardon me. These calls had 100% attendance. What if we had Joe record his next one and tell the market they would need to access it via the uStudio platform?
Well, that move did it. That one decision drove adoption through the roof and passed 100%. How? How could we possibly have better than 100% adoption? Well, because the secret was out, we had 167 members in our market. And as you can see on your screen, we had 220 activated users. Employees outside of our market started hearing about our podcasting solution and the success of it. We started adding additional partners from within CCC, but outside of our market. Game on. But how do we keep this ball rolling? Hence, the birth of one of our mission statements. Let the appetite feed the recipe. By never listening to a podcast before we were not bound by what others were doing. We were not copying what other podcasts were doing and running the risk of being compared to them. If we listened to our people and delivered what they wanted, we would be letting their appetites feed the recipe of creation.
That being said, there was no guarantee that we could still maintain adoption and consumption. Wouldn't it be cool if it became a thing? Let the creation begin. Little video teasers to promote upcoming shows like the one you see on your screen now became a thing. People got excited. They hadn't seen this before. How about movie trailers, compelling viewers to keep an eye open for upcoming events, show launches and new episodes? What you see on your screen now was the announcement for our kickoff in December. And we made it as compelling as possible. And people still remembered it. Unfortunately at the time this became our number one, most highly viewed show, but it got people involved and it got people to keep jumping into uStudio.
We began creating graphics, announcing upcoming shows with launch dates, and breaking news. Thumbnails teasing special bonus episodes and special guest stars. New shows like Need One, Take One that provides the listeners with stories from tenured employees, need a story, take a story, have a story, leave a story, you get it. The use and power of a QR code. We would email thumbnails like the one you see here for Y store and include a QR code like you see in the bottom right corner so that our employees could just simply scan it and be brought right to the episode within uStudio. And here we are a year later with our robust menu of shows and a whole lot of episodes.
So what do our employees think? Now, first, let's go back to Diana Prince. Remember her? Traveling from Washington state to Montana, her inbox filling-up throughout the day. She now starts her morning off with a cup of coffee and a podcast or two. Even some of the skeptics from a year ago are cranking out their steps while listening and/or watching. Then there's this. Feedback from one of our employees who just so happens to be our CEO. He requested a login last year, so he could witness for himself what all the excitement was about. Besides these encouraging and exciting quotes, on the anniversary of our launch, he made himself available to be a special guest host of one of our more popular podcasts, Carlos's Corner, a weekly podcast that takes a thousand word industry relations report and condenses it into a three or four minute episode. Ironically, we also used the jingle for the first time and that jingle has become synonymous with Carlos's Corner.
Everybody knows it and you catch people singing it. Let me tell you, nothing promotes a solution like getting your CEO to join in on the fun. And when we thanked him for his participation, he said, it's the least I could do. That not only speaks to the success of our podcasting solution, but also to the culture here at CCC. Podcasting doesn't have to be hard. I'd love to tell you that our journey looked more like the right foot here, nice and straight, but proudly I can boast that ours looks more like the path of the left foot. If I'm being honest, the process of finding and producing content for a podcast, well, it isn't always easy, but you'd be surprised how much content you have already or can easily produce. It doesn't get much simpler than recording a call. No special equipment needed. No microphones or soundproof room.
Or how about recording yourself while giving a PowerPoint presentation through your video conferencing app, maybe record a video of yourself or someone else with your phone. As you learn and get more comfortable, you could explore more, creating a whiteboard video using Video Scribe, that's the software that we tested and gave it a whirl. Then we learned how to add a voice over to it. We use tools to create little exciting videos, promoting an upcoming episode or show like Videos, another piece of software that we found. We use podcasting apps like Alitu and Zencastr or we sew all the different things together and produce a video with all aspects mentioned above with iMovie, that comes with your iPhone or a Mac. My point is that uStudio has made it incredibly easy to deliver the content we create however we’ve created it. Here are some final thoughts that have helped us along the way.
We have found that dedicating one person to this solution has helped its success. That doesn't mean that only one person does it all, but rather identify one person that wakes up every day with the success of podcasting as their objective. Next, do your research, learn from the world around you. Yes. We've been lucky. I'll be the first to admit that, but luck favors the prepared. The more open to ideas you are and the more willing to learn from your mistakes, and I've made a few, the better you'll position yourself for success and be honest with yourself. Sometimes the content you must deliver is dry and thick, hard to consume and rough to remember. It's okay to make it entertaining. It's true. There's a line, being too silly can act as a distraction from the content, but trust me, you can find the right mix. And last and not least, we might have had a little luck along the way and a whole lot of irony, but we got here by following three simple things.
Let the appetite feed the recipe. Listen to what your employees want. Follow the metrics in the uStudio dashboard to see what episodes get the best reactions. See what time of day podcasts are being consumed and play to that. And wouldn't it be cool if. This is the single most exciting question to ask yourselves, it opens you up to explore beyond what you would normally do. For example, look here on your screen. Someone somewhere asked, wouldn't it be cool if there was a phone car charger that looked like the flux capacitor from Back to the Future. And next thing you know, you can now buy one on Amazon. And last, stop doing things the same way you always have. Be sure to review and take the temperature of old processes and solutions. In my final point of irony, don't take the results of a survey as the final word. When podcasting came up last, we challenged it and successfully changed how information is delivered here at CCC. And that is my story and CCC's story. So now we have a little time left over for some questions and answers.
Yes. Okay. So as a reminder, if anyone has any questions, you can type them in the Q and A box in Zoom, which is at the bottom of your screen. So, Craig, the first question, what are the topics of some of your most popular podcasts?
That's a great question. And I didn't want to bog down the presentation with those details. I hoped that somebody might ask. We have a show, that one with the QR code is called The Why Store. We've spent a lot of time this past last year, explaining why. So traditionally, training videos are watching somebody move around a screen or watch the mouse move around a screen and click on things and tell you, click here, click there, select this, select that. And we thought, wouldn't it be cool if, and I don't say that for effect. We really do say that a lot. Wouldn't it be cool if we told people why? Like why should I click there? And that entire show and all the episodes contained within it became explanations of why a particular product would serve the needs of a customer.
Why would we want to do this? Why would we want to do that? So we have a couple of things like why process? Why is process important? And we interviewed my college roommate. We interviewed the keyboard player from John Fogarty's touring band about process. And what is his process? It's got nothing to do with what we do on a daily basis, but we wanted to understand what their approach to process was. So then we can draw the parallel. So it was something a little engaging, different. It wasn't as dry as normal content and people were interested in hearing these stories. So there was the why story. There was also Carlos' Corner, which you've heard me talk about. That's a over a thousand word document that came out weekly with a lot of incredibly important information to all of us within the industry, but it's thick.
It's a lot of information. So we've converted that document into a three minute podcast with a jingle. If anybody's interested, if you ever want to actually personally, or for business, there's a guy on YouTube that sings name songs, hundreds of them, you can almost think of any name and he sings it. So we found this guy and we have, he sings Carlos's song. And it's very funny because I don't think we can find somebody within ASG here at CCC that doesn't know that song.
Carlos always enjoys it as well. So those little things, those little hooks and those little grabs make a big difference. Other shows like I talked about recording a webinar, we have training series where we bring in industry professionals. We record them, we ask their permission first of course, but we record them and then put them up into uStudio. And now they live there and they're accessible when people need a refresher or need to go back. So that's why I say you might be surprised at how easy it is to produce that content.
Awesome. Thank you. Another question. What would you recommend if we are not able to dedicate one person's entire role to podcasting?
Well, that's an awesome question that I wish my boss heard you ask because I am that person and this is just a small portion of my job. So I do a lot of other things in solutions delivery. They've just decided that it was important. And, I guess I should have said this a little clearer in the presentation. I don't wake up every day and spend eight to 10 hours just doing podcasting. But as opposed to it being a committee of people deciding what podcast, our leadership team believed that having one person make the decisions and be responsible for it was a better way to go because it removes a lot of the opinions and personal thoughts. And we should go this way, we should go that way. So a single person, as opposed to a committee. It doesn't mean that single person, that's their sole job.
I could also tell you this, and this is absolutely true from experience. About three months in, so by July mid-summer we found this new trend that was happening and now it's an ecosystem. So people started to get excited about the podcasting solution. And now all of a sudden they want to be hosting their own podcast, or they have an idea to create a podcast or they don't want to host it, but they got a great idea for someone else to host it. So it became its own ecosystem and it started feeding upon itself. We have an incredible amount of experience in our field people, they're extremely talented. They have a million stories to tell and share. And that's the birth of that show Need One, Take One. If I'm friends with an employee in Texas, I don't see them every day, but how cool would it be if I could hear their story on a podcast while I'm walking in the morning?
And now all of a sudden, their story is my story. I can share that story with my customers. So don't think that it becomes all encompassing and takes over your entire life… of the one person. It does become its own ecosystem. It's just one person that kind of becomes accountable and responsible for what goes into uStudio. And it just becomes owned by that one person.
Okay, cool. Next question. Can you speak a little bit about your launch plan or what did that plan look like?
Yeah. We worked closely with uStudio on what it was for others, because like you heard me say, and it was absolutely true, we had no idea what we were doing. John and I had never listened to any podcasting. So we didn't know what the approach would look like. So the team at uStudio had helped us with PDFs that they showed that other companies used on their rollout. And what we did was even back then, we started with a trailer and we got people excited that this is coming. At our annual kickoff in January three months, two and a half months before we were going to launch, we teased it and told everybody that this was is on its way. And remember that's three months after they all said that podcasting would be dead last. So it didn't receive a lot of notoriety at our kickoff, but we just kept building and building.
And then as we got closer, we delivered that email with the PDFs to educate them and we made sure it was simple. We wanted to remove as many obstacles as possible, that wasn't hard to do because there weren't a lot of obstacles. They just logged in and they were in, it was that simple. And we had some canned content that we had up and ready, so they didn't come in and just see one show and be like, oh, oh, that was fun. And then as we kept building and kept adding, they were learning as we were learning. And then they learned how to like something, they learned how to share something. They learned how to download it. So it was like a snowball rolling downhill, but the approach was pretty simple. We teased it, we did a little movie trailer and then we announced it with a couple of PDFs and said, here's how you do it. It's surprising how many people do consume podcasts outside of work. They just never really thought of doing it inside of work. So it was somewhat familiar and it was easy.
Yeah. I love the movie trailers. Well, another question. So how did you tackle the audio editing and recording duties? Is there a software you prefer out of options?
Yeah. And I think I might have blown past that pretty quickly. So listen, I'll be honest. I was a classical music major in college. I switched and got a business degree halfway through because I'm a big guy and I need to eat. So I switched to business, but I have some creative knowledge, but when it came to editing and post, I didn't know what to do. My saving grace for a long period of time was iMovie, believe it or not. I could take audio clips into it. I could take video clips into it and I could edit and cut and change the timeline and fade into things. It was so easy. It was like point and click and drag. Now, I sound like a big shot, but it's still amateur level time, I use Alitu for just straight audio podcasting.
So Alitu gives you the ability to bring in songs and your audio recordings of voice and edit them. So if you have somebody like myself that says "uh" on occasion, it lets you go in there and find that in a wave and snip it out. And it's literally point and click. So Alitu's been a great friend for audio only, and Zencastr is great for over distance. So if I have an audio for of someone speaking, I could throw that into Alitu and manipulate it and edit it. If I don't and I'm going to do a recording with people and the people that taught me this were sitting in front of you, Zoe. She used Zencastr with us and that's what raised my eyebrow. I've used it since. So you can have people log into a website via a link and it records their audio separately from yours. And when it's done it publishes it for you and you bring it down as an audio file. And now you can put it wherever you want. Sometimes I use it in iMovie, sometimes I use it in Alitu, or it just stands on its own as its own audio that I can upload to uStudio if it's polished enough.
Awesome. Thank you. Another question is where did you get the footage for your movie trailers?
So, something that bothers us. There's a couple of us that are very particular. The worst thing ever is when you have grainy blurry pictures. So we are fortunate enough to be very kind to our marketing department and we have access to Getty images as a result. So some of our images, I get from there, high quality and high def. So that way there's no loss of quality when it goes into the video and all those movie trailers, you only saw one here, but the movie trailers I do all in iMovie. Pretty neat. And you can too, you can create a movie or you could create a trailer. So those of you that have iPhones in your pocket, if you go into iMovie and start poking around, you can see there's, I hate to reveal my secret because so many people are amazed at these movie trailers, but I got to say it's real easy to do in iMovie. So getting good high def images, then putting them into iMovie and playing with the transitions and the fades in and out and the titles. I don't want to insult anybody's intelligence. It doesn't take a lot of effort. It just takes a little creativity. How's that?
Sounds great. One last question here. What piece of analytics do you look at the most within your uStudio dashboards? And why do you look at it the most?
For months, I was just obsessed with views and plays. I say view, I say views. So here's another irony, because of the pandemic and everybody was looking at video, we went through a transition to video where a lot of companies start off with the audio and have trouble getting to video. We were all in on video and now we're having no challenges, but it's interesting going the other direction. So there's that, but we looked at views and plays. We wanted to see how many times an episode was played. It came from probably an old school mentality of did they get that email? Did they read that email? Well, now we could go into uStudio to the dashboard and say they watched it. You could see how much, what percent of it they watched. That was our first real time spent in the dashboard.
Then we started graduating, and this is an interesting statistic for us, our mobile usage versus web usage. When we first employed the services of uStudio, we envisioned 80 to 90% mobile users, and it was the complete opposite. We were at about 82% web and 18% mobile. And it was disheartening, but it was the environment that we were in. Everybody was sitting in front of their computers. Now we've dipped a little further as more and more people start heading out into the road. We're going to have to now pivot again and make sure that there's more audio content available. So that way, you're not encouraging people to watch video in their car. And you're also not waiting for them to get to their hotel at 5, 6, 7 o'clock at night, and then open up their app and watch videos there.
So we're going to pivot to more audio and hope that that drives up our mobile usage, but that became a pretty key indicator for us. And we're watching that closely right now. The other one is time of day, and it's kind of interesting to see when everybody's consuming and it's early in the morning and it's late in the day are our two peaks. Returning users is another one. And you could just look at that bar graph and it lines up almost exactly with when you launch a new episode or a new show, things will be trailing off and all of a sudden right back up. And then, so we have a lot of these peaks and then slow decline and then a peak and then slow decline. And it lines right up with when we launch. So if things are slowing down, we know it's time to drop a new episode or listen to me, drop a new episode or drop a new show.
Well, great. Thank you. I think we're about out of time here, but yeah, I'd like to thank Craig for a great presentation. Again, this webinar was recorded and we will be sending a follow up email to all attendees with the recording link. The recording will be available in our trial app in our Let's Get Podding webinar series podcast show. So if you do not have a trial with uStudio and would like to view the replay, you can download our app for free in either the Apple store or Google Play. Once prompted after opening the app, enter TRIAL all capitalized as your company code. There's any confusion, these steps will be listed in our follow up email. I'd like to thank everyone for joining us today. If you'd like to learn more about uStudio secure podcasting solution, you can visit our website at ustudio.com. Thank you so much. And we hope to see you in the future for our next Let's Get Podding webinar. Have a great day, everyone.
Thank you to everybody.
Thank you, Craig.
Have a great day.
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