7 Reasons Why Corporate Videos Stink

There are few mediums so misunderstood as video creation for corporations or non-profits. Everyone has an opinion – and is willing to share it.

Smile and try to read directly from the script.

That’s why – as a whole – corporate videos are terrible.  Because telling a compelling story via images is difficult work.  Think of the television and movie industry.  These are professional directors, technicians, writers and actors and think of all the flops and bombs that come out of Hollywood.

The truth hurts: Making a great corporate video is hard.

But if I had a dollar for every time a marketing or communications department decided against hiring professionals and instead went with the Flip camera option – filmed by some junior staffer – I’d a sock drawer overflowing with bills.

Here are 7 reasons why your corporate video probably stinks.

1. You winged it.

You took a Flip camera to a conference and interviewed people.  The sound quality is terrible because of the background noise.  The subject is uncomfortable and doesn’t know what to say.  Or you set-up in a conference room and interviewed your CEO or CMO about a new product or service.  The content is a rambling sales pitch.

You can’t wing video.  Just like you can’t wing a blog.  Or a Facebook page.  You need to plan for the content.  Think about the messages you want to share.  Think about the composition.  The setting.  The lighting.  You want to make it as compelling and as interesting as you can.  Creativity counts.

And that means planning.

2. Your spokesperson sounds like he’s reading.

Probably because he is.  A word of advice: Don’t script amateurs.  It take a professional actor to bring a written script to life.  Amateurs end up reading the script or reciting by memorization.  The result is the same – it looks and sounds like they are reading or repeating back from rote.

Instead, craft up three top-line messages and come up with interview questions.  Have the spokesperson review the messages and then interview her.  The resulting footage will seem more natural and allow the spokesperson to put the messages into her own words.

3. You didn’t edit it.

Think about TV commercials.  They work because they get to the point – highlighting the main points.  They use fast edits  to give the illusion of movement and action.  They are also fast-paced.  This is all done after the video is captured during the editing process.  What you film isn’t the final product – that’s just the beginning.  Editing will allow you shorten and prioritize the content.

Remember if it doesn’t add something to the storyline: Kill it.

4. You filmed it in a conference room.

Is there a worst place to film than a conference room?  They are bland and devoid of personality.  Go outside.  Film at your house.  Go to a hotel.  Find a setting that will bring your story to life.

5. There’s no production quality.

Add titles.  Add graphics.  Add still images.  Add B-roll.  Add music.  Add sound effects.  Add something!

6. There’s no camera work.

Why do so many vacation photos stink?  Because they are all the same.  A family or family member standing in front of something with their head centered in the middle of the frame.

Conventional and boring.

Experiment with the camera.  Try different angles.  Try high shots and low shots.  Use more than one camera.  Try close-ups and distant shots.  Give the video a visual flair.

7. It’s too long.

Nobody – not even your most devoted customers – want to sit through a 10-minute video of your CEO pontificating about your company’s latest product or service.

Especially if the video was shot in his office, features no edits, and is a single long shot of him in his chair reciting the script from memory.

Remember most TV sitcoms run just 22 minutes.

What about you?  Any tips on making good video?  What techniques do you find work best?


Photograph by WoodleyWonderworks (via Flickr)

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3 Responses to “7 Reasons Why Corporate Videos Stink”

  1. Hallejuah! Someone who tells it like it is.

    As a video producer, it can be extremely frustrating when a well meaning client uses some crappy home camera and then asks you to edit it.

    “Garbage in, garbage out” we say.

    How can you fix bad audio, crappy vision quality and boring presenters? Sadly, many people think you can fix it in the edit suite. This is the most expensive way to do it which means they were better off using a professional camera man. Most companies are better off saving their money rather than doing it themselves because the end product will end up damaging their brand and the company.

    But sometime people need to learn the hard way.

  2. Hi Marie-Claire:
    A lot of companies have the idea that because “social media” is free that they don’t have to spend time, effort or creativity in making it work. Video is just one of the most obvious areas where shortcuts are clearly visible.

    Thanks for your insights!


  1. Linktrest: Stuff Worth Reading | Corporate Guerrilla Video - November 25, 2013

    […] 7 Reasons Why Corporate Videos Stink […]

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