9 Q&A: Epipheo's Levi Bethune explains how 'truthful, honest, and entertaining' stories help clients

CINCINNATI - Local startup Epipheo helps companies explain complex concepts through video storytelling. The company started with a talented group of creatives who worked remotely from across the country. As Epipheo grew, it decided to bring most of the team to Cincinnati, where it's located in Longworth Hall near the Cincinnati riverfront.

Epipheo works with many area tech startups. It's also worked with some big clients you might be familiar with: Google, MTV and Facebook, for instance.

9 Questions for Epipheo's Levi Bethune, director of brand communication

1. Where does the name Epipheo come from?

It’s a family name from the ancient Greek—actually, we totally made that word up. We like to think of it as a "squord" (squish word). The problem with making up words is that you have to teach everyone how to pronounce them. So think of it this way: "Epiphany" (that moment where you realize something that changes the way you think or behave) and "Video" (most people's preferred method of ingesting adorable cat moments). Eh-PIH-fee-oh.

2. Who are your typical clients?

We attract a lot of tech startups because they have new concepts and products they need people to understand. We are positioned to be good for anyone that needs to communicate a complex thing to someone who really only has a couple minutes.

3. You're most known for video, but what range of services does Epipheo offer?

Part of our process for creating videos is diving deep into understanding the core of the story, or epiphany, and out of that labor comes a plan for a story. When we have a plan for a story that is truthful, honest, and entertaining, the delivery method of that story is moot. So really, you could say that video falls under our “other services” and that storytelling is what we’re known for.

4. Why did the company choose Cincinnati to centralize operations?

Back in 2009-2010, when the company was virtual and everyone worked remotely, half of the original partners were living in the greater Cincinnati area (and we’re fully aware that when someone says “The greater Cincinnati area” they mean, “Kentucky”). When it came time to centralize, Cincinnati made sense because of who was already here, but since then, it’s become a huge part of our identity. Epipheo is a fast-moving company that works with Fortune 100 companies, and we consist of genuine, honest, blue-collar storytellers who have a deep respect for humans and family. There aren’t many places that will award you the best of both worlds.

5. You've done some work for Google. What have you done for them, and how did you get involved with Google?

Google is an important part of Epipheo’s history. In 2009, Google released a 40-minute presentation (and) explanation about their newest experiment: Wave, but by the end of it, aside from the nerds in the audience, no one really knew what the heck the thing was. Jon Collins, one of the founding partners of Epipheo, made a video about WHY Wave was important, while everyone else was focused on what it actually did. That very successful video started a relationship with Google, and many other big names.

6. What types of videos do your clients want? How do they use them?

Our clients have seen a lot of success in embedding their videos on their homepages, sending them out as part of an email campaign, or using it as a targeted social blast. We also get approached to work on a lot of broadcast spots, pre-roll ads (like YouTube and Hulu ads), and even a few music videos. Part of our process is consulting with our clients how best to use the videos we create, and delivering the right format for their needs.

7. What is it about video that is so compelling, from a marketing point of view.

Video is so flexible; it can use so many different communication methods all in one: music, voice, acting, art, color, sounds, movement, graphics, pictures, icons, even graphs and charts. With video you can also combine all those things into a package that has a finite time attached to it. Knowing how long it takes for your audience to ingest the information is a powerful thing to know as a marketer.

WATCH: "Epiphany Moment" by Epipheo (story continues)

8. What is the Epipheo philosophy behind creating a great video?

Why. That’s the philosophy: communicate “the why,” or the value behind the product. Our director of design, Daniel Armstrong, once said, “A bullet-list is only as good as the story it reminds you of.” Basically that means that if you don’t have a personal reason to care about something, and I don’t give you a reason to care about something, then you’re not going to ever care about it. Lists and details will never give you that on their own, they need some sort of human value. That’s what we work hard everyday to find: the human value.

Next page: What's ahead for Epipheo?

9. What's next for Epipheo, anything new?

Epipheo is an invention company, but we’re also a refining company. We’re good at coming up with new ideas, and we’re great at perfecting those ideas and making them work efficiently. We have a lot of rad stuff on the horizon, but we’re also playing it cool and keeping things close to the vest. We’re continuing to create epiphanies that change people’s lives, and we’re dedicated to communicating like actual people, to other actual people, about truth, story, and love. You may roll their eyes at that, but swing by our space sometime and hang out—we’ll make you coffee and you can see for yourself.

Connect with contributor Feoshia Davis on Twitter: @feoshiawrites 


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