Here are some guidelines to help you think through your video project. The process of creating a video production brief incites you to answer tough questions about your business and it serves as a document to help you as you engage with prospective video production companies.
The following should be included in the brief you submit to the team that is responsible for creating your next video project. If it seems overwhelming to plot all of this out, don’t despair! We’d be glad to help you define your goals and prioritize your digital media objectives at no cost! Just contact us
Your Company’s Background
How are you positioned in your market? How do your customers perceive your company? (It may be worth reaching out to a few of your customers who would be willing to give you honest answers.) What are the key characteristics of your brand? What sets you apart from your competitors? What are your company’s short-term and long-term goals?
These questions are all important to help you develop your messaging and to help the video production company understand the context of that message. This should be the easiest part of the process. Often it’s not.
Focus of Video
Do you want to promote a product, a service, your customer support, your entire company, or something else? You need to be able to provide sufficient detail about exactly what it is you are promoting. What problems do you solve for your customer? Is your solution unique? How do you differentiate yourself in the marketplace – price, technology, service, selection, experience, etc.? Determining these things will help specify the subject matter for your video. Making your video production team guess at (or worse, make up) your key areas of focus is never a good idea.
Who is your competition? Do they use video to market themselves? Is it effective? How and why should your video be different (or similar) to their video?
Exactly who is it you are trying to reach and why? What are their unique attributes? Have you built persona’s for your key audience; i.e Sally is a 28 year old product marketing manager for a high tech firm who is married with no children…. etc.? This is one of the most difficult questions for businesses to answer- not because they don’t know who their audience is but because they are concerned about having too narrow a focus. Fortunately, the cost of video production is considerably lower than it was just five years ago, so it’s possible to build more tactical video solutions for each audience.
Where is your audience? (This question is new…and very important.) How do you best reach your prospects and customers in a multi-channel universe. Will your customer be accessing your video on a desktop PC, mobile device, in-store, via broadcast network or some other means? Each channel has unique demands and the video created should be tailored to that channel.
What are the specific business goals that you want the video to drive? Views, downloads, traffic, referrals, awareness, clicks, inquiries, shares, links, ‘likes’, calls, sales, etc.? You have to be able to identify specific goals otherwise you will never know if your investment was worthwhile. Knowing this will help your video production company to determine the best approach to creating your video.
A great place to start is to show a prospective video production company a reference video and say “I think this video works really well, here’s why…”. The video you show may not be the best approach but it may be the best way to communicate your preferences, biases and opinions to your prospective production house. Video has a lot of moving parts and there are many ways to highlight your understanding of your audience’s business problem. Having a reference video as a starting point can be a great way to move forward.
Timelines and Budget
There are a few important time constraints to consider when planning your project. If there are individuals that we want to shoot interviews with for the project, think about how easy it is to get on their calendars. We will also need to take into account any on-location shoots and scheduling the site. When would you want the project to start and when will the video need to be completed by?
Have you allocated a budget for the project? If so, it’s a good idea to communicate that budget and ask the video production companies exactly what they can deliver for that budget. The alternative is hiding the budget and this forces the video production company to make assumptions about the number of shooting days, locations, actors, number of cameras, type of equipment, amount of motion graphics and all of the other variables that go into the creation of a video. The only way to get a useful comparison is to ask production companies to provide detailed treatments and estimates based on these assumptions.
It would also be helpful to share your decision criteria and selection process with prospective production houses.
Creating the above brief may seem like a daunting task, but the time taken to fully define the requirements and context of the job will most certainly lead to better business results.
Note: Distribution and promotion of your video is a separate (but important) activity that we’ll take a look at next time.