Tag Archives: Corporate video

5 Things You Get For Your Video Budget

Posted on March 16th, 2017 | Leave a Comment

video budgetTrying to decide between a DIY video project and hiring a video production company? You’re not alone.

I know there are some who might balk at paying $5,000 for a video… heck… even $800 for a basic video.

What do you get for that money? It may seem like a simple video file, but really you’re purchasing much more.

What your video budget gets you

  1. the first thing you get seems simple enough. You get professional video equipment. That might not seem like a big deal considering every smart phone these days can shoot HD video. The difference is you probably don’t have the equipment to truly make it professional… tripods, lights and the often overlooked… professional audio gear.
  2. having all the toys is one thing, it’s another thing knowing how to use them. Not all videographers are created equal, and everyone has their own shooting style. The good one’s will make your video shine.
  3. your budget also pays for a seasoned storyteller. Someone who knows what to shoot, what questions to ask, how to put it on paper in script form and to translate that script into a finished video.
  4. you also get a video editor. Video editing has become far more accessible in recent years, but just like professional videographers… not all editors are created equal. The good ones can save you a lot of time and add polish to your video.
  5. you get a manager. Coordinating all of the above can be quite the task. Chances are, if you hired a company to produce your video, all of these things are being handled without you having to lift a finger.

Duh, I almost forgot the most important thing

Oh yeah… not to mention you’re going to get a professional video at the end that you’ll be proud to post at the company website, send out in the company newsletter, and share on your social networks. A video that will create a great first impression for people about your business.

Your video budget will provide a marketing tool to help set your company apart from the competition.


3 Ways To Ruin A Corporate Video

Posted on July 8th, 2015 | Leave a Comment

3 Ways To Ruin A Corporate VideoVideo is becoming more and more popular with marketers and PR pros. Done the right way, research tells us how affective it can be. Done the wrong way, it can waste time and money so let’s look at some common mistakes to avoid when producing a corporate video.

Video Length

Outside of video production cost, this is the number one question I get from clients. How long should our video run?

The first mistake here is thinking there’s a perfect length for your video… there isn’t. The quality of your storytelling is more important than the video’s length. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 runs an hour and a half. Braveheart runs three hours. ‘Nough said.

Video length is less about a golden rule and more about the audience. Who is your audience and where are they going to watch the video?

Is your audience the general public? Are you going to use this video in a social media campaign? If so, the video should be shorter (about 1-minute or less) because you’re pushing it at viewers who probably have a short attention span.

Is your video intended for professionals seeking out information about your business at your website? If that’s the case you have more leeway. I typically shoot for 2-minutes or less, but I’m even okay with stretching it to 3-4 minutes if the story is good.

If the video is for a captive audience at an event of some sort you could go even longer, but remember it’s all about the quality of your storytelling. You shouldn’t make a longer video just because you can. Tell the best story possible.

An audience can tune-out a boring message no matter where they’re watching the video.

Bad Audio

This one falls under the DIY category or “boy, did we hire the wrong video ‘pro.'” Many people think of video in terms of visuals… as they should. But really, audio is equally as important.

Just about everyone has an HD video camera (aka your smartphone) capable of shooting beautiful images. Audio takes more skill and some better equipment, and it separates the pros from the amateurs.

At best, poor audio holds back a good video from being great. At worst, people immediately tune-out. Think about all the bad videos you’ve watched and clicked away from almost immediately. In many cases, I’m sure it’s because it sounded bad.

Bad audio is a barometer for a bad video.

If the person shooting your video is interviewing people with nothing but the microphone attached to the camera, it’s a pretty good sign your audio is going to be lacking.

Too Many Details

This is the most important message I talk with clients about. Video isn’t about facts and figures. Video is about emotion.

I get it. You’re producing a corporate video and you have all sorts of information you want to share with people.

Stop right there. While video is certainly for communicating, it isn’t the right medium for tons of information. That’s what your website is for.

With video, we’re more interested in how people feel after having seen it than we are what they learned.

Think about how valuable that can be for your organization. It’s one thing to provide people with information about a product, service, or company. It’s something else entirely if you can get them to feel good about those things.

When people feel good about something, they’re more likely to buy. That’s why storytelling is so important. Don’t just pack your video with facts and figures. Tell a story that your audience can connect with.

BONUS Mistake… Making a DIY Corporate Video

This should go without saying, but I’ve had too many people ask about it not to mention it. Producing a corporate video is not a do-it-yourself endeavor.

Yes… I’m a video pro, so it only makes sense that I would give this advice. But believe it or not, there are times I advocate DIY videos. However, in most cases, hiring a professional is the way to go.

There’s one main reason to do this: your reputation is on the line. You are producing a video and sending it out into the world to be watched. Everyone who sees it is going to form an opinion about you. It’s crucial you put your best foot forward.

Your video could very well be someone’s first impression of you. Do you want to trust that opportunity to Ted in HR or Susan in accounting because they like editing their home movies?

Nobody at your company is going to be able to produce a video as effective as one created by a professional. Even if someone in-house has a decent background in shooting and editing… are they a good storyteller?

Video production is more than HD video and knowing your way around Final Cut Pro. It’s about knowing how to use stories to tap emotion. That’s why it’s better to put corporate videos into the hands of someone who has devoted their professional life to honing that skill.

Wrapping it up

The bad news… these are all mistakes people fall prey to when producing their corporate videos. The good news… they’re all avoidable.

Make sure the video pro you pick to work with is thinking about these things during the project.

–Tony Gnau

Memorial Day Inspires Better Videos

Posted on April 13th, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Originally Posted: May 29th, 2012

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Yesterday was Memorial Day and it provides me with a perfect reason to share my all-time favorite commercial.

That’s right… commercial. A one-minute spot created by Budweiser that ran only once. It’s the 2003 Super Bowl ad titled, “Welcome Home.”

Here’s a few reasons why it’s a great example to learn from for anyone who’s producing videos…

  • there’s a surprise. The spot starts in an airport. It’s a familiar setting, but just when we the audience settle in to this “normal” scene we get hit with something completely out of the norm.
  • there’s no dialog. I come from a TV news background, so I’m all about sound bites and dialog. This spot is a great reminder that you don’t need either to create a video with impact. Sometimes images, natural sound, and music are all you need.
  • finally, this spot puts on display what video does better than any other medium. It stirs emotion. Video allows you to tap emotion and capture the viewer’s heart.

Not every video is going to be as powerful as this one. Heck, there are very few videos that will be as powerful as this one. However, the lessons learned from it can put you on a path to creating better videos… and that’s a benefit for us all.

–Tony Gnau

Focus Group Video As Marketing

Posted on November 26th, 2013 | Leave a Comment

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I’m really loving AT&T’s commercial series that features various kid focus groups, and it has me thinking about how to turn the idea into a focus group video series.

The latest AT&T commercial centers around Thanksgiving. It follows the same pattern as the others… four kids… one man asking questions… and typically a cute comment that’s turned into a fun joke.

How can we turn this into an effective online marketing series?

I don’t know… I’m brainstorming here.

  • maybe put together a focus group using a company’s team members’ kids… have them test company products and then comment on them?
  • how about having someone in sales do a pitch to a group of kids and then ask for questions?
  • it could be an internal video series… a focus group of kids asked to talk about various company policies and initiatives?

The series doesn’t even have to focus around kids. You could do the same thing using the company’s team members as the focus group. I just like the idea of getting people talking about products or services and seeing where it leads. As a professional storyteller, I know I could get a conversation going that would result in something interesting.

Focus group video serves as inspiration

What am I getting at here? Simple. I’m trying to get you to think like a video producer. You see something you like on TV or online and reshape it into something that might work for your company.

The idea is to find a series idea that will grab an audience’s attention. A series that will keep them interested in the information being discussed. A series that will have them looking forward to the next video.

That’s how a video producer thinks. In my case, it’s turning a fun commercial series into something that might work for one of our clients. For you, it might be a music video, a TV show or a movie.

It’s not stealing. I’m not talking about producing something identical to what you like. It’s a way of finding creative inspiration.

Look at the videos that entertain you and find a way to put them to work for your business.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 12 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.

Let Jaws Eat Your Product Video

Posted on November 25th, 2013 | Leave a Comment

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A very, very cold bike ride yesterday had me thinking of a viral product video that’s been making the rounds.

Winter time in Chicago is tough as a bike rider. Finding a hat that’s warm enough but still fits under a bike helmet can be a challenge, which brings me to the video. It’s called, The Invisible Bike Helmet. It uses a technique that when done well, can be a really effective form a storytelling.

The Jaws Technique

How you seen the movie, Jaws? If you haven’t, it’s a classic and a must-watch. The behind-the-scenes stories about Jaws also happen to be just as good as the movie itself. One of them is about the shark used during the production.

The shark didn’t work. Steven Spielberg had so many problems with it he even altered his storytelling approach. Instead of showing the shark terrorizing people, he teases us. The audience sees the results of shark attacks, but we never actually get to see the shark until the final act. It was a smart thing to do because Spielberg plays on our imagination to help build suspense.

This technique is used in a similar way during the bike helmet video. We don’t get to see the helmet until the end of the video. The story behind the invention is compelling enough to keep us interested, all the while building our curiosity.

Let Jaws Eat Your Product VideoWill it work for your product video?

It’s a technique to consider as you’re thinking about your own product videos. It takes a bit of bravery, a lot of people are so excited about what their company is working on that they want to show people right away. They don’t have the storytelling patience to delay showing the product.

Every situation is unique, but I’d say if you have a product that a lot of people are going to be interested in… and you know that… the Jaws technique might be right for you.

This strategy is outside the box and could heighten excitement around your launch even more.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 12 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.


Pizza PR Video Response To Jon Stewart

Posted on November 20th, 2013 | Leave a Comment

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How do you take a public relations hit or joke and turn it to your favor… have fun with it. Take Chicago pizza chain Lou Malnati’s and their new PR video.

How it all started

As you may or may not be aware, One World Trade Center in New York recently unseated Chicago’s Willis Tower as the nation’s tallest building. While Willis Tower has more floors, 1 WTC’s spire atop the building makes it 47-feet taller. This led to a funny story on The Daily Show that evolved into Jon Stewart ripping Chicago pizza.

Okay… it was all in fun. It’s not like this was some serious critique or condemnation of our beloved deep dish here in Chicago, but that didn’t stop one of our local chains from having some fun of their own.

The pizza PR video response

Lou Malnati’s owner Marc Malnati flew to New York and shot a video to counter Stewart’s rant. Now… let’s be clear. The folks at Lou Malnati’s are much better at making pizza than comedy, but the video is still fun.

Lou Malnati’s took something topical and used it to promote their own PR message. CHICAGO DEEP DISH PIZZA IS AWESOME! Okay, it’s something I feel passionate about as well. Again, it’s all in good fun. New York… Chicago… we love the back-and-forth debate whether it’s pizza… sports… politics… whatever.

Well, no surprise the whole exchange has been a big hit on social media. Stewart’s video went viral last Friday receiving hundreds of thousands of views. Lou Malnati’s launched it’s video yesterday (Tuesday) and has already racked up nearly 30-thousand views.

How would your company like that kind of publicity?

Well… here’s your challenge… keep your eyes and ears on fun things happening in the news and social media surrounding your industry. Have a video budget ready to take advantage of the right situations. Establish a relationship with video pros who can act fast.

If you do all of that… there might be a PR video you can create to get in on the fun.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 12 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.

Collegiate Lesson On Internal Videos

Posted on November 19th, 2013 | Leave a Comment

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Let your team carry the company torch through internal videos. If you run a quality organization, they’re ready to do it. They want to shout to all their friends about how much they enjoy working at the company.

I blogged yesterday about attending the Ragan Communications 2013 Best Practices in Video for Communicators Summit, and a lot of the conference was focused on producing internal videos. It’s a good idea for a couple of reasons.

First, producing internal videos is a great way to boost morale. Featuring team members and bragging about the job their doing, well, who doesn’t like a pat on the back?

The second reason is the one I’d like to focus on today, and I’ll use my alma mater as an example.

Lesson courtesy USC football

I went to USC. If you know anything about college sports, you know that USC is a football powerhouse. The last four years have been rough on the school after the NCAA imposed some harsh sanctions, accusing USC leaders of losing “institutional control” over their student-athletes. I won’t get into that, but the majority of the sports community continues to scratch their heads about it considering other schools have done far worse and received lighter penalties.

But I digress… it’s been a rough four years. So there we were in an unfamiliar role on Saturday night, an underdog playing at home against 4th ranked Stanford. It was the game of the week on national television. The entire college football world was focused on the L.A. Coliseum.

The Trojans slugged it out with the Cardinal for four quarters, and with about 20-seconds left… they kicked a game winning field goal. The stands emptied onto the field starting a party that raged all night.

It was the kind of thing that highlights why college sports are so much fun. If only there was a way to capture that moment and share it with alumni and fans. A way to show them all the things they didn’t get to see like what it looked like from the sidelines, the raw emotion from inside the locker room, the pure joy of that winning kick.

Oh wait… there is a way. USC released a video yesterday afternoon on its YouTube channel featuring all of those things. 

Lesson for your internal videos

Now… think about all of this in a different way. USC is your company. The alumni and fans are your team members. Think they’re going to share that video with people?

What are milestone moments on the horizon for your company? Are you launching a new product? Closing in on your 1,000th sale? Are you about to set a new safety record? Open a new facility?

The list could go on and on. The point is you should be documenting a lot of these things, and there’s no better way than video. Producing a video around these types of events will provide that morale boost I mentioned, but it will also allow your team members to spread the word via their social networks about all the great things you’re doing.

That’s good HR, PR and marketing all rolled into one.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 12 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.

3 Keys For Your Video Strategy

Posted on November 18th, 2013 | Leave a Comment

3 Keys For Your Video StrategyLast week, I attended the 2013 Best Practices in Video for Communicators Summit put on by Ragan Communications… thanks for the invite Jenny Fukumoto! It was mainly geared towards HR, PR and marketing people, but I looked at it as a chance for some professional development. My biggest takeaway was a terrific reminder as to the importance of video strategy.

Most of the speakers talked about strategy, but the person who really stressed it was George Wright. You know him as the man behind the hugely successful video campaign for BlendTec blenders… Will it blend? Side note… he concluded his presentation by pulling out a BlendTec and blending a tape measure. Pretty cool!

Anyway, he talked about the strategy behind that campaign, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Video strategy in a nutshell

Here’s the typical scenario you’d like to avoid… someone at your company gets excited about something at the business and shouts, “Let’s make a video!”
Great… I’m onboard, but before you get too pumped-up there needs to be a discussion. Otherwise, you might produce a video that nobody sees and accomplishes nothing.

  • who’s your audience? This question isn’t a surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly. I write about it often, but it’s for good reason. Knowing who your audience is will provide you with a guide through the entire production process. Anytime a question about the video comes up, ask… who’s our audience? Why should they care care? How does this impact them?
  • what’s your goal for the video? Is it just brand awareness? Are you hoping to improve sales? Motivate your team? There are any number of reasons to produce a video. Make sure you have a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish. Doing so should give you a way to measure whether or not the video was a success.
  • how will you deliver the video? The answer to this is probably tied directly to your audience. An internal HR video might go out as an email memo or as a post on the company’s intranet. A marketing video might be sent via an email campaign and/or social media. Once you figure that out, makes sure you have a plan for when and how often you’ll promote the video. Sending a single email won’t cut it. You have to create a distribution schedule.

Now… back to BlendTec. Their target audience… employees. Yup, the series was originally an internal campaign, but there was more to it than that. The goal was to get the BlendTec team excited, and they told team members via email that they were welcome to share the videos with friends and family. They hoped social media would take over from there.

Tens of millions of views later… do you think that strategy worked out?

Talk about your strategy before you start every video, and you’ll be happy in the end with the result.

–Tony Gnau
Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 12 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.

Producing Fun Marketing Videos

Posted on November 14th, 2013 | Leave a Comment

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Hoping to provide inspiration today for some fun marketing videos by using a recent Sports Illustrated production.

Earl Thomas is the starting free safety for the Seattle Seahawks. Sports Illustrated decided to have some fun with him… dropping him at Pike Place Market and asking him to give people passing by free safety advice.

Get it? He’s a free safety. He’s giving free safety advice. Clever, right? Note to Mrs. G… “free safety” is a football position. I’ll point it out during the next Bears game.

Anyway, adding to the fun is that taken out of context nobody recognized him as a pro football player. I’m sure he just seemed like a random dude.

You don’t have to laugh out loud

The video isn’t hilarious, but as I mentioned it is fun. Comedy is hard to do, fun is a little easier.

If you’re a content creator for your business, I’d love for you to take a cue from Sports Illustrated. Start thinking about your company in a different way. What are some fun things that take place around the office, factory, et cetera? Start featuring those things in your marketing videos.

Is there someone who likes wearing funny ties? That’s a video. Do people go all out decorating their cubicles? That’s a video. Any good superstitions surrounding people’s jobs? That’s a video.

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Fun marketing videos case study

Outtakes are another fun thing you can add to your videos. We recently produced a post-event video for Content Jam here in Chicago. We were getting speakers at the event to answer the question, “What’s the future of content marketing?”

Kind of a tough question to answer without some thought. Knowing we wanted the video to be “fun,” we hit record and let the camera roll during their time thinking about their answer. We then used those outtakes to set the tone for the rest of the video.

Business can be about big ideas, big solutions and even big bucks… but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun from time to time.

If your company culture allows it, adding the occasional fun video to your other content will spice things up and reinvigorate your audience.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 12 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.

Focusing The C-Suite On The Corporate Video Target Audience

Posted on November 13th, 2013 | Leave a Comment

Focusing The C-Suite On The Corporate Video Target AudienceI 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?

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 12 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.