Beware the Everything for Everybody Corporate Video

Marketing Executive Overload

A short targeted corporate video will give you a much greater ROI than an unfocussed Everything for Everybody video

Ever watched a corporate video and wondered at the end, 

‘What on Earth was that all about?’

There are still too many of the Everything for Everybody corporate videos being made.  The last one of these I saw just a couple of weeks ago compelled me to write this.

The video was a few minutes long and described exactly what the business did in microscopic detail.

The corporate video was professionally filmed, contained relevant and visually pleasing graphics, the music was present without overpowering the narrative and the whole video was well edited with a professional voiceover. 

There was clearly a lot of work put in to produce the video.

The narration was what we call wall-to-wall and and imparted vast amounts of information.

At one minute, “Ok! I get it”,

Two minutes, “Wow that’s thorough”,

Three minutes, “Overload”

Four minutes, “Who are you again and what do you do?”

By the end of the video, I had forgotten almost all of it.

It was too much information densely packed into the shortest time possible without any specific target viewer or key message to relay.

Instead it was an Everything for Everybody or EforE video.

Anyone who has edited and produced corporate videos for any length of time, will have experienced this at least once. Without a clear direction of the video’s purpose, you feel every bit of information is as valuable as every other and are always loathe to take anything out.

You end up with an edit for yourself and those of you who know the subject matter in detail. What is frequently forgotten is the viewer who will see the video for the first time.

Warning signs

The EforE is an easy default video to make when you are not clear about your audience or key message. Look for the warning signs.

Is an interview running very long without bulleted talking points?

Is the filmmaker starting the shoot without a shot list or clear direction what will be shown?

Do you keep having to trim the script down to fit the images or does the narration run from beginning to end with barely a pause?

Mission creep

Videos can start off with limited aims and clarity of purpose then evolve into an EforE.

This can happen when the producer and/or client’s objectives drift as the project evolves and they get excited about the results and potential of the video. The temptation to cram ever more information in is just too great.

Similarly the videographer or producer may have invested a great deal of energy and creative though into a shot or sequence and will find it hard to drop it on the cutting room floor.

The EforE video is jack of all trades and master of none.

It takes longer to make as the edit and script are constantly tweaked to cram everything in.

The EforE is unlikely to satisfy a viewer as they will always have more specific needs, like ‘Who are you?’ What do you do? How can you help me solve my problem?

The length is also an issue. A video that’s intended as first contact should be short, ideally less than a minute but certainly no longer than 2 mins.

Additionally by showing and telling everything, the business may be missing out on the opportunity of a next step conversation. The viewer should be engaged by your video but left with questions that you would be only too happy to answer.

Avoiding the EforE trap

The most important part is having clear objectives for the film before you plan the shooting. A single sentence clarifying the video’s purpose and the main target audience is all that’s necessary.

When filming interviews there should be a bulleted list of talking points, agreed in advance between the interviewee, the filmmaker and marketing person.

The filmmaker should be working to a shot list. This will and can grow on shoot day, but only in terms of specific details of planned shots, or wide establishing images of the business.

Ensure your videographer has a good archiving system so unused material can be used on later projects (Psst, then you don’t feel so bad about leaving something out).

When editing, it’s always easier to remove content than add it in. I always start with longer sequences of the video and then trimming down over several iterations. Apart from being simpler, it also allows you to continuously compare the value of one piece of content against another.

I often agonise over removing some content or other. However, after making the decision and removing it, I usually realise pretty quickly that I could have saved the time and anguish. If you don’t miss the content you removed after ten minutes then you don’t need it.

Editing, whether pictures, sound, script etc.. requires you to work with the minutiae of whatever medium you are working with, but it’s essential to keep stepping back to review the whole piece against the original objectives.

When corporate videos were expensive to make, and a company would only make one video every couple of years an Everything for Everybody video was a popular choice.  Now they are possibly the worst video investment a company can make.

The Everything for Everybody corporate video has a poor ROI and is hard to watch. Your video production partner should be making short focussed and targeted videos that engages the viewer and on one aspect of your business and no more.