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There’s one word I avoid at all costs when I meet someone for the first time. A tainted noun. The kiss of death for a new relationship. And when I tell you what it is, your gut reaction will be to stop reading. It is so powerfully repulsive, and your assumptions about it so strong, that you will dismiss the possibility that anything below could be worth your time.

Video

Here comes the fight or flight response. You are now thinking I’m here to sell you something, and probably something pretty crappy (read: no return on investment).

That’s because there’s a marred perception of what video really means. Video should mean engaging and powerful content, and should be your secret weapon to edge out your competition. Instead, it has been tarnished, by 3 main factors:

1. Out of reach

Really creative and successful campaigns seem inaccessibly expensive, produced by international agencies with multi-million dollar budgets. (We explain why this doesn’t have to be true in this article)

2. Ineffective

Most people hire a typical production company, who produce a beautiful video, but often one without a strong and relevant message and without a proactive strategy to get it in front of new potential customers.

3. Overwhelmingly saturated market

High-end cameras and editing suites have become affordable to anyone, so every man and their dog is opening a video production company.

And this is how the story normally goes:

You can’t afford a Madison Ave agency so you turn to a video production company instead, who is less expensive but still a large investment. The video production company has no internal creative strategy or marketing expertise, so they produce a video with no underlying reason why, no objectives, and no understanding of how to engage your target audience, and it doesn’t produce results. And every day 20 new companies approach you, asking for another big “investment” with no foreseeable return.

Here’s the conundrum though: customers love video! We share viral video sensations, we talk endlessly about which were the best Superbowl commercials, we ask YouTube for advice on anything and everything, and we watch so much content these days that we call it “binging”. Big brands pour money into video advertising and reap huge rewards (more statistics on this here).

So how do you avoid the common pitfalls and embrace video’s true potential?

1. Know why you’re using video

Your desired outcome from a video engagement should not be a set of deliverables but a set of measurable results. Without a focus on tangible goals, your video will be produced without purposeful direction and will fail to create any meaningful return.

2. Put your audiences needs at the center of your value proposition

Like any marketing message, video is least successful when it’s all about you (have you ever seen a “Company Story” video?). Crafting a message that will resonate with and engage your audience requires an intimate understanding of who you’re trying to talk to, and a creative approach that offers them a valuable experience with your brand.

3. Prioritize a powerful message over a pretty picture

As important as it is to have a beautiful finished product, a strong message is what generates results. Even if you have internal strategic capability (and especially if you don’t), working with a video agency who can offer their own marketing intelligence and provide a fresh perspective on your objectives will ensure the message is clear and compelling.

4. Hire your video agency early in your strategic process

If you develop your overall marketing strategy without your video agency involved, you’re leaving their valuable insight and depth of knowledge on the table, and you may miss an opportunity to stand out from your competitors. Collaborate with them in the big picture conversation and incorporate their strategic process into your efforts and you will have a far greater chance of creating innovative and effective campaigns when it comes time to execute.

5. Be open to new ideas

One big reason a lot of videos fail is because there’s nothing new or interesting about them (i.e. no good reason for someone to watch what you have to say). Of course, you have to make sure any out-there thinking lines up with your brand, but let every idea be up for discussion.

6. Resist the siren song of low prices

Comparing proposals is rarely comparing apples to oranges. A lower price often means compromising on either the quality of the message or the quality of the production and both are detrimental to your potential success. Determining which offers the best value will require some of your own judgement, but there is definitely a cautionary tale to be told of the company who opted for the cheapest solution.

Sadly, video’s soiled reputation may never be restored. But if you think a little differently about how to make it work for you, you will gain the unfair advantage your competition are missing out on — perhaps using video is a little dirty after all.


If you’re not sure how you might use video to achieve your goals, I’d be happy to talk to you more about your specific challenges. You can reach me at jenko@stg6.com, or find out more about how our agency creates exceptional results at stg6.com.


Written by Jenko Kent
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