ITN Productions - Storytelling whitepaper


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A whitepaper I conceived and developed for one of my clients, ITN Productions, on the growing importance of video in B2B marketing and its use as a corporate storytelling medium.

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ITN Productions - Storytelling whitepaper

  2. 2. Contents introduction 1 Growing adoption of video in content marketing 2 Current applications of video How to make a compelling corporate video story 3 Key ingredients of a successful video story Integrating video into the wider marketing mix 6 Matching video content to your customer’s buying cycle Communication channels to consider alongside video Emerging trends affecting video consumption 9 The birth of the second screen Mobile/4G Video direct marketing On-screen brand management 11 How does your brand move and sound? Appendix 12 How to choose a video production company Contact us 14ii CORPORATE STORYTELLING
  3. 3. “The beauty of the moving image is that it takes the dryness out of what is purely a little written message. It gives it body. Soul.” Jon Snow, Presenter, ITNintroductionThe story-telling power of video has long been established as a meansto change perception, behaviour and attitudes. Since the birth of TV,broadcast news organisations have used video to inform, educate andprovide a channel through which these stories can be disseminated.In the digital age, companies are increasingly harnessing the power of videoto provide deeper engagement with employees, customers and shareholders.Platforms such as YouTube make it easier than ever to “Broadcast Yourself”,and as brands become broadcasters and media owners in their own right, it This brief paper is intended to highlightis vital they are as consistently represented through the moving image as in what we believe to beother forms of communication. the emerging trends within digital corporateA number of studies show the increasing relevance of the medium of video storytelling, and to provide a framework to help integrate• 75% of senior executives watch business-related video on websites and video into your 52% watch on YouTube at least weekly1 communications mix.• Senior corporate decision makers are spending more time in front of a We hope you find it screen. Employee-owned smartphones and tablets used in the enterprise to be useful and are on hand to guide you are forecast to more than double by 2014, reaching 350 million2 through adopting best practice in using video• 76% of B2B buyers3 found videos, webinars or podcasts useful when to communicate with identifying potential suppliers or in final supplier selection your audiences.• Research from Forrester predicts compound annual growth of 26% in video Simon Baker advertising through to 20174 Business Development Director ITN Productions E: T: +44 (0)20 7430 4511click below for more information1. “Video in the C-Suite: Executives Embrace the Non-Text Web”, Forbes/Google (2010)2. Computer Weekly (Nov 2012)3. “Buyersphere Report 2012: The Annual Survey of changing B2B Buyer Behaviour” (Base One/B2B Marketing, 2012)4. “Digital Media Buying Forecast, 2012 To 2017”, Forrester Research (October 2012) CORPORATE STORYTELLING 1
  4. 4. Growing adoption of video in content marketing Research shows that 70% of B2B brands in North America are using video as part of their content marketing strategy, up from just over half in 20115. We see this trend continuing in the UK as more brands begin to exploit the opportunities that video offers in engaging with customers and staff. In the UK, some 60% of marketers are currently using YouTube as part of their content marketing approach, with some 46% planning to significantly increase investment in this over the coming year.6 The opportunities for B2B firms to exploit these trends to deepen engagement with customers, employees and shareholders has never been greater. Current applications of video Video can be used in an increasingly broad and creative range of applications. Production values are constantly rising, due to the expanding possibilities afforded by green screen studios, computer generated graphics, archive footage and the inclusion of animation into the mix. Here are some of the more common applications of video, and their particular relevance to internal or external communications. INTERNAL EXTERNAL Executive interview Video news release Product demo/animated information video White paper/research Campaign video Personalised video pitch Customer case study Results reporting Communicating change Major project update films Corporate Social Responsibility Staff events External market update - changes in the macroeconomic environment Video newsletter Studio based corporate debates TV adverts “About us” corporate film Pre-roll/post-roll ads for use in TV or on YouTube click below for more information 5. “B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America”, Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs (Nov 2012) 6. “Social Media Benchmark, Wave 2”, The Chartered Institute of Marketing, July 20122 CORPORATE STORYTELLING
  5. 5. How to make a compellingcorporate video storyKey ingredients of asuccessful video storyWe asked storytellers from across ITN to recommend to us thekey components of effective storytelling, and how it relates tothe production of corporate films. Here’s what they said: “Always look for the human dimension when creating any kind of film, a story that the viewer can personally relate to, however dry or difficult the subject matter. This helps the message to resonate with the viewer and makes them more likely to own and share it with others.” Chris Shaw, Editorial Director, ITN Productions “Corporate messaging such as facts, figures and statistics can sometimes come across as slightly dry. By connecting with the viewer emotionally we engage their imagination and that helps with the absorption of core ideas. It makes it more effective.” Grant Fulton, Creative Director, ITN Productions “Building your brand in the video space allows you to tell the overarching story. To declare its ownership and give it personality.” Marc Ortmans, Brand Director, ITN Productions CORPORATE STORYTELLING 3
  6. 6. The most successful corporate films will be planned and conceived with a clear and defined understanding of three key factors - Relevance, Reach and Resonance. RELEVANCE REACH RESONANCE Relevance Focus on creating content that your target audience truly values. By adopting an insight-led approach to content creation, you will ensure that you develop subject matter that is relevant for your audience. It’s great to produce content that is fresh and up to date, but if that is your strategy then ensure you get to market quickly or risk being perceived as off the pace. Similarly, it’s important to consider the desired ‘shelf life’ of your content and strike the balance between being not so topical that it’s out of date next week but neither so anodyne that it can stay on your homepage all year! Finally, pick some ‘white space’, away from your competitors’ content. Have something truly unique to say, if not about what you do then how you do it. Reach Plan the most effective channels to get your content in front of your target audience. Integrating your content into email and search marketing campaigns can help your content to be found and viewed by your target audience. Video should be planned alongside all other forms of content to provide an integrated cross- platform content plan. Experimentation with ‘long tail’ search terms should be encouraged in order to find the prospects currently searching for solutions to a problem (e.g. “How do I...”).4 CORPORATE STORYTELLING
  7. 7. Once viewed by your target audience, you need to make it as easy as possiblefor them to share it with colleagues internally and externally through theintegration of ‘share’ functionality across all key social media platforms suchas LinkedIn and Twitter. A ‘forward to a colleague’ option should also beincluded to help the viewer to build the internal case for your product/serviceby making it easier for them to share the content with their professional peers.YouTube is now the world’s 2nd most popular search engine after Google, andeach week over 100 million people take a ‘social action’ such as a like, share,or comment7. As well as your own website, establishing a channel on YouTubeas the hub of your video content is a common way for brands to manage theirvideo assets in a single place. Involving professional production specialistsResonance early in the process, even before the briefBuild video that has a lasting impact. is written, will ensure that you have theIt’s important not to embark upon any kind of content marketing journey support to createwithout having a plan. Consider how video will sit alongside your other content the most compellingforms and how it will build over time into a body of work. As we discuss later, story possible.the consistent approach to on-screen look and feel can be achieved throughthe development of video brand guidelines.Building content that is relevant at each stage of the buying cycle is key and “If video is to reallywill ensure it has a lasting impact on the viewer. Defining objective measures drive ROI, it needs toof success will help maintain a focus on return on investment. Views and be considered muchclick-throughs are easy to measure, but how far through the funnel are you more strategically. Itfollowing these leads? Where to take them after the end frame? Where do needs to tie in to long-you want your customer/prospect to go next to harness the engagement and term objectives with a set of key measurablesconvert into an action that moves them further through the sales funnel? established at the beginning of yourAt the very least, you should take your viewer somewhere you can help them. journey, and not beCreate, test and refine a number of journeys for different scenarios and ensure seen - as is often theyou measure the effectiveness of various calls to action (contact us/download case with some digital activity - as just a bolta white paper etc). on to a campaign.” Victoria Clarke, Editor, B2B Marketingclick below for more information7. YouTube: CORPORATE STORYTELLING 5
  8. 8. Integrating video into the wider marketing mix Matching video content to your customer’s buying cycle Business buyers have different information needs at different stages of the buying cycle. In the Buyersphere8 report, research from Base One and B2B Marketing revealed the most popular sources of information consulted at each stage of the buying cycle, as shown in the table below. Whitepapers 46% 29% 25% Industry press 31% 28% 21% Press advertising 31% 45% 24% Web searches 29% 56% 15% Online community sites 28% 35% 37% Facebook 28% 31% 41% Offline events/seminars 25% 36% 39% Videos/webinars/podcasts 24% 44% 32% Blogs 23% 41% 36% Other word of mouth 21% 50% 32% LinkedIn 19% 56% 25% Direct mail 17% 47% 36% Supplier websites 14% 53% 33% Supplier emails 13% 36% 51% Twitter 10% 35% 55% Identifying and defining the need Identifying potential suppliers Final supplier selection Base: used each channel/source to help find information or advice 76% The research revealed that over three quarters of buyers consulted videos, webinars or podcasts use video to identify when either identifying potential suppliers or in or choose suppliers final supplier selection. It is vital that your content strategy has relevant information targeted to their specific needs at each stage of your customer’s buying process. click below for more information 8. “Buyersphere Report 2012: The Annual Survey of changing B2B Buyer Behaviour” (Base One/B2B Marketing, 2012)6 CORPORATE STORYTELLING
  9. 9. Here are some practical ways in which you can ensure yourvideo content ties in to each stage of a typical buying cycle:Problem recognitionBuilding content that addresses the problem faced by your targetaudience can work well in building awareness. Editorial in tone, withminimal ‘sales’ messaging, the purpose of this type of content is todemonstrate that you understand their business issue and that you haveexpertise in this area.Information searchOver recent years, Google has become synonymous with search. Evenamongst very senior “C Suite” audiences, it is the go-to place forinformation in solving business related problems. The advent of ‘blendedsearch’ (where video features alongside text links in search engineresults pages) has made it even more important to have high quality videotagged with key search terms when your customers are searching forinformation online.Evaluation of alternativesThis is especially relevant for service brands, as video can help bringyour proposition to life by providing a degree of ‘physical evidence’ of thequality of the service you provide. For example, allowing the customer to‘virtually’ meet the key players from your business through video allowsyou to build rapport early in the buying process.PurchaseIn businesses where online purchases can be made, these can becaptured by the use of a strong call to action and embedding a clickablelink into the final frame[s] of the video. For more complex sales, a rangeof calls to action can be incorporated to drive response in the mostappropriate way (book an appointment/submit an RFP/call us now).Post-purchase evaluationOn-going and value-added communications with your clients thatpositively reinforce their purchase decision. This might include avariety of topics, from updates on best practice and commentaryon industry developments through to more formal, research-led‘thought leadership’ and personalised video communications. CORPORATE STORYTELLING 7
  10. 10. Communication channels to consider alongside video Having carefully crafted your film, you’re going to want to make sure your target audience can actually find it. The table below9 shows web searches and emails are the most popular routes to finding the material. Supplier White Videos/ Offline websites Articles papers webinars events Blogs Via a web search 74% 71% 86% 81% 32% 71% Through supplier emails 25% 26% 37% 44% 44% 23% Personal word of mouth 28% 26% 27% 21% 34% 17% Through an online community site 5% 9% 13% 18% 9% 22% Through LinkedIn 5% 6% 8% 11% 11% 24% Through Facebook 3% 4% 6% 11% 9% 22% Through Twitter 2% 3% 5% 10% 6% 16% Through other social media 2% 6% 7% 6% 5% 8% Already knew about it 42% 34% 25% 19% 33% 20% Base: used this (588) (378) (139) (138) (122) (99) 81% This clearly demonstrates that any video production needs to be carefully integrated into find video content a broader communications plan. Whilst emails via a web search from suppliers are a popular way of finding the material, this is dwarfed by the 81% of buyers that find content through a web search - further underlining the need to consider keyword and search marketing strategy when developing a video content programme. click below for more information 9. “Buyersphere Report 2012: The Annual Survey of changing B2B Buyer Behaviour” (Base One/B2B Marketing, 2012)8 CORPORATE STORYTELLING
  11. 11. Emerging trends affectingvideo consumptionThe birth of the second screenAlthough Shazam ( is perhaps best known for its musicidentification and tagging capabilities, brands are increasingly using it to “It all started in 2002,signpost users to online video content on sites such as YouTube. We have also even before the adventrecently seen consumer brands11 begin to experiment with ‘Shazamable’ ads of smartphones. Shazam launched ato drive traffic to mobile-enabled content. simple service designed to connect people in the UK with music they heard but didn’t know. Since then, Argos was the first Shazam has become retailer to launch a one of the world’s most Shazam enabled ad recognized mobile consumer brands and one of the Top Ten most downloaded apps on iTunes App Store.”10In B2B markets, for example, Shazam could be used in radio advertisementstargeted at SME business owners and used to drive views of an online videothat further deepens engagement.We are also starting to see Aurasma ( being used moreand more as a call to action within brochures, linking directly to online landingpages, giving video a more interactive platform. This works in a much more “Aurasma is the world’s leading augmentedvisually engaging way than a QR Code, as the app recognises a still image reality platform.from a video printed on a page and directs the user to the video online. This Available as a free appcan be especially useful at events or conferences. for iPhones, iPads and high-powered AndroidBoth of these technologies offer potential to open up opportunities to devices or as a kernel for developers, Aurasmaengage with audiences in ‘dual screen’ behaviour. Although consumers are uses advanced imageincreasingly using a phone or tablet while watching TV, we see this trend and pattern recognitionoffering possibilities amongst corporate audiences as handheld devices such to blend the real-worldas smartphones and tablets are increasingly used both out of the office and in with rich interactivethe home. content such as videos and animations called ‘Auras’.” 12click below for more information10. CORPORATE STORYTELLING 9
  12. 12. Mobile/4G As mobile moves into 4G the distinction between lower quality mobile content and high quality desktop versions will be a thing of the past. This change will see more companies moving their websites into HTML 5 responsive designs, allowing the site and content to automatically optimise for mobile, tablets and PC. Statistics13 for The Guardian website revealed that 35% of site traffic came from mobile devices. The breadth of this range of devices was huge, with 1,857 different device types being used to access the site in one week alone. As more mobile carriers enter the market and the costs of 4G data plans start to fall, a growth in the enterprise subscriber base will see the appetite for high quality video consumption on the move rise further still. “In B2B markets, we will continue to see an increase in access to high quality, business related video content viewed on mobile devices. Trends such as Bring Your Own Device will remove technological barriers to the consumption and sharing of video content that helps senior corporate employees to research and solve business related problems.” Simon Baker, Business Development Director, ITN Productions Video direct marketing With the rising popularity of internet and email marketing, the opportunities for physical direct mail to achieve greater impact and cut through have never been higher. Technological developments have led to the cost of screens falling to the point where their use in highly personalised direct mail is now practical, using tools such as Pitch Pack ( Imagine your brand message and personalised video, played out on a small video LCD screen automatically when the pack is opened by your key client or prospect? click below for more information 13. “Guardian: 35% traffic from mobile devices”, New Media Age, 19/11/201210 CORPORATE STORYTELLING
  13. 13. On-screen brand management “Companies have well established print brand guidelines but theseHow does your brand move and sound? do not often cross over well into the on-screenMost companies have well defined and documented brand space. At this point theguidelines, covering a whole range of marketing communications trade mark takes onfrom pantone colour references and logo sizes through to other attributes such as movement and sound.brochure layout and advertising templates. These are perfectly We predict that videoadequate for brands that are to be seen and not heard. brand guidelines and graphics toolkits willFar fewer B2B brands have guidelines as exhaustive as these print guidelines begin to be the norm,to consistently define the way their brand moves and sounds on screen. with each new film reinforcing the brandConsumer facing brands have long understood the need to give their brands and bringing it to life,movement and sound. rather than having a branding exerciseThe recent launch of ITV’s new brand across all channels sees a brand that for each film whichhas been designed with movement and sound firmly at front of mind. The main is often the case.”ITV logo is a colour-picking design which changes to suit its backdrop as well Simon Baker, Businessas the nature of its programming14. A series of idents was created to bring this Development Director, ITN Productionsto life: To find out more about the ITV rebrand, click hereHave you considered what your brand sounds like? Or how it should move?Does every video build and reinforce your brand? Other brands have combinedmovement with an audio ‘sting’ to further reinforce the consistency across arange of brand communications. This opens up the opportunity to tell the storyof your brand values and consistently reinforce them with each film you make.If we say “Intel”, what do you hear? Intel has achieved high levels of brandrecognition even when featuring within a range of advertisements created by thePC manufacturers which use its chips in the devices sold to the end consumer.As B2B brands increasingly begin to experiment with video as part of theircontent marketing strategy, it will be as important for them to develop andembed guidelines for how their brand is visually represented on the screen aswell as on the printed below for more information14. CORPORATE STORYTELLING 11
  14. 14. Appendix How to choose a video production company Once you’ve decided to include video as part of your communications strategy, what next? Here are some of the questions we’re frequently asked. How do I choose a video production company? According to a recent Google search, there are c. 377 million results for the search term “video production companies”. So how do you choose? Our advice is to hire the very best people you can and trust them to deliver for you. We believe that ‘best’ is a combination of the quality of relevant work they’ve done in the past, combined with a demonstration that they truly understand your business and what’s driving your desire to make a film. Trusting them to deliver means setting clear objectives and then stepping back to allow them the creative freedom to give you the best product possible. Clear objectives mean a clear ROI. At what stage in my project should I be engaging with them? As soon as you’re even starting to consider commissioning a film. The best production companies will have many years of experience in helping to define objectives and cost requirements such as yours, so the earlier you speak to them, the better - especially with long term projects such as video strategy formation and video branding which can take time to plan and implement. What are the common pitfalls and how can they be overcome? As with any project, lack of clarity at the briefing stage can often lead to rework, frustration and increased costs. Some clients have a very fixed view of what they’re looking for, which is sometimes helpful but can also at times lead to a poor end result if they are not receptive to advice. It is important that you not only involve your production company early, but trust them to drive the creative aspect of production to ensure the best results. Ensure that you have a limited number of key decision makers and make sure that they are all present at the crucial stages of the project. Making sure everyone buys into a shared vision of what success looks like is critical. As we have said, the absence of agreed objectives and metrics at the outset will make it impossible to determine ROI later.12 CORPORATE STORYTELLING
  15. 15. I already have a creative agency - how would a video production companywork with them?Although many production companies work directly with clients, they arenormally more than happy to work alongside your existing creative agency,and do so whenever required. Video branding often falls between the remitof branding, marketing, production and creative agencies, so make sure youchoose a production company that is well versed in all these disciplines.What should I consider when forming a corporate video strategy?Come up with a production schedule for the year. See which elements overlapand can support each other, as well as which elements could be templated tocreate a series of content. Plan how you are going to create a useable archiveof footage from your filming days. Ensure that you work with your productioncompany to come up with reusable formats so that you are not always startingfrom scratch. Aim high, look out for great stories in your business, open upthe right channels of communication with your business and clients to findthese great stories, they are out there!This is especially important when looking at your onscreen brand guidelines- which we recommend you formalise before you start any production, if youhaven’t done so already.For answers to any questions we haven’t covered here, orfor an informal discussion about your requirements, pleasedrop us a line at and one of our friendlyand knowledgeable team will be delighted to help. CORPORATE STORYTELLING 13
  16. 16. Contact us ITN Productions is the creative content division of ITN. With decades of broadcast experience at its heart, we have the expertise to conceive, produce and publish stories that help corporates to drive deeper engagement with their employees, shareholders and customers. Producing high impact content for over 600 clients worldwide, we are well placed to support you in a broad range of projects. Further information and support available from ITN Productions • Communications strategy consultancy to define the role of video in your business • Informal help and support in developing your brief, brand or production strategy • A team of highly experienced, friendly and knowledgeable production staff We hope you have found this document useful, and would love to hear your feedback. We’re very happy to have informal discussions to help you decide whether video is right for your business and to help guide you through. Simon Baker Business Development Director (View Simon’s Profile on the ITN Productions website) ITN Productions T: +44 (0)20 7430 4511 CORPORATE STORYTELLING© ITN Productions, 2013