Corporate Video: When you need one but pray it’s anything but ‘Corporate’

A man drinks coffee in front of a window as he contemplates corporate video

You’re here for a reason. You need a video for your organization, but you need it not to suck. Too often, ‘corporate video’ is associated with 💩💩 videos. You’ve seen those videos before, and they’re dry, overly formal, and reminiscent of elevator music nightmares. The tone and style are poorly managed, and the messaging is lost. You either turn off the video immediately or see if you can sneak a nap during the presentation.

But what if there was a world where ‘corporate video’ wasn’t a dirty word? What if you could create something that was so engaging that your target demographic loved it enough to share it with their friends? We’re going to examine this idea and help you make that corporate video project the highlight of your quarter. On the flip side, you could settle for the cheapest corporate video quote out there and have a great sleep aid if you ever have trouble sleeping 😉

Part 1 – The Corporate Video Conundrum

It’s easy to equate ‘corporate video’ with any video you need to make for your business or corporation. While this is true from a product standpoint, it shouldn’t be true from a style standpoint. We’ve all seen them. Your typical ‘corporate video’ style with all the things we love to hate:

  1. stiff interviews
  2. terrible teleprompter delivery
  3. cheesy acting
  4. jokes that don’t land
  5. shots that are boring or ugly
  6. music that is somehow making everything worse
  7. slow VO
  8. BS b-roll of handshakes and stock footage

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. From a style perspective, this is a ‘corporate video’, and it is bad, bad, bad. If you’re getting bids on a project and any of the bids seem too low compared to the others, you’re likely getting something in the ‘corporate video’ style. Run for the hills.

Ok, but you need a video for your organization. By definition, it is a ‘corporate video’ product, but it should be anything but. (And if you’re counting along, I think we’ve saturated the keyword usage, but I don’t know how to continue this post without repeating more… please bear with me.) You need something that showcases your brand or message, but you absolutely do not want your video to be easily dismissed as ‘just another corporate video.’

Part 2 – A Tale of Two Videos

You first need to switch your perspective from ‘I need a corporate video‘ to ‘I need media that connects with my audience.’ This will do a few things:

  1. Shift you from focusing on the product to focusing on the why or the purpose of the product
  2. Get you thinking in more of an integrated marketing frame of mind

Shifting your focus will help you to descriptively understand what your marketing goals are. This allows your creative partner to ideate on solutions for you. Second, you can’t think of just one video anymore; you must think about all the marketing pieces. You have to think about how many touches you can get out of this one effort and all the places where you can use the assets. One piece of creative can easily turn into multiple pieces of content:

  1. 1 x 7-minute long-form story
  2. 4 x 3-minute vignettes
  3. 2 x 60-second trailers
  4. 4 x 30-second sizzles
  5. 10 x 7/10/15 second ads
  6. Photography for your organization or product
  7. Behind-the-scenes footage and photos for internal promotion or social sharing

Boom. We went from one corporate video to dozens of pieces of content that can be used across all channels. Your dollar just went a lot further.

On the one hand, you have a corporate video that could be made in your sleep and will be ignored. On the other hand, you have an integrated marketing video approach to your corporation’s video needs. Can we guarantee it will increase your sales by 300% and give you wins with the VPs and C-Suite? Of course, we can’t guarantee it, but we’ve seen it happen, and this is how you have a chance at the same thing.

Part 3 – The Usual Suspects of Corporate Videos

Now it’s time for show and tell. You may not be a creative by trade, but you can smell a bad corporate video from the first frame. You know what we’re talking about: the overenthusiastic CEO trying too hard to be relatable, bad use of stock b-roll (smiling, handshakes, desks, staplers), and the music that burrows into your brain.

Here are several examples of cringy videos, why they fail, and how to be more engaging.

Game Changers

The Problem
  • Acting is awkward – hire real actors OR have employees/staff be authentic. Otherwise, it feels so cringe.
  • The script is too much – too wordy, lots of acronyms, trying to be everything to everyone.
The Solution
  • Just interview the staff and have them share their experiences
  • Hire actors and a creative for the script

“Shift It”

The Problem
  • Let’s be honest, this one is so bad it almost circles back around to amazing.
  • It’s inappropriately sexual – not necessary, just gross
  • Music is bad – again, almost so cringe that it’s good
  • Not endearing – I don’t feel positively about who I presume is the owner
The Solution
  • Just… don’t do this
  • Or, if you want to be goofy, maybe have someone else perform the whole thing so you don’t question your credibility.

Samsung 840 Evo

The Problem
  • The script feels so fake
  • It’s a little bit sexist
The Solution
  • It seems like engineers wrote this one from their perspective. The script should be realistic and written with the target audience in mind.
  • The actors and production value are on point but squandered on a bad script.

Dishonorable Mentions

Part 4 – Breaking the mold – how not to make a ‘corporate’ corporate video

Hopefully, the difference between a ‘corporate video’ as a product and a style is clear by now. As a style, it’s NO BUENO. As a product, however, it’s a chance to make a lasting impression. So, what’s the TLDR, or is there a takeaway for you type a’s out there? Here are our takeaways:

  1. Emphasize creativity – no one wants to be bored. You don’t want to be bored producing this piece; the production company doesn’t want to be bored, and you’ll lose your audience if you bore them. Focus on what interests you and ensure it is interesting to your audience.
  2. Be authentic – this idea is so baked into modern marketing DNA that we almost forget to mention it. If the PEOPLE, the SCRIPT, or the STYLE doesn’t feel authentic, then it won’t be received well. That is not to say you can’t do something crazy creative (see RED VS BLUE below), but if it doesn’t come from a genuine place, then it’s going to be cheesy (see every example above)
  3. Work with professionals – look, we get it: a video agency recommending we work with professionals, but hear me out. You wouldn’t try to replace the transmission on your car if it went out. You should not try to fill other roles unless you have the expertise. Hire the right professionals who regularly write comedic treatments, who produce high-quality emotional work, and whose work is proven to engage. It goes without saying that we do that, but for the love of Lily, just hire a professional, even if it isn’t us! You won’t be sorry. Hire real actors and VO artists. You won’t regret the cost.
  4. Trust the process – It’s important to have a review at every stage of the process. This way, you don’t go too far down an avenue that doesn’t resonate with any of your stakeholders or target audience.

Part 5 – Success stories – when corporate videos get it right

I would never call what we do ‘corporate video.’ But for the sake of the algorithm… here we are. Instead, we use terms like ‘short film’, ‘promotional fiction’, ‘vignette’, ‘promotional film’, or anything else that sounds like boujee video production. We want to raise up the hearts and the minds of those involved so we can connect on a deeper level. 


Why we love it
  • The client loved it, and it was critical in showing their culture for potential hires
  • It’s beautiful and authentic

Pineapple Snowbird

Why we love it
  • Awesome writing
  • Hilarious VO
  • Cinematography
  • Appropriate level of acting for a non-actor (aka me 😉

Gilson Training Video

Why we love it
  • Great writing (you better believe that is our lead editor Max)
  • Great acting
  • Authentically taking a boring topic and making it interesting

Red Beats Blue

Why we love it

Drymax With a Vengeance

Why we love it
  • It’s an awesome follow-up to Red Beats Blue
  • Nonstop action, showcasing the product in an interesting and not boring way
  • The right amount of silly

Wrapping up

There is a fine line between producing a video for a corporation and making a ‘corporate video.’ Your video should be engaging, authentic, emotional, beautiful, and just lovely to watch. It should not be… well, all the criticisms we have above.

The best part is that you have what it takes. Prioritize authenticity and engagement over sticking with the traditional and often tedious corporate video formula.

Do you have examples of promotions that you think should be on our BAD list? Or do you have examples of the best kind of corporate videos? Post the comments below and let us know!

author avatar
Ryan Freng
Owner and creative director. Shall we begin like David Copperfield? 'I am born...I grew up.' Wait, I’m running out of space? Ah crap, ooh, I’ve got it...