Your audience expects video. It is often the quickest, most engaging and compelling way to tell a story. The demand for video is increasing, with a recent white paper by Cisco predicting that 75% of all mobile traffic will be video by 2020. Pete Fergusson, former head of commercial video at The Telegraph, now CEO at Nemorin Creative Film & Video, shares his dos and don’ts for creating great branded video content.
#1: Yes it’s an advert, but it’s still compelling content
Branded video is all about storytelling with a strong narrative. As a publisher, you are already experts at creating great content and branded video is simply an extension of this. Publishers such as Condé Nast and The New York Times are creating fantastic, cutting-edge branded video content. The same rules that apply to good written content also apply to good video content. Audiences love a well-made film, brimming with an inspirational, compelling and immersive story. Equally, an overly salesy, uninspiring, poorly shot film, filled with nothing but product placement, is likely to have your audience hitting the ‘x’ button in no time. Our advice when starting out on a branded video project is always: think audience first!
#2: Know your audience and their devices
One rule we like to follow is, begin with the end in mind. You will already have access to a lot of data about your audience’s behaviour, including how they prefer to engage with your content, whether via a desktop browser, tablet, smartphone or third party app. Use this data to inform your video strategy from the outset, and don’t be afraid to A/B test the content to discover what receives the best response rates. Audiences are very receptive to this type of content and devices are increasingly being designed to maximise the video experience. Many third party platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter etc have different design and technical specifications for video but, if you know which platforms you are targeting from the start, your content can be easily optimised for each of these channels.
#3: Video increases sales
Branded video is a huge growth area for many publishers and your sales team should be equipped with enough basic knowledge to enable them to be great at selling it. In our experience, a small amount of training can make a massive difference to generating additional revenue from video. Increasingly, branded video can be the catalyst for original content. For your sales team, it can often be an exciting new string to their bow, with more in-depth technical questions being handled directly by the production team. Video comes in various forms from live action, animation, how-to and explainers, through to live-streaming, AR/VR, pitch videos and more; it is important that your sales team understands the nuances of each and can include the right format in the wider content package.
#4: In-house vs outsourced
Some larger publishers have an in-house resource capable of creating branded video but many mid to smaller sized publishers do not. From a financial perspective, employing a full-time in-house video team with all of the latest equipment across the full production spectrum can be very costly but, being able to outsource this service as and when required, often makes more sense. Using a dedicated video team like ours that is available to shoot footage 24/7/365, can be a great way to offer your clients a professional, scalable and global branded video service with no upfront costs. Even with an existing in-house team of one or two video specialists, meeting the needs of a large-scale shoot for a motoring manufacturer, or a last-minute overseas project, can be tough. Where this has happened previously, we have just as easily worked as an extension of the existing in-house team and provided the extra scale required.
#5: Sound advice
When we give tips about shooting video on the move, such as with a smartphone for live-streaming to Periscope or Facebook Live, we ask people to think carefully about the sound quality, as this is very often overlooked. Poor sound quality on the original footage cannot be rectified in post-production like some visual elements can, so it is important to understand this from the get-go. Audiences love the raw honesty of real-time footage but, like with much larger shoots, make sure that you have good sound recording equipment so that it does not undermine your finished video.
“One rule we like to follow is, begin with the end in mind.”