Large, expensive mistakes are often more effective teachers than small, affordable ones. But at the end of the day, who wants to throw away their money and time on a poor decision? Nobody. And don’t be fooled when people tell you “nobody’s perfect”, because that ‘nobody’ guy really likes to talk himself up. He’s far from perfect. It’s a much greater mark of wisdom learn from the mistakes and experiences of others than to dive in unprepared and uneducated, all but begging for mistakes to come to you.
Corporate video is one such area where it’s easy to see your money disappearing without seeing a return in customer conversion. However, being aware of the biggest pitfalls in developing a corporate video will give you your best shot of creating a successful campaign. Let’s take a look at four of the most dastardly mistakes many corporate videos make.
1) It doesn’t get to the point
Viewers will make up their mind about your video within the first 10 seconds. Statistically, 20% will stop watching altogether by the end of those 10 seconds. By 30 seconds, you’re down 33%. And at one minute into your video you’ve lost almost 45% of your audience—and that’s if you’re statistically lucky.
With such a quickly declining viewership, it’s imperative your video gets to the most convincing point as soon as possible: that point is always What problem do you have? and Oh really? No way! Fixing that problem is exactly what we do! Here’s what we can do for you:
And I’mma stop you there for a second, because we’re off to a great start but if you start using fancy business jargon that only people in your industry are likely to understand then I’m gonna’ have to tune out. This is easily avoided by focussing not on how your business works but why. There was an issue we saw and no one was fixing it as effectively as this; there’s a gap in the market and currently no kind of service like this available; there’s a demographic of people not being catered to in this industry and we want to fix that. Make sure the audience knows what you’re doing for them and not just what you’re trying to convince them of.
2) It’s boring to watch
Forbes identifies four shared factors in memorable ads, the first being “a disruptive and relevant visual”. While poor writing is commonly known as the most unfixable error in media, bland visuals are almost as tragic as they can make an otherwise solid script completely unmemorable in the long run.
And by ‘bland’ I’m not talking about minimalism—even a blank screen can be extremely powerful when combined with the right audio and concept. What makes a video truly stand out is how it looks in context.
This is firstly about matching the context of your message with visuals that will have the most powerful impact on a viewer. That power could be anything from subversive visuals which surprise the viewer into seeing something in a different way, to smooth, calming visuals that empower the viewer themselves to form a positive bond with the brand.
Secondly, you want your visuals to stand out in the context of the wider media landscape. The world of corporate video goes through trends and phases like every other artistic medium. One year it’s all the rage to use to-camera live action, the next year it’s all about liquid motion graphics. Do your research on what’s already popular (and how long it’s been popular) to avoid chasing after the tail-end of a visual trend.
3) It’s a chore to listen to
If boring visuals have the ability to drive away a viewer, poor audio can make a video simply unwatchable. In corporate video there are three major checkboxes for sound: good voiceover work, good music, and a good levels between the two. A professional production house will provide services for all three, though there may be times you’d prefer to handle the audio yourself.
If your agency doesn’t have the budget for recording studio fees, it’s important to look for a freelance voiceover artist or company who can provide their own professional recording equipment. When checking out a VA’s showreel, listen not only for the suitability of their voice but also the quality and consistency of their recording. Check beforehand whether recording is included in the voiceover fee.
The suitability and quality of your chosen music is equally as important in creating an effective video experience. Various stock music options like Incompetech and Audio Jungle exist if you need an immediate option, whereas freelance composers are available for hire at a quick google search if having an original score is important to you. For more on choosing the right music style check out our article 5 Ways To Make Music Work For Your Animated Video.
Finding an appropriate balance between your VO and music volume levels is vital in providing an engaging experience for viewers. If one overpowers the other it can leave your audio mix feeling bland at best, and indecipherable at worst. If you feel unconfident handling the job yourself, a professional sound engineer can help point you in the right direction.
4) The call to action is confusing at best
At the end of the video you ideally want viewers to continue down your conversion funnel and become full-fledged customers. This is the time to make the desired next step as clear as possible. Any viewers who are even remotely interested in what your video has to say should know exactly what to do next. Unfortunately there are a few ways a call to action can be handled poorly, but a few easy ways to recognise them.
Having no CTA at all is the biggest oversight. Regardless of what context your video is screening in—your website, a news sharing site, as part of a presentation—there’s no guarantee your viewers will know what their next step should be. Look around the website? Check out a product list? Ask the presenter a question? Moreover, a shockingly large number of people are lazy. And many would sooner leave your website/social media page/presentation taking no action whatsoever than to make the mental effort to come up with the next step themselves.
In the opposite direction, too many calls to action can leave a viewer feeling confused and overwhelmed. ‘Check out our website, call now for a quote, or enter our prize giveaway, join our mailing list, interact on our forums, read our latest news, play dead, heel, bend over, cough.’ The next step suddenly isn’t so clear, leading many would-be converters to nope their way out of your funnel.
Or maybe you’ve narrowed down your call to action to a clear, easy next step, but that step just isn’t very exciting. There’s no ‘ticking clock’, no impetus to act now, which leaves your viewer to put off any action until gradually they lose all enthusiasm to do so.
While it’s true that everyone makes mistakes, there’s no excuse not to be prepared when it comes to building your business with a powerful asset like corporate video. Once you’ve done your research and familiarised yourself with similarly successful examples, it’s time to head to a production house and reap the benefits of a well-constructed corporate video.
Written by Maree Railton.