Why Corporate Styled Videos Don't Work
Video ads are a great way to market your brand and spread awareness. However, if you want to make one that's more than good—and no less than great, you need to craft one that is creative and entertaining. Unfortunately, corporate style videos don't capture eyes.
We invited an expert onto our show to learn all about the in's and out's of creating show-stopping ads. He's helped countless of ordinary businesses turn into extraordinary brands. In this blog, Hollywood Branded learns how to create an engaging video campaign from the expertise of Guy Bauer, who is the Founder and Creative Director of Umault.
A Little More About Guy
Guy is the Founder and Creative Director of Umault, a B2B video marketing agency that produces creative campaigns for brands. He has a decade of experience scripting, crafting, and overseeing advertisements for numerous businesses. Guy is also the author of the book Death To The Corporate Video.
Interview Transcript Highlights
Question: Well, I always like starting off our conversation with, how did you get here today? You had kind of a different path as far as your early career to becoming a founder of a marketing agency. How did you do this?
Answer: I started out as a video nerd, basically. In the seventh grade, in the mid-nineties, we had to make a project for English class and I guess everyone made dioramas and my dad had this VHS camcorder. I got the idea of, "What if I made a video." And so, we made the videos for Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and we had to shoot it live in the camera. There was no editing or anything, but we could overlay music. So anyway, I overlayed music onto this video, played it in front of my seventh grade class, and everyone couldn't believe what they were seeing. I've been addicted to that feeling ever since of like wowing people and an audience. So, my career took me through like entertainment route. I came up through a Crank Yankers and The Man Show and then executive produced a morning radio show.
The whole time, video was my hobby, and basically in 2009, during the great recession, I got laid off. So, I started my agency with a $50 puppy video—this guy had puppy video footage, and he needed it edited. He paid me 50 bucks and that's where it started. So, I never came from a "marketing background" or an agency background. I always came from like a comedy and entertainment angle. So, when I started doing bigger and bigger projects for B2B companies and I was seeing what my clients naturally wanted—content that was pretty boring.
So, I was like, "None of this is entertaining to anyone. No one cares." So, basically, I started forcing clients to make stuff that people would actually want to watch. I think that's where we excel because I came in as an amateur, not a marketer, but as like an entertainment guy. All of our stuff comes from the angle of entertainment, and not so much advertising
Question: What are some of the other mistakes you see people do, besides thinking that their B2B advertising must be boring?
Answer: Yeah. And they don't see it as boring, actually. They see it as de-risked or they see it as, "Well, our buyers only want the facts and our buyers aren't going to deal with all this cutesy stuff," and they backdoor the boring. You know what I mean? No one actually wants boring. The biggest mistake, the hugest mistake, the fundamental mistake that we are in a battle over every single day is that when people go, "All right. We need an ad. We need a video ad." They go, "Okay, cool. Let's get a production company. Let's get a shoot day. We'll get this in like a month, right?" "Yeah. Okay. Let's go. Let's shoot it." And they make the big mistake of prioritizing production and the actual making, and not the strategy or the idea.
Put it this way, if you were to build a custom house, you don't call a carpenter as your first step and say, "Hey, carpenter, I want you to build me a house." The carpenter's going to say, "I need a blueprint." Your first call, when you build a custom house is to an architect and the architect is going to ask you things like, "Well, tell me about how you and your family are going to use this space? Are you outdoor people? Are you indoor people? Do you like many floors or just one floor? Do you like basements?" They're going to ask you all that strategy stuff. Then, they're going to come up with the creative and the creative is the blueprints and 3D renderings and stuff. And so, all of the first initial steps and really the most important steps in building a house is the pre-visualization—all of the thinking. There's no hammering. In fact, the architect doesn't own a hammer. Maybe personally, in their garage, but they're not going to build your house.
The architect then hands the blueprints over to a general contractor who then brings in all of the players, plumbing, electrical, carpenter, all the rest. And so, the biggest mistake is brands go right to the plumber or they go right to the general contractor and they skip over the most important step—the thinking. That is the root of all the issues we see, is that there's just no time and money devoted towards the thinking.
Question: How do you start working with clients when they knock on your door and they're like, "We are ready for our massive transformation into this B2B video world, where we're no longer going to be sucking and boring."
Answer: We start with obviously, the strategy. The strategy is our secret weapon to allow us to get creative...Ideas are completely subjective, so if you try to sell your client just on, "Hey, we really like this idea," and if the client isn't sold on the strategic kind of a bedrock or concrete that lies underneath that idea, now it's just fighting with the client on a, "I like the idea," and the client's like, "I don't like the idea." And guess what? The client's going to win because they're paying. So, we always start with strategy. What does our ad need to say? Who is it talking to? All of that very dry stuff.
Question: And then what is the step after that? Where do you go from there, because you're not ready to start shooting yet?
Answer: And actually, we have no ideas yet. So the strategy has the persona, the competitive analysis, the mindset shift we have to make, and that all gets boiled into a creative brief, which is really just five questions. Like who are we talking to? What's the single most important message? What are our key differentiators? And what's the perception of change?What's the objective? Are we trying to get phone calls, get email signups?
That's where all the strategy gets boiled down and synthesized into—those five key things. That's it. Once our client approves that, then to be honest with you, the rest is easy because now we have our strategy bedrock. Now, it's the fun part, where we just come up with ideas. So, we have copywriters, art directors, and we just have fun.
Question: Once you've done these pieces in place, where you've gotten the strategy and you build the creative, what goes wrong sometimes in the actual production process that you see where clients could maybe be better prepared for it, or better manage their own perspective?
Answer: Yeah. So, if our client has been engaged in the process from an early stage, the production process is usually pretty boring to them. So, we have a feed that they can dial into, or they can come to the set. And usually, our clients are just answering emails, and every time we ask for feedback, they're like, "Yeah, I got it. Cool. Looks good, great." It's where the client hasn't been engaged from the very start that that's where production is tricky because now, instead of seeing the storyboards brought to life, they're just seeing an image for the first time in their life. And that's where they're like, "Wait, wait, hold on. What are we doing now? What is this?" Or, "Let's try this." And a big mistake I see clients making is not making decisions, so having us do eight different line reads. Well, guess what? Every time we do an alt read, that eats up time out of the budget.
And so, the biggest thing is once the decisions are made, all of the attention from executives and stakeholders need to be paid upfront and it makes production a breeze, but that's where I've seen production goes sideways is when there's some miscommunication. Sometimes it's our fault too. It's when there's a miscommunication of a not properly aligned expectation, that's when the shoot day's production can go out of whack very quickly.
Check Out The Podcast!
Guy has so much great information from his experience in video campaigns and branding. Check out the podcast below to learn more about creating great visuals!
Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year:
- Turning Your Website And Socials Into Effective Tools
- Better Your Brand By Building Your Visuals: The Importance of Great Graphics
- Finding Your Brand Archetype: Tips To Becoming A Better Entrepreneur
- Making The Most Of Marketing Automation: How To Leverage Salesforce and HubSpot
- The Secrets To Successful Brand Partnerships
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