In creating corporate videos, companies are often faced with the decision of whether to hire a professional actor or actress to serve as a spokesperson or select one of their employees to deliver the information and be the “face of the company” at least for one video or video series. Each path has its advantages and disadvantages, which means deciding between the right option depends largely on the company’s marketing goals, budget, and preferences. Taking a look at each option and the benefits and drawbacks is a good starting point for helping you come to a decision about which path serves your needs best.
Pros and Cons of Company Representative
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With a company representative featured on camera, you have the advantage of a knowledgeable professional who can speak naturally about the product or service. A company representative like a marketing head probably has delivered many such speeches in the past either informally at networking events, to potential customers, or friends and family or in more formal settings like presentations and client conference calls. Their knowledge and expertise makes them ideally qualified for delivering information, at least on paper.
Although choosing an employee to represent the company may create other challenges with scheduling and comfort in front of the camera, one bonus is saving money. The company employee already is on the payroll and will not add any cost to the video production. Professional actors may need to be auditioned and selected after a lengthy process that eats up more company time and resources, which is not always the best fit for every company.
Looking on the negative side, not everyone is equipped to handle speaking in front of a camera. Especially in technology videos, maybe the most knowledgable person is a software engineer who is shy, speaks softly, and otherwise doesn’t enjoy the pressure that video production presents. Simply being the most knowledgable person about a product or service is not always the best recipe for marketing success, which is why companies carry a variety of skill sets among their employees.
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Additionally, many companies worry that they will need to recut their videos if an employee leaves under less than ideal circumstances or is terminated for some form of misconduct. Reshoots and re-edits can be expensive, especially across multiple videos, which is why selecting the right employee is important if a company chooses not to use a professional spokesperson.
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Pros and Cons of Hiring a Professional
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Hiring an actor or actress for a spokesperson allows a company more control over choosing the image they project, not only as far as diversity concerns, age, and looks, but also personality and style. An actor or actress can create a persona, or a company character, who matches exactly what the marketing department imagines for the role. Professional performers are also experts at memorizing lines and internalizing them, making them seem natural even if they have no idea what they’re actually saying.
Some companies want a certain “sex appeal” to their videos, which is easier to attain when your talent pool includes people who keep themselves in ideal shape physically as part of their job. Whenever you need a new video shot, the actor is attainable for a certain fee and you rarely have to worry about them turning down paid work. On the off chance they catapult to Hollywood superstardom between videos, their association with your brand offsets any inconvenience for having to recast to choose a more affordable spokesperson.
The main drawback to hiring a professional spokesperson is the added cost to the video. Not only will the actor or actress have to be compensated fairly, but the production company will charge a markup to hire a casting director or expend company resources to find just the right person for the role. Although actors and actresses may work for minimum wage or barely above on short films and artistic projects, they expect to be compensated well for corporate and commercial work. Giving a discount to for-profit companies (both the production company and the end client) is not likely, meaning an added cost of anywhere between $600 and $1,500 depending on the video and the time frame.
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The cost could be astronomically higher if the production company is a union signatory, which would mean paying SAG-AFTRA commercial rates.
The overall decision of whether to use a professional spokesperson or film a company employee comes down to budget primarily, but also whether any company employees ideally suit the role and have been with the company for many years. Another consideration is when the company is strongly driven by its owner or CEO, which could be the case for many smaller companies where the personality and expertise of the owner heavily drives the brand and its performance. A local restaurant with a well known chef, for instance, may do well to take advantage of their talent and interview the chef, rather than hire a spokesperson. Any professional production company can provide expert guidance and cost analysis to help you make a final decision, too.