Sometimes a witty Facebook status or a cute Instagram Boomerang just isn’t enough to sell your brand. In order to level-up your marketing, you need to produce video content, and we’re here to tell you about all the types of video that can do just that.

illustration of group of people looking at different types of videos
When you’re planning your video marketing strategy, picking the right type of video is a crucial decision. Illustration by Vladanland.

Videos capture the attention of your audience members longer and more thoroughly than any other advertising medium. Producing professional-quality video is essential not only because you can promote your business in a more dynamic way, but you can leverage your brand in places where still images and text cannot go—like a YouTube commercial block, for example.

Video production is a lot of work, but it’s absolutely worth it once you have the final product. Before you get started, think about what kind of video you want to make. Here are the 10 types of video you can use in your video marketing strategy:

1. The spot
2. The explainer
3. The product demonstration
4. The company culture video
5. The behind-the-scenes video
6. The customer testimonial video
7. The employee portrait video
8. The web series
9. The branded mini-documentary
10. The branded short film

The spot

The most classic kind of video you can produce is the 15- or 30-second commercial, commonly referred to as a “spot.” The content of a spot can widely vary depending on your brand and the story you want to tell, but the purpose of producing one is simply that it can be distributed virtually everywhere. You can show these videos in TV (or Hulu) commercial breaks, before YouTube videos, or even before the trailers start at the movies, for example.

The keys to being successful with this type of video is to make it immediately engaging and to concisely tell your story within the relatively short runtime. 

Additionally, a 15-30 second video is perfect for sharing on Facebook and Instagram. This not-too-short, not-too-long runtime hits the social media sweet spot. And chances are you’re probably going to be sharing and boosting your video on social media, rather than launching a cable TV commercial.

Spots have been around for decades and (even despite the decline of traditional television viewing) will be prevalent forms of advertising for decades to come.

The explainer

If your business offers a service or good that isn’t immediately understood, an explainer video on your homepage or a landing page may be just what you need. These videos typically feature animation with a voiceover that explains what your business offers for the audience.

Explainer videos don’t have to be animated. Time lapses of illustrations, a live-action recording, or any other visual way of telling your story are equally appropriate. 

The product demonstration

The purpose a product demonstration video is to flaunt your product or service to your audience. It differs from an explainer in that you’re not explaining how the product works, but rather showing off its features, perks and benefits.

Product demonstration videos typically feature a charismatic host that speaks passionately about the product, but animated videos work well, too. Don’t be afraid to get creative with product demonstration videos! Some of the best product demonstrations show off the brand in ridiculously hyperbolic ways, like this insane zoom lens from Canon.

The company culture video

Company culture videos have two unique purposes. First, they highlight the ethos of your company to potential customers. The intention here isn’t to sell a product or service, but to market your brand as a whole.

Second, culture videos are great for attracting new talent. Sometimes you need to market your brand not to new customers, but to potential new employees, which can be essential for growing your business. One of the best ways to do this is to capture your most passionate employees on camera.

The behind-the-scenes video

If you have an interesting process behind the development, manufacturing, or distribution of your good or service, show it! Your audience will love to see the craftsmanship that goes into what you make.

This is especially great for artisans of all sorts. Show how you hand craft each individual product or how you source your ingredients. The more you can involve your customers in your process, the more invested they will be in your product or service.

The customer testimonial video

A great way to attract new business is to have existing customers sell your brand for you. When potential customers see how enthused and passionate your existing customers are, they’re likely to imagine that they’ll have the same experience.

Have an existing customer on camera rave about how much they swear by your product or service. Show that customer using the product or telling a monumental story about how they couldn’t have done it without you. That’s what will excite new customers about your brand. And of course, including your best customers is the perfect way to show how much you appreciate them!

The employee portrait video

Instead of a headshot and short blurb on the website about your company’s leaders, short video portraits can help your audience engage with your business on the most human of levels.

These videos express the heart and soul of your company by showing that the “people on top” aren’t just there to make money. They’ve got real passion for their brand, their business, and the community they serve. This is particularly beneficial for small businesses rooted in small communities that are looking to engage more deeply with their community or expand outside of it. 

The web series

Web series are probably the most difficult of these categories to conceptualize and produce, but they’re so fun and unique that we can’t help but recommend producing them. Think of these as short, script videos that take place in or revolve around your business and brand. 

A local dairy could make a series called The Milkman chronicling the adventures of a delivery driver. Or an auto shop could make a series about the shenanigans of the mechanics. Or an independent cinema could have a series about their boneheaded employees, but I wouldn’t know anything about that…

Watch this web series on vimeo

The runtime for each series video should be very short so your social media followers will stick around to watch your new masterpieces. Also, the content is serialized (whether it’s a continuous story or a series of one-off episodes is up to you).

The branded mini-documentary

This is what would happen if a “Behind the Scenes Video” and a “Company Culture Video” got together and had a baby. A short documentary shows your business over a period of time with an in-depth look at the people, talent and operations that go into it. 

This example from OSKAR BLUES tells the story of a beer whose barley was grown by a local farmer, malted by a local maltster, brewed at a local brewery, and finally served exclusively at a local bar. That’s four totally different crafts that came together to produce a wholly unique product and knowing the story behind it made the beer taste that much better (I, admittedly, had quite a few glasses of it).

If multiple brands/parties are included, their customer base is cross-promoted with your customer base—a win for everyone! Remember, this should be treated like a film, not just any “video.” Hold a premiere screening, which will further cross-promote your brand and lead to new customers. And after that, blast it online for everyone to see!

The branded short film

Let’s take a departure from video and transition to film (not celluloid film, necessarily). One creative form of video advertisement is to embed your brand into a short film. That’s right—a short-length movie complete with characters and a story.

The only reason every commercial video producer I’ve ever met works making commercials is because they’re working toward making movies. So give them the opportunity to write a script, cast a local actor or two, and shoot a short film that revolves around your brand. For example, a yoga studio could be the setting for a rom-com or a boutique retail store could have a story about a son trying to find the perfect gift for his mother’s birthday.

An added bonus of producing a short film (with your product placed into it) is you get to have a premiere! Pop up some popcorn and get the cast, crew, and as many people from your business’s email list together to share the film for the first time on the big screen.

All types of video for all types of projects

No matter what you’re trying to do for your business—whether it’s promoting a product, sharing your vision, or connecting with customers—high quality, professional video content can do it all. Start producing video to capture attention of your audience, and build your brand a more dynamic way.

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