Most businesses know better to create a corporate video storyboard before commissioning any video productions. Logically it saves you the expense of not knowing what you might be signing up for. A storyboard also provides a clearer picture of the budget and timelines for video production as well.
However! A storyboard needs to be usable. It needs to be close to the end-result-envisioned-product. Shopping for random storyboards from different vendors could just be a waste of time.
What goes into a storyboard?
Let’s look at what goes into creating an effective storyboard for corporate videos. We’ll dive into a journey of what effort needs to go in before we sink our teeth deep into the storyboard phase. This article describes the professional approach and step by step tasks that are usually missed out before one develops a storyboard.
How to craft a striking corporate video storyboard?
The preliminary work to sorting out a corporate video storyboard could be broken down into three main steps:
- Commission a corporate video production budget
- Craft the right story for your corporate audience
- Break down the story into a storyboard
To understand the corporate video production process of developing a storyboard, let’s quickly understand how storytelling paints a direction in the preliminary phase of the corporate video production.
#1 Corporate Video Production Budgets
When it comes to corporate video production, budgets play a crucial role in the overall quality of the video production. You might have competitors with deeper pockets or competitors with an influx of funding. It’s not easy to compete with the competition. And it’s not always possible to justify costs at short notice within an organisation as well. When Celebrity talents, fantastic locations or CGI are not on the cards, we often have to rely on some of the basics: Storytelling and emotion!
Low budget video production
Meanwhile, the underlying abdication is to also not cheap out on corporate video production. A bad quality or extremely low budget production could be detrimental to your brand. Negative publicity is always negative publicity. It’s more evident ever that bad communication messages can destroy a brand overnight or in a matter of minutes. Creating low-quality productions can cause massive damage to a brand in the short term and long term. This could turn out to be very expensive. To change the mindsets of the audience after they see the brand in a negative way is not an easy or inexpensive exercise.
What’s a good or reasonable budget for your video production?
Although no one wants to pay too much, setting a very low budget for a campaign could be just a waste of money. Many times we’re better off holding back till we have a suitable budget. Just like you would watch a movie and wished they hadn’t cheaped out on a certain section that spoilt the experience for you as a viewer.
Corporate Video Production Budget’s need to be determined by the following three components in order of their priority:
A. Return On Investment:
How soon will you be able to recover your investment into the video campaign? Typically a video lifetime could even go up to 5 years as seen by some major brands running the same TVC’s forever. However, 18 months is the maximum viable period to see your return on investment through video campaigns. The budget must include publishing and ad spends as well.
The video production and ad spots need to be on par with the brand image. Having a video in the same space or production value of your competitors might be an ideal way to plan a budget. Remember, your competitors have already done a lot of market research and might have more experience in this space. So emulating their campaigns could save you a lot of money. We don’t really have to learn everything from scratch. Leveraging on market trends and competitor strategies is a clever way not to be left behind.
C. Telling your story right:
The story should also be considered an important component to determining a corporate video production budget. It’s about doing justice to the story. Sometimes, the story demands that it be shot in a certain location, in a certain camera/lens with certain talents.
When we shave corners, it shows. The reason why we put so much emphasis on the story is that our viewers today have seen almost everything. And they are exposed to so much noise on the airwaves that they can immediately tell if something is going to be worth consuming.
Determining the video production budget:
Considering these three elements, a budget can be determined. This will affect the quality of production and days of the shoot as well. Balancing all these components of production costs, editing, sound engineering, voice-overs and animations is crucial to the successful completion of a project.
One of the most common pitfalls when it comes to corporate video production is “being too verbose”. The fundamental pillar of telling a story is “show, don’t tell”. Too many interviews, non-stop voice-overs telling things rather than having the audience explore a story for them self is storytelling suicide. Might as well hand over pamphlets.
#2 Corporate Video Storytelling!
People have been telling stories to capture their audiences for tens of thousands of years. Video and presentations are relatively a very new medium when compared to storytelling from our ancient cave-man days.
Here are some quick steps to craft a great story for your corporate video production:
i) Establishes characters that resonate with the sentiments of your audience,
ii) Connect with your audience on an emotional level and
ii) Transport your viewers on an epic journey with the three-act narrative structure.
Little nuances create a far better experience for viewers. They simply add a positive perception towards the brand. That is all you need.
The Right Corporate Emotions
Circling back to emotions. Just because emotions make videos more sticky, it doesn’t mean that every emotion under the Sun will fit in with your corporate theme or brand. We want to be careful about using emotions. And extremely careful in measuring the right balance of handpicked emotions as ingredients to our script.
High tension drama, emotion, and humour are not always suitable for the corporate audience. Many times these emotions will take away from the main communication, distract and confuse the audience. The video will not be remembered for the right reasons. It’s like slapping on a ketchup sticker to a bottle of salsa. Instead, consider emotions like motivation, commendation, trust, and empathy rather than too much of humour and drama. Sometimes, over the top humour tends to work negatively and depletes the perception of trust and faith in the brand. We want to go for the confident and feel good vibe instead.
When it comes to corporate videos we also need to be wary of not going with the “too commercial” approach. Missing out on the opportunity of using relatability in your communication is just too much of a risk while producing a video in 2018. Use emotions that imbibe your corporate culture.
Emotions like perseverance, teamwork, motivation, confidence can enhance the journey of our corporate story. Meanwhile, emotions like humour, etc can be played down since the main communication of most corporate videos are confidence, competence and to establish trust.
Emotions and Empathy [Case Study]
Our team asked over 600 people from the corporate and technology industry to watch three videos along with a PDF format case study.
Testers were from middle management to senior leadership from multinational corporate companies. They watched these videos on various devices: desktops, projectors, smartphones, and tabs. Over 90% of them preferred to consume a video format.
Most of the industry people admitted to consuming video rather than text too. We all know this is true, we’ve seen the stats.
But here’s what was extremely striking about the study…
Almost all these technocrats preferred the one video that had emotions and a strong story character. Even though this video was close to 8 minutes long, twice as long as the other two videos we had shared.
So truly, filmmaking and story-telling aren’t dead!
Narrative structure to develop a corporate video storyboard
Corporate videos are very similarly structured to documentary filmmaking. Except that the management has a stronger propaganda or vision to communicate to its audience, partners or stakeholders. It isn’t necessary to tell the story from all dimensions or points of view.
The narrative structure for a corporate video storyboard could be broken down into three components:
- Narration: Although in filmmaking the narration is perceived as a God-like character, in documentary filmmaking the voice over is used to tell “truths”. It’s persuasive to have a male British voice to bring attention to the fact. Corporate videos also use voice-over narrations to stitch a story together. Although it’s alright to do so, it does imply that the story is weak and doesn’t come together or flow well. A story should be able to take the audience on a journey without the voice over.
- Documentation: Seeing is more powerful than just telling. When we show or document the script by the dramatisation of characters our viewers are able to better connect to the ideas of the leadership. Documentation could also be the re-creation of a past event or a typical event.
- Expert Interviews: Reinforcing trust through expert comments and interviews is crucial to connect and have your audience believe in what you’re saying. When two or three witnesses collaborate on some thoughts it’s easier for a viewer to trust the message and consume it in a positive light.
So far we’ve looked at portioning a budget, creating a story and the narrative structure for a corporate video production storyboard. Now let’s look at the process.
Understanding your audience and publishing
I couldn’t emphasise more on this step. Before jumping into the deep-end of creating a storyboard it’s practically useless if you don’t understand who you are writing for? If you haven’t paid attention to understanding your audience or how and where this video is going to be used, it’s surely going to be a story of “back to the drawing board”.
At this stage you want to understand clearly:
- Who is our primary target audience? Develop a persona for the audience. Ex: 26-year-old male from Kuala Lumpur named John who works in a finance firm and earns RM 60000 per annum. Understanding your audience better will determine the location, environment and relatable characters for your script.
- How is this video going to reach John? Will this video be played at an expo? Is the video going to be broadcast on YouTube? LinkedIn? Instagram? Which social platform is best? These important questions will determine the duration of the video and the number of scenes. It will determine the framing, size of text titles or captions to be used.
As you can see, understanding your viewers and where you’re going to meet with them is crucial to develop an effective script that will connect well with your audience.
#3 Corporate Video Storyboard Process: What goes into developing a storyboard exactly?
The Written Edit
Once we’ve got the basic idea of the story it’s put down in a brief form called the written edit. The story can then be discussed with the team and stakeholders. This is the phase where we can see if the story has all the elements that connect with the brand and marketing agenda of the final video production. It’s a good place to recommend changes and compare with what the competition is doing.
On finalisation of the written edit. The story is then broken down into scenes, dialogues and narration in a spreadsheet format.
Finally, it’s time to translate the important scenes to a storyboard.
- Storyboard Template: When we develop a storyboard we first create a template that has a 16:9 ratio or 1:1 ratio depending on where the video is going to be published.
- Story Sketch: The main scenes or different scenes are sketched onto the storyboard. At a preliminary stage, we don’t need to go back and forth repeating the same scene for every dialogue or cut. We don’t really need to visualise the entire final editing. As long as we cover the different scenes to be shot and the story progresses clearly we’re in the clear.
- Add the script, notes and dialogues to each scene or sections of the storyboard.
We’ve created an in-depth guide to understanding all the nuances of creating an iconic corporate video production. The article is very informative whether you’re just planning out a corporate video production for the first time or if you’ve had the experience of annually developing corporate videos.