Whatever you sell, your customers want to see it in videos. It doesn’t matter if you’re service or product, B2B or B2C, or small or large. According to research from HubSpot more than 90 percent of buyers say they want to see more videos from brands.
But there are right ways and wrong ways to “do” video. In other posts we’ve covered the types of videos you should produce, but there’s something more high-level you need to remember: Your videos need a consistent look and feel to them so that your audience recognizes your brand.
To do this, you need a brand style guide for video. Below, we’ll explain what that is and how you build one.
What is a brand style guide for video?
At the surface level, a brand style guide is a set of rules and norms that covers the way your videos are produced. It contains specifics around traditional brand elements (colors, fonts, etc.), as well as information about style (types of music, structure etc.).
The style guide is a roadmap for consistency, and it ensures that every video you produce stays true to the core identity of your brand. According to video expert Zach Basner, “It’s about standardizing what you do and what you do not do.” These are the rules you’ll go by so that your video content all looks like it belongs together.
At the same time, while you want your brand style guide to be thorough, it shouldn’t be too rigid.
Think about it this way: Your business might produce several different kinds of videos — event promos, customer testimonials, and product demos, for example — that will all end up looking a bit different.
Your brand style guide should provide guidelines so that videos look enough like each other to be consistent… but not so much so that they look indistinguishable.
Remember, consistency builds trust. Monotony builds apathy.
How to know if you need a brand style guide
If you’re just getting started with video, you probably don’t need a brand style guide just yet. Zach tells his clients that they should produce videos for about six months before they actually make the guide. This should be a time of experimentation and social listening. See where your audience members are, how they consume content, and what resonates with them.
Early on, says Zach, businesses should focus on marketing to let people know they exist. Branding comes later.
Developing your guide
This guide is important, so don’t rush it. You don’t want to just throw something together. At the same time, you don’t need to pause all video activity until you have it nailed down.
Don’t be intimidated, thinking you need to create something super formal. Says Zach: “Style guides sound really fancy, but really what we’re doing is we’re just standardizing, what do we do and what do we not do, so that when we get to actually filming the video or designing the asset, we know what the rules are.”
Here are a few guidelines to help you:
Experiment and gather feedback: You don’t have to develop your style guide in a vacuum. Listen to your audience! Check out videos you’ve produced in the past. How have people reacted? Which ones feel the most “like you”? Choose a few videos and use them as a template.
Get inspired: Look at brands you admire and see what you can learn. Just remember, it’s good to seek inspiration from other brands, but don’t seek to duplicate. Find your unique style.
Focus on the technical stuff: If you ask brand managers, they’ll tell you how important design is to your brand. This means colors, fonts, shapes, and overall style. But you probably don’t have to build these from scratch…
Align with your core values: Chances are your organization has core documents like a mission statement or a purpose. You might also have other guideline documents for branding or written content. If these exist and are agreed upon by the company, lean on them as you develop your video brand style guide.
Talk to stakeholders: Spend time with key constituencies (company leaders, customers, members of different teams) and ask what makes yout company different from other companies. Pretty quickly, you’ll see trends emerge.
Once you gather all this data, you can start to codify it into an official document. Just be sure to gather feedback at a few points the way.
Regularly review your content and style guide to identify areas for improvement and ensure your videos continue to align with your brand and audience expectations.
Your video marketing strategy
Video content lets your customers get to know you before they ever pick up the phone or fill out a form. When they know you, they start to trust you. And, as we say all the time, won’t buy from you if they don’t trust you.
At IMPACT, we believe video should be woven into your culture. Video should be how you communicate: on social platforms, on your website, in sales emails, and in internal communications.
But you can’t really create a culture of video until you have the founding documents that ensure quality and consistency. A brand style guide for video is the must-have primer to keep your videos looking and feeling consistent.
Use the guidelines above to build a guide that’s suited to your needs. If you’re stuck, reach out for a free coaching session with on of our experts here at IMPACT. We help businesses put trust at the center of their marketing and sales