How to Make Corporate Videos More Interesting

The use of corporate video has always been popular, but in the recent past, it has exploded. That’s because it is an effective tool for so many of the critical functions of corporations. Corporate video used to be confined to company overviews and product information. Today it plays a role in marketing, training, human resources, operations, and safety… just to name a few uses. Think of it this way. If you need to communicate, educate, inspire, or sell — you need video.

What is a corporate video?

A corporate video serves as a tool for companies to convey their message, brand identity, and objectives in a visually engaging and compelling manner. It can be an effective way to connect with stakeholders, build brand awareness, and achieve various business goals.

What are common formats for a corporate video?

Before we discuss how to make corporate videos more interesting let’s briefly look at the formats which fall into a few categories.

Narrative with video

This video relies on a script that is well written and what is called “b-roll.” That is a video that supports the narrative. It might be a video of your business location, shots of manufacturing a product, a demonstration of a process or other visuals. Generally, the script is created first and then the video is captured to match. One of the advantages of this format is that you can shoot precisely what is needed, without wasting additional effort.

Interviews with video

In this case, real people are interviewed and pieces of different interviews are cut together to tell the story. The interviewees can be on camera for the whole presentation or a b-roll can be used to make the piece more visual and show what is being discussed. This is much like a documentary that you might see on your favorite media outlet. This style works well when you want an authentic presentation with a real-world feel. It is also a good way to use subject matter experts. Some of them may be a little camera shy but are great at answering questions about their favorite subject or project.

On-camera video

This type of presentation uses an individual presenting directly to the camera. This includes executive presentations or training. It can also be used to introduce a product or company initiative. This type of video can be scripted and loaded into a teleprompter or a more spontaneous talk if the individual is accomplished at speaking off the cuff.

Music Video

A music video combines visuals and audio with no narrative. In this case, the visuals can be live-action video, motion graphics using icons and text or even still photography. This type of video can be used when audio may not be heard- for example on a trade show floor or in a busy lobby.

There are other formats, but these are the most popular. Deciding what format to choose often depends on the content, use case, availability of camera-friendly people and visuals. A good video producer also knows that there is no one right format, often several different ones can give you the desired result.

What are the elements of a successful corporate video?

There are a number of elements that make a corporate video successful. It starts by understanding what your target audience needs and wants to know. Yes, you have a message that you want to convey. But, if you begin by thinking about the pain points of your audience, the problems they need to solve or a desire they have, you can design a message that will engage the audience.

The content or script needs to be written in a conversational style and have a good flow. That means each key point must lead in a logical way to the next one. It is easy for some to get sidetracked with interesting, but unnecessary details. Stay on point and be concise if you want your video to be successful. Remember attention spans are short. You should strive to leave viewers wanting more- so they don’t click away before the video ends.

Words matter. Use descriptive words, powerful words. Avoid overused words and phrases. Everyone says their company or product is innovative or amazing. Other words to avoid are “unique, interesting, or transformative.” Yes, all those words might describe your work but try and find words that are not commonly used.

Corporate video is a visual medium. You may have heard the phrase “talking heads.” This refers to a video where the only thing you see is a person or several people talking. There is no supporting video to help the viewer better understand the concepts. There are times when you simply do not have any visuals, but an accomplished video producer can work magic and create video or graphics to help tell the story. We believe visuals draw attention and create excitement. Visuals do need to match the mood and tone of the message. For example, if the tone is serious and thoughtful you would not use bright, happy scenes. Another element to consider is brand standards. All visuals should be created according to your company brand standards. Many times, our clients ask us to go outside brand guidelines to create something “different or unusual.” Brand standards are there for a reason — to set you apart from the competition and help the viewer identify this content or message with your company. Don’t waste the opportunity and go off-brand.

Finally, music can contribute a great deal to a successful video. Music sets the tone and also the pacing of the piece. Various music libraries offer unlimited choices. In fact, it can be overwhelming. Here too, an astute video producer can help by narrowing the choices and making this more manageable. Be sure that all the rights and licenses have been secured. This is an area where many get into trouble. It’s tempting to want to use that popular song, by a well-known artist that has the perfect words or theme for your video. STOP. There are huge legal issues with using music, or for that matter stock video and graphics, that have not been purchased. And it is simply not right to use an artist’s work without permission. If you do want to use a popular cut of music, you can get the rights but expect the costs to be much higher than music from stock music libraries.

What role does storytelling play?

Every video can tell a story. Most of us can remember a story from when we were young. That’s because stories were used to entertain us and help us learn life lessons. But storytelling has great benefits in the corporate world as well. Studies show that facts are 20% more likely to be remembered if they are part of a story. Here are some ideas for using stories.

If you are launching a new product, you can tell the backstory of how it was developed. Interview the individuals who developed the product. You can share the challenges, and how the product went through vigorous testing- maybe it failed the first few times. Tell that story as well. It provides some drama and shows the reality of how the problem was solved.

Perhaps you need to recruit talent. Using stories of individuals who started at entry-level jobs and moved up can be inspiring to others. Highlight the opportunity that your company offers. Show how individuals discovered their passion.

Customer stories are impactful because they offer a neat package that is quickly understood. Describe a challenge or need that the customer expressed. Show how you worked with them to solve a problem. Tout the results and what everyone learned and wants to share with others. That is a great story. Best of all, every customer’s story has a different twist or set of circumstances so you can create a library of videos to use for many years.

These are just a few ideas. Others include the history of a company or product, community outreach or employee initiatives and more.

How do you create a memorable open and close?

When you go out for dinner think about the menu, specifically the appetizers and desserts. If you have a great start and finish to a meal, but the main course is just OK chances are you rate the dinner more highly. When it comes to video you need to grab attention out of the gate and finish strong.

For the open you might use short snippets of interviews to set the stage or pique interest. Maybe you begin with a fast-paced music video montage. A simple black and white graphic, imagine the opening to a movie, can also be powerful.

You only have about five to ten seconds to grab the viewer so carefully construct the open for maximum impact. Now consider how to close the video. You might use a technique called “bookending.” If you begin with a series of interview clips, end with closing comments. Or a closing music video montage. The end does not need to tie to the beginning. It could be a call to action or a summary.

How do you measure success?

The easiest way to measure success is when a video causes others to act. Does the viewer reach out for more information or schedule a meeting? Do they share the video with others? Do they buy your product or apply to work for your company?

Note that the response may be delayed. If the individual does not have an immediate need, they may not act. You simply planted a seed that might not grow immediately. Additionally, remember that video is just one tool in your toolbox. Be sure to make it part of an integrated strategy.

What are the current trends in corporate video production?

One of the most popular trends in video today is “shorts.” These are 30 to 45 seconds of power-packed content. These shorts can be stand-alone videos or can tease longer pieces. The shorter length makes them ideal for social media outlets. They can also be incorporated into webinars or other presentations.

Live streaming is also gaining in popularity. As technology has improved, the quality of live streaming has too. Events that are streamed can be used to build excitement for product launches (remember Apple announcements) and offer a Town Hall experience or training.

Animation and virtual reality are being used more often as the cost has become more reasonable.

With more robust learning platforms, video training is now much more interactive and measurable.

Examples of great corporate videos

Want to make great corporate videos? We’ve put together a few examples with some key takeaways that might inspire you to create your next video project.

Quick Summary: This is the story of a distillery that does more than just make a product. The message shows how this organization is taking sustainability seriously. The story is a compelling one told by the people of the distillery and their enthusiasm is obvious.

Why it Works: The message is very clear and the visuals that support the story are simply beautiful. The pacing of the piece keeps the viewer’s interest, and it feels as if the viewer is getting a behind-the-scenes look at the process

Takeaway: This type of corporate video shows the character and culture of the organization and promotes the brand.

Quick Summary: This is an excerpt from a mini-documentary that tells the story of a brave woman facing dementia. It was created to show how Clark Retirement is a leader in memory and dementia care. It is being used with a variety of audiences to create awareness and support for individuals and their families. It won a Gold Telly Award in 2023.

Why it Works: This is a topic that resonates with so many individuals and families who are facing health issues. The information was presented in a way that was both informative and comforting. The candor of Betty, the woman who is the focus of the video, is disarming and the video of her life with her husband Bill is natural and not contrived.

Takeaway: Telling an individual story can elevate and personalize the work of an organization. Showing real people, real challenges and real solutions is a powerful communication tool.

Quick Summary: To share their services, Marana Group created a series of videos, each focused on a specialty. They describe the service at a high level and the impact it has on their customers. The videos were used on their website but were also impactful on social media and beyond.

Why it Works: Each video is concise…and even a little cute! The videos were created using animated icons that help make complex, tech-related topics, simple. The images are colorful and eye-catching which made the videos a great fit for social use.

Takeaway: Having a little fun with your brand can go a long way. Get creative with imagery and deliver it in a professional manner to create a lasting impact.

cynthia kay
CEO at CK and CO | Website

Cynthia Kay founded Cynthia Kay and Company media production 35 years ago. The company produces communications for organizations from Fortune Global 100 to small businesses. A graduate of Michigan State University, Kay holds a master’s in communications from Western Michigan University.
She is the Past Board Chair of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) and the National Small Business Association (NSBA). Cynthia has been honored with many awards including numerous Tellys and Woman Owned Small Business Supplier of the Year from Siemens in 2018. She has been named One of West Michigan’s 50 Most Influential Women 5 times. She is also the recipient of over 30 broadcast awards from UPI, AP and other news organizations.