How can corporates use video?

Posted by Nick Francis
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One of the major challenges we had when we started Casual was that video can be used for such a wide range of things. Before we realised the importance of focus, we would answer the question “So, what can you make films about?” with the pretty useless “Almost anything”. Over time, we learned to be a bit more specific, and, in the last 12 years, we have made films that bring the whole of the employee lifestyle to life, from initial awareness, through recruitment, and on to ongoing engagement, and learning and development. We’ve even made films that retain and build a network of alumni for those who’ve moved on. We’ve made product promotions, adverts, discount films, branded content and conference openers. Some of these with actors and others with online influencers, with helicopters, drones and bodycams.

Casual Films Different ways of using video

Casual has made over 8,000 different films for almost everything a company could want a film for. It’s really important to understand that film or moving images can enhance any message you might have to share. Video is a great way of weaving emotion into selected facts. This increases their impact, memorability and the chance that people will act on them. Let’s look at some of the ways that video has been used by corporate communicators.

We use the following classifications at Casual to separate all the different things that our clients have used our work for in the past. This is not exhaustive, but it does give a picture of the breadth of uses. Some of these are quite similar – or even overlap – and rely on similar attributes of video for their effectiveness.

Boost sales 

“Shoppers who view video are 1.81X more likely to purchase than non-viewers.”

– Adobe

The most common films made by companies, which we see in our day-to-day lives, are those designed to sell things. From the dawn of TV, advertisers have been promoting their wares, using every trick in the filmmaker’s book to introduce, promote and explain their products. Films that are able to do this remain the kings of corporate films. From the time in the 1940s and 1950s in which advertisers were able to show that there is a direct line of correlation between the amount spent and sales increases; the budgets for these short films have grown, in some cases to become eye-watering. The annual colosseum of televisual advertising – the US Super Bowl – boasts vast audiences, and hence has a cost of around US$2 million for a 30-second advertising spot. Each year, companies compete to outdo one another and be recognised as having the best commercials of the night.

 

 

Promoting sales with animation: Greater Anglia Railways

At the other end of the spectrum, the prevalence of regional TV and now the spread of the Internet have made this type of marketing accessible to any business that wants to use it. There are a wide range of approaches available, from the relatively indirect to the focused sales activation described previously.

Encourage donations/funding

The emotive power of video makes it an excellent tool for pulling on the audience’s heartstrings, and getting them to part with their money or time. I’m sure you are aware of the way that charities have used videos since the 1980s. These can also extend to Kickstarter and crowdfunding campaigns. Video’s ability to simplify a message into a really compelling minute or so makes it excellent for this.

Introduce a business

As with encouraging funding, the ability to compress time and turn a ‘who we are’ PowerPoint presentation into a punchy 60-second promotion with music and branded graphics/colours makes video a useful tool to clarify exactly what your business does. The majority of websites that we have audited – over 1,000 thus far – are not using video on their homepage.11 They rely on the visitor being able to grasp what the business does in the few brief seconds before they click elsewhere. It is a truism that people/businesses tend to market to themselves. As such, there is always far too much assumed knowledge, which makes websites impenetrable.

A video is a great way of capturing attention and explaining, in an accessible format, what the visitor should be looking for. This is why having a video on your homepage can improve click-through rates by up to 80%. This video can also be used in presentations, pitches, reception areas and for new joiners/potential recruits – anywhere you might want people to quickly understand, through compelling media, who you are and what you do.

Promote a product or service through explanation 

“4x as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.”

– Animoto

Explaining succinctly what a product or service is or does is another effective use of video. Once again, most businesses communicating anything assume too much background knowledge. In this instance, video can break down exactly what the product is and does, and build trust and understanding in an accessible package. This may be through an animation, which is effective when used to illustrate complex messaging, because of the ability to ‘show and tell’ at the same time as using accessible metaphors.

Another effective way to promote a service is through interview-led videos with experts, clients or users. These increase the audience’s trust in the product by borrowing from the featured subject’s standing: their expertise or experience. Interview-led films or ‘talking heads’ are useful because they are pretty much the cheapest videos to produce, and we find human faces innately intriguing.

Get people excited

The moving nature of video makes it a great tool for exciting an audience about something. Admittedly, this could be an extension of promoting a product or service. However, it is distinct in that the method is less based on relaying information and explaining, and more focused on generating a positive emotion in the audience. One way of looking at it might be to say that explainer films engage the logical left side of the brain, while a film to get people excited targets the feeling, creative right side. These usually employ a stirring script and a voiceover with powerful music to do this. Both of these types of film, explainer and exciter, aim for the same outcome, though – getting the audience more engaged.

Increase brand awareness / tell a story

In reality, all the video content that companies share has the effect of building (or, unfortunately, sometimes damaging) their brand. Some videos are made specifically for this purpose, though. They may aim to align the business with a cause that matters to their target audience, or reflect on someone or something that they’re interested in. It may extend to them wanting to share a story related to the company – the history or something that has inspired them.

 

 

Increasing brand awareness: Glenmorangie - the Evolution of Craft

Attract the best candidates

Video is an excellent way to illustrate relatively intangible things, such as a company’s culture. Most people looking for a role at a new company will research what the job is about, beyond what is included in the job description. Video is a great way of sharing some of the things that make your company special.

Casual Films SGOSS Recruit and Engage

Illustrating your culture: SGOSS - Become a Governor

In the hypercompetitive job market one of the best areas for businesses to compete in is through an engaging, motivating and, crucially, well-communicated culture. Video can be invaluable in helping to build that culture, through communicating what the concept of the brand means. This is where video can be invaluable – it allows you to communicate with your potential (and current) staff on an emotional level. One point to note is that, in the age of resources such as Glassdoor (which allows employees to rate employers for all to see), it is important that the offer and reality align. Recruitment videos are split into two categories: employer/employee value-proposition brand films and profile/day-in-the-life films.  

Videos to promote and clarify a company’s diversity and inclusion policies should be included here too.

Train my colleagues

Another type of internal communication that uses video is learning and development. The zero cost of distribution, and the ability to make changes and amendments to videos on an ongoing basis makes them useful for sharing information and training across a large organisation. Animation works well for information, and interactive video is good for training, because it allows viewers to choose responses and outcomes. The functionality of interactive video also allows for scorekeeping and sharing, which is a useful way of injecting a little competition into the learning process. Beyond that, simply being able to show videos and then have people discuss them helps to increase the effectiveness of the learning.

Change behaviour

The external equivalent of internal training, making films to inform and change behaviour, is nearly as old as film itself; for example, the public information films that were used to keep the population up to speed in the first half of the 20th century. The modern equivalents are usually produced by governments or charities.

Start a discussion/conversation 

Video removes any unnecessary information and pauses. This condenses the amount of time it takes to share different viewpoints in an argument, which makes it useful for setting up a discussion. Such videos are usually played at the beginning of an online/offline discussion, or to change to another subject.

Recording an event

The quality of an event film is, understandably, usually tied to the quality of the event itself. It is a useful way of encapsulating what happened, what was discussed or featured, and who was there. With some appropriate music and a dynamic edit, the video becomes a useful tool for promoting forthcoming events too.

But not everything – emotion vs information

All this having been said, there are some things that video is not great at. Emotion and information exist in a balance in all films. Too much focus on emotion – with practically no information – and the film can feel superficial and lacking in substance (think of most fashion ads). Too much information and not enough emotion, and the film will be dry, difficult to follow and impenetrable (some corporate reports embody this pitfall).

They should be like yin and yang. In every informative film you should have a bit of emotion, and in every emotive film you should have a bit of information (even if that is a basic narrative structure). Because of this, if you have lots and lots of information to get across, video might not be the best way to do it. You will probably find it more effective to create a PDF document, use video to outline a few salient points and promote reading the PDF through a shorter, more engaging film.


Whatever you're making a film to do, it really helps to be clear on what you are trying to achieve from the outset. We pulled together some top tips on how to get your thoughts aligned before you pick up the phone. Following the ideas in this document is the most significant step that you can take to maximise the effectiveness of your project spend. Check it out here:

DOWNLOAD BETTER BRIEFS

 

Topics: Being a better commissioner, Boost sales and encourage donations, Explain or promote products and services, Train and develop staff, Attract and retain the best candidates, Increase brand awareness and appeal, Production process

Mitie: How can video explain the future of the workspace?

Posted by Nick Francis
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Mitie is the UK's largest facilities management company. They have been putting a fair bit of thought - and action - into what the information revolution means for the workspaces of the future. These ideas have been tied together in a plan called: The Connected Workspace.

Mitie Casual Films Main

Communication is essential to any effective plan so they decided that they needed a short series of films to explain what they mean by The Connected Workspace.

Every commissioner naturally wants to get the maximum 'bang for their buck' from every production they create. Generating a number of different outputs from the minimum amount of production - filming - time is a great way of doing this.

 

The Main Film:

This film captures the essence of the concept. It shows all of the different facets of the brief and is designed to work as a standalone unit:

Mitie Connected Workspace

It has a dynamic soundtrack and is designed to be emotionally engaging and inspiring. This engages more of the brain chemistry, which makes the message significantly more memorable.

 

The 'Talking Head' Intro Film:

In order to share the background and concept behind the concept, we decided to complement the main output with an interview led film. Where the main film focuses on emotion, this Intro Film is informative. These two facets - emotion and information - tend to be mutually exclusive in a production. ie. the more informative something is, generally the less emotionally engaging - and vice versa.

 Mitie Intro Film

The Social Cut:

The main intro film is over 3'00" long, which is fine for viewers who have made a conscious decision to watch it to gain the information. For the audience on social media though, this is way too long. This is why a 30" social media cut is created to encapsulate the idea in a more consumable package.

This is also a good way of increasing the 'bang for your buck'. Once the editor is familiar with the footage, putting out additional edits like this is relatively easy.

 

The Behind the Scenes Film:

This is another great way of getting more content out of the process. Making films/videos should be a rewarding, fun and creative experience (if you're doing it right). Getting everyone involved in the process together and working through the production plan makes this a great time for someone to shoot some back up material. It's a record of the day and gives you more content to share and promote the campaign.

 Mitie Connected Workspaces BTS

The 360 Behind the Scenes Film:

Even easier that getting one of the team to shoot a behind the scenes film is setting up a 360 camera in various spots throughout the production, so your audience can choose where to look. This is a cost-efficient way to be able to add depth to your campaign. You can reuse much of the assets from the central films. For example - as you can hear the music is the same as that used in the other films.

 Mitie Connected Workspaces Casual Films 360

 

You can see the main films in their natural habitat here: www.connectedworkspace.com

We hope this has helped you to understand some of the ways to make the most of your production. This project was made possible through Mitie’s appetite to do something eye-catching and different. This is reflective of one of the most important elements for any commissioner to consider - be bold. There is more high quality content being commissioned than ever before. Your audience spend time watching high-quality boxsets and compare your content to that bar sub-consciously. If you are going to stand out from the noise and be noticed, you have to be prepared to do something a little different.

That is one of our Ten Commandments of Better Video. You can download the full sheet here:

DOWNLOAD COMMANDMENTS

 

Topics: Explain or promote products and services, Being a better commissioner, Repurposed content

WSP: How Animation Works: Explaining Children's Hospitals of the Future

Posted by Nick Francis
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Welcome to our brand new blog. Please get in touch with your thoughts and share with others who might be interested.

Casual's London animation team recently delivered a couple of touching films for healthcare engineering whizzes WSP. The animation features WSP SVP of the US, Nolan Rome, talking about some of the ingenious steps they are taking to design future children's hospitals.

 This is the 20 second teaser version:

You can see the full video here.

Neat right?

Because everyday's a school day at Casual, we thought we’d take a minute to look how the specific facets of animation enhance the message of this video.

1. It allows you to show and tell

2. It adds production value

3. It makes the message more memorable

Let's have a look at them in a little more depth:

Showing and Telling:

 

How to animate iPad

 

For example: as Mr Rome explains how the children are provided with iPads (above), we see this on screen. This adds a visual hook to the dialogue, engaging two senses rather than just one and making what is being said significantly more memorable to the viewer.

 

2. Production Value

From a production point of view, shooting a talking head (as featured in this film) is about as simple as movie making gets. The addition of animation makes it appear significantly more professional and upscale. Chris (the animator) has done an excellent job of bringing it all to life, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the most complex of productions.

Animation still carries a degree of magic to it, which is why so many clients use it to communicate. It can be used to quite literally bring a brand to life - for example moving logos etc. This video is more reflective of the nature of WSP's brand, rather than its specific look.

3. Emotional Resonance

Finally, and possibly most importantly, animation adds to the emotional engagement of the audience. Small flourishes in the animation – like the sad look on the girl's face at the beginning - increase the viewer's engagement with the subject. This is because we are programmed to either like or dislike people or things that we believe are alive. In this case, the animation of the girl, while in reality just a collection of moving lines on the screen - build what is known as anthropomorphic empathy. The emotion this generates then codes the associated information into our brains. This makes it far more memorable and impactful.

There we go. A touching animation and a slice of learning. Who said we didn't look after you guys?

Topics: Being a better commissioner, Animation, Talking head, Production process, How-to, Explain or promote products and services

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