It’s been exactly 10 years since I started working in film, tv, and advertising. But only now do I start to feel confident enough to talk about my experience and share what I’ve learned. I guess I missed my injection of millennial’s confidence and got stuck with “I’m still not good enough and need more experience” attitude. But maybe it’s not always such a bad thing. So what do I have to say after ten years? Well many things.
Today I’d like to focus on the value of a video
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
I have many meetings with business representatives that either used very little or haven’t used video at all in their marketing strategy. And it’s often difficult to determine where to start the conversation. I usually try to explain that producing a video is not only a financial investment. Before deciding to produce a video you need to make sure you have the time. A production company will help and will do most of the work but they will always need their client’s input and again, time.
So what can a video actually do?
Simple – a good video serves its purpose. The problem is that people using video often are not taking the time to figure out all the reasons and consequences of it. Almost every day I face a lack of awareness, from business owners and surprisingly even marketers, of what video can actually do and how it should be used. And I am talking beyond the SEO ticking box with basic explainer and vlogging.
- Often create the first impression of a brand
- Communicate a message consistent with branding
- Convince to respond to a call to action
- Share insights and opinions
- Engage in discussions and talks about your brand’s vision and ethos
- Explain a concept or a product while raising awareness about a brand’s values
- Tell a brand or employee/CEO’s story
- Be relatable
- Move emotionally
But what I see is that, more often than not, businesses/marketers commissioning a video do not spend enough time thinking about the negative impact a video can do.
- Put off prospect clients/customers
- Raise negative emotions and negative associations
- Tell the wrong message
- Create a bad impression of your brand
Pepsi “Black Lives Matter” advert failed to project a global message of unity and peace and was received as undermining and exploiting the BLM movement.
TV viewers were upset that Mcdonald’s exploited grief to sell more burgers.
Sometimes we think we have a brilliant or funny idea, that our customers will love. But it is always useful to stress test “the idea of the idea”. Talk about it to people around you, preferably external to your business, to gauge their reaction and be open to listen to their feedback. That cool idea might not be the right idea at the moment.
A video can do so much more, both positive and negative, but the previously mentioned qualities are enough to make my point.
Making a good video isn’t all just about how much money you can spend to make one. What is important is to take the time to make sure you are allocating your budget toward something that you really need.
Understand what you want
It takes time to decide what type of video you need: ad, brand film, brand documentary, explainer video, social media snippet, interview, web series, testimonials, behind the scene, crowdfunding, event highlights. Who are your audiences and what are their expectations of your brand? Would you like their expectations to change? To appear “different”? What are you hoping the results of your video campaign to be? Increasing sales shouldn’t be the answer. The increase in sales should be a consequence of your goal (ex: generating traction on social media from a certain demographics).
Appreciate what you need
It takes time for filmmakers to get to know and understand a company and come up with just the right concept and script that will stand out in an overcrowded marketplace and also represent your business properly. Even if the ideas come from the client, it is always beneficial to talk through all the aspects of the video content with filmmakers. When they will fully get your intentions, the ones you had when you initiated the project, and the ones that came to you during the discussion, those filmmakers will help to tell your idea visually in the most appropriate way.
Think content first and format later
It takes time to decide what format is best – live action, 2D animation, 3D, animation, stop-motion, mixed formats, gifs a mix of several formats. Just because your competitor is using fancy animation techniques, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is what you need.
Reflect & Discuss
It takes time to discuss and feedback all the steps of the way. Way too often clients don’t have time to discuss or feedback important decisions. And even though we can adjust and make decisions if necessary, not having the client’s input at the right time will either make the shoot more difficult or the result will not reach its full potential.
Understand that a video won’t reach an audience by itself
It takes time to create a strategy for video distribution and how to integrate the video with the rest of your marketing goals and plans and matching it to branding. Too often videos are made with a vague plan in mind: some kind of distribution on social media. But without a proper strategy, usually quantified by a duration and a defined budget allocated to it, it just will not get the reach and results it could have had, and therefore not meet the commissioner’s expectations. A rule of thumb is that the distribution budget should match the cost of production.
So yes. It does take weeks and more often months to create something worthwhile.
The main point I am trying to make is that video isn’t just an SEO tool or another tick on a marketing plan. A good, appropriate video can do so much more. It can make your clients relate, laugh, tear up, want to meet you, support your business, invest in your business. It is a powerful medium and it is worth taking the time to make the video(s) that will go miles for you!
Filmmakers, like ourselves, master their craft every day. There is a lot of jargon and a lof technology involved in video production but it all comes to this: are you able to positively engage your audience?
At Shakehaus, we are embracing the fact that we are filmmakers and that the content we produce won’t be dry box-ticking marketing tools. Our company matured to the point that we know that we want to create is branded films and ads that people will truly enjoy.
The line between film/tv and branded content gets blurrier every day. Many brands already employ these trends and use them to their advantage. I really hope to have more in-depth conversations with people that are open to exploring branded filmmaking with appropriate attention and that will embrace brave ideas.