"Good news: the client is delighted"

Is this the correct measure of whether a video is good enough?

The short answer is ‘Yes, of course it is’. Giving the client a product they are happy with and making them feel they have been given a good return on their investment is the priority of any professional services provider. There are, though, some other things we could consider.

Let me give an example of another service to illustrate my point. A few years ago, I was the client when I had an extension built on the back of my house that transformed the configuration of my ground floor. On its completion, I was relieved that the building project had had no significant hitches and was excited to be using the new space. I was delighted. As time has gone on, though, a few of the imperfections have emerged that I was not initially aware of. Why did the builder not put in a bigger skylight (the living area can get a bit dark in the daytime)? Why did he not suggest building a door between the living area and the hall (our heating bill has increased because the warm air now escapes up the stairwell)? Why did he choose the coping stones he used? I have since started to notice far more attractive options in use elsewhere. I wish I had thought of these things at the time but I was relying on the builder’s greater experience to guide me. It’s the same when making a video. The supplier’s expertise should allow her/him to be one step ahead of the client’s expectations and requirements. 

I was recently watching a video made for the website of a legal services firm based in London. It had well shot pictures and the interviewees from the firm came across as professional and confident. Everything about the film was polished and correct and the firm had said they were delighted with the result. But what would a potential client think ie the target audience? My own view was that the firm looks like what you would expect any legal firm based in the City of London to look like. From the video, it would be hard to discern what makes this firm better than the one next door and I am not sure it showed enough to elicit any significant interest in the audience.

Despite its professional appearance, the video failed to provide a hook for the audience. It was a description of what the firm believes its strengths to be and it felt like it was created from the firm’s point of view rather than its audience’s. This is an important point, I think. As a result of this approach, the answers became too detailed early on in the film leaving the target audience detached and many might even have clicked off despite the glossy looking pictures accompanying the polished interviews. 

This probably wasn’t the client's fault. From their point of view the film makes perfect sense, it looks professional and all the details were accurate and representative. It is no surprise that they were delighted with the result, perhaps they were just glad they had come across clearly in their on screen interview. But what about the things they are not experienced in thinking about? A legal services firm is not usually versed in how to tell a story through video; that is the producer/director’s job. 

This is where the expertise of an experienced video team becomes important. They know how to shape and hone material so it is relevant and interesting to the target audience as well as making it look slick and polished. This increases the chances of the audience responding in a way that creates a favourable outcome. When you achieve that, then the film producer gives the client a reason to be truly delighted. 

Philip Pickard - Head of Production

If you think an experienced video team could bring the story of your organisation to life, please  send us an email at hello@shortstories.media if you would like us to get in touch to discuss your next video project.