The first step in building a commercial such as a 30-second TV spot or a promotional video for YouTube is to know your audience.
Basic demographics are age and gender. Understanding these basics for your audience, or viewer, are important because different age groups watch videos differently and each gender has different receptors for the message. The more clarity you have about your audience, the easier it becomes to design your commercial to get through to them and to influence their buying decisions. Remember that people, in general, prefer to avoid being sold and would rather make their own purchasing choices.
When you’ve determined which audience you’re targeting, part of the design work is to grab their attention. A good rule of thumb is to focus the attention-getting device (AGD) on your potential customers and what they are likely to want as the message relates to your product or service. Is the purchase for necessity, pleasure, or to avoid pain? There are other options, but we’re trying to keep this brief.
Once you’ve got the audience’s attention, the commercial needs to keep their attention or engage them to ensure the message is delivered as intended. Generally, you want to leave the viewer with an indelible memory, a positive perception, and/or an urge to buy what you’re selling. The hope is you will build brand identity and, if they like what they purchase, brand loyalty. You also want the viewer to stay through to the end, where you provide the call to action.
Know what you want them to do. That’s your call to action! Do you want commercial viewers to stop by your store? Would you prefer they call to set up an appointment? Send you an E-mail? Or do you direct them to your website for more information or to place an order?
Now that we’ve gone through the construction elements, let’s go back to the planning process. One of the worst reasons for producing a commercial for your business is “Everyone is doing it.” Know your purpose … and your audience. Whatever you attempt in producing a spot, you are building brand awareness. You want it to be favorable. Yes, you are trying to sell your brand, your product, your service, and maybe yourself, but keep in mind who’s going to be viewing your commercial. Why do they or should they care? Does the spot relate to them … or is it about you and your company?
Remember, too, that your commercial may not reach everyone in your intended audience, and will more than likely also be viewed by people outside of the audience you’re trying to reach. Both scenarios are okay.
What’s your budget? Fancy graphics, animation, and acting or modeling talent can rack up a big expense without any consideration for scripting, shooting, and editing the video. Plus you generally have to pay if you’re airing commercials on TV or cable channels. There are ways to reduce the expenses such as shooting two or three spots at a time, but either way, it’s best to have professionals help with production because your reputation, and brand, are on the line.
Consider, too, that you need to understand the time frame involved in producing a commercial. Concepts and script writing need to be thought through, modified, and finalized with your approval before the shoot can be scheduled. The logistics of finding a location, getting permission to use it, and then setting up the various shots takes time. The process of finding the right talent takes time, too. Remember to add in rehearsal time and get talent releases as well.
When you shoot video, shoot from several angles and do numerous takes to ensure you have enough material to work with when you get to the editing booth. Think of and take all the shots you think of so you can avoid returning to the location to shoot something you forgot you needed. Editing requires time to enter video, audio, graphics, and manipulate the sequences between scenes.
Sure, you can shoot some video with your smart phone and post it on YouTube, but is that the image you want to portray of your company?
Take the time to think things through, and get help if you need it!