It's hard to miss these days: video is everywhere, and it's one of the most important tools at your disposal when it comes to attracting customers. You've probably looked up a video on a product or service you've bought in the past; more than fifty percent of people do when they're searching the internet for a company to hire or a product to buy. If you've done this in the past, you'll have a good idea about why it's important: video helps with buying decisions, it increases customer confidence, it's more likely to be shared (which maximizes your marketing investment), and it's one of the biggest influences that trigger buying behavior.
That sounds great. But where do you start with video production?
Ironically, consuming video is ubiquitous these days, but the ins and outs of actually producing quality videos is a very specialized, very niche understaking. To make things worse, with newer technology emerging every day, it's very common to see a wide range of people who have invested in a prosumer video camera claiming to be a "video production company". This means one of the most challenging aspects of hiring someone to create video for you, whether it's for TV commercials, corporate videos or just some video content for social media, is finding an actual skilled, reputable video production company that can not only understand your vision and needs, but translate it into an actual finished video that achieves what you need it to.
Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be. Let's break it into a couple of steps.
The work is all that matters.
You've been consuming medial for your whole life. Think about what sorts of TV commercials, films and more elicit the strongest emotional reaction from you. What do you notice about them? Are they filmed in a particular way? Do they have a certain level of polish and craftsmanship to them? Now think about videos that you associate with low-quality: local car dealership commercials maybe, or reality shows that only focus on capturing the footage and don't worry about image quality.
Got that? Now look through some video production company reels and sort them by which ones make you feel a ceratin way that you'd want to asssociate with your business or brand. Remember, the quality of your videos IS branding, and this is one of the most important things that people often overlook. If you want your company to come across as established, successful, reliable, trustworthy, etc., then you need a video that immediately communicates to the viewer that you have the wherewithall and resources to invest into your marketing content. There's a reason why you can instantly tell the difference between a national and a local commercial just from looking at it, but the good thing is that even if you're a small business, it doesn't mean that high-quality video production is out of your reach budget-wise. That's because:
A great video production company acts as a consultant and partner, not just a vendor.
The right video production company like Flow Production and Post will work with you with the long term play in mind, and will only engage with projects that they know will help you to make money. One-off projects are not how the video production industry sustains itself--they want to help you grow as a business so that you can have a long and successful partnership together over many projects. So listen to how they approach things, and be transparent with concerns like budget. A good production company won't set a given project in stone at one particular price. They will treat budget as a discussion, as the entire point is finding the sweet spot between cost and quality that will make you stand out from your competition while landing cost-wise in a place where you know you'll make money from your investment.
This will also mean taking a look at the people who will be producing your video or TV commercial directly, because:
You must make sure that the people who are creating your video are exactly the same people who created the demo videos that your production company showed you.
This might seem obvious, but it's actually not if you're outside the industry. Many aspects of video production involve a wide range of freelancers, contract work, outside vendors, subcontractors and more. Even if the owner or the director of a given demo video is the same as yours, that is only one part of the production. Who was the editor? The colorist? The animator or visual effects person? Showing you a demo video that a production company has produced for a different client is great, but it might not mean much in terms of what your final project will look like if it's essentially an entirely different team producing it with the same production company's logo at the top of the proposal. Ask the detailed questions, learn about the steps of the process, and make sure you know what you're getting with your money.
Enjoy the process.
Video production can be intimidating, but it can also be a lot of fun. Many clients don't realize how much goes into even a modest video production if you're aiming for quality, and they're amazed at how much time, equipment and knowhow is required for a succesful production. But once you start to appreciate what goes into it, you can really deep dive into the process and focus on making your videos as great as they can be, as long as you have the right video production company partner to ensure that the actual process goes smoothly. Learn as much as you can, ask lots of questions, and enjoy all of the business growth great video content can help you achieve.
John Webb is head of Business Develpment for Flow Production and Post, a top New York City production company.