1) There’s too much going on.
We all have one: That messy drawer where stuff just gets crammed in, because everything else is already crammed in, and what’s one more thing in a giant crammed pile, anyway? Have you ever tried to quickly find something important in that drawer? Did you have a hard time?
Your corporate video sucks because it’s a junk drawer. The more information you pack in, the less your viewers will see and remember. The average person’s brain can only hold about 7 items at a time—including factors not related to your video, like what to eat for lunch—before it moves on (by forgetting everything).
Don’t overwhelm your viewer. Keep it concise, clean and organized. To maximize retention, boil your messaging down to a few digestible points, and structure a short video around those points.
2) You didn’t hire a scriptwriter.
Even if you’re the world’s most popular blogger, or your bestseller is loaded up on every Kindle that sits fireside in America, it doesn’t mean you can write a script. In video, what you see informs what you hear, and it’s the writer’s job to balance both. A scriptwriter considers things like shot type and length, locations, voiceover narration, lighting and b-roll.
No matter how good of a wordsmith you are, without knowledge of the production process, your script will suffer. And then people will laugh, but that awkward kind of laugh, like when they see an accident happen. Don’t put your viewers through that, because it makes them feel bad about themselves.
3) There’s no story.
I’ve got a dog who hates taking pills. To choke one down, he’s gotta be fooled by a meaty little pillow, with the tablet buried deep inside. Your corporate video sucks because you didn’t wrap your messaging in a tasty pillow.
Let me clarify: What do the tortoise and the hare, the boy who cried wolf, and the fox and the crow all have in common? They’re enduring tales that bury poignant lessons within enjoyable content. Ask a kid, “Do you want to learn a lesson?” and she’ll run in the other direction. Ask a kid, “Do you want to hear a story?” and you get a much different answer. Give a dog a pill, he’ll throw up. Give a dog a treat, and he’ll go bonkers. Wrap your messaging in story, and everything will go down easier.
4) You didn’t use real words.
We all know you are a truly “diverse” and “innovative company” that focuses on “its people” with a “long history” on the “leading edge” of creating “buzzwords” and “jingoisms” that “significantly improve” the “lives and wellbeing” of your “employees and consumers.”
Your corporate video sucks because you insist on using empty language. Stop it.
If every “innovative” company would “innovate” even 4% of the time, we’d solve world hunger, kittens would never grow up and we’d all have Internet feeds streaming straight into our brains. People don’t listen to that stuff. Until you invent the ever-kitten, for the love of everything holy, use real language that your viewers will understand.
5) It’s all about you.
Many companies don’t think about what appeals to viewers. They drone on about themselves, “We do this, we do that, look at us, we’re important!” What does that give your audience, besides a grimace? No one likes to watch a braggart, unless they’re a badass superhero who also has a tender side, and even superheroes usually get humbled, anyway.
Offer something of interest and value to your viewer. That’s what they’re used to, and that’s what they expect. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, he could have said, “Apple made a thing that holds 5 gigs and is amazing and lightweight and just the zippiest thing ever!”
Do you know what he said instead? “You can put a thousand songs in your pocket.”
How cool is that?