How do you make a
meaningful Brand Story
It would be impossible to explain the entire process of making an entire Brand Story Corporate Video in a single post, but I will attempt to summarize the basic elements we cover in our own process of making a short-length, 10-minute IPO (Initial Price Offering) Corporate Film. These films are presented to potential investors at fund-raising meetings as a corporate introduction before the IPO.
Where do we start?
It starts with Research
Perhaps it goes without saying, but it’s important to understand the Company you are making the video for; the Company History and Mission, the Brand, Products and Services, Technologies, Business Model, Industry, Competitors and especially the Company’s customers. This gives you a bird’s eye perspective, an awesome collection of information that you can pull from during the creative process.
Understanding the audience is also extremely important; What is their background, what is important for them, what do they aspire to be, how will you affect their lives? Developing your video by focusing on the audience is important to connect with them at an emotional level.
Next, is how do you
develop a script?
Brand story is made up of a beginning, middle and end.
You need to try to captivate your audience very early in the narrative. Sometimes it’s enough to state the customer problem or needs right from the start. Or sometimes it’s a catchy title or picture at the very beginning. Nevertheless, you need to understand your audience and try capture their attention so they will want to keep on viewing.
The Middle: Develop characters, Present the challenge, Redemption, Resolution, Success
You must develop the “character(s)”, the Hero or protagonist of the story, which might be your company or product, or even your customer. How did it start (humble beginnings)? What is the mission of our Hero (solving a problem)? What is the journey that he/she is on (e.g. research, factory, sales)?
This is also where you begin to build the substance behind your “brand” image – e.g. innovation, resilience, hard work, courage, persistence.
Present the Challenge
You should acknowledge the challenges you have faced. Most companies are reluctant to reveal any adversities, as they feel deficiencies or challenges they have faced portray weakness. However, the opposite is true – your candidness about problems and even failures will build trust with the audience. So, come clean with the “bumps in the road” because a “story” is no “story” without conflict, and no company has been without challenges in their past.
Redemption, Resolution, Success
You need to show how you overcame your challenges. Show them your hard work, resilience, courage, innovation and persistence. And the audience will respond because no person has been without challenges in their own past, and you can connect with them through their own experiences.
“Conflict is key to telling compelling stories. So be transparent about the adversity your company has faced, and own it. The more honest you are about your shortcomings, the more people will respect you and relate to your brand.”
Clifford Chi| HubSpot
Of course, the ending has to deliver a powerful message. The best way to end a Brand Story is to gather all the elements, the opening title, beginning sequence, symbolisms, metaphors, and branding points you exhibited throughout the story. Squeeze them all into an ending that magically summarizes the whole story into a few short sentences or even a single picture-moment. Somehow, this always feels sublime.
It’s not necessary to finalize the script before you start filming a Corporate Video. Any director will tell you that a script is an ever evolving process anyways. Waiting for script finalization may only leave a few weeks to do filming and everything else for a project that might only have a 2-3 month window.
Our company will begin filming even with a basic script idea. Since we do our own filming, follow-up filming is a luxury we possess. Video companies that out-source camera-work might have difficulties with this. But honestly, in retrospect, we seldom had to re-film.
We supplement our own filming with 3D animations. 3D animations have been an important aspect in our Corporate Videos, allowing us to visualize creatively and also explain technologies and business strategies that are otherwise awkward for camera-film to represent.
Although “story” is the focus of our videos, it is important for our videos to be visually unique and visually pleasing as well. 3D helps us in that respect.
Music makes a big difference in the tone and mood of a film. Most people would probably not recall the music after watching a movie – nevertheless, the music is emotionally guiding the audience through the visual imagery in the film.
A lot of musicians that score music for videos or short-films are using a method called Music Editing. There are a lot of great music websites selling a wide variety of royalty-free, professionally done music. Musicians can now purchase these different genres of music and creatively impress them into the video. You avoid hiring an orchestra and you always can find the music you need.
That is what we do.
Narration and subtitles
Our scripts and subtitles are originally written in English and adapted to Chinese, or outsourced to any other language. All of our recordings are done in-house. However the narrators may be outsourced depending on the situation (male, female, accent, language). However, multi-lingual versions can be a source for conflict. Not everything translates easily between languages. Being a bi-lingual company helps (English-Chinese) because we are careful when it comes to using “lingo”. Also using the right visual imagery helps to communicate the translations.
Another note is that different narrations may change the length of the video itself. As we’ve discovered, Chinese narrations typically are longer than English narrations, once both are translated.
If it’s an “IPO” corporate video, there are rules and regulations in place (for Taiwan) to include necessary information (number of patents, dimensions of buildings and factories, ISO information). After we tell the story, we include a short section called “The Company Today” where we disclose this type of information.
The first thought is that any potential investor in your company (IPO video) will want to know what the future holds for your company. But the future is hard to “sell”, and it can be conceived as only marketing material.
If your future is the direct extrapolation of what you have told in the story, it would be more believable (e.g. successful deployment in Vietnam using XYZ strategy, the future will be Cambodia, Thailand using the same XYZ strategy).
If you have physical evidence in place, like a factory in construction, that would also would be better.
We have used professional models in the past to perform simple acting and modeling roles for our videos. For Corporate videos, we usually do not require “acting with narration”, as they may come across as not being genuine.
More recently we are moving towards company employees doing short video-narratives in our films. This is more in-line with “Brand Story” in that it will give the audience a sense of authenticity.
So is it easy to make a Branding Corporate Video?
Making a Branding Style Corporate Video is about focusing on the audience and connecting with them emotionally. It’s as simple and as difficult as that!
Honestly, it’s a lot of sweat and tears. Making a Branding Story Corporate Video is challenging both intellectually, spiritually and physically – it takes a lot of perseverance, introspection and adaptation.
But rest assured, the finished product is much like crossing a finishing line – exhilaration and accomplishment.
Tell us how we can help.