Is corporate video relevant today and how ?
The other day I had a very successful business person tell me that video was all "fluff" and not necessary in the corporate world. Ouch!
Personally, I think these companies need video more than ever to get their messages out, but that's just me and my rather biased viewpoint.
I thought I could answer back with a convincing explanation of "well, you need video because it's a cost effective way to deliver your message in a compelling way to many users". He wasn't buying it. He's got brochures and other print materials and says that's all he and everyone else needs.
So, I'd like to ask you folks what are probably, in some form or another, a couple of the most asked questions around: In your experienced and valued opinions, WHY do companies need video and WHAT do they need it for that they can't get from "cheaper" printed and Power Point materials?
Well as someone who has spent the last 7 years creating graphics and video in the event industry I can tell you that video is becoming an even bigger part of corporate events. Especially given the state of the economy, corporations are using video as a cost effective means to get their message across. I have way too much corporate motion graphics work in my reel to prove it. Trying to replace some as we speak.
For instance, a typical multi-day event could have,
An opening video: Fast paced high impact video to get across the concepts of the meeting in an exciting flashy way that gets attendees excited, think 3 min commercial for the event.
Intro bumpers: Animated intros based on theme graphics for announcing speakers coming on stage.
Candids video: Video created on-site using photos or video taken of the event and attendees, shown on the last day.
These are just a few ways.
[Mark Alexander] "video was all "fluff" and not necessary in the corporate world"
To my way of thinking this is a ridiculous generalization which assumes all video is alike. Hello??? Sure a video can be fluff. It can also be several dozen other things. It's all about the content.
Many of our clients often use video as a way to show the multi-million dollar machines they make in operation -- to demonstrate capabilities in ways that a brochure never could. But it's not an either/or kind of thing. There are occasions where a brochure is appropriate, others where a video is useful and still others where only an in person visit to watch a running machine can make the sale. And that's usually the progression from "suspect" to "prospect" to "customer." The more serious the buyer is, the higher level of engagement they require.
We also recently completed a trade show where videos were being used everywhere to show things either too big, too complicated or too dangerous to bring into a booth. One of our videos consisted of interviews of existing, top earning customers of our client's products talking about their businesses and what had made them successful. The video provided many different insights and subtly said "oh, by the way, each of the highly successful guys uses..." (our client's machinery.) The basic goal was to provide something of value to the viewer -- what do these guys do differently from the average owner, what can I learn from them -- and not just "fluff."
Producing a "fluff" piece means that you have little respect for the viewer and assume that he or she will mindlessly watch a screen for no particular reason. When you respect your audience and approach a topic from their point of view, providing what they want to know and see, then your chances of being effective go up tremendously.
Thanks for your replies so far.
This may be a silly question but does anyone have any idea if there has ever been a survey done about the use of video in corporate America? How used, budgets, how often - that type of thing.
Maybe having some "statistics" at hand could helpful when pitching to a fence sitting prospect. Any pointers?
To add to what others have said...video is also a great way to save money and time and guarantee a consistent repeatable message in a training video. For instance, if a company has a corporate trainer in XYX city, but their stores are all across the country. It could get VERY expensive to send either the trainer on-site, or conversely, send employees to the corporate office to be trained. Enter the corporate training video. It can be produced for anywhere from $15 to $50k, then duplicated and sent all over the country for a couple dollars a pop, then viewed repeatedly for several years by employees. Your corporate trainer is freed to do other things, your message is identical over and over, you save tons of money on travel, lost productivity etc. on both sides.
Another great use for corporate video is "how to" videos. We produce a bunch of these for a large Kitchen Cabinet manufacturer. They've proven wildly popular among their sales reps out in the field, as well as interior designers, who use them for ideas as well as instruction. The reps report the videos have made it MUCH easier to convince designers to choose their cabinets (because they understand them better) AND more importantly, learn new design techniques from the videos. The spent probably $50k on the series of videos (which are VERY basic, no "fluff" at all), but sales among those product lines are way up over their product lines that don't have the videos. So guess what...the cabinet company is now producing the same type of videos for ALL their lines of cabinets, which number in the teens. We even tried to tell them they could produce one installation video since cabinet installation is almost identical from one brand to the other, but they insist on producing custom install videos for each brand. Who are we to argue!!
We do a lot of medical and weight related video work, and those industries are heavily influenced by emotion. What I mean is when people make decisions about weight loss or medical procedures, it's an emotional and psychological experience. You can't tell me a brochure, even the most well-written one, conveys the emotion and power of a well-produced video.
What about industries where sound is important, like the music industry. Are you going to tell me a brochure tells a story better than a video or audio presentation??
Lastly, I believe that video, dollar for dollar, is a much better investment than print. How likely is a client to read or even skim a brochure more than once? But I bet videos get watched over and over. And a really well produced video will get watched many times by many different people. Video can also be delivered intact via DVD, online, satellite, at trade shows, at presentations etc. (meaning it doesn't have to be reformatted the way print often does). Try looking at a print piece online. Even as a PDF it just becomes cumbersome and sometimes unreadable.
I've gone on long enough. But hopefully this gives you some ammunition.
Magnetic Image, Inc.
One of our major client recently changed CEOs. The former CEO did a video each quarter and they were a basic "Here's what's going on" info piece. The new CEO dumped the video method because of cost and decided that traveling to each city and seeing everyone in person would have much more impact and it would bring the company together and, it would save lots of money. After one year, over 70% of the company has yet to see the CEO in person. It seems like there is rarely an occasion where everyone from a given city can be on hand for the personal presentation. And, of course, the employees who attended are expected to brief those unable to attend. The cost of the year of travel exceeded our cost by over 1600%.
Maybe she needs to print a quarterly brochure.
It's a dry heat!
Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .
You guys are great! I really appreciate your replies. Thanks.
corporate videos are relavant because corporations WANT THEM. Lockheed Martin does sales presentations of their missles with a video (not by doing an actual demonstration !). Darden teaches their chef's how to cook the new Olive Garden dishes with a video.
There are already corporate videos in our industry (like how to install a Cal Digit card into your MAC). The professional AV industry is rapidly becomming bigger than the production or post market. When you go to an InfoComm convention (NAB for the AV business), companies like Crestron and AMX are just as big as Sony and Panasonic. Know why - because CEO's at corporations are willing to pay the BIG BUCKS to hit the play button on a Crestron remote panel, to have their video play back on a Panasonic 65" Plasma display their conference room. And what on earth are they playing back - CORPORATE VIDEOs.
The person that told you that corporate videos are no longer relavent is an idiot, and you should ignore their statements. WE don't make the decision to create corporate videos - the corporations do - the management does - and they ask US to create them. And these corporations are spending more than ever to create productions that make "professional productions" look pale. Going to a trade show for Pfeiser Pharmacuticals (for example) is like going to a major rock concert - if you haven't seen a corporate convention like this (that is done in cities like Orlando, Phoenix and Las Vegas), then you can't even imagine how much money is spent on these "corporate" events. It never ceases to amaze me the staging, projection, lighting, and PA rigs - that look like a U2 concert - for a "corporate" event.
- It's been proven that people, by sizable margins, learn and retain information better when they see and hear something being explained on video - much more so than print or any other media can ever hope to provide. Whether it's training or an internal meeting video, corporations with thousands (or even tens of thousands) of employees can't afford to have 1/5 of their audience miss the key message or require retraining. Think about the lost productivity, error rates, customer dissatisfaction and retraining costs a company might incur if their materials don't connect with even a small portion of their employees.
- My personal observation is that a frightening number of people in the "professional" world can't spell or write to save their lives. I would guess that people who can't spell or write probably have some problems reading as well, and they might not even realize it. Studies have shown that when you don't know the meaning of a word, or the wording of a sentence confuses you, your brain does not properly processes the surrounding paragraph and you fail to retain the information provided. A lot of people also tend to speed-read (especially true if it's dry training literature they have been forced to read) and they will NOT re-read a paragraph if they didn't understand it on the first pass. Relying on people's reading skills and ability to process written information is nowhere near as reliable as show and tell, where the pacing and information delivery can be highly controlled, and where visual entertainment can keep the audience engaged while they learn.
- When was the last time you actually read a sales brochure sent to you? And I mean read it from cover to cover, thought about the message, and considered buying on the strength of that brochure. I don't know that I ever have. But a B2B sales video, or even B2C, is going to get a lot more attention, play and consideration, especially if it's produced well. Dollar for dollar, upping response rates and, as a result, sales, is worth every penny a good video will cost you.
- Remember all those large brick-and-mortar companies who, in the late 90's, refused to build a web site because they thought it was just some fad? Well it wasn't, and their late entry to the game showed that they were a little out of touch. This is the era of New Media and, much like web sites in the late 90's, the companies who are last to come on board with video will get left behind to some degree. People consume a lot of video these days, and I would wager that within ten years or so video (primarily on the web) will almost completely replace printed direct mail as a sales tool.
- When I think of corporate video I don't focus on meeting videos or CEO speeches. My shop gets a lot of work doing B2B sales videos, training, product demonstrations, web videos, technical breakdowns, viral videos, product install walk-throughs etc. In my mind, all of these areas are considered corporate video simply for lack of a more appropriate category. Framed in that way, I doubt anyone can honestly say corporate video has no place.
We devoted an entire issue of the Cow Magazine to Non-Broadcast Video. M variations on corporate video:
**an orientation film for the 3,500 employees at Wembley Stadium
**in-house video for Elvis Presley Enterprises (archiving, sales, training)
**production for the Atlanta Braves: stadium displays and marketing
We also have an article on real estate video called "We Don't Do Real Estate Video." The writer is a corporate video guy who got sucked into doing a couple of real estate videos on very interesting properties, with clients who wanted something creative. So the author treated it like a corporate video.
So not exactly an issue to wave at your "who needs corporate video" boo-bird, but a truly inspiring set of stories with very specific examples of relevance.
A free download....and you should subscribe if you're not.
Here's the PDF.
Here are other issues. If you haven't taken a look, you'll be flabbergasted. Amazing stories, all written by Cows. There's really never been anything like this before in our industry.
Here's where to sign up.
The Cow (well, not THE Cow, but one of 'em)
As others have said, when corporations seek out a video producer to make a video, that means corporate video is relevant for that corporation.
Any corporate boss who asks for statistical proof that video works may be under the influence of Six Sigma (which has its uses as my brother would tell you).
Here are some examples of corporate work I have done just in the past year:
1. A medical device company held a big event to celebrate 100 years of a particular surgical device. They gave a lifetime achievement award to one of the inventors, had some cool speeches by both doctors and sales guys, and followed that with an open bar and finger food. They shot the event single camera, then came to us for polishing and a DVD. They had requests from all over the world to take the show on the road, which would have been impossible, so the DVD was a big hit.
2. Several medical companies wanted to show live surgery at their trade show booths. however live surgery is not allowed at some meetings due to liability, so we produced live-on-tape videos which they showed on the biggest LCD monitor I've seen outside of the sports arena. Very cool.
3. A medical society wanted a video to recruit medical students into their field.
4. A sales training consultant created a series of web videos to teach new sales people how to develop sales strategies. The content was quite interesting regardless of what you sell.
5. I created about 20 sample videos to promote products on our own website.
6. One video on our YouTube page has over 40,000 views. That sounds like fluff to me (Mike looks at camera with raised eyebrows like Jim from the Office).
This thread could go on forever as just about everyone on the COW does some form of corporate video.
[Mike Cohen] "Here are some examples of corporate work I have done just in the past year:"
Well there you go. The issue of the magazine I just mentioned has a GREAT article by Mike in it. I only left it out because I was thinking of the videos his company sells to doctors -- a commercial video project rather than corporate. I was thinking much too small....
...which is often the case. As I say in my introduction to that issue, anyone looking for the widest opportunity, the best client relationships, and quite often the biggest paydays when compared to broadcast and traditional post -- corporate is the way to go.
Thanks for the reminder, Mike!
If I could add a little coda, it would be this:
The guy complaining about "fluff" is RIGHT. There are some videos that should not be made. I have at times told clients to their face that while I could produce the video they were asking for, my professional opinion was that video was not the best fit for their actual needs. If you're asking to tape a guy reading his powerpoint slides to a camera, you don't need a video of that. I don't want to take your money to do that; all it does is hurt the reputation of what we do and me for enabling the abuse. Plus, its actually LESS effective an d even counter-productive, if it insults the audience. They can read the slides fine without being read to.
You could email the slides to everybody for no cost and be done with it.
Morley's book has a lot of great stuff about this issue, a lot of stats and examples, so if you're looking to hand some skeptic an info-grenade of stats and what-fors, I'd recommend my friend John's book.
The skeptic that started this thread probably had a bad experience with a video that lacked a focus and a purpose, or was otherwise poorly executed. Bad product is out there, no question. Inexperienced people make bad videos every day, then blame the video for the bad job.
Don't be afraid to tell a client that you have their best interest at heart when you tell them why the proposal * in its current state* is not going to be effective. Suggest better alternatives, and generally, they will respect your honesty as a craftsman. Of course you need to be exceptionally diplomatic about this, and not everyone is always in a position to question an order, even a bad one. But where you DO have the room to have some input, for the greater success of everyone, don;t you owe it to everyone to explain that video is better for some things and "ancillary" media is better for others. This is part of the job of being a communications professional.
As a coda to Mark's coda, counseling a client to not do a video could actually be a strategy for up selling rather than losing work. Depending on the breadth of the services you offer, you may be able to propose a more comprehensive approach to the problem at hand: an extended marketing promotion, a training package, regularly scheduled employee communications. At least some of which becomes more revenue for you. And there's always the possibility that this broader thinking may then lead to a video that is actually justified.
And in any case, as established elsewhere in this thread, positioning yourself as a consultant, who understands your client's business and takes initiative in adding value--or preventing mistakes--is one of your best strategies for building loyalty and increasing revenue.
Author of Scriptwriting for High-Impact Videos
positioning yourself as a consultant, who understands your client's business and takes initiative in adding value--or preventing mistakes--is one of your best strategies for building loyalty and increasing revenue.
I agree with just about everything that's been said in this thread. But some of the strategies to sell your work really depend on the part of the country you work in and the type of client you work with.
Our clients are mainly in the midwest and almost all have some sort of in-house marketing departments that range from a handful of employees to entire departments with dozens of workers. From our experience, most of them cringe at the notion of anyone acting as a consultant to them on projects.
Most of our clients formerly worked with either an ad agency, or a "one-man band" type consultant that directed their marketing and advertising efforts, but farmed literally everything out, from design to web to TV and radio production.
We were continually caught off-guard by the disdain they had for their former consultants and agencies. So we always tried to tactfully find out why.
Their aversion comes from years of working with companies that:
1. Didn't listen to the client's needs or any of their suggestions.
2. Would purposely deliver project previews and proofs so near deadlines that changes were essentially impossible.
3. Would place their media based on whether thay could get trips and incentives from newspapers, TV stations and radio stations.
We heard this over and over from multiple companies. Some large, some mid-sized. They ranged from casinos, banks and health-care companies, to furniture companies and car dealer groups.
So we've learned to almost never refer to ourselves as consultants for fear we'll get hog-tied and strung-up on a post somewhere!
I agree...that IS what we essentially are to a lot of our clients, but we prefer to frame the relationship being more of a partnership, since if our efforts help make them more successful, it helps ensure that we can likewise be successful. It may be a matter of semantics, but we've found that the language and phrasing you use in dealing with clients can make a HUGE difference in how they view you.
Magnetic Image, Inc.
"We were continually caught off-guard by the disdain they had for their former consultants and agencies."
-- Chris Blair
Thank you for the point of clarification, Chris. My intention was to suggest adding the value rather than assuming the title. You probably shouldn't add "consultant" to your business card, unless it says something like Accenture on it already.
The baggage that comes with the term (borrows your watch to tell you what time it is, etc.) is arguably too much to carry and unfortunately well deserved by the type of consultants who are long on pontification and short on results. At the same time, the value added by a "good" consultant solves real problems and is some times even appreciated.
At a workshop for consultants held by ASTD (Assn. for Training and Development) one of the key trends emphasized is that consultants who would prefer to continue getting work need to do "real work." Not just list out what other people need to do but actually craft the design documents, scripts, storyboards, facilitator guides, Web sites, PowerPoint presentations; and yes, shoot and edit the video.
In this era of doing more with less, authority for decision making, and thinking strategically, is increasingly being pushed down to the folks doing the actual work. Prospering in this environment means demonstrating to your clients that by hiring you, they don't need to hire anyone else to keep you--and them--out of trouble. That's what I was suggesting, regardless of the words you use to convey it to your clients.
Author of Scriptwriting for High-Impact Videos
I probably didn't say it well, but I was agreeing wholeheartedly with you on everything. Your point about companies wanting vendors to not only make recommendations but also do the work and basically take ownership of it is spot on.
We find the companies we work with want us to take very raw concepts and ideas and just run with them and get them done, making decisions to keep the project moving all along the way. BUT...they want to be kept involved in the process. When they were working with big ad agencies and consultants, the complaint was they were excluded from the process...and when they wanted to make changes, the agencies would argue with them and in some cases tell them they weren't able to do that (either due to budget or time issues).
In this era of doing more with less, authority for decision making, and thinking strategically, is increasingly being pushed down to the folks doing the actual work. Prospering in this environment means demonstrating to your clients that by hiring you, they don't need to hire anyone else to keep you--and them--out of trouble
So yes...you're assessment of what it takes to prosper in this economy and business environment is exactly what we see in our part of the country.
Magnetic Image, Inc.
[Mark Alexander] "Maybe having some "statistics" at hand could helpful when pitching to a fence sitting prospect."
How about the fact that the average newspaper in this country designed for general readership needs to maintain about a 5th grade reading level so that most readers actually understand most of it...
Lay a corporate brochure on that crowd...
Print still has its applications...it is media that doesn't need a playback device and it can be viewed almost anywhere and accessed non-linearly. Putting your extensive product catalog together as a linear video would be stupid.
However, for most messages, I think the trend is clear...corporations are using lots and lots of video.
I think you could tell your corporate guy who only needs brochures that the telegraph company and the steamship lines are no longer the world's corporate elite...
Big companies have to spend money much more than they have to communicate.
When I colect a five-figure check for a company for a video seen by less than 100 people, I in no way think this was worth the cost to them as far as a video. They had budgets to empty so they will be approved to waiste the same amount of money next year. Morover, when board members ask what's been done about this or that... this is what corporate video is for.
You ever watch suits no involved in the production actually watch a corporate video you made?
yeah. me either.
This is a fine example of our entire working system as a society. Never have we as a group done the best we could do to chaive the best results. As american workers, we get away with what we can, do as little as possible and leave as early as we can. We could use common sense and see a mass email could get everyone on the same page but we'll sooner fork out 20k on a horribly boring DVD watched by all of 12 people, incuding the so-called producers' wives.
Nobody sees more money waisted than me in my seat, looking at the boggest company in my area (as my biggest client) everyday. The more budget restrictions they recieve, the more reckless the money is spent. I'm not talking about intentional padding here either. I'm talking 4 people to make a ppt presentation that can't be used in a video type of thing. These are not novices who don't know legalities of broadcast. These are seemingly sane adults who have worked in this industry for decades but have managed to fake their way through it to the point their superiors, who are faking their way to the top as well, are not even aware of the BS around them.
Bosses hire friends. The friends hire the artists. The artists do the work and the friends collect the kudos.
This is the corporate world.
Wow you guys make this really complicated. When I think it's actually simple at it's fundamental level..
Money gets exchanged between human beings for one purpose and one purpose ONLY.
A person has a problem.
Followed by the belief that giving someone else some of their money will help them achieve a SOLUTION to that problem.
That's IT. Period. That's why we pay for anything. Including why companies pay us to make them videos.
It's starts with the perception of a problem. "Our people are messing up too much, we should train them better so they won't." "Our sales are down - we need to drive more sales" "This group of musicians see themselves as potentially "great" and see it as a problem that the world at large has yet to discover their greatness and come to agree with them" The bride and family are spending a fortune on this party and NEVER want to forget these "special moments."
And actually all represent the most common type of human problem. COMMUNICATIONS problems!
And YIPPIE! we all have spent our careers studying how to COMMUNICATE using what is probably the most powerful communication technology the world has ever seen. Video. Why? Because it combines all the most effective learning modalities (Ok, except experiential) into a simple, universal portable package. Sweet!
My thinking is clear and simple now. I have mastered a tool that can let me effectively help people solve their communications problems. IF - (and I think THIS is the central reality of why one video producer does better than another) IF they will allow me to get close enough to learn what their actual problems are and if they will allow me to PARTNER with them to solve those problems.
I don't even think of myself any longer as actually making videos. I think of myself as using videos to solve problems for my clients. Hopefully problems that are worth as much money as possible.
Heck, want to get somebody to pay you a MILLION BUCKS to make them a video? Not that difficult in concept. Get them to trust you enough to show you a business problem costing them TEN million bucks - one that you can actually solve through the effective use of video.
Fundamentally, if YOU were the decision maker, wouldn't YOU pay someone $1 million if you were convinced that by doing so you have a great chance to save $9 Million?
Simple good business.
Relationship maintenance and trust - when combined with technical experience and judgement - these are the ingredients of being allowed to take on bigger communications problems for bigger companies.
Essentially, to be allowed to uses your videos to help clients solve bigger problems.
I think the rest of what's being discussed here is relatively marginal.
So, sorry, Ginner, but I've got to disagree to a large degree. That corporate type MIGHT be trying to dump cash to secure next years budget - and you can't stop thinking about things at that level - take the check - and run. But don't be surprised if eventually that stream of cash STOPS. Because you're taking money but solving no (or minor) problems and therefore providing poor value.
I'd rather figure out how to help the client USE that budget to solve a real problem for the company - and condition them to think about ME the next time the company has another problem.
Because trust me - in these times, the one thing companies will NEVER run short of are problems.
My 2 cent's anyway.
Oh it stops. I'm just saying it's frustrating to watch why it'll stop later on as it's happening in real time.
I'm not gripin'. I make a fine living off of companies spending recklessly. I usually make videos for em on how to streamline the operation, ironicly.
For such a video... one that can be made by one dude in one day... I may recieve elements after a team of three or more who have dinked with these elements for daze on end. You know the drill after that. The editor ses the final product in his head as the elements are introduced and budget is layed out. Then he sits and oppeases as people, usually with no backgraound in our field, delay things with discussion on every edit. The smile he carries as he oppeases is because he get's paid by the hour. So by in large, do I get paid to edit or to oppease?
Man, the only time I'm really editing is when I'm left alone to do it. This does not make me an old burned out editor... just weathered enough to say such a thing out loud.
Mark Alexander writes -
"The other day I had a very successful business person tell me that video was all "fluff" and not necessary in the corporate world".
REPLY (and this goes to the few of you that agree with this statement) -
I just watched a corporate video, from a company that is related to our industry -
and click on WATCH VIDEO.
NOW, is this a waste of time and money, or is it a VERY worthwhile corporate video tailored specifically to our industry. I saw the product at NAB, I spoke to the sales people, I read the on line "printed" brochure, AND I read the .pdf installation and operations manual. But watching this great simple video convinced me that some of my clients NEED this product. This corporate video worked on ME.
Now, is this "fluff" - or is this "worth the money".
Propaganda is often worth the money. When I think of corporate video, I think of "how much we rule" and "what you can do to help make us rule more."
I guess in the end, it's all like a movie and all in what the viewer believes or tunes in to.
The question being is coporate video relevant, I believe lies in the quation. How many of ya perked up ready to watch examples?
If wanting to relay a corporate message, man, I soooner relay it than make a video. lol
[Bill Davis] "Wow you guys make this really complicated. When I think it's actually simple at it's fundamental level..
Money gets exchanged between human beings for one purpose and one purpose ONLY.
A person has a problem."
I think it's also possible to over-simplify however...
Communication is far from limited to video, or related techniques...print is far from dead...person-to-person communication is out there and still viable, etc.
I'm quite sure the person who said that "video is dead" was not saying communication is dead. It is the medium that's being discussed, not the viability of communication or problem-solving...
Essentially, to be allowed to uses your videos to help clients solve bigger problems. I think the rest of what's being discussed here is relatively marginal.
Oh if it were only that simple! Bill..I agree with what you're saying and we preach this exact same thing in both internal and client meetings. But the reasons corporations produce videos often defies logic. We recently had a client that had two promotional videos. One was a general "here's what we do" that ran in their lobby, the other was a DVD that explained the company's products.
They wanted to update them so we discussed what needed to change and what they wanted to improve from the old videos (produced by another company). They said they needed to meet internally to answer our questions. A week later, we re-convened and they decided they no longer needed 2 new videos, they NOW needed....drum roll please....26 separate and distinct promotional videos!
There were no new burning problems these additional 24 videos solved. We couldn't get any explanation for the need except some executive decided they needed separate videos about virtually every product and service they offerred.
Conversely, we have huge companies in our city that proudly proclaim "we don't use video." Personally...I don't see how you can be a modern company of any consequence in your industry and NOT use video. So I think a company's culture and personality plays a HGUE role in thier view of corporate video and marketing materials.
I could tell dozens of stories about clients producing videos for all the wrong reasons, and half-a-dozen more about companies that refuse to use it in any circumstance.
We've produced countless videos and TV commercials for companies that are never seen or used! So the question on these is "what was the critical problem that needed solving here?" Well, obviously there wasn't one. So while you may be astonished that we're all missing the point, the corporate world is a strange place, where projects are often done because someone "THINKS" they need to be done...or in response to some vague request or initiative.
So while I wholeheartedly agree with you on every point, the truth is that in large ogranizations, sanity and logic are often ignored in people's quest to "please the boss." So if the boss doesn't believe in video, there's little chance the company will use it. Likewise, if he/she does beleive in it, there's also a good chance video will be misused.
So I think in reality, corporate video often IS a complicated animal.
Magnetic Image, Inc.
"We've produced countless videos and TV commercials for companies that are never seen or used! So the question on these is "what was the critical problem that needed solving here?" Well, obviously there wasn't one. So while you may be astonished that we're all missing the point, the corporate world is a strange place, where projects are often done because someone "THINKS" they need to be done...or in response to some vague request or initiative."
Clearly I'm not arguing that companies don't often get this wrong. But after 20 years or so producing corporate videos, I've come to the conclusion that it's IMPORTANT to drill down and understand the underlying rational for the videos my client's bring me.
I'm not "astonished" that everyone is missing the point at all. For the majority of my early career working with relatively large corporate clients I had the very same mentality. I'd just do my best to do what the client told me they needed. Essentially looking at each project as a "job" that was being run by the client. After each job, I'd move on to the next one.
Around that time I got a gig shooting for the National Speakers Association recording a lot of presentations by high-dollar corporate consultants who worked with CEOs and the like - and started understanding that while a large company will pay X dollars for SERVICES - they're used to paying many times X dollars for Consultants who look beyond the services and look at the company more holistically. That there's one rate for services and another whole level for EXPERTISE.
So I simply started trying to understand my clients more fully and started concentrating less on just "getting the video done."
That simple orientation change made a HUGE difference in my approach to my work.
And on my billings.
Yeah, my clients still make mistakes. (Heck, So do I!) The difference, is that when they make a mistake when they're working with me - instead of just turning away and shaking my head about it and laughing about how "lame" their corporate culture is, I honestly try to see if I can help them learn to do better using examples from my years of watching corporations work.
They seem to appreciate it. Sometimes, at least.
I'm with you on everything you're saying. I completely agree...but we've found that as the size of the client increases, so does the ability to consult or advise them of anything. They almost never listen or heed the advice. We've worked with a handful of good sized corporations (500 million to 1 billion in annual sales), and they were all dominated by their CEO. In each case, the CEO dictated what was done in every department, including marketing and advertising. So regardless of how much we tried to understand their business, every project and every pitch was derailed by the domineering personality of the CEO.
Now I'm not saying CEOs shouldn't be involved in every aspect of the companies they run...I'm just saying they should allow their VP's of marketing and advertising to do their jobs. And in the companies we worked with, they weren't given that choice. The CEO's in question had accounting and finance backgrounds and had no formal training or understanding of marketing and advertising. Their idea of market research was to bring in all the secretaries and have them watch the spot we produced. They'd ask them what they thought. If the secretaries liked it, it ran. If they didn't, it was back to the drawing board...despite weeks of coordinating our TV spot so it meshed with the rest of the company's internally produced in-store, outdoor, newspaper and magazine ads.
So while we still try very hard to understand our client's problems and needs and recommend plans that can truly help them brand and distinguish themselves in the market, they rarely listen. In fact, what I find astonishing is that any broad, focused branding campaigns EVER get produced. We constantly show our clients examples of how companies like Best Buy, JC Penney, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes and many others, create a distinct look and image, and hammer that image and message into consumers heads for years at a time.
But a month later, the CEO is complaining that we need to change the color of the graphics and find some new fonts because the advertising is looking stale. We've learned you don't say "no" to CEO's worth millions of dollars.
Anyway...we still hold out hope that there are clients out there that understand that branding and positioning a company is central to its success. We just haven't found any yet!
Magnetic Image, Inc.
This reminds me of a story from the early days of Ford, when Henry Ford was still in charge. He had put his ad guys through numerous revisions of a ad campaign and was not liking what he saw. Finally, in one meeting he said, "Don't you think that the public is tired of this ad campaign by now?" To which his ad guy replied, "Sir, this hasn't been released to the public yet."
Clients can be their own worst enemies, assuming that their reaction and taste accurately reflects that of the "average" target demographic. Then "video" gets blamed for the "fluff" reputation that started this whole thread.
The way I typically start this conversation with a client is to say, "While I will certainly defer to your judgement, I feel an obligation to point out that..." Then use success stories from other companies, accepted wisdom from authorities, or plain logic to make my case for leveraging the brand, consistency of message or whatever value I see an opportunity to add.
Sure, it often doesn't work. But at least I have positioned myself as a consultant, with an understanding of both the client's business and using my medium effectively, rather than a technician taking orders. And when it does work, everybody wins.
We need to keep trying.
Author of Scriptwriting for High-Impact Videos
Without any more details I can probably guess why they would want 26 separate videos instead of two longer ones...
1. The internet (including corporate sites and YouTube)
2. Presentation software that supports embedded videos, such as PowerPoint
3. Understanding that time is valuable and that it's easier to get people to watch three or four short relevant videos than it is to get them to watch an equal amount or more video (which may not all be relevant)in one sitting.
4. Modular pieces are easier to repurpose without having to go out to a professional Editor to have them recut and updated. (Longer shelf life = more value)
Those reasons may or may not be valid, but it's likely those items were selling points in the back room discussion about this production.
Those are all great reasons to do that many videos. But these folks hadn't decided on any uses for the videos beyond in-store and hand-out DVDs. We had already produced half a dozen web videos for them, none of which ever got uploaded to the website, and they could barely spell powerpoint much less embed videos in it.
We really did try to understand why they wanted that many vidos and what the uses were. We just could never get the information out of them. As I mentioned, the entire project was eventually shelved...probably because it was just too unwieldy for anyone at the corporate level to coordinate, and when we gave them a rough estimate of the cost (based on their specs), they about had a stroke.
Magnetic Image, Inc.
I love this one! I've found over the years that one of the best ways to convince a successful business person that video is worth looking in to is to tell them about a video project we produced for one of their major competitors or for another well known company in the area.
Business man: "I think all corporate videos are fluff and not worth the money required to produce them."
Me: "Well, that may be true but we help xyz competitor use videos to train their sales force on how to sell their most expensive products. Since we've been developed the video program for them, sales have been up 23%. How do you train your sales team?"
Business man: "Well, we have orientation when they join our sales team and we provide every sales person with product brochures and technical specs."
Me: "Is that working for you? I'd be glad to show you a few sections from XYZ's training video if you are interested."
This either results in major interest which leads to a personal meeting to show the sample or it leads to exchanging business cards and sending them the sample anyway.
This tactic doesn't always work to generate new business but I've had a lot of success with it.
I learned a long time ago that if you have to educate a corporate client on the benefits of using video, they aren't going to be a profitable client. Corporations that understand video are willing to spend more per project and usually make videos a major part of their overall communications strategy.
These are my favorite clients and definitely result in the most profit for my video agency.
Kristopher G. Simmons
Just returned from Thanksgiving on the central California coast (in Creative Cow land). I had no internet where I was so when I got back I was happy to see this thread continued a bit.
In general, I'm seeing that it's about the perception of "value". That value may exist in a number of different ways. Internal (staff development, etc.) or external (sales, etc). Many of the folks I'm talking to have not used video much, if at all, in their business, and that's why, lacking my own, I'm trying to collect statistical and anecdotal evidence of the value of video.
My job is to have the ability to honestly convey to prospects that the video format is truly one of the best tools of communication at their disposal. I feel better equipped to do that. Thanks.
[Mark Alexander] "Just returned from Thanksgiving on the central California coast (in Creative Cow land)."
So, what city did you visit, Mark?
Next time, give us a shout and we will take you to lunch or something.
Ron & Kathlyn
Just finished up a piece of Ollalaberry pie from Linn's in Cambria. Delicious! At some point over two days we were in Cambria, Cayucos, Morro Bay, SLO, Atascadero, Paso Robles. I would love to meet you on one of my trips up there. Besides visiting family and enjoying the sheer beauty of the area, I'm working on a video project for a family member. I'll be on a ranch north of Cayucos in late Jan or so for that. I'll give you a holler!
[Kris Simmons] "I've found over the years that one of the best ways to convince a successful business person that video is worth looking in to is to tell them about a video project we produced for one of their major competitors..."
Hmmm...I'd be careful with that one. Most corporate training we do that has any product-related (or even training...quality control, whatever...) has a non-disclosure agreement attached. Even sharing with a company that we work with their major competitor in these instances is usually a breach of protocol at the least...
If you have two local dry cleaners or something like that that you want to do TV spots for...that might fly, but I'd still step carefully if that's your approach...
Amen to that warning.
I just participated in an RFP for video services and heard through the grapevine that one company got instantly knocked out because they led with a video clip from the company they were pitchings' chief competitor.
Understand that the RFP specified that they wanted "samples that match the proposal scope as closely as possible" So the company thought that since the hiring company was - for example - in the ice cream business - a video they'd completed for a competing ice cream company would be right on point.
Not so much! One look at the competitive logo on the screen and that vendor got knocked right out of the competition.
In the 21st century, a big factor in credibility comes from having a strong Web presence. Credibility on the Web comes from using more effective and advanced technologies, such as motion video. As business makes increasing use of Web sites such as You Tube, as video is increasingly embedded in company Web sites and PowerPoint presentations, as training becomes more screen-centered and less classroom-centered, customers and employees simply expect a business to use motion video, and are less confident in that business if it does not.
Marketing is the hard point. Best of luck with getting these points across.
First off - great book. I went back to chapter one "Realities of the Marketplace" as part of looking at this question. Very helpful. Where's the 2009 version?!
My marketing efforts will be focused on content for web based video's. On that note...
Would you mind if I used your reply in marketing materials ie. John Morley, author of... says..."
Thanks very much,
Thanks for the kind words about Scriptwriting for High-Impact Videos. I would be flattered by being quoted. Thanks for your professionalism to ask first.
As far as a 2009 edition, every year is a bit too often for a book of this nature. But I am gratified to know there is a demand for it. I listen to the market; it's smarter than I am.
Author of Scriptwriting for High-Impact Videos
Great thread you started here.
Have a look at my new website http://www.effectivebusinessvideo.com/
and click on the video embedded. You'll see my comments on this.