Corporate video production can be expensive, but finding ways to save money doesn’t have to mean cutting corners or losing quality. While many smaller tips are helpful, such as asking numerous companies to bid the project, or providing your own location for filming, the biggest tip of all is to have a clear plan. It sounds really simple, but a straight-forward concept for exactly how you imagine the video playing is the best way to reduce the quotes that come from video production companies. Granted, if you are producing a high-end custom corporate video for your home page, you will want to enlist the creativity of a professional creative director. For most corporate video work, though, the projects are more direct and simple with clear goals.
Before looking for a production company, first consider the goals of your corporate video. Do you want to educate potential clients on a new solution to an old problem? Are you looking to demonstrate a service you offer that will appeal to people with a specific need? Write down your marketing goals because they will drive the flow of the video. Once you have brainstormed the primary messages that you want a viewer to take away from the video, think about the format or medium that works best. Should the video be an animated explainer? Do you want to interview key executives at your company or customers who have used the product? Are you looking instead to use a professional spokesperson to talk about features and benefits?
When any company bids on a job, they need to pad the bid a bit if there is a large “unknown element.” If a company says, “We want a marketing video to show off our new product, what will it cost?” The production company will ask you the same questions as outlined above, but then they’ll also have to budget a bunch of creative time to figuring out what you want. As experts in your field, you already know the answers for a basic video. By creating an outline of what you want to see, and by being specific about your needs, the production company won’t have to set aside a large amount of “creative time” in the budget, which will reduce your costs substantially.
Imagine you run a company that offers beauty products, like L’Oreal or Avon, and you want to create a video about your new product launch. You decide that having professional models showcase the product is the best way to demonstrate its value, then you write up a series of highlights of the product and what needs it addresses. From the list, you have the skeleton of an outline: “Avon Skin Refresh restores your youthful appearance by concealing wrinkles and moisturizing the skin below for a more youthful you!” Other elements you want to highlight include the variety of color palettes available, the availability of the product in many stores, and how effectively it works on most women. You decide that having a female voiceover talent to deliver your messaging makes the most sense for your project.
With the materials you put together, you can come to a production company and present the project in a clear way, where they know you have done the bulk of the creative lifting, so to speak, and they are able to focus on the technical details. They know from your description they need to hire and cast several models / actresses, find a suitable location for filming, hire a friendly woman voiceover talent, and bring aboard a great crew to make the video. With a much vaguer description, or a client saying, “We want this video, you figure out the details,” the production company is going to budget a large sum of money for a creative director who can come up with the ideas and likely write the script.
Besides the creative director, whose time and talent is already highly valuable, the production company will charge a markup on the rate paid to the director. Suddenly, a $1,500 cost for the director turns into a $3,000 added cost to the client. A video that could have cost the client between $5,000 and $7,000 suddenly becomes a $10,000 video. If you’re stumped for creative ideas, and badly in need of a professional whose talents you trust to come up with a clever, funny concept for a video, the extra cost is worthwhile. If it’s a straight-forward video without high creativity demands, though, you can save the company a lot of money by doing some of the creative heavy-lifting yourself. After all, if you work marketing for a company, you probably know more about the product and the company than any outside video producer or director will know without extensive research, phone calls, and meetings to discuss your project.