It’s no secret that today, corporate video production is one of the most important tools any company can use in their marketing, but what is the right way to do it? A few years back you still had to explain to people why videos were so important and today everyone pretty much knows that but many people still don’t know how to use video production for their business or which videos to produce to actually generate business. This guide is going to tell you exactly what you need to do to produce a video whether you’re doing it in-house or hiring a video production company and I’ll do my best to explain the differences so you can make a decision on which option is best for your company.
If you fall into that category and know you your company can benefit from corporate video production, but you aren’t exactly sure which videos to produce here are a few things to consider. Below are a list of reasons our client’s produce videos:
- If your business relies on a high rate of new customer acquisition, and you need a fresh approach to marketing
- If you are in an industry that is highly competitive and requires brand differentiation
- If you have a product or service that is difficult to explain
- If your sales team is spending too much time explaining the same things early in the sales process that can be automated with a high quality video
- If you need to increase credibility with your consumers by showcasing the most favorable parts of your business
- If you are trying to improve the conversion rate on your website or landing pages
- If your the information on your website alone isn’t doing a good enough job of explaining who you are as a company
- If your digital marketing campaigns have reached a plateau and you need fresh content to engage your target audience
There are endless reasons that you would want to use corporate video production, but the bottom line is if you think your company might benefit from corporate video production, this write up should be extremely helpful in pointing you in the right direction!
Trust me, I know exactly what you’re thinking because videos can be extremely hard to track the ROI, and a lot of times the question is how much more impactful is a video in terms of dollars? Well although that question can be difficult to answer, creating a corporate video that actually works for your business, translates the right message to your consumers, and actually generates Revenue can be very simple once you understand these few Concepts below. Now I’m telling you right now a lot of stuff in this write up most people in the video production industry don’t talk about simply because they don’t have a deep digital marketing background and those that do have that expertise have trouble translating it in a way that people can understand enough to actually take action on. So get excited, because what I’m about to show you is going to solve all your problems and answer all your questions when it comes to producing a corporate video that actually accomplishes your goals, exceeds your expectations AND your consumer’s expectations, and ultimately produces a positive return on your investment!
I know how long this article is, it took me hours and hours to write because I wanted to make sure I included everything I could think of for producing a corporate video that will help your business. However, I also know a lot of you are coming from different places and looking for specific things so feel free to skip ahead to any of the following sections:
- Strategy Dictates Creative
- How to Plan your Corporate Video Strategy
- Video Strategy Questions you need to ask yourself:
- Tips for Developing your Video Strategy:
- Tips for choosing the Best Video Production Company
- The Corporate Video Production Process
- Biggest Corporate Video Production Mistakes (Things to Avoid)
Strategy Dictates Creative
First off, the single most important thing in corporate video production is starting with a strategy and your goals. One of the main reasons so many people get a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to video production is because they work with a bunch of creative houses and production companies that don’t actually understand anything about digital marketing, they only know how to produce videos from a creative standpoint. However it’s super important for you to understand that a video itself is not marketing, the video is a tool that you create for your marketing to be more effective. For example if you’re trying to build a house, simply buying a hammer is not going to help you create a beautiful house that you’re happy with. Makes sense? Just knowing about camera settings and the video production process won’t help with your business objectives which is the point of producing a video in the first place. So one of the most important things that you need to do from the very beginning is plan a thorough strategy which I’m going to show you how to do throughout this article step by step. Don’t worry, it’s super easy to follow and we’ve produced hundreds of videos for clients so we have been able to get this process super dialed in over the years.
First, I’m going to start with what you don’t want to do when starting your corporate video project , and it’s okay if this is what you do, don’t be embarrassed this is what almost everybody does! When companies decide that they want to produce a video for their company they immediately start thinking of ideas and Concepts and visuals and all of the creative elements of a video and the truth is they’ve already messed up. The first thing you always want to start with is the strategy. What are your goals? What are the objectives and what are you actually aiming to accomplish by producing that video if you don’t actually know the purpose of that video and what it’s actually meant to do for your company then you’re not going to land in the right place no matter how creative the concept is. One thing that I always like to say is strategy dictates creative. Whatever your main strategy is with your video is going to set the parameters and strategic boundaries for what type of concept you can even create. For those of you that have a little bit of background with digital marketing this would be the equivalent of how content dictates design on a website. You don’t want to just start designing a website and then cram a bunch of information and content into it and try to force it to look good, it will turn out horrible!
What you want to do is create a content map thoroughly plan out each and every page in all of the different sections and then think of the most creative way to design that based on the requirements that the contents sets for you. It’s no different with a video!
So without beating a dead horse let’s get into the specifics of what types of questions you need to ask yourself and what are the types of things that you actually need to plan to come up with a great video strategy before
coming up with all kinds of creative ideas that you’re just throwing at the wall and hoping stick. These are all of the main things that you need to consider before starting to develop your corporate video:
How to Plan your Corporate Video Strategy
Now if you ever planned a digital marketing campaign whether it’s Google AdWords or Facebook advertising or YouTube advertising or one of the other digital marketing platforms, this is going to sound very familiar to you because it’s a very similar process. You’re simply trying to figure out what type of content you need to show your audience to deliver the most effective message that resonates with them and compels them to want to look in your company further, or take some type of desired action. Now if you’ve never done anything in digital marketing and this is the first time you’re exploring corporate video production that’s okay too, and in fact I’m super excited for that because I’m going to show you the right way to produce a video from the very beginning. Don’t worry it starts very easy and basic but make sure you don’t skip a word, because you need to read every part of this for the rest of the article to make sense. By the time you’re done reading this you’re going to have an extremely elaborate approach to producing a video that covers everything you want it to for your business.
Last Quick tip before you get started: Even if you don’t plan on producing this video yourself and you end up hiring a video production company, I suggest going through these exercises yourself first because it’s going to not only help you choose the right video production company, it will help you get the best pricing for your video project because you already know the scope of work, and it will allow you to organize your thoughts better when you hand it over to get the production process started.
Video Strategy Questions you need to ask yourself:
- What are your goals?
- What are the main things that you’re trying to accomplish with this video?
- Who is your target audience and who are you actually making this video for?
- Do you have buyer personas?
- Where is this video going to be seen? What is the actual use case?
- Is this video going to be used in your sales process? Is it just going to live on your website? Are you going to use video in digital marketing campaigns?
- Based on the target audience, what is the main thing that you need to communicate to them?
- What is your company’s message for this video?
- Based on the target audience, what is the main thing you think they would want to see?
- What are all the things you need to visually showcase to get your message across?
- What type of emotion do you want to elicit from this video?
- What is the desired action you want your target audience to take after watching the video?
If it wasn’t obvious enough, the main thing that I want you to understand is that we’re not asking anything that has to do with a creative concept or a camera or any type of video production just yet. It all starts with the strategy, the message, and the story that you want to tell your target audience to accomplish your goals. This is the main difference between producing a video through a digital marketing lens, rather than just producing a video as a creative house (you’ll learn more about the biggest video production mistakes later in this article).
For a two minute overview on how our company approaches strategy based video production check out our company overview video:
Tips for Developing your Video Strategy:
- Try to use data anytime that you Again, if you have digital marketing campaigns running, look at the audience’s you target in them to come up with the data points for the audience you’re targeting in the video.
- Get your digital marketing agency involved. If you’re working with an agency, it would be good to include them early on in the conversation because you want your video production strategy and their campaign strategy to be cohesive so they can work together and not against, or in isolation of each other.
- Always start with the problem. Typically when you’re coming up with goals you can always track it back to a problem, a challenge, or something that you want to improve and Get really specific with the pain points so you know how to address them in the video.
- Don’t just leave it up to the marketing department. A lot of the times companies will only have the director of marketing work on the video project when the truth is customer service, operations, and the sales team are going to be able to give you the most valuable insights and input of what your target audience needs to hear and wants to
- Use your brand guide. If you have a brand guide, that is going to become extremely helpful when it comes to developing the tone, the message, the story, the verbiage you use, and even some of the graphic elements later down the line when you actually get to the production process The point is you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, that’s what the brand guide is for.
- Ask your customers! don’t be afraid to ask some of your happy customers for their input. Be transparent with your goals and what you’re hoping to communicate with your video and find out what would have been helpful for them sense they are obviously your target audience!
Once you’ve developed a strategy for your video project and you clearly identified the goals and everything that you want to accomplish, you need to begin the video production process. However before I get into that, it’s important for you to make a decision whether you’re producing this project in-house or hiring a video production company. Since doing it in-house would really just be and you having to evaluate your own resources and capabilities, I don’t have a whole lot of feedback on what to evaluate there, so I’m just going to talk about how to evaluate a corporate video production company and what you need to do before getting into the video production process, BUT nobody which direction you choose I’m going to show you the best process that will ensure you end up with an effective strategy based video that you’re extremely happy with!
If you end up hiring a local video production company just understand that there are two main ways that they can get to a price… You can either tell them exactly what you want and they will price it out, or you can tell them your budget and they will pitch you a concept within that. I highly recommend not being too protective of your budget. The concern usually is if you tell them your video budget they’re just going to tell you that it cost exactly that much. Guess what… It’s true! But listen, in this industry that’s exactly what you want to do. Now if you’re at a car dealership and you give a Salesman a budget range obviously that’s different because they’re just going to charge you more. But in this case the only thing that limits creative freedom is the actual budget itself so my advice is just giving a budget that’s the most that you want to pay rather than providing range, and then ask the production company to provide a couple of options at that price point. Ok now lot of companies will attempt to produce a video in house because they want to save money but a lot of the times the salaries and internal expenses will exceed that of a production company, since a good production company should
charge $50 to $100 an hour, not to mention a good one will have a very efficient process and expensive equipment necessary to get the job done. Now my main goal is to give you all the valuable information of the best video production process that will ensure that you crush your goals and get a video that helps you generate Revenue, so I don’t want to get too off track, but I do want to give you a quick couple of tips and advice for how to choose the best video production company in case you do decide to go that route:
Tips for choosing the Best Video Production Company
- Pick a Strategy First Production Company As I said earlier, strategy needs to drive the creative. There is a big difference between a video that looks cool, and a video that has the strategy to accomplish your goals. They don’t need to be digital marketing gurus, but you should be able to tell based on what they talk about, if they emphasize building a solid strategy. If they only talk about camera angles, equipment, and creative ideas- that’s a sign they probably don’t.
- You’re paying for a process not a product. It’s easy to look at the final 2 minute video, or 30 second video ad and think that is all you’re paying for, but in reality you are paying for the entire process, all the strategy, the planning, creative concept, coordination, production, and editing. If they can’t explain a very well defined and organized process, they will be a nightmare to work with and the video might not come out as you had hoped no matter how much they might mean for it
- Can you work with these people for 8 weeks? Video production is all labor hours. It’s a video production SERVICE and it takes several weeks to produce a high quality video. Collaboration and cooperation from your team is key to make sure you provide valuable brand insights, industry specific knowledge, and company information. You want to make sure you are working with a team that is professional, reliable, communicates well, and is enjoyable to work with so you don’t pull your hair
- Client Facing Deliverables will tell you everything you need to It’s usually a given to ask for references and see past projects, but a secret that almost nobody does is asking to see their client facing deliverables from past projects! Tell them you want to see what you can expect when you work with them so you know your video will come out according to plan. You’ll know right away if it’s something that is acceptable to you. A great corporate video production company will send you high quality, professional deliverables that will earn your vote of confidence.
- Professionalism is the biggest tell. If you call a video production company and they answer the phone by saying “what’s up” and don’t have a lot of energy or talk to you like they are talking to one of their buddies… That is exactly what you will get. Unprofessionalsim. Run the other
- Communication and Responsiveness. When you are working with a company for several weeks you want to make sure they are efficient and get back to you in a timely manner. If they can’t give you speedy responses, give you the proper amount of attention, or dedicate their time to you when they are still in the sales process trying to earn your money, there is no way they are going to after the
- It’s not just what you’re paying, it’s what you are paying for. When you get proposals, it should outline a specific scope of work, not look like an invoice. There are only two things that impact price in production. Labor hours and hard costs (such as talent, location fees, permits if needed etc). If they can’t outline those things for you or substantiate the number, it’s hard to compare apples to apples with other proposals, not to mention you should question where the pricing came
- If you don’t love any of their past projects, you won’t love Plain and simple, their work should impress you.
- Pricing should be on a not to exceed basis. Don’t get into a relationship that gives you a range, charges by progress payments, and sends you a total bill after actualized If they are experienced enough they should be able to quote you on a not to exceed basis and stick to it.
- Produced with Our production company has something we always say called “Produced with Passion.” All we are really saying is that we are passionate about what we do and care about
each and every project. When it comes to creative services if the production company doesn’t seem passionate about your brand or project, no matter how hard they try it will not come out great.
- Stick to your It’s easy to do one of two of these right, but very few can do all of these things. It’s easy to tell if a corporate video production company has their stuff together, and don’t settle until you find the right one.
Now you keep hearing me talk about the video production process and how it’s one of the most important things in getting a strategy based video that actually works for your business. Also, just above when I was showing you how to choose the best video production company, I was telling you to pay attention to their process. However I know that can be hard to do if you don’t know what a great video production process should look like in the first place! So now I want to show you step-by-step what the best video production process should be. Whether you produce this video on your own, hire a video production company, or somewhere in between, this process will help you organize the project and set you up for success.
Now I will tell you as a quick warning… Our company has developed our video production process over several years and we specifically and deliberately do things very differently from the industry and our competition because we saw a better way to do things to create strategy based videos that can be used in digital marketing. So you may see some things in this production process that are different from other sources. So please try to pay attention to why we do what we do rather than just seeing the names of things, or the order of the steps. Once you understand why we have the process we have, I’m confident that you will never want to use a different process for corporate video production, and I hope that you can find a way to incorporate this into all of your video projects!
Before I get too granular, let’s start at a super high level. There’s three main parts of the video production process: pre-production, production, post-production. Pre production is where all of your strategy development, your creative development, brainstorming, planning, and coordination will all take place. Production (which is probably the most obvious of the three) is when you’re actually shooting the content and actually creating the footage for a live-action video. Lastly, post-production is where all of the editing including visual-effects, typography, color grading, audio design, and Motion Graphics, will all take place.
Below I broke down some very important steps in each phase of the production process for corporate video production:
The Corporate Video Production Process Pre Production
- Strategy Mapping. The first step is what we already covered above when we were talking about planning your video strategy. You want to think about all of your goals in the objectives of the videos and exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. This should include everything from considering your target audience to the use case, messaging, tone, what you want to communicate and why, and what you need to strategically showcase visually resonate with your
- Concept Architecting. Once you plan the strategy and you consider some of those strategic boundaries, before you just jump straight into planning the creative you want to have something that connects the Something our company really likes to do for corporate video production is to create something we call a concept brief. In this document we include a strategy brief that outlines the buyer
personas, the value propositions, the talking points the script needs to include, and some of the main things that the creative needs cover. Now just to clarify to avoid any confusion, you aren’t actually writing the script yet at this point and you’re not planning every shot of the video at this point. But simply making a checklist and compiling everything that needs to be included to help you be extremely organized as you go into the next phases of production. This document should also consider the other elements and components of a video such as what tone do you want the video to have? What feeling do you want The video to elicit? What pace or speed should the video have? And what style you want to come through.
- Song Selection. At this point of the process I would highly suggest picking out your song. Choosing your song is going to make planning the entire concept, writing the script, and guiding the narrative so much easier! The song is such a big part of setting the tone and creating that emotional response in corporate video We find that having the song early in the process is going to help us write a much more impactful script, be much more deliberate with our visuals, and help us get the timing right from the beginning.
- Pro Corporate Video Production Tip!!: Write your script before planning any shots! After you have your song I would recommend playing the song as you write your script for the video. Take your talking points in the messaging from the concept brief and use that to make sure that your script covers each and every single point that you initially laid out. It’s extremely important that the script you’re writing is speaking to what your target audience and consumers want to hear about rather than just bragging about your company in a way that you would like. Writing the script before planning your visuals is going to make your life so much easier! If you try to plan all your shots and then cram a script into the video that makes sense it is going to be very frustrating. In corporate video production there is something called “message match” which refers to the script or the message, matching the shots and the visuals. This is key for your audience to retain what you’re saying and an easy trick to make your video much more impactful!
- Storyboard: Once you have your video strategy, the message, the script, and the song, the next step is to create your storyboard. If you’ve done the previous steps properly you should already be exploding with creative ideas! We believe a storyboard should be extremely in-depth and outline each and every little detail for every snapshot of the entire video. This is the equivalent to creating a blueprint before building a house. The reason this is so important to build before production is because this is how you can control that the video is going to come out according to your expectations and according to the plan. Our storyboards include a visual of what the shot should look like, a description of the shot, the portion of the script that aligns with that shot, and any other visual notes so our clients can see every single part of what the video should look like. One quick tip, don’t over complicate this part! A lot of people wonder how detailed they need to be and there isn’t an exact right answer for that, but you can use these quick couple of questions to check if your storyboard has enough detail:
- Does it communicate the entire video in a seamless way where you can explain the narrative to someone else without them being confused?
- Does the storyboard have enough information where you feel like you know every scene that you need to shoot on the production day?
- If you were to give all of the footage from the production day to an editor, could they use the storyboard to edit the entire video without much additional guidance?
If you answered yes to all three of those questions, then I’m sure your storyboard has enough detail! Based on the three questions above you can use to check yourself, you can see how important pre production is in corporate video production. It does take a lot of time to plan thoroughly, but if you do the pre production right it
makes the rest of the production process much more organized, efficient, and overall effective in getting your video to come out according to plan!
- Shot List/Production Day Breakdown. Next, a good production company will take the detailed storyboard and put together a shot list and a production day breakdown. If you don’t efficiently plan the production day and have a detailed description of every single shot that you need to capture to produce the visuals needed for the video that you laid out in your storyboard, there is no way you’re going to be able to memorize everything in your head and get it all done in a timely Not to mention, we find it’s extremely helpful for the clients we work with, because then they know exactly what we’re doing and where we are at each step of the day so we don’t get in the way of their business.
Production not only takes the least amount of time in relation to the entire process, but it also takes the least amount of time to talk about because it’s exactly that! The production date is when you produce the visuals and shoot the content!
Whatever video production company you hire, make sure they use a lean crew. Production days should be intense. They should be efficient and they should be fast paced in the same way that a construction crew would operate on a job site. If you find a video production company that treats a production day like a playdate with a bunch of their friends, they are probably the wrong company for you.
- Scrubbing/Cutting Footage Inventory. After you have filmed all of the live action video footage, you are into the last phase of the production process: Post Production! This is my favorite part of the production process because you get to finally see the vision come together! Scrubbing and cutting is the first part of the editing process and can be extremely time consuming. If you think about it, in corporate video production, any video over 2 minutes starts to lose your interest. So you are editing over 8 hours worth of footage into only about a 120 second video! The scrubbing and cutting process is the process of selecting the best parts of the footage that you are going to use in your
- A Roll Selection. Once you have selected all of your favorite shots to tell your story with, you want to go over all of the A Roll (which if you don’t know what this is, it’s the part of the video where the person is talking on camera), and edit the entire message. A great production company will do this part of the process very meticulously because this lays out and controls the entire message of the video. If this is done poorly, your video will not be
- Next, we put all of the A Roll footage into the editing timeline, and start putting the best shots in the right place to create the message match we created in pre production. Editing is the process of crafting each individual shot into one seamless, engaging story. This is where you can start adding creative transitions, and editing in any type of effects to make your video stand out.
- Visual Effects. Once the video is chronologically assembled, we take that edit and add all of the visual effects, motion graphics, typography, and any digitally produced imagery, although not every video project has It’s really important in corporate video production that your production company doesn’t just create random flashy add on effects, it isn’t a music video. If it’s going to represent your company,
the video needs to have purpose and stylistically reflect your brand in a way that makes sense. Visual effects and typography are a great way to keep your audience engaged.
- Sound Design/Editing. Once the whole video is edited, and we’ve added all the effects, we have something called a picture lock or visual lock. This means everything visually is completed except for sound design and color editing which is always done last. Sound effects are probably one of the most overlooked things in post production! We spend a lot of time on sound effects because they help make every action and shot much more impactful and really help to immerse the audience into the
- Color Adjustments/Grading. The last thing we do is correct all of the Color makes a significant difference in your final edit and can be the difference between your footage looking flat and boring, or rich and cinematic.
The corporate video production process is extensive and every phase has several specialized skill sets that are required to produce a great high quality corporate video. There’s one more thing I want to talk about, that is super important for you to be aware of. When it comes to video production today, it is like the wild wild west.
The problem is that there are very low barriers to entry, all you need is a camera and an idea and in theory you could start producing videos, although of course we know there is much more to it. However, our company has been around for a long time now and time after time again we get new clients that have horror stories working with video production companies that wasted tons of time, costs them tons of money, and caused a bunch of headache and frustration. In hopes of saving you some headache and steering you in the right direction, here are a bunch of things you don’t want in a corporate video production company:
Biggest Corporate Video Production Mistakes (Things to Avoid)
- Hiring Independent Contractors. I’m not saying there are zero independent contractors that know what they are doing, but 90% of the time I hear about companies hiring independent contractors for corporate video production it doesn’t come out according to expectations! If you hire someone without an office, without employees or a full time team, you can’t expect a corporation level of service. Sure they might be a third of the price, but you will get lucky if you get a third of the quality. Remember, the camera work is secondary, the strategy development is
- Low Project Ownership. Many production companies expect you to be a producer/scriptwriter/actor! They need you to provide most of the script, they want you to organize the project, and they don’t guide you through the process as the video production
- Little Certainty on Specific Project Details. This goes back to the sales If they have trouble defining exact deliverables, and giving exact details on the scope of work it can be a slippery slope. This typically means they don’t have as much experience as they may be describing, and they don’t know how your company will use the videos.
- Poor Planning. A corporate video production company that doesn’t have a heavy pre production and planning process, is a company you don’t want to work They can get by until they can’t, and you don’t want that to be your project. You also don’t have a chance to align expectations.
- No Process Approvals. Corporate video production is not hollywood where the director calls the shots and the production company is in charge. We are producing videos for our clients, so we have detailed approvals to protect both ourselves and our clients to make sure we are always in agreeance before we get too far. Approvals are key for your company to maintain control over the
- Too much Abstract Don’t just listen to someone who is good at describing creative ideas, have them show you. Too many people make decisions based off of how the concept is pitched, but then it
fails horribly in execution. Make sure you see inspiration, examples of what they are proposing, and proof that the production company can pull off what they are presenting.
- Lack/Absences of Lastly, as we went over in depth above, a video without strategy will not help your company. A video without strategy, is like a car without an engine! It might look really cool, but it doesn’t do anything. When it comes to corporate video production, you need a production company that knows how to build a video strategy!
Corporate Video Production can be intimidating, but finding a great production company will make your life easy. If you aren’t exactly sure about getting started, but you would like a free consultation, don’t hesitate to reach out, and we would love for the opportunity to help you with corporate video production that actually generates sales for your business!!