Here are five timeless tips to make your next marketing video standout from the competition.
Online video content has expanded so quickly over the past few years that I think it’s fair to say we’ve reached a palpable saturation point. So how can you make your marketing video a cut above the rest and become a brand driver? In the five steps below, I’ll walk you through several strategies that have proved successful in the vast marketing video jungle.
First, let’s define what I mean by “marketing video”. Richter Studios defines a marketing video as a piece intended to enhance brand perception and drive new business for a product or service. That’s very different than a human resources video, an education/instructional video or a corporate overview piece. In their own, these videos can enhance a brand or drive new business but rarely do they accomplish both. A marketing video to us is what every salesperson dreams they had to share at that key decision stage with a buyer.
Definitions aside, here’s what I’ve learned that has made a world of difference in creating outstanding marketing videos.
Establish Your Target Audience
I’m constantly amazed how few companies take a moment to address this key consideration. Trying the create a marketing video that addresses the needs of every potential customer is not only impossible most of the time but also not very effective. Yes, it can make you squirm to know that you’re leaving something on the table, however, that gains you’ll make by having a narrower audience in mind will likely lead to a much more focused message.
For instance, creating a marketing video that targets female aged 18-25 versus one that targets both males and females aged 13-49 are two entirely different beasts. In my experience, the key is to create content that can be championed by your focused target audience. Making marketing videos that address the “theory of everything” runs counter to the “theory of me”. You want your customers to own your marketing message and say “heck yeah – that’s ME!”. Keeping a focused target audience in mind provides you with a much better chance of connecting on an emotional level. I’m a big believer in the power of customer experiences with brands. Create a marketing video that makes them shout “That’s ME!” and puts a smile on their face and…guess what? They will own it, share it and become a warrior for your brand.
Below is a great marketing video we created for Life Fitness that had tremendous viral success because they knew EXACTLY who they were targeting with their Synrgy360 product.
Life Fitness – SYNRGY 360
Another other tried and true tip that has helped power marketing videos to extraordinary heights is the art of being succinct. The most successful marketing videos raging on the web are the ones that are simplest to remember. They also leave viewers with a powerful emotional reaction. So you have to ask yourself, what key experience am I trying to communicate about my brand? That your product or service is fun? Easy to use? Innovative?
Once you’ve determined what experience you are trying to communicate with your customers, it’s often a very good idea to revisit the script driving your video. A good rule of thumb to follow is the power of halves. Roughly translated, this means taking what you believe to be a solid script and cutting it in half. The natural tendency is to tell your customers about all the great things your product has to offer, however, you will likely overwhelm them. Pick fewer battles, simplify your message and you will likely have a much better shot at creating the next great marketing video.
A good example of a succinct marketing video is one we recently created for Radio Flyer, who was introducing their new Cyclone product.
Radio Flyer – Cyclone
Own A Marketing Video Style & Treatment
There are many marketing video styles and treatments that a marketing video can embrace to effectively communicate its message. In my experience, the ones that ran counter to the status quo have often been the most successful. To some, this can sound risky, however, if you’ve followed the first two steps above, you should be fine. The key here is to OWN whatever path you decide to embrace. Be a trailblazer and push the limits for the style and treatment you are hip to. Often times when this happens, customers will take note and the emotional connection with your brand becomes even greater.
An example of a marketing video style would be animation. Diving further, there are many creative treatments for an animated marketing video. Below is a partial list:
– Live Action Composite
– 2D Animation
– 3D Animation
At Richter Studios, we’ve created every type of animated marketing video one could imagine. Check out the two below. The first is a 2D animation treatment that drove a brand identity piece for Walsh Construction. The second marketing video is a photo-animation treatment we created for Frontgate. As you watch these two pieces, note their distinct look/feel. In both instances, these were marketing videos that ran counter to what their competitors were championing.
The Walsh Group – Brand Animation Film
Frontgate – Flip Tree Animation
Determine Your Quality
This one is perhaps the toughest to navigate. Quality always comes at a price. I’m not here to argue the “right” quality. Instead, I would rather focus on some of the core items that could contribute to the overall quality of your marketing video. Without turning this into a 10,000 word blog, what follows is a brief summary of a few areas I’ve seen make a world of difference for a variety of marketing videos. I’ll move beyond the obvious factors like having a good script, a reasonable budget and time to pull of your masterpiece.
For marketing videos with custom shot footage, a big contributor toward achieving good quality boils down to the type of camera used to capture your footage. There is a wide range of cameras on the market, each with their respective pros and cons. I’ll cut to the chase and narrow it down to two factors that really matter with cameras: color space and frames per second.
Without getting into hyper-detail, the question you need to ask your production company is what is the integrity of the color space they are capturing. If you want reasonable image quality, the cameras for your next production need to capture at least 4:2:2 8-Bit quality. The other consideration is how much the image is being compressed. Long story short, less compression = Better image quality. The second quality factor with cameras that is becoming very prominent is the frames per second it can capture. Being able to shoot even 60 frames per second vs. 24 opens up a world of possibilities during the post-production phase. If you just capturing talking heads, this isn’t necessary. However, for just about any other application, having more frames per second than than the cinematic standard of 24 is a nod toward better quality.
Stock content can also be a key factor in achieving greater quality, be it still images, footage or music. Incorporating a unique music track or powerful imagery can dramatically step up the experience for your marketing video. There is a balancing act here, however, in that you don’t want to overdo it. It’s important to remember that most affordable stock content sites license their product to, literally, millions of customers around the world. My best advice is that stock content can be fantastic…in small doses.
Another key contributor is talent. This can come in the form of professional voice-over or onscreen talent. Sometimes, your employees can be excellent ambassadors for your brand. I’ve seen this work extremely well for interview-driven marketing videos. However, outside of this observation, it’s good to enlist the pros when you can. Not only will you likely save valuable time and effort attaining the tone/feel you’re looking for, your finished video will be better for it. The trick with talent is in the auditioning and having a strong comfort level with your talent before you move into the production phase (fun hint: voices.com is a fabulous destination to audition voice-over talent and it’s free).
Market Your Masterpiece
The final step toward creating great marketing videos is to…market them! This is becoming less and less of a secret but I’m still amazed at how many companies will spend significant dollars on the creation of a video but ZERO dollars promoting it. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and host of other online platforms make it very easy to market your content and, in most instances, for a relatively small investment.
A reasonable rule of thumb is to shift 4 to 5% of your budget for a given marketing video project from its creation to the actual marketing of it. This will get you in front of more of your target audience and, with any luck, on a trajectory toward becoming the next viral video superstar.
Have any tips or tricks you would like to share regarding creating great marketing videos? We would to hear them in the comment section below.