By Andrew Angus on January 17, 2012

Recently, one of our partners asked us to review a video made by Invest Ottawa in order to share our thoughts.They wanted to know if we had any feedback on how it could be improved. We said we were happy to, and then asked if we could turn it into a blog post so all of our readers can benefit. They were gracious enough to say yes, so much thanks to them.

However, before reading it, make sure to watch the video below to get a better idea of what we’re reviewing.

The review

Our first comment is that the video is quite good. The graphics are clean, and the video flows well. It’s a beautiful video that’s fun to watch, and the music matches perfectly.

Overall, Invest Ottawa did a lot of things well. They created a visually appealing video that keeps attention and creates a positive impression. When it comes to these aspects, the video is quite good.

But as always, there’s room for improvement.

Opportunity to Improve #1: Delivering a clear message

The first opportunity for improvement is to deliver a clear and informative message. Even though it’s very visually appealing, the video could improve by better explaining who Invest Ottawa is and what they do. As it is now, the video doesn’t explain as much as it could, and the viewer possibly could be left with more questions about Invest Ottawa.

The first rule of thumb is to make sure that the video does an excellent job of explaining what you want to explain. You need to have a clear and concise message, and not be afraid of including adequate information.

Yes, a 60-second maximum can be intimidating. You may wonder how much information you can fit in 60 seconds. The answer is a lot. There are so many opportunities of what you can communicate with audio and video. Make sure to use them! If you can’t communicate something with words, you can use pictures, and vica versa.

In addition to this, there’s another opportunity for improving—by starting with “why.” Simon Sinek talks about this in his famous TED Talk titled “How great leaders inspire action.”

Opportunity to Improve #2: Starting with “why”

Sinek starts out by asking why Apple, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Wright Brothers were all so successful in their own way, in their own time period. He wonders aloud about what the difference was between them and their competition when all of them had access to the exact same resources.

He goes on to explain that “all the great and inspiring leaders and organizations in the world, whether it’s Apple, Martin Luther King, or the Wright Brothers, they all think, act, and communicate the exact same way, and it’s the complete opposite to everyone else.” Mr. Sinek then describes that he simply codified this through what he named “The Golden Circle”—three concentric circles with “why” in the center, “how” in the middle, and “what” on the outside.

When it comes to this “Golden Circle,” every organization knows what they do, and most know how they do it, but not that many understand why they do what they do. The “why” is deeper than just making a profit. It’s what gives the business purpose; it’s the “cause” or “belief” behind what the business does. Mr. Sinek explains this by asking, “Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?”

Keeping this in mind, most organizations communicate from the outside in. They communicate what they do and how they do it, but very few organizations explain why they do what they do. Yet inspired leaders and organizations think, act, and communicate from the inside out, i.e. by starting with “why.”

For example, a car company normally starts out by talking about the features of their car. They talk about the horsepower, the gas mileage, the fancy stereo, and the leather seats. It’s feature-driven, but it’s uninspiring. It doesn’t stand out from any of the other car commercials or companies.

But what if a car company did this: What if they started by describing the philosophy behind their company. They could explain that they exist to create the ultimate driving experience for every-day drivers and car enthusiasts (the why). This means that they use highest grade materials, the latest technology, and the best parts (the how). It just so happens that they make awesome cars that are beautiful and perform at a very high level (the what). Does this remind you of anyone? Yes, it’s BMW.

So starting with why means that as an organization you have a reason for existing, and you give customers a reason to be part of what you’re doing by communicating this sense of purpose. Why? Because as Simon Sinek describes, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Ultimately, organizations need to have something they stand for so customers have something to buy into.

How this relates to Invest Ottawa’s video

Bringing this back to the Invest Ottawa video, the easiest way to improve it is to make sure that it has a clear and concise message that explains what it is that they want to communicate. But the way to make the biggest improvement is to start with why.

Starting with why means that not only will the message be clear but also that it will resonate with viewers. They’ll be drawn to Invest Ottawa because they’ll be inspired by the mission and will be interested in finding out how to get involved.

Invest Ottawa is doing awesome work, and explainer videos are a great way to show off this work by creating a clearly written message that communicates something important and inspires viewers to take action and participate. We look forward to seeing what Invest Ottawa creates with their next video.

(To watch the full version of Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, go here.)

 

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