Brand building with EFC: Exploring Fresh Content with the EFC 4 Pillars
Introduction: Maximizing Your Brand Building Video Projects
At Skillman Video Group (SVG), we are dedicated to helping companies produce engaging brand building video content from start to finish. We know that you have a maximum of 90 seconds to two minutes of audience attention for a corporate brand video before it begins to drop off steeply then altogether. We also know that many of our clients have much more than two to three minutes’ worth of valuable information that they would like to relay to the viewers, especially our clients in highly technical industries working with complex processes.
Oftentimes, we shoot a large quantity of footage on the day of filming to get the best possible usable takes, much of which ends up being left out of the final cut, but that does not mean that all of this unused “outtakes” footage is irrelevant or not interesting. On the contrary, there are many times when the content of the cut footage holds well-said and valuable key messages of its own, but it’s distinct enough from messages that are meant to be delivered in the final brand video that it would dilute the message or exceed the runtime, so can’t be included.
This was the experience in the spring of 2022, when we first connected with Electronic Fluorocarbons (EFC) Gases, a primary global supplier of rare, high-end, and specialty gases, to help them create a two-minute-long brand video. This video was to be first shown at SEMICON, an annual trade conference holding regional gatherings for those in the semiconductor industry in July, where EFC would be exhibiting and explaining their unique value propositions to their potential customers in that niche.
Here we cover the prolific nature of creating a brand video for EFC that yielded a wealth of additional brand building content related to EFC’s core values, from the same footage shot that day.
Discovery and Creative Strategy
During the discovery portion of SVG’s 6-Step Production Process, our CEO and Creative Director Christina Skillman spoke with EFC’s marketing and leadership executives (e.g., the CEO/Founder, CFO, CSO, Marketing Director, and Government Liaison) to first learn as much as possible about EFC: rare gases refinement and their markets, EFC’s current and target customers and what challenges they’re facing, and the unique ways that EFC is solving their customer’s pain points.
The discovery step of our production process is a critical time to explore the ins and outs of an organization and their unique value proposition to emphasize. As a full service video agency, we integrated this information to determine the creative direction of the video: who was the target audience and what did they need to hear and how should we approach communicating that to them? Christina then drafted a creative brief and collaborated with the EFC team to prioritize their key messages (overtly spoken in the narrative) and themes (communicated through visuals and music, etc.) for their video.
As experts and innovators in their field, EFC has a lot to say about how they are solving their customers’ pain points. This included their innovative ability to rapidly provide tailored solutions and their reliability in terms of both consistent availability and quality of their specialized products. As conversations continued between Christina and EFC executive interviewees, it became clear to us that EFC had significantly more messaging about their core values than we were realistically able to include in the brand video, without having an excessive runtime, at the expense of the audience’s attention span.
Although we had to be selective with the messaging selected to share in their two-to-three-minute brand video to support the agreed upon key messages, SVG appreciated how much more EFC had to say about not only what they offer, but why and how they deliver that exceptionally. The leadership team at EFC had very effectively articulated the values on which they had built their organization, conceptualized in the form of “four pillars.” They were eager to share more about these for their target audience to understand, as well.
The four pillars are four values that make up the foundation of EFC’s approach and there was more than enough to say about each one to merit a video of its own.
The first pillar consists of EFC’s role as a solution provider. To EFC, filling the role of a solution provider means validating their customers’ need for a trustworthy organization that they can depend on to co-create a customized solution when they have a unique challenge that needs solving.
EFC’s next pillar describes how they are an independent domestic US supplier. They are committed to maintaining critical inventory control, and their role as a domestic supplier means that they can be trusted to have the materials ready to ship to their customers without dependence on foreign countries and these external market fluctuations.
The third pillar of EFC is their provision of best-in-class data. EFC makes sure to deliver incredibly precise data in compatible formats to validate the materials before they ship them to the customer, giving the customer the opportunity to review and approve the analysis of the material before its receipt.
The final pillar of EFC described the organization’s dedication to sustainability and innovation. This last pillar encompasses how EFC intends to build its organization to be one that is flourishing in its work for years to come while also reducing the long-term impacts on the environment.
Pre-Planning and Production
The production process for the four pillar videos was slightly unique compared to productions that SVG typically facilitates in that it was an offshoot of the original project: the idea for these, as their own separate video series, resulted from the pre-production and production processes for EFC’s brand video, in part because we captured so much valuable footage on the shoot day that we knew it could be maximized for several more spin-off brand building videos.
Our clients own all of the raw footage following the successful close of a project and could even supply a drive for a copy of the files. But SVG can also produce additional edited content, whenever there’s quality material left to mine and interest from the client in a more integrated marketing approach, as we did in this case.
Capturing this much usable content on the day of the shoot has a lot to do with the extensive preparation that occurs not only in Discover and Creative Strategy, but again between Christina and the interviewees prior to the day of filming.
Preparing the “Talent“
Many or even most technical experts and leadership executives are unquestionably very talented in what they do, but aren’t trained actors or “media savvy” by default, so they are neither prepared nor expected to appear at ease in front of a video camera on the shoot day without thorough coaching from Christina in advance. They are often a company’s most personally-invested – so with the right coaching, can be the most effective – brand building representatives, appearing as the human faces and personalizing your organization in your marketing videos.
It is also a best practice of SVG when shooting live “talking head” interviews style videos to not use a script whenever avoidable, meaning that this preparation is essential for the speakers to get as comfortable as possible speaking spontaneously in front of the camera. You may be thinking, why might we prefer an unscripted approach rather than a scripted one?
At SVG, we have found that having Christina, directing on set, ask the speaker questions helps frame the narrative that will be synthesized in post-production and ensure that we “get the take,” at least one or two good sound bites to cover each key message delivered in a way that will sound and feel natural to their audience. Having the speaker answering questions conversationally to a friendly interviewer in their own words on the day of filming is also often easier for them, rather than asking them to memorize lines and try to deliver them naturally.
In preparation for an unscripted approach, Christina sits down with each interviewee for roughly thirty minutes by phone or videoconference for a one-on-one discussion about how the interview will run. She will describe the technical details of what the interviewees can expect upon arriving to the shoot, such as what to expect when they are in front of the camera, what kind of clothing and accessories work best (for example, dress business casual and avoid patterned clothing and jingling jewelry), and where to look. Lastly, they will review the key messages that were decided upon, so that the interviewees are reminded of the direction that will take place and have these top of mind. This conversation often establishes a good rapport with Christina as the interviewer that helps the interviewee to relax a bit on the shoot day.
Pictured above: Two Speakers (Dr. Syvret and Thomas Arndt) from the EFC 4 Pillar Videos
After ensuring that the executives being interviewed were comfortable in front of the cameras on the day of the shoot, the interviews began. As they answered questions, Christina’s planning and preparation shone through as the experts spoke at length about what makes EFC distinctive in their industry, how they deliver their products, and how they address their customers’ pain-points. Each answer from each speaker yielded rich sound bites that wouldn’t be included in the brand video, but were perfectly ripe for additional EFC brand building content.
Once SVG had produced EFC’s original commission, the brand video for display at SEMICON, we reconvened with them throughout August and September to deliver additional brand building content, benefitting from the efficiencies we gained in getting them familiar with our collaborative process. Their satisfaction with the final brand video reinforced their trust in SVG to produce even more effective video brand marketing content for them with their surplus footage.
We first reverse engineered a creative brief for their Four Pillars series: one introductory video to outline all four pillars and explain EFC’s dedication to them, plus four individual pillars one-to-two-minute videos to further elaborate on each. Working between the raw footage and transcripts, SVG was able to edit together roughly two-minute narratives to refine together, featuring the expert in each area.
SVG then added further style points that reinforced the key messages for each pillar video. We were able to select from a cornucopia of the original shoot day b-roll footage that we hadn’t already used in the brand video to further tell their story visually to their audience, offering an insider look at the operations, from intimate shots of technicians working in their laboratories to aerial drone footage of their capacious shipyards lined with meticulously sealed containers ready to ship on demand, each clip aligned with the spoken message as well as key themes. We proposed music tracks that evoked desired senses (for example, a “hopeful” and “reassuring” melody and tempo for a “solutions provider”).
We even designed a unique set of graphics to distinguish this series from other EFC brand building content, with its own collection of intro and outro title bumpers; the “call-to-action;” on-brand fonts, iconography, and color schemes; and logo animation effects – down to the fly in direction and transparency level for lower thirds that display on the screen to identify a speaker the first time they appear in a video, all original video assets that we can reuse over an over for additional EFC brand building content!
Our clients’ work on a project extends beyond SVG’s, because once we deliver the final video and follow up to ensure receipt and satisfaction, our client must now launch their content and track how its fulfilling its business case and having the desired impact (for example, increasing website traffic). EFC plotted a paced “roll-out” of these additional five final brand building content videos on their website and social media accounts, especially LinkedIn, to create a steady frequency of their online engagement and keep that professionally produced video marketing brand messaging regularly in front of their current and target customers.
SVG co-created so much relevant and interesting content as a result of our original brand video pre-production planning, shoot days, and post-production collaboration with EFC, that besides the Four Pillars series, we were even able to conceive and deliver a bundle of social media channel optimized topical short videos that EFC optioned in order to launch a multi-week publication campaign… but that’s a story for another blog post!
In the creation of the distinct four pillars series content as a dovetail from their original statement of work, not only did SVG play a part in video marketing brand building with EFC, but we have continued to partner to create content that helps EFC share their core messages with their target audience through the medium of video. Our work with EFC on the four pillars project is an example of the fruits reaped by partnering on an integrated video marketing campaign strategy. We commend EFC’s willingness to take the extra step that allowed us to see the greatest possible return on investment for the captured footage to further elaborate on their great story to tell!
Take a look at the four pillar videos below:
EFC Pillar 1 -Solution Provider
EFC Pillar 2 -Independent US Domestic Supplier
EFC Pillar 3 -Best In Class Data
EFC Pillar 4 -Sustainability & Innovation
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