Is video too touchy-feely?
Some businesses are hesitant to use video, as it is fairly new as a web communications tool and might feel a bit risky. Perhaps you are worried it might be a bit too “touchy feely” and not quite business like enough for your company? People really are much more likely to watch video than read copy, so assuming you have something worth saying about your business, video is a great way to do it, maybe even moreso if you aren’t in a “touchy-feely new media” kind of industry.
The Top FTSE Companies Use Video
It is certainly business like enough for the UK’s top 3 FTSE companies:
HSBC Holdings (UK’s no 1 on FTSE index) use video for very business focussed stakeholder communications, because it is much easier to digest than reading a written report. Click on the image to go to HSBS and watch their video production:
BP (UK’s number 2 on FTSE index) even has it’s own YouTube channel, and uses in all sorts of ways, from updating people on their activities and commitments, to showing footage of conference speakers, to laying out their visions for the future of energy and covering up their major environmental disasters with smooth PR and the like:
That’s had over 500,000 views – probably a mix of politicians, environmentalists and local people affected by the spill.
Vodafone Group (UK’s no 3 on FTSE index) webcasts its half-yearly results, and has a corporate video channel, which offers a really personal insight into some of their global projects and initiatives. Again; click on the image below to see some of their video production work:
I probably wouldn’t have the staying power to read all that information, but I’ll happily watch it on video as it is much more engaging than a written report.
Fear Of Failure
OK – so most small businesses do not have the budget of these corporate giants and cannot afford to pay for the most skilled video production team in the business to take responsibility of the production for them.
Because of this maybe you don’t feel confident about making a video that is good enough to fulfil it’s purpose and are worried it might look like a dodgy 1980′s local cinema advert for the Spice of India curry house. Fair enough, it needs to be worthy of your brand and company, so of course content and quality are paramount. However, it doesn’t have to be complicated.
If you still have that urge to procrastinate which so often comes when we aren’t sure we can do something, it’s worth bearing in mind that most people battle with this issue, and usually the only difference between those that succeed and those that fail is the fact that they go for it anyway, despite lack of confidence. More on the psychology of success here.
If you can allow yourself the freedom to fail, then by doing that you are giving yourself the chance to succeed. Let’s face it, you don’t have to publish the video if you aren’t happy with the results. It’s just a question of making a start. You don’t need talent, and you don’t need to be a genius. You just need to have the motivation to try. Undoubtedly you will make mistakes, but that is where the editing suite comes in! Unlike making a presentation in realtime in front of a live audience, with video, you can re-shoot it and chop it and play with it until you are satisfied with the finished product.
Ten years ago literally no businesses were making video – it was the domain solely of those paying for TV commercials. The online video industry is still very immature and there is room for lots of creativity, experimentation and learning. As with many internet based industries there is a lot of open help and collaboration going on so do not be afraid to ask questions of others on blogs and forums. Or if you have an interesting idea on how you could collaborate with another business who is already using video then get in contact with them.
Become a video production expert
When it comes to the practical side of producing a video, we have plenty of really useful advice on what to do. It is a seemingly tricky blend of technical and creative, but you can follow the tips we give you in our blogs to learn how to to do it really well. It’s about technique and technique can be learned. It doesn’t have to be a major Hollywood production, it just needs to be fit for purpose.
Here is a post detailing resources to learn about online video production and marketing.
I listened to an interesting Podcast Interview with Tim Ferriss, author of bestselling book “The 4 Hour Chef”, which covers the principles of how to become an expert in anything (not just cooking!) in a short space of time. He gives 4 simple steps for doing this:
1: Break down whatever it is you wish to master into it’s component parts. In other words, take it one step at a time, otherwise it becomes overwhelming. Ferriss explains this as “Deconstruction”. Breaking the task down into small chunks (what he calls Lego blocks) to make it manageable.
2: Work out what your “failure points” are, as he calls them, ie what stops you from succeeding, then eliminate then. Maybe you are unsure of how to work the camera? Just set it up from one fixed point, or get someone else to do it. Maybe you are nervous in front of the camera? Work out what is making you nervous. Deconstruct the fear and overcome it. Or if appropriate get someone else to do it!
3: Simplify the process by selecting what is important. Use the 80:20 rule, in other words focus on the absolutely necessary 20% of what you want to do. You don’t need to know everything there is to know about video production, just the essentials. If you can use just the basic principles we outline, then you will know what you are doing and make a good video.
One of the operating principles of the famous investor, Warren Buffet, is “The Margin of Safety”, which is something employed by Ferriss in his book. It is about keeping it simple and minimising any risk in order not to fail at the outset, then working up to more complicated things as your skills and confidence increase.
4: What are the stakes? Lay out consequences for not getting on with whatever task or challenge you set for yourself. Ideally you have a referee to check your progress and use what Ferriss refers to as an “anti-charity” (a particular charity you really dislike!) to pay into as a forfeit whenever you don’t stick to the simple steps you have chosen. Instead of a reward system, it is a little punishment for not sticking to whatever you commit to do. But really, all you need to remind yourself of is that you are missing a huge business opportunity by not using online video. For every day you procrastinate, leads are going to the competition.
Shoot Your Video
Try out your newly learned skills to communicate with your clients and potential clients. It could be to tell them about an exciting new product. It could be to give them your vision for the company. It could be to tell your corporate story. But whatever you do, do it with passion and it will come across in your video.
On the other hand, if you really don’t fancy becoming an expert video-maker right now, and would rather focus on being a master chef/ learning a language/ building a house etc, then no problem. Hire a production company – here is a short video on choosing a video production company.
As WC Field said “ If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No sense being a damn fool about it.”