One of the biggest challenges of corporate video production is having many potential people to please. On the smallest shoots, for instance for a dental office, maybe you just have to please one person. For most corporate work, though, numerous people are involved in the project and have ideas about what they want to see. There may be a local marketing contact, a regional marketing head, and various mid-level employees who have clear ideas about what they would like from the video, but their views may not match even within the same company. At the same time, video production companies have their own standards, ideas, and perceptions of what makes the best video for the business. At the end of the process, how do you make everyone happy?
One of the keys of great corporate video production is remembering the end goal, rather than focusing on pleasing every person at every step of the process. Clients don’t always know exactly what they want, despite the mantra that “the client is always right.” The production company needs to take some ownership of the process and recognize that the client depends on their expertise. Listening to the client and making them happy doesn’t mean mindlessly executing every idea the client has, but providing proper guidance and advice about what historically works and what doesn’t work as well in video production.
Another big challenge that arises on many shoots is having a local contact who has their own ideas about how the shoot should progress, but their ideas may not mesh with the corporate office. How do you manage a shoot with multiple cooks in the kitchen? The key for videographers is to execute the schedule, with few deviations, because the schedule is a mutually agreed upon guideline for what should be captured. It is a tangible document where everyone has had time to give input into it hopefully for a few weeks before the shoot. While flexibility is important because production can be chaotic, too much deviation from the plan can have disastrous results.
Sometimes, you have to focus on the end result and the final video being the greatest possible marketing tool because the process isn’t always ideal. With some shoots, the videographer meshes perfectly with the local contacts and the shoot is pleasant, but the footage delivered is less than ideal. With other shoots, the videographer and client clash on the shoot, but the footage is top notch and the final video is stellar. Making the client happy every step of the way is the goal every single time for any corporate video production company. That being said, I would rather my videographer be “tough to work with” and deliver great footage than easy going but trying too hard to make the client happy at the expense of getting great shots.
I always try to remind our videographers that clients need guidance and advice, not yes men. Sometimes, by making clients happy in the moment, you sacrifice an opportunity to insist upon the best possible shot. Production isn’t always fun. It’s often a pain in the butt and loaded with challenges, but professionals should work to assure the client that delays are normal, hiccups are normal, and setup times can often feel long. As a video professional, you know the flow of production. Part of being a skilled professional is reassuring the client, keeping open lines of communication, and insisting upon the best shots.