If you’re looking to produce some video content for your company, choosing who to work with is a difficult decision. How do you choose between the hundreds of video production companies that exist?
Perhaps you you take a look at the videos they’ve produced in the past? Maybe go with a recommendation from someone in the know? However, for the best fit, you should ideally take some time to work out who you really want to work with. Don’t just look at costs, or their equipment… are they creative? Are they communicative? Do their company values match your own? This is the company who will be projecting your brand, so you need to think carefully about who will be doing that.
1. Do they care?
Speaking to someone at the company first is crucial. They should ask pertinent questions about you, your company and your products or services. Are they trying to understand what you do or are they simply weighing up how much money they can make out of you? The more they understand, the more likely they are to be passionate about your company, and the video they produce will be much stronger because of that.
2. Do they have ideas?
Corporate videos can have a “look” that tends to make them blend into one another. Bland library-music soundtrack, a super-corporate sounding voiceover, or boring pack-shots and talking heads can all make your product seem no better than the average. Look for elements of creativity or fresh ideas in their previous work, or get them to pitch some suggestions for your project – see if they can make you stand out.
3. Do they fit?
OK, you’re not hiring these people full-time, but you may well want to work with them regularly. Even if it’s a one-off project, video production isn’t a quick process – you might have to deal with their team for weeks or months. Read their blog, review their work, see how they describe themselves. The last thing you want to do is end up working with someone who you dread making a phone call to.
Do they share similar philosophies when it comes to doing business? If not, they may not be the right company to accurately represent you and your culture.
4. Can they produce?
Do their videos look and sound professional? Have they put things on their website that look scruffy, scrappy, badly lit, wobbly, unfinished or simply less than professional? How about the sound quality? If it’s animated, does it use stock assets or custom illustration? Is the animation fluid and creative?
The main thing is that they represent your company in the best possible light. Even on a low budget, good companies should be able to create something that looks professional, despite being relatively simple. Ask the rest of your company – it’s critical to have all of the decision makers on board and excited about the company you decide to work with.
5. Do they fit my budget?
The $64m question. Some video companies are hugely expensive, with large overheads and high daily rates. Some are tremendously inexpensive, which should make you wonder why they value themselves so poorly. It’s always worth getting 2 or 3 quotes from different companies as there isn’t really such a thing as a “standard rate” for video production. As we’ve said before, budget isn’t a barrier for quality, but it may be a barrier for innovation. The production process can be a long one and you’re unlikely to find a company who will invest huge amounts of time into dreaming up concepts if you aren’t willing to pay them for that time. However, you can ensure that costs are kept down by having a really strong, detailed brief and a clear idea of what you want to end up with, who your audience is and what you hope the outcome of your video will be.
By thinking through these questions before selecting a video production company, you can save yourself loads of time, money, and frustration. The company you select may end up turning into a long-term partner, so ask the right questions and do the necessary legwork up-front. You won’t regret it. Good luck!