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September 13, 2023
Brand filmmaking is upsetting the world of traditional brand marketing.
We’ve all seen our fair share of brand commercials and infomercials throughout our lives. It is in everything from cheap items sold on TV to political ads to oldies music.
There are hours-long compilations available on YouTube dedicated to some of the most cringy, weird, and memorable commercials and infomercials from the last few decades.
Many of these commercials we’ve seen in our lives are practically embedded in our collective brains forever. How many of us as now adults remember the old Zoobooks commercials from our childhoods by heart? Or perhaps certain junk-sold-on-TV commercials (looking at you, Flex Seal).
But what if, instead of making small ads to repeatedly shove in the faces of consumers everywhere, we went a lot more artful and told fun and engaging story that made the brand itself more visible to customers? How would that look?
Honestly, it would be like a breath of fresh air.
That is where brand filmmaking comes in; brand filmmaking is a form of long or short-form brand movie that soft-sells the brand through great storytelling, emotion, and cinematography. It is very flexible and not tied to any particular length of time. Unlike its commercial and infomercial counterparts, it works across a wide variety of platforms. In short, brand filmmaking allows you as a company to relate to your customers through showing the heart of your brand, and why you do what you do, and is much less about what you sell.
Think about it: do you have a soft spot for helping people through tough situations, or want to come across as a company that cares during these trying economic times? Do you want to bring people back to a simpler time, and have your product or service mentally associated with that simpler time? Perhaps you are more socially aware as a company. But at the same time, you don’t want to come across as too biased and alienate significant parts of your consumer base. Brand filmmaking is a flexible art form that encompasses all of that. It brings to your consumer base the heart of what you do and why you do it. It puts your company in a good light with those who view the brand movies. Above all, it gives them greater reason than a sales pitch to trust your company, its products or services, and subsequently create that magic called brand loyalty.
The simple way to start is to think of it like you would an actual film project. Remember, this is bigger than a commercial. Those only exist to sell a product or service within 15 seconds, 30 seconds, or a full minute. For a brand filmmaking project, you will instead want to:
The first part of the process is to brainstorm a theme for the brand film. This goes back to the heart of what your brand does and why you do it. You can sell a product or service within this brainstorm. Remember: keep it in the context of the overall theme you decide upon. These theme ideas include but are not limited to:
It works great for brands like Northface, Yeti, REI, Patagonia, Columbia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bass Pro Shops, and Cabelas. It speaks to consumers who just love to get out and fish, hunt, hike, or camp. This is also great for those who long for a simpler time or a simple life. It will likely speak to them a lot more than your typical commercial.
It works for companies and brands who, while not wanting to look like a political ad campaign, do want to showcase values they might share with their consumer base. This trend has grown exponentially from non-profits to companies that simply prefer to showcase their values in alignment with whatever they choose to sell.
It works great for companies such as Dove, Charmin, Huggies, and others who want to show their products or services as being soft like a blanket for the masses, a safe place to be.
It works great for gyms, the military, and fitness influencers who want to showcase that their product or service will get those who participate into top shape and ready for anything. This also works in conjunction with the outdoors theme.
It is great for companies with new and improved technology that’s sure to be a real game changer in whatever field they work for. Works for the healthcare and tech industries as well as more creative industries such as video gaming or books.
It works great for companies who wish to use high-quality animation reminiscent of a favorite cartoon or anime movie. Even companies such as Taco Bell have used music videos and animation-quality videos to advertise their new and improved look. This one is versatile and can be paired with any of the other themes listed. These also work great paired with remakes of popular old songs or voiceovers including a poem or story people recognize.
It works great for brands seek to use clever humor, satire, and other comedy techniques to make people laugh and enjoy a skit that sells the brand and product.
As with all filmmaking projects, aside from determining the theme, you will need to get the budget for your brand film sorted out.
Typically, the budget is between $60k and $250k depending on the total running time of the project, talent, crew, and location(s) acquired. It almost never goes lower, but can easily go higher.
Remember to account for everything including all necessary equipment within the budget. Allot for any surprise expenses that may occur during the shoot, post-production, and actual promotion of the project.
Next is to find the proper talent depending on the theme and needs of the film itself. Documentary style usually requires a smaller talent fee, while something sci-fi or action-oriented may require more talent to truly pull off. It also depends on the story, which we’ll get to in just a bit.
Location, location, location! It is one of the major keys to a great brand film. Try to find a location that works for everyone involved and works for the overall budget as well. You may even use your office or warehouse if the theme and storyline call for it, which should minimize costs. Try to source locations that reflect your theme without blowing the budget.
The storyline must fit in with your theme(s) chosen for the project, and the simpler the better. Nothing is saying you have to be super extravagant in the storyline itself, though. You can go as simplistic as you want. Just make sure you know how your story will progress and the main points you want to hit. Then, pair your main message with cinematic footage and compelling music. You can also make a storyline that mimics that of great films of the past and present. It is up to you and the budget you’re given.
This is all the nitty gritty stuff that has to be taken care of for the experience and work of the brand film to go smoothly. Think in terms of scheduling cast, crew, food, locations, and the gathering of equipment and the talent itself. It’s all complicated and requires extensive planning as well as solid execution to get the job done. The best thing to do is organize what needs to be done in terms of priority and go from there.
To have a brand film, you must shoot the film itself. This is the point where the theme you’ve chosen, the storyline you’ve come up with, and the talent, crew, and equipment you’ve gathered come together to create the footage for the project. Have fun!
Post-production is the point where you see everything come to life in the project in ways that shooting the footage doesn’t allow you to see.
Here is where you watch alongside your editor and effects people and/or animators, and figure out if certain sequences need to be re-thought out. This is also an area in which much of the budget will be devoted so that the project can be done right.
This includes areas such as editing the footage together, sound design, color timing, and color grading as well as special effects.
The brand film is nothing without proper promotion.
This is the point where it is completely put together with nothing else to fix or improve. It is done, and ready for everyone to see! Have a promotions plan for your film (sorted out when figuring out budget and logistics) so that it is not shelved and forgotten about.
It’s best to have alternate versions of the brand film to put it on a wide array of platforms depending on the needs and expectations of audiences on each platform.
Now that all else is complete, the only thing left to do is watch and enjoy your work!
May your hard work reach your consumer base, not merely with the products or services you sell, but the heart of your brand itself.
If you have further questions on where to begin or who to hire to get your brand filmmaking project started, contact us today. We’d be happy to help you!
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