The goal of creating a brand-story video is usually to increase awareness of the company among consumers. To do this effectively, the story has to capture the interest of potential customers and clients and show them what makes the brand unique and authentic.
Rather than focusing on products or services, a brand story tells the world what a company cares about, how it can help people and what it wants to accomplish. However, some common missteps can thwart efforts to produce a high-quality, effective brand video, and knowing what works and what won’t can ensure the exposure it generates is positive.
To learn what not to do, check out these 14 big mistakes the members of Forbes Communications Council have seen brands make when telling their story via video.
1. Focusing Too Much On Their History Or Products
One big mistake companies make when producing a brand video is that they focus too much on who they are rather than the pain points of their customers and how the brand can help them. Often, companies will talk so much about the history of the company or the features of their product that consumers completely miss out on their purpose: why they exist and how customers can benefit from their products or services. – Wendi Sabo, ECI Software Solutions
2. Not Thinking Enough About Their Brand Music
Marketers don’t spend enough time thinking about their brand music. Music has far more power to evoke strong emotions in people than language. There is no doubt that telling a great story—one that pulls the viewer in and triggers awe and curiosity—is at the heart of every great brand video. But the music you add to your story will help it come alive inside the heart of the viewer. – Leela Gill, Intelligence Node
3. Using Too Many People’s Input And Losing The Message
The first step is to really home in on the message and emotion you want to share. So many times, the video is a combination of many people’s input, and the message is lost. The emotion is what people will remember; show how you empower your customers, help them to achieve great things or accomplish daily tasks more easily and safely. And keep it short. Most people’s attention spans wane after one minute. – Lori Stafford-Thomas, Checkr
4. Only Including Sales, Marketing And Executives
Make sure the video includes people from all levels of the organization, not just sales, marketing and executives. A company’s people are the brand because their day-to-day interaction with customers is what sticks. The audience cares less about your “brand” and more about the person who helps them out in a jam. Power to the people! – Ryan George, Docupace
5. Not Introducing An Emotional Hook Right Away
Many people don’t watch an entire video, so it’s important to get at least a bit of your message—even just a simple statement with a related emotional hook—into the first ten seconds of your video. Storybuilding is great if your customer sticks around, but be sure to give them something to take away if they exit quickly. If they stay to the end, it’s because you hooked them in the beginning. – Esther Bonardi, Yardi Systems
6. Focusing On The ‘What’ And Not The ‘How’
Brand videos, and all video content, should be trustworthy and interesting enough for people to watch for more than ten seconds. Focusing only on the “what” instead of the “how” narrows the point of view, which may be clear to you but not your target audience. Also, don’t include people who are not comfortable in front of a camera; it will show. – Kobi Ben-Meir, Yes Lender
7. Not Telling A Real Story About Their Purpose
Too often, I see companies create a “brand video,” and it’s just a montage of random employees with some kind of generic “our values” piece, which simply tells you that they’re the same as every other company. A brand video should be about its purpose or cause, why the company started in the first place and where it’s going. – Alfie Dawson, Datasine
8. Forgetting The Bigger Picture And Why Their Story Matters
A brand is the heart and soul of an organization. As marketers, the brand is our baby, and so it’s no surprise that we feel proud and want to shout about it. In doing so, it’s too easy to forget the bigger picture and why your brand story matters to the industry and even the world. Keep the focus. Keep it short and engaging. – Nikki Hawke, Hivestack
9. Not Clarifying The Purpose Of The Brand Video First
Clarify the purpose of the brand video first. Is it to attract and retain employees, or to showcase what the company can do for customers? The messaging and visuals in a culture video are different from those in a video showing the impact of a product. Both are brand videos, but each will tell a slightly different story to reach the right audiences. – Parna Sarkar-Basu, Brand and Buzz Marketing, LLC.
10. Not Finding Out What The Audience Wants To Know
Companies don’t think about what their audience might want to know. A lot of companies just include what they think their potential clients and customers should know; they don’t usually ask them what they want to know about the company and its background. Tailoring your video to an audience would make this idea much more effective. – Christian Anderson, Lost Boy Entertainment Company
11. Not Including Captions In Videos For Social Media
If it’s a video for social media and you have a voiceover, make sure you also include captions or text, at the very least, to explain the message. The majority of people who scroll through social content watch videos with the sound off, so captions are essential for capturing their attention and sharing your story. – Melissa Kandel, little word studio
12. Being Preoccupied With Repetitive Messaging
The major mistake companies make in telling their brand story is being preoccupied. When telling stories, it’s easy to become obsessed with expounding upon the same things, repeating them over and over again in different contexts. The problem with this approach is that the audience will become numb to these messages. Of course, repetition can be used as a valuable strategy at times; just not all of the time. – Haseeb Tariq, Haseebtariq.com
13. Trying To Give The Viewer Too Much Information
The goal of video storytelling is to draw the viewer into an experience they will derive a feeling from by showing, not telling. A common mistake companies make when producing videos is to cram as much information into one video as they can, believing that viewers will sit all the way through this one-way communication. Make your videos stand out by creating dialogue and engagement. – Cynthia Kao, Operation Code
14. Not Starting With The ‘Why’
Remove the “what” and start with the “why.” Companies are very quick to jump into descriptions of their offerings. While this is still useful information, it’s better served to audiences in alternative formats, such as written content. Instead, use the emotional power of video to help prospects connect to your brand on a deeper level. Don’t waste a brand story on the “what”—entice those customers with a compelling “why.” – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap