The problem with most corporate videos is simple: There is a disconnect between the messaging and the execution.
That’s so often the crux of it, and the same story plays out time and time again -
A business has a problem to solve, and decides (rightfully so) to use video to help meet their objectives. Perhaps they want to hire more recruits, gain more customers, or have an easier way to train new employees.
They spend time developing a script and planning internally for their video shoot. This blueprint is then brought to a production company, who is assigned the task of actually producing the video.
The production company shows up to shoot and edit the video, but when it comes time to deliver the first edit there are some clear issues. The video clearly doesn’t have the ability to drive the results, efficiencies or targets that it was intended to. There are issues across the board, but especially with respect to messaging.
More often than not, these issues are a result of the production company dropping the ball. Yes, they showed up to shoot and edit the piece, but they failed in the pre-production department.
They neglected to work with the client effectively to translate their initial vision into a more video-friendly format. This is an absolutely crucial step can’t be overlooked, as the success of any corporate video project relies on it.
So for any marketing pros, business owners, CMOs or executives who want to make sure their vision is in safe hands, consider the following 5 mistakes…
Each one of the issues listed below can be easily remedied in the planning stage, ideally by collaborating the video production company. It should be their job to bring up these items with you, but if they neglect to do so, here’s what to look out for:
1. Unclear Messaging
This is the #1 problem with a vast majority of corporate videos. They want to be everything to everyone, and end up appealing to virtually no one at all. Usually, this is a result of too many cooks in the kitchen, and no guidance as to which ideas should make the final cut.
All video productions are collaborative. And the more ideas the better, at least in the initial stages…
But at a certain point, a solid through-line or theme needs to emerge. The video can say many things, but what is the ONE thing that really matters above all else? The central theme? The premise that everything else hinges on?
Once that’s identified, it’s easy to cherry pick your best ideas and ensure that are in alignment with your greater vision. And doing so is the first step in ensuring your messaging translates effectively.
This is something your video producer should be working with you on, but if they are not doing so, you’ll certainly want to make sure it’s thought through internally.
2. No Visual Excitement
Corporate videos have had a bad rap for years due to lackluster visuals. The fact that this is still an issue in this day and age is embarrassing!
With the amount of incredible (and affordable) cinema camera technology available today, there is no excuse for producing a drab looking video. Even on a modest budget, today’s lighting packages, cameras, and post-production tools can go a long way in making your spot look really high end.
Why then, do so many corporate videos look amateur? They are shot on professional cameras and edited on professional software, but they have little to no production value… How come?
Once again, a lack of pre-production is the culprit. Achieving great visuals is far more about planning than it is the gear.
It’s crucial that while in development you consider everything from a visual perspective. The more thought that goes into locations, camera movement, lighting, and other variables - the more beautiful your final product will be.
And after all, if you’re working with a visual medium, wouldn’t you want to take full advantage of it’s capabilities?
In rare cases, your video may call for dozens of interviews to be conducted. That’s dependent on the creative direction of course, but it does happen.
For the majority of corporate videos however, you’re almost always going to be better served by being more selective with your subjects.
If your piece really only needs 3 or 4 voices and you’re shooting 20 - 30, you’re going to waste a lot of time across the board.
During production, you’ll have less time to work with the interviewees who really matter, and in post you’ll spend exponentially more time editing as there’s far more material to sift through.
It’s all about quality over quantity.
The more focused your idea is, the fewer voices you’ll need to tell your story. This will translate to a much more thorough experience on set, and a faster editing process. Not to mention, a more cohesive final product too.
Again, this doesn’t necessarily apply to EVERY corporate video. There are some exceptions, and certain projects will call for a different approach. But 9 times out of 10, less is more.
4. Ineffective Use Of The Script
Many corporate video producers have begun shooting interviews in a completely unscripted way.
Rather than provide interviewees with a written script, they simply ask questions and have subjects answer off the cuff. This has been the trend for the past few years, and is certainly an effective tactic under the right circumstances.
In years past, corporate videos were more rigidly structured, which resulted in a stiff-looking final product. The move away from this type of rigidity is refreshing, but can also be problematic when executed poorly.
Videos are all about balance, and just as a rigid approach can spoil your final product, so can a process that is too loose.
Videos need anchor points, strong opening and closing statements, and other fundamental pillars that will hook the audience.
Some video production companies fail to recognize this during pre-production, and then are left scrambling to “find it in the edit”. This is never a position you want to be in…
So keep your interviews as loose as you’d like, but also build in some scripted (or semi-scripted) lines for your key performers to deliver, and your editor will thank you forever.
5. Neglecting The Audience
As a final point, we have to mention the biggest overarching issue of them all - a lack of focus on your core audience.
Depending on the context of your video, chances are your audience are either customers, business owners, recruits or employees. They almost certainly aren’t your peers in the office.
But so often, corporate videos can feel very internal. Decisions are made based on the subjective preferences of those in the office (execs, employees, etc.), with little thought paid to actual viewer.
And in many cases, what’s going to work best for the viewer may not excite the marketing execs, and vice-versa.
One of the benefits of working with a 3rd party production company is that they can see your vision from an outsiders perspective. They can (and should) offer guidance in tailoring everything from your concept to your tactical approach in a way that will best resonate with an audience.
Done well, this can result in an entertaining and informative piece that connects with your audience and mobilizes them. It may differ slightly from the original vision, but only so that it can serve that goal even more effectively.
That’s something we feel is crucial to the success of every project we work on. It’s ingrained into our process from our first meeting to the delivery of a final cut.
To learn more about production strategies for your next video project be sure to email us at email@example.com
We’d be happy to provide you with a free consultation any time!