The problem with marketing videos.

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It used to be that a brand planner or strategist could easily sway corporate officers as to the need for a brand plan – or at least a campaign idea – by taking all company ads and pinning them to the wall.  For good measure one could display brochures, direct mail and other printed pieces. 

Today, the biggest culprit in creating brand disharmony, especially true at small and midsize companies, is the video.  In this social media age, most agree – and you heard the drum beat at Advertising Week in NY the last 4 days – visual selling through video is more engaging and powerful. 

The problem stems not so much from the quality of the videos, e.g., editing, audio, effects, it’s the content.  It meanders. It is not blocked out in serial, logical chunks.  With ads, if you didn’t have a tight strategy you called Ernie the montage artist. With a loose video, you just rely on fast cuts and louder music.

So who is making these videos?  Mostly, it’s inexpensive freelance, 20 something, fresh-out-of college kids with iMacs.  One such young man, who is more than capable, said he’d been to many meetings with large agencies like Ogilvy, where he was instructed to “just do something that gets noticed, that goes viral.”  No direction, no brief.  This is not how big agencies normally operates, but at those agencies on the digital creative side, it happens more than you might think.  As for smaller shops, or in-house marketing departments it’s even worse.

Marketing videos need to do a job but they also much convey a positive, organized brand imprint. With half of marketing videos either case studies or tutorials, brand strategy has a way of slipping away. Branding is always on. Approving videos without a brand planning oversight — and it happens thousands of times a day — is like writing bad checks.  So executive, turn down the lights in your conference room, fire up the interactive projector and start watching all your vids. Then ask yourself what are they trying to say about the company?  Peace.