For a lot of purposes, simple talking head interviews are a great way to achieve communication goals with both, external and internal parties. Done right, they are authentic, honest and the interviewee is usually the expert in their field. They work well for case study videos, recruitment videos, internal explainer videos of new strategies and upcoming plans…
The only problem with a simple talking head video is that it might quickly get boring and the viewer may switch off. The interviewee is – in most cases – not a professional presenter, so he or she might not be highly engaging, so often a filmmaker will use ‘cutaway’ shots (also known as B-roll). These are shots which add visual context to what the interviewee is discussing. However, when an interviewee is discussing office-based work (as they often are in case study films) B-roll shots captured in an office, can become repetitive: typing on a laptop, talking on the phone, drinking coffee, having a meeting with colleagues or clients. The point is, those videos quickly lose their uniqueness as well as the interest among the audience.
The key to successful video communication is keeping in mind that any video content created for your company needs to be in line with your overall communication strategy and, more specifically brand guidelines. Thus, the message, the tone of voice, the look and feel have to match your online and offline communication style. While the first two aspects depend on the script and the interviewee, the look and feel of the final video is up to you. So how do you make your videos look in line with your brand? How to use video brand guidelines to elevate the production of an interview video?
A good start to giving your videos your brand personality is by using kinetic typography. Simple on-screen text in your branding fonts and colours will not only make the video more engaging but also break down the information and help the viewer to digest the content. A great additional advantage that comes with on-screen text, is that it subliminally reinforces brand awareness and recognition. It’s a win-win!
Bespoke Brand Assets
This motion graphics game can – and should – be taken to the next stage. Just like your branding guidelines include brand elements for digital and print marketing, they also should have brand elements for your video marketing. There are so many brand elements that can be used across all different kinds of videos, which will not only support the brand awareness and give your marketing efforts a clear consistency but will also allow you to save time and money on future projects. The reason for this is that the editor will only need to adjust the existing project files to the video, instead of creating new ones every single time.
Brand Elements to consider:
- Logo: How would you like the videos to open, just a simple fade into the establishing shot, or would you rather have a fancy Logo Reveal? One of the most important assets in your branding is your logo. Video gives you the unique opportunity to present your logo in an interesting and engaging way. Moreover, you could ask the editor to add your website name to your logo reveal to create a call to action at the end of the video. To support your logo reveal and help you reinforce your brand awareness a bespoke musical sting can be created. A sting is a few-second sound that is associated, with the logo reveal at the beginning or at the end of the video. Often the choice of whether to add an opening logo is dependent on the channel the video will be shown on. If it’s going on Twitter or Facebook, do you want to add a logo to ensure the viewer gets an immediate brand impression or do you want to hook them in with a bold opening shot that will grab their attention and stop them from scrolling? Do you need an opening logo if the video is embedded on your website and it’s obvious that the video was made by your brand? Maybe not, but, if the video is embedded from YouTube then maybe you do want to have the logo there in case it pops up in a YouTube search. All these elements can be decided upon in a video brand guidelines document.
- Titles and Question Cards: Would you like to guide the viewer by introducing questions that the interviewees are answering using the question cards or give them additional keywords using title cards in your branding colours and fonts?
- Lower Thirds: Lower thirds (sometimes called straplines) are used in most interview-based videos to introduce the speaker and tell you their job title. This is one of the elements that would be used repeatedly in every video you create. So why not have that as a standardized brand asset? Placement of the lower third should be considered because you need it to be high enough to avoid being cut off if the video is shown on TV screens or projected at a conference, but low enough so as to not interfere with any subtitles you may want to add. The text also has to be big enough to be read on a mobile screen.
- Watermarks: To make sure that certain information stays on screen throughout the entire video, you could add a small watermark in a corner, for instance with your logo or a hashtag. Things to consider are its legibility against different backgrounds. If you often film interviews against a white backdrop, you may want to have a semi-opaque black logo as a watermark.
- Transitions: Even the transitions between shots are an opportunity for increasing brand recognition. You could use a coloured swipe in your brand colours, or even a fast logo reveal, similar to American sports networks. Things to consider are whether it’s cheesy and whether your viewer needs that much reminding about your brand.
- Music: Does the music you use reflect your brand’s tone of voice or, in other words, comply with your brand guidelines? For example, high-quality luxury brands are likely to use music that will resonate with their audience. A more down to earth, friendly brand may want to use music that feels positive and upbeat.
- A sting: Consider one of the most beloved brands in the world, Coca-Cola. They use the ‘Coke tones’ an arrangement of five unique musical notes that have become synonymous with their logo, the shape of the bottle and the colours of their brand. They often appear at the end of a video as a ‘sting’ a short arrangement, woven into the music that makes whatever the style of music becomes uniquely Coca-Cola. Could your brand also use a sting as a piece of brand recognition to tie together all your videos?
In some cases, the topic of the interview might be intricate, abstract or it might be hard to visualise. We often find that with software companies or financial services organisations the interviewee is explaining a complex subject and there’s no B-roll that we could capture that would help to explain it. That’s when animated motion graphics can be our best friend.
Using your brand guidelines, a talented creative team can conceptualize motion graphics to help explain the ideas being discussed. Not only is this another chance for you to increase brand recognition, but you can also impress your viewers with your creativity and visual flair. This is especially pertinent when working with dry subject matter. Motion graphics can liven up the video and illustrate complex concepts so that your audience feels both informed and entertained by the video.
Remember, the devil is in the detail. Pay as much attention to your video communication as you do with all your other communication forms. Differentiate yourself visually from your competitors, however, within the scope of your brand guidelines. Thus, be unique and, most importantly, recognizable in all your communication forms.