First let’s establish what a concept is. According to Chad Vossen, Chief Creative Officer at 522, “Basically, it’s the big idea. What are we doing? How are we going to do it and most importantly, why are we going to do it? It’s the framework for your video, it provides a general direction for the project and it’s meant to get everybody on the team rowing in the same direction.”
There are two different avenues to use when coming up with a concept and one that you should avoid. Let’s start with when you SHOULD come up with a concept:
A great time to come up with your concept is within your own team before you ever go out on the market to find a video partner. I’m not saying you have to do storyboards and figure it out from an achievability standpoint, but a high level idea for what you want to do (i.e. interview style vs. voiceover/b-roll style) can be very helpful when selecting a company.
Come up with what you want to do and then select your partner based on who does good work within the realm of your high-level concept. You can evaluate these companies based on sample work they send you, their experience in your space, and obviously the price to accomplish your initiative.
Pick the company you like. Look at sample work, find videos you enjoy that are similar to your brand, negotiate a price, and choose the company you think is best. Leave the concepting for after they get to know you, your brand and your message. At that point, a good video partner will be able to come up with some compelling concepts.
Spend time in pre-production and discovery so that your partner can really pick your brain and learn about you before they advise on what you should do for your video. It’s at that point where you’ll get the best concepts. The concepts aren’t based on preconceived notions or things that the video company likes to do, but rather based on you and your organization specifically.
That leads me to when you SHOULD NOT come up with concepts:
So many times on a first call with a new potential client I get asked, “What do you think we should do?”
Here’s a quote I love – “Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice”
If I give you a concept on what you should do in your video after a 30-minute to one hour call and some time spent on your website, I’m doing you a disservice.
I need a team, a Producer and a Creative Director, to diagnose what your goals are. They need to spend time doing research on you, your brand, your messaging, and the goals of this video before we can advise on what your concept should be. A team of professionals need to evaluate your assets and what you’ve done in the past. It’s important to find out what your company’s initiatives are, before I can tell you what should be in your concept.
My advice is this – come up with your concept before or after you choose your partner. And choose your partner based on the video company’s previous work and the communication you have during the evaluation process, because that is your first window into the way they operate.