We want a video! We want a video! It’s the cry of every business with a nickel or two to spare these days, and I certainly don’t blame them. In ancient marketing days, video was reserved for those with the deepest pockets. The 30-second commercial was king, and if you could afford it, you had a good shot at the throne.
But all of that has changed, due largely in part to the emergence of social media, which has given everyone and anyone a platform for their respective videos. For some individuals, this has been a good thing (Google Antoine Dodson), but for others it has simply opened up the gates for a lot of terrible video work. But don’t just take my word for it, some companies have even created revenue streams simply because of the over population of bad videos. See for yourself: Examples of the aforementioned wacktastick videos.
When I look at the overall scope of online video, and video in general, it’s hard to just pinpoint one problem. Yet if I had to, my main one would definitely be the lack of focus and direction in the work I see out there. When I talk about focus I’m not just referring to a lack of solid creative ideas and direction. In fact, it has a lot more to do with brands understanding their identities than anything else. The thing is everyone wants to go “viral”, but what we tend to forget is most of the videos usually reaching that lofty perch are:
A. Achieved by complete accident, (see Antoine Dodson again or Google Double Rainbow) OR
B. The result of large creative budgets, tons of expensive marketing, or really famous people who easily generate hits. (See Old Spice Guy, Arcade Fire, Andy Samberg, etc.)
What does that mean for all of the small to medium-sized business looking to take advantage of video platforms?
It means that as brands we need to be realistic with ourselves about what we are, and more importantly, what we aren’t. This isn’t just for the sake of our companies but for our consumers as well. Trying to channel the graphic effects from “Tron” with the budget and skill from “Ernest Scared Stupid” is just, well, stupid (play on words intended). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you’ll always have to sacrifice good quality because you can’t afford it – there are certainly those with large budgets that are lacking in the creativity department. All it means is that we’re going to have to put more thought and effort into what we’re really trying to accomplish when we decide we want to pursue video.
In reality, there will, and should, always be a lot of thought that goes into an investment like a video. We must also always keep in mind that the internet has a great memory and it can also be very unforgiving.
In order to help us make the right decisions when it comes to online video, here are 10 questions we can ask ourselves.
1. What kind of video does the company need (graphic/flash, shot, both)? Do we have the budget, time, resources to make it happen?
2. Are we selling a product/service or are we showcasing our company?
3. Is the video simply for fun?
4. Is this a one-time thing or will there be recurring follow ups?
5. Where should we post the video? Our website, You Tube, Facebook, Vimeo, everywhere?
6. Who will see the video? Who do we want to see the video?
7. Is the video appropriate? Is it timely and relevant?
8. Is the video easy to understand?
9. Is the video too long?
10. Does the video represent our brand correctly?
These are just some of the questions we need to ask ourselves. What are some others we should be asking?