5 Steps to Short Form Branded Video Production.
It’s party time for content creators and video is holding court in the kitchen. Everyone is here, designers are playing with after effects, developers are tinkering with VR and an excessive amount of camera operators are tearing through the storage on their phones. I’m not suggesting this is the beginning of the end for the traditional production company. Certainly not when the ROI is still really healthy on the high production value, content you see on telly. The craft involved should be respected and celebrated and it’s not just the big budget stuff that keeps the lights and heating on. Experienced production teams working alongside expert technicians and operators will always be vital components of creating quality content. But what are the parameters of quality? I think it depends on the limitations and capabilities of the platform it’s playing on. A lot of the time it can be as simple and straight forward as delivering the right message, to the right audience, in the right place. Quick, fast and effective. If the primary focus is about sales and not exposure? Then, this is about making video content that works and not good looking wallpaper.
What really, actually, constitutes a video? Are gif’s, boomerangs, cinema graphs or animated digital 6 sheets, videos? I’d say so, if it moves, it’s a video… I am biased. The digital world has opened up a landscape that not only reaches far and wide but is also not constrained by the formulas of the past. It does feel like another gold rush with wagons trains, roaming across plaines, guns blazing as they race to excavate all those valuable nuggets of video gold. Probably one of the reasons why there is a lot of horse s*** being made. Too trigger happy with the record button without any rhyme nor reason for the project apart from a bit of vanity. If we just ease up on reins and take a look around the experience can be so much more fruitful without selling your treasured cow for the pleasure.
I’m not going to start spouting statistics on the successes and projections of digital video content, there are plenty of well educated and experienced voices doing that. But as every project should start with a bit of research, have a look at what’s happening in mobile advertising sector. To say it’s encouraging would be the understatement of the day. Or next time you’re in a shopping centre, large train station, entertainment complex or airport, count how many screens you see? Obviously I’m not asking you to be so geeky but trust me it’s a lot and more and more of them are showing video content. Out Of Home advertising gets it and they are throwing up video capable screens as quickly as they can find the space. Integration has always been valuable at delivering a full spectrum of routes to market. One piece of content can be easily formatted across a plethora of platforms and channels but how do you make it work?
If you want to use video to communicate a brand to a wider audience it’s fairly straight forward as long as you think about it. I’d like to consider myself more creative than process driven but having a plan is just common sense, particularly when there’s money involved. It doesn’t need to be complex or long winded just a set of objectives involving a bit of common sense and a vision for the outcome.
- Strategy – Why produce the video in the first place? Who are you talking to? Where are they? What does success look like? How is success being measured? Which metrics matter? It’s all to easy to be blinded by just the view count? Be clear on deliverables. What are they getting for their money? How many variants of the original idea are required? If not, why not? Keep that production timeline updated, it will help prevent being caught out by approval times and challenging amendment processes. Meeting expectations is the best way of making another one.
- Content is King – Grab attention immediately, you may have only 5 seconds before being skipped. We all know first impressions count but how does the video look with the sound off? Craft is important, the technical execution can make or break a production’s usefulness. However, style over substance is an easy rabbit whole to venture down so remember the flashier the graphics, the more sophisticated the animation and higher the quality of the film footage, the longer the render and export times. When meeting tight deadlines waiting for that final amended export can be excruciating!
- Call to Action – A clear simple call to action is essential, especially if sales drive success? It’s all very well and good producing beautiful content but ask yourself do you want a BAFTA or sell a stack of stock? Make sure the viewer can communicate with you, that the process is easy, engaging and relevant. Don’t faff about with mixed messaging or you’re just wasting time. Every video has a job to do
- Narrative – Yes, in this shiny new world of ever changing technologies, the rules of engagement are evolving just as quickly. That does not mean traditional story telling isn’t needed anymore. On the contrary, it’s vital. Trust, authority, expertise and relevance all stem from the narrative. Who is writing the copy? Is there an influencer telling or sharing your story? Duration of the video is not as important as to what the audience is getting from the content but don’t say it in ten if you can say it in five. Is the viewer being educated, entertained or both?
- Key Messages – How do you want to be seen by the viewer? What do you want to tell them? Who are you to them? Empathy is a powerful emotion, exploited in advertising since the days of black and white. Video does this well, make them cry, make them laugh, make them think, make them share, make them engage, make them buy. Make the messages, clear and relevant. Start with a key message and finish with a key message, leave a lasting impression.