According to HubSpot:
78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day.
55% of people pay close attention when consuming videos — more than all other types of content.
It’s a pretty big deal already, so hitching your wagon to this particular star is a smart move in any case – and missing out is pretty much the precise diametric opposite. A good corporate video is a way for you to show off your services and your company culture in a way that people will remember. It has immense lead gen power, but like most things, it’s a bit daunting if you’ve never done it before – which is why we compiled this handy little guide.
We’ll walk you through:
- The most common types of corporate video
- Choosing the right style for your corporate video
- Commissioning a corporate video production company
- How to maximise ROI on your finished video
The 10 most common types of corporate videos
There’s nothing worse than a video that has no real reason to exist. Now, granted, many pointless clips become immensely successful in their own way – from the dancing CGI baby of the late ‘90’s to the Numa Numa guy. But that stuff is like lightning in a bottle: knowing what inexplicable thing is going to capture the popular consciousness is borderline impossible.
As with any other piece of marketing or sales content, you’re much better off orienting your video around a defined purpose. The actual substance of your video will vary depending on this goal, but here are some common styles that get great results.
Do your salespeople get tongue-tied when they’re trying to demonstrate the value of your product? Well, get better salespeople. Being able to sell stuff is sort of a prerequisite for that job.
But even so, sometimes a product can be pretty tough to describe, and an explainer video is a great way to get an audience engaged with your product (hint: they’re especially effective when they’re animated).
Case study video
Got a happy customer? Of course you do. Now put ‘em to work (if they’ll let you). A video testimonial reassures prospects that yours is a good product or service – after all, other people are saying so, and if other people are saying so, it must be true!
Get your customers to sing your praises and you’ll see excellent results.
Hey, they’ve been doing these since World War II. You’re probably not quite THAT eager to get people on board, but it’s still an avenue worth exploring if you want to give prospective hires an idea of your company culture.
A recruitment video is there to show off your company at its very best – and to let potential applicants know what they’re in for.
Training manuals are boring as hell. Even the most patient employee will struggle to sit there and read all of it.
It’s like school. Nobody in history class really wanted to read Antony Beevor’s Stalingrad, definitive account of WWII’s major battle though it may be, but they happily watched the Stalingrad episode of The World at War. Why? Video, basically, doesn’t feel like work in the way that required reading often does.
And because of that, audiences retain information communicated through the medium much more easily – whether it’s an instructional video to induct or upskill employees, a company-wide health and safety video, or anything else you need to get your staff up to speed on.
New product demo video
Look, it’s one thing to say you’ve invented the first hoverboard/genuine artificial intelligence/talking toilet, but it’s quite another to prove it. When you’ve done something incredible, your customers want to see it in action.
If you have a product that simply must be seen to be believed, a demo video can help you show off its design and functionality.
A call-to-action video is exactly what it says on the tin (yes, videos do come in tins. Don’t question it). You’re trying to compel your customers to action, but a simple button isn’t doing it for you. If you want to get people to sign up for that free trial, download that eBook, or fill out that survey, a little video encouragement goes a long way.
Annual report video
Business updates don’t have to be mind-numbingly dull. Let your employees and shareholders know how well or poorly you’re doing with an engaging annual report video – there may be no better method of stitching a human face on the soulless mechanical edifice of your company.
It’s good that your company’s exhibiting at a trade show or taking part in conference panel discussions, but there’s no denying that the audience for these things is, by design, limited to attendees. A highly relevant audience, for sure, but a fairly small one nonetheless.
Make the most of your event by recording it! If you’ve got clients in attendance, use it as an opportunity to film their stories; if you haven’t, be sure to capture any panel discussions your company’s experts are taking part in. This way, you’ll get returns that far exceed the boundaries of the conference hall.
FAQs and customer help videos
Are your clients or prospects bugging you or your customer service team with the same questions over and over again? A one-off FAQ video can address their needs quickly and easily – and without taking up too much of your staff’s precious time. Be sure to place it somewhere prominent, though: if they can’t find it, it won’t be much good to anyone!
Crisis management video
If you’re having a communications crisis, you won’t always know how to get everyone to chill the hell out about it. Just running around yelling ‘WE’RE SORRY’ isn’t likely to accomplish much: you need to find a way to control the messaging.
Guess what? Video’s good for this, too! In particular, it lets you broadcast statements and key clips across a number of different channels, on a really tight turnaround. Whether you need to show people how contrite you are or issue a defiant rebuttal to imbalanced critics, video is pretty much the perfect way to go about it.
Choosing the right style for your video
Once you know what it is you want your corporate video to do, the next step is to decide what style the video will take. A production company will be able to guide you through the options and help you choose which format will best portray your message. Remember that style is a major factor not only in the success of the video but in the company image it portrays, so choose a format that you feel best showcases your brand.
Style should never take precedence over substance – but it does, all the time. The format of your video will often determine whether or not people actually watch it, and it’s an essential part of making sure your company is conveying the right image. A good production company will walk you through the following popular options (and because we are one, we’ve listed a selection below!).
No, they’re not just silly cartoons for kids. Animation is a great way of presenting complicated information in a way people understand and respond to. You can make them with traditional animation, physical materials shot in stop-motion (remember A-ha’s video for Take On Me? Remember how cool it was? Basically – that), or created using computer graphics software.
An animation will often require less manpower than a live shoot, but it can be pretty hard work for an artist. It frequently pays off, though: animations are among the most striking and original corporate videos out there.
Live action is basically, uh, not animation. A crew takes cameras and such, and films a thing in a place. Everything and everyone is real. Sometimes there will be graphics or visualisations, sometimes animation and live-action can co-exist like in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, but mostly it’s real stuff in a real location.
Whether or not any of it is more ‘real’ than animation in, like, an existential sense is something we’ll probably leave to the academics.
When your clip features real executives from your company, it’s tempting to just have your CEO look right at the camera and talk. If you want something a bit more personal and casual, however, it’s worth considering an interview format, where the subject speaks directly to an unseen questioner (usually against an impressive view like a London skyline, or something cool like the Great Pyramids or whatever).
Everybody likes a good time-lapse video, but they’re a bit of a pain to film. Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated than just leaving a camera running in front of something and going for a long nap.
Still, if your product takes a while to get up and running, or if one of your processes is especially protracted, it’s possible for a time-lapse video to compress a lot of time into a short video clip – something which can really impress your prospects.
Using a documentary format is a good way to give people the ‘inside scoop’ on your company without actually exposing them to Terry from Accounts arguing with Bill from Operations or other sensitive stuff. It’s a chance to let your company put its best foot forward and show potential clients what it’s all about – while maintaining some vague semblance of reality.
Of course, everyone knows it’s not really an objective portrayal of your business, but suspension of disbelief will generally win the day.
Commissioning a corporate video production company: a step-by-step guide
Step 1: Produce your brief
It’s necessary to reiterate that a pointless video is also a worthless one. If you’re starting with the sentiment that a video would be nice to have – but not much else – then you need to have a bit of a think about what you want to achieve. More sales? A steady supply of excellent CVs for your vacancies?
Whatever it is, tell the production company about it and they’ll be able to guide you through your options in terms of style and content.
If you need to prove to your clients that your product works, for example, you’ll probably be advised to consider a brief demo video. But if it’s not a particularly exciting or flashy service – or if the way it works isn’t something that can be conveyed easily in live-action visuals – you might be told that an animated explainer video is the way forward instead. It’s not an exact science. Look at your potential video from every angle, and go with the one that feels right for you.
Step 2: Set your budget
Everybody wants Michael Bay-level explosions; not everybody has Michael Bay-level finances.
Be realistic, and find out how much the video you want is going to cost as soon as possible. Your agency should be happy to walk you through the costs associated with different types of video formats – and crucially, they should be transparent about their pricing. Your company, in turn, should be honest about what you can afford from the get-go: a half-finished clip is no good to anyone, so you really don’t want to run out of money partway through.
Step 3: Source an agency that you trust
Whether your brief is good or bad, whether your company works a tight or extravagant budget, and whether you go for live-action or animation, your video production company will be the difference between a good video and a waste of money.
Finding an agency you can trust is necessary for an honest, productive and creative relationship. You need to be prepared to tell them everything, and be able to deal with whatever feedback they happen to provide.
If your CEO’s adamant that he should perform in the video, but acts like Keanu Reeves’ anhedonic little brother, you have to be able to accept this criticism and communicate it in order to create the best video. Broadly speaking, it’s worth trusting your agency’s judgment in matters like these – they’ve shot many more reels of film than you have, after all!
Step 4: Give them the brief and get a proposal
Supply the production company with a clear brief so they can propose the best plan for your video. When you’re reviewing this, remember it’s a two-way conversation and work together if you have any feedback. Once you’re agreed on the proposal, the production company can get ahead with planning the logistics.
You know Aladdin, where the genie’s a nice dude and tries his best to get the young hero to hook up with the princess and defeat the bad guy and that? The genies in the original mythology weren’t quite as benevolent (understandably so, what with the phenomenal cosmic power/itty bitty living space deal): they’d grant wishes, but twist them around in a messed-up sort of way. Nanabozho the Trickster Spirit, for example, turned someone into a stone because they said they wanted eternal life, another turned someone into a fox because they asked to become a great hunter.
The moral of these stories, typically, is that poor communication is potentially lethal, and it’s always worth being as precise as possible with your words. It’s a lesson that can be applied to production companies too; though they’re usually not evil, they can usually grant your wishes when it comes to video – as long as you communicate your intention clearly.
To this end, it’s vital to have a brief that outlines precisely what you want; if you don’t, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get something entirely different, but technically in line with what you asked for. If there’s any confusion, clear it up immediately – nobody expects you to have storyboarded it in your head, but at the very least, you should be able to point out the kind of thing you want in your film. It’s also worth taking the company’s feedback into account: their experience makes them able to communicate 1) how practical your ideas are, and 2) whether or not they’ll actually work if implemented. Once you’ve agreed a plan, the production guys can go ahead with the tedious but all-important business of sorting out the logistics.
What NOT to do
- ask 10 agencies to pitch: you’re wasting your time and theirs.
- request a proposal before you’ve got a budget.
- insist on a style that you’ve seen before – it’ll probably date your video.
- write the script yourself (unless you’ve got some experience in this area).
- suggest your CEO does the voice over (leave it to the professionals).
- do anything at all unless you’re serious about using video to grow your business.
Things to look out for
- Your video company should film in high definition, period. You can always downscale to a lower resolution; you can’t do it the other way around.
- All video content should follow your brand guidelines exactly.
- Look at the company’s previous work to check for quality and creativity.
- The company should be responsive to your enquiries. It’s a big warning sign if they take days to reply to your emails – heed it.
How to maximise ROI on your finished video
When the director’s yelled “Cut!”, it’s not over. In fact, your work’s just begun. After all, you’re not done with the baby raising business once you’ve given birth. You’ve got to nurture the child, help it grow, take care of its schooling, and turn it into a bona-fide lead-generation machine (this is where the analogy collapses somewhat, we admit).
The point is, it’s essential to do some work to make sure your video gets the maximum possible ROI, and to do that, you want to hook up with a production company that can deliver a more integrated service (again, we happen to know one…). To get maximum visibility, you’ll want to…
Give your video pride of place
If a tree falls in a forest – and nobody is around to hear it – does it make a sound? It’s a classic philosophical question, and people like to argue about it to this day, but the real answer is that it honestly doesn’t matter. Nobody heard it, so it might as well not exist.
The same basic principle applies to video. No matter how great the quality, production values, or messaging, if nobody saw it, it was a failure. You can avoid this by placing it prominently on your homepage or other relevant online pages, and featuring it on your company blog (if you have one). And don’t forget meatspace! The physical world does still exist (we think – if it doesn’t, that’s another philosophical question entirely), so stick it on a screen in your office’s reception area.
Send it to your networks
Your video might not have been made for them, but if it has new or relevant information, it’s a good idea to make use of your existing networks to get as many eyeballs on it as you can – this includes other professionals in the sector and existing clients (in this respect, it’s a good way to rekindle old relationships). A quick email directing people to it can work wonders as a lead gen exercise.
PR and social media support
A targeted social media campaign is necessary to get your video the biggest – and most relevant – audience. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn campaigns will get your business in front of the right people and direct traffic to your website. And don’t forget YouTube.
Traditional PR efforts are also invaluable in getting your video exposure across multiple channels – and crucially, getting them to fill out that form on your landing page to convert.
Paid advertising such as pay per click (PPC) ads can be an effective way to send traffic to your video. Use tools like Google AdWords to optimise your ads so that your video reaches prospects when they’re searching for services like yours.
We know, we know, it’s a lot to take in. We don’t blame you for skimming – we should really make a video of this at some point.
Anyway, here’s the TL;DR version:
- Be crystal-clear about what you’re trying to do. Nobody’s going to be happy if your brief is vague as hell.
- Do your research and decide what type of video will help you achieve your goals.
- Determine a realistic budget.
- Find a good production company that can deliver a great product.
- Remember to optimise and promote your video for maximum ROI. Money, contrary to popular belief, totally IS everything.
Most importantly, you need a video production company that understands what your company is all about and how video can help it grow. We might know where you can find one. Get in touch with our MD, Jamie, to chat about your corporate video project.