Recently we worked with a corporate client on an identity video. The goal was to communicate to potential customers who the company was, what they did, and why they were a good fit for their customers. To save money, the client decided to create the video's script in-house. Which we knew was most likely a bad idea.
Our contact was “Mark,” the company’s marketing director. Mark wanted us to create the video from the script he and his team would develop. After all, said Mark, “we know the company, and you don’t.”
He was right – we didn’t know the company. But we DID know that working from Mark’s script was probably not going to work.
Why? Because today’s marketers have three problems that can make it difficult for them to write good video scripts.
We understand that Mark was trying to save money. But there are plenty of ways to stay within your video production budget without harming your video, and doing the scripting yourself is not one of them.
Problem #1: Too many trees, not enough forest
Marketers do indeed know their company – but they know it way too well. They don’t see the forest, just lots and lots of trees. But the job of an identity video is to show the forest, because that’s what potential customers are looking for.
Identity videos sit at the top of the sales funnel, where prospects are just starting to learn about the company. They want a broad overview.
The script Mark and his team developed referenced way too many certifications, awards, capabilities, and product lines. It was packed with information. But, like everyone else, potential customers are overloaded with information. Flooding them with more isn’t going to help them understand your company.
If we’d created the video from Mark’s script, prospects would have abandoned it early into watching it, because to them it would be just blah blah blah - lots of information they don’t care about at their stage in the buy cycle.
Not a great way to begin the relationship.
Problem #2: A list of bullet points is not a story
Today’s marketers are under pressure to think in short bursts - buzzwords, bullet points, keywords, taglines. Email subject lines. Tweets.
When it comes time to write the video script, guess what marketers can be tempted to write?
- We’re company XYZ.
- We specialize in optimizing and maximizing.
- Thought leadership. Disruptive innovation.
- Core competency. Next generation.
- Our products. Our services. Our specialties.
- What makes us different.
- Proactive. Synergy.
- Value. Visibility. ROI.
- Call us today!
And a story is what Mark needed to tell. Because story is many, many times more memorable than information, and story can move people to action the way information can’t.
Story is also how people prefer to learn.
This isn’t news. Every marketer I’ve ever met knows this, and talks about it. But it’s surprising how few can actually do it.
Between knowing a lot about something, and constantly practicing the habit of coming up with buzzwords, bullet points and taglines, marketers can have a hard time just telling the story.
Problem #3: The customer is missing
In the above list, there’s nothing about the customer. The word ‘you’ doesn’t appear.
Every marketer also knows the WIIFM rule: people evaluate new information through the lens of What’s In It For Me? If your video starts by talking about you and what you do, it’s going to feel like an ad, and we all hate ads.
We love it when someone talks about us, don't we? We hate it when people (and companies) monopolize the conversation by talking about themselves.
Mark’s script was all about the company. In his script, the word ‘you’ appeared a few times, but only as an afterthought.
Well, people don’t want to be an afterthought.
If they’re looking for a company that does what yours does, they want to know that you understand their problem, and their challenges, and their constraints. Customers want to hear you talk about them, not about you.
So what can you do?
Start by being honest with yourself. If you're great at tweets and taglines and short bursts of brilliance, then visual storytelling may not be your strong suit.
But no worries - you're hiring a video production company to create your video, right?
So instead of writing a script yourself, or building a script based on ideas and bullet points from people in your company, approach scripting as a collaboration between you (because you know the company and the product) and your video production company (because they know visual storytelling).
Working together, you'll come up with an awesome script. When you move into production, they'll create an awesome video that tells the story of your company in a way your potential customers can embrace, and be persuaded by, and respond to.
Which is what you want, right?