Companies investing in corporate videos is certainly nothing new. In fact, companies across the globe have been investing in corporate videos for decades and the video production industry remains an extremely lucrative one for those companies lucky enough to get their foot in the door and successfully establish themselves. But let me ask you, what springs to mind when you think of corporate videos? Do you think of an exceptionally entertaining video that you’d happily sit and watch time and time again, or do you imagine wasting 3 – 4 minutes of your life watching cheap shots of office workers overlaid with a less than enthusiastic voiceover? Oh, and perhaps some cheesy music thrown in for good measure too?
Sadly, it was probably that second description that sounded more like a corporate video because quite frankly, most corporate videos are dull to say the least! But why is this? Personally, I think there are a number of factors that lead to these dull corporate videos (perhaps including a lack of creativity from many video production companies) but most of all, I think most people don’t fully understand what a corporate video is (or at least what it can be).
I’m going to try and illustrate what I believe a corporate video can achieve by following a few simple tips. I’ll also show some great examples that are already out there online to illustrate these points but first, let’s delve a little deeper into the meaning of the phrase “corporate video”.
Understanding What A Corporate Video Actually Is
Most people already have a preconceived notion that corporate videos have to be a certain way when in reality, they don’t. Whilst scouring the internet, I happened to come across what I consider to be an excellent definition of corporate videos on the Institute of Videography website, take a look below:
The term, “Corporate Video” is an all-encompassing description of video programmes made for business and/or information purposes. This includes product/service/company promotional videos, training videos and information videos.
For me, this sums it up perfectly. It’s basically saying that a corporate video can be any type of video commissioned by a company for either informational or promotional purposes (or both). If you really think about this, you’ll quickly realise that it’s quite a broad description and it more than likely encapsulates a vast quantity of videos you’ve seen (even the boring ones).
But anyway, how do you stop yourself from falling into the same trap as most other people and creating a dull corporate video? Well, here’s a few tips to get you started.
#1 – Free Your Mind
Lesson number one, free your mind. Take a long walk. Watch the Matrix. Go and ponder the meaning of life. Seriously, do whatever it takes for you to clear your head and get rid of your preconceptions surrounding corporate videos. Before you can even begin to move forward and create the best corporate video the world has ever seen, you need to get out of that corporate frame of mind.
I know this might be difficult, especially when you’ve spent the last 30 years being bombarded by poor quality, boring corporate videos but it’s a step you really need to take. You need to be open to the idea that your corporate video doesn’t have to be this way. It can be better…much better, but only if you let it.
#2 – Realise Not Everyone Else Loves Your Business Like You Do
Ok, this is harsh, but I feel it needs to be said. A lot of the clients we meet that are looking to have a corporate video produced are quick to tell us all the things they want included in the video. This is usually quite a long list, consisting of points like when their business was established, all of the different products and services they offer, how many employees they’ve got, what colour the carpet is in their office and so forth. Yes, I made that last one up but you get what I’m trying to say; people don’t care.
Obviously, this depends on your target audience. If you’re having the video produced with the aim of promoting your business to other corporate clients, this might work well but if your video is aimed at the public, it’s probably going to bore them. The points that are important to you, might not be so important to a potential customer/client, so don’t stuff your video with boring facts and figures if it isn’t necessary.
#3 – Learn To Admire Stubble
A strange point I know, but let me explain. A while ago, I was working on a freelance basis with a leading online marketing company here in the UK. Their work was some of the most creative around and they had some pretty well known clients. However, the first time I headed down to their office (which was an hour or so away), I was greeted by a group of 4 – 5 casually dressed people in a small, dingy office.
I know what you’re thinking, that’s a nice story but what’s my point? Well, the point is that the video production industry is an extremely creative one, not a corporate one. It’s an industry full of people that love grabbing their camera, filming something and spending hours in front of a computer editing it down into a 2-minute video. Do you think these people like wearing a shirt and tie to do all this?
To be honest, I hardly ever wear a shirt and tie, even when meeting clients as I don’t feel this is an image I want my company to have and nor is it really ‘me’. Sure, I dress a little smarter and do make an effort, but rarely are we talking a full suit. My point is that when you’re looking for a corporate video production company and two guys walk into your office sporting jeans, scruffy hair and 3-day stubble, they might be the guys for the job. Their 3-day stubble might be a result of their long, late night editing sessions creating a corporate video masterpiece for their client. They’re also the people likely to have more creative ideas rather than doing things the typical boring ‘corporate’ way, in my experience at least.
#4 – Put Your Money Away
I have some good news for you, expensive doesn’t always mean better. There are a lot of corporate video production companies out there that have been established for years and thus, can be quite expensive as they’re household names and have a good client base/body of work to show for themselves. However, these are also the companies that likely haven’t moved with the times, often using outdated equipment and doing things a rather standard old-fashioned way.
More often than not, cheaper can be better. There are a lot of production companies out there that are still in their infancy and are being run by forward thinking creative’s just looking for their “big break”. Sure, it might be a bit more of a risk but in the video production world, risks are a positive thing and often lead to some of the most creative, successful videos around.
Take the DollarShaveClub.com video for example (embedded below). According to the CEO, Mike Dubin (the guy actually featured in the video), it only set him back $4,500. Considering the fact that it’s had millions of views on YouTube, this video must have created a massive return on investment for the business.
#5 – Personality Is Key
A lot of the corporate videos you see these days seriously lack personality and thus, tend to be boring. In my opinion, a video should tell a story whether its corporate, viral, promotional or whatever. Now, one of the easiest ways to tell a story and add personality to a video is for the video to feature real people. Videos that are shot in an interview-led format featuring the CEO or perhaps employees of the company usually tend to be more engaging than a voiceover.
Of course, not everyone feels comfortable sitting in front of a camera and being interviewed and I admit, I don’t particularly either. However, if you want to create an engaging corporate video, it might just be the key and truthfully even if you aren’t that confident with the idea, a good video production company should be able to make you feel at ease throughout the process anyway.
Sir Richard Branson agrees with the philosophy that putting the senior person in front of the camera has to be the best way to promote a business as he explains here. This is also evident by the fact he’s starred in many of his own commercials, including the recent ones for Virgin Media.
#6 – Be Daring And Creative
Let’s face it, we aren’t all lucky enough to work for companies whose products are considered ‘interesting’ by the general population. If you’re looking to produce a corporate video that is going to capture the attention of your audience and your product is usually considered boring by the public, you need to get creative and be daring.
Some of the most successful corporate videos ever produced were successful simply because of how creative, daring and ultimately entertaining they were. The thing is, these videos are not usually considered to be corporate videos. Take the “Will It Blend?” videos by Blendtec for example:
You might have seen these videos before but probably didn’t class them as corporate videos. If we look at our initial definition of a corporate video however, we can see that technically, they are as they are promotional and commissioned by a company. However, the reason that they aren’t classed as corporate videos now is that they happened to go viral.
These videos are a great example of how quite a mundane product can be promoted through a clever and creative corporate video. I mean, let’s face it, it’s just a blender at the end of the day but the clever thing about it is that they took the USP of the blender (it’s power) and created an entertaining corporate video around that idea.
Everything starts with an idea, so make sure that’s good in the first place.
What I’m trying to say here is that in order to create a great corporate video, you need to think outside the box and get creative. Soon, every company will likely be commissioning corporate videos and if yours doesn’t stand out from the crowd, it will be money down the drain and frankly, no-one will care.
It’s not an easy task but then again, if it was easy every company would have a great corporate video and as we know, this is far from the reality.