Are you looking for a production company to produce a marketing, PR or training video for your company? You’re not alone.
Having a video professionally produced for business purposes is not cheap. You want to get the best value for your money, but more importantly, you want a video that helps you reach your business goals.
So how do you know what to look for? Surprisingly, it may be just as important to discuss what to avoid, so for this article I’ll discuss four things that should raise a red flag for you.
Avoid a video production company that lacks business experience
If you’re hiring a production company for a wedding, then your best bet is to hire a company that specializes in wedding videos. However if you’re hiring for business, I strongly recommend that you find a company that understands and uses business concepts to make your video more likely to succeed.
There are many weekend hobbyists and wedding videographers out there who are trying to break into the corporate video market, and they may even offer lower prices. While it’s true that any good videographer can light a set, point a camera, and edit together some shots, you’ll want someone who can steer you and strategize with you to take you in the right direction. There are many subtle things that can either lead your video to success or cause it to tank.
So the rule of thumb here is to choose a company with the right kind of experience and knowledge. How do you do that?
You can start by checking out a prospective company’s client list. It should be full of business clients.
Keep in mind that this isn’t full proof. Some production companies with extensive business client lists may not have anyone with in-depth knowledge of video marketing or training concepts. Even if a company does have someone like that, they may not assign that person to your project.
If you want to increase your odds of success, choose a company that not only has staff with business and/or training experience and knowledge, but guarantees that you’ll be working with the right people.
Avoid a company that doesn’t have a significant number of enthusiastic, verifiable references and reviews
It’s easy for a company to post a couple of good reviews, even fake ones. According to an article by Brad Tuttle called 9 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Trust Online Reviews, some businesses post reviews by employees or even pay strangers to plant a review. Unethical companies can simply write made-up reviews for their own websites.
I believe that most production companies are ethical and their posted testimonials are real, so I still suggest that testimonials be an important part of your research. However you may wish to check them out to be sure they’re real.
Look for a video production company with a large number of glowing, positive reviews. The testimonials should include the writer’s identifying information such as their full name and company. If you want to be super-careful, do your homework and contact one or two of them. Try using LinkedIn, or get their contact information from their company’s website.
You can also request references from the prospective company, and call them. Here are a few questions you may wish to ask:
- Was your video everything you hoped it would be? Did it have good lighting, sound, and image clarity?
- Did the production company communicate well? Did they get back to you quickly, and keep you updated on their progress?
- Did the production company make suggestions to enhance the effectiveness of your video?
- Were they easy to work with?
Avoid a company that prices it’s services too low
Very simply, if it’s too good to be true, it usually isn’t true. I certainly understand wanting to be careful with your budget. However “you get what you pay for” is a commonly used phrase for a reason. If a price quote is rather low, that’s usually because they’re either having trouble getting work and may be on their way out of business, or they simply don’t have the skills to charge more.
Either way, if you choose the company with the extremely low offer, you run the risk of losing your money and/or ending up with a poorly produced video.
Avoid a company if they don’t have relevant video samples to show you
You’ll want to see video demos that fall into your category. If your project is training related, you’ll want to check out their training demos. Or if your video shows a retail location or a manufacturing plant, it would be best if they can show you similar work. If you’re video will include animation or other special effects, you’ll want to see samples from their artists.
On the flip side, don’t be turned off if they don’t have experience with a business exactly like yours. For example if you manufacture shoes, it’s not important for them to have had experience with another shoe manufacturer.
When you review their samples, the first thing to look for is the video quality. Many companies can lay claim to great quality work, but you really need to be the judge yourself. To learn more about how to judge a video’s quality, check out this article I wrote called “The Secret to Successful Video – Why Quality is Key and How to Get it!”
Usually if the video samples demonstrate good quality, you can assume that the production company is capable of doing the same for you, but be careful. Some companies may display work from people who will NOT be working on your project. Ask the prospective company representative the following very important questions:
- Will the same person that shot and edited that video demo, shoot and edit ours?
- If not, who will be working on my project, and can I see their work?
When viewing video demos, don’t be turned off if a percentage of them are not HD or current. Many production companies put up demos from older projects to show their varied experience. Of course you’ll want to see HD demos as well.
Lastly, if you don’t see what you’re looking for, ask. They may have clips that they’re not able to post publicly, but they may be able to email you some additional samples.