The five golden rules of corporate video production

1. Define (and then refine) your audience first.
Marketing is about positioning and communicating your unique value to a very specific audience. Your product or service won’t appeal to everyone. In fact it probably won’t appeal to that many people at all. You have to ensure that you craft a message that is tailored to the specific concerns of a very well defined audience.  That sounds risky because if you narrow the focus of your message you have to leave stuff out. The only thing riskier than that is leaving everything in.
Example: One Market Media completed a video project for Queens University to promote their International Study Centre in England. We spent a great deal of time working with the client to define the audience and then we further refined the key messages by creating two separate videos: 1. (Bader International Study Centre) which was targeted at parents and included program information supplied by the professors at the Centre and 2. (A Day in the Life at The Bader International Study Centre) which was aimed at students and included perspectives of two students at attending the college.



2. Tell a great story that makes an emotional connection.
Our conscious mind would like us to believe that we make rational decisions. Our sub-conscious mind knows better. Virtually all purchase decisions are emotional decisions. Your lubricant may be 23% more viscous than your competitors, but the fact that the local fire-department uses it is going to be the idea that people relate to and remember. Most corporate video productions today are recitations of facts, features and benefits. Most viewers never get to the end of these videos. If you want your viewer to watch and remember your message then you have to connect with them on an emotional level.
Example: Jamie Leal is a public speaker, a business coach and an entrepreneur. He’s also a great storyteller. He approached us to develop a promotional video that would help establish him in the North American market. After a brief meeting with Jamie it was clear that his success didn’t stem just from what he does. Jamie’s success has been achieved largely because of who he is. After that epiphany the structure of the video was rather simple – turn on the camera and let Jamie tell his story. No hype, no clever positioning, no features and benefits, just Jamie… being Jamie.


3. Show me, don’t tell me. Video is by far the fastest growing marketing tactic in use today because it informs and persuades better than any other media type. Video is a visceral experience that engages the audience both visually and orally. Why just explain how your product works when you can actually show people using and benefiting from that product? Video is gaining popularity because it is the best means of conveying a great deal of information quickly to an attention-deficit plagued audience.  Video is particularly effective when you need to showcase the more intangible benefits of a product. Imagine trying to promote a perfume solely on the merits of that particular fragrance. You couldn’t. You sell perfume by creating imagery that suggests the “promise” of that perfume.
Example: There is no sale more aspirational today than luxury real estate. We develop promotional videos for multi-million dollar properties. When you’re selling luxury homes you’re selling more than just features and an address, you’re selling a lifestyle. To showcase that lifestyle you need to include people and you need to tell a story. Video complements (not replaces) traditional real estate marketing tools by showcasing a lifestyle (and not just the features) associated with that home.



4. Your customer is the focus, not you.  
Your customer wants to know how you can solve their problems – that’s what matters to them. They really don’t care much about your history or your processes. And yet the vast majority of corporate videos today are still not written from the client’s perspective. Most businesses continue to create videos that talk about themselves. You should be putting yourself in the shoes of your customer. What do they care about? What are their problems? Then position your company as the obvious and unique solution to those specific problems. Give the people watching your video something they can relate to, something that let’s them see themselves in your video.
Example: We developed a promotional video for a local Real Estate agency that specifically spoke to the question of ” How do you chose a real estate company?’ We told the story (a story that includes an end… a beginning a middle and an end”) from the perspective of a potential client.

5. Share what you believe, not just what you do.
Fourteen years ago the Cluetrain Manifesto told us that ‘markets are conversations’ and explained how the internet is fundamentally changing how people interact with businesses. {Coincidentally, this is the same time that Seth Godin came out with his marketing opus ‘Permission Marketing“.} Today, a high level of transparency is expected in business. This is new for most companies.  Getting people’s attention is just the first step. Somewhere along the buying cycle you’re likely going to have to give up a bit more of yourself than you’d like. What do you believe? What are your core values? Why should I care about you when I have a huge number of undifferentiated options in front of me? This never really used to matter. Today it does.
Example: We developed a promotional video for an organization trying to affect fundamental change to our way of thinking and acting. Their goal is ambitious  – to try to slow down our growing consumption of fossil fuels. Beliefs drive all behavior. Sharing our beliefs is the best way to reach out to, and work with like minded individuals.



Are there other ‘rules’ you should consider (golden or otherwise?)

‘Include a call to action in your video’; ‘Make sure you employ smart SEO practices in naming, placing and promoting your video’; and ‘Distribution is everything’ are all smart tactics to ensure that your video gets seen by it’s intended audience.  Have I missed one?


Note: This post is also found in the Top Ten Posts for this blog.


84 Responses

  1. Online video is booming and if you want your video to have an impact, take it directly to your market driving sales conversions.

  2. Awesome videos!
    These tips is a basis and it’s hard to argue. Of course they must be considered as being “golden rules”. Actually, the 5th one, as for me, is directly connected with the 2nd point, because only by showing what we believe in we can get to our audience’s emotional level.

  3. This is amazing, I’m going to share this site among friends and customers. These are some great examples that video tells more than just a thousand words.

  4. You nailed it! Everyone that comes to my video company and asks for a video always starts off with how they want it to look (lots of graphics and amazing visuals). Actually, if you tell a great story all the graphic pieces fall right in to place.

  5. i love the one horizon promo video. just a suggetsion on the music. the extro could have been better. i was all hyped up the entire video, but when the company logo came out at the end, there was an abrupt fade out of the music. it could’ve been a one-note sound or a shebang kind of extro music, whatever the client wanted. but the abrupt fade sort of was anti climactic for me. great video just the same.

  6. It’s amazing to me that so many clients and video production companies forget these essentials. My favorite rule of yours is “your customer (audience) is your focus- not you”. This applies to every business, every piece of marketing, ever.

    NYC, LA

  7. Appreciated you sharing these very useful tips and advice on video production … I am very new on this topic and you have given me a much better understanding on this subject. Thank you.

  8. It all boils down to two words: Customer service. Create a video that the customer(s) can relate to, that speaks to them and they will hear you.

    1. Couldn’t agree more Rick. It’s mind boggling how many corporate videos still blather on about the company and the product rather than how the product solves a problem for the viewer.

  9. Thanks for your amazing website. You truly empower us and make the web an experience worth venturing into for not only the corporate world but Hollywood types like me. Grateful

  10. I can sense your passion through your advice and it’s helped me find motivation and passion in my work too. Thank you and all the best.

  11. Thank you. Your article is very helpful.
    One little note, though. Your client’s name is Jaime Leal not Jamie

  12. I am just starting out and found this to be very helpful. Thank you for these guides and I’m sure they will me me much better.

  13. As nowadays online video marketing is playing a huge factor in business success, therefore, my experience tells, to engage more and more audience to your business your video must have the taste of “humor, inspiration and concise but worthy lesson”. You must address about what you believe. You must educate your audience about your business in a much concise way.
    Thanks a lot, Jim, your guidance always helps me in my work!

  14. Good one, I think one of the most prominent aspects we see is “show and don’t tell” can’t emphasise this point anymore… You can just notice clients rolling their eyes when you showcase a corporate film with a long video

  15. Nice article! I have really learned a lot after reading this. Got to apply this one to my future projects! Thank you for sharing Jimm.

  16. Companies that are young and new to the market who are vary of spending way too much in the beginning.
    This is also good for companies that have the resources to produce in-house videos and just anyone who is interested in making a video to promote their local business.
    Thanks for this great article Kathy.

  17. I like how you said to first define your audience of the video you are making. We are making a corporate video to hire more people this summer. I appreciate all the tips on how to make a marketing video for your company.

  18. My sister was given a video project and she needs to pass it with flying colors. It was explained here that she should define the audience first. Furthermore, it’s advisable to hire professionals for the full video production.

  19. I agree with you that explaining is not going to work as well as showing the people how the business will benefit them, especially if they are looking at a video. Personally, I watch a video for visual learning, and I am talking about seeing things in action. If I would have to read again, I could’ve just gotten a book. I will be sure to do this once I decide to market my own services.

  20. Thanks for mentioning how video is able to persuade better than any other type of media. My dad started a small company that produces clothing, and he wants to advertise his business. I’ll let him know about how video can attract new customers and that hiring a video production company could help him make videos to advertise his business.

  21. Nice description of the corporate video production. The 5 golden rules you shared are very important and need to be followed. Your article is informative and easy to understand. Thank you for posting this article. Keep posting

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