Traditionally, the term ‘corporate video’ has been used to describe standardised, stilted and banal videos. Always straight on brand, and unfortunately often cold, they are usually boring to watch. This is due to the many different goals and stakeholders involved. Indeed, corporate videos are aimed at a variety of audiences: consumers, governments, investors, employees…. The constraints of this genre are thus numerous, with the need to have agreements and approvals from many departments within the company.
However, with digitalization, the winds of change are blowing on corporate video: more and more companies are breaking free from the norms and addressing their audience’s desire for more authenticity and originality. We have analysed the most promising corporate videos we found in the wild and here are the five main trends we have identified.
Authenticity is paramount, instilling trust and emotion
Companies are increasingly turning to authentic corporate video. Authenticity is synonymous with honesty, transparency and integrity for customers – at a time when communicators are placing trust at the forefront of communications, this factor is paramount.
This trend leads to highlighting the company’s employees, with more or less staging. This makes it possible to illustrate in a light way many of the mandatory parts of a corporate video: premises, research and development, commitment to the environment, community involvement, diversity, etc.
With unadorned rushes, filmed entirely by employees, HSBC produced the powerful video below in which employees share moments of their work day. The employees filmed themselves with the company’s own application (Now Share), which made it possible to collect and centralise the content.
“I saw videos coming out everywhere, very natural. It sets people free.“Sarah-Pearl Bokobza Marketing & communications Manager, ATOS
Original content stands out and engages
One of the shortcomings of many corporate videos is the use of image banks. For convenience, economy or lack of imagination. But this is not without risk: companies communicate with the same clichés, or even the same sequences.
In the field of advertising, the problem is the same and we had a blatant example with two ads broadcast during the last Superbowl where advertisers Indeed and Guaranteed Rate used the same clip from an image bank!
This brings us to our second major trend: the creation and use of original content. For this, it was generally common to hire an agency or a studio, but we have observed that companies have found original alternatives, such as calling on their employees to provide the illustration needs of their storytelling.
Developing original content helps to stand out. Danone, the food giant, has created a corporate video made mainly with clips filmed by their employees, resulting in a unique video featuring Danone employees, products and premises.
Filming with smartphones
We have come a long way since the first iPhone in 2007: our smartphones now have excellent quality cameras that can even be used to make films. Even movie professionals use their smartphones: famous French director Claude Lelouch, for example, shot part of his latest film on a smartphone.
Apple regularly funds short films by directors shot on the iPhone. Corporate videos follow this trend because the smartphone is more convenient and saves money.
|The ideal tool to create your corporate video|
With just a smartphone, it is now possible to film, edit and create a professional quality video. The Kannelle application was designed with this precise goal in mind: to let companies create a corporate video from A to Z, just with their smartphone.
Including employees in these flagship projects
As with any corporate project, the involvement of employees in the creation of their company video is an important factor in making employees feel integrated.
For example, you can use footage shot by a few employees in your final corporate video: this is what Microsoft has done by putting together videos shot by its employees in a large corporate video. It shows moments from the daily life of the employees and their contribution to this video reinforces their links with the company and boosts Microsoft’s employer brand.
Winning the content war through innovation
We have entered a content war or rather a war for attention. To be seen and considered, businesses need interesting content. Companies are thus destined to become their own media. Innovating with formats and storytelling has become key to capture the attention of customers and establish the brand image.The best example of a brand that has not only created a medium but also created news for that medium is Red Bull. The energy drink brand has been able to sponsor or even create numerous extreme sports and athletes via its “Media House“: this information has become the basis of its communications. We invite you to discover its Air Race or the famous space jump of Felix Baumgartner.
Corporate video has many roles and constraints
Corporate video plays many roles
Corporate video serves several purposes for the company. For instance, it helps in establishing the brand image in external communications, or to boost the commitment of employees in internal communications.
To define its identity in external communications
Traditionally, companies produced a single corporate video per year for all types of audience, but today these videos are modified to be adapted to different markets. This is the same phenomenon as for advertising videos, which are personalised and adapted according to the medium (television, YouTube, etc.) and according to the geolocation of the audience.
In addition, corporate video can be an effective response to complex and recurring communications topics and in the event of a crisis. An excellent example is the content created by Nutella on the topic of palm oil, such as this clip on their sustainable supply chain.
In the (not so) secret service of internal communications
For internal communications, sharing a new corporate video is an opportunity to create a climate of trust where employees feel proud to belong to the group and recognise themselves in the values and missions highlighted. By using your own content without resorting to image banks, you will create a more personalised and engaging video.
On the HR side to boost the employer brand
Corporate videos highlight the values of a company and its employees, which is why they are ideal for boosting the employer brand and giving a positive image to future candidates. By communicating about your business in an engaging way, you can attract future talent more easily.
Not forgetting investors and financial communications
As we have already pointed out, corporate videos are aimed at institutional investors and are often published in synch with the fiscal year, the publication of accounts or the general meeting of shareholders.
Multiple constraints inherent to corporate video
A mandatory showcase for the company
The corporate video should reflect the company’s values and express its mission and key messages. A very professional look is expected and the video will be produced with specific instructions. It is rarely an opportunity to be creative, which is a hindrance for communications teams, even if the codes are evolving with the trends mentioned above.
Compliance with the company visual identity
The corporate video must adhere strictly to the latest brand guidelines of the company (logos, colours, jingles, music, intros and outros), which makes the creation process more difficult. With Kannelle, it is possible to define these elements very easily in parameters for your employees.
A complex approval cycle with many stakeholders
A corporate video project crystallises all the expectations of the different stakeholders of the company and will therefore give rise to a complex validation cycle from the brief to the finished product, including Communications, PR, HR, legal and of course the managers, including the CEO. Every word, every figure, every image may give rise to comment and approval.We can see that in companies where the leader is a communicator, the content has more personality. The most obvious example is certainly Apple, where Steve Jobs personally oversaw this type of project, with films such as “Think Different”.
Kannelle disrupts traditional corporate communications
We created Kannelle with the ambition to give businesses and their employees the opportunity to create their own videos with a smartphone. Letting your employees create shots, or even corporate videos, may seem heretical. But with the right processes, the approach lets you control your costs, be reactive and renew your communications without losing sight of the company’s quality requirements.
Let’s see what Kannelle is
A complete video solution for the enterprise
Kannelle is a complete video production solution organised around an all-in-one mobile app, which allows users to script, shoot and edit videos in accordance with their corporate identity. The Kannelle application is accompanied by a back-office platform that enables user management, the creation of custom scenarios and the integration of the company’s visual identity elements.
Professional achievements within the reach of every employee
Thanks to Kannelle’s custom scenarios, employees equipped with our app can film clips that will be used by communications managers in their final corporate video: for each scene, it is possible to give indications such as framing and timing. On the editing side, introductions, logos, music and fonts are ready to be added according to the criteria set by the company’s identity, depending on the business unit, brand or geography for which the video is produced.
Autonomy and controlled decentralisation of creation
This approach allows for greater freedom and complete autonomy when creating videos. It is also a way to ensure decentralisation of content production and customisation, according to the specificities of each market. All this while supervising the production process and guaranteeing the professional quality of the final content.
Adapting to new production constraints
Produce more, frequently, and responsively: as we have seen, the paradigm of corporate communications is changing. Our solution lets you adopt the trends that are pushing towards more agility, adaptability and authenticity. And ROI too.
Smartphones: you don’t need anything else to create your videos
The advantage of the smartphone tool over a professional camera is its availability: most employees are equipped with it, know how to use it, and always have it at hand. In addition, filming with a smartphone is much less intimidating. And smartphones let you film simply and with original angles.
Faster corporate communications
The Kannelle app allows your staff to create clips very quickly: this will save time when the communications team wants to assemble the final corporate video, as they will have access to their own unique “image bank”.
Authenticity of in-house images and customisation
With Kannelle, any employee can shoot quality video rushes and share them, without any video skills. The communications team can then decide to use the images of the employees according to the desired scenario, or the audience. For example: different images for a video dedicated to a market in Europe or Asia. And all this while keeping control of the production.
Towards more free and original corporate communications
A scenarios for every occasion and every story
The Kannelle app offers a library of ready-to-use scenarios to ensure relevant storytelling. It is also possible to create scripts for specific projects or business units. The dreaded part of video creation is often the editing, as it requires skills. But, don’t worry: with Kannelle, the editing is automated and guarantees a high quality video!
A touch of originality to differentiate yourself
When employees create their own videos, the result is more authentic, the tone is more sincere and above all the content is unique. For communications teams or in-house studios, this is an undeniable advantage and a chance to create simply and quickly a video that matches the company’s vision and captures the spirit of its employees. Kannelle thus gives communications managers the opportunity to create differently and to differentiate themselves from their competitors, while surfing on current trends.
How to make an engaging and unique corporate video?
What does the term “corporate video” mean to you? A corporate film with some stock footage and narration? Rushes of beautiful natural landscapes? A video with piano music in the background? Most corporate videos look the same and would be almost interchangeable if there were no logo.
And that is a pity as a real content war is raging on the web. The challenge for companies is to compete for the attention of their audiences. It is therefore in the interest of companies to create engaging corporate videos that capture attention while conveying their corporate culture and message.
Some companies have understood this and developed more creative approaches for their corporate videos. The Kannelle team has analysed these videos and identified the key ingredients of an original corporate video. So say bye-bye to boring corporate communications. Make way for truly engaging corporate videos!
Refine your storytelling for an engaging corporate video
Humans love stories, which is why the use of storytelling in corporate video, as in all content, helps to create links and captivate your audience.
The example: in this video of Ben & Jerry’s social mission, the company’s decisions and actions are narrated by the CEO and key employees involved, while each step is illustrated by showing related suppliers.
This story narrated directly by employees captures our attention and makes us aware of the important social commitment of the company. If you feel guilty about buying a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, it can only be because of your waistline!
Putting people first
Employees, customers, managers… focusing on people, their stories and their testimonials is an approach that captures attention and makes corporate videos come alive. And choosing to put your employees on stage rather than using actors makes for much more authentic footage!
The example: AirBnB has created a corporate video in which some of its hosts talk about their rental and express their dreams which they are fulfilling thanks to the income they receive from AirBnB. The company allows some to travel, others to meet people from different backgrounds and origins. With this video, AirBnB plays on human and emotional relationships: the audience identifies with these profiles, which strengthens the link with the company.
Create unique visuals – thanks to the smartphone!
Instead of resorting to an image bank, shoot your own content! With a simple smartphone, it is possible to film very good quality imagery. The image bank is practical and saves time, but to create a corporate video that looks like you and speaks to your audience, it’s better to rely on original content.
It also makes it very easy to involve employees in the project, to film and document the life of the company or to show their attachment to the company and its values. The Microsoft employee video mentioned above comes to mind!
Highlighting your employees
Thanking your employees and recognising their work is an important step in motivating them, especially for those who participated in the creation of your corporate video.
The example: in its video “Carte de visite 2020”, car manufacturer PSA Group included end credits thanking the employees who contributed.
Get inspired by these engaging corporate videos and let your creativity flow! In the end, it’s not that difficult to create a corporate video that stands out from the crowd: all you have to do is connect with your audience by highlighting the people and their stories. All the while bypassing clichés! This is the next topic in this guide.
The 10 clichés of corporate video to avoid 😅
During the 1890s, the Lumière brothers invented the cinematograph and organised their first screening: La sortie des usines Lumières in Lyon, which shows workers leaving the factory. Although the aim at the time was not to promote the factory, this film is considered by many to be the first corporate film. A century later, office scenes and timelapses of business districts are still included in most corporate videos. Is it not time to renew the genre?
As we set out to identify the most widespread clichés, we analysed the corporate videos of major international groups and multinationals, in all sectors (aeronautics, finance, luxury, etc.). We have taken out the 10 worst clichés, from filming techniques to illustrations. From now on, you won’t be able to say you didn’t know.
Associations of very common images
Among the corporate videos we watched, we always found the same image associations: the arrow pointing upwards to illustrate the growth of the company was present in 40% of the videos viewed.
Scenes showing scientists and robots to depict the progress of sciences and society were featured in 70% of the videos. This was true even when they were not related to the company’s activities. As for trains, cars and planes to illustrate growth (present in 50% of the videos), we got motion sickness!
Offices and skyscrapers in all shapes and sizes
Office shots were found in almost all of the corporate videos (90% to be exact), and drone shots dollying around skyscrapers in over half (60%).
The risk is that these plans are featured by the majority of companies: you end up with a corporate video that looks like all the others. For us, it’s a lot of trips around cities, we’d love a bit of countryside – don’t worry, there are some too, but for the CSR side, we’ll come back to it very quickly.
The highlighting of communities to tick the box
In 60% of the corporate videos analysed, i.e. more than half, communities are highlighted to show the social actions that the company is carrying out.
These are exemplary actions that are unfortunately not always presented in a very inspiring way: there are many clips from image banks and not enough content filmed by the companies themselves. And yet, this makes all the difference, as shown by Danone in its video created with rushes filmed by employees doing good in their communities.
The timelapse, the accelerated shot
In order to illustrate the fast pace of our society and the accelerated pace of its evolution, companies opt for time-lapse clips. Out of 10 videos analysed, 7 used this format! Movement of cars, people walking in the street, the sun setting…
Timelapse is a filming technique used far too frequently in corporate video. As with most of these clips, the sun has quickly set on this trend. Will we see the deserted streets of lockdown in 2021?
The representation of the world? A globe, of course.
Ah, our beautiful planet, how much we love it. And how practical it is to show that multinationals are well established everywhere and that they are defending the future, the environment, etc.
In 60% of the corporate videos reviewed, there is indeed a globe. However, be careful not to alienate Flat Earth Society members! 😱 (just kidding).
The environment – sea or mountains?
The environment is a major issue for the 21st century, and companies have understood this. For now, let’s leave the subject of greenwashing to the cynics! And since it is essential to commit to the environment, we find shots of forests, large waterfalls, snowy plains and even wild animals in more than half of the videos analysed.
Being committed to environmental protection is good, but let’s not go so far as to recycle the use of these shots and this cliché.
Ah, innovation… would you like some more lab work?
70% of the videos we analysed featured shots of scientists in laboratories, carrying out experiments. These images are used all too frequently by companies to show their efforts in research and development and innovation.
Is it time to put some of its R&D budget into finding new ways to illustrate this point?
To illustrate the idea of the new generation representing the future, four out of ten companies chose a child alone or with a parent. Cue in bank imagery master clichés: a father teaching, a mother holding her child’s hand and laughing, a child running on a beach…
These images are double-edged: yes, they are moving, but they are cliché and insincere. Is there room for a new generation of clichés?
Music is an important element in making corporate videos more dynamic, but the lack of originality is flagrant: of the 10 videos viewed, 6 contained classical piano music! Airbus and Air Liquide illustrate this point perfectly: but they are not the only ones. What if you tried the tuba or Kraftwerk for your next corporate video? 😅
A corporate video, voice and narration
The voice-over narration was present in half of the videos viewed: while it helps to animate the video, it seems robotic and unnatural at times because the tone is too neutral. In these two corporate videos, one from ETSI and the other from HSBC, the intonation of the two narrators is similar, and one might even think that they are the same person.
So what to put in an original corporate video?
We have identified the clichés of the genre. To avoid them, it’s very simple: avoid image banks, get inspired by new trends, create your own original content by highlighting your employees and your activity. It’s the only way to stand out from the crowd and be different from your competitors! With this guide, you have everything you need for a unique corporate video that represents you.