All too often an idea will come up to “create a video / set of videos for XXX reason” but if those reasons aren’t thought through very carefully you can end up being really disappointed with the results.

Why ?

Video production can be a time consuming and expensive affair for companies so it pays to have total clarity at the outset as to what you need the video to do for your company.

Think about why you want this video in the first place ? If you don’t know what you’re aiming for how will you ever achieve the objective ?

Think about what you want the videos to do in terms of outcome. Here’s a few examples we’ve come across :

  • Provide potential recruits with an overview of our company culture at campus recruitment events
  • Explain to our existing user base how to use certain functions / features on our app / platform
  • Create an emotional connection with our brand
  • Be used at trade shows to provide an elevator pitch for our company
  • Be used to promote ourselves among potential investors

Video production is an inherently bespoke process –  your company is unique right so your video is obviously going to need to reflect that ? Of course the chances are that whatever product or service your company produces is also available from other companies but the WAY you do it and the approach YOU take is unique. That’s what you need to get across in the video.

 

An Example

Who is the target audience ?

This is so important and I see companies get this wrong all the time. Let’s be 100% clear : a video has to address a

  • A specific target audience
  • A specific objective

Hence any dilution of either of these will serve only to muddy the waters and that can’t be a good thing right ? So don’t say “we want a corporate video that we can show to investors, clients and for onboarding new staff” – the issue here is that each of these groups want different things from the video and there are different messages that we want to give them. Result ? Confusion !! I’m not saying that a single video can’t meet multiple requirements but these do need to be aligned otherwise there will be a distinct lack of clarity for certain viewers.

Simlarly don’t say we want a video to showcase our company and to demonstrate the feature set of our products. These 2 objectives don’t really gel. The issue is that viewers have a pretty short attention span these days – in fact the research shows significant drop off on videos over 2 mins long is around 60% ! The message has to be delivered quickly if you want it to register at all.

If you’ve got multiple different type of stakeholder that you need to address, consider dividing the messages into separate videos. For example have a recruitment video showcasing the people, company culture and career paths, a product video showcasing the features, benefits and testimonials from happy customers and an overall corporate video showcasing the founders and their company mission and values.

How would the video be used ?

Resist temptation when making a video

What do I mean by this ? Well if you’ve ever worked for a large corporate particularly those in the IT, Finance or Consulting spaces there tends to be a desire to try and tell clients everything about the company. In the bad old days of powerpoint we used to turn up at client presentations armed with our trusty 80 slide deck. At 2 mins per slide ( a remarkably accurate metric) that’s a hell of a long time presenting to your client. I’m afraid that kind of blanket communications strategy just doesn’t cut it these days. Why ? Because no one has the time or energy to review all of your service lines, products, accolades, offices etc. Put simply you’ve got to address their pain points – quickly ! Also we’re trying to create engagement with our clients so a dialogue is crucial not monologues. For this reason your messaging has to be laser focused on the target audience and any time spent on other areas that are not of interest to this group risks alienating that audience. In short you’re going to need to focus on the hot buttons from the viewers perspective rather than all those juicy little features that you want to talk about from your perspective.

Another super important element to resist in corporate video production is turning it into a political extravaganza. What happens and (usually in the larger companies…ahem…you know who you are lol) is that if one layer of management folks have been tapped to say a soundbite or two in the video then every other person of that level wants to be featured in said video too ??!! Even if the objective of the film has nothing to do with them or their team. That kind of approach leads to dull films that are too long and unclear in their narrative.

One final temptation to resist is in the reviewing of the final video. Only those people who were involved (or at least aware of) the scoping of the project should be involved in the reviewing of the video. I can not emphasise enough the importance of this. This is crucial because reviewers who are not aligned on the original objective of the film will offer review comments that are not relevant to that objective. This causes delays in production, confusion with your storyboarding, possibly additional costs as your production partner handles the change request and almost certainly weakens the impact of the original brief by introducing elements and messages that were not needed. The recommendation here is to set up and agree at the outset a group who will scope and act as the review authority on all elements related to the production. Those who then want or need an input to the video should do so at the appropriate time.

What action / feeling do you want to motivate in the viewer ?

The viewer needs to be taken on a journey in any corporate film and at the end of this journey they should be clear about how to proceed further. You’ve done the really hard work of creating a positive impression of your company, your people, your services and what you stand for – now what ? Maybe the next step is a face to face meeting with a member of your sales team, perhaps it’s a request for a demo of your app, maybe it’s a sign up on a website, subscription to a newsletter or blog – could be anything but your viewer has to be guided by the hand as to how to take positive action to further their engagement with your company.

What are the constraints around production – timescales, budgets, locations etc ?

A video production should be thought of as a project with a defined objective, timescale and budget. In any project these three factors are all inextricably linked. So if cost is the priority then timing and quality may suffer, if quality is paramount then the cost may be higher and the time taken to produce longer and if timing is of the essence then possibly the cost and quality are compromised.

So should you be transparent with your production partner as to what your budget actually is ? The short answer is yes. But won’t the production company just charge the max budget allotted? Well that’s really missing the point here. First of all you should do some research to find out what the approx range of prices is for videos of the type required. Then of course do a little research from colleagues or peers as to some reliable suppliers. Maybe look on Google and see who’s getting strong ratings in your area. If you have the time see if you can get quotations from 3 or 4 companies and also get a sense of their work and their thoughts on your project. Once you know what the prevailing range of prices is for the type of work you’re looking to do you can be pretty confident that anything that falls significantly out of this range would need explaining. There are a lot of variables in video production such as – crew size, equipment used, lighting, post-production etc. It’s really important that your video producer knows if want a Rolls-Royce rather than a Volkswagen or vice versa. The best way is therefore to be transparent about the available budget and very clear about your expectations of the video.

 

Approach to the content

If you see the best restaurant menus you’ll notice they’re extremely descriptive about the dishes they serve. “Steak” doesn’t sound as tantalising as “30 day dry aged Aberdeen Angus filet mignon served with dauphinoise potatoes and a creamy pink peppercorn sauce infused with single malt whiskey ” does it ? They say a picture can say a thousand words – well a video can say 10,000 words then. We’re dealing with a powerful medium here and we should leverage that to the max so not to overdo the steak analogy but just remember to “sell the sizzle not the steak”.

Features and benefits used to be the way everyone went with content and there’s still a place for this in certain cases but let’s always keep our eye on the medium we’re using and what we can achieve from it. Stories are much more powerful. If you can demonstrate a whole sequence of events that played out positively owing to your solution this will resonate more effectively with your viewer. Remember it’s outcomes that are important for your client – not features and benefits in isolation. We’ve got to look at the value people derive from your product solution in a holistic sense rather than small individual metrics. So if you have a solution that automates some process saving a team lots of time and effort with manual processes then the real win is the time and opportunity that is now realized.

If we play our cards right at the end of the video the viewer will :

  1. Have a broad understanding of the problem the solution solves
  2. Get a sense of the professionalism and credentials of the company
  3. Be positive and eager to engage further

Since these are the desired outcomes from the video we should take these and work backwards to determine what level of content we need to provide to achieve these.

We can use a combination of elements to deliver this content :

  1. Talking points from key management
  2. Showing the product or service in action
  3. Anecdotes revealing the value the solution provides in a holistic sense

Many times in marketing we’ll hear that emotion and impulse are restricted to only consumer purchases but this is simply not true. Certainly B2B sales follow professional procurement processes and these would have some very tangible elements to them BUT what happens when 2 or 3 different solutions all meet those technical requirements ? There would inevitably be some other factors that would drive a company towards partnering with you. This is where the emotional connection comes in and I’ve been in B2B sales and marketing my whole professional life I can tell you there was always a strong bond between myself and my clients before any deal was signed. It comes down to trust and I feel trust is a uniquely human emotion. To convey this element in a video takes skill because what makes a person trustworthy or likeable isn’t that easy to identify. This is where a filmmaker needs to be able to capture the true nature of the person – every nuance of their language, the authenticity in their voice, the genuine nature of their smiles.

If and only if these elements are captured and conveyed properly in the film will it act as a catalyst to further engagement. Just as a great film can help anchor and adjust a prospect positively towards you the opposite is also true. A poorly made film can instantly turn off a potential prospect.

As is often said – you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make it a great one !