June 17, 2013
Making a company video that is memorable and has impact is a craft.
The wildly successful Dollar Shave Club video, for example, has sparked a wave of conversations about the company’s service, and addresses how consumers buy regular-use products in the first place. Short videos like this one are tremendously effective at telling a company’s story to customers, investors and employees. A great video can narrate the story of your product or service quickly and effectively, and can even communicate cross-culturally for globally minded ventures.
Claude Soulodre, senior manager at MaRS Media, shared his insights on the process of producing explainer and promo videos for early-stage companies. He works with entrepreneurs on defining and focusing their message, and developing a dynamic script and visuals that will resonate with their target customers.
The first question an entrepreneur should consider is “How will this video align with my marketing and communications strategy?” Having a well-developed brand identity and logo is essential, as well as understanding how you plan to use and distribute the video. Once you’re ready to pitch to investors or go to market, a professionally produced video can be a very useful tool.
Here are some other key questions to consider:
In terms of timing, there is some risk in creating company videos. Avoid jumping in too early and producing an off-message video that’s not quite ready, as this could confuse potential customers or partners, as well as consume precious time and funds.
It’s important to keep the video short, similar to a television advertisement, to draw attention to the problem you’re solving. The script for your video is also key: it should involve concise messages and complementary visuals. Reworking and rewriting the script to simplify the story will increase the quality of the video.
Be sure to get feedback on your scripted story from your team, customers and stakeholders before going into production to make sure that it is both relatable and memorable. Be sure to tell a compelling story about the problem you are solving and to relate to your target customers on a human level. The best explainer videos do not just solve a problem—they also lead viewers to gain a deeper understanding of your product or service, so that they can start telling your story to others. This process is known as “conversational capital.”
Whether you’re working with a professional agency or producing your company video on your own, bringing out the vision of the startup is paramount. It’s not just about the facts. You must invite the viewer to become emotionally invested in your product or service, and when they do they will, in turn, tell your story for you.
Even the most complex problems can be told in a one-minute video using simple techniques, such as a metaphor that your audience can easily relate to. Communicating your company story through video is one of the best ways to attract customers and promote your product or service. It’s also worth noting that not all company videos are created for promotional marketing; videos can serve many purposes, such as for explaining a complex idea to a client or training new employees.
For examples of product and pitch videos, check out the MaRS Media website, where they break down their approach to working with early-stage companies and how they can help with your next video project.
The key to success is developing the foundation of your company brand and communication strategy before producing your video. Start by reading the Marketing Communications workbook in the Entrepreneur’s Toolkit.