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September 7th 2017

Plan for a successful video

If, like most people, you have watched at least one James Bond movie then the chances are you’ll remember the elaborate, high concept pre-title sequence. In many respects the success of a Bond movie rests on the impact of the introduction. When you’re creating a promotional video the principles remain largely the same – you’ve got to engage from the get go. There’s only one small snag, Bond gets 10 minutes; at best you’ve got 15 seconds.

Speak directly

It is estimated that video will account for 80% of global Internet traffic by 2019. This figure is not surprising, especially when you consider that videos are 6 times more likely to be shared than photos and that 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV.

We are bombarded with information of a seismic scale on a daily basis; the constant stream of data we’re processing is vast. With such constraints on our time we are looking for the remarkable, the memorable, the message that speaks to us directly. Video content is more likely to engage and ignite on an emotional level. So, if you are serious about content marketing, you must be serious about video.

Start with a plan

Whilst brands are embracing video on an ever-increasing scale, the quality of many of these productions leaves a lot to be desired. This can be attributed in many respects to a lack of planning. The net result is a diluted brand message, leading to a lower quality perception, which is both potentially damaging and a missed opportunity. To avoid this pitfall at all costs you must start with a plan.

It has become fashionable to talk about “brand storytelling” but storytelling is nothing new, successful brands have always communicated their story. The difference in today’s market is that many brands are competing in a cluttered market against similar brands for a finite share of business. Therefore, your brand narrative is the key to your video standing out from the crowd and this is where your plan must start.

Let’s assume that you are launching a product and you’d like to promote this important development via video. It’s no use deciding that you’d like to make a video without first asking yourself a few simple questions, for example... Why have we developed this product? Who is it for? Why are we launching it now? What are the unique benefits? ...Write a brief to clarify in your own mind what the reason for this video is and include your desired outcome.

Join the dots

Watch any successful promotional video and you can guarantee that it will have been the result of 60% planning and 40% production. You must bring your narrative to life by creating a storyboard for your video, if you are using an external company (you should be - I would say that wouldn’t I?) then they can help you with this. At the very least you should be compiling a list of required shots/sequences. You may well need a script to accompany your storyboard and this will require careful attention, it is wise to ask other people to read it if you are writing it yourself.

Consider the components that will make up your video – where are you shooting it, who is featuring in it, what products will you need, do you need props, are there any partners whose products you will need etc? These are all things that you will have to factor in before you write your brief.

Leave nothing to chance... Whatever location you are filming at check the area for suitability, look for any obstructions that may be in the line of the camera, if you’re outdoors consider where the sun will be at that particular time. If you’re indoors consider the lighting, don’t assume that just because a room has lots of windows it will be fine, in some cases too much natural light can be problematic. If your shoot could be interrupted by bad weather make sure you have a plan B. For obvious reasons you must also carry out a risk assessment and have adequate insurance cover.

The cast

We’ll assume that you won’t be hiring actors and that you, your colleagues, a client or all will be starring in the video. In this circumstance you have two pre-production musts – get them involved at script stage and maintain an atmosphere of calm throughout. This may seem obvious but come the day of the shoot it will make perfect sense and could be the difference between success and failure. That Sales Director who has a ready-made answer for everything is sure going to freeze in front of the camera unless they’ve been well briefed from the start.

You might decide that you’d like your video to appear unscripted. Don’t be fooled into the trap in thinking that you don’t need to go through normal pre production planning, if anything your planning needs to be even more watertight to achieve this outcome.

It's a wrap

It’s worth noting that your brand is 53 times more likely show up first on Google if you have video embedded on your website. Video allows you to increase the time spent by visitors on your site. Thus, longer exposure builds trust and signals to search engines that your site has good content. The better quality the video the longer people will spend on your site.

No matter where you are in your brand journey, video should be a serious consideration in your overall brand strategy. Rise above the ordinary, time is money; spending a bit more at the beginning of a project will prevent you from potentially wasting it through a lack of planning.

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