Most companies who use online marketing to any degree are realising that they simply must use video or be left behind. Even the humble website must contain video if it’s going to gain any attention from visitors, and perhaps more importantly, Google.
Video is the most powerful weapon in your marketing plan and its use is still growing at an alarming rate. However, as they say: 'With great power comes great responsibility'.
Video is so powerful because it manipulates emotions directly like no other method of communication.
Most of the time, video is designed to make people feel positive about a product, or confident, or happy. The same power of emotional manipulation can turn the viewer away from you and your product with frightening speed.
Poorly done video will damage a brand, product, or business reputation.
This can’t be over stated. Why would a business spend money on something which serves no purpose?
Why not take those £50 notes directly to the shredder.
Video without a clearly defined purpose is fine for random videos shot on a mobile when you’re out for the day, but not when you’re trying to sell a product or a brand. How do you want the viewer to feel? What do you want them to do, which link should they click? Etc.
Length is a little more difficult to be precise about – different lengths of video suit different use but in all cases – if viewers aren’t watching to the end, then it’s too long. A website homepage video of 10 minutes will almost certainly never get watched to the end.
Few things fail so completely as a video which doesn’t get watched.
In the same way that having no purpose renders a video pointless, having more than one purpose will render it useless.
Example: Company X makes baby nappies. They sell nappies to mums using one video. They must sell nappies to supermarkets using another video. Supermarkets and mums buy the same nappies from Company X for two entirely different reasons. Mums buy them because they want the comfort and cleanliness for baby. Supermarkets buy them because they want a product which will sell well.
Combining the messages to these two completely different audiences into one video will dramatically reduce the effectiveness. 1 Message, 1 Target. 1 Purpose.
Messages have to be relevant to the audience. If the viewer doesn’t hear or see something that’s relevant to them, something that makes them want to watch within a few seconds – guess what. They’re not going to watch. Viewers must immediately be given a reason to watch and constantly be given further reasons to keep watching.
It’s harder than it looks to stand in front of a camera and tell someone about a product or service without saying ‘errr’ or repeating yourself.
Planning is the key. What is the script? Where will it be shot? What will be in shot? What will a presenter wear? How are you going to end the video?
Poor planning and scripting can destroy both business and personal credibility pretty quickly.
To be blunt, nobody’s interested in ‘you’.
They may be interested in ‘what’s in it for them’ to know about you – but that’s a different thing. Nobody buys a new car for the benefit of the maker – they buy it for their own benefit (for the safety of the kids, for the performance, reliability and so on), a reason which means something to them. Until you communicate to your viewer what’s in it for them to be interested in you, they won’t be.
Video doesn’t have to be ‘technically’ too long to be boring. 6 seconds of video which is boring is too long. ‘Talking heads’ and selfie videos are where WAY too many businesses actively make enemies out of potential customers by boring them rigid with a person talking directly to camera, walking around in the street or sat at a desk.
It can be very effective if the person is fluent, confident, has a defined script and comes over well, or if they're a known celebrity etc. However there are few types of video which will be ignored quicker than someone who ‘just’ sits at a desk and talks at you.
The brain is a complicated thing. Audio and visuals are processed differently. If the video quality is bad (for example, poor vhs copy) the brain will still listen and pay attention as long as the audio is ok. Conversely, poor audio will make a video unwatchable very quickly – regardless of the quality of the video.
Echo-ey recordings of someone speaking in an office conference room have this effect, the brain just doesn’t want to listen.
As a great example, you can probably imagine sitting on a train, watching a video on your phone whilst wearing headphones. The audio is ok, but the video is postage-stamp size. It's not a problem.
If you try and watch a movie at the cinema but instead of the soundtrack, all you can hear is the noise of roadworks right in your ear, you won’t watch the movie.
Try to imagine this line of thought:
We’re a firm of Accountants and we want to make a video for our website homepage which represents our business, our brand, our fantastic customer service, our professionalism and our skill.
It could increase our turnover by £1000s if not £100,000s if we get it right. We’re launching a new [insert name of product here] and want people to feel safe / comfortable / happy about it. But we’re a bit strapped for cash - let’s save a few quid and use Bob’s mobile phone to film it, because that does great quality video.
I’m sure someone in the office can edit it together with some music maybe? A few titles? Easy. Nobody will notice…
This is the most effective way for a business to shoot itself in the corporate foot with both barrels.
Then shoot itself in both feet again, just in case it missed the first time.
If your business can’t afford to invest the required effort and funds in planning and production, then don’t do it.
Wait until you can afford to do it properly, but don’t try and skimp on budget because it will show, and it will impact your business financially.
Remember Gerald Ratner? In 1991, he famously brought his jewelry empire crashing down around him overnight (wiping half a BILLION pounds from stock value) by publicly joking that Ratner's products were 'total crap'.
Perception is everything.
Trying to produce a video without the necessary investment of planning and/or funds doesn't just tell your viewing audience that you and your product are rubbish, it shows them, clearly, in colour, at 25 frames per second.
At every turn, you’ve seen that using video is the only way you’re likely to have any kind of impact or have adverts which convert at anything like a reasonable cost – so why doesn’t it work?
There are many different areas of video production, each with their own flavour of skills and expertise. Somebody who shoots wedding videos is probably an expert and making wedding videos, but does not necessarily know how to make a website homepage video. A corporate video production company knows exactly what is required to avoid all the above pitfalls.
Owning video camera equipment does not a corporate video production specialist make, in the same way that owning a knife does not make you a brain surgeon.
Why would any business entrust their brand, reputation and revenue to ‘a friend of a friend’ or the M.D’s nephew who’s in art college? Yet, It happens!
As the saying goes:
What do you think? If you agree with any of the points in this article, share it to your associates, colleages and friends.
If you ‘d like to discuss any of the points with Corporate Video Experts, we’d be only too happy to have an informal chat about how we can help. Call us on 0844 8841939
Does your business or corporate video have the name of the production company bolted on it somewhere? At the end as a 'credit' maybe? Ask yourself exactly who is the video meant to serve - your business (who we assume, paid for it) or the people who made the video?
Why are they using your 'promotion space' to promote themselves?
Having 'video made by' somewhere within an ad or on-line video comes over as highly unprofessional on the part of whoever made it - and that reflects on you. It seems like such a small thing, but viewers really do notice the slightest detail.
You'd never see anything similar on a TV ad or a video on Microsoft's website etc. What on earth makes it acceptable on your video?
What goes through the viewer's head when they see "This video made by Videos-R-US" at the end? One time in 100,000 they might skip back pause on that frame, go to the producer's website, maybe give them a call and so on, if they were already in the mindset of wanting a video made.
I guarantee you that the other 99,999 times, they're going to think 'oh, was it a quid-pro-quo deal? Was it a freebie? Is it an ad for your company or for the production people? Maybe you can't afford a proper video. Are you in trouble? Will you still be in business this time next year?' and so on.