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« Tips on Storytelling from Ira Glass | Main | May I Introduce You To... »
Saturday
Mar102007

10 Tips to Create Your "Remarkable" Corporate Video

415023684_ce587c16e1.jpg (photo)

I'm going to go out on a limb. Feel free to join me.

Most marketing departments don't know how to make a corporate video worth talking about.

When it comes to producing corporate videos, most internal marketing departments are "safe departments." "Safe" works. "Safe" is easy. "Safe" will keep your job. "Safe" sells. "Safe" gets me through the day.

Not really. "Safe" doesn't produce conversations. "Safe" doesn't ignite action. "Safe" doesn't make me think harder. Or differently. Or stretch me. "Safe" doesn't make me go, "A-Ha!"

Producing a remarkable video for your company isn't hard. It takes work, it takes time, but it's not hard.

You know what's hard? Producing a film that is boring. That's hard.

When no one is talking about your video and management wants to know where the ROI is from the video, you'll be doing some fancy footwork dancing down the hallways of the ivory tower. Now that's hard. That's a day you might want to call in "sick."

Here are ten ways how to make your corporate video get noticed, ignite conversations and spark some action. Oh, yeah...and keep management happy, too.

1. Think STORY. Tell me a story. Please. Take me on a journey. My brain is hard-wired for beginnings, middles and ends. Really. Don't tell me about your corporate numbers. I have Excel for that, thank you.

2. Think ONE. There is only one person you need to think about when making your corporate video: the person in front of the tube. Period. Double period. Triple...

3. Think TIMELESS. It goes back to that "story" thing my brain really loves. A powerful story is timeless; it's magical. It doesn't get stale. The same is true with a powerful corporate video.

4. Think REAL. People know a lie when they see one. Authenticity works.

5. Think QUALITY. Hire the most qualified producer and director you can. Find a producer who understands exactly what you are trying to accomplish; not what they need to make their demo reel look better.

6. Think eMOTION. "e" for emotion, energy, enthusiasm, engaging. Video captures emotion unlike any other medium. Use it accordingly. Keep your charts, PDF's and spreadsheets away from video. Please.

7. Think CUSTOMER. Your customers can tell your story, too. Let them tell the world how great you are. It's one thing when you toot your own horn. It's another when customers toot it for you.

8. Think PLAY. Does your video have "playful" moments? Even the most reserved companies have opportunities to capture some fun and playfulness. Find those moments and your video will outshine your competitor's in a heartbeat.

9. Think 30. Every 30 seconds change your pace, rhythm, content. You can make your ten minute film feel like five minutes with this trick. Create new "chapters" with new ideas or themes. Change the music, too. Your video will be so engaging, repeat viewings will be demanded. It works like a charm.

10. Think HERO. Find your heroes. When given the chance, employees want to tell their story. They want to change the world with their journey. What they need is the opportunity and the chance.

Bonus Tip. Think DESIGN. Video is incredibly malleable. You can keep your corporate branding people happy by integrating your current logo guidelines, etc. Or you can break out a bit and create something different.

"Safe" or "remarkable."

Still with me? Out on that limb?

---Tom

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Reader Comments (23)

Great ideas and ones I try to use at http://www.scobleshow.com.
March 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Scoble
Hi Thomas, thank you for the great summary of tips. The view out on this limb is great! A useful reminder. Thanks, Sam.
May 8, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha Grant
I think the one of the most important concepts "Think One" is the hardest to get across to corporate video clients. So many times, they are so focused on the idea of conveying their story -- a story that they are so proud of, but the audience couldn't care less. It is essential to tell the corporate story in a way that resonates with the viewing audience needs. This is so often a challenge to convince the corporate client this is necessary, and we are faced with balancing the client needs and the audience needs. In reality, the goal is the same, the client needs the audience to be convinced (or to take action) after viewing the video and to create that action, the video has to be focused on meeting the viewer needs. I am posting this list in our studio (http://www.marketingoc.com) to remind us all to "Think." Thanks Tom!
September 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Fluhr
Hi Tom, how are you doing? My name is Julieta and I work as a volunteer for an NGO in The Hague, The Netherlands. It is a young NGO and I'm taking care of its communicational aspects, I've a degree on Communications and Journalism.
Right now I've to prepare an introduction (corporate) video: we need to put the organization "out there" so we can rise funds for our projects, which our focused on social and cultural aspects.
I've been reading with a lot of interest your tips for making a remarkable video and I'm taking them as a guide for preparing mine. I found your article pretty inspiring.
If it's ok, I wanted to ask you: Do you have any extra suggestion for the NGO sector?

Thanks for your time, cheers!
October 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJulieta
Hi Julieta,

Thanks a lot for stopping by my blog! I'm delighted you enjoyed the post and found it inspiring...it's really great to know I'm helping someone. :)

Any other tips?

Think: Answers.

The mistake many people make when they interview someone is preparing the questions first.

You can certainly do that, but I've found if I focus on what I want to hear someone say first, then I can create the question to draw out the answer. You'll avoid asking questions that don't really fit your story. I learned that from my mentor a long time ago. It's a great little trick!

Think: Structure

After your interviews, get them transcribed to paper with time-code. Create your script from the transcript. Then, plan exactly what you want your b-roll footage to cover during the interviews. OK?

1. Create your answers
2. Transcribe the interview
3. Write your script
4. Film any footage to compliment your story.

Be sure to read this, too:
http://www.directortom.com/director-tom/2008/9/28/7-sure-fire-steps-for-creating-your-companys-documentary.html

I hope this helps a little bit!

Be great, be well.
Tom
October 4, 2008 | Registered CommenterThomas Clifford
Hi Tom,
Some nice tidbits, I have been trying to communicate these simple ideas to my clients for long. You have put them in so clearly. I hope I get a few tips to how to mould them now! BTW, I am a corporate film maker too. See my website http://www.santanu.biz if ever you have the time.

regards
Santanu
http://www.santanu.biz
March 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSantanu
Hi Santanu,

Thanks for stopping by and do come back!

Tom
March 8, 2009 | Registered CommenterThomas Clifford
"5. Think QUALITY. Hire the most qualified producer and director you can. Find a producer who understands exactly what you are trying to accomplish; not what they need to make their demo reel look better."

Now that really IS a top tip!

There are too many people out there who think they can save time and money by going down the 'DIY' route. Not so! The whole production process is a very specialised form of project management. And failing to execute that process correctly can expose your organisation to everything from simply wasting money, through looking foolish to the threat of serious litigation!

Truly professional producers and directors exist at all levels in the corporate market these days. And those 10 tips of your apply just as much to 'corporates' commissioned on a shoestring budget by 'Mom and Pop' businesses as they do to those produced by major corporations with massive resources.

Thanks for posting those tips Tom.

Regards,
Matt Quinn.
March 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Quinn
Hi Matt,

Love your concept of video production as a form of "project management." You're spot on.

Thanks for stopping by!
Tom
March 17, 2009 | Registered CommenterThomas Clifford
Great blog, with top tips for making a corporate video which has something more in it than just pointless interviews and boring shots of an empty office.

I’m a filmmaker at a production company in the UK who specializes in producing video that engages and communicates (whether it’s a TV Ad, viral or a presentational piece), so it’s always nice to see there are people out there championing good filmmaking.

With the massive evolution of web based video, companies need to really stay one step ahead of the game… and why shouldn’t they!

In terms of value for money, with video you can expect close to 100% viewership. Compare that to the average response rate of 8.8% to print-based consumer mailings and 8.4% to business-to-business campaigns (Direct Mail Information Service Research). We’ve had clients who have seen 17 months of sales done in 6 weeks because of the impact of a video.

Video is there to be taken advantage of, but Matt is spot on saying you need the right people. This may make it sound like there are loads of pit falls, but as long as you speak to those in the know - you’re guaranteed to jump onto the flashy corporate video bandwagon and reap the benefits.

Hope that’s some help to the discussion.

Regards,

Richard

Business Video
www.businessvideoproduction.co.uk
Films produced by Twenty Fist Century Media (www.twentyfirstcenturymedia.com)
April 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Coulson
Tom,

Thanks for your insight and tips. After doing numerous corporate videos over the years (and generally being unsatisfied with the final result), your insight is greatly appreciated and will be incorporated into future activities. The squirrel on the limb is a great way to accentuate your point. Thanks again.
May 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Roderick
Hi Tom, great post! Can you also add some examples that you have liked as corporate videos.
Hi Aji,

I really love Hitachi's True Stories:
http://www.hitachi.us/truestories/

Honda's "The Power of Dream" Series:
http://dreams.honda.com/

Of course, these are higher budget productions but all the elements are there; real people, solid themes and a "real-felling" conversational tone.

Thanks for the question!
Tom


There's more
July 2, 2009 | Registered CommenterThomas Clifford
Playing save isn't a good idea over long time.... clients get bored. They want to see always new fresh ideas and excellence. Great blog!
May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFilmgauge
Hey Tom!

You may not check back here anymore, but I wanted to say that I've really enjoyed reading your blog and will be using all of the tips, as well as some others littered throughout your comments.

I really appreciate the "wait to hear what they want to say first" method and will for sure be using it in the future. I might still have a mental preparation of a question or two in case the moment get's awkward. :)

We are doing a corporate video here where I work soon, and I'm the backbone.

Your blog was super helpful!

-Josh
June 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua
Thanks, Joshua! Glad you found the site helpful and these tips, too. =)

Tom
June 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterThomas Clifford
Thanks Tom,
We have 7 more Corporate Video Tips here: http://newyorktoimes.blogspot.com/search/label/Corporate%20Video%20Tips

Pete
April 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPete Bucknell
Hi Tom,

I recently created a short motion graphic / video that you may find useful. Or rather you may find useful for using with your clients!

It is called "The 7 Uses of Video - within business and training". I put it together because I found most of my clients were only using one style of video over and over - and perhaps hadn't thought about the other methods. For example, they were only creating polished motion graphics as a sales tool, instead of supplementing it with some testimonial style videos. This video shows them some other ideas to help kick off some conversations and future projects.

It is only 3 minutes long. So check it out if you can. It is in HD - and feel free to share with anyone / everyone.

http://youtu.be/gB2d7-ii65s?hd=1

Cheers
July 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim Clague
Great idea to create cooperate video. we need to put the organization out there so we can rise funds for our projects, which our focused on social and cultural aspects. You'll avoid asking questions that don't really fit your story. I learned that from my mentor a long time ago. It's a great little trick! Thanks for sharing this wonderful information with us.
http://www.channel1.com.au/tv-commercial-production.php
September 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTV Commercial Production
Thanks for writing this. I really feel as though I know so much more about this than I did before. Your blog really brought some things to light that I never would have thought about before reading it. You should continue this, I’m sure most people would agree you’ve got a gift. Thanks for sharing…
http://www.channel1.com.au/
September 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVideo Production
Thanks, Charlton.

Yes, I'll continue this but I'm branching out beyond video into humanizing all types of business communications.

Glad you enjoyed the post.

Tom
September 30, 2011 | Registered CommenterThomas Clifford
Hi Tom.

Nice guide. It help me realize mistakes I made in constructing my video about corporate values.

May I just have your suggestion regarding length of the video? Can 10mins be enough? I'm planning to just make it short and informative.

Thanks again and hoping to hear more of you.

Bry
November 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBryan Palmero
Hi Bryan.

While there are no hard and fast rules for video timing, one thing to consider is if the audience is captive or not.

Meaning, if the video is show to a roomful of people during a presentation, you might (not always, though) have more time for the video.

If the video is web-based, keep it short; maybe under two minutes.

If you have a lot of content for the web, then break the video into short 90-second bits.

Hope that helps.

Tom
November 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterThomas Clifford

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