1. Know your “why?”
I was sitting down having lunch with a CEO of an assisted living facility, when he exuberantly lit up as I asked questions about his company. He answered passionately and precisely and eventually I didn’t have to ask questions. He went off like a freight train in perpetual, unstoppable motion, spilling out details and industry-changing ideas in excited spurts. In a matter of minutes, I got it. I knew his heart—the heart of the company. Not just the “what” but also the “why” of his company.
What does this have to do with video? Well, everything. As a videographer for over 10 years, I always look at my clients’ previously produced media for research purposes. What shocked me was that I had learned more in a few minutes speaking with the CEO, than I had watching their entire video gallery. I then wondered why everything I heard at this dining table wasn’t anywhere in his videos. Yes, the videos looked good, but 10 minutes of good looking video is meaningless, if it doesn’t convey who you are.
As a video producer, I try to find the heart of a company. What is your “why?” To find this, it’s usually as easy as sitting down and asking. You as an owner know exactly why you started your business, why you perhaps spent 80-hour weeks, slaving for years without pay, and struggling financially to keep your doors open. You know exactly why, but what about your customer? No matter how much fancy equipment and technique was used on your video, if you can’t convey to your customer who you are and why they should “buy” from you, then all of it is a waste.
I grew up loving movies, and became a film fanatic at a very young age, even making my own short films. The medium of film is a beautiful medium for storytelling, and you have a story to tell. I wish to use my passion in years of video production to convey to your customer who you are in a short, entertaining format.
So what’s your story?
- Plan in detail.
“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde
So let me tell you about my “experience” so you can learn from it.
“We’re a winery first, a brewery second!” spoke a gruff, frustrated voice over the phone. We had a misunderstanding. There was too much emphasis on the brewing portion of my client’s business, and not enough on his winery (which to my credit at the time, they weren’t yet harvesting grapes, and resembled more of a brewery). I had made the assumption that more emphasis on the winery would be added when they started producing in full-swing. Assumptions are bad, always really bad.
The video was rectified with another day of shooting. I found the few grapes that were growing, and filmed the wine-making process to be spliced into my beer-focused disappointment. The issue was rectified, and the customer was happy at the end of the day, but this was a very key lesson for me in my earlier days of video—a problem that could have certainly been avoided.
After finding the “why,” we have a basic starting point for developing our video, but continuing forward, it is important for both video producer and customer to understand each other’s expectations. What will the video look like? How long will it be? Where will it be shot? At what times will it be shot (down to time of day, which is very important photographically)?
One minor change could lead to an entirely different set of equipment and crew needs. These need to be expressed clearly before we show up at the location to shoot. Also, I naturally have a very cinematic feel to my work, which may be loved by some, but perhaps you want a more television, fast-cut style. Maybe you don’t care, and trust my artistic judgment. These are all things that need to be covered in the very beginning.
I suggest sharing videos that you like and are similar to the style you’re looking for, so we’re all on the same page. Knowing these details will lead to a more efficient production, and efficiency means more affordability, and less time wasted.
Bottom line: planning saves time and money for both parties.
- Deliver with intention.
“We saw the commercial, and decided to come in,” said a pizzeria, franchise owner. “This is what our customers keep telling us!” He was excited. The director of the project and I were also very excited. We had done exactly what is expected in marketing. We produced a quality piece of media that was leading to conversions for our customer. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
So you may have a beautifully produced video, but now it’s just sitting somewhere in cyberspace generating less leads than your apathetic, minimum-wage sign spinner in front of your store. Having a marketing strategy before creating the video and of course after is very important.
Our pizzeria owner, having an extensive past in marketing and business, knew that playing on local T.V. at specific times was his best bet to get customers into his stores, and he was right. When we made the commercial earlier in the year, he had one restaurant. When we went back to film more video later that year, he had 5 restaurants and growing. Not to contribute that solely to our work, but it certainly did help.
It’s important to target your demographics. Who’s your main audience? What can we have in our commercial that will attract their attention? What might that age or gender like or dislike? What delivery methods will reach the most individuals in this demographic? Do they watch mostly T.V. or are they younger and are mostly on social media? What times are they watching T.V. or are on their computers?
These details may be for your marketing team to determine, but regardless, they will help your video team in planning and in the editing room. We can create multiple length edits, for the purpose of delivery to television, your website or social media such as your YouTube pre-roll. It is important to know your strategy and to communicate that with your videography team as soon as possible. If your video team is the same as your marketing team this may be easy, but if not, make sure to communicate these important details so your video team can plan accordingly.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s produce effective video!
Author: Joel Hayes, CEO at Redeem Marketing
Joel Hayes is a valued That Company partner and guest blogger. If you would like assistance building great corporate videos, contact your That Company representative, and we’ll arrange for an introduction.