Let’s start with a more targeted — and relevant — question: what can a promotional video company do for you? A reliable, creative partner can help you navigate the twisting, turning, ever-changing video marketing landscape and produce assets that drive your organization towards its goals.
Create awareness. Reach potential customers. Engage current customers. Evoke emotion. Forge and nurture connections. And make money.
Effective promotional videos empower your business, corporation, or cause to tell your unique stories — differently, with impact, and with brand-building results.
What Is a Promotional Video?
While promotional videos can take any number of different forms; they are designed to promote your company, brand, products, or services to prospects and customers.
So they’re ads? Well, sure. But also no and maybe. We typically associate “advertisements” with salesy content with one purpose - to get people to buy something. And this is an important purpose! As businesses, the goal, ultimately, is to drive profitability (or, as a cause, it is to generate donations and encourage volunteerism). You’re selling your brand to your audience.
A great promo video, though, digs deeper into the how — and more importantly, the why and who — of your organization. It de-emphasizes the “hard sell” and engages people on a more personal, emotional level.
The two videos we showed above, for example, go beyond the typical “here’s what we offer, buy it” message. They tell a story: a parent who can afford a great, reliable car thanks to a dealership that offers special financing. A dedicated mom and nurse who not only takes excellent care of her family but excellent care of her community.
These are the types of marketing videos that you need to produce and promote. They create a connection between your brand and your target audience — and that is the bridge that prompts them to cross over from awareness and consideration to action.
What Is a Good Promotional Video?
AGP loves to highlight exceptional corporate video examples. But, to make our point, we’d like to veer in the opposite direction for a moment. Here is a promotional video that is… well, it’s certainly... something. Take a look (or we’ll summarize very quickly below so you don’t have to give up 2:03 of your lives):
There’s a remarkably unlikeable character, a box of teeth, a unicorn, and an arcade game. It’s actually kind of funny — if you divorce it from the fact that you don’t know what’s being promoted or what you’re supposed to think, feel, or do after watching it.
Kind of funny is all right. Funny is better. But uncertainty and lack of clarity are no laughing matter — not when your budget, your name, and your bottom line are at stake.
An effective promotional video starts with a clear and achievable goal.
Getting to the “Why” of Your Promotional Video
If you don’t know why you want to create the video, or what you want your audience to do, then you’re in “well… it’s certainly...something” territory. If you’re lucky. If not, you’re in “So, who cares? Next” territory.
What do you want to accomplish with your video project:
Increase brand awareness?
Drive traffic to your website?
Educate prospects and/or customers?
In this AGP-produced video, for example, the goal is to raise awareness of a project to improve State Road 37 in the cities of Fishers and Noblesville and the county of Hamilton in Indiana.
This promo video illustrates the importance of the 37 and the dynamic role it plays in communities along its pathway. Fast-paced (but within the posted speed limit) and highly visual, it communicates the message that this route provides significant value to the cities/county. It also clearly directs the audience to resources where they can learn more and stay up-to-date with the project.
If you have multiple goals — and why not? You’re a dynamic company! — don’t try to produce an epic that hits every single one. It is far more effective to create several shorter, sharper, videos. You’ll avoid confusing your audience with different messages and calls to action, and you’ll deliver unique stories with a strong, compelling purpose.
Whether building awareness, educating prospects and customers, or driving sales, the “why” of promotional videos is to get people to think, feel, and do. Now let’s get to the “how.”
Types of Promotional Videos
Your goals give you a desired destination; the route you take to get there can vary. Promotional videos can take any number of different forms. Here are a few effective options:
This is just what it sounds like: you introduce your brand to your audience and explain what you do, why, and how. While you may touch on your products or services, an introductory video is largely about you.
In this AGP video, we show audiences who we are, how we’re different, and how we can help you tell your story, differently. We also give them a glimpse into our creative, dynamic culture:
Intro videos work across industries and are particularly important as brands strive to raise awareness, create connections, and build relationships.
Pretty self-explanatory! These promotional videos explain your business model, idea, product, or service. Think of them as engaging, short, simple snapshots into your company. They are particularly vital when you’re introducing a new concept, a complex solution, or trying to build awareness of your offerings.
Dollar Shave Club nailed it on all fronts with their explainer video. Taking on Goliaths like Gillette in the shaving industry, this David had to explain how their monthly subscription model works. They weren’t selling razors; they were selling an idea. Check it out:
Dollar Shave Club seamlessly blended a clear run-down of their idea with plenty of personality. The result: video marketing magic. That 90 second ad helped turn a startup with $1 million in first-round seed money into a $675 million company in just a few years.
Listen to our podcast, David vs. Goliath, for more insight into this masterful promo video.
Whether you have a complex solution or you need to break into a competitive market, a problem/solution video can help you reach your target audience. Illustrate how your product/service will solve their problems.
This video from TripCase, for example, uses a story format to hit the common pain points of travelers. The woman, who “loves to travel but hates traveling,” navigates the hectic hustle and bustle of travel with help from this free app. As she gets jostled by other travelers and as her flight plans change, she seamlessly uses TripCase to stay organized and up-to-date. She still hates traveling, but now she’s good at it.
How does your product/service help your audience solve a problem?
How-tos and tutorials are incredibly popular: 91% of mobile searchers use their devices to get help completing a task, and how-to searches on YouTube increased 70% year-on-year. These promotional videos allow you to build a foundation for viewers so they can better understand your products/services. Further, they give them actionable advice: thanks to you, they’ll be able to solve a problem... fix a leaky faucet, choose a color palette, use a cloud-based app, or what itch it is that your brand scratches.
Asana, a web and mobile app that helps teams organize, track, and manage their work, masters the how-to. They’ve created a series that clearly explains how to use different aspects of their solution. Using the same host and the same distinctive yellow background, they take Asana users through tasks step-by-step, providing actionable information simply.
And, just because we love it, here’s a TechInsider how-to on getting out of quicksand. (Better watch now: if you get stuck, you may not have the wherewithal to Google tips.) It’s short, simple, sound-agnostic, and as entertaining as it is informative. It’s hard to argue with over 2.88 million views.
An effective promo videos delivers a narrative about your business and its products or services. And it’s a terrific idea to let your customers tell that story. Why? Eighty-three percent of consumers trust peer recommendations over brand advertising. They prioritize authenticity and want to hear from real people with real problems/challenges who found real solutions.
In this AGP Customer Story, Maggie, founder of Scribfolio, talks about the creativity, vision, and fun she experienced when working with our team. She also hits a common pain point, particularly for startups: budget. As Maggie says, there’s a lot of things to spend money on! But the results, she emphasizes, have been worth it for her business. Her video is just as energetic and imaginative as Maggie and Scribfolio. Thanks for helping us tell our story, Maggie.
Of course! Videos that promote your products are essential at all stages of the buying journey. You can build awareness, highlight solutions, overcome objections, drive action… These films can be remarkably versatile and effective.
Tom Dickson, CEO of BlendTec, reinforces the idea that corporate videos don’t need to be boring. Dickson has a practice of trying to break his blenders to “find their fail points and determine how I can improve them.” His newly hired marketing director, George, “discovered some of the wacky things I was doing to my blenders…” and inspiration struck.
George took $50 and bought a Happy Meal, Coca-Cola, golf balls, a rotisserie chicken, and some other wacky things, and the “Will It Blend” campaign was born. They filmed five videos (good return on that $50), which grew to 120+, racked up over 200 million views, and established Tom as a social media superstar..
Take a look: this is wildly entertaining, funny, kitschy — and, wow, that thing really does blend.
If you need more product video ideas, look no further than the master: Nike. They approach promos very differently than most companies. They don’t promote their products. Not really. They never produce ads for sneakers or shirts or swimwear. They create films selling determination, grit, hard work, perseverance, challenge and triumph.
Again, you don’t need to harp on features and benefits; you need to tell stories. Here’s one of our favorites:
There are also event videos, interviews, demos, and other vehicles that drive your brand towards it goals. Which type of promotional video is right for you?
It depends on your story, the message you want to convey, and the emotions you want to evoke in your audience. And just as you can produce different videos for different goals, you can use a mix of styles to engage prospects and customers.
Promotional Videos with a Pulse
A healthy video marketing strategy empowers your brand to reach and connect with your audience on a new level: you have the power to appeal to their emotions, build trust, and position your company as the solution to their challenges.
Video is the ideal way to reach consumers: by 2021, it’s projected that 80% of all internet traffic will be video. Further:
90% of customers use video to make purchase decisions.
64% report that video makes them more likely to buy from a brand.
Businesses that use video marketing see 66% more qualified leads.
45% of people watch an hour or more of Facebook and YouTube videos per week.
But also consider the fact that 87% of online marketers use video, and that more video is uploaded in a month than the major US television networks created in 30 years. There is a tsunami of content out there, and people have developed impressive skill in tuning most of it out.
To break past their highly developed filters:
Tell a Story
Remember back to a pitch or presentation you sat through. How much do you remember? The reality is that 50% of the information is gone within an hour, 70% within a day, and 90 percent within a week.
People don’t retain facts and figures, features and benefits. They do retain stories. We are 22 times more likely to remember a story than fact alone.
When you weave your message into a compelling story, you capture your audience’s attention. The Carplex video we showed you earlier, for example, doesn’t list the reasons why you should buy a vehicle there. They show you how the dealership can help you get a reliable car even if you have less than perfect credit. With relatable characters and a clear path from start to end, this makes much more impact on an audience.
Connect on an Emotional Level
Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Given the retention stats above, people don’t even remember what you do!
Video is your chance to get past the corporate armor and show your audience why you do what you do. It’s your chance to give your brand a face, a personality, and a unique identity with which they can connect.
One more quote, then we’re done: Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Take a look at this AGP-produced promotional video for New Moms. This Chicago-based organization helps young mothers access safe housing, expand employment opportunities, and develop the tools, and confidence, to raise strong families.
In this case, it’s not a “business” trying to sell a product or service but a cause that’s trying to elicit support and donations. The point remains, though: by connecting emotionally, you can effectively reach your audience and achieve your goals.
An international Cohn & Wolfe survey found that 87% of consumers feel it is essential for brands to “act with integrity at all times.” They ranked authenticity as the factor they value most in a brand, above innovation and product uniqueness.
Further, consumers show a strong leaning towards goods/services that they believe are authentic, even if the quality is lower. (Of course, it’s possible, and prudent, to combine authenticity with great quality!)
Authenticity is how you build trust, how you connect emotionally, and how you show your audience that you are the solution for which they’ve been searching.
Take a Risk
We can think of no one better to illustrate the concept of taking strategic risks with your promotional videos than Matthew McConaughey.
After years of declining sales, Lincoln needed to shake up their marketing efforts. They created a campaign, in close collaboration from McConaughey, that broke the car commercial mold. At once visually stunning, cinematic, and profoundly nonsensical, these ads highlight the vehicles in a new, unexpected, and strangely compelling way. Love them or hate them, you still know them.
And they work: it doesn’t matter that we have no idea what in the world Matthew McConaughey is talking about. With these ads, Lincoln reversed slumping sales and gained a 10% increase in market share.
Risks can pay off — or they can backfire. They key to success is to ensure that you’re taking strategic chances, staying on-brand, and aligning your videos with your goals.
We spoke earlier about the importance of setting goals for your promotional videos. You need to have an idea of where you want to go before you spend your time and resources on the journey. At the same time, though, it is essential that you remain open to new ideas.
Is there a better way to tell your story? Stay flexible. When AGP worked with Sigma, a global nursing organization, for example, they came to us with ideas. Great; we love it! And we came back with different ideas to convey their message.
Sigma’s Director of Marketing, Julie Adams, says: “It’s up to you, maybe, as the person in marketing to come up with an idea that you want to convey, and then you get a lot of people who are willing to follow your lead and say, ‘Sure, I’ll give you exactly that.’ The problem with that is you don’t get the benefit of the expertise and knowledge of the people that you’re working with.”
When you allow yourself to remain flexible, you’ll find that you are much better equipped to tell your story. Differently.
When you integrate these elements into your video marketing strategy, you get your organization’s pulse pumping.
Video Gone Wrong
Unfortunately, many brands flatline when it comes to promotional videos. Why?
Video that feels inauthentic, disingenuous, and fake is the quickest way to erode any trust that you’ve built with your audience. Take a look at this Chevy ad:
It features real millennials! Like they’re zoo animals on display. Anyway, they manage to unintentionally highlight the absurdity of stereotyping this demographic by specifically pointing those stereotypes out to the tattooed lumberjack, woman with bleached mohawk, and guy with Salvadore Dali moustache. See what they did there?
It comes across as inauthentic and contrived. Plus, after two minutes, it’s just boring. Which brings us to our next point!
This is a cardinal sin of promotional videos. How can you hope to achieve your goals if no one cares enough to make it through your video?
A “boring” product — or one that is utilitarian, practical, functional, complex, etc. — is no excuse for a dull video. Look no farther than Geico or AllState. It’s hard to get excited about insurance, right? But these two companies have mastered the art of producing entertaining ads.
They're Templated and Typical
PR has a great idea: you’ll get your CEO, CFO, COO, or Head of Marketing to sit in front of a camera and read from a prepared script to ensure that everyone hears about the wonderful features and benefits of your products/services or knows that you were founded in 2004 and blah blah blah.
No one cares. This is the templated, typical approach that makes corporate video so… “corporate.” It’s impersonal, it’s inauthentic, it’s dull. You’ve just hit the trifecta for bad promotional videos!
They're Unaligned with Brand Identity
Gillette certainly took a risk when it released its “The Best Men Can Be” ad, which targets the issue of toxic masculinity.
While topical, and while an important conversation to have, Gilette was not the one to start the discussion. It was off-brand. Their customers want razors, not social commentary — particularly that which implies fault or failing in their target audience: men.
This ad was not well-received by customers, by advocates, by women, by men…. It backfired for many reasons, but a big factor is that it was just not aligned with the company’s identity.
By all means, take risks. Engage in conversations about social issues. But do it strategically — and beautifully. Nike nails it with their “Dream Crazy” ad, featuring Colin Kaepernick.
They're Just Plain Offensive
There’s a line between being edgy and controversial and unacceptably offensive. If you don’t know where it is, your customers will be quick to point it out if you cross it. In this Hyundai ad, for example, the automaker wanted to highlight the fact that instead of toxic exhaust, their ix35 produces water vapor thanks to fuel cell technology.
A lot of directions you could take. Hyundai opted for the most offensive one possible. The ad shows a man attempting to commit suicide by inhaling the exhaust in a closed car and garage. He can’t, obviously, because it’s 100% water emissions. It is in horrible taste and minimizes a serious issue. Watch if you want, but it’s not worth your time.
Pepsi was guilty of a significant misstep when they cast excessively rich supermodel Kendall Jenner in an ad that was supposed to highlight social injustice.
Full of laughing, smiling, high-fiving people, the ad was severely criticized for appropriating images from the Black Lives Matter movement and for the tone deaf move of Jenner handing a police officer a Pepsi. She single handedly resolves police brutality, racism, and social injustice! With soda!
Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Corretta Scott King, tweeted a perfect response:
Maybe they were going for a “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” type of thing? Regardless, they failed.
Take a critical look at your at your own promotional videos. Do they commit any of these video marketing mistakes? Now’s the time to address them and produce effective assets that elevate your brand instead of weighing it down.
We’re a Different Kind of Promotional Video Company
To tell your story, differently, you need a different kind of promotional video company. Adam Grubb Productions is video marketing company that specializes in strategy, production, and implementation.
We encourage you to throw away your perceptions of what a corporate video should be and embrace the possibilities of what they can be. AGP works with you every step of the way, from discussing concepts and unearthing the hidden stories that make your company unique, distinctive, and different to bringing them to life, driving them into the market, and analyzing your results.
This is why we take our tagline (Your Story. Told Differently) so seriously: this is how we want to go to market as often as we can.
To help you achieve your business-building goals, AGP offers:
Production: Scaled video and story packages ensure that any organization, regardless of size, can harness the power of high-quality video.
Strategy: We’ve mentioned strategy quite a few times here, and for good reason. You need a unique and customized plan that addresses gaps in your current video marketing strategy. You should never again say, “ I wish we had a video for that.”
Management: After you produce a great video… what’s next? We’ll help you answer this critical question with smart asset management. We create and manage channels based on your strategy so your videos land in front of the right eyes at the right times.
Telling compelling stories is what we do, no matter what type of promotional video you need:
Each of these has the potential to differentiate your business, build trust, create connections, and drive action.
How to Get the Most from Your Promotional Video Company
Use them. Pick their brains. Ask questions. Leverage their expertise. View them as partners, as extensions of your team, and maximize their value. To engage thoughtfully, and get the most out of your promotional video company:
Think about your purpose and goals. While you don’t have to map out your entire route (in fact, it’s often better when you’re flexible in terms of direction), you can enhance the value of your partnership if you know what you want to accomplish. It can be general — increase awareness, drive sales — and your video company can help you dial it in and create targeted objectives that will get you there.
Share your vision. You’ll come to the table with ideas, with a sense of how you want your video to look, sound, and feel. Share that with your partner. Consider them an invaluable sounding board. And when you find the right video production company, they will care as much about your brand and its goals as you do.
Remain open to new and divergent ideas. At the same time, it is important to stay flexible and be willing to hear new thoughts. We touched on this earlier with Sigma, but it bears repeating. In the words of Sigma’s Director of Marketing Julie Adams, the problem with companies that simply do what you tell them “is you don’t get the benefit of the expertise and knowledge of the people that you’re working with.”
Collaborate in the process. This is your video! From participating in the strategic planning and storyboarding to viewing rough cuts and providing feedback, collaboration is where the magic happens.
Demand more! You get what you accept. If you accept a video production services that produce a standard promotional video, then that’s exactly what you’ll end up with. If you expect, demand, that your partner deliver something different, then you’ll have an asset (or, better yet, assets) that work as hard, and as smart, for your company as possible.
What does a promotional video production company do for you? The answer, when you choose the right partner, is as much as you want and need them to in order to drive action and propel your brand to the next level.
Ready to tell your business story, differently?