How To Make A Brand Video That Sells (In 5 Steps)

July 13, 2022

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In this episode I’ll be sharing with you the five essential elements that every brand video needs in order to captivate consumer’s attention, build hype around your brand, and encourage buying decisions.

When we talk about audience retention rates, video is still the highest performing media in 2022 so it should be a key part of any brand’s marketing strategy. We’ve been offering video production for over 10 years now and there are a few things that have proven to produce results time and time again for our clients. 

Without further ado, let’s get straight into the five essentials elements you need to include in your video production to grow your brand, attract new customers, and generate sales.


#1 - A Brand Strategy

If you’re a fan of the podcast/blog you’ll know that we’re huge advocates for brand strategy and the results it produces for businesses (particularly over the long term). The problem is we don’t often hear about the point where brand strategy meets video production. My hope is that I can demystify some of that for you and show you how you can take a strategic approach to improve your video production and your marketing ROI.

Having a brand strategy in place gives a direction and a goal for the content you’re producing. If you can wrap your head around where your video production fits into your overall brand goals, and how your brand goals serve your wider business objectives, you can tailor your content to precisely serve those targets. This not only keeps the whole team aligned but it also provides a framework to guide all of the marketing and technical decisions for your video.

Let’s say you open up a French restaurant in London and one of your business goals is to achieve £1 million turnover in your first year. Through strategy and research you discover that a video campaign marketed on social media is the strongest way to announce your new launch. 

Great. Now… What sort of video do you produce? Is it a talking-head video, a series of slow motion cinematic food shots, or  maybe a narrative commercial? How long is the video? Which platforms is it going on? What aspect ratio does it need to be? Do you need multiple versions to hit different audiences? What should the cinematography and sound design be like?

These are all questions that you’re just guessing if you haven’t got a brand strategy.

Having gone through the brand strategy process you would be able to:

  • Find out exactly what you need to say and do in your video to engage your ideal customer.
  • Craft a unique tone of voice for your own brand persona that will attract those customers.
  • Gather insights into what your competitors are doing and, more importantly, what they’re not doing (so you can take advantage of these untapped areas).

So, number one on our list of essentials for effective video production is brand strategy.

Your brand persona informs the tone of voice you use in all of your marketing.


#2 - A Compelling Story

This almost goes without saying but all great video production starts with a compelling story. We live in this crazy fast-paced digital world where things are constantly competing for our attention. How are you going to present a story that engages the attention of your potential customer and retains them during their busy lives?

We’ve talked about how you can use brand strategy to understand your audience really well, so you’re already clued up on what sort of message and subject matter you should include. Now you need a storytelling framework.

Many years ago I got my degree in filmmaking so I learned exactly how to tell stories. The truth is there are many different  storytelling frameworks but the one that’s most common, and the one I recommend for you if your main priority is advertising and branding, is The Hero’s Journey.

The Hero’s Journey is typically a 12-step framework and is used primarily in feature films but for the purposes of branding and marketing we’ll be using a more simplified version that takes only 5 steps. We do this to facilitate the shorter run times of commercials and social media videos, and to allow for a customer call to action. 

This is the framework that we use in our agency and here’s what it looks like:


Existing World

Paint an accurate picture of what everyday life looks like for your target audience. If you know that the majority of your customers commute to work by train, then the first scene in your video might be someone on the train. The idea is to demonstrate that you really understand your customers and, subconsciously, they’ll feel like this ad was made specifically for them.


Obstacle

Demonstrate empathy with your audience specifically around the problem your brand solves. For example, if you’re a plant-based food company and your product is really realistic and tasty, then show characters not enjoying themselves with the unappetising options currently on the market. 

This is really effective because you’ve not only addressed the problem your audience is having (the abundance of unappetising plant-based competitors), but you’ve also highlighted the benefits and USP’s of your own product that makes you a better choice.

Make sure that the characters you use in your video accurately represent your target demographic so that they really resonate with them.


Meeting The Guide

You’ve shown your customers in their everyday lives and you’ve empathised with the problems they face, now it’s time to  be their knight in shining armour. Your product or service solves the problem you’ve already empathised with, right? So all you have to do is show them how.

Continuing with our plant-based food example, your task is to show how your solution combats the problem of poor taste and unrealistic texture. So come up with some creative ways that you can show that. We produced a commercial earlier this year that did exactly that. To show how tasty and realistic the plant-based burgers were, our idea was to show a cow getting angry at people because it thought they were real meat. Not only did this highlight the solution but it infused comedy too.


Transformation

This is where the payoff happens. Now that your audience is aware of the solution, shower them with positive emotion by showing what their new life could be like with your brand in it. Build their excitement, inspire them, show that they can enjoy your solution too.

With our plant-based burger example you might show your characters with a healthier diet, perhaps a field of happy animals, or a more lush and green environment due to less animal farming. Remember, the goal is to show your audience’s desires not your own. If you don’t follow a plant-based diet then try to keep your own biases out of the story.


Call To Action

Tell the audience what action you want them to take at the end of the video. It could be a sign up, a discount promotion, a website click, a product sale, or you could just use a catchy tagline if the video is about building brand awareness. Whatever it is, make sure you give your audience that next step so they can engage with your brand.

Use this 5-step storytelling framework and you’ll keep your customers engaged throughout your videos.


A completed screenplay marked up by the director and ready for shooting.


#3 - An Exciting Hook

I’ve used the term “hook” here because “gimmick” has negative connotations but I do really mean gimmick… If you can come up with a visual theme that you use throughout the video or on one standout occasion, you give your audience something memorable that forces them to remember the video and show it to their friends. 

I previously told you about our plant-based burger commercial featuring a cow. To take the comedy one step further the cow actually starts a Mexican standoff with some farmers. That’s an example of an exciting comedic hook that you don’t often see brands being daring enough to try. This is the sort of thing you need to think about with your video production in order to differentiate your brand. In another video we used visual effects to flip a burger several feet in the air. That video went on to do really well and has since become the centrepiece for many of own marketing efforts.

Using unique and effective hooks in your video production will evoke a strong response from your audience. In turn, this will encourage them to let their guard down so that they can enjoy the video, associate your brand with a positive emotion, and consider buying from you.

If you’re looking to go viral then think of ways that you can use the camera to achieve new and exciting angles, try adding visual effects to your video, or come up with some crazy concepts for your narrative.


#4 - A Great Team

Unless you have a really talented team in-house whose background and experience is in filmmaking, then I’d recommend outsourcing your video production to an agency. Now, I know what you’re thinking:

  • An external agency won’t know how to capture your brand voice
  • They will be too expensive

For the first objection, that’s what your brand strategy is for. If it’s all down on paper in one unified document then anyone that knows what they’re doing should be able to take up the mantle. As for it being too expensive, think again. More often than not a professional agency will cost you about the same if not less than the average junior marketing salary. In the interest of transparency, our basic 12-month package costs about £15,000 which is less than the annual minimum wage in the UK. Of course you wouldn’t have us day-in day-out like you would an employee but you do get substantially higher quality and over a decade of expertise.

A great team will yield great results. Video production isn’t just there to look pretty, it has to serve your overall business goals.

The Ventur crew in their happy place (on set!)


#5 - An Appropriate Budget

I say “appropriate” because the amount you spend on your video production should be relative to the size of the problem it’s intending to solve. Going back to our French restaurant example from earlier, remembering that the goal was £1 million, it makes sense to spend anything between £100,000 and £500,000 to achieve that goal. Other times, you don’t need to spend anywhere near that. If your goal is brand awareness then you might only spend between £1,000 and £5,000 for a video.

Here’s a trick you can use to work out how much to spend on video production:

  • Get clear about the problem you’re looking to solve (sales, brand awareness, sign ups etc.)
  • Quantify that problem (how much does solving this problem mean to your business financially?)
  • Allocate somewhere between 10% and 50% to video production to achieve that goal (the amount you allocate will depend on the level of expertise you bring in, what other marketing you’re doing, and how quickly you want results)

This method works for any business problem by the way, not just video production. This is assuming you’ve done your research, you’ve got your brand strategy, and you’ve concluded that video production is the answer.



Summary

So to recap: in 2022 video production is still the best performing media online so if you’re looking to grow your brand and increase revenue then it’s a great way to go. In order for your videos to work hard for you they need to include these five essential elements:

  1. A brand strategy to align everyone towards the wider business objectives
  2. A compelling story to attract your target audience
  3. An exciting hook to make your videos unforgettable
  4. A great team that will bring quality and expertise
  5. An appropriate budget relative to the size of the problem you’re looking to solve

If you can achieve all five you’re on track to create viral videos that will build huge amounts of brand equity for your business.

Thanks for tuning in. If you learned something new this episode, subscribe to the show for more tips on helping your business stand out. Leave a review on Apple Podcasts and we’ll give you a shout out on the next episode. And if you’re hungry for more great resources or if you’d like to work with us on building your brand head over to venturagency.com - that’s Ventur without the “e”.

Stay tuned for the next episode where we’ll be teaching you how to scale your business using brand identity and design.

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Host: Kaine Levy
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