Curb Your Corporate Video


A friend recently asked me to evaluate her corporate video, made specifically for the business unit she heads. I watched the video, then listened to it without watching it. Knowing her business, I made a list of nine key, inexcusable omissions.

Yet another avoidable branding blunder and waste of money.

How could this have happened? I’ll tell you how: The “marketing experts” in her company hastily arranged this video’s production — without consulting my friend, without knowing her business, bereft of plan or preparation. The camera crew showed up, like a homebuilder without a blueprint, and everybody winged it. Sadly, this is typical.

The aforementioned situation, not surprisingly, is replete with some of the dysfunctions I discuss in Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding: corporate videos as crutches to prop up weak brands, branding committees, and branding politics.

The root problem: CEOs, more often than not, don’t understand branding, don’t attempt to understand it, and consequently assign the wrong people to execute it. That is why I wrote my book.
You’ll Kill My Business

I have a business colleague in New York City who makes corporate videos. A few years ago, I approached him with the wacky notion of collaborating: I’ll create the branding strategy; you shoot and produce the video. The result will hit the target. Sounds logical, right?

Said he: That’s the way it ought to be done, but I’ll decline — because you’ll kill my business.
Huh? He continued: Most of the time, corporate staffers get these bugs up their asses to make videos. They love to make videos. Makes them feel important. So, they find budget money, hire me, get the finished product, and pat themselves on their backs.

Next, the “branding committee” reviews the new video. Enthusiasm quickly metamorphoses into buyer’s remorse. Customers don’t get it. Nobody gets it. The CEO’s pissed off.

After two weeks, they realize that the expensive video is ineffectual, ambiguous, and worthless — then they shelve it.

The best part: They never blame me, and I make huge money doing it — and I don’t want to disrupt that business model. So, Marc, that’s why we’re not going to work together.
CEO Wake-Up Call

CEOs continue to waste thousands, even millions, of dollars on pointless, useles videos — the epitome of such profligacy being the Super Bowl commercial. Why? Bragging rights.

This is your wake-up call. My advice: take branding seriously; hire an expert to help you (I can make a recommendation). Otherwise, your video will end up on the shelf.

A video can be an extremely powerful branding vehicle — but only if it is properly conceived, scripted, shot, and produced. Isn’t this common sense? One would think so.

Here’s what a video isn’t, even an excellent one, ever: the substitute for an unfathomable, jargon-filled homepage. A video never offsets a weak brand.

Curb your corporate video. Curb your appetite for a corporate video. Curb the staffers who love to make corporate videos. Until your company has a razor-sharp brand that customers, investors, and reporters can grasp in 15 seconds, you have neither the ingredients nor the recipe for a successful corporate video.


About the Author

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of two books:
Brand Is Destiny: The Ultimate Bottom Line
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.


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