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A Comprehensive Guide for Marketing and Communications Leaders

Whether you’re a Marketing Director aiming to launch a new product, an HR Director enhancing recruitment efforts, or a Business Development Director looking to attract new clients, video production is a vital component of your communications strategy. However, choosing the right video production company can be a daunting task. This guide will walk you through the essential factors to consider, ensuring that your investment yields exceptional results.

1. Understand Your Goals and Audience

Before you start your search, be sure to clarify the purpose of your video. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, generate leads, train employees, or enhance internal communications? Understanding your goals will help you communicate your vision effectively to potential production partners.

Additionally, identify your target audience. Are you aiming for a B2B or B2C audience? What are their demographics and preferences? Be as specific as you can. How old are they? What are their aspirations and ambitions? What are their leisure pursuits? How educated are they? What is their political outlook? All these factors can inform the tone and approach taken in your video.

Look for a company that shows an interest in these specifics and asks you lots of questions to really get to grips with the mindset of your audience. Alarm bells should ring, if they are not genuinely curious about the people you are trying to reach.

A production company that understands your audience can create video that resonates deeply with your audience and inspires the desired action.

2. Evaluate Experience and Expertise

Experience matters when it comes to video production. Look for a company with a proven track record in your industry or with the type of video you need. A wide variety of work will indicate adaptability, inventiveness, the ability to work well with a cross section of people and robust processes that inspire confidence across the board. A diverse range of video production examples also proves that the company is likely to listen and collaborate with you willingly. Have you ever experienced a bad haircut, despite your careful briefing, you came out with the cutter’s signature hair cut? Well, a video production company can keep foisting their pet video format on their clients too!

Examine their portfolio to assess the quality and style of their previous work. Pay attention to storytelling, visual aesthetics, and technical proficiency.

• Do the videos convey clear and memorable messages, or are you bored or confused?

• Are they at a pace that holds your interest? Too slow or too fast a pace are both ways to lose your audience.

• Is the colour grade consistent and does it suit the atmosphere of the video? Colour grading is the stylistic manipulation of colour during the edit – a bit like colour filters applied to photographs in Instagram, so generally, you’re looking for consistency.

• Has the exposure been handled correctly – look for glaring overblown whites in the image (over exposure) – or a generalised dark murkiness (underexposure) which will make your production look amateurish.

• Is the image nice and sharp, with a rich variety of colours? If not, this can be a sign of a cheap low-end camera being used.

• Has the music been edited properly to fit in with the drama of the images and speech or do you get the sense that the music been merely wallpapered across the back of the action?

These are just a few pointers, but weakness in any of these areas can be a sign of inexperience of a lack of skill.

3. Assess Creativity and Innovation

Creativity is the cornerstone of compelling video content. Evaluate the creative approach of the production companies you’re considering. Do their videos stand out? Are they engaging and memorable? Innovation in video production can set your content apart from the competition, so look for a company that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries and bring fresh ideas to the table.

Equally, beware cases where a video producer is being different just for the sake of being different and to indulge their own creativity, rather than serve your needs.

Not all audiences require a video that is radically different. Some audiences need to see what they’re expecting and to feel they can trust what they are being presented with. Would you, for example, be swayed to invest in a pension fund or use new medical technology just because it had been presented to you in a fashionable or quirky editing style?

Remember, a simple but carefully crafted video, produced to a consistently high standard, might be what you need. It will engender trust in your products or services and reinforce the credibility of your brand.

4. Check Client Testimonials and Reviews

Client testimonials and online reviews provide valuable insights into a company’s reliability and performance. Look for testimonials on the production company’s website and review sites. Of course, these could be faked, but if the author of the testimonial appears to work for a brand that appears in the video production company’s portfolio of work, then you can be confident they are genuine. Pay attention to comments about the company’s professionalism, ability to meet deadlines, communication skills, and the overall satisfaction of their clients.

5. Evaluate Communication and Collaboration Skills

Effective communication and collaboration are key to a successful video project. During initial consultations, assess the company’s responsiveness and willingness to listen to your concerns and work with you as a team on any obstacles that might arise. They should be open to feedback and capable of incorporating your ideas into the project while providing their professional input.

6. Review Their Project Management Processes

A well-defined project management process ensures that your video project stays on track and within budget. Ask potential production companies about their workflow, from pre-production to post-production. How do they handle scriptwriting, storyboarding, casting, shooting, and editing? Do they provide regular updates and milestones?

Do they archive all your footage safely, backed up in more than one place, and in the cloud? Will they hold your footage indefinitely or only for a temporary period after your video has been delivered? What sort of tagging, search and retrieval processes do they have in case you want to pull footage out of your archive in years to come. Some companies do not offer this sort of long term media storage. Understanding their process will give you confidence in their ability to deliver on time and within scope, and leave the door open for you to repurpose some of your footage in a future project. This can be another way of making your video production spend cost effective.

7. Assess Budget and Value for Money

While cost shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor, it’s essential to find a production company that offers good value for money. Get detailed quotes from multiple companies and compare their pricing structures. Be wary of quotes that seem too good to be true, as they may indicate subpar quality or hidden costs. Conversely, the most expensive option isn’t always the best. Look for a company that balances cost with quality and can work within your budget while delivering a high-quality product.

8. Seek Long-Term Partnership Potential

Choosing a video production company is not just about one project; it’s about building a long-term relationship. A company that understands your brand and objectives can become a valuable partner for future projects. Look for signs of their willingness to invest in a long-term partnership, such as their interest in your overall marketing strategy and their ability to offer strategic advice. Are they after a one night stand or a long marriage? A long term relationship can improve production efficiency – your collaborations can be faster and more creative once you both understand each other’s processes and talents.

9. Examine Their Post-Production Services

Post-production is where the magic happens. Editing, sound design, colour grading, and special effects can elevate your video from good to great. Ask about the company’s post-production capabilities and review samples of their edited work. A strong post-production team can ensure your video looks polished and professional. Find out if they will allow you to sit in on the edit. This can be done in person or remotely through a conference call. We recommend letting your chosen company get 70% – 90% of the way to a final edit, before you come in to work with them on a final tweak and polish.

10. Consider Logistics and Location

Finally, consider the logistical aspects of working with a video production company. If you need regular on-site shoots, at short notice, a local company might be more convenient and cost-effective. However, many production companies are equipped to travel or work remotely, so don’t let geography be a limiting factor.

Conclusion

Choosing the right video production company is a critical decision that can significantly impact your marketing, PR, internal communications, HR, or business development efforts. By considering factors such as experience, creativity, technical capabilities, communication skills, and budget, you can find a partner that aligns with your vision and goals. Take the time to evaluate your options carefully, and you’ll be well on your way to creating compelling video content that drives results.

Remember, the best video production company for you is one that not only understands your needs but also shares your passion for storytelling and innovation. Happy hunting!