Your smart phone digital camera makes it a snap to shoot video on the fly for posting on the Internet, so it’s no surprise to see enterprising young companies seize the moment as part of brand building with their thought leaders.
This approach is free and fast, so what could be better? Dropping your smart phone in favor of more rigor.
Putting your thought leaders on a digital stage to stand up for your innovation goes hand in hand with high expectations from your audience, your stakeholders, and thought leaders themselves. Pull all the pieces together professionally, no matter the challenges, to deliver high value for your brand.
What are you trying to build?
Video can be great for conveying complex topics in a personable and easily understood way. If you haven’t yet mapped out your project’s strategic intent, have a conversation with your thought leader well in advance of shooting to get on the same page.
In preparation, ask yourself, “what are the reasons this really busy person would want to commit to the production?”
A few that have proven successful for others:
Education. It’s an opportunity to be among of the first to illuminate others on a breakthrough that may have far-reaching positive impact.
Collaboration. In speaking about experiences with your innovation, your thought leader is likely to catch the attention of peers who are interested in working with her, or your organization, in future endeavors.
Global influence. Unless you’re putting this production under password protection, her voice will orbit the Earth a few times and impact more individuals than she could possibly reach addressing audiences from a podium at a conference.
Access to private media. Your company or organization may have proprietary channels that aim straight at an audience your thought leader may want to influence. This could be an e-magazine, private portal, an opt-in email newsletter, or a user forum. All are great vehicles for your video.
Cachet for her institution. Your thought leader may work for an emerging center of excellence that will gain greater stature through your project.
Each of these has implications for how you’ll execute and perhaps even how you work with your thought leader into the future. Agree on the ones that make sense for your mutual objectives.
Make peace with the professionals
Professional video folks will provide flawless footage when it comes to lighting, editing, and a little bit of film wizardry. They are part of your brand development team and will do right by you. Invest here.
That frees you to focus on other matters.
Tame the elements that can make or break you
Messaging. Your thought leader must be “on message,” and if you’re in a regulated industry, the message, whether spoken or in supporting materials, will have to pass review.
This frequently sends everyone into a scramble at the last minute. Instead, find staff on your team or among your marketing suppliers to help with editing, renderings, etc. well ahead of time. Arrange for a subject matter expert to be present at the filming to catch any spoken verbiage that appears to wander off track.
Schedules and runaway budgets. When sending a video crew to your thought leader’s location, align everyone around a Plan A, B, and C in case your script doesn’t unfold as intended. This is critical when flying teams out of town.
Imagine your thought leader getting pulled away by an emergency or a meeting more important than your shoot just as you’re ready to roll the cameras. It happens. When planning, build plenty of buffer time, perhaps making the trip a little longer than you think you’ll need. Better to play it conservatively than go home with no footage, having to inconvenience your thought leader with a new shoot schedule, and a bill that may double by the time all is done.
Permissions. Remember that anyone appearing on camera, and in some cases the institutions involved, will have to sign permission documents for the production. Much more documentation will come into play for those in regulated industries. If shooting on location, permission for bringing cameras into certain types of facilities is a requirement that’s on the rise.
Thanks, but no thanks
Okay, I know what some are thinking. You’re a start-up company, or a lean and fast organization. You’ll be just fine capturing a few words from your thought leader on your smart phone camera while at a conference.
Do yourself a favor and resist the temptation to make quick takes your standard practice. After all, any thought leader production could be a game changer for your business.
And this project is part of your thought leader’s personal brand. It’s personal. She expects smart, top-notch results.
What do you say?