It’s not very often that I begin a blog post by invoking the wisdom contained within a Boyzone song. But why not? Here it is; my top advice for your corporate film:

‘You say it best, when you say nothing at all’

(NB – Sorry to Alison Krauss who actually wrote that song, but it’s just not as funny if I quote you)

I’ve written this blog piece for people exploring the idea of having a corporate film.  It’s about how to realise your vision; how to visualise your value proposition. Your value can be a malleable material. It’s a bit like a freshly made jelly – its constituent parts are always the same (as dictated by your commercial strategy), but it can fit in different moulds. It’s a blog to give you some intellectual tools to think about corporate film making.

In the coming months Radar Film is undertaking corporate film tasks for 2 multi nationals, and has just finished a tranche of work with Scottish and Southern Energy Networks, so it’s been something to consider quite a lot. I wanted to go beyond the usual crappy ‘7 things to think about’ format, because – well, they are neither use nor ornament;

Corporate Film:Types

Over the past 6 months I have been asked to make films:

  •  to describe a company, its offering and its people
  •  describe a product, process or service
  •  for regulatory inspection
  •  of events
  •  to advertise events
  •  for social media engagement
  •  to assist in fund raising for charities
  •  for public health information

These different types of film all fulfil different objectives for the customer. What they should all do though, is reinforce your value proposition.

Corporate Film: What do you want from it and where will it be deployed?

What do you actually want from your film? Many of my clients will initially say that they want video to improve their website. It certainly can improve your website, but by the same token it won’t increase traffic on its own. Video is just one way of generating engagement with your content. But there is a world of other stuff that needs to be done to your website to make it better.

If you are looking for video as a way of boosting traffic to your site, then you’ll need to take a co-ordinated approach with your web developer and your film company. For more information on this take a look at my mate Simon’s website. Having a video rich website is a great idea, but you need to make sure the nuts and bolts of it work nicely behind the scenes too.

Google exists only to make money from the internet. It makes money by providing relevant information to people who use it to search for information. Bear that in mind, and all the speculation about algorithms kind of evaporates.

Corporate Film: Understanding the ‘things you are saying without saying them’

A Case Study:

Watch this:

– Babcock Group 

We very quickly learn what the Babcock group do in this film. They make big stuff out of metal. When it comes to ‘who’ the Babcock group are, my impression that this is an organisation driven by white men, doing mens’ work. Roar.

The majority of engineers that I know are women. Are women encouraged in this organisation? Or are they – like many technical consultancies – unwilling to encourage female talent and make it purposefully difficult by imposing a long hours, male dominated culture? That’s for you to decide.

This is not critique whatsoever of the film maker who was engaged on this project by the way. It is slick and professional, if i’d have made it it would be all over my LinkedIn profile. It’s also not a critique of the Babcock group itself, but potentially of it’s video brief.

Your culture and values drive each interaction between your customers and your staff. Establishing a positive culture within your employee family is vitally important to meeting your objectives. The above film is one example of how a corporate film can impact your culture.

What does your film say about you?  It goes without saying that potential employees are looking to align not only their career ambitions with you, but their value system.

Corporate Film and Engaging Current Employees

Your corporate film is the only way of customers  having a quasi face to face experience before actually meeting you. Therefore, showing not only the space you work in, but setting the tone of your internal culture is important. If you’re interested to learn more about your internal space and culture interact, take a look at these guys. If you are looking for stuff about leadership, then have a look at these guys

But corporate film doesn’t just concern your customers. Your staff will see it too. The bigger your organisation is, the bigger your employee pool. The bigger this is, the farther away are the corners. People hide in corners. Ask any good fire investigator and you’ll know that fires are more intense in the corners.

Reconsider the above film in this light – who are the Babcock group? If you worked for them, how far from the centre do you feel? Why is this? Is it because of the impersonal voice over from a distance, authoritative male voice? Have we heard anything from any employees or customers?

Does your internal culture reflect the direction of travel you want your business to go in? Do departments work together? Are you adaptable? Reliable? Or both? Do your employees understand the pressures that constant change imposes on the commercial survival of a business? Do they understand their role and how important they are? Film is one way of helping people understand where they fit and who you are.

Corporate Film: Methods of generating engagement

Ways you could develop employee engagement on your film could include:

  1. ‘Meeting’ the leadership team – the small people make business work, but the leadership are often distant. Who are they? Do the middle management reflect that culture?
  2. Understanding a broad reach of current projects and how they were achieved – pictures of big metal stuff is great, but can you find an allegory within your business narrative? Does one project say a lot about who you are?
  3. Meeting the operators: These people are the lifeblood of your organisation. But who are they?
  4. Using conceptual imagery and animated graphics. Again, big metal stuff is great, but can your culture be symbolised? Some of the best symbolic stuff I have seen comes from a business I met a while ago – it’s a tree, forming a question mark jigsaw, with a customer fitting the other half of the tree question mark jigsaw. It’s brilliantly succinct. It speaks of wisdom, confidence, temperance, even a little bit of love. Talking to them got me thinking about all this in the first place.

Corporate Film and your offering: Is your value proposition really your factory?

It’s very tempting to think in terms of your operation when it comes to your film. But your operation is different from your offering. If you make stuff in a big factory, you need to work out if there actually is a value in showing that factory. Who cares that you have a big factory with big machines in it? Seriously – who actually cares? Impressive though it may be, it is not relevant to most of your customers.

It might be that you want to demonstrate the scale of what you can do, or something unique to your process. In which case, big machines are interesting. If you sell – for example posh soap – , I doubt you really want a film of soap being made. It’s value is in it’s capacity as a gift not as a detergent or personal deodoriser.  On the other hand, it might be that you want to engage your social followers with some footage of soap being made, to give them the inside information on their favourite product. But then we are moving into the realm of social media video. That’s a whole other discipline…

One good reason to have a corporate film is to reinforce a Marketing and Communications Strategy (Marcomms to use the lingo). Your film might be directed at one part of the market, and your website at another so you can address different needs. Doing one thing without the other though is a bit pointless. Film on its own won’t transform your fortunes.

There are no right answers here, just things to consider.

Small Business Corporate Film Case Study

We made a video for a local gym; It’s a pretty good example of how we conceptually roll. The gym – a Crossfit ‘box’ is part of a franchise which has a very strong corporate value proposition.

Basically all gyms are the same in terms of their operation aren’t they?- you go in, pick some stuff up, put it down again and then go home.

In this case, it would be very tempting to simply show pictures of the equipment in the gym and some rippling muscles to go along with it. But that is not the value of Crossfit. The value of Crossfit is its accessibility and its strong community focus. After sitting down and chatting through it, we decided that the objective of the video would be to reassure potential new members. We wanted to tell people interested in it that they would be able to cope with it and that they would be welcome. To do this we curated a set of testimonial footage, from a member, and set the tone by introducing the head coach. What emerged was a pretty stylish film with a strong message of friendliness and welcome, along with some rippling muscles and some astonishing pain faces.

Corporate Film: Conclusions

Remember a few key points from this and your planning will go smoothly –

  • What is the forum and who is the audience? This determines the duration of the film
  • What is your message? This determines the content of the film
  • What is your value for the selected audience – value propositions are moveable feasts – this impacts on the content
  • Showing without telling is the most powerful and most legitimate way of using film a tool. A film is a way of showing moving symbols to convey complex information and emotion. It is a form of empirical art. It is not a replacement for a ‘darn good talking to’ or a lecture.

Drop me a line if you want to a talk anything over, and thanks for reading.

This article was supplied by our friends at Radar Film.