Finding The Right Video Partner - Topline Considerations

If you’ve been hearing how important video is to your marketing mix, you’re not alone. The smartphone revolution combined with the massive reach of social media and the ease of posting content has resulted in online videos now making up more than 80% of all consumer traffic!

YouTube is now the second most trafficked site after Google and brands are focusing their online efforts more and more on video thanks to numerous studies that highlight video’s superior performance in several areas.

In part 1 of this series, we talked about the basics, what to know about video before you start the process. This time, we’ll focus on the “who” in the video equation and what’s involved depending which video production path you choose.

Let's start with producing “in house”. This usually involves using staff and equipment you own or rent to create video content, typically for social media, and occasionally for the company website or online marketing. Below are some questions for consideration:

  • Do you have everything you need to create video in house and at a level that meets the requirements of your stakeholders and goals you’ve set?
  • Will the cost of equipment and crew needed to produce the video in house make it uneconomical vs the cost of going to an outside supplier?
  • Do you have the necessary skills and know how in house? Will diverting in house resources to producing video compromise staffing needs in other areas?

I recommend you review the relevant points from part one of this series and make sure that the content you’re creating achieves the goals and delivers the message effectively.

An alternative to “in house” would be to hire a traditional video company or a “shreditor”. Traditional video companies are capable of creating a variety of video types, for example, some are set up for things like interview footage while others focus on creating simple corporate videos by cutting together footage of assets with “smiling busy staff doing something important” to deliver standard corporate overviews. A “shreditor” is a freelancer with a camera who shoots all the footage and edits it to deliver a final film. Drawbacks to this approach are that these types of suppliers typically specialize in only a couple of formats to achieve efficiency and lack the skills and resources to scale up to more demanding asks. On the plus side, they tend to be affordable and because of their smaller footprint, can be efficient in getting the footage you need for certain projects.

The “full service” option would be an ad agency. Agencies have traditionally been the “go to” source for any sort of content that was brand based, public facing or that needed creative ideation and development. Clients typically go to an agency when they have a product or service to sell, but need help finding and messaging an audience or coming up with creative ideas to tell their story. Agencies employ art and copy people to come up with an idea and ultimately a script that they then ask production companies to pitch treatments for. Agencies and client then discuss treatments, tweak scripts and ideas and eventually settle on a final script, director and production company and execute on the creative and deliver it to you in finished form. The drawback in this case is that it can be an expensive and time consuming process. On the other hand, if you need strategic direction or lack creative ideas to tell your story, this approach is a full-service, end to end solution.

Last, but not least, is to employ a full scale production company. Production companies are typically who agencies use to create and produce the commercials you see on television and online. They’ll have several star directors and a variety of “up and coming” directors who have experience making everything from branded content and short films to television commercials, documentaries and even feature films. As well, they have all the resources, skills, experience and relationships needed to pull together a complete production of any video or film content you might need. Some specialize solely in commercials while others provide more comprehensive production services. It’s important to note that production companies don’t typically generate the concepts, ideas or the strategy around your brand or product, they usually execute on the idea or script you bring to them. The production company approach will always yield top quality, on brand messaging so, if that’s important, you’ll want to start looking at the work and brands that the companies you’re considering have done in the past and the right choice will depend on your specific needs. On the other hand, production companies tend to be more expensive than video houses and they don’t typically come up with the concepts or ideas for your campaign.

In the next piece of this series, I’ll talk about all the elements that go into planning a video shoot from small scale right up to commercial production, and cover some of the things you need to think about at the beginning of your production.

Author: Dan Bannister, Executive Producer, Adhoc Content

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