7 Important Truths about Video for Business

by Joe Pelissier on May 27, 2011

Clapper BoardWe all know that video for business is a hot topic.  The use of online video is an accepted part of business communication, whether it’s via the website, YouTube or part of internal communications.

And, okay, maybe I should be delivering this peering at you via the web cam on my iMac. You know the sort of video – pasty-faced ‘experts’ rambling on in a room or office that does very little to inspire or encourage.  Sorry, but impressions count, and I’m not a fan of that kind of approach.

If you are going to use video for business, it’s time to grow up and start to do things properly.  There’s far too much rubbish floating about, which is itself an opportunity – one that allows you to apply a strategic approach to the way you create, produce and distribute video.

I know a lot about producing video, whether for communications or training, and so here are seven important truths about how we think about video as a business tool and how it’s going to develop over the next 36 months.

1. “It’s cheap and easy so we should be doing it”

Yes, you should be producing video but not just because it’s cheap and easy.  First, you want to define how it’s going to help your market and communicate what you do – you’re then in a position to work out the best way of producing it.

There’s nothing wrong with cheap and easy, so long as the thinking is spot on. Shooting from the hip because you can, doesn’t produce good, long-term results.

Yes, there are very successful cheap viral videos from people like Lauren Luke but they are one-offs. The chances are, you’re not going to be so fortunate.

2. Everyone has a nephew or cousin who makes videos

I’d have a very nice nest egg if I took £1 every time I hear this mentioned.  Just because you know ‘someone who can‘ doesn’t mean you should automatically think of using them. They may well be a budding Orson Welles but unless you are intent on following the ‘cult of the amateur’, it’s an approach best avoided.

User-generated video created via a Flip camera or mobile phone has its place when you want is real-time footage with immediacy and impact. In which case anyone can shoot it because the viewing expectation is low.

Good graphic designers have studied, trained or served some kind of apprenticeship, the same is true those who can produce videos.  Profit from that expertise.

3. Every company needs a video for business strategy

Thinking strategically about video means you think about how your business will look, feel and sound like with video as integral part your media communications

  • On your website –  types of video and frequency
  • Via video channels – YouTube, Vimeo etc
  • Internally – training, coaching, corporate messages

Thinking strategically means you have a clear idea about whether you produce in-house or via a contractor, how video is linked to seasonal events and promotions, the sort of videos customers like to watch, how frequently you need to produce content and how to distribute it.

At the moment, most companies have no idea.

That’s partly because they are yet work work out the financial ROI from an increased use of video.

4. Video is an essential part of a content creation

Good video content has lasting value. Smart companies are building up libraries of video content because

  • It makes their website media rich
  • Visitors find them entertaining, helpful or both
  • It promotes their brand and values
  • It promotes a feeling of informality
  • It helps with SEO, especially if the video is streamed via YouTube

Remember – to build up a meaningful library of content you have to have a defined video for business strategy, as above.

5. Video production skills will become a corporate competency

As more companies want to produce video, they will want to do more of it in-house.  Already, in the US, companies employ a ‘videographer’ – a person who is responsible for capturing and recording corporate video for internal and external use.

In the UK, there’s a growing requirement amongst large corporates for training in how to professionally

  • Set-up a shoot (pre-production)
  • Shoot it (production)
  • Edit the footage (post-production)

These are skills that are easy to teach and acquire.  The end result is a different story because producing video is a craft that responds to practise and experience.

In the next 36 months you’ll start to see a big improvement in the quality of ‘home-grown’ corporate video.

6. Audiences expect professionally crafted messages

If you are a professional organisation with a reputation to protect, what you shoot and record must be congruent with who you are as a business.

Your viewers will judge you by the quality of what you produce.  Poor lighting, bad camera angles, zooming in and out, bad eye-lines and hesitancy are a big give away.

Companies who think these things don’t matter are wrong.  These days viewers have a very sophisticated radar that tells them when something has been done cheap or on the fly.

If you are going to go down the video route, do it properly!

7.  In-house ‘experts’ will become tomorrows corporate video stars

Most companies hide their ‘experts’ deep within the organisation.  They like to keep them to themselves and only let them loose attached to a strict corporate lead.

Video for business has the power to break that thinking as companies start to make the knowledge the experts have, accessible via video.  This is just the next step on from an expert producing a ‘white paper’.

Some experts may be uncomfortable being in font of the camera, but for those who aren’t there are massive opportunities to demonstrate thought leadership whilst supporting the creation of a content creation strategy.

Who’s are the experts in your company who could go in front of the camera?

The Video for Business Mindset

All this requires a mindset change, a willingness to accept that video as a communication tool has the potential to have a profound way you communicate who you are and how customers perceive you.

It’s also about a culture change and thinking digitally.  Digital natives (those who know no different) have a built-in expectation of this type of media. And the rise and rise of media rich Apps that play on iPads and Android devices, supports the argument that the sooner you start to give video serious strategic thought, the better.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimmo Linkama July 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm

What about scripting and directing? There seem to be an awful lot of talking heads who could get their point across much better through text. Maybe have a little more ambition than just shooting your face?

admin July 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I think you’re right. If you’re not very good talking to camera stick to text.

Talking heads are fine, so long they are engaging and what they have to say is relevant. Ambition implies creativity – which is fine if you have budget, time and…creativity.


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