How to produce great corporate video without selling out

Aug 17, 2017

Corporate video production is a phrase that most creative types turn their noses up at.

But the fact is, corporate videos have become more influential than ever. The stigma born from cringe-worthy story lines and robotic performances is well and truly deserved but over the years, we’ve seen a much needed evolution.

The increase in video content being produced (and consumed) has exploded. YouTube alone is delivering an average of a billion hours into the world's eyeballs every day. With so much content on offer, it’s safe to say there’s no room for crappy corporate videos that no-one cares about. It’s no wonder that us video producers have lifted our game.

The reduction in cost of high-quality gear has made corporate video much more accessible to the masses, so it’s very easy for video cowboys to sell out and produce whatever ill-conceived pile of crapola they think the client will go for.

What do you do when Camilla Corporate shows up with a wad of cash and says “Make my soulless corporate company go viral!”

Ask yourself these questions

  • Is the company responsible for any nasty shit that goes against your own beliefs?
  • Is the client a reasonable and rational human?
  • Can we see a story worth telling?

If we’re happy with the answer to these three questions, the next step is to find a way to connect to the story we’re going to tell. It’s our job to make the audience feel something. Whether it’s aspiration, joy, sadness, anger, peace, or just simply informing them, if the video has no emotion and substance, people aren’t going to pay attention. It’s not always easy but even the biggest corporate companies are run by people and all people have a story to tell, so don’t cut corners and simply try to template a narrative.

Focus on the why

Most companies request a corporate video because they want more sales or exposure. They get hung up on trying to show off how and what they do. But companies don’t gain brand loyalty because of how and what they do, consumers want to know why they exist. The why is where the emotions live, which makes the why a more powerful, engaging and ultimately more effective story to tell. Apple are the perfect example of how to create brand loyalty by selling the why, they’ve been doing it since the launch of the Macintosh in 1984.

Be authentic

That’s quite it's often easier said, than done. You can put a camera in front of the most genuine of people and they’ll begin “acting authentic”. It’s not that they’re faking it, it’s simply a defense mechanism triggered by our need for self-presentation. Self-presentations are quite often genuine. They reflect an attempt to have others perceive us accurately, or at least consistent with how the person perceives themselves. Self-presentations can vary depending on the audience; people want to present different aspects depending on the audience and conditions.

It’s the job of the director to understand their subject and what makes them comfortable. When you genuinely show care for the person in front of the camera, that respect and authenticity is reflected, allowing the person to feel safe enough to be their unguarded selves.

But also be aware, it’s sometimes better to simply identify when certain people shouldn’t be on camera

thinking face

So don’t sell out, there’s no need. Half the fun is challenging yourself to be possibility. If you go in with the best of intentions, you’ll be able to help your client tell a story that matters to someone.