In my last post, I talked a bit about how to decide if video is a worthwhile marketing spend for your brand and in this post we’ll look at the different types of video to help you figure out which is right for your brand.
Video is still taking shape as a medium and people often have wildly different ideas what they’re talking about when the talk about ‘video’. For simplicity’s sake, I often divide video into 3 basic categories with increasing budgets and complexity as you move through them. The most basic are ‘Behind the Scenes’ videos, followed by slightly more involved ‘Video Lookbooks’, and at the high end are ‘Fashion Films’.
In addition to changing budgets, these different formats also serve very different functions and before you spend money on any part of your marketing it’s essential that you know what your goals are and what you need different elements to accomplish. When it comes to video figuring out what ‘type’ you need is the first step.
Behind the Scenes
At the very low end of the production scale are ‘Behind the Scenes’ or BTS videos. These can be filmed on an iPhone and edited on your laptop. They provide content with a minimum of money and without adding any logistical needs to your already busy schedule. Show customers around your workshop and tell them about your inspirations and how your collection came together, or show them what happens on a photo shoot. It’s a great entry level option and if you’re engaging in front a camera, all the better.At the BTS level, raw immediacy is a selling point. Consumers not only forgive poor sound and questionable lighting, they enjoy the feeling that they’re experiencing you and your brand unfiltered. Like a good blog or engaging twitter feed, some brands just have the perfect personality to make this type of content really pay off time and time again. Unfortunately, if you are not one of those brands, the returns on these videos will rapidly diminish.
The mid-range option for video is the video lookbook. As the name suggests it is essentially a lookbook in video form. While there is plenty of room to add personality and creative touches or even work an implied narrative into the finished product, at heart it is a functional document.
Like a standard printed lookbook, the goal is to clearly present your collection’s different looks to potential buyers and editors. What this format lacks in mind bending imagery and grand statements of brand identity, it makes up for in clarity, utility, and low cost.
Not only do video lookbooks require far less in the way of production overhead, they can also piggyback on the production costs that are already being laid out for the print lookbook. At their most basic a video lookbook is simply the fashion shoot brought to life. Because the locations, models, designers, and stylists are already in your marketing budget the added cost of introducing video into your marketing mix can be negligible. It’s a great way to test the waters of video without taking a great risk.
The one caveat that I have mention here is that, as a sales document, you don’t want to cut too many corners. Spending money on a proper photo shoot is one of the best things that a young brand can do to help its sales and if you’re going to add video to the mix you need to make sure that is produced properly as well. Making a bad impression on the people that decide whether or not to buy your product is not good business.
The top tier of video is the ‘Fashion Film’. They can run in length from 30 second teasers to 10 minutes and beyond. The flexibility of the format allows for a wide range of structural, stylistic, and narrative choices and the budgets are correspondingly varied.
Stylisticly, some brands have embraced stripped down, cinema verite pieces, while others have gone for big budget blockbusters.
Conceptually, some films are mesmerizing studies of form and texture, while some explore a simple conceit. And it wouldn’t be fashion if some weren’t bizarre and confrontational.
As standalone productions, fashion films generally constitute the biggest monetary risk for brands and designers -if you don’t like the end product and neither does your audience, it’s not likely anything else usable will come from your spend. On the other hand, fashion films have the greatest potential to catapult a brand to the next level or to solidify their position at the top.
For many brands, a raw DIY style is a natural fit. For those brands, the production value (in an absolute, more is better, sense) is a secondary concern to the substance of the content itself. What you’re saying and the story that you’re telling is more important than ensuring that every element of the production is spot-on and flawless.
Wrinkles and warts can be a selling point for a brand that embraces rock n’ roll honesty and street level immediacy. For brands that sell glamor and style, things are not so simple. If your brand is aspirational and is positioning itself at the high end of the market, all of your content needs to reflect that attention to detail and be the living embodiment of superior craftsmanship.
As mentioned above, it’s possible to take a low budget approach to your fashion film and still come away with amazing content. However, as the last blog post discussed, it’s hard to make video pay off without some decent brand infrastructure in place already and if your low production budget is a reflection of your status as a fledgling brand perhaps your time, money, and effort are better spent shoring up your company’s foundation. Instead of putting out a lot of mixed quality content, put out one or two perfectly executed photo spreads. It’ll have a better chance of getting your brand noticed and it’ll help you get noticed in a good way, not a bad one.
In the next blog post we’ll talk about the importance of consistency of message in tone in all of your marketing and branding.
Orginial image created by Roman Soto
If you found this article useful, you may also want to read Albert Cheung’s article on Product Photography Tips!