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Storytelling is winning over technical quality

A recent survey suggests that the strongest video content today doesn’t conform to traditional quality rules. Instead of slick production values, a successful video is all about the content.

I read this just now, just a few hours after I’d clicked through to a corporate video which bored me so quickly that I was determined to write about it. The video had obviously cost thousands, but looked little different to the sort of thing I gleefully helped produce when I was an engineering student seconded to the ‘publicity department’ of my employer back in 1983. You know the kind of thing: driving synth soundtrack, and only a mention of the word ‘electronics’ being required as an excuse to zoom in on an SMT placement machine hammering components into circuit boards. The video’s director probably hadn’t seen anything as exciting in his life then, and the same thing probably applies when you call in Big PR Video Productions today.

Unfortunately, unless the video is aimed at corporate investors, families at an open day or schoolchildren, the intended audience has usually seen it all before. What’s needed from any video, from a corporate production to a niche ‘how-to’ effort, is a decent narrative.

So if you’re making a video, creating viewer personas and storyboarding the production for them should be the start of things. At that point, you may realise that a much lower budget approach can do the job perfectly.