Given the ever-increasing importance of video to the corporate website, I invited Neil Davidson to talk about creating the right tone of voice in your corporate videos. Neil founded My Web Presenters, which has won a number of awards over the last 20 years, so he knows a thing or two about video…
Over to you, Neil
How to judge the tone of your corporate videos
Getting the tone of your corporate video right will be key to hooking in your audience so they watch the whole thing, rather than switching off after that all important first nine seconds. The tone will also be what lingers with your audience when they have finished watching. It will leave them with a sense of who you are, what you are about and what you can do for them.
Creating a particular tone in a video is quite an instinctive phenomenon, unique to each individual filmmaker. However, it is possible to break down some of the main factors you can consider and control to really shape the tone of your videos.
1 Your business and your brand
You will want your brand to be a part of your video. You need to decide how much. It may be that you just want your company logo on a slide at the beginning and end of the video. You may want it visible throughout in a corner of the screen. You many want the whole direction of the video to be planned around your brand e.g. colour coordinated with the consistent use of your business font. Your brand will therefore at some level dictate the tone of your video. Your brand should at least be represented by the tone of your video – if your brand is young and bubbly then your video should be too.
This is true regardless of whether your audience is external to your company or within your sales team/ customer service team.
Also, your business type and industry will influence the tone. It is unlikely you would use humour in a video about cancer drugs for example, but humour might be completely appropriate if your video is about a soft drink.
2 The purpose of your video and your intended audience
If you are being super conscientious you will have written a brief for your video. This will help decide the tone you are aiming for because you will have considered what the point of the video is and who your intended audience will be. Your intended audience will massively influence the tone of your video. However, be careful not to stereotype what you might expect a certain market segment will appreciate. Although there is always some truth in a stereotype, stereotyping will only limit the possibilities for your video.
3 The style you are aiming for
You will need to choose your style based on your audience and your subject matter. You might want a video where all footage has been gathered on a tripod with a very slick edit; this will give your video a very corporate and professional feel. You might want to consider hand held camera techniques to give it more of a relaxed documentary feel. Judge what you feel is most appropriate for your intended audience and the purpose of the video.
4 The script and language you use for your video
The language you use in your titles, graphics and scripts will be a major definer of the tone of your video. Poorly chosen language which is inappropriate to your audience has the potential to force viewers to switch off within a split second. When writing your scripts, be a human being and get on the wavelength of your audience. Use simple language that will appear to a majority of people and don’t assume that people will understand the jargon and anachronisms which are likely to be ingrained in your industry. When it comes to niche products and services, jargon may be appropriate, but don’t overdo it.
5 The structure of your video
The introduction to your video is extremely important. It will set the tone and is your opportunity to grab the attention of the audience and hold it. Whether you go for a traditional narrative structure (like a short story) or if you choose to do something a bit edgier, this will impact on the tone of the overall video and how the audience experiences it.
It is important to be aware of the impact of social media on our collective audiences. People are expecting a much more personal approach that caters to their individuality. They are now used to accessing lots of information that is relevant to them – they customise their feeds so that they are receiving it every day. This is what you are competing with and it is worth keeping in mind throughout the process of producing your video and also in terms of how you distribute your video and reach out to your audience.
If you are creating videos for internal teams then it is even more important to be personable and straightforward – people have little time for BS so cut to the chase.
Neil Davidson is the Founder of My Web Presenters, who are a leading video production company specialising in video spokesperson videos. They work with businesses of all sizes to create and market compelling and emotive videos. They also write a video marketing blog regularly so please check it out.