Often when companies come to us and tell us they want to make a video, the first thing we do is ask them why and what they want to accomplish. All too frequently they say something like “we just want to have a video” or “someone told me I need a video, what will it cost?”. We don’t like to take a clients money without producing something that will achieve their business goal so we try to find the real reason to shoot a video if one exists. Without digging into the real needs, any created video has no purpose and really shouldn’t be made and we certainly don’t know the cost till we have a sense of what the project and it’s purpose is.
Video, though undisputedly very effective in achieving results, is still only a tool to communicate. When properly designed to achieve a purpose, it is used to alleviate the viewer’s (or your) pain”, provide a solution for satisfying a need you or they may have or used where there is a need to “communicate something to an audience and interest them into taking action” even if they were unaware of the need before. Your target audience could be specific and local, or general and worldwide. A video can only be effective and needed when it has a purpose. If you don’t have a purpose, the business video will have been created with no purpose to achieve and will be disjointed. Though a video can be designed to eliminate your pain there must also be a reason for someone to take action for it to be effective. If you want your viewer to do what you want them to do after watching, the message in the video has to have an element of “what’s in it for them?”.
The most elaborate video in the world won’t produce your desired results, unless it has something in it which motivates the viewer to believe they need to take the action you want because it will alleviate some pain they are having or there is something to their benefit if they do take action.
Let me repeat this very, very important guideline; if you want someone to take action either now or in the future and there is nothing in your video to show an advantage to them for taking your desired action, don’t even bother to make the video until you build in “what’s in it for them”. Not having this key component is a prime example of when not to make a business video.
Let’s look at examples of how a video can alleviate pain and also provide elements of “what’s in it for the viewer” to take action:
In this example, you are a company that has many employees with high turnover and a job that needs to be done correctly. Your “pain” is that your work isn’t getting done correctly, your employees are leaving because they don’t know what their job is and how to do it. You are spending money on hiring new employees that don’t last, your customer service is terrible because your people are ill prepared and your public image suffers from all of this causing you to lose business. Additionally there may be local, state or federal regulations that aren’t being adhered to because your employees haven’t been trained on what they should be doing introducing the possibility or already occurrence of fines and business disruption. Even worse, if the lack of training is in matters of safe operations, you could be putting life at risk. You have a lot of pain with the current situation.
You need the ability to train your people in an absolutely correct, “best practice”, repeatable manner that won’t be diluted by different people training people or a disinterested trainer. As turnover occurs, you want the same message to be given to new employees. A well trained employee is more efficient, will provide better customer service and is less likely to leave. A properly designed training video achieves all this. But will your video work to achieve your goals? With the training video as a tool, you are hoping to alleviate your “pain” in the paragraph above but what does the employee see in it for them?
If they feel that their current job training hadn’t prepared them to do the job and they are unhappy because of it, the video training will alleviate employees “pain”. During scripting you can build in elements of fostering their ownership of the work they perform and the appreciation you have for work well done satisfying basic human needs. Further if you build in an element of responsibility to the training, a test or requirement for maintaining employment or that they need to follow the guidelines as trained to not get fired, it is to their benefit to learn what is in the video and they risk the pain of being fired if they don’t. You have elements of a carrot and stick (what’s in it for them) and alleviation of their pain as well as yours if they have been unhappy with their prior training. Now you have a purpose and a plan for making this video.
To use another example of alleviating pain to a viewer and you and motivation for someone to take action; say you produce seminars for continuing medical education, (CME). To remain certified, medical practitioners need hours of CME. You provide training seminars but only a certain number of people can attend. By attending they get credits and remain certified eliminating the pain of not being able to practice. There is obviously something in it for them to attend your seminar. You want to put on the seminar for people motivated to attend but you won’t cover expenses with the fees you charge only to attendees. Attending the seminar can eliminate their pain but only for attendees so you have the pain of being able to provide something to people motivated to take your seminar but losing money if you do. By recording and producing a video of the seminar training for online pay-per-view, DVD distribution and or charging for live-streaming that is part of earning CME credits, the reach and revenue on your seminar is increased greatly and now you’ve got a reason for producing the seminar. In this example you are giving your viewers something they want and you are giving yourself more return on your investment. You have a purpose for making the video.
The first two examples dealt with training. This one deals with marketing or sales. In this example you are a company with a great product or service and no one knows what it is and what it can do for them to satisfy a need they have. If you provide a video that demonstrates the problems your target audience has and how your product or service will solve their problem, you are showing problem and solution with your product or service as the solution. In fact showing your solution, makes them want your product or service. Your video will demonstrate how it will alleviate their “pain” and of course with proper distribution drive in the business you want.
So in summary, DON’T MAKE A VIDEO UNLESS YOU HAVE A GOOD REASON AND PLAN FOR DOING IT. I’ve explained that to be effective and cause an action from viewers, a video has to alleviate pain and/or give someone a reason for taking action; “what’s in it for them”. We’ll be providing insights and examples on other aspects of planning video projects in subsequent blogs.