Suppose you want to use a short (under 2 minutes) video to introduce a specific value proposition or product. How important is style? How much effort should go into showcasing your cool company and cool brand with cutting-edge graphics, dazzling animation, and offbeat narration? And how much to “education” facts, unfamiliar concepts, technology differentiators?
How cool should you be?
No-one wants to look uncool, of course. But I’m not persuaded that being cool is a significant differentiator in technology sales. Certainly, the people and companies we do business with are all pretty cool. There is also the matter of getting your money’s worth.
One way or another, creative talent (including in-house talent, and you) is paid by the hour. If your budget is, say $10,000, that’s 100 hours of creative talent at $100/hour. What percentage should be devoted to dazzling effects and transitions that maintain the momentum, but don’t convey any actual information?
One reason it’s worth trying to quantify such tradeoffs — and keep them in mind — is the fact that, for most business executives, producing video is an enjoyable departure from their normal work. And, when the video is done, you’ve got something you can show — repeatedly. That can make it hard to resist the temptation to make sure viewers understand how clever and cool you are (I speak from experience, here).
To get business value, you need to communicate business value in your video
I’m not suggesting that boring your audience has any business value. But it’s important to think about the business value you expect to get out video content. It stands to reason that few people are viewing your video content expecting to be entertained. The more you give them of what they are expecting — information about what you can do for them — the more effective the video. To get business value, you need to communicate business value, using narration and visuals that work together to create immediate relevancy and context.
Show your clear intention to be clear
In business communication, a clear intention to be clear is more certain to win respect than an intention to entertain, especially since entertainment — for an audience of people you don’t know — is such an iffy proposition. Then there’s the issue of different ideas of “entertainment” in different cultures — what’s cute in the locale may be simply puzzling, or worse, elsewhere. Being clear and businesslike is a better bet.
Other tradeoffs in B2B video, too
There are many other tradeoffs to consider when you’re trying to say a lot in very limited time. Features vs. benefits? Elaborate the problems you solve, or the details of your solution? Get down in the weeds, or keep it at 10,000 feet? There’s no right balance with any of these tradeoffs. But conscious decisions on — the entertainment vs. business value decision most of all — will help ensure that that your video content delivers business value by communicating business value.