Someone once said ‘you should never analyse why a joke is funny because it’s like dissecting a frog – nobody learns anything new and the frog dies’. There is a great moment in the sit-com Black Books where grumpy bookshop owner Bernard Black (Dylan Moran) refers sarcastically to his assistant Manny (Bill Bailey) as looking like ‘A horse in a man costume’. So at the risk of a frog then, the horse in a man costume moment makes me laugh every time I see it because of the surreal nature of the joke. A man in a horse costume we accept as possible, the other way round is wrong and therefore funny.
If you will excuse the easy link here the same applies to the kind of video you choose for your business. It’s about horses for courses, the right video for your message. So here are the pros and cons of 4 different styles of video production.
The talking head
This is usually the business owner explaining his business. They occasionally are maligned as being easy and not very exciting. We disagree. When done right they are very effective. When you see a bad one it is usually either too long or has little variation of image or commonly both. They will ideally be between 45 – 90 seconds, occasionally longer but only if there is additional footage or the subject demands it.
Pro – they are low cost (we do these in our studio as a low cost option for small business from £99 each) they can be effective and most importantly they display the personality of the business owner. Essentially they are an elevator pitch.
Con – Honestly, if the person in the video is good on camera and the sound and image are clear, then none. If the subject is too complex then the corporate Introduction is probably better.
These usually take the form of a scribbling hand or a hanna barbera style cartoon character. Jury is out on these and to some (us included) they are the video equivalent of the comic sans font. Comic sans is good for nursery school posters but not for a solicitors business card. We do make these though and although we usually suggest against them they do have a place.
Pro – Simple to understand just like a power point. Low cost (they are about the same price as the talking head video).
Con – ‘Cartoon’ is not a word with good connotations (Micky Mouse is a cartoon) and the hand scribbling a word out is slower than just reading the sentence in the first place so they are not always fast communicators and can be a little frustrating to watch. The biggest downside is that they are impersonal and create no bond with you and very few people prefer to buy without knowing the people in the business. Additionally they are very common these days and they are all very similar in content.
Montage of pictures, text, video and voice over
Give me these over a cartoon any day. If you are going to show your business then you may as well go with the real image and reinforce it with text and voice over.
Pro – Cheap and effective (the price will vary depending on what is needed) . Excellent for businesses such as recruiters, e-commerce and so forth.
Con – not really any use for complex subjects so deal of the month or job ads, yes but perhaps not so good for legal advice or financial decisions.
Usually longer and commonly ‘documentary style’ these are often between 2 – 5 minutes long. Mostly they will feature interviews and shots of the staff hard at work producing the money end of the business whatever that may be.
Pro – Very good for making a connection with the viewer. Excellent for serious business and product manufacturers. Cost wise they will usually be between £250 and £500 foe two cuts of the final video depending on what is needed.
Of course all video is potentially good for your SEO and over 90% of online consumers are apparently influenced in a purchase decision by video. The video style you choose is like your business card – you can have them printed by a machine in the motorway service station or you can go to a designer and have them made for you. In both cases they will carry the same basic information and both perform the same basic function but they are not likely to generate the same reaction from the person receiving it. If it doesn’t matter that people know you had your cards printed in the service station on the motorway then why pay more for them? Your video is the same, you need one on your website because it will potentially drive traffic, increase conversion rate and boost sales. The style is part of how your business is perceived by the viewer so you need to choose how you present yourself.
Whatever you do decide though, don’t use a horse in a man costume.