My career started with a dual-passion for business, and story. At the time (20 years ago) video was the only place people accepted the concept that businesses tell stories.
As a video producer I developed a process to find and tell stories for clients, and while doing so I made three big discoveries:
Discovery #1: Brand videos rarely matched other brand experiences.
The process of creating an effective brand video involves thorough research and application that rarely took place for other forms of brand communication.
Back then when a company needed a new logo the extent of their “research” was handing a design agency a miscellaneous collection of logos that the stakeholders liked. In fact, more often than not, the default action for most businesses was to create something similar to their competition.
Website creation was similar, except sometimes companies would be “wooed” into incorporating the latest web-function/development into their site design. These companies were guilty of focusing on “what is cool” instead of focussing on “what is right” for their brand.
The video process was different: Watching brand videos was the first time people could actually see, hear, and feel their brand messaging in a way that exposed brand-misalignment.
To create a great brand video the producer/creative team must write a script that accomplishes four key tasks:
- Captures the brand’s message and brand promise
- Achieves the brand communication goals
- Appeals to their target audience
- And separates the brand from their competition
This level of thought, uncovering each facet and how they affect/interact with the other facets, was rarely applied to brand experiences outside of video production.
Brands were left with videos that often captured “who they want to be” while every other brand experience reinforced “who they really are”.
Discovery #2: The process for creating great brand videos applies to creating all other brand experiences.
The key to producing amazing brand videos is exercising creative restraint.
The benefits of creating personality-aligned brand experiences are the goals of every company:
- Increased ROI
- Increased customer loyalty
- Increased gross margin, and more
But coordinated brand experiences don’t just “happen”; it takes planning, research, and intentionality.
It takes discipline and maturity to ask what should be done before you start exploring what can be done.
A great producer knows how music, graphics, animations, spokespeople, tone, personality, lighting, camera placement/camera angle/camera movement, and script must all work together to create an effective brand experience and reflect the “feel” of the brand.
If just one element is not in line with the others the video loses authenticity, authority, and causes confusion.
The same dilution happens when brand experiences are not aligned; when customer service experiences, online experiences, in-store experiences, social media experiences, and marketing messaging are not perfectly in line with each other it causes brand confusion.
Discovery #3: Great video producers are both analytical, and creative; not one or the other.
The problem most brands have is either too much reliance on analytics, or too much reliance on creative. The answer is found in balancing them both.
The process of creating amazing brand experiences starts off as a fairly analytical process, requiring many linear-thinking skills:
- Business acumen
- Strong communication skills
- A developed discovery process
- Interpretation/analytical skills
Afterwards there is a transition to the creative process for developing world-class productions that reflect what was discovered through the analytical process.
Video producers have to be able to walk the line of understanding the brand’s business goal, as well as their look, feel, voice, and personality, all while ideating/envisioning creative productions that communicate effectively for the brand.
In conclusion: While a lot of companies/agencies look to Art Directors to lead brand strategy, the holistic approach that great Producers bring to projects makes them a perfect resource for creating innovative brand experiences.
Everett Bowes is the director of VCI-SF BrandStory, the branding and story arm of Visual Creatives. He has 25 years in the storytelling field, extensive business experience and serves as the Creative Director of Visual Creatives. You can find him writing extensively on the VCI-SF blog and LinkedIn.