Just Beat It!

Making An Effective Corporate Film

Everyone should have at least one corporate film – or should they? Corporate films are now created and put on Facebook, Vimeo and intranets. But are they serving their purpose?

Many corporate films and videos do not impart a clear message. They are hard to watch, they don’t engage and the people speaking on them look stiff and uncomfortable. So what has gone wrong? Can we learn something from the music industry?



Here are some thoughts from Professional Voice:

Rule 1: Have a clear objective

A clear objective is key and it shouldn’t be kept a secret. The objective should be communicated to everyone involved in the making of the film (including the speakers, the scriptwriter and the cameraman). Having spoken to a number of executives about a corporate film after it has been made, many have confessed that they didn’t know its purpose – it was just someone’s ‘good idea’.

Rule 2: Know your audience

Who is the film aimed at? What do these people know already? What do they need to know? What do you want to tell them? Simple questions but worth clarifying at the outset of the process.

Rule 3: Distil your key message

Answering these first two questions will help you to distil your key message. If you can’t state very simply what your key message is, it won’t come across in the film.

Rule 4: Structure the content and give it a story

Back up your key message with well-structured content which has an engaging storyline. Professional Voice is often asked to analyse a previous corporate film and many consist of a succession of talking heads who all say one or two sentences each. The overall effect is of a number of fragments joined together which have no common theme.


These points are easily demonstrated by two music videos. On the surface these two videos are similar, both featuring gangs in an urban setting. But which is the most compelling? Which has a clear message backed up by an engaging storyline?


Which actually works?


Cheryl Cole's 'Call My Name'


Key Message: Unclear: 'I want you to call my name?'


The opening quote, ”The only way to a woman’s heart is along the path of torment” seems unconnected with what follows. The film consists of a succession of short clips which don’t progress anywhere and don’t convey any real message. It’s almost a succession of stills of the beautiful Cheryl, rather than a film.


Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ 


Key Message: Clear: 'It doesn't matter who's wrong or who's right, don’t fight - just beat it.'


The key message is backed up with a clear story from start to finish. It's about two gangs at war, driven by social pressure to show their superiority by fighting. But the gangs put aside their differences when joined by the common bond of music (with the clever pun on ‘beat it’). This finally unites them in dance. 


The same principles which we see in action here apply to any film. Every corporate film needs a message and a clear storyline, delivered by people who know what they are trying to achieve. Without this, there will be a lack of confidence and uncertainty in the speakers which will be visible to the audience. Every gulp, downcast look, pause in the wrong place or twitch will end up conveying more to the viewers than the company intends.


For assistance with creating and delivering your message in a corporate film, please call us today:

+44 (0)208 579 6662