Projects often generate changes in the company. Projects change work flows, organizational structures, IT systems and architecture. They do the same to other fields and technologies in the company. Creating acceptance and consensus around these changes is the key to long term success.
But how do you acquire acceptance or inspire excitement among everyone concerned? Professional communication can make a big difference. In our daily bombardment with email, articles, advertising and social media it is increasingly difficult to attain and maintain our audience’s attention. This is where project marketing in the form of videos comes in. A video campaign is a modern approach to getting your message across.
Short, well produced film clips are the best at getting viewer’s attention and inspiring the behavior you want. People love film clips. They watch them all the time on youtube. Think about the last clip you saw that was well-made. You were probably happy to spend a few minutes on the content if it was well-produced and accessible. Videos allow you to create a lasting impression of the company’s projects and products, both for internal and external audiences.
Well-made videos and interesting explainer films make complex projects accessible for all kinds of target groups and they allow you go secure buy-in from all the stakeholders. As the saying goes: “You cannot not communicate.” The saying rings true in projects too.
The value and use of videos in project marketing
Films can have a lot of uses and can generate a lot of value in projects. In general these could include:
- The multi-dimensional representation of the projects on the intranet
- Conveying a large amount of information on many levels
- Creating trust through information, emotion and entertainment
- Conveying complex ideas
- Potentially building trust even before making contact
- Creating long-lasting effects on stakeholders
- Extending reach.
Clips can be useful before the start of project in the following ways:
- When pitching the project idea to stakeholders
- When convincing stakeholders of the necessity of the project, i.e. in getting buy-in from the stakeholders
- When trying to create excitement about the project
- When securing finance and enticing investors/sponsors
- In gaining the go-ahead from top-management/key decision-makers
- Making the project attractive to important resources (employees, finance, raw materials)
- Dismantling fears, apprehension, insecurity, conflicts (especially when it comes to transformation and organizational projects)
- Creating trust and increasing acceptance and project identification
- Eliminating disturbances from poorly informed decision-makers.
Projects that are already up and running can benefit from videos in the following ways:
- Making clients feel included and informing internal stakeholders about the events taking place in the project
- Avoiding tension between the project and its environment as early as possible
- Improving the projects standing and position
- When identifying and assisting stakeholders with the project goals
- To gain and maintain respect from the top management
- Informing the public about progress,
- Keeping a videoblog or video diary informing everyone about all the important milestones
- Motivating the project team by presenting accomplishments
- Making it easier for new team members to come onboard
- Teaching team members about new topics through video tutorials and video-learn-snack
After the project is completed film clips can help by:
- Presenting successes to internal and external stakeholders (e.g. clients at trade fairs
- Serving as a reference for future projects
- Advertising the company itself
- Supporting public engagement e.g. with press releases
The target audience and the message
Many possible target audiences could be addressed by a project. The video concept and video format (visual dimensions, form, type of content presentation) will be heavily influenced by this decision. Possible target audiences include:
- Internal groups
- Management, department heads, project sponsors
- Project team members, specialists
- The board
- Clients, business partners
- Media representatives, partners
Once the target audience has been identified, it is important to find out what their needs and fears are, and how they might respond to the clip. What story should the clip tell? What do you want to say?
- Do you want to present an innovative project idea with the hope of securing financing?
- Do you want to explain a project to technical and non-technical stakeholders to confront their fears and win their approval?
- Would you like to appeal to business partners to acquire know-how for a mutual project?
- Do you want to explain complex ideas to inform teams or team members or to bring new team members onboard?
- Would you like to successfully present a project at a fair or to the public?
Very importantly, make sure the point of your video is clear. This is only possible if you focus on the most meaningful message.
Planning and the concept
In the planning and conception phase you should think a lot about the message you want to convey through video. You need to build and hold tension so that the viewer wants to watch the clip right to the end. Think about how outsiders might perceive the film. If people can identify with the content on an emotional level then a connection will naturally result.
Choose a video production company, then decide on a well-thought out concept. Last but not least, think about the budget. Document your concept, the following checklist will help you with this:
- The topic
- Target audience
- Foundational idea behind the clip
- A sketch of the rough outline
- Estimated shooting days
- Participants and their availability (time frames, staff, narrators, moderators, management members etc.)
- Desired clip length
Once you have a concept you can call for offers from production companies and compare them.
The concept will probably go through many changes. Once it is settled, then a production schedule is needed. That is: a plan about how to coordinate the participants, the technical resources and the logistics of filming (e.g. film permits, locations, release forms etc.).
Doing it yourself or hiring professionals?
Do you know how to deal with permits? Or anything about three-point lighting? Have you ever dealt with cameras, lapel microphones, and video editing software for the postproduction or copyright rules for using images, music and even special buildings? In other words: do you want to have to deal with these details? The concept of the videos determines the framework of the work, the equipment necessary and of course the costs. Decide on the budget early on to avoid unpleasant surprises. Think about how many shooting days you need and remember to plan in some wiggle room. There are lots of possible sources of disturbances: bad weather at outdoor shoots, a participant suddenly being unable to complete the shoot etc.
The costs for a good production company generally start at ca. € 6,000 – 8,000 excluding VAT per shooting day, maybe more depending on the concept. Does that sound too expensive to you? Perhaps if you just consider the costs on their own. But ask yourself how the costs look in the context of the benefits?
- You get additional funding for your project as a result of the video?
- Now everyone knows about your important project, everyone is positive about it and you gain access to vital resources (good team members, finances, material)?
- Your stakeholders can remain informed and you can continue to rely on them?
- Your project team remains totally informed, performance becomes visible and is recognized?
- You secure new contracts because you managed to present your project professionally?
- Your company can show off what it can do through the film?
Of course you could shoot the videos yourself too. Doing it yourself requires a significant amount of preparation, know-how and resources. If you have all of these in your company then go ahead. Do not underestimate how taxing post-production can be though. After shooting there is often a lot of footage which still needs to be woven into a harmonious whole. Post-production can take as long (or even longer) than the actual production. After you have cut the scenes, selected sound bites, included background music, animation and effects, you will have a rough cut. By moving the building blocks around you will finally arrive at the finished product. This is how to develop a succinct, cohesive film, one that builds tension and reaches a high point or one which ends with a solution to a given problem. A critical step.
Film clips are becoming more popular by the day. When it comes to project marketing and project communication, they grab attention, hook viewers and build trust. There are many benefits to videos—if they have been professionally produced. Poor quality videos that cannot hold interest, have sparse content or poor sound or image quality tend to damage your reputation and erode trust in your company. Getting help from video professionals reduces the risk you would face if you were to produce the clips on your own.
Here is an example from a film about a large wind-power project.