The value of a strong corporate image is priceless to any company. Businesses know that to make a lasting impact upon potential customers, they must take full advantage of the tools available in this rapidly evolving technological world. Video is one resource that has given businesses excellent response rates over the years. It is a medium that is more pervasive and affordable than ever, and companies are starting to realize just how valuable an effective video presentation can be. Businesses are now using videos on their websites, in direct mail campaigns, and in sales presentations. Non-profits are using videos as a method of raising funds, and chambers of commerce now realize that a video presentation can be very successful in spurring community growth.
Jeffrey Gitomer, nationally-known author and speaker, is emphatic on the value of video. In his book The Little Red Book of Selling, he says, “A video… is worth a sale… If a video is not in your budget, gag (or fire) the bean counters, cut your own pay, or go into debt for it. It’s that valuable.”
Many business owners are excited over the thought of putting together a corporate video, but they have little experience working with production companies. Understanding what is involved in each stage of the production process will only ensure that you get the most out of your investment with the least amount of surprises.
The most important thing to remember when you commit to a production is patience. The business of putting together a polished video is long and highly-involved. Turn-around time for a production is usually measured in months, not weeks. So plan ahead. Knowing this before signing the dotted line is critical if you hope to stay within your assigned time frame.
Before the initial meeting with a video producer, take the time to answer a few questions about your project:
- What do I want this video to achieve?
- What is the desired effect; should it present an image, educate, or call the viewer to act?
- Who is my target audience?
- How will I be using the video; direct mail, web site, or on sales calls?
- Will distribution be external and/or internal?
A good producer will know to ask the right questions, but it’s always important to give the production company as much detail as possible regarding your company, your needs, and your vision. This will give the producer good ideas for the overall look and feel of your video.
It’s vital that you and your company be heavily involved during the pre-production stage. Make sure you completely understand the concept and creative strategy before giving your approval. Don’t assume anything and don’t leave anything to chance. It’s okay to object, but your criticisms need to be specific. Tell the producer exactly what you do and do not like. Put it in writing so both parties understand. Remember, during pre-production it’s much easier (and less expensive) to make changes. If you try to make drastic creative revisions after all the footage has been shot, your company will be faced with a major expense.
Once the concept, script, and schedule have all been approved, the video will move into the production stage. During production all the footage is shot. It’s a good idea to have a company representative on set at all times to observe the shoot. If you can’t be on the set personally, select someone who has been involved with the project from the very beginning. You will want an individual who is familiar with the strategy and goals of the video so he or she can give insightful comments to the director when prompted. The job of this company representative is not to take over the director’s responsibilities, but to make sure that everything is progressing as planned. Remember to secure a written release from each participant, especially your employees.
Time spent shooting footage for the video is relatively brief when compared to the time invested in editing and mastering the project. It takes an amazing amount of patience and attention to detail in order to be an editor, but the hours spent in post-production are certainly worth it once the final video arrives at your office.
Again, if possible, assign a company representative to sit in on the edit session to give feedback. If you know beforehand that no one is available for this task, then set up an approval schedule with the production company that specifies dates on which rough cuts are to be delivered. Remember, a rough cut is a work-in-progress, not the finished video. Taking time to view the rough cut is important because it allows you to see your project take shape and provides you the opportunity to offer constructive criticism to the production company.
In a corporate atmosphere that’s highly competitive, and in a technologically driven world that’s rapidly delivering video through various applications, using video to communicate your company’s message is more valuable than ever. Making the decision to invest in a video marketing tool may not be an easy one, but it is the right one, and knowing what to expect when working with a production company can save money and give your business a significant advantage over the competition.