More and more companies are making videos these days, and it doesn’t matter whether those businesses are B2C or B2B. Customers, prospects, potential investors, and—well—everyone would rather watch a video about your business than read about it. According to a Forbes Insight Survey, 83% of senior executives say they watch more videos today than they did a year ago. 75% say they watch a business-related video weekly, and more than 52% watch work-related videos on YouTube. Global brand marketers name video as one of their Top 3 most effective marketing tactics. That’s a lot of videos out there! So, how do you separate the good ones from the bad? The effective from the non-effective? Although nobody can absolutely guarantee you results, here are some guidelines to be mindful of when contemplating your next video.
REALIZE HOW STIFF THE COMPETITION IS.
From the previous paragraph, we know that video reliance is only going to grow. With all that content and demand for attention, there is only a certain amount of time people are going to commit to your video. So grab the viewer’s attention from the get-go. Some believe this can be done with great music, or jazzy animation, or the always popular opening drone shot. There is nothing wrong with any of these tactics if they strategically make sense. But all too frequently, they don’t. Before you make your next video, look at your competition’s videos. You’ll probably see lots of similarities and it’s just plain smart to avoid as many of these as possible. Instead, think about your opening shot and how it’ll pay off the end shot. For instance, a building on fire in an opening scene is pretty attention-grabbing: sirens screaming, glass bursting, ceilings collapsing, and livelihoods gone in an instant. Compare that with an end shot of the fire protection monitoring panel made by ABC Corporation sitting in the lobby of a building with state-of-the-art fire protection. What happens in the middle of these two scenes is the story of ABC and its products. A story that will certainly include the fact that 50% of commercial fires happen in buildings with no or very little fire protection equipment, and they don’t happen at night—but statistically between 12 and 2 p.m. Which brings us to our second point: People want to be told a story. But a story that directly affects and benefits them. People also want to be entertained. In fact, entertaining people is absolutely necessary because most are sneaking peeks at social media and entertaining themselves anyway at some point during their business day. According to Zippia, 12% of a worker’s day is spent on social media that has nothing to do with their job. “That’s outrageous!” you say? Well, 45% of companies have no policy about using social media in the office. This, in a very real way, is your competition. So, companies might as well embrace this and keep an entertainment factor in mind when making their videos. Imparting information won’t be retained unless you entertain. Don’t be afraid to tug on heartstrings, or similarly, use humor. Also, don’t leave these jobs to your in-house marketing department. Leave it to a video ad agency that does nothing else but writes and shoots videos.
THE BALANCE OF PRODUCTION VALUE AND STORY.
Ask any Hollywood director and they’ll tell you that, first and foremost, the script is the most important part of film. We absolutely agree. But there also has to be a balance between a great story and the quality of the production. The love affair between Rose Dewitt and Jack Dawson in Titanic would have been only half as good if James Cameron hadn’t brought so much production value to the story. Similarly, videos need to have a script that builds emotion and you need to have the production values to support that. Use too much stock footage, for example, and it’ll devalue your message if other people have seen that footage before. Have a person on-camera without basic make-up, and they could look flat or, worse, sweaty under the lights. Videos are your calling cards to customers, so don’t overlook those production values. Also, try to shoot some scenes at unexpected (not jarring) angles, to help keep visual interest. Don’t hesitate to use professional actors to get your point across. They don’t have to look picture perfect or even come off as “actor polished,” but we promise, they’ll be more focused on the task, and your video will never become out of date because someone isn’t with the company anymore.
STORIES NEED TO HAVE A BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND AN END.
We don’t know if this actually happened, but there’s a movie about Ernest Hemingway that includes a scene where he had to turn in a short story to a magazine. He was up against a deadline and a friend he was sitting with in a bar expressed concern about the publication getting the story on time. To ease his friend’s mind, Hemingway took a pen and wrote six words on a bar napkin. “There,” he said, presenting it to his companion. “A short story.” The napkin read: For sale. Baby shoes. Never used. When you break that down, there is a definitive beginning (something’s for sale), a middle (the thing that’s for sale), and an end (what was for sale was never used). Obviously, the ending leaves the reader with the question of what happened to the baby. So, it arouses emotions. When making your global brand video you, of course, want a positive, upbeat conclusion that also arouses emotions, because emotions lead to actions. Therefore, think carefully about how your script is crafted. It should have a specific beginning, middle, and end. It should also be a story you can tell in usually under three minutes. That’s not always possible, but shorter is better. This ties back into how much time people are willing to spend watching your video. It’s a Catch-22. They prefer videos over written content, but prefer them to be dynamic, well produced, entertaining, and not very long.
SEO IS KEY.
When making your video, keep in mind Search Engine Optimization is vital. This is using the keywords and phrases that will drive people to your website. Going back to the ABC Corporation example, SEO words there might include “Fire safety”, “Fire protection”, or “Fire monitoring systems”. SEO, as you probably know, is for organic searches. SEM is directed at grabbing viewers from paid and organic searches. Ideally, a business should use both.
KEEP ALL YOUR USES FOR THE VIDEO IN MIND.
How many global brand videos have you seen that are just visuals set to music? Or, visuals set to music, but there are only supers (graphics) that convey information? We bet you’ve seen more than a couple. Take a look at this video from game manufacturer VIVE: It’s a great product and the video has solid production value. But it’s missing some crucial elements. Like a story, a narrator, on-camera testimonials about how amazing the product is. In other words, emotions. The video is a pure product demonstration. Now, it could be totally fair to say: “The manufacturer made the video to demonstrate the product for the sales team.” Or, “It was used at a trade show where there was immediate human interaction after viewing.” But we didn’t find it there. We found it on YouTube. And even if we’re serious gamers, there’s no story to support why VIVE is superior, what kind of games they offer, and there isn’t even a website we’re invited to visit at the end. In other words. There are many missed sales opportunities by making a video for one purpose, or channel, but then using it for another. Keep all your potential uses for your video in mind when contemplating your next project.
THE STAR-FILLED FINISH.
Hybrid Moon is a video advertising agency that has worked with many category-leading companies. We’ve told stories for brands like Nike, Carrier, ExxonMobile, Lowe’s, Fiserv and others. We’re not a video production company where prospects give us scripts and storyboards and ask us to bid on them, we’re an advertising agency that exclusively makes videos. That means we bring the capabilities of an agency and over 30 years of video making experience to each project. We do investigation, we listen, we research the competitive landscape, we develop a strategic outline, then a script, and we walk with our clients every step of the way. The result is the best video experiences they’ve ever had. But don’t take our word for it. Ask our customers. We’ll give you names and numbers. We call ourselves Hybrid Moon because we love the sky, the stars, and the possibilities of new discoveries, new horizons. Let’s find them together. After all, the Moon has a powerful effect on everything.
By Tim Best