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Selling Storytelling: Producing Corporate Identity Videos, Part 1

In as few as 30 seconds, a singular corporate identity video can convince a website visitor of a company's expertise, poise, and uniqueness. But it's easier said than done, of course, so we talked to four leading producers about how they approach these types of projects. In this 3-part series they'll share their secrets on telling and selling corporate stories.

Avoiding the Hard Sell

Morris, too, relies on her clients to impart their goals, but hopes that they will in turn rely on her to craft the concept. Incredulity is an important characteristic in the formative stage. It's at this stage that she can scrutinize the company's beliefs about how they are unique and address the challenge of creating a point of difference. Hearing what they think of themselves helps her understand their mindset, and what they feel works and does not—even if they're mistaken about what really sets them apart or what their ideas for the video will convey.

It's important to listen to what client says about "who their target market is, what their goals are, who they want involved, and obviously a budget point for the project," Morris says. "This will help us decide on the direction we will take. Most small-to-medium enterprises have an idea or a goal but don't know the best approach to get that message across." Perhaps, for example, they use turgid language that they think is fresh and unique. She feels it's her job to clue them in.

Once she and the company reach a consensus about what their key differentiators are, and she assures them that creating an authentic piece will resonate better than a hard sell with their target market, they move forward. "We feel that our audiences are far more in tune to authenticity than a hard sell, so this as a whole is the approach we take—creating an authentic piece."

One intriguing company she was charged with creating an identity video for is Urban Workspace, a use-as-needed office space and secretarial service shared by multiple businesses.

Her challenge was to promote and bring character to the "virtual" office space, a relatively new concept in Australia. The client asked her to highlight three key elements: location, secretarial service, and the boardroom. Her task was to meet this goal while connecting each key point as a holistic solution. While she could have taken a perhaps simpler route of creating three separate pieces, she found a way for these elements to work seamlessly as one clip.

Melbourne Corporate Video // Urban Workspace ~ Business Profile from Preface Films on Vimeo.

A Professional's Touch

By and large, companies are glad to have a professional shaping the concept. Williams points out the advantage of displaying samples of his identity videos on his website. "Most of our clients have come to us because they've seen films we've done for other companies. They already know what we've done and what they like. It's a great starting point. They can imagine themselves in those films. Someone might call us and say, ‘I saw the film you did for such and such. We want to do something like that.' "

Generally, Williams' projects take one of two directions--a more detailed treatment followed by storyboarding and scripting, or a testimonial-based video in which the script basically writes itself. An example of this style would be the identity video he produced for the Feastivities catering company, which features several interviews of event and wedding professionals who work with Feastivities as well as chefs who work for the company.

Next week, we'll explore the process of developing treatments, storyboards, scripts, and getting those approved by clients.

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