One of our corporate values and company goals is to produce content for our clients that tell an emotionally compelling story. Modern advertising has evolved away from the style of a typical commercial—people are no longer paying attention to adverts, but they will tune in to entertainment. We recently worked with a brilliant company that is taking this trend a step further and applying it to business-to-business advertising. POQ, our client, is an app-commerce company. While mobile commerce is no longer a new thing, the growing expectation is that retail and product companies will have their own app. This is where POQ comes in. They design app templates that companies may use to sell their products. In short, POQ builds apps for e-commerce retailers. That’s a bit of a mouthful to sell in a short promotional video, isn’t it? Luckily, we were able to convey this information in the form of a story.
What Not to Do
We love it when brands approach us with example videos to help communicate what they’re looking for in a video. POQ approached things a little differently and showed us a video that demonstrated what they didn’t want. This was incredibly useful. The video they referenced was a highly glossy, business-to-business film from one of their competitors. It demonstrated the features of the product, the benefit to the customer, and used a character to personify the end user. The film wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t in line with POQ’s brand values. There was no reason for the audience to connect with the character emotionally. Our brief was to provide a more authentic, entertaining piece of content for POQ. So, we approached pre-production with a realistic, non-corporate mindset.
Why This Approach?
To start, we looked to a previous project one of our DoP’s worked on. You have probably heard of the ‘84 Lumber Superbowl ad’ (and if you haven’t, please do watch it here). Our DoP shot this video for the Pennsylvania wood company, which showed the desperate journey of a mother and young daughter to the United States. This ad came out of nowhere—you’d expect Super Bowl ads to come from Pepsi, Budweiser, and the like—but instead it was produced by a business-to-business company. Why was this ad so powerful? 84 Lumber used the current political climate to make a statement, and tied their company into the end of a powerful story. We planned to follow this same template. We knew our promotional video would be character-driven, and definitely not a typical product video. We would tell a practical and visually pleasing story, with a nice payoff at the end. We wanted to show the emotional benefit the end consumer would have by using the app, thus appealing to the consumer brand.
Keeping the competitor video in mind, we decided to go for a fresh-looking, street-style piece, rather than a glossy, fake ad. Along with the main plot, our underlying storyline showed the journey of a product (the red dress) to consumer, and how the product emotionally impacted the recipient’s life. We subtly included the retailer using an SAAS platform to add the photos to their POQ app. This aligns POQ with the needs of their consumer: speed and simplicity. We only briefly show the software platform in order to focus more time on the emotional story of the dancer and dance teacher. Our end goal to was create a hook for the target clients to want to explore POQ’s website, to find out how POQ can benefit them. The purpose of the video is manifold: entertainment, brand awareness, and prospecting. As you can see, the video was not designed to be an educational piece; rather, an awareness piece. Business-to-business product videos are usually more corporate, and focus on features and user benefits in order to make a sale. Thus, our approach was novel and a bit more sophisticated. We drove our main point home through the call to action at the end, which helps contextualize the video and drive traffic to POQ’s website. After all, a great product video is one that shows the magic of what the product can do. This doesn’t have to be a step-by-step demonstration, as long as it shows the positive end result that comes from using the product.