A picture paints a thousand words, and those words are greatly multiplied if the picture in question is moving. In fact, studies show that when both the visual and auditory senses are stimulated, a person’s retention increases by an astounding 58 percent.
In this era of smartphones and tablets, people crave visual content. Look at the success of Pinterest and Tumblr. Stock photography of people shaking hands on your website will do nothing to help build intrigue or fascination with your company in this era of visual stimulation. Short films on the “story” of the people and values of the company will create a much deeper and lasting connection than any other digital medium available.
Too Close for Clarification
When people ask what my company does, I often fail at doing a good job of promoting us. You would assume that after crafting the stories of more than 300 companies, I would be able to explain the problems we solve for our clients. The problem is that while I am good at my job, I am far too close to it to be able to effectively tell its story.
The same rings true for many companies. Let’s say you’ve spent the past year coding an app. It has special features and a great user interface, and it will be of real value to users. But when you try to explain the app, you end up just talking about how it works, instead of why a person should use it.
If you want someone to truly understand your company, you should focus on a problem both you and your potential client have — not the fact that your company does X, Y, or Z. You need to first gain the trust of the viewer by showcasing how you solve a problem, as well as what your company and the viewer have in common. The final 20 percent of the video can be used to reveal what, exactly, your company does.
Success in 60 Seconds
A company’s story should be no longer than one minute, so naturally, you won’t be able to cover everything. Here’s what is necessary to create successful shorts:
- As previously mentioned, focus on the problem both you and your viewer share and how your company solves it.
- Use simple images. The human mind’s “working memory” is the first stop for new ideas, and it’s limited in size. Flashy images take up more space, so keep it simple to share the core of your story.
- Connect with prior knowledge. New bits of knowledge will link up with things people already understand. In other words, make it relatable. Use metaphors. A Dropbox company video connects the act of forgetting your files with leaving your wallet at home. It’s something everyone can understand and relate to.
- Limit any list in the video to just three things.
- No, seriously. Remember what I said about working memory? Most people can’t easily remember five things. Three is the magic number.
Roll Frame Goals
Company videos or shorts should not just be produced as eye candy or as replacements for a screencast that explains product features in detail. It has to tell a story, and it should work to convert viewers into customers, meaning there should always be goals for financial growth from the production and distribution of the video content. Determine whether or not the return from the video will eventually be worth the investment.
But the most important goal for any company video should be to take a complex, intriguing, or exciting story and turn it into a visual product that is engaging, informative, and understandable. This means that your friends and family might finally understand what you’ve been working so hard on for the past three years; your wife will never again give your that blank stare when you discuss work. Framing your company’s story in the right way can lead to more than just views — you just need to find your story.
Andrew Angus is an author, speaker, and founder/ CEO of Switch Video, a video animation company that produces simple videos that “explain what you do” in an engaging and compelling format. Switch Video works with companies of all sizes and has produced over 350 videos for clients like Microsoft and American Express in 15 countries and 8 different languages. Andrew is a thought leader in the online video industry, writing and speaking about the brain science behind making your company’s story stick. He welcomes people to reach out to him on Twitter or Google+ and can be booked to speak on Speakerfile.