An engaging product video helps bring both your product and brand to life.
There are a range of commercial uses for product videos that achieve different objectives and provide ROI on your marketing spend.
Product videos are highly versatile and can be used to attract, educate, inform and entertain both a trade and consumer audience. Videos are more eye-catching than simple images and have a greater capacity for emotional storytelling.
This enables your audience to develop an emotional connection with your brand. Because studies show emotion is the primary driver for purchase decisions, product videos are a strong medium to increase conversions.
Use product videos to target a trade audience at trade shows, press events, sell-in presentations and in-store POS.
Use product videos to target a consumer audience on your website, display ads on retailer’s websites such as Amazon, and blogs and social media.
We have over 10 years' experience creating product videos for global brands.
Here are the practical steps you need to make an incredible product video.
- Define your objective
- Define your audience
- Consider where you will use your product video
- Determine the length of your product video
- Define features and benefits
- Create your visual identity
- Consider your product video budget
- Write your product video script
- Create your product video storyboard
- Prepare for the shoot
- Shoot your product video
- Edit your product video
DEFINE YOUR OBJECTIVE
Start by defining your objective. This will affect the whole structure and style of your video.
Is its aim to promote your product to sell in to retailers? Is it to promote your product to a consumer audience and drive sales? Or is it a product video on social media, designed for brand exposure?
Sell in to retailers
If you’re aiming it at a trade audience, you’ll want to showcase the key features and benefits.
You should also communicate how your product is in line with consumers' wants and needs. Retailers need the details to justify their purchase decision.
Drive consumer sales
If you’re targeting a consumer audience, you may only need to include one or two of its features and benefits.
A product video targeted at a consumer audience can also be more abstract and creative.
It must also appeal to your target consumer’s lifestyle.
Your video must connect on an emotional level. Research shows we buy with our hearts first and then justify the purchase with our heads.
Consumers need to imagine themselves owning the product. You're not just buying a product, you're aspiring to a lifestyle.
Think Fitbit's Charge 2, with over 349,000 views. It showcases its new product design but also evokes emotion by featuring young, fit millennials winning at life.
A product video designed for brand exposure aims to create strong emotional associations.
Often, these videos have an element of viral shareability.
They also don’t need to explicitly communicate the product’s features and benefits with on-screen text or voiceovers. For example, BlendTech throws popular consumer products into its blenders.
Blending iPads, iPhones and Amazon Echos, these simple and entertaining experiments show the strength and durability of its blenders.
This is a perfect example of product videos designed for brand exposure. Its iPhone 6 blend video reached over six million views.
Or how about Squatty Potty?
The brand took a risk and produced a crazy video featuring rainbow-coloured unicorn poop to educate consumers of the product's benefits.
Remember, we take notice of novelty. It attracts and keeps our attention.
People love to share novelty. Squatty Potty's video reached over 35 million views on YouTube!
Thanks to the video, you could say the brand is like toilet paper...
...on a roll.
Product video examples
As product video makers, here’s a video we created for Pyrex to sell in to major retailers.
As with any good sell-in video, it packs in a range of features.
It also highlights the consumer trend for healthy eating and showcases the product's design through lighting and close-up shots.
Sometimes, you don't even need to show a product to demonstrate the consumer need.
Take the G-Pad video we produced for LG. It was designed to show the consumer demand for a smaller tablet by using vox-pops to strengthen its proposition.
Although the video was used as part of a sell-in presentation, it received over 220,000 views on YouTube.
The next stage in creating your product video is to define your audience.
Your objective and audience will be closely tied.
For example, if your objective is to sell in to a retailer then you must think about the people you will be selling to.
If your aim is to increase consumer sales and brand awareness, then you must understand your target consumers.
If it’s for a trade audience, consider the following information:
- Product positioning
- Target audience demographic / consumer segments
- Highlight your target consumers wants and needs.
- Highlight any consumer trends your product is aligned with.
- Highlight any data or research you have to support your value proposition.
- Show all the product’s features and benefits that are relevant to the retailer.
- Showcase the design and quality.
- Provide information about your brand mission.
- Show awards, certifications, eco-credentials, or endorsements.
If you’re creating a product video for a consumer audience you must think about your consumer segments.
Consider the following for a consumer audience:
- Income level
- Usage (such as business or leisure)
- Hobbies and lifestyle
- Ideologies (Do they care about issues such as protecting the environment and gender equality? Are they left-wing or right-wing? What gets them excited and what gets them angry?)
- Goals (What are they trying to achieve in life?)
- Pain points (What are their problems? What issues are they trying to solve?)
- Buying motivations (How does your product help them to achieve their goals? How does it solve their problems?)
- Buying concerns (What could stop them from buying your product?)
Once you understand your audience, you can appeal to them on a logical level and an emotional level.
As studies show, emotion is the key driving force behind purchase decisions.
Product video example: Dollar Shave Club
The Dollar Shave Club wanted to target a millennial audience frustrated with overpriced razors.
The fun, quirky video has reached over 26 million views and is a great example of how a good product video can go viral.
The video was so popular it spawned thousands of copycat videos too!
Here’s how it appeals to its target audience:
Age — Uses its millennial founder to appeal to its demographic. Uses quirky humour and millennial references. (Roger Federer shave commercials and jokes such as, “Your handsome ass grandfather had one blade, and polio.”)
Income level — Those who are strapped for cash or are careful with their money. Charge just one dollar per month for high-quality stainless-steel blades. Shaver includes an aloe vera lubricating strip and a pivoting head.
Ideologies — Care about value for money and job creation in poorer countries.
Pain points — Brand name razors are too expensive, cost a lot to replace and include unnecessary shave tech. Forgetting to buy blades each month.
Buying motivations — Cheap, simple, high-quality blades shipped monthly to your door. Cheaper and less effort.
CONSIDER WHERE YOU WILL USE YOUR PRODUCT VIDEO
Next, you need to consider where you will feature the video. This will affect the length, style and format.
If it is a product video for social media, such as Instagram or Facebook, it will need to be short, colourful, and appeal to millennials and Gen Z.
If it’s a video for your trade show stand or in-store POS display, then it will need to demonstrate all the features and benefits. It should also include large text so you can read it from a distance.
If it’s a product video on Amazon, then it will need to communicate your products features and benefits and allay any potential buying concerns.
You can feature your product video in a multitude of places, such as:
- Trade shows
- Sell-in presentations
- Press events
- Product launches
- In-store POS
- Blogging and social media
- Ecommerce sites such as Amazon
- Retail sales team training
If you need to feature it in several places, consider how you could make it work for various locations.
Corporate video example: Amdocs
Corporate videos, often known as brand videos, can be used to educate a trade and consumer audience about your product.
They're particularly suited for technology companies, where their product offering may require a little more explanation than, say, a CPG item, for example.
We produced this corporate video for Amdocs which was featured on its trade show stand.
It utilises large text so the trade audience can understand from a distance.
It also has a lot of movement and bright colours to grab attention.
Social media video example:
Here's a short social media video we created as a concept for Double Dutch.
Known as a cinemograph, it incorporates mostly still imagery with a hint of motion that then loops.
These are great for capturing audience's attention on social feeds and are relatively cost effective to produce.
The purpose, location and audience will all affect the length of your video.
It may need to be longer and go into more detail for a trade audience, or to communicate technical details to an engaged niche.
It may need to be short and punchy for social media. Or, it may need to tell the story behind your brand in detail.
Think about where your audience will view your product.
Consider your audience’s window of attention and where they are in the purchase journey.
Once you’ve decided on the purpose, audience, location and length, it’s time to start thinking about the content of your product video.
What are the features and benefits you want to communicate?
They could be based on:
- Aesthetics (the style of your product)
- Ergonomics (the usability of the product)
- Ideological values and issues that are important to your audience. For example, environmental impact, fair trade, no forced or child labour, no discrimination, job creation and good working conditions.
- Quality (material, where its sourced from, scarcity, strength, durability)
- Practicality (its practical uses and how it improves your target audience’s lifestyle)
Write them down in a list. At a later stage, you will need to work out how you can visually communicate each feature and benefit.
Product video example: Pyrex Cook & Go
Understanding how to make a product video that is concise and shows all the product’s features and benefits can be a challenge.
We had to pack 10 features into Pyrex’s Cook & Go video in just 45 seconds, that's one every 4.5 seconds!
The video’s purpose was to sell the product in to major retailers.
We went through each feature and benefit and worked out the simplest way of visually communicating it.
This proved essential. Pyrex praised the video for its simplicity and effectiveness.
Don’t miss out this stage when creating your product video. It’s a cornerstone for any successful product video for a trade audience.
Now for the fun stuff.
Once you’ve put in all the groundwork, this is where the creative process begins.
Your creative identity is your creative look and feel. It should be an extension of your brand and extol your brand identity and values.
For example, you wouldn’t have a bright, fast-paced, fun and funky video if you sell coffins.
Your creative identity should:
- Be an extension of your brand
- Support your brand mission
- Stand out from your competitors
Product video example: Viridian product video animation
Viridian approached us requiring a video that promoted its products' natural ingredients.
The vitamins company was set up as an ethical alternative to large, clinical pharma corporations. Its founder wanted an artisan and honest look and feel
We created a product video animation with beautiful line drawings
The line drawings invoked sincerity, like they were handcrafted.
By using an animation, this also gave a sense of innocence and playfulness.
The product video animation reflected the company’s proud British heritage with various dioramas of the English countryside.
It also conveyed the natural goodness of the ingredients that go into every bottle.
The creative identity featured in Viridian’s trade and consumer marketing materials. These included posters, POS displays, packaging and social media assets.
It’s imperative to think of a visual identity that represents your brand’s values. This will tie all your marketing material together, create a stronger value proposition and increase sell in to retailers, or increase sales to consumers.
How does your visual identity set you apart from the competition?
The cost of producing your video will vary depending on the complexity, length and production values.
There are various factors that will influence your budget, such as whether you:
- choose a live action product video or a product video animation
- shoot it on a mobile phone or a high-end digital camera with prime lenses
- use a professional voice actor or include simple text overlay
- utilise motion graphics and spend more time editing
- use stylists, make-up, props, lighting, or a camera man
- are shooting premium products (watches, jewellery) which will warrant high-end production values
You may have been assigned a budget, but it’s easy to let things get out of control with so many variables.
It’s often best to consult a professional product video agency for budget advice. They can guide you with the best options and ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
Product video budget example: LG Prada 3.0
In 2011, LG partnered with Prada to release its special edition handset, LG Prada 3.0.
LG commissioned us to create a premium product video for its product launch at Claridges, London.
However, the brand wanted to portray the phone’s high-end design and exclusivity with a medium product videography budget.
In order to capture the premium design, we used light sticks to bounce light of the phone, then slowed the shots down.
HOW TO WRITE A PRODUCT VIDEO SCRIPT
It’s time to start writing your product video script.
As with every good story, it should have a beginning, a middle and an end.
The beginning should include a hook to draw your audience in and set the scene. The middle should contain all the important information the audience needs to hear. The end will wrap everything up.
Your product video script isn’t just a voiceover. It’s a script detailing the order your audience sees the information you wish to present.
It also considers the creative treatment you’ve decided.
“Opening shot: slow-placed, lingering shot with light playing off the profile of the jewellery. Set to romantic music, we see glistening gems. Cut to a beautiful woman, slowly sliding on the ring as it glimmers to showcase quality and glamour.”
When writing your script, consider various options:
- Are you telling your story in visuals only?
- Will there be text on screen, a voiceover, or a combination of the two?
- What is the purpose of each shot?
- Think about the pace. Is it in line with the tone?
- What sort of music? Often, music is selected at a later stage during the editing process. However, in the product video script stage it’s good practice to have an idea of what sort of music you require. Is it fast-paced, funky, romantic, technological? Understanding the pace of the editing will determine how fast or slow the action should be when filming.
CREATE YOUR PRODUCT VIDEO STORYBOARD
Once you’ve written your product video script, you now need to create a storyboard.
Your product video storyboard will consider the scenes and shots in more detail.
You will need to consider:
- how to break the script down into scenes and shots
- how to illustrate each shot
- whether they’re wide, mid-range, close-up, or extreme close-up shots (remember a scene is made up of a number of shots)
- the movement of the camera
- how to use lighting to showcase your product
- the features you want to highlight (for example, using close-up shots)
- the length of each shot
- the logical flow from one shot to another and use a variation of perspectives
To get an idea of what goes into a storyboard, watch a scene from a drama in detail.
Make a note of the number of different shot sizes. How do they help tell the story?
When preparing for your shoot, you will need to be proactive and organised. Shooting takes time and over-running can be very expensive, unless you come to an arrangement in advance.
Before the shoot, create a shot list. This won't necessarily be in the order of the storyboard.
To be time efficient as possible, your shot list should have a logical order. Consecutively film shots that require the same setup.
Other considerations are:
- Project brief (Project specs, overview, examples of creative inspiration, script)
- Equipment (teleprompters, cameras, lighting)
- Crew, potentially including a cameraman, director of photography (DOP), gaffer (for electrics), grip (camera track, tripods etc.)
- Travel and logistics
- Actors / models / hand models
- A number of prisitine examples of your product
With the right preparation and structure, your product video shoot should run quickly and smoothly.
Add timings to your shot list so you can keep an eye on how you're doing.
If you’re not organised, it can soon run considerably longer than planned which can become expensive.
Before you shoot, the most important thing is your product. Make sure you have at least two pristine samples of your product to film.
They need to be in the best possible condition. No scratches. No fingerprints. No poorly printed labels.
Getting this right now will save hours later.
Also, be prepared. Know what you need intimately so there are no nasty surprises.
Setting up the first shot of the day can take a lot longer than you'd imagine! Take this into consideration when putting together your schedule.
Here a few more tips to ensure a smooth video shoot:
- Ensure everyone has read the project brief and understands what they’re doing.
- Follow your pre-prepared shot list.
- Refer to your storyboard and tick off each shot once it’s completed.
- Try and keep to schedule. If you have 20 shots to shoot in 10 hours that’s an average of 30 minutes per shot.
- Getting the perfect splash of milk can take hours so you need to be aware of when you must move on.
- Use as much natural light as possible if you’re short on time. Floodlights can help simulate natural light if the weather is dull.
- If you find a shot takes less than the allotted time, try out extra shots at different angles. This will give you more options to work with during the editing process.
- Name raw files appropriately to help with the editing process.
On to the final step.
A good shoot can be ruined by poor editing. Equally, a bad shoot can be saved by good editing. Editing truly is an art form.
While there is a range of editing software, the most common are:
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- After Effects (motion graphics)
- DaVinci Resolve
- Final Cut Pro
- iMovie (if you're on a budget)
When editing a product video these are the absolute basics that you must follow:
- Appropriate choice of music (in line with what’s on screen and brand positioning).
- Ensure the audio balance between voice and music is correct. (Remember, voice should always take precedence.)
- Pace of shots and transitions are in line with the music.
- Any text on screen is legible. (Remember, someone is trying to read and see the images at the same time.)
- Text is on screen long enough to read.
- Fonts, font colors and sizing are consistent throughout your entire video and in line with your visual identity.
- Cut out unnecessary shots. You video needs to be concise and what may work in your storyboard may not work in real life.
- Everything has a logical flow. You wouldn’t have a person exiting a door on the right and then appearing from the door on the right in the next shot.
- Ensure you’ve included all the relevant shots and communicated your features and benefits.
- Any graphic overlays such as awards, quality standards, certifications etc. don’t interfere with what’s going on on-screen.
- Consider adding graphics from your branding (such as packaging) to go on your video.
- Sound effects can add an extra dimension and life to your video.
Product video example: Pyrex asimetriA
Our Pyrex asimetriA product video is a prime example of how editing can make or break a video.
Pyrex originally commissioned a local product video agency to produce the video. It needed to communicate the features and benefits of its new baking tray range.
While the quality of the shots were first-rate, the agency struggled with the editing.
This was because the agency didn’t understand how to edit the video so it targeted a trade audience.
Instead, they produced a consumer-style video with no clear signposting of the features and benefits.
In light of our trade marketing expertise, Pyrex then asked us to edit the video.
Here is a brief deconstruction of the video and the logic behind the editing process:
0.01: Music instantly kicks in to drive the video. The style of music suggests a premium product.
0.02: ‘Unleash your creativity’ to show how cooking has evolved as a form of expression.
0.04-0.07: Shots of chocolate, cake mix and baking tin to set the scene.
0.08: Feature (even heat distribution) and benefit (for perfect baking results). Shot lingers long enough to allow audience to process information. Premium font and graphics in line with positioning.
0.10: Alternating muffins edited in sync with music. Adds colour, movement and creativity while showing versatility of recipes.
0.11 Introduce Instagram images and videos to represent target consumers who are keen to show off their creative baking on social media. This helps the buyers understand who the product is aimed at and how it will be marketed.
0.14 Feature (XL handles) and benefit (and ergonomic supports). Font consistency.
0.19 Feature (ridged texture) and benefit (for enhanced baking results).
0.24: Pause in music with scattered flour to break up video provides audience breathing space.
0.26: Dough thrown in air. ‘Have fun!’ to reinforce modern cooking values.
0.29: Feature (perforated base) and benefit (for crispy end results).
0.34: Feature (non-stick coating) and benefit (for easy cleaning).
0.38 Feature (loose base) and benefit (for effortless food release).
0.44 Shot of nut cracker and exploding nut. ‘Express yourself’ to further reinforce modern cooking values.
0.47 Pyrex asimetriA Instagram page with rapidly increasing posts and followers. Highlights popularity, shows potential versatility of recipes and demonstrates that the products help bake such good food you'll want to show it off.
0.56 Final shot showing hero products brand and product name (with logos), guarantees and certifications.