In the past 15 years, I must have written over a thousand video briefs.
In fact, It’s something you’ll find me doing every – single – day.
Hi. I’m Tom Bendix and for over a decade, I’ve been helping businesses like yours to produce videos that skyrocket them to success.
A huge part of my job is to help you to refine your brief & focus your message before the ‘fun stuff’ i.e filming, editing & animation begins.
If you’re new to video (like many of our customers are), writing a video brief can be:
And (to be honest) a total pain in the ass (especially when you have lots of people within your business to please – All of whom have their own ideas on what your video should look like…)
Let’s not forget…
You’re busy spinning plates doing your day job, replying to e-mails, phone calls, LinkedIn notifications, calendar invitations and WhatsApp messages.
Writing a video brief isn’t the only thing you’ve got going on in your life right now…
The good news is that it doesn’t need to be this way…
All you really need right now is for a guardian angel to simply swoop down and gently guide you through the process step by step – Someone to win you some time back and help you to create the best god damn video production brief you’ve ever created – One that makes you feel more confident, gives you more clarity and sets you up for success.
That’s the #1 reason I created this guide
My advice is based on 15 years of real world experience, having produced videos for some of the largest brands in the world (and the fastest growing startups too).
This is the exact same template I use in our business every single day and it’s helped us to achieve:
🏆 Over 25,000,000+ views across social media worldwide
🏆 Over £28m+ in ROI
🏆 Features in the Telegraph, the Guardian, The Metro, Buzzfeed & more…
🏆 Trusted by British Airways, Microsoft, American Express, Philips & More…
Who is this guide for?
Marketing & internal comms teams
Put simply… If you’re thinking about producing a video, this will help you!
What will you learn?
I hope that the template provides some refreshing clarity and helps to guide you in the right direction.
By the end of this guide you’ll find that putting a video brief together is:
Something you can manage with everything else going on!
Have any questions?
Of course you do!
I reply personally to every e-mail / blog comment and I update the guide where necessary to keep it accurate and up to date.
You can write to me personally via firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you decide we’re a good fit for your business, then we will run though all of this together (but don’t be afraid to have a go on your own first… In fact I strongly encourage you to do so).
Read this before you start
My top tip before you start writing your video production brief (even if you don’t read anything else…)
“When writing a video production brief, forget what the video needs to look like and how long it needs to be. These things will just confuse, overcomplicate and slow you down”.
That’s our job. That’s what we can help you with.
The things that will make a difference to the overall success of your video always stem from the simple framework we’re going to work through together below.
Follow these chapters step by step and your chances of success will be instantly stacked in your favour. I promise.
It’s the same process I’ve followed for every global business and every startup I’ve ever worked with – And now you can follow it too.
Let’s get cracking.
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Chapter 1: Why do you need a video?
Do you know what type of video is right for you business?
It may sound like a dumb and obvious question, but you may be surprised (and reassured) to hear that 9/10 the answer I hear is usually “no… not really”.
But… I’m going to bet that you do know the basics i.e that you need
– A corporate video
– Brand video
– Training video
– A video for an event etc. etc.
In short… You probably already know that you need a video to fulfil a basic purpose…
– To sell something
– To keep a record of something
– To help people understand something
Most likely, you just need a little help figuring out the best approach to take. That’s normal and you probably wouldn’t be here reading this if you did.
There’s good news though.
Together we can nail the first and simplest step right here and now…
Define your objective.
In other words ‘Why?’. Why even bother? Why are you producing a video in the first place? Why not just spend the money on a holiday?
Perhaps you’re looking to:
Dramatically increase sales
Assist training and education and reduce costs
Grow your audience and take your business to the next level
Those are all great starting points – Video can help you do all of those things – And these are all exciting and realistic prospects for you to be thinking about.
Think for a second about what you’d like video to do for you? Where would you like your business to be in a month from now… in a year from now?
The good news is that video can take you there.
All we need to do is to set a realistic goal first.
This is often best suited to a single sentence and there’s a ridiculously simple formula you can use:
The formula I recommend is this:
[Company Name] is a [Insert company description]. We need a video that [Insert aim] so that we can [Insert desired result]
Let’s look at an example of this in action together.
Let’s imagine that you’re a telecoms company called ‘Acme’.
You’re launching a new sales product this year and you need to find a way to educate customers and persuade them to buy.
You might write:
“Acme is a Telecommunications company. We need a video that promotes our new cloud-based sales product so that we can introduce the benefits to our customers and increase website conversions”
As a video production company, this is music to our ears.
Even if you do nothing else, this is a solid starting point and puts everyone on the same page.
We’ve now got something tangible that we can get going with and delve deeper in to.
The beauty is that this will work for any industry.
If Acme was a training company, then it might look like this:
“Acme is a Training Company. We need a video that explains GDPR compliance so that we can distribute internally and reduce training costs”
The lists go on… But it’s that simple.
OK. So far we’ve made a good start at defining the “why” and learnt why that’s so important.
In the next chapter, we’ll take a trip down memory lane and look at the videos that have lead you to where you are today (some of which may be haunting you…)
What does your company do, why do you need a video and what does it need to do?
Chapter 2: What have your videos looked like in the past?
I always like to start projects with a historical audit of the videos your company has created in the past.
Here’s a quick test for you that you can do right this second.
Take a look at your YouTube channel (If you don’t have one, I’ll personally set you up with one for free).
I can guarantee that you’ll see one of two things.
You’ll either see A
⛔️ Thumbnails are missing
⛔️ There are lots of different ideas going on – It’s all shot in different styles i.e there’s no continuity
It’s not instantly clear who the brand is or what it is they do
Or you’ll see B
Content feels part of the same family
All content follows a similar ‘look’
It’s clear who the brand is and what it is they do.
Are you making these simple mistakes?
No brand can truly grow if it constantly forces its audience to learn who they are again and again and again.
Imagine how confusing it would be if every time you saw your best friend, they had changed their hair, changed their dress sense and spoke with a different accent.
Would you do any of these things?
Design a drastically different poster for every single campaign message
Redesign the homepage of your website regularly
Change the colour of your logo multiple times throughout the year
Of course not. And Video is no different.
Yet… Time and time again we see videos being produced which feel totally separate from each other and the business they represent.
Video is often treated differently from other forms of content, and that’s a big mistake.
It’s this disjoint that makes it much much harder for your customers to get to know you for who you are.
What you’re aiming for is for all of your videos to feel as though they are part of the same family. YouTube has a handy guide with best practices here.
The good news is that…
With a little bit of help and a supportive nudge in the right direction, you’ll be back on track.
This is why I always start with a video audit, as it allows me to understand where you’ve come from, where you’re at and where I can help take you to.
I also look at other metrics such as view count, whether or not your videos are optimised for search and then I do the same for your competition to see where we can outperform.
Put simply, It’s got to get ugly before it gets better – But I promise that once you’re done, you will have organised your thinking, reduced your marketing effort, sent your competition running for the hills and you’ll be on a far, far clearer pathway to success.
In Chapter 3, we’ll look at why too many cooks truly spoil your broth…
What have your videos looked like in the past?
Chapter Three: Who’s going to have an opinion (Or rather, whose opinions actually need to be included?)
You’ll be familiar with this story…
You’ve put together a brilliant piece of work and everyone in your team is excited about it.
But then right at the last minute, someone wants to chip in with their feedback.
Then they show it to someone else (their partner, their cleaner, their dog…)
Suddenly, for you, it’s become a people pleasing exercise and the morale of your team is starting to drop.
That great piece of work is at risk of being diluted by too many opinions.
This happens with video too.
The difference is… you have a secret weapon…
A solid brief – One that makes things crystal clear for everyone involved – And it’s your fast track ticket to success.
Once you’ve created your video production brief, you’ll have built yourself an iron-clad protective fortress that will help limit these things from happening.
The truth is…
The earlier you involve the people who do have a stake in the project (and politely ditch those who don’t), the better.
In chapter 4, we’ll look at why video references can be useful when used correctly. You’ll learn when and why they can be helpful.
Who will be involved in the decision making?
Chapter Four: Have you seen any videos you like?
OK… So I lied… (sort of)
Right at the start of this post, I said to forget what the video needs to look like.
And that’s true in a sense.
However if you’ve seen a video that you like or is in the style you’re imagining for your brand, then this should absolutely be included.
Well more than anything, this helps us to manage expectations when it comes to budget.
It’s also a quick way to get a ballpark like-for-like cost. As a video production company, we can normally use logical assumptions to assess how long something might take and what resources might be required.
Equally, it’s often far simpler for you to get buy in from your business when you can present a similar video and say “Jeff. This is the type of thing we’re thinking”.
Doing so allows you to gauge the reaction there and then before you’ve even started creating a video.
In chapter 5, we’ll look at your audience – Who they are and what they’re likely to respond to.
Have you seen any videos you like?
Chapter Five: Who is your target customer?
In theory, this should be an easy one…
Think about who the video needs to reach?
Who does it need to speak to?
For us, our promotional video product is designed to help marketing managers and business owners. Our event videography product is designed (unsurprisingly) to help people who are planning events.
Who is your video designed for?
Do they have a specific job role? Are they in a specific age range? Do they have special tastes in travel, beauty, fashion, food, music? The list goes on.
It goes without saying that the more we know about who’s going to be watching the video, the better we can cater the content to their tastes.
Let’s go back to our Acme example from chapter 1.
For Acme, let’s assume that the customer is the sales director. They’re the one with the buying power. However, the people who will ultimately be using the product are the sales team themselves.
We now need to establish what problems they face in their day to day life and how Acme’s product can help solve them.
In Chapters 5, 6 & 7, you’ll learn how to quickly and effortlessly identify what your video needs to say and how you need to say it.
Who is your target audience?
Chapter Six: What do you want them to see?
By this point, you’ve built some rock solid foundations. Now we simply need to put some meat on the bones.
It’s easy at this point to get creative too early.
“We could have things whizzing in here and things whizzing in there” etc…
But before we start whizzing around, we’ve got a few more basics to finish off.
In fact it’s the basics that your audience care about most (much more than how whizzy it looks).
– What problem are you solving in your audience’s life?
– What keeps them up at night? What frustrates them?
– And more importantly… How can you help solve all of that for them?
Here’s what Acme might write:
|What do you want them to see? |
|To see what the sales platform looks like |
|To see the problems sales teams face and how the features of the platform helps solve them |
|To see the platform being used successfully by other (more) successful sales teams |
In chapter 7, we’ll define what we want our audience to think whilst they’re watching our video.
What do you want your audience to see?
Chapter Seven: What do you want them to think?
By the end of your video you’ll want your customer to have identified your business as a strong solution to their problems.
For that to happen, we need to plan out how you want them to think.
Doing so will have a powerful effect on what they do next.
Fortunately, this doesn’t need to involve any mind reading or sorcery.
We simply need to plot out the desired takeaways from the video.
After watching the video, the audience need to be able to answer the following questions:
|Question ||Answer |
|Who is the company? ||Acme |
|What does the company /product do? ||It’s a cloud-based sales tool that helps sales teams close more deals. |
|Who is it designed for? ||Sales teams |
|What evidence is there that it works? ||The average sales team converts 19% more customers using the tool. |
|Where can I found out more? ||Click to Start a 14 Day Trial |
If your audience cannot answer all of these questions, then your messaging likely needs some tweaking.
Don’t worry. We can help you with this.
In chapter 8, we’ll focus on the most important action of all – What you want your audience to do next (and what you can do to influence them).
What do you want your audience to think?
Chapter Eight: What do you want them to do?
At this point in our customers journey, their engines are revved up – But the handbrake is still on…
Together we’ve identified:
Who the customer is
What their challenges are
We’ve figured out how we’d feel in their position, and
What we’d want help with ourselves.
But we’ve missed out one major thing…
It sounds so glaringly obvious, but you’d be shocked how often videos end without a clear next step for the customer to follow.
Simply put: The audience need us to tell them what to do next.
If the customer has made it this far, you can bet that they are literally screaming for more information, yet many videos fail to pave the pathway.
Your videos can and will.
Without a call to action, your videos will not work to their full potential.
For low value products, this could be as simple as ‘buy now’ with a click through to the store.
For higher value products, or those with a longer sales cycle, it could be an offer of a free consultation (and where to get one).
Think about what you want your customer to do next and be realistic about the lengths they will go to.
A customer is unlikely, for example, to purchase a Lamborghini after watching a single video (Our videos are good – But they’re not that good).
They may, however, be inclined to book a test drive.
For Acme, a profitable next step could be to encourage customers to sign up to a 14 day free trial.
In chapters 9 & 10, we’ll look at the critical information that will help a video production company like ours to create a plan for you and put it in place.
What action do you want your audience to take next?
Chapter Nine: What is the deadline?
Let’s not waste too much time here. We’re all intelligent people and we all know what deadlines are.
Clearly setting realistic timeframes upfront is key and will allow you to work out what is achievable In the time available.
I do think, however, that it’s a myth that more time = better results.
In my experience, the more time teams have, the more you’ll give rise to unnecessary procrastination.
Man Vs Plane, one of our first major viral campaigns was briefed, shot and delivered in less than one week.
Chapter Ten: What can you afford to invest?
Setting a realistic budget from the outset will do two things:
✅ You’ll get accurate real-world suggestions that will deliver real-world results with the level of investment available
✅ You’ll get the very best return from your investment
Being clear on budget will save you time and deliver better results in both the short and longterm.
A budget range is often the best starting point.
What can you afford to invest?
By now you should have successfully defined:
✅ Why you need a video
Assessed what your videos have looked like in the past
✅ Listed out who will be the decision makers
✅ Listed out any videos that you’ve seen and liked
✅ Defined your target audience
✅ Identified what you want them to see, think and do
✅ Set your budget and deadline
Need some help?
If you’d like a helping hand putting together your video brief, you can e-mail me via email@example.com and I’ll help you to speed things up!