Choosing Your Brand Video Style

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Creating brand videos is
some hard work and some amazing fun. It’s also the coolest way to really
turn brand story and imagery into something that feels alive. If you
are a creative professional and can get involved in creating videos as
part of your work experience, then do so. If you’re a small business
owner, tackling a video or video series might seem a bit overwhelming,
(and either expensive on one end of the spectrum or cheap-looking on the
other end) but it doesn’t have to be. And if done well and shared well
can be one of the most engaging ways to connect with your dream
customers, short of them connecting directly with you.

Now, if
you’re the very special overlap of the above 1.) a creative and 2.) a
small business owner and you’re not creating videos, uh, then you need
to get cracking. But video can mean lots of different things. Yes, it
means moving pictures and, well… after that point it’s open for
interpretation. Music? Voiceover? Talking to camera? Looking at the
camera? Is it scripted? Or is it candid? Is it tutorial? A how-to? Is it
like a commercial? Is it like a culture video? Is it about explaining
or inspiring?

And how much is this sucker going to cost? And then
once I have my video, what do I do with it (besides showing it to my
staff and/or spouse so many times that they start avoiding me when they
see me approach with iPad in hand)?

So to avoid the question
avalanche that can bury you in second-thoughts and doubt smack dab in
the middle of production – here are three big questions to ask yourself
before devoting the time, money and mental and emotional expectation
that goes into creating a brand video for your small business.

The Video Checklist

Three Questions Before Tackling A Brand Video:

1. Purpose: Why Am I Making This Video?

Decide
whether your video is about inspiring your audience and making an
emotional connection, or informing your audience and making a logical
one. There can be a balance, but prioritize. If you want to convey a
feeling and process/product, then choose which takes the front seat and
keep your message under three minutes – with room for music and
not-talking so your viewer has space to actually form a thought, an
opinion and that feeling you want them to “get.”

2. Place: Where Am I Sharing This Video?

Figure
out a strategy for not only where you are going to let this video
“live,” but how you are going to leverage it.  This plan should align
with the purpose and message of the video and vice versa.  So some usual
suspects for where to house your video are on your website and blog.
But are you hiding it behind too many page clicks? Are you only posting
it in a come-and-go blog post? Are you linking to it in multiple places?
Are you featuring it on Facebook et al? Are you giving the people that
are already on your team and on your side a sneak peek and a reason to
share it?

3. Pulling It Off: How Am I Going To Produce This Video?

So
that leads us to the next step, which is asking yourself how big a deal
are you going to make this? Video is so accessible now, that you can do
it yourself – but if you’re a creative entrepreneur, then your
standards are probably pretty high for the look and feel you want to
achieve. Are you “that” kind of a creative (i.e. into filming, editing,
art directing) enough to make it happen? If you want a more homemade
look, that’s cool, too. But even lo-tech doesn’t get you off the hook
for deciding on a.) a style and b.) a plan for making it happen.

Three Kinds of Brand Video

Three Kinds Of Brand Video

1. DOCUMENTARY STYLE

No-Lingo Description: stuff happening in its natural environment

Kissing Cousins To: interviews, reality television, home videos

DIY Likelihood: high, but keep it simple, keep it active, keep it short

People To Recruit: yourself & someone to shoot you

Equipment To Use: phone, nice digital camera, quality mic, iMovie

Props & Location: your office, nature, in a city

But Watch Out For: crappy sound, record a voiceover instead

You’re Doing It Right If: it looks homemade but feels intentional

Crucial Ingredients: good music & natural light

 


 

2. ANIMATED

No-Lingo Description: type, photos, or graphics that move

Kissing Cousins To: tricked out slideshows & cool movie credits

DIY Likelihood: So so, could end up looking like power point

People To Recruit: photographer or designer and a good editor

Equipment To Use: theirs

Props & Location: think a single style of photos or color palette

But Watch Out For: losing relatability, and too much info

You’re Doing It Right If: it looks consistent and even-paced

Crucial Ingredients: good music & nice typography

 


 

3. SCRIPTED LIVE ACTION

No-Lingo Description: when actors pretend to do something

Kissing Cousins To: tv commercials,

DIY Likelihood: Super low, you need professionals

People To Recruit: writer/producer & director/editor

Equipment To Use: theirs

Props & Location: anywhere, but set a color palette for wardrobe & props

But Watch Out For: looking too much like a tv commercial

You’re Doing It Right If: you get goosebumps

Crucial Ingredients: good music & styling (set & actors)

 


 

These
tips are, well, just the tip of the iceberg. No matter which video
approach you pick, be sure you gather inspiration by collecting other
videos that you feel align with the look, feel and subject you want to
convey. If you are bravely (and budget-consciously) going the DIY route
this is especially critical.  If you don’t think you can pull it off,
practice. That’s what home videos are for!

If you decide to
enlist the help of the pro’s, don’t be afraid to ask these questions
we’ve listed. They should be addressed early and often.  It’s your
money, but more importantly it’s your small business reputation. Because
while videos have this amazing ability to make your brand come to life,
they can also make the missteps – a style that’s cheesy and dated, a
message that’s not relevant, really bad lighting – look larger than
life. Something to think about before your dream customer clicks “play.”

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