5 Things to Teach Your Clients on Video Project Briefs

If your ad agency produces video, you can probably already feel the bandwagon rattling as crowds pile onto it. Within the next 5 years, the pundits tell us, one-third of all online advertising spending will go towards online video production.

As Jimm Fox points out, though, it’s not enough to have a video for its own sake. “Most companies today fail to tie strategic targets, and more important, accountability into the video production process,” he writes.

That’s why a great agency communication process can separate you from the herd. Having the right questions on your brief template is a start, but if your client’s answers are vague, you still risk creating an unfocused, ineffective video, so it helps if your client has thought things through beforehand. Here are the top 5 things clients should know before filling out a video project brief:

Who’s the Audience?

If I were making an online video tutorial for a chain of pole dance fitness studios, I probably wouldn’t aim it at men ages 45-50.

Your audience affects the tone, content, placement, and style of your video. The broader your audience is, the harder they’ll be to convince, so it pays to be as specific as you can. How old are they? Are they male or female? How much money do they make? What do they do for fun? What makes them angry? What makes them sad? What do they love? What do they think of you?

When we decided to create new online video content for the FP website and YouTube channel, we actually made 5 separate videos, because we knew we wanted to speak to people in each of the main roles at a typical advertising agency.

What Should They Do?

Focus.  I studied TV broadcasting for a couple years, and if I learned one thing, that was it. Say one thing, say it clearly, and say it well, or your story won’t matter.

As budding journalists, our stories were supposed to be about “people doing something for a reason,” and we had to write a “focus statement” to that effect. If I were doing a light piece about the pole fitness trend, for example, my focus statement might go something like this: “Middle-class women are flocking to pole fitness because they think it’s a fun way to work out.”

As an advertiser, you’re telling a story too. The difference is you want to give people a reason to do something, so what does your client want the audience to do? Why should they do it?

In our case, we wanted potential FP users to book a demo with our sales guys, so we told a little story in each video about how FP could help a person in each agency role.

What’s the Budget?

The budget affects the content and how much time you’re able to spend on it. It might make the difference, for example, between using professional actors and motion graphics.

What Sort of Content Should it Include?

Your client should have at least some idea about content requirements. Ideally, they’ll give you examples of other videos with the right tone, narration, personality, and style.

Our President and Chief Client Advocate Chris Wilson had some very specific ideas: “We wanted to upgrade our video content to address the needs of the agency stakeholders. It had to clearly communicate to each persona in 40 seconds and it was critical to be on brand with Adam Rogers creative.  I must say it was a lot of fun to work on” (Adam Rogers did the illustrations).

Chris Raedcher of Here Be Monsters says creative and strategic details are important to “make sure we truthfully reflect the target audience’s realities and desires, and clearly communicate the brand proposition and brand personality.”

Deadline

You don’t want any surprises here, so your client should give you a date at the outset.

So there you have it – my top 5 questions to ask your clients about their video project, and the things they need to think about in order to give the answers you need.

What about you? What are your “must ask” questions for a video project brief? What’s the most important thing for your clients to know before filling it out?

This article was contributed by former Function Point team member, Amanda Truscott

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