There are many ways to define what a great video could be. It can be defined that way in the eye of the viewer, the sales it generates, the buzz it creates, etc. But making a video can be like planning an elaborate cake – it is a product that is full of many different layers that all work together. Starting from a good brief, the concept development, scripts, storyboards, color and stylization, the camera point of view, pace and music – they are all connected and changes to one will impact the others too.
Whether you are making a video or judging one, here is our checklist for making sure you have the basics in place for an effective marketing video.
1. Is There A Clarity of Purpose? Will the viewer understand WHY you made this video? Does it communicate its purpose clearly? This doesn’t mean you need to understand it in the first 5 seconds…some excellent videos don’t reveal themselves until they are almost over, and that is OK too.
2. Should The Viewer Know What Action to Take?
Every marketing message, video or not, requires a clear “Call to Action” (CTA) or some ways for the viewer to respond by either contacting you, downloading additional information, doing additional reading or even purchasing something.
3. Does it Address the Current Sentiment of Your Audience
A reminder that your message is never intended for the whole world, so just focus on the current mindset of your intended audience. Are you speaking to their own objectives, their pain points and the most current knowledge they are working with (or advancing it for them)?
4. Does it Successfully Express Your Branding Too?
Sure, having a clear transactional purpose for your video is important too, but if no one associates it with your Brand or it detracts from it, you’re not doing it right. Even a highly transactional execution should be built on the foundations of your Brand, and contribute to it too.
5. Does the Investment Match the Objective?
Depending on what your objectives are for the video – views, clicks, conversions or something else, you’ll need to invest accordingly. You can’t expect to generate a seven-figure spike in revenue if you aren’t willing to invest accordingly! If the measures of success for your video are big, your budget should have been allocated accordingly.
6. Does it Match the Channel it’s Being Shared On?
It’s one thing to make a brilliant video that gets rave reviews on your website, or even on TV. But an excerpt of the same video on Twitter or in an online ad space may not work. Different channels and their formats require differences in the edit – and even the shot list. Planning for all your channels at the time of the shoot works best.
Social platforms require a different format. Short, looping videos (highlights) work best on Twitter.
Video is a Many-Layered Thing
One overlooked part of the video production process is that a video is comprised of many layers - the brief, concept, script, storyboard, color/stylization, music, and point of view. Each layer is connected and changing one impacts all of the others. Ensuring your Brand values and messaging is consistent at every layer is a critical aspect of being effective. One of the hardest parts of the production process is helping stakeholders understand how changes to one layer impact all the others. It's not uncommon for a stakeholder to have an idea that may seem compelling, but when it is something that is gimmicky, or just an eye-catcher, it makes it hard to reconcile the other layers that are going to be impacted by injecting a change late in the process.
A Last Note on Technology
Finally, a few words on technology, specifically cameras. Not all cameras are created equal, but not everyone needs a top of the line, $50,000 camera either. While using your iPhone will serve a purpose for videos that were designed to look home-made, any other execution requires professional equipment. While we might delve a bit deeper into cameras at a later date, for now, we’ll just share some broad criteria we have for the cameras we know will get the job done. For professionals:
Depth and clarity matter, cameras need to support a range of needs.
Cameras will not have a fixed lens.
Cameras and lenses are chosen according to the project.
Do you have a favorite video to share? How would it do under the criteria shared here?