The content revolution and the subsequent explosion of video marketing has seen a rise in the number of Video Content Agencies; and it is a real mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. For many marketers, choosing a video content partner is a step into the unknown.
It can seem like the wild west out there when choosing a video content partner; one-time videography enthusiasts and self-taught editors and animators are offering unbelievably cheap production services, but often at a price. They shoot first and ask questions later, focusing on the solution rather than taking time really understand the client and their creative problem. This means their clients gets what they asked for, but not what they really wanted.
At Content Creatures, we approach every project with a 6 step process that’s designed to deliver great video content and happy clients.
The key to getting a happy client at the end of the project is establishing a clear brief from the outset. Talking honestly at the start of the job and not holding back makes a huge difference. The more a client shares, the easier it is to create the video content they really want.
This listening stage doesn’t need to be face to face, at Content Creatures we will often communicate with clients on Skype, or even old-school, by telephone.
A client wouldn’t be human if they didn’t want a level of reassurance. So, to show an agency has been listening, they should respond with a creative brief. This will play back everything that’s been discussed to that point and distill the project down into a single, measurable thought. We find this represents an excellent opportunity to check we’re on the same page as the client. It also gives them something tangible to share with colleagues, so they can ensure internal stakeholders are on-side too.
Next, it’s time to dust off the grey matter and give the brain a thorough workout. Set aside plenty of time for research. Look at the client’s business from the outside, review their competitors and check new creative work and techniques that are relevant to the creative brief. Try to develop several initial creative thoughts.
We will always generate multiple concepts, dismissing those that don’t hold up strongly enough to the client’s brief. We’ll stay focused on the thinking stage until there are at least two good creative routes for the client to mull over.
Just as projects and concepts vary, so does the best way to present a particular idea. Some routes are best shared using mood boards and sketches. Whilst others require animation tests, style frames or even full storyboards.
It can take a degree of client insight to work out the best way to pitch an idea. Some are very visual, whilst others will expect pages of written treatments. It’s worth taking time to know which kind client of yours is. Knowing their learning style will make the pitching process smoother and less open to misunderstanding. Once our clients are happy with a particular route, we develop them into final boards for sign off.
With the idea greenlit, it’s time to get down to the hard graft – and craft – of making the video. Often this will involve some copywriting. Writers should immerse themselves in the language and culture of their client’s organisation; so that the video content carries their clear tone of voice.
Once the script is tweaked and polished, production begins in earnest. This can involve any combination of skills; illustration, animation, live action filming, editing and so on. Remember to create plenty of opportunities for the client to comment along the way.
When we’re filming, we invite them along. Whilst on animated projects, we supply animation tests and completed scenes to ensure the client feels fully invested in the production.
Keeping the client involved throughout the process, helps ensure that the final sign-off of pictures is a formality. With the visuals are approved, it’s time to record the final voiceover, add audio effects and master the sound mix.
Then, all that remains is to deliver. Don’t always expect your client to know exactly what format they want the final video content delivered in. Many won’t know the difference between MPEG-4 and MP4. However, they should be able to tell you where the film will be hosted which should be enough for a good video content agency to work out the rest. If our client’s projects are ending up on commercial TV, we’ll even deal with Clearcast and Adstream.
Our considered 6 step approach to a video content brief is about being a problem solver and not a problem-maker; that’s why it leads to happy clients.