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Eleven top tips for creating stand-out brand videos

There is a lot of video content to compete with when you are trying to get a brand noticed, so here are 11 tips to get cut through.

1. Think emotions first, key messages second

Sarah Cann, head of content production at broadcast PR agency Broadcast Revolution: “The aim for every video is that it provokes an emotion from the viewer - be-it laughter, sadness, intrigue - so that it becomes a shareable piece of content. For PRs, it’s all about working to find those case study stories and encapsulate those relatable human moments in video. Our approach is that we begin at the end - we think about what drives audience emotion and then how this can incorporate a brand’s key messages and deliver on their business objectives.

2. Make it relevant

Sarah Cann: “With brand campaign videos, the same rules for PR apply in terms of timeliness and newsworthiness. A question we need to answer in the planning process is what makes the video relevant for today’s audience? Whether that’s jumping on a social trend, or news story, a video still must hold relevance to make any waves on a newsfeed.”

3. Keep it simple

Mark Wilson, creative director at PR agency Whiteoaks International: “Creating good, impactful video doesn’t have to be expensive or require 10-person production crew. You can produce high-quality video with a decent phone, small-scale equipment and a couple of trained people.

“Always think about attention span. People pause on what captivates them, so make it short! Nothing above 90 seconds. If you have a lot of content, then cut it into several pieces.

“Don’t agonise over the type of content - for example, you don’t always need a customer case study to create a video. One compelling quote can produce one great clip that can be used across channels.

“Video content can be produced relatively quickly and easily, allowing you to be more agile in your approach to campaigns.”

4. Make it versatile

Mark Wilson: “Aim for versatility. Create one piece of video content that you can share in different ways - cut downs, animated social tiles, audiograms”.

5. Think video early on

Erin Lovett, senior account director at Missive Studio, content marketing arm of agency: Historically, PR people dealt almost exclusively with words on a page - whether in blogs or press releases, interviews or reports, on-screen or hard copy. In our ever more digitally integrated world, we are now much more creative with not just the content we’re developing, but the channels we’re deploying it for. The key is considering video at the earliest stages, to ensure that epic campaigns are integrated from the ground up.

“It’s about evaluating what’s in front of you. Thinking about a corporate report - could you summarise it in a two-minute explainer? Could you animate the more complex content to bring it to life? Could you film a talking head with a senior leader discussing how they *feel* about the content - either to show a more human element or share what they’re going to do next?

“Think about what will help your audiences extract even more value from written content and go from there.”

6. Consider all platforms

Karun Jung, account director at broadcast PR agency Sassy Create: “The role of strong visuals across earned and shared platforms only continues to grow in importance for global brands. As demonstrated by the continued rise in influencer marketing and the evolution of video-led platforms, it's vital that dynamic content becomes a centralised tool within any comms plan. Brands should not only consider how to land their videos on digital platforms, but also realise the continued reach and power of global broadcast media, live streams and social-first content. With the right mix of branded video assets, live streams/podcasts/Q&A's and B-Roll content, supported by a strong media relations strategy, brands can deliver effective global comms more so now than ever. As the coverage lands and their social conversation develops, brands will soon realise that they can rest assured when they've taken the same creative approach to their content that they do with their campaigns."

7. Get the basics right

Jamie Field, managing director at agency TopLine Film: “There is the temptation when trying to create something stand out, to go a bit crazy and try something different from other videos. While that’s great - different can be good - it is important to get the basics right first. As a starting point, always make sure it is technically flawless, which means the aspect ratio is suitable for the channel with no weird crop bars, and the resolution is at least HD but preferably 4K. Next, make sure that the sound is perfect and make sure it is mixed professionally. This ensures that any music, narration or sound effects are at the right volume and complement one another. Make sure that there are closed captions available for accessibility - this will help with SEO too! Finally, the visuals need to be professionally graded. This means things like brightness, colour and saturation should look perfect on mobile and desktop.”

8. Understand your target audience

Emma Unwin, senior social account director at PR agency M&C Saatchi TALK: “Understanding your target audience is essential for creating impactful videos. Knowing the demographics, interest, and preferences of the audience you’re looking to reach will allow you to tailor your video content to resonate with them and truly address their needs or desires.”

9. Use storytelling techniques

Emma Unwin: “Storytelling is a powerful tool in creating an emotional connection with your audience and the narrative of your content should clearly align with your brand’s values and objectives. Create a storyline that engages the viewer and retains their attention until the end.”

10. Don’t create an advert

Daniel Harding, broadcast director for video at PR agency 72Point: “Having worked in visual content for over a decade, the time for video has never been more important. It’s gone from a nice addition, to crucial for brand led campaigns. But, in the same breath, it’s imperative that it is done correctly.

“Don’t create an advert. Sounds simple, but brand saturation not only dilutes the content, but loses engagement with the audience.

“Do use talent, but link them to the brand/product, don’t just use Sam Thompson because he’s trending. Also, interview them (correctly) for soundbites - it can create additional content and give a fresh direction to the video.”

11. Think like a journalist

Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, managing director of PR agency Clearly: Businesses need to put themselves in the shoes of the journalists and editors they are speaking with and consider what they need. For example, someone working on a national newspaper will be looking at how the story can also be adapted for the web and shared across their social channels. This is where creative video concepts come into their own, whether as short-form piece to camera format or something more storyboarded.”

Using PR to amplify your video

Matt Vowles, head of content at integrated agency Hatch: “PR helps in crafting a compelling narrative that aligns with the brand's values and objectives. By identifying the USP and brand story, the team can develop a cohesive video concept that captures the attention of viewers.

“Using your media relations is a great way to secure coverage and exposure for created brand videos. Ensuring these line up with media outputs has worked really well in helping us pitch the content to journalists, bloggers, and influencers, increasing the chances of widespread distribution and engagement.

“You can amplify brand videos through strategic integrated campaigns, across digital PR, social media and other wider communications.

“By incorporating PR into the creation of brand video content, companies can increase brand awareness, engage their target audience, and establish a distinctive brand identity to help your campaigns really stand out. “

Next week, we will be looking at creating video specifically for TikTok and Instagram.

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