Before Producing That Video, Ask Yourself These 3 Questions

Like most marketers, you realize that videos can be super powerful. If you haven’t realized that yet, check out these video statistics. But if you already know that the value of one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words, then before you begin your video project, I plead with you to consider these three questions.

  1. What will the video component give that written copy can’t?
  2. Does it match?
  3. Is this for you? Or is it for those you serve?

What will the video component give that written copy can’t?

Video is best for communicating content that is emotional, experiential, or simplifies abstract concepts.
Emotions can be tricky squishy things. To simplify the key emotions to look for when considering video, I’d recommend considering whether your content should be:

  • Humorous
  • Awe inspiring
  • Shocking
  • Exciting

Whether your product or service is inherently emotional or not isn’t significant. The bigger question is what you are building your brand to be. Deodorant isn’t exciting or very emotional in and of itself. But you know how shocking those Old Spice commercials are . . . .
Your brand is an experience facilitator. Whether that experience is akin to sitting in a painful timeshare presentation for a free vacation deal or going to Disneyland, your brand is currently providing an experience regardless of whether you have purposefully designed it or not! Either way, your brand tells a story to your customers about how you value them. If you make this next video, will you be extending a memorable or useful experience? If the answer is no, then you are wasting money on this project.
In addition to providing rich experiences and letting your customers know who you are, video is great for articulating abstract concepts. Why else would the ubiquitous and sometimes horrifically boring whiteboard hand animation videos start trending? The truth is that to some extent we are ALL visual learners. The power of a simple diagram or model can make a huge difference in how your site visitors will understand what you are actually providing.

Does it match?

When I was a kid I felt that if I willed it enough, worked hard enough, and just put in some good old fashioned work ethic, then I would be able to fly. Well, a few scraped arms and bruised knees taught me that Mary Poppins is a con artist. Turns out that cardboard duct taped to your arms, or holding umbrellas while launching off of a trampoline don’t allow a 6 year old to maintain flight. But humans can fly. You might be thinking that that’s impossible. But haven’t you seen these crazy videos? Yes, they can. With the right strategy, tools, and investment.
My goal of flying did not match my ability to execute a sustainable flying experience.
While videos can be the most shareable and engaging form of content, if they don’t actually match your brand, then you are in for some trouble. Poorly produced videos that are disconnected from an intentional strategy or the brand itself make for a powerful self destruct scenario that rarely ends well. One client we worked with said they wanted to be the national leader in their industry, but when it came to video, they refused to take the time and resources to match that goal with what was actually needed to fulfill the dream.
Does your capacity to execute and actually produce the video in question adequately match your brand? If the answer is no, then face up to it. Scale back, and look at whether your website and other public facing entities match your brand and goals. When the time is ready, phase video in and do it right. Once you have the proper strategy, tools, and investment capability you can fly with the best of them.

Is this for you or those you serve?

Be honest. Are you producing this more for your own satisfaction or because you think it will actually provide a worthwhile experience for your client base? If you think people are dying to see your face explaining how great you and your organization are, then I have to break it to you: this just isn’t true.
When was the last time you were on a website and thought, “I’d love to watch a 3 minute video of the CEO telling me how awesome he is while using a bunch of buzzwords and vague stories.” I’m betting this isn’t something you or other sane people yearn for. Does this mean we shouldn’t include company leaders in video content? Of course not.
The question isn’t who should be in the video, but who will actually benefit from the content of the video. If there is a real, defensible reason for the CEO to be featured in the video, then great! The President of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios Ed Catmull wrote in his book Creativity Inc., “There is nothing quite as effective, when it comes to shutting down alternative viewpoints, as being convinced you are right.” Know thyself the oracle stated in ancient times, and perhaps today it might shout “Know thy customers”. Listen to those you serve, to your team, and to the experts you hire, and make content that will contribute to the world.
What do you think? Are there other questions you ask yourself and your team before greenlighting video production or other projects?

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