The beating heart: making engaging client videos

May 14, 2017

Having an element of heart is what makes a corporate video work.

It’s the difference between a corporate video that does its job and this hot mess from the Department of Finance.

Obviously ‘heart’ is an ambiguous term that has little tangible meaning outside of lazy film student blogs. But in the context of client videos, it represents the human and emotional element of a story. That underlying message that goes deeper than the mechanical marketing goals of executives.

The content of a video might cover a successful app that targeted new customers, and brought in measurable revenue streams from social engagement. But the heart of the story is a company forming an emotional connection with customers or (better yet) human beings. Why is human connection so integral to an engaging video? Because the audience is human. Even the most company-oriented marketing executive will glaze over when watching a video focused only on the business side of a project. Having visual and verbal links to emotional elements grabs a core part of the viewer's brain, and makes them want to keep watching.

The trouble comes when you are editing to a time limit, and you start prioritising the emotional side of the story over the marketing facts. The client wants the audience to know about the radical development process, diverse team, innovative manufacturing line, recycled metals, and 30 other things. The problem is that once you hit all their marks, no one is going to actually sit through the whole video.

Like a chef trying to show off the restaurant’s extravagant ingredients, by making a dish with their 15 most expensive items from caviar to gold chocolate. Sure it showcases all of your best stuff, but no one is actually going to consume it, so what’s the point? You’re better off building a recipe around the heart of a story using only the handful of marketing ingredients that help build the narrative.

Finding the heart can be a challenge

As a video producer you don’t know the product, or the company, or the person you’re interviewing. Unfortunately, your interviewee is going to answer every question the way they have been trained, like an economics professor. So you have to press them and press them, continually asking, ‘why?’, until they drill down to their core purpose.

If they answer,

‘To increase revenue through customer acquisition’

Then ask them, why?

‘To get people to want to buy our product’


'Because…we want to help people improve their lives'

And there’s the heart.

Buried under 30 floors of market segmentation and upward revenue stream dynamics. So tell me, do you want to watch a video about “increasing revenue through customer acquisition” or about “helping people improve their lives”?

Light Creative is a Melbourne-based creative, content, and digital agency.