I’ve been writing these articles for a couple of years now and it’s clear to me that I’ve actually written quite a lot about how you prepare to have a business video made, but that information is scattered across a lot of different articles. What I want to do today is summarise that information in a way that you will find useful and easy to access.
I’m going to cover the three basic steps of preparing to have your business video made. The first stage is to gather and interpret your knowledge of your business. The second stage is planning in conjunction with your filmmaker. Stage three is Gathering the resources that you’ve agreed with your filmmaker for the correct time.
Stage 1: Assembling And Assessing Your Knowledge
You know your business and you know a lot about your customers, but perhaps you don’t know everything you need to know. A repeated mantra of mine over the course of these articles has been to “Know Your Customers” and that is absolutely vital. You need to assess what kind of people they are. What their income is. What kind of emotional state appeals to them and will persuade them. You need to know what networks they use so they will see your videos. If you don’t know all these things about your customers now’s the time to find out. Before you engage your filmmaker, before you plan the story that you were going to tell, before you arrange your shoot.
The average income of your customer will give you big clues as to what kind of houses they live in, what kind of social circles they move in and allow you to get, in Broad Strokes, what their taste will be. Knowing how old your average customer is, will get you a similar set of data. Now we can combine both. This allows you to intersect the two data sets to be more precise about who you are targeting. This information will be very important to share with your filmmaker. They will understand how to structure your video to appeal to different sets of society. You have to tell them what section of society you are trying to deal with.
You know about your product and your service. How does your business function and how do you solve problems for your customers? Thankfully you almost certainly already know all of this. Your filmmaker doesn’t. Write a summary of each of the steps of your business. Think about how you help your customers and how your product or service problem solves for them. These are the selling points of your business. If your filmmaker has this information and knows who your customers are, this will be a great aid to making effective video. The final thing you need to know before you meet with your filmmaker, is what resources do you have available. Do you have a showroom full of cars that are all clean and neat ready to be shot? Are there happy customers to come into your office and talk about how wonderful the service you provided was? Do you have performer’s who will play the part of somebody receiving your service?Whatever the specifics of your business are you will need resources available to demonstrate them on the day of your shoot.
Stage 2: Planning Your Video
Now that you know what you know, and found out what you didn’t, and then got that information, it’s time to meet with your filmmaker. Your filmmaker will have made many promotional videos before and will have good knowledge of how to run a shoot, how to edit your video and how to make you look your best. But they don’t know about the specifics of your business and who your customers are. That’s ok because you’re now in a position to tell them. Producing a video is expensive. The time of video professionals is expensive because their skills are rare. That means you need to make the most of the meeting time allocated with you and your filmmaker. If you are prepared with all your information when you meet your filmmaker the meeting will be quicker and more efficient. When you book your meeting find out exactly what information your film-maker will need.
After The Meeting
After your meeting you will have agreed what will be shot and when. You can then make arrangements to have all the elements in place. Having people ready at the required times, and having displays and demonstrations ready should be the focus when you prepare. This is all time that isn’t wasted paying an expensive camera operator. Your meeting with your filmmaker is the time to plan exactly who needs to be where and when. It is also the time to talk about what story you are going to tell.
I have spoken often about why story is important but let me recap. All humans are driven by the stories they believe in. We experience the world through the lens of the stories we tell each other. So the story we tell in our video is of the utmost importance. This is where you will need to give your knowledge of your products and of your customers to your film maker. They must use their skills as story tellers to create the story you will tell. It is often a temptation to want to control the story in your video. After all, you are paying for it. BUT the chances are that as a business person you are not a skilled writer in the narrative sense. You may be, I don’t want to claim to know you, but probably not. That means making the most of the skills you are paying for, by hiring a skilled film maker.
Stage 3: Gathering Your Resources
I find a simple spreadsheet of resources required and the times they are needed is a great way to start organising. When you prepare you need to check all of the individual elements needed to break the task down. I’m sure I don’t really need to tell you this. You are running a business and know how to organise. It is enough to realise that when you prepare for your shoot it is like running a small project and all of the skills and tools you would use for project management apply.
The simple truth is, that if you prepare well your shoot and your edit will be a much quicker process than they otherwise would have been. The quicker the process the less it will cost you. The less it costs, the better the return on your investment.