How to write a creative brief for your videos and create a strategy for success for your video productions.
The most important thing to do to ensure the success of your video is to describe it; what will it be about? Who do you hope will want to watch it? What do you wish them to do after they had watched it? How will you measure it’s success? How long are you going to use it for? How much are you willing to spend in money and time to get it made? Where will you distribute it?
In other words, the Golden Rule for successful corporate video production is to create a brief.
A brief is critical to set the right expectations and to gain alignment between all the people involved in making your video and even its intended audience. This should not be ignored, because if you don’t have a plan, then you’re actually planning for failure.
Yes, it sounds dramatic, but it is very important that you invest the required time to ensure the success of your project. Once a brief is created, everyone will be comfortable as the expectation will be set and everyone will know exactly what is required of them to help you achieve that success. If you find that you can’t answer these questions, then you’re probably not ready to get your video made. Spend some time exploring these questions and arrive at answers to help you get the results you desire. The process will be rewarding for all involved.
There are 8 key elements to this Golden Rule to ensure a successful corporate video production. Investing the time and effort to consider them is critical to the success of your project.
In this article, we’ll share our experience to guide you to ensure your own project’s success. Don’t be overwhelmed though, ask for help when you feel you need it and just provide as much information as you can and continue to build on that. You eat an elephant one bite at a time after all!
So let’s now explore the corporate video creative brief’s components in turn:
To put things in context, it’s necessary to share with the producer a backgrounder of your company, your customers, your products and services and the market space you operate in. Talk about your company’s aspirations, your challenges and your competitors to give the producer more information to shape the film with.
2. What will it be about?
Multitasking has proven to be a fallacy. Doing many things at the same time simply does not work. We know that now for a fact. What tends to get done when you do multitask is simply splitting the time between various tasks which ultimately takes longer to accomplish and diminish the impact of the end result.
It’s the same with messaging. While you can create a video about your company, employees, products and services, I can guarantee you – from experience – that the video will lack impact, and will ultimately be ignored by your intended audience as it will contain far too much disparate information that it will not hold their attention. It’s much better to be specific about what you want your video to be about and stick to that message. Don’t allow for any “scope creep”. Creating many specific videos will ultimately be much more beneficial to your company and cause than that single behemoth that no one will be really interested in.
In the above video, our customer Mars Freight wanted a clear and innovative way to explain the various freight terms to its customers. In response to their requirement, we created the above simple animation which explains the incoterms in detail and also graphically show the risks against costs from both the buyer and seller’s perspectives. The message of this film is quite specific. It was made to inform and demystify these terms.
Apart from the above film, Mars Freights have also commissioned a whiteboard animation targeted toward Chinese manufacturers shipping to the Middle East as well as a corporate video about the company and its operations. Each of these films had a specific message and expected outcome. Astutely they didn’t try to bundle everything in a single production.
3. Who do you hope will want to watch it?
You’re telling a story with your video, correct? Imagine that you’re relating a story to a bunch of seven-year-olds and at another time, you’re telling it to a group of bank board members. How will the story change? The essence of the story probably won’t change, the concepts will stay the same; however, the method that you will be telling it will most probably be vastly different. This is why it is important to identify the audience. You know that you can’t appeal to everyone, so why bother with a shotgun approach and wasted energy? In the long run it’s cheaper and better for you to create several customised versions of your video, each specifically designed for a specific audience. This will increase its impact and you will have a much better chance of achieving your goals.
When Jason Levine visited Bahrain to teach English through his unique musical style, the US Embassy wanted to document the visit and also wanted to promote his work with the Access and English Specialist Programs through U.S. Embassies worldwide. The end result was the video above, targeted at students at intermediate and high-school classes. It had to be fun and dynamic in order for its message to interest them and to get them to remember it too.
4. What do you wish them to do after they had watched it?
You’re obviously creating a video in order to get some sort of response, some sort of reaction; whether it be to educate, inform or sell a product or service. So don’t be shy about asking your audience to do something once they’ve watched your video. Insert a call to action (CTA) for your viewers to act on: share this video, buy this product, call us now, subscribe to our newsletter, etc can be explicitly asked for or subliminally suggested.
Riffa Views wanted to showcase their luxurious Harmony of Spring and Harmony of Nature villas through a video tour and invite people to call to reserve a viewing. With such a clear objective, a clear call to action was inserted at the end of the video to invite people to call a telephone number to reserve their private physical tour of the villas.
5. How will you measure it’s success?
It’s all about the ROI. You didn’t go spend your time, energy, passion and money without any thought of reward. ROI’s definition is a key element of a successful project. It might even form the main theme of a production and ensure that the expectations are met. Apart from the traditional number of views and shares which can be used as some measure a video’s success, other factors can be considered as well; from the number of sign-ups to a newsletter the video generated, to the number of sales it closed. Metrics can be put in place to measure that success which you can use to fine tune your future videos and messaging.
6. How long are you going to use it for?
No. You most probably won’t be able to use your video for five years. Cost of video production is now low enough for any business to consider creating specific videos on a much shorter cycle; in fact, successful businesses should really think of the creation of specific videos on a quarterly, if not monthly or even more frequent basis. A retainer could be arranged with your video production agency easily enough, I’m sure they’ll be happy to discuss it. We offer retainer agreements at Arabia Video too. Let me know if you’re interested in discussing this concept further. So, how long should you wish to use your video for? Realistically, not more than a year. Things change quickly now and it’s easy to replace that video or at least update it so it’s more current and relevant.
7. How much are you willing to spend in time and money to get it made?
You know the difference between an expensive and a cheap video? The difference is in the number of people working on it, the equipment employed and the number of scenes and shots used. It’s no rocket science, honestly.
The more resources a video needs or is allowed to have, the better it will be. Simple. Honest. And straight forward. A good producer will be able to get your video made to your budget and the sooner you share that budget with the producer, the better the chance they will have in ensuring that every single dinar will be stretched to produce the best video within that budget range.
Hiding the budget and forcing everyone to guess what it could be is wasteful and frustrating. Everyone will just make assumptions which may very lead to the wrong conclusion, extending project times and negatively impacting quality.
8. Where will you distribute it?
Digital media is wonderful. It actually made this question almost irrelevant because when you get your movie file, you can upload it into your website as well as into any social media platform. More than that you will be able to save it into a memory stick and attach it to a TV screen to play ad infinitum and even send it to your family and friends through WhatsApp and through the many other smart phone apps or email.
What’s important to remember is that once you get that file from your agency, your investment is protected. You won’t have to worry about the details of tapes and formats or other physical media. One file will most probably be good to use throughout.
Yes, creating a brief which adequately answers the considerations above might well be overwhelming to some people, but the time spent on this step will reward you many times over when the production starts and it will reflect very well in the end result.
Don’t skimp on this step. We’re all busy, and some busy customers might be inclined to provide just a quick concept over the phone and tell a production company to get on with it. But getting on with it and providing an awesome product is vastly different from delivering a yet another average production.
If you want an awesome product, spend the time and effort to think about and effectively communicate the points above.
If you feel you need help, feel free to contact us. We love to be involved in our projects as early as possible. It’s a group exercise and together we can deliver an awesome video.
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