What makes video engaging?

PR and Marketing companies who know the power of video are asking their clients to invest in video in 2018 for an ever expanding number of reasons, from gaining funding or changing public perception to press releases and social campaigns.

CEPI Video Engagement

Whilst there isn’t a magic formula, there are some principles for creating engaging content.

5 Guiding Principles

1. Viewers: are they relaxed or focused?

The purpose and placement have a big impact on how the animation is received. It’s one of the biggest factors that determine how a video is received. Let’s take two opposing psychologies. Person A is a potential buyer. In one scenario, they see the video on social. In another, on your website. What’s the difference? Quite a lot actually. In the former they are thinking about anything but your product/service, and as such, you need to immediately capture their short attention span. In the latter, they’ve actively chosen to research your product/service and act more as a captive audience. How a video campaign is delivered, depends on which of these two camps they fall in.


2. Know thy audience.

As the saying goes though, the devil is in the detail. Too often clients want a broad audience. They want to capture everyone, who say, *might* be a funder. In reality, the bolder they can be about focusing on an audience who are most likely to buy into the message, the more likely we’ll convert them. Once we’re talking to the right audience, we can explore how they think, their fears, desires, passions and reasons for taking action.

This is more about a mindset (a state of mind) than a demographic.


3. Make them want to know the answers

OK, so we know who we’re talking to and where they will see it. Great. We now need to distil what makes your proposition so valuable into a succinct story. If the video’s primary placement is social, you’ll want to focus on the emotive – what is their pain point or opportunity? How can you empathise with them and what are you promising? For conversion videos (website), you’ll want to take people on a journey from where they are now, to how things could be if they invested in your product/service. It’s important to only focus on the 3-4 key benefits that will resonate with them most. This video is not designed to give them all the answers, it’s designed to make them want to know all the answers.


4. Three parts; one principle

Tone plays a bigger part than most people realise and can be the trickiest part to nail. Video is the richest form of communication, so we’re trying to marry three distinct parts – the language of your brand, a tone which will best resonate with your audience, and how a voice over artist, music track and sound effects come together to deliver it. Everything else can be spot on, but if someone finds the guy reading it annoying or the music a turn off, it can be an uphill struggle. A successful video will consider these three points together and direct all three in concert, so you have a piece which feels choreographed and well thought through.

The Rationale

We make initial decisions unconsciously – so when we see an advert like The Force (VW) the first thing that the audience reacts to is the music and the image of Darth Vader storming down the corridor. The viewer is taken to a comfort zone within the first second of the film. This technique needs to be used for every film – the tone, the sound and the language need to transport the unconscious ‘you’  to a zone the caveman us (well – ‘Pleistocene’) is happy with and this boils down to four key zones – feeding, fighting, procreating and safety.

5. Be the same, but different.

The market is saturated with video and will only become more so. It can be easy to say “I want something different” and any agency worth their weight will already be pushing themselves to create unique content. However, it needs to be done in tandem with your brand image. In short, the video must feel familiar to viewers. A good agency will take what you already have and think up creative wrappers that make it feel unique, whilst still feeling part of the family.

If you’d like any advice on a specific project, we’d be happy to help. You might also find our ‘CEPI’ Case Study an interesting read.

Curveball Olly (Creative Director)

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