4 crisp production ideas for businesses new to video marketing

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Video production and marketing can be intrinsically intimidating. We’re all so familiar with still imagery, but how is it exactly that we start and finish making a video?

If you’re new to video marketing, shake away your anxious predisposition and follow my lead with the following insight. I’ll start with a few general pointers and move on to a handful of video concepts for you to consider and build on.

Now crack open your creative brain and chew on these bits of motion picture motivation.

Some suggestions for the video marketing newbie:

  • Keep it short and simple. At first, I advise staying away from complicated animations and post production effects, because these avenues are expensive, time-consuming and likely over your head if you’re new to the medium.
  • Add your personality! There’s nothing worse than watching a dryyyyy video (think Ben Stein), which is why viewers won’t stick around for one. Whichever route you go, fill your video with rich brand personality that speaks to the people you value.
  • Plan every detail. Leave no detail unplanned. You need to be prepared with the right storyboarding, scripts, lighting, sound, stability and more when it comes to shooting your video. This doesn’t mean it has to be complicated, but the last thing you want is a re-shoot because one or more shots were lacking.

Onto those ideas…

An “about us” video with real pizzazz

About us videos are fantastic assets, and everybody who’s anybody seems to have one these days. But you don’t want just any “about us” video. Remember our rule about adding personality? Now’s the time to slather it on.

As I’ve said before, the best way to do this is by taking advantage of what’s special. Focus on company culture, geography, and your most unparalleled offerings. Make a list of the things that make you special and bring them to life.

Here are a few solid examples of “about us” videos with the pizazz I’m talking about:

Local Longboard Company — “About Us” from Treehouse Studios on Vimeo.

These guys have a simple but poignant piece that’s light on the animation and gets the job done. The shallow, elegant close-ups and slow motion shots do well to convey the artistic spirit these craftsmen bring to the table, and give viewers an intimate look at how their longboards are created.

Huge: About Us from Huge on Vimeo.

This one’s quick and to the point, executed with fun, quick cuts over catchy beats and a few concise titles. Yes, you can have an about us video without dialogue and still get the idea across.

Had to include these guys. In a minute and a half, Mike’s brilliant strut through the shipping warehouse lends a straightforward but lighthearted look into their operation.

Not your average product/service demonstration

To seize people’s attention, it’s your job to execute a demonstration that’s equal parts explanatory, impressive and visually assertive.

Think about those landmark displays in product demos over the years: the Dyson vacuum suspending a bowling ball, the numerous gadgets being run over by big trucks, the CLR showerhead soak. What do they all have in common?

Those old commercials stuck with us because they used their products in creative and offbeat ways, but with relatable objects or concepts. We’re all familiar with how heavy a bowling ball is, how grimy the shower gets and the immense pressure beneath a car tire. Each of those companies relied on our familiarity with those extremes and pitted their products against them to impress the hell out of us.

Likewise, the large majority of us are familiar with Jean Claude Van Damme’s awesome splits. Here’s Volvo’s creative use of the mythological action hero in their product demo:

But we don’t all have multi-million dollar ad budgets. There are more approachable production methods for product and service demos that can leave a unique impact on your viewers as well.

Take Push for Pizza for example:

Funny, intuitive, and useful. You’d be surprised how many people are utterly terrified of calling in a delivery, and it’s easy to see how well this app can accommodate the laziest of human beings. All thanks to a witty 1.5 minute product demo.

Here’s one more for good measure – this one’s from a startup called Navdy:

The average Joe explains this navigation system’s primary functions to us while using it on a drive, with a bit of snarky banter peppered in. This one also sticks around the two minute mark.

By now you ought to have a better grasp on what makes a demo video more watchable than the rest.

A personable profile on a manager/employee

The Local Longboard video from earlier is a fantastic example of a down-to-earth interview with management. The idea here is to document a person of interest within your company, exhibiting their work, abilities and personality.

These types of videos will humanize your company’s voice and initiate transparency for your viewers. Taking a camera into the trenches with your MVPs and sharing their point of view with your audience puts a face behind the people on the phone or behind the screen. Just be sure to frame them in a genuine light, with unscripted dialogue for the most sincere results.

Shameless plug: here at Mainstreethost, we’ve shot a recurring series in which employees get the chance to talk about themselves and their work. Have a quick peek for some inspiration.

Our lovely executive assistant, Jenny:

#MSHMondays: Jenny Lipomi, Executive Assistant from Mainstreethost on Vimeo.

And my comrade in inbound marketing, Brandon:

#MSHMondays: Brandon Koch, Inbound Marketing Specialist from Mainstreethost on Vimeo.

A case study video

Turn a case study into a stunning video to paint a memorable picture of your customers’ success and satisfaction. If you’re in a results-driven field, your customers are looking for measureable numbers and statistics. They want proof that you’ve helped others in the past, and that you can do the same for them in the future.

There are a number of ways to execute a case study with video. One of the simplest and straightest is to shoot someone explaining the process and results, ideally including an interview from the client as well. Alternatively, the video could consist of footage from the project as it was carried out, with a voiceover or subtitles to outline each step.

In reality there are many different approaches to producing a case study video. But how to make it unique? Case studies have a way of taking themselves too seriously, and here’s what one creative agency did to break the monotony:

Now, I did suggest those who are new to the medium put more complicated techniques on hold. But if you’re ready to take on an animation of your own, stop-motion whiteboard illustrations are remarkably useful for demonstrating case studies and statistics.

Here’s a little example to run with from our own site:

Mainstreethost Search Engine Optimization and Web Design Case Study: Chalet Village from Mainstreethost on Vimeo.

So there you have it: take this idea juice to the drawing board and get shooting! And if you’re still grappling for an original concept, learn a little more about standing out with your video marketing.

About The Author:Pat DePuy
Pat is a blogger, videographer, and full-time beer nerd. He’s an inbound marketing specialist at Mainstreethost, writing and filming on subjects surrounding marketing. Connect with Pat on Twitter | Google+.