30 Video Production types with a purpose

Mar 5, 2021 | Cornerstone

Video productions to consider for your business.

Before you invest in any video production, it is important you give your video a job. Without a job, it will just sit there on your webpage not attracting much attention, with a price tag that does not justify its non-existent role.

So here is a collection of video types, each with a particular job to do.  It should give you ideas on how to deploy video in any marketing, corporate or communications role. But a few pointers first.

A YouTube Video is not a type of video production.

A type of video is really defined by what it is designed to do. Therefore, a YouTube video is NOT a type of video, it is a platform.  Certain types of video do better on YouTube than others, but it does not make a YouTube video a type of video.

This goes for any social media platform whether it is Facebook, Snapchat or TikTok. There are certain styles of video associated with these social medias. For example, TitTok may capitalize on short-form videos that allow for a mixing of music, special effects, and filters, but it is still a platform. This applies to other video platforms such as those distributed through email.

A Viral Video is not a type of video.

A viral video is just defined as a popular video. It really means the video is being shared throughout social media and beyond.  It says nothing about its purpose.

Video Type: Marketing videos that do not promote the brand directly

Just because a video does not shout from the mountaintop about its brand, it does not mean you’re not raising brand awareness in your target community.

Think of the last conference you may have attended.  Often on the wall are names of various brands that have supported the conference in some way.  They are not advertisements pitching a product. They are just making you aware they are there and playing a role.

These non-brand focused videos are similar in nature.  The brand is present in a video but it’s not the focus of it.

·         Informational video productions

These are video productions that inform the viewer on a subject matter that would be of concern for the brand’s target audience.  For example, if you have a health food brand, the informational video maybe focused on certain lifestyle enhancements. A national travel authority may have a video on how to book great deal on hotels in the country.

·         Mini-Documentary Videos

These videos productions can cover the same issues as an information video but are told as a story using factual information and interviews.  They have a familiar documentary feel to them.

·         Entertainment Videos

Focused on story telling, these usually have a narrative and fictional story.  The brand’s presence may be part of the story but subtle.  It may be product placement.

A few years back, BMW sponsored the short film series called “The Hire”. It was eight short films and starred Clive Owen as a driver of a BMW. Each story revolved around Owen being hired as a driver of these cars for various reasons.

Advertising and Promotion

This is a category many people first think about when considering producing a video. In some form or another, it’s all about pitching a product or service.  It may be in the form of a commercial we watch on television or as the preroll to many YouTube videos, or an in-your-face infomercial “It slices, it dices.”

Each is designed to sell but may sit in a different location in the sales funnel and reach out to potential clients or customers in different ways.

·         The Commercial

Short and sweet, these attract attention by usually focusing on a specific consumer pain point.  The best commercials appeal to an emotional core of the target audience without going into great detail, which would be impossible in a 30 or 60 second spot.  Once the emotional core is reached, it is hoped the customer or client will find the rational reason to justify the spending.  This works well for less complex buying decisions but not if you are buying fighter jets.

These types of commercials are changing as more and more people are watching streaming services.  In general, they are getting shorter. Six seconds is not unusual for a spot.

Others roll before the start of a YouTube video which you can click past.  Not as easy to do for a television commercial unless you record a show.  But who does that now?

·         Demonstration videos

A demonstration video can be seen very much as a walk-through.  Not so common if the buying cycle is noticeably short, this type of video is usually reserved for more complex sales.  The video is aimed at the potential buyers/clients who are saying “Okay, you got my attention, tell me more.”

These videos productions can be just an overview or a deep dive into the nitty gritty details.  It really depends on where a potential client/buyer is in the buying cycle.  With more complete products/services, there may be more than one demonstration video to deal with different levels of understanding or purpose.

For example, a telecom software package may function the same, no matter who uses it, but a call centre focused on out-bound marketing may use the software differently than in an inbound 911 call centre.

The demonstration video would highlight different approaches even if the software is the same.

·         Launch Videos

A launch video is a jump on creating and controlling a product’s or service’s “first impression.”  It’s a promotional video that is designed to set the tone, establish your placement in the industry and get a big bang out of being the new kid on the block.

It has become an important option when the window of the opportunity for the business is short and there is a need to create a splash early in the process.

Its target may be customers/clients but it can also be focused on potential investors.

·         Crowdfunding video productions

Crowdfunding is the new kid on the block when it comes to finding financing.  Once allocated to the world of creatives trying to raise money for their art, the video productions have become a significant vehicle for venture capitalists to find new investments.  No longer are they just projects that offer perks to supporters, equity crowdfunding has raised millions for projects that offer various types of ownership in businesses and inventions.

Whatever the case, the video’s target audience is the investor and what it promotes is the creator’s vision.

For potential investors, the video is answering the question of why they should help these people out.  Therefore, these videos often focus on the creatives and their vision in the context of what they plan to do.

In a more equity investment crowdfunding scenario, videos are similar, but the target audience is looking to make money – so they need to address this important issue.

Nevertheless, both focus on the creator’s vision.

·         Explainers

This is a type of video production most people assume to be animated.  But it does not have to be.  However, since animation is an abstraction, it’s sometime easier to use it to explain conceptual issues that may be too expensive to produce with live action.

This is a type of video that may be considered similar to a demonstration video.

·         Live Video or Webcasting

This is very much as it says – live, as in Facebook live or YouTube live.  Not as popular as it was first it expected to become, it can range from someone just talking to you through their webcam to productions that appear to be more like TV shows.

·         Video Campaigns generated by users.

The making of video has become so democratized that anyone with a phone can produce one.  Which is of course not that same thing as a video of higher quality, but if you look at TikTok, you can see the creative spirt that it has launched.

And this is the primary goal of this type of video campaign.  Get your buyers to create their own videos. Catch the imagination of the target audience to extend your brand well into the world of social media.

·         Stunt videos

Remember flash mobs?  That was stunt video that was popular maybe 10 years ago.  And they had a strong impact.  Every so often I still look at the Flash mob of Ode to Joy, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. I truly never get tired of it ( https://youtu.be/kbJcQYVtZMo )

Most of the time, people want the stunt to go viral, to spread the word widely.  But they are also exceedingly difficult videos to create. If it is a true stunt, you need much more than just a video production team – let alone a team of lawyers to cover liability issues.  You also might find you invest a lot into filming a stunt that no one really cares about.

But there are other simpler “stunts” that can be done such “man-in-the-street” videos about something near and dear to the brand or candid camera type videos that highlight and reward the participant with something relative to the brand.

·         Event Videos

These video productions are about corporate or community events that would happen independently of the video being made.  The videos can vary in style from a documentary to a much more traditional corporate look and feel.

The type of events can range from conferences, to marketing events, to trade shows.

More and more, these types of videos include live streaming to the web.

·         Infomercials

Sometimes considered to be home of the video version of a stereo-typical used car salesmen, we have become accustomed to these. They are over the top presentations (it slices it dices) that often show the on-camera demonstration of  aproduct in front of a live audience that “woos and whaas” on cue.

But they do not have to be and can be presented in a very sober and dignified way.  Most videos are about 30 minutes long and presented like a TV program.  They highlight the benefits and features of a product and are usually aimed at a consumer audience.

·         Digital Signage and Billboards

Walk into many doctors’ offices, garages and fast-food places and you are likely to see them.  They may start with local news, but are then followed by ads, both video and static. Others can be gigantic and fill Central Square in New York.

As the cost of digital display drops, there will be more and more opportunities to use these assets for video marketing.

·         In Store and Office videos

Generally designed for lobbies or places where people gather, they may focus on information or overall brand considerations.

Customer Videos

Most corporate video productions are basically people talking about themselves and how great they are. It is always more convincing to have customers and clients talk about how great you are.

·         Customer Testimonials

Ever hear someone going on and on talking about themselves and how great they are?  What is your level of trust? Do you believe them?  But a former client/buyer talking about how great you are will carry more weight because there is no obvious conflict of interest. It appears more authentic.  And that is the power of a testimonial.

Short and to the point, testimonials have credibility. They can go a long way to convincing a potential client you are worth the investment of their time and money.

·         Customer Success Story

This is really a more sophisticated version of a customer testimonial.  While the overall purpose is to give your product a positive spin, it is told through the lens of one of your customers.  It may highlight the strengths and resourcefulness of your clients but then your product or service becomes part of their success story.

·         3rd Party Product Reviews

Independent reviews of your product or service go a long way.  Lots of influencers are willing to take on this task but you really do not have control over the content. They may like your product or maybe not. Using influencers to provide the review has its issues as well, as since some influencers’ positive reviews can be bought.

·         Unboxing and haul videos

This is really a type of show and tell.  More like, look at what I bought and watch me unbox it and share the thrill.

It’s very much like a 3rd party review, there is no control over the content but the comments are considered to be real.  It is less about creating a video and more about organizing your products to be accessible to hauler.

Company Marketing Videos

Also called corporate videos, these video productions really look at the company from its own corporate perspective.  While once the dominant style of video produced for corporations, its weakness lies in never being really outward looking or  having a focus on an extremely specific issue important to the corporation that is of less interest to consumers.

·         Company Overview Videos

Once the standard go-to for businesses, it had the tone of a highly polished production narrated by a deep voiced male that pounded you with details about how much the company is an industry leader.

It is a style that is disappearing because it is often parodied. Modern marketing is much more customer-focused.

·         Recruitment Videos

The clear goal is to attract new employees and new talent to a company by highlighting a solid work culture, and extra benefits and values that come with a job.  It can talk just as much about the challenges of the work as it it does about group social activities or involvement in the community.

·         Behind-the-Scenes Videos

There is an insatiable appetite for behind-the-scenes type of videos, especially if there is deadline that has to be met.  For example, the launch of a new product, moving into a new building or prepping for a new public offering.

The whole process appears to come across as authentic and provides an insider look at the corporate culture.

·         Corporate Event Promo Videos

These are not about the event but rather aim to promote it.

·         Corporate Interviews

Aimed squarely at the rank and file of a corporation, most corporate interviews focus on the top of the organization and try to be forward looking.

The approach may vary from basic talking-head type interviews to a highly produced “talk” show format with corporate leadership as guests.

At other times, topics may focus on new business lines or other new activities.

Public & Community Relations

Corporate responsibility is gaining traction in many industries. Therefore, many organizations want to show a certain level of social interaction on various issues.

·         Corporate Social Responsibility Videos

These video productions are about how a business feels, believes and interacts with the world.  It goes beyond just sales to its role in society.  A video showing social responsibility can be divisive.

·         Investor Relations

Publicly Traded Companies have reporting requirements.  While video is not one of them, it can be used to simplify issues to focus on the most important takeaways of a report.

·         Video Press Releases

As in any press release, a video press release highlights and/or announces new services.  It is also used to provide the news media with B-roll that can be used by news organizations looking for background footage.

·         Public Service Announcements.

While PSAs were originally the realm of charitable organizations and government, more and more businesses are stepping up to the plate to sponsor awareness campaigns.

Customer Support

These are usually quite simple videos that provide crucial support for the product.

·         Customer Support Videos

Sometimes the most difficult issue faced by a customer is conceptual and relates to questions about what the product or service can really do.  These videos are often short and to the point to help a customer/client understand various aspects.

·         FAQ Videos

Ask customer support staff and they will give you at least 10 questions that are asked repeatedly.  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) videos are very simple and provide the answers those questions.