As a follow up to our previous article on how to make a difference with animation, here’s a list of the 9 most common mistakes that businesses make when creating videos – and how to avoid them.
1 – No strategy or call to action
Any piece of content or video created by a business should be created with a specific purpose in mind. Maybe it’s to drive sales, boost perception or introduce a new product. Whatever it is, the entire video should support that single goal. One thing that is often missing in these videos is an effective CTA (call to action). The CTA is the single most important part of any story told by a business. You must tell the viewer what you want them to do, but tell them in an inspiring way that makes them think about it long after they’re done watching. Take a look at our article titled “Strategy in animation” for more info.
2 – Wrong target person
Part of the process that’s often overlooked or ignored, is understanding who the target person is – and developing for them specifically. When creating videos for larger businesses, the person in charge of the project may be trying to incorporate elements that their boss said they wanted. If that’s done, the video is created with someone different in mind than the target person. This will only lead to the boss being more upset when the video isn’t effective. It’s important that everyone involved in the process knows who their target audience is so that decisions aren’t being made based on your boss’s favorite color.
3 – Wrong Hero
The number one problem I encounter when people write their own story is that they want to tell their story as if they’re the hero. So there might be phrases like, “WE fix problems” or “OUR product is the best”, and while that may be true, you will inspire nobody. When writing a story it’s important to empower the hero – your customer. A business’s role is to be a strong sidekick or mentor to the hero. You’re there to guide the hero to be great. Nobody wants to listen to a story about your company and product features then be told to buy something immediately after.
A good rule here is to stay away from words like “we”, “us” and “our”. That doesn’t mean never use them, but when you do, pay attention to exactly what you’re trying to say and how it benefits the viewer on their “heroic” journey. Your main job in the story is to empower your viewer to be the person they aspire to be.
4 – Going off Brand
A video doesn’t live inside a vacuum. It should be used with a business’s other branding elements in order to be successful. Brand colors, fonts, messages, and other specifics should be taken into account. I’m not saying it needs to match perfectly, but all brand elements should be able to live inside the same “world”.
5 – Copying others
A common reason for a video to be made by a business is that a marketing department came across a video or animation that they wish their name was on. Trends are definitely a good idea to keep an eye on and even use in some cases, but you must make sure they have a real purpose and fit the brand message. Something that every business should strive for, is to be seen as unique by its target audience. Something different is more likely to make an impact than something that’s been done 1,000 times before.
6 – Amateur design or animation
Even if you have a great strategy and story, nothing matters if you use amateur design or animation. inexperience in a designer can be spotted a mile away by potential customers in the worst kind of way. Your target audience may not be artists, but they know the difference between amateur and professional design. They constantly see what great design looks like on TV, in magazines and on the web. If your viewer has any doubts about your company’s professionalism, you may lose their trust. If you lose their trust, they’ll never buy from you.
7 – Video AND Audio
Another mistake is that businesses often only focus on video only and very little on audio (music & sound design). All elements of a video are essential in creating the best experience for the viewer. If you have great video but poor audio quality, the viewer will take notice, much like amateur design. You must always take into account the “lowest common denominator”.
A video is only as good as it’s worst element.
8 – Too long
There’s nothing more uninspiring than a video that’s just too long. How long is too long? Well, that depends on the content. If what you need to say takes only 20 seconds, don’t drag it out for 15 minutes thinking that the longer a video is, the better it will be received. A common misconception is that longer videos are more valuable for a business. While they may, in fact, take longer to create, this does not make them more valuable. What makes them valuable is their effectiveness. The longer a video is, the less likely it is to be watched in its entirety. Not to say that a 5-minute video can’t be effective, but there needs to be content the viewer really cares about to watch that long.
9 – Failure to share
While video is a great tool to use in business, it should not be just placed on your website and be expected to make a huge difference. One thing businesses fail to understand is that their target audience doesn’t just visit their site every day waiting for something new. Once an animation is completed, it should be shared often and in as many places as possible. The best result of any advertising piece would be to get your viewer to share your material on their own because they love it. This is how advertisements go “viral”.
These are the 9 most common mistakes I see businesses make when using video. They may be difficult to avoid in some cases, however, this list should act as a checklist before creating video content for a brand.