By David Masulli
By David Masulli
What does it take to create a good story? Is it a high flying drone? 4k quality video? While they certainly can help, the truth is, they aren’t always necessary. With the ever growing popularity in branded video as a method of telling a company’s story, there is one element that remains key to producing effective and engaging video content, and it begins with you.
It is our most human instinct to be connected. As humans and audience members, we all desire to relate to one another. Contrary to video advertisements, branded video offers a relationship with the viewer. To relate to your viewer, you need to be direct, approachable, and authentic. This is where it comes back to simply being you.
When you tell a story that is honest and makes an impression on your viewer, it results in a customer feeling so connected to your brand, that they become an advocate for your company without feeling the persuasion that advertising imposes.
While the best video technology may be available to you, it’s important to remember that it’s not always about how the video looks, but the narrative that is being told. Read on to learn the four key steps to take when building a valuable brand video.
Before you recruit a video production company or determine anything about your video, you must first ask yourself what your mission is.
In order to create content that is valuable and personable to your viewer, you must align with your own values or the values of the company you are creating a video for. And most of all, don’t be afraid to be real. Your authenticity will earn you respect amongst your audience and relate to those with similar experiences, thoughts or dreams. Once you have identified your objective, it will become more clear what story you have to share and what visual aids will best service that story.
The next step is completing an audience analysis. Ask yourself, “Who am I speaking to? What are their stories? How will they connect to this brand?” Being able to determine who you’re sharing your story with will allow you to engage with your customer base and gain consumer trust. Creating a powerful connection between the storyteller and audience begins with an honest narrative that’s true to your brand.
This relates back to the age-old marketing concept of personas. Personas are semi-fictional (they’re based on your research/insight) descriptions of your major customer types. They include information on their age range, career path, likes, dislikes, information consumption habits, and much, much, more.
Once you have determined your mission, the consumer base, and the story you intend to tell, you need to determine the best way to begin telling this narrative. Interviews are a great way of unearthing a brand’s personal story, however, many people aren’t well equipped to tell their own story and tend to be fairly vague. Believe it or not, every company has a unique story, even if they’re in the same vertical!
If you don’t have a good handle on what makes your company unique from a personal perspective, doing some discovery to determine it. Some creative agencies have a specialized process to determine core brand concepts, story, and the best way to communicate this to your ideal audience. This process typically makes use of a trained interviewer and an engaging list of questions to help draw the most rich and honest story.
Once you have an engaging dialogue from the brand, you can begin to include visuals to support your story. Remember to question along the way what the purpose of the video is, and the story you set out to tell. Reminding yourself of these aspects will help you determine what visuals you need to capture, and how you will shoot the video, whether it be handheld, Steadicam or static. Even minor details on how the camera is mounted has some strong connotations on the brand. For (an extreme) example, a video on financial services shot on GoPro wouldn’t make sense, but it would totally be on-brand for a line of BMX apparel.
Keeping your audience, story, and brand aligned also helps to encourage you to think about how you will edit the footage later on.
An excellent example of this, is the Focal Upright video that we shot during SXSW. The concept is very candid and evokes the excitement and customer interaction that a festival like SXSW provides, and that a product like Focal Upright relates to. The quick pace of the edits, the shots of the city, and interaction with street goers all contribute to connecting with the culture and city of Austin, TX. Check out the video below:
While having access to the best video equipment certainly can help, it is not always necessary depending on the story you are trying to tell. With the high quality video and accessibility our mobile devices provide, many brands are looking towards shooting with just the help of an iPhone to create an innovative story, like this video commissioned by Bentley Motors:
Of course, you don’t even need an iPhone to do it – there’s plenty of great animated company videos out there, too.
Okay, so you did it… what now? Creating an exciting video that aligns with your brand and audience is only half of the battle for brand supremacy, now you need to get the video in front of the people that want to see it. Promoting a brand through video comes with nearly limitless options & is a far cry from promotional activities of yesteryear (looking at you, 30-second cable spot). Get creative with your video promotion, go to where your customers are. Consider these not-so-traditional options:
There are countless ways to tell a story, which is why it is so important to know what makes sense for yours. Don’t rely solely on technology to be the fundamental piece to your storytelling. Discover your narrative first. Once you know what it is you want to say, then you will recognize how best to shoot it. A complete understanding of your brand will be the guidance you need to create the best brand video and connect with your viewer.