Creating a corporate video has never been more affordable
Effective marketing involves adapting your strategies to the latest trends, and right now video is on point. According to an Online Publishers Association survey, 80% of internet users recall watching a video on a website they visited in the last month, and aver half of those took a positive action afterwards; either seeking out more information or making a purchase. With social media sites rewarding viral sharing, and search engines like Google often preferring video results to websites there seems only one way this trend is going too.
But I guess I don’t have to sell you on the reason why a video is a good idea, because you’ve already decided that it is, right? You want to know how to make the most of your budget, avoid rookie mistakes that could spoil your video, and get the most you possibly can from your corporate video. Good stuff, so here are a few things to think about.
What are your goals?
It should go without saying that you need to have a tangible objective to accomplish with any marketing that you undertake. “I want a video for my homepage” is way too vague and doesn’t set out to accomplish anything worthwhile. Sure, a well crafted corporate video on your homepage can engage visitors, promote your company ethos effectively, increase conversions, and even improve your SEO generating more traffic, but if you don’t have this in mind before you start you will likely just end up with a bit of a mess.
“What action do I want people to take after watching my corporate video?” is a good question to answer here; some good examples might be, to purchase my product, to make an inquiry, to sign-up to my newsletter, to want more information about my company, to understand how my service benefits them, to visit a particular page on my site, or to be informed of my ethos. There are really no wrong answers here as long as the outcome has a positive effect on your business, but it is really important to nail down exactly what you want to achieve before you start brainstorming how to do so.
What is your target demographic?
Todays consumers are more informed than ever, and the choices they are presented with on a daily basis are truly overwhelming. More than ever people are choosing companies that resonate with them personally or are a better fit for their lifestyle. Look at any fair trade product as a great example; being neither the cheapest option, nor necessarily the best, but finding a larger market because of their ethical practice.
It’s important to know not only who you are targeting with your corporate video, but also what they want. The chances are you know your customers pretty well already, but it is definitely worth doing some research here particularly if you are looking to expand to reach markets that you aren’t currently appealing to. Think about what your target audience cares about, wants, and needs, and how your product, service, or company can resonate with that.
What is your budget?
It’s important to know how much you want to spend before you start planning as this is going to be your main limitation in terms of which ideas are viable options. Whether you decide to hire a professional video production company or go it alone, your budget is going to effect every aspect of your video, from how much time you have with your crew, the locations available to you, and the equipment you can use. It’s worth bearing in mind that creativity goes a long way here, sure having a £50,000 Arri Alexa camera is going to give you the best visuals (assuming the operator knows his stuff), but are the benefits worth the extra investment? Almost certainly not if your film isn’t intended for cinema or TV release. A good DSLR in the right hands has all the scope you will need for creating content intended for the internet and will save you a lot of money.
If you decide to get a video production company to help, bare in mind that a corporate video is an individually tailored and specific product that you can’t see before you buy, of course you can get an idea of how it will look from examples, but that is all. With such a unique product you are far better off sharing your budget along with your goals to achieve the best possible outcome. I know this goes against all our instincts when we are looking for a good deal, but if you work with the right people you will get the most out of your budget like this, and that should really be your goal here. Only approach companies whose work impresses you, most will have a price list or be able to ballpark a figure for a particular style of video that you like. Then once you have a few in your budget range that are good options, meet or speak with them on the phone to know that they are a good fit for your company before discussing budgets. Remember that video production companies, or at least the good ones, are run by people that love the creative aspects of what they do, and you might just be surprised how much you can get done for your budget if your particular project really resonates with them.
Treatment, storyboard and planning
So you are all set with your budget, you have identified your target audience, and you have a measurable goal to achieve. Great, you’re ready for the pre-production phase. This is where it really gets creative. Now is the time to spill all those ideas out, brainstorm, discuss and develop until you have something solid. Once you are all set, create a short treatment so that you can easily share your idea with anyone else whose opinion you consider valuable, or to run it by anyone who needs to sign it off later if you aren’t responsible for that. A treatment should include notes about the style as well as the content of the video. More complicated ideas may also need a storyboard to give details of shots and movements, or a script for actors or representatives of your company.
Once you have this and everyone is happy with it it’s time to start sourcing what you need to complete it. Having a producer will naturally save time, but if you are doing it yourself it’s time to look for locations, find actors and crew, and get hold of the equipment you need – even a basic shoot is likely to require some lights to look reasonable, and don’t forget about sound recording equipment if you intend to use any from the shoot itself.
Although video is currently the most consumed form of media, or maybe because of its abundance, people are more discerning than ever in what they are watching. If you can’t hook your viewers in immediately you will likely lose them, and according to research by Visible Measures, 20% of viewers click away from what they are watching after 10 seconds. A little under half will lose interest around a minute in, and 60% will click away after 2 minutes.
These numbers speak for themselves in what is a good length for a corporate video, and in our experience a video between 45 and 90 seconds gets the best results. The real key is to say what you need to in the most engaging way, which let’s face it is often also the quickest way. I know I don’t want someone to take 5 minutes to tell me something that they could have done in one minute, and no doubt you feel the same, see, you’re starting to get frustrated about how long this sentence is, admit it. Keep the pace and energy up and deliver your message concisely, think about how much information an advert on TV can portray in around 20 to 30 seconds.
The actual shooting of your corporate video will probably be the shortest part of the process, but that’s just because you’ve planned it all meticulously. Remember, it’s far cheaper to make mistakes and fix them before you get on set than when you have your crew and equipment sat around costing you money.
It’s a logistical game now. Make sure everyone knows where they should be, and when, and that the talent know their lines if they have any – send out the treatment and script to everyone involved. Have a contingency plan if you are shooting outside and the weather is bad, also think about any permissions or permits you may need. All being well you will find that a single day of shooting will get you pretty much all the footage you need for most simple or single location corporate videos.
Depending on the complexity of your video this could be the most time consuming part of the process. You don’t necessarily need access state of the art editing suites to produce engaging content, but if you want to add style in terms of grading and motion graphics it certainly helps.
An experienced editor, animator or colour grader are worth their money and will add polish to perfect your corporate video. However, if you’re tackling it on your own then just try to keep it simple. There is plenty of software readily available which you can use to do simple editing tasks with. Stick to the storyboard as much as possible, but if you can trim bits to make it more dynamic now is the time. Make your edit as tight as possible, if it feels like the pace is lacking try to cut shots shorter, or add a more upbeat and exciting soundtrack. Ask people you trust their opinion, and don’t be precious about bits that you like but no-one else does.
So you have the perfect corporate video, but what good is that if no-one sees it? It’s definitely worth thinking a lot about how people will find and consume your video before you start making it as it will be an important factor in the style and process of the production itself. Obviously if you can use it for additional tasks then all the better, but it’s worth knowing before you get started what your primary outlet will be.
These days people are looking for solutions they can digest quickly and easily, and often clicking straight on to a video is easier than browsing websites for information. Google knows this is what people want and is transitioning towards this trend already, YouTube also happens to be the second most used search engine. So optimising your video for search terms which your potential customers are looking for is a great idea, embedding on your site and social media are also other great outlets. But why not get creative? Sponsoring niche events which correlate well with your company or client base offers great opportunities to look good and get your message out. If you can work your video in to your existing marketing strategies you will likely see the best results. For a more in-depth look at this important part of the process you can take a look at our helpful Video Production Distribution Tips.
Which video production company is right for you?
There are going to be a number of factors which will determine who is right for you, and like all industries, there are good and bad video production companies, so you need to do some research to make sure you have the right one. The first thing to consider is your budget. Find a price guide or contact the video production company to get a ballpark figure by sending an example of a video or style you like.
Prices vary greatly based on all the factors I have already explained, but it is an industry where you don’t necessarily get what you pay for, so check out their previous work. Their website should have plenty of examples for you to judge the quality of their craft. If you like what you see, and know that they are in your price range, arrange a meeting or have a chat on the phone to get a feel for their personality and ethos.
Much like hiring a new employee you want someone you feel like you can happily work with, and who is in sync with you and your company’s mission. They should be enthusiastic to be working with you, your meeting doesn’t need to be formal but you should be asking questions that test their mettle a little. You may get more for your money by working with a young, ambitious video production company, than an established one that may be just going through the motions.