10 mistakes to avoid when commissioning a corporate video

A well-conceived, well-produced and well-marketed corporate video can do wonders for your business. Whether you want it to help you explain your products clearly, win you more customers, or recruit more staff, it's a substantial undertaking that can earn you great returns. So the last thing you want to do is mess it up right from the start.

Commissioning a corporate video is a tricky business (we're London's nicest B2B PR agency, so we created this free ebook to help you), but finding the right video production company and forging a good relationship with them is absolutely fundamental to the success of your video. It requires planning on your part long before you even pick up the phone to get quotes, and an understanding that this is a collaborative process between you and the agency you choose.

Here are ten common mistakes that companies make when commissioning a corporate video - whether it's an explainer, a video case study, or any other business film. Try to avoid them!

#1. Asking every video production agency and their dog to pitch. You're wasting your time and theirs. We'd recommend getting quotes from three companies for comparison.

#2. Requesting a proposal before you’ve got a budget. A seemingly obvious requirement but one that a baffling number of people think can be decided mañana. Without some indication of budget, the agencies will have no idea whether you’re after an iPhone-version of your Monday meeting or a beautiful animated corporate story, replete with celebrity voice over and a John Williams soundtrack.

#3. Not having clear goals. If you don't know what you want to achieve, you won't be able to make informed decisions about the format, style and content of the video, so think hard and decide exactly what it is you want the video to help you do.

#4. Copying the latest viral video. If you insist on parodying a recent video fad or recreating a style you've seen before, you run the risk of dating your video immediately. Try a little originality; after all, if you set out to be the next guys to do that cool new on-trend thing then it's probably too late for you anyway.

#5. Striking the wrong tone. Once you know what you need and how best to portray this in your video, you need to make sure you strike the right tone with your audience. For example, if it's an explainer video that showcases a cool new technology or a recruitment video for attracting bright young things, then a bit of humour could work well. On the other hand, if it's a health and safety video or a shareholders' update, then a more sober tone is probably advisable. Discuss this with your production company to agree on the best options for your video.

#6. Writing the script yourself (unless you’ve got good experience in this area). Of course no one knows your business better than you. But sometimes this means you can't see the wood for the trees. Plus, script writing is a craft, so don't get precious; leave it to the professionals to find the words that will really connect with the audience.

#7. Letting your CEO do the voiceover. As above, it's often the case that companies want to keep as much of the video production process in house as possible. But when it comes to something as important as the voiceover, trust in the professionals or you could find yourself scoring high on the cringe-o-meter.

#8. Shooting the video in anything less than HD. Don't even consider working with a video production company that doesn't shoot in high definition.

#9. Letting your video gather dust. Make sure you work with a production company that can also help you get the finished video in front of the right people. Whether that's through great PR, social media or targeted online advertising, you need to think about getting maximum ROI out of your video.

#10. Making decisions by consensus. We’ve seen hundreds of video briefs and the ones where every person in the marketing, operations and HR department has had their input usually become watered down, extremely long (so everyone can get their points across) boring flops. To avoid this, assign final powers to one lead contact, or a small group, and trust them to take action.


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