corporate storytelling

12 Tips for Making Video a Reality in 2019

If 2019 is finally the year when you decide to make a corporate video, here are 12 things you should know that will make your video a hit instead of a snack room joke.

If 2019 is finally the year when you decide to make a corporate video, here are 12 things you should know that will make your video a hit instead of a snack room joke.

If 2019 is the year you’re finally going to start producing video content about your business or organization, here is a handful of tips to help you plan a flawless video campaign in the new year. (With a nod to the 12 Days of Christmas and all things fun and festive!) 

1.  Know why you’re producing a video

This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many otherwise smart professionals decide they want to produce a video about their company without thinking through their goals and outcomes. Don’t be that person. Get clear about the pain you want your video to relieve before you start imagining what you want your video to look like. 

2.  Decide who this video is for

Every video you produce needs to appeal to a specific audience. Taking the time to identify the audience you want to reach and the messages you want to communicate, will help you decide the type of video you want to produce, as well as the creative tone and style you want your video to convey. 

3.  Get clear about your outcomes

What do you want your target audience to do after they’ve watched your video? Visit your website for more information? Donate money online? Fill out an online job application? Whatever your outcomes, make sure your video has a strong call to action, directing viewers to take the next step.

4.  Be honest about the investment you’re willing/able to make

Successful video projects are an investment in time, money and talent. The average video project takes an average of 12 weeks from concept to completion. On the low end, a typical budget for a two-to-three-minute video starts at around $5,000 and can vary widely, depending on the complexity of the video you want to produce.

5.  In-house or outsource?

If you’re producing a video in-house, your main investment will be staff time. If you outsource your project, your investment will be in dollars, to hire outside video experts who can assist you in everything from story planning, project management and creative development, to filming, story production and editing. The deciding factor typically comes down to the amount of extra staff time an organization has (or doesn’t have) to devote to the amount of time needed to produce a video. 

6.  Plan, baby, plan

Leave winging it to the birds. Without a solid plan, your video project is DOA.

7.  Short, long or in-between?

There’s a lot of buzz around the “perfect” length of a video. The truth is, there is no perfect video length. However, there are guidelines, based on how a video will be used. For example: 60 to 90-second video testimonials of company executives or customers work well as email attachments, on a website or social media platform. Ditto for a two-to-three-minute product demos. Videos in the three-to-five-minute range (company culture videos, award videos, fundraising appeal videos or video case studies) work well in live presentations or on a website. My rule of thumb around video length is: make it long enough to cover your most important messages, but not too long that people lose interest. 

8.  There’s no “I” in team

Keep your internal team small and focused. Make sure everyone on your team shares the same goals and outcomes and is motivated to keep the process moving forward.

9.  Find video partners that work and play well with others

Every video company has a great demo reel. But look beyond the pretty images when evaluating a potential video partner for your next project. Find a team whose work ethic and values mirror yours. Seek out video pros who “get” your vision, are focused yet flexible, communicate well, enjoy the collaborative process, are easy to work with and deliver projects as scheduled. 

10.  Expect the unexpected

Scheduling snafus. Production bumps. Last minute script changes. Re-edits at the 11th hour. Something unexpected will happen during the life of a project. Having a solid game plan will help you overcome these bumps in the road. When the unexpected appears, stay calm and carry on.

11.  Think Vimeo for video hosting

Most people immediately think of YouTube for video hosting because it’s a free service. But Vimeo is a better bet, especially for business and corporate work. Vimeo is a paid service, but the investment is worth it for a couple of important reasons: First, Vimeo allows users to keep their original online video links, so you can make revisions to an existing video without having to create a new video link, as you have to do with YouTube. Second, Vimeo doesn’t paste unwanted ads over your video like YouTube does. These are small, but important distinctions, and worth paying attention to, if maintaining a professional visual presence is important to you, and your audience.

12.  Enjoy the ride

The video medium is such a powerful communication tool and there are so many applications for it that you owe it to yourself to at least consider producing a video sometime in 2019. And if you are already on the video bandwagon, here’s to another great year of creating video content that engages, educates and inspires. 

Holly Paige Photo.jpg

About the author:

Holly Paige is a story consultant and video content creator based in Portland, Oregon. She produces videos for businesses and organizations that want to tell their stories – and tell them right. Visit:


Personalizing a Brand Promise

TOMS CEO Blake Mycoskie fits a Peruvian child with shoes. The company recently utilized virtual reality to help tell its story. 

TOMS CEO Blake Mycoskie fits a Peruvian child with shoes. The company recently utilized virtual reality to help tell its story. 

Virtual reality could expand from video gaming to empathetic storytelling, placing viewers in the middle of the action worlds away.

TOMS developed a virtual reality video that transports its shoe buyers to a dusty, mountainous village in Peru where they see the faces of children who receive free shoes as part of the company's buy-one, give-one philanthropy.

The TOMS store on NW Burnside Street in Portland is just one of seven around the world with the equipment to play the 4-minute video, which had its inspiration in a TED talk by virtual reality film producer Chris Milk. TOMS executives saw virtual reality video as a way to dispel disbelief in its cause marketing One-For-One brand promise.

Critics don't dispute the reality of TOMS donating shoes. They take aim at its claims that half of all TOMS profits go to philanthropy, asserting instead that buyers actually pay for two pairs of shoes in the purchase price. Other critics condemn TOMS for failing to locate factories in the countries and communities where it gives away shoes to poor people.

The TOMS virtual reality video is unlikely to dispel those criticisms. However, it will make the TOMS brand promise more personal for its loyal customer base because it draws them deeper into the giving experience than a regular video or a photo gallery.

Produced for VRSE by Oregonian Susan Hebert, the video zooms over the remote area where the Peruvian village is located, takes you along the bumpy road into town and plops you among the villagers. You see children in their schoolyard, watch as they are measured for new shoes and enjoy dancers in native costumes. At times, the children look straight at you and, in a couple of cases, actually greet you.

The video is part of what TOMS calls its "Give One, Experience One" campaign. Other than flying to Peru, it is the next best thing to actually being there to see your contribution to philanthropy at work.

Carole Conkling experiencing TOMS new virtual reality experience at the company's Portland store. 

Carole Conkling experiencing TOMS new virtual reality experience at the company's Portland store. 

Virtual reality filmmaking involves using a camera array to shoot a panoramic, 360-degree scene. The technique produces four simultaneous frames that when viewed through special goggles give the illusion you are watching something occur around you.

The TOMS viewing site in Portland is in the corner of a store, next to the coffee bar, which supports improved water supplies in rural villages. It consists of a single swiveling chair. You move your head or swivel in the chair to scan the full scene. You are, in effect, there.

In his TED talk, Milk calls virtual reality video an untapped format for storytelling, especially for stories that draw on empathy. You don't have to paint a picture to fire someone's imagination; you place them at the scene to experience it first-hand. You are not part of an audience; your experience is unique, much as it might be if you were on location yourself. 

It was an adroit choice by TOMS to use this pioneering storytelling technique, which adheres to the company's social entrepreneurship reputation. (The Portland TOMS store has a wall-sized map depicting the various pathways of its business philanthropy, which also include eyewear donations.)

While virtual reality video may not be a tool that is available or affordable enough for most companies and organizations to pursue, it will be, especially as its 360-degree format is adapted to computer and mobile device screens so you don't have to wear special headgear. Google Cardboard already exists for DIY "immersive experiences."

The lesson for today taught by the TOMS video is that fresh approaches to storytelling can make tried-and-true stories come alive again.

Compelling Corporate Storytelling

Microsoft Stories, "An inside look at the people, places and ideas that move us," is an excellent example of corporate storytelling.

The website looks and feels like an online magazine. It is actually a collection of corporate stories made to look like an online magazine. It is content marketing designed to give Microsoft staffers a face and Microsoft customers an entertaining experience.

The key "message" is subordinated to storytelling. Readers are engaged, not just message targets.

One of the featured stories is a profile about Kiki Wolfkill (her real name), who is in charge of the "Halo" video game, which has gone from a first-person perspective to an immersive world where players consume and create the game as they play. 

We learn through the profile, written and laid out in magazine style, that Wolfkill combines her talent as an artist with her thirst for speed as a racecar driver to stimulate her design adrenalin. By the end of the piece, you would like to talk to Wolfkill over one of her Asian fusion home-cooked meals.

A video game has gone from a game to a face. 

Other stories describe how five young technologists, who were finalists in Microsoft's Challenge for Change program, visited the Amazon, a former NFL player uses technology to battle ALS and a computer scientist splits​ his time between developing software and making wine. You even learn the Seattle Seahawks mascot doubles as a Microsoft demo whiz.