I met a woman yesterday who’s facing a common problem… getting the C-Suite to think like their corporate video target audience. Sometimes the two groups operate in opposite ways from one another and it can be a problem.
How it happens
An executive hands down a directive… make a video about “X.” It should include this “Y” and “Z” information.
Unfortunately, they walked right past the first question that needs to be asked. Who’s the audience?
Without that information, their video about “X” that includes “Y” and “Z” information is pointless. Who’s going to watch? That question will shape everything else, even the information you decide to include.
Another situation might be where production has started and an executive wants to add something to a video that you know won’t connect with the intended audience. Sometimes it’s a random statistic, sometimes it’s a company initiative. Whatever it might be, they’re pretty pumped about it and want it highlighted in the video.
Aligning executives with the corporate video target audience
The first thing I ask the executive.. again.. is who’s our audience? Then… if you were a member of that audience, why would you care about this statistic/initiative?
When they can’t give an answer, I immediately follow it with… so if the audience doesn’t care, why are we going to include it in the video? You don’t have to be snarky about it, and whatever you do don’t do it in a know-it-all tone. Be gentle, but still ask those questions.
I know there are some hard heads out there, but most people get it when you start breaking it down for them like that. In cases where someone still insists on doing it their way, you can continue pushing back but your good points will probably only have them digging in their heals even deeper.
I always try to instill in our clients upfront that it’s not “their” video they’re creating. It’s their audience’s video. Some choose not to see it that way, and that’s their prerogative. In the end, you need to find a way to make them happy while still staying true to a story that will connect with the audience. It can be a difficult balance, but it’s one talented producers can manage.
My advice… the more you talk about the audience and its needs and desires upfront, the easier the process will proceed. Keep asking that question about the audience over and over… who’s our audience? Why do they care about this?