ORCHID digital pioneer Gillian Martindale ponders the merits of gratuitous nudity, working with animals and celebrity friends!
Think kittens, bunnies and half naked men and women...
... these are just a few of the bullet points listed in an article I recently read on how to make video engaging. Not exactly the type of promotional material I can see ORCHID producing for the Channel Islands’ market, yet these pearls of wisdom were genuinely aimed at helping companies produce effective video communications. There were many other nuggets of joy: for example, you should under no circumstances forget an emotional angle, such as a good heartfelt or tear-jerking story when planning your video content.
There is a limitless amount of well-intentioned advice out there for businesses that want to hitch a ride on the video express but I’d offer a word of caution. After all, if you followed the tips in the article I was reading, your company’s next video communiqué might be presented in the style of a Bond villain: your topless CEO, wearing bunny ears, sitting in an oversized swivel chair, stroking a white cat, telling a tale of how he got the overly dramatic scar on his face!
When I was doing some research for this blog I came across some of the most random and, in some cases, quite frankly ludicrous tips on how to use video as part of an integrated communications mix. Dyslexia hasn’t helped this pursuit of wisdom, especially when I stumbled upon the ground-breaking and illuminating lecture entitled: ‘Video Content Marketing & Social Media: Are you Doing It Bass Ackwards?’.
Celebrity endorsement is also high up the list of priorities in a number of articles I have read, which is all very well if you are based in the Big Smoke or Los Angeles, where your odds of rubbing shoulders with some ‘A list’ friends are arguably stacked in your favour. But, unless I’m mixing in the wrong circles, that’s a slightly tougher call in the Channel Islands. At least, it was until we found out Henry Cavill and his BFF’s Russell Crowe and Amy Adams were coming to town.
The trouble with celebrities is that they often go and do something that isn’t very helpful to your brand, or the video might become all about them, rather than focusing on your key messages. I wouldn’t dismiss this tip out of hand, but unless you’ve got a Hollywood-style budget and a message that needs that blockbuster delivery, I’d suggest it might be overkill (though if you manage to get Henry or Russell to front your next quarterly update video, I’ll happily come and film it for you…)
My top tip? Keep it simple.
The best videos deliver what you want to say in a no-nonsense, frill-less and direct way. You’re not making a rock or pop video: you are trying to talk to people. Video is the most personal way you can reach multiple audiences in different offices, or different countries – why obscure your message behind a barricade of celebrity faces and special effects. You have to make it accessible, honest and credible.
I’ll leave you with my top five must do steps for engaging videos:
Keep it simple – you don’t need to build a set or have lots of animated graphics
Ask the experts - it’s not expensive to hire help
Know what you want to say – and just say it
Think about your audience – communication is about understanding the message
Watch your videos and be critical – it’s the best way to improve