Flevy Blog is an online business magazine covering Business Strategies, Business Theories, & Business Stories.

For the Best Video Content, Keep It Simple [Stupid]

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Organization Design Toolkit (103-slide PowerPoint presentation). Recent McKinsey research surveyed a large set of global executives and suggests that many companies, these days, are in a nearly permanent state of organizational flux. A rise in efforts in Organizational Design is attributed to the accelerating pace of structural change generated by market [read more]

* * * *

Look around you. Messages are everywhere, they surround us when we drive, we’re at work, and at home — just about everywhere. Most of them involve some kind of advertising or marketing message. Increasingly, these messages are not in print, but in some form of video or motion graphics. Given that the preferred demographic of many marketing plans is between the ages of 16-35, visual motion is ever more critical and important.

Creating compelling video is critical to gaining the attention of your prospective customers. Do yourself a favor and do some channel surfing. Make sure to hit CNN, MTV, Spike, Discovery and a few of the more traditional outlets such as CBS, NBC or ABC. You will notice a few things: the messages are everywhere, the messages are short, and the messages are slick. This is what you are competing with, whether your video is on-air or online only. So your message must be tight, well-designed, and well-produced.

There is a tendency for clients, both new and old, to want to cram as many messages into a piece — whether a commercial or a promotional video — as possible; to maximize their return on investment. This is usually a gross error. Unless your piece is instructional in nature, the old KISS rule applies: Keep It Simple [choose your appellation]! Check out this 30 second spec video for Duncan Yo-Yo:


There are good reasons that companies like Coca-Cola are willing to spend many millions of dollars to produce and air a Super Bowl spot that lasts 15 to 30 seconds and has one basic message: Coke makes you feel good. There may be more to the subtext, but that is essentially it. They could say much more, as could Levi’s jeans, Chevrolet or Kellogg’s. But all these companies know what we all should know: keep the message simple and it will resonate that much more with the customer. Even a ten-minute promotional piece should have only a few concepts, which are gently repeated and possibly even reinforced with text. That way the customer will remember and react, which is what we want.

It’s important to realize that video is not a one-layer medium like print. Video has at least three components. First and most obvious is the visual message, which should be designed to convey not simply the obvious (ie, “see how simple this new diabetes test kit is to use?”), but should create a feeling that reinforces this message (in this case, soothing colors, pleasing setting, warm and gentle lighting, etc.).

Second is the sound or audio. This should interlock with and support the visual message and, at its best, this is done with some subtlety. An example of a more obvious use is an appropriate voice-over that describes the benefits of the product. Of course, casting the voice — male or female, assertive or gentle, etc — is critical. In addition to the VO (if you use one), music and sound effects are often misused or under-utilized. Both are critical and must be done with sensitivity and skill because, as copious research has demonstrated, what we hear is often as, and sometimes more important than, what we see (interestingly, this is a result of our primitive brains trusting our ears more than our eyes!).

By the way, you might wonder why we keep citing research and where this research comes from. As it turns out, advertising agencies and marketing firms are some of the most prolific research buyers on Earth. Their work is better-funded and usually more precise than most university studies. Unlike academic work it is also closely guarded. It’s that valuable.

Finally, the third component is text. On-screen text can be used in conjunction with voiceover or alone. It can be accentuated with music or sound effect cues. Sometimes it is most powerful when used by itself. Again, looking at research on the subject, stand-alone text has a commanding nature that can be more compelling even than an authoritative voice-over or actor. It’s just the way our brains process messages. Other uses of text on-screen include the reinforcing of single or multiple messages delivered in voice, which results in deeper message penetration than voice only.

The bottom line: Effective video is really not about flashy products, huge productions or high budgets- it’s about understanding what your product is, who you are marketing to, and what is the best message (or set of messages) to compel the customer.

Keep it Simple. The best way to get your message to a potential buyer… on-time, on-target and on-budget.

Excel workbook
Accountants, accounting firms, and real estate property owners can all benefit from this cost segregation study (CSS) template. It makes the estimated benefit easy to figure out and has flexible assumptions for high level or detailed segregation analysis. You get a summary of cost [read more]

Do You Want to Implement Business Best Practices?

You can download in-depth presentations on 100s of management topics from the FlevyPro Library. FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.

For even more best practices available on Flevy, have a look at our top 100 lists:

These best practices are of the same as those leveraged by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by utilizing these best practice frameworks, templates, and tools. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with over 20+ years of experience.

Readers of This Article Are Interested in These Resources

70-slide PowerPoint presentation
Organizational Design (OD) is a structured approach to aligning the structure, processes, and systems of an organization to achieve its strategic objectives and enhance performance. It encompasses various components, including defining the purpose of reorganization, determining supportive [read more]

145-slide PowerPoint presentation
Excel workbook

About Marc Honorof

First Person Publishing is a content development company that has been working with writers, editors, researchers, illustrators, animators and Emmy award-winning video production companies for over 2 decades, consistently producing engaging, entertaining and educational content in all formats, for all platforms and on any budget. We have the ability to scale up for large projects with dedicated teams, or become a trusted outsource partner when you’re in a crunch. If you need a subject matter expert, a ghost blogger, articles, newsletters, or a product video or web series, that's what we do. Marc also consults to brands and companies in the areas of content development, strategy and marketing as well as brand publishing infrastructures and is selectively available for speaking engagements.

, ,

Complimentary Business Training Guides

Many companies develop robust strategies, but struggle with operationalizing their strategies into implementable steps. This presentation from flevy introduces 12 powerful business frameworks spanning both Strategy Development and Strategy Execution. [Learn more]

  This 48-page whitepaper, authored by consultancy Envisioning, provides the frameworks, tools, and insights needed to manage serious Change—under the backdrop of the business lifecycle. These lifecycle stages are each marked by distinct attributes, challenges, and behaviors. [Learn more]

We've developed a very comprehensive collection of Strategy & Transformation PowerPoint templates for you to use in your own business presentations, spanning topics from Growth Strategy to Brand Development to Innovation to Customer Experience to Strategic Management. [Learn more]

  We have compiled a collection of 10 Lean Six Sigma templates (Excel) and Operational Excellence guides (PowerPoint) by a multitude of LSS experts. These tools cover topics including 8 Disciplines (8D), 5 Why's, 7 Wastes, Value Stream Mapping (VSM), and DMAIC. [Learn more]
Recent Articles by Corporate Function






The Flevy Business Blog (https://flevy.com/blog) is a leading source of information on business strategies, business theories, and business stories. Most of our articles are authored by management consultants and industry executives with over 20 years of experience.

Flevy (https://flevy.com) is the marketplace for business best practices, such as management frameworks, presentation templates, and financial models. Our best practice documents are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier consulting firms (like McKinsey, Bain, Accenture, BCG, and Deloitte) and used by Fortune 100 organizations. Learn more about Flevy here.

Connect with Flevy:


About Flevy.com   /   Terms   /   Privacy Policy
© . Flevy LLC. All Rights Reserved.