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Video Easy: How moving images can be marketing gold

Peter Milne talks about video content, how we do it, and how the right moving image can mean everything to your brand (and be damn entertaining, too).

There are two reasons why someone will watch an online video. The first is to be entertained. Second, to learn something. That’s it. Every other reason you can think of stems initially from one of these two. We haven’t tested that theory comprehensively, but we’re pretty sure it would stand up. It certainly sounds convincing.

It’s important to know because it will help shape the video content you post online. You are going to do that, right? You really should. It’s the most powerful media on social. It has the longest lifespan of any shared media and, thanks to Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, mobile video editing apps and just regular old Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, it’s getting easier and easier for brands to produce short, effective videos.

It’s also becoming easier to measure your brand’s ROI in terms of engagement with video, thanks to constantly-improving analytics like the ones Facebook announced this week.

Still got excuses? Didn’t think so. Now here are the rules so what you produce and post is as great as your brand.

Don’t be crazy
There are lots of reasons why you need online video content. For a start, your customers are watching videos online, many and often. Videos can be made to reflect the image you want to portray; smart, funny, sympathetic, sage, rebellious, romantic, independent, mainstream, whatever. They have personality, and people relate to that. They make your business seem human. They can be instructional and informative, zany or straight. There really is no limit to what you can say and how you can say it.

Except for your budget, obviously. And your video must be either entertaining or educational – ideally both.

Be educational
It’s easy to be educational. There will be aspects of your business that interest your customers (if not, how have you managed to stay open this long?). Those interesting things might make interesting videos – with a ready audience. Or maybe there are questions you find yourself answering all the time. Could they be answered in a video? Chances are, you could jot down a dozen video topics right now.

Be entertaining
Being entertaining is less straightforward. It doesn’t necessarily mean funny, by the way. It could also mean beautiful, clever, warm, cute, challenging – all sorts of things. Some people find videos of piano-playing cats entertaining. The key is ensuring that your definition of entertaining is relevant to your business. That’s not always as easy as it sounds. So the rule is, if you can’t be entertaining…

Be you
What if your business is a large, corporate conglomerate? Or if you work in an industry that has a reputation for being kind of dull – accountancy for instance – how do you make that entertaining? Well, the fact is you don’t need to be entertaining to everyone – only to your customers and potential customers. An audience this specific will find relevance interesting. So be relevant.

Yes, you can afford it!
An effective video doesn’t need to cost the earth. Sure, some brands use online as their primary brand media, spending millions on producing something they hope will be shared around the planet a trillion times. The Dove campaign is a good example. But if all you want is to engage your audience a bit, explain some things and appear more likeable, a simple video beautifully shot and with an evocative music track might be all you need. Heck, anyone can do that.

A few ideas
Sense has been producing videos for online and broadcast use since day one. While each video is unique in its own way, there are a few models that seem to work consistently well. We’ve nutted out 5 simple video styles that might benefit your business.

1. The Presenter
This is a simple way to convey information. You or one of your colleagues appears on screen, explaining some aspect of your business. It’s filmed somewhere within your office building, either as an interview where the dialogue is in response to questions (so it appears ‘off the cuff’) or as a scripted presentation delivered straight to camera (like a newsreader). It could even incorporate a few shots or video of whatever it is you’re talking about.

2. The Green Screen Presenter
This is another way to present information, but offers greater flexibility in how the video is used and where it can appear. A presenter – maybe you – talks directly to camera, but you are superimposed onto an interesting background. It could be a design, such as an eDM or web page, or a photograph (like when a news program cuts to a reporter in London with Big Ben in the background).

3. Images Only
These videos tend to evoke a sense of place, a mood and atmosphere. They’re great for travel/holiday companies and real estate developments. A wide range of images are filmed, to capture the essence of the business or location, and then edited to an accompanying music track. The music plays an important role in conveying the tone. With the right product or message, this makes a really compelling video.

4. Animation
This is a great way to tell a potentially boring story in a really interesting way. There’s no live action – the whole thing is animated, but not like Finding Nemo or The Lion King; this animation has to be simple, graphic and cost-effective. A voice-over delivers the dialogue while sound effects and an accompanying music track help bring it to life.

5. The Creative Solution
When you really want people to pay attention, a creative video featuring professional actors to convey a compelling story is unbeatable. Dialogue can be delivered on screen by the actors, or as voice-over. The scenario depicted in the video can be as straight or as crazy as you feel comfortable with.

For advice on any of these ideas, or something completely different, contact Sense. We can conceive and produce the ideal online video content for your business and make sure it’s effective for your brand (as well as being entertaining).

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Peter Milne talks about video content, how we do it, and how the right moving image can mean everything to your brand (and be damn entertaining, too).

Peter Milne Head of Copy and Content at Sense
Peter Milne
Head of Copy and Content