The messaging of an idea... The video critique
This is my response to Graham Edwards’ last post about messaging an idea. In his post, Graham showed a marketing video which is a PowerPoint presentation with a voice-over explaining a financial product. Graham was interested to get my feedback, as well as the feedback of others regarding the following:
- How is the presenter using the slide deck?
- How are his abilities as a speaker?
- What is the utility of using a PowerPoint slide deck for a video
- What about the video itself
- Et cetera...
The video in question is presented below. As requested, I will attempt to be kind but very honest about my impressions of this marketing piece. Bear in mind that I do have a tendency to be brutally honest about things, but I am never intentionally cruel.
Graham, my friend, this is definitely not your best effort. I know you are working with poor quality equipment and that you are not exactly in the marketing video business, but I feel strongly that this is something that should never be shown publicly. Ouch! Sorry.
There are several reasons for this harsh statement, but at the core of it is my belief that any marketing or PR work you do for a client must be done in a way that presents the best possible public image.
This video really fails in that regard. Grab a box of tissue and a glass of cold water and read on as I explain why.
The slide deck: On the positive side, I like the simple design. Bland is better than overdone, in my opinion. I do find, however, that most of the slides contain too much information. When it becomes necessary to put a lot of information on a slide, I would suggest you have each point slide in or appear as they are mentioned instead of showing them all at once.
The speaker: Scott, bless him, has a lot of trouble with voice inflection, meaning he is a monotonous speaker. Sorry Scott. Low mumbling voices that lack enthusiasm will not get anyone fired up to take action and they will not hold anyone’s attention. Resonance and clarity are critical elements of compelling speech and neither of these are evident in this video. Making matters worse is the fact that he is so clearly reading the script. It’s okay to read your script, but you should not sound like you are reading it. Nobody wants to listen to someone read aloud without expression. That creates boredom.
Video: The video is too long to hold the interest of any viewer. One and a half minutes or less is optimal for social media marketing videos, although sometimes you can get away with two minutes. The audio is garbled, making Scott’s expressionless speech even more difficult to listen to. You must remember that an obscured message is a lost message. The whole point of marketing is to not become lost in a sea of sellers. The essence of the message was lost because I really had to struggle to keep watching the video. In fact, I only did so to please my good friend, Graham.
PowerPoint for video: I have used PowerPoint for video and it is certainly an inexpensive alternative to professional video. If you need something affordable, short and sweet, it can be helpful. The key is short and sweet. This video is a bit long and tedious.
Alternatives to PowerPoint video: The good news is that the content doesn’t need to be lost. I would suggest repurposing the information in multiple ways (blogs, infographics, e-booklets or shorter videos). If Scott could practice speaking with passion about his product and services, then he could arrange to be interviewed for a podcast, or participate in speaking engagements. If your work doesn’t light your fire, then the unspoken word is that you probably aren’t good at it. I know Scott has the talent, but he needs to sound like he has a genuine passion for his work. Passion sells.
Not to engage in a pissing match, but here are two examples of low budget marketing videos I did for one of my clients. One uses all still images and the other is the CEO speaking about the difference between structured and unstructured data. Are they perfect? No, but I think they speak clearly about what the company does and are able to hold the interest of the audience.
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