As I mentioned in Write A Video Brief part one, having a proper brief can help you save time and money when having production companies bid on your project. Part one covered some of the basic questions to get you started on writing a brief. This part will focus on some of the more in-depth questions that will jump-start the “discovery” phase and in some cases allow you to bypass it all together.
I’m mostly talking about commercials, explainers and pre-rolls but some of the same concepts can be used on entertainment videos as well. I’ve also a included a brief series of qualifying questions that will help determine if your brand and a potential video production company are good fit. This focuses a bit more on the business and financial side of things, but it’s questions that every production house is going to want to know.
A. Do you currently market online?
B. Do you have high ticket products/ services?
C. Do you have high long-term customer value?
How to Write A Video Brief - In-depth
1. Who is your secondary audience if there is one?
Most companies have some kind of demographic breakdown and primarily focus on the main demographic. While that is a smart and efficient thing to do they sometimes neglect secondary audiences. If your video is animated and uses characters to explain or elaborate on a product or service, your secondary audience can be a goldmine for character design and to flesh out other details in your story.
2. How familiar is your product/service to your primary audience?
Are we educating your audience? Can we skip the introductory jargon and hand holding and go straight to the meat of the message, or is a bit more of a elaborate walk-through appropriate? How detailed can we get to drive home the benefits and advantages of your brand?
3. What tone do you believe will resonate with them? (Educational, relaxed, serious, fun/humorous, etc.)
Establishing tone is of upmost importance. This will guide the video in it’s process and be used for a gut-check for creative leads to make sure the video is taken in the right context. A lot of this will be primarily based on your marketing demographic research with a dash of common sense thrown in. Just as the visual identity of the work shouldn’t be your particular preference or bias, neither should the tone of the video. It’s about your audience/future customer and how you want them to react and respond, rather than your own personal tastes.
4. What is the Ah-ha moment that you want the viewer to have?
The point of enlightenment/entertainment or the moment you sell them on your product. Very often this is the main point of the entire video. If you are doing a commercial sometimes it’s used as the tagline. “Every circumstance in life has the potential for mayhem. Don't be stuck with insurance that won't cover you when you find it. Get Allstate.” You don’t have to write the tagline, mind you. Just give them the jist of it. An experienced writer can find the right way to word it.
5. Are there any partner companies/ clients you believe it would be effective and ok to identify?
This question is just a bit more about the nitty gritty details that can be included in an end tag. But it’s something to think about upfront, especially if you need to get permission to use a logo or identify a partnering company. You want to position your brand to have the best chance to succeed with video, and that might mean some name-dropping to boost your creditability.
6. What action do you want your viewers to take after watching the video? Call to action? (go to our website, visit our trade booth, call us)
This closely ties-in with your primary goal as discussed in part one. Some short examples include: “Visit our website”, “Contact us today”, “Sign-up for our newsletter”, “Register for a free trial”, “Talk to us”, “Get free stuff”, “Give our service a try”. Good CTAs have a statement that reduces risk, tells the audience what the exact next step is and encourages them to respond right away. This another step that a writer can work on for you, but still, they need to know what you are trying to accomplish here.
7. What are the major frustration points that your audience currently experiences WITHOUT your product or services? How specifically does your product or service address your target audience's frustrations?
This is another way to frame what your product or services benefits are. The ones that are most important are the benefits that relieve major frustrations. In the course of a story it’s typical to lead with your most important benefit and close with your second most important one, so you start and finish strong.
8. Are there any impressive awards, statistics or data points you wish to highlight or can share?
These are some details that can really shine in a graphical approach. Infographics succeed the most when they are more about storytelling than actual numbers, and can illustrate the characteristics and value of a statistic and how it relates to the audience and your brand. It’s best not to go overboard on them, but it’s also foolish to leave out this information in the pre-production stage. And everyone wants to use products or services from award-winning brands, it shows that you’re ambitious and care about what you do.
9. If you had 20 seconds to talk about your company what would you say?
This is your elevator pitch. What does your company do and why. How are you better than your competition? No doubt there is a mission statement somewhere on your website that elaborates on this. Don’t just copy it. Make it personal, and ask yourself “why should someone care about our company?” when you answer. Think: Benefits, differences, and unique sales position.
10. Do you have product/service marketing assets information you can share?
This is essentially so the production company can see what you already have done, what’s in-place and some things that might be working and some things that might not. The idea here is that they are going to want to try to keep your branding, aesthetic, and approach to you brand’s philosophy as consistent as possible. So if they can find out more about your company culture on your website, let them know. Branding guides, brochures, pamphlets, business cards, signage… all these things are useful to at least look it during the pre-production phase.
Well I hope that's helped some of you that are new to making videos for your brand, or maybe just some of you that wanted to start being a bit more detailed in writing your video brief. Again, feel free add anything that I may have missed or if you have any questions in the comment below. And please don’t forget to share this with a friend that’s new to video.