If you are considering getting a video made for your business these are a number of things you need to decide early on to ensure you get the video you need.
You may have a vision for what you want and there may be an outline script you've been working on but how to find the people who can turn this into reality?
Prepare a Brief
Help the video companies to help you by describing what it is you want to achieve with the video. Set out at the beginning what the objective of the video is and how it will fit in with your marketing plans. Who are the target viewers and where do you expect they will see the video and what will they do (hopefully) as a result of seeing the video.
This scene setting is essential to ensure that you know what you want and the companies you talk to can apply their knowledge more specifically to your task. You'll find different levels of understanding among video production companies about how video fits into marketing and this could affect their ability to accurately understand your needs.
Finding a Video Production Company
A lot of business still happens through word of mouth referrals. Who do you know who has had video made and what can they tell you? If you attend regular networking meeting ask there.
Take a look at your competitors. If they are using videos see if you can find out who made them. Some video production companies specialize in specific types of customers or industry sectors.
Google is obviously a very good place to find who is out there. If you know that you are after a "talking head video" or an "animated video" you can be very specific in your search.
Any video production company worth their salt will have an up to date show reel where you can get a sense of the type of work they do – for example if you're a clothing supplier it would make more sense to work with a company that has this experience. As you will find out there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make a successful shot so it makes sense to involve a company with at least some relevant experience.
Talking is good.
The personal connection is important. Now you are talking to maybe 2 or 3 companies and they have received your brief, you can get a real sense of how they work by chatting through the requirement and seeing what ideas spark.
There are hundreds of ideas and creative abilities that could have been used to explain your story, what matters is a sense of realism about what is necessary and will do the job at a reasonable price.
Find out about their process and how they will schedule the production of the video and their preparationness to commit to time-lines. This can tell you a lot by itself. Putting a video production together is no different to any other form of project management.
How much will the video cost?
You should know the broad answer to this before you begin the process. The question is how much should you spend to achieve the marketing aim. You'll know for example that sending out the cost of direct mail can be quite reasonably calculated these days.
One of the essential beauties of video is that once made is able to deliver the same messages consistently, perfectly for as long as you think it is relevant in what it is saying. Unlike a piece of direct mail that will likely end up in the bin a video can live forever.
So have an idea about how much you can afford and what you need to achieve with that spend. Also, consider whether the video is an additional expenditure or if it is replacing another element of the marketing spend.
Above all this will act as guidance to the video companies when coming back to you with ideas and treatments. It focuses the effort and often opens up the creative juices to get the maximum impact from the video. It also stops silly ideas from taking root and wasting time.
And finally … Get involved!
Once you have made your selection you have a choice of leaving the production company to get on with it or staying staying involved. Remember, this is your business and no one knows as much about what you do as you do. Be sensible in your agreement but do not be afraid to ask 'dumb' questions to satisfy yourself you will get what you have paid for.
Finally – if you would like to know more about the detail of getting a video made you will find our Guide to Video for Business helpful. It describes the Video Lifecycle Model and the key steps in the video production process written from the point of the layman.