Kathryn McCawley
March 1, 2022

6 Types of Videos to Serve Clients' Needs & How to Choose the Right One

Quick Find

As a content creator or producer, you’re tasked with finding the right video, message, and style that will best suit your clients’ needs. Your job is to think critically about what story you’re trying to craft, the audience it's appealing to, and how you’re going to communicate your reasoning for your particular execution of that story. The exciting thing about working with different clients and businesses is that you have the creative freedom to explore all different types of avenues to achieve this. And for this post, we’re talking about the different types of videos to know that will best support your clients and their corresponding visions.

So, if you’re new to creating marketing videos or early in producing, here’s a run-through of the different types of commercial videos and when you might want to use them.

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1. The Spot

This is probably the most age-old, tried and true type of promotional video. The spot video is the classic 15 or 30 second commercial that tells a quick but engaging story promoting a product, company, or service. The actual content varies widely with spot videos, but they allow a unique type of immediate engagement that is easily digestible and a broad range of distribution possibilities. 

Spot videos can play with film references or feature fun cameos.

Check out Bryan Cranston in The Shining Mtn Dew commercial.

While usually 15-30 minutes, they can also have a longer form one minute run time that can be cut down into smaller ads. 

Why and when to use a spot

The greatest appeal of the spot video is how it can be used anywhere. Traditionally, these would be the type of commercials that you would see during television breaks. With the expansion of platforms, spot videos can be seen across streaming sites, youtube videos, Instagram feeds, and more.

Of the types of video styles, this one is the most flexible and can be used in a variety of contexts. If you’re looking for a short and engaging way to connect your clients’ target audiences to their products or services, this might be for you. 

2. Product Demonstration Video

Product demonstration videos are exactly what they sound like. A promotional video demonstrating the features of a product. Think of a bit of a showoff of your client’s product. This format actually allows for a surprising range of creative play; videos can be as short as a spot video’s 15-30 seconds, or as long as a couple of minutes. Depending on the tone of your client and their intended audience, you can play with humor and absurdity with your product and how it's being demonstrated.

For clients looking to demonstrate the new features of a phone, computer, or other tech product, demonstration videos are a great option.

Introducing iPhone 13 Pro - Apple:

You can take it a product demonstration video a step further for a little more fun like what Purple did. 

Best Mattress Protector - Can Your Mattress Protector Stand up to Sasquatch?:

Just because you’re showing off a product, doesn’t mean you have to stay inside the proverbial (mattress) box. 

Why and when to use a product demonstration

Product demonstration videos are used for a variety of reasons. If a client’s product or service isn’t as apparent at first glance, it can be an accessible and engaging way to bring viewers into the benefits of a product. 

A client may also have a product with multiple releases (think each new iPhone or other tech product)---product demonstration videos can be a great way to show how a familiar product has changed, highlighting new and improved features. 

3. Explainer Video

Explainer videos are like the more thorough cousin of the product demonstration video. Sometimes, a client’s product or service may be less familiar to viewers and need more explanation. While a product demonstration shows off the bells and whistles, explainer videos walk viewers through the product or service.

Types of video content can even vary within explainer videos; while some might provide just a walk-through of a product or service, others may include their company story. 

When you create marketing videos, also consider whether you want to use animation.  While you can animate any of these types of videos, explainer videos typically work the best. Animated videos coupled with narration often allow the audience to visualize a more abstract or complex process in an accessible way.

People Rule Campaign - Paypal:

Explainer videos can have personality while demonstrating product functionality and purpose. 

Why and when to use an explainer video

Explainer videos are great for clients seeking to provide a more thorough understanding of their brand through education of either the product itself or service. Nonprofits might even use them to explain a complex social problem they are trying to mitigate with their services or company. 

By nature of being more informational, explainer videos are longer than the shorter 15-30 second videos you might see on social media. They can be up to several minutes, depending on what the amount of content and what the video needs to convey. These videos are great as mainstays on clients’ websites for audiences to get a more in depth look at the business. 

4. Customer Testimonial Video

Customer testimonial videos are a great example of storytelling that can help clients express how their service or product truly serves their customers. There are several ways to craft these videos.

  1. You might showcase a customer journey in which they talk about their process of discovering and purchasing a product and/or service.  
  2. Or, you might try a group testimonial series, where multiple customers talk about their relationship with your client.

Within the customer journey format, the purpose is to showcase the moment the person became aware of the brand, why they considered using the product, the benefits, and their reason for loyalty.  

Trulicity Commercial:

A group testimonial series can still reflect the customer journey process, but the main focus is having multiple customers talking about their relationship with a product---this helps build loyalty and is a great choice for newer brands. When people see customers enthusiastic about your client’s product or service, they’re going to be excited as well.

Why and when to use a customer testimonial video

Customer testimonial videos are great for clients whose product may be already known or simple to explain, but they want a more human approach to advertising their product. As mentioned above, these types of videos can also be a solid choice for newer brands as they tend to build credibility when the audience can see multiple people vouching for a product or service. 

One of the cases where you might see these videos is with prescription drugs and the personal story of how they can help a potential consumer. But customer testimonials run the gamut, from cars to hygiene products. They vary in length and can be used in a shorter 30 second spot video or with a longer form video length.

5. The Company Culture Video

Company culture videos serve as an effective brand marketing strategy often loved by clients because it hits two points. It draws consumers into their business while also appealing to potential employees. Good company culture videos give the audiences a glimpse into the heart of the company and can go a long way in humanizing the business. 

Buy Less, Demand More - Patagonia:

Company culture videos can take two different approaches. Sometimes they give a more holistic vision of the brand and its mission by showcasing their process, workplace, or consumer engagement. And other times, this video type takes the employee portrait approach, highlighting a specific employee of the company. 

Why and when to use a company culture video

Company culture videos are great when your client is looking to market their brand as a whole. While their product or service might be familiar to potential consumers, these types of videos also provide a human element, giving your client an added benefit. 

As mentioned, company culture videos are also great for businesses that may be looking for new talent. If your client is making a recruiting push, this is a great option.

6. Branded Content Videos

Of all the different kinds of videos you get to explore in working with clients, branded content videos can offer some of the greatest creative potential and opportunities for storytelling.

Branded content videos can come in several different forms, but they all share the common feature of integrating your client’s brand into a longer form project.

Sometimes this may be in the form of a documentary, wherein you explore your client’s story as a brand. In these videos, you can explore the greater narrative behind why your client started the company, who the people are, and how they service their customers. It provides an incredibly intimate portrait of a company that expands upon the elements you see in a company culture video

There is also the opportunity to produce a short film, where your client’s brand or service is featured in that short. With these projects, they can either be centered around the product or they can be standalone's with a more subtle inclusion of the brand. 

Spike Jonze for Apple HomePod - Welcome Home

Branded content videos provide amazing creative opportunities. Sometimes the product is mentioned within a film that stands on its own narrative and creativity. This can actually make your client’s customers remember and be more enthusiastic about the product.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches - You’re more beautiful than you think:

Branded Content videos can also take their shorter form videos (like a customer testimonial) and expand it into a short film.

Why and when to use branded content videos

Branded content videos can be exciting for production companies. While they may be promotional videos, they are often incredibly creative and less on-the-nose than typical spots. 

When a client wants a big advertising push, branded content videos could be a great option. Because they tend to be longer-form projects, clients can explore trailers, online marketing initiatives, or, if applicable, an actual premiere. This could mean more exposure for you and your production company while providing your client a unique opportunity to share their story. Often with branded content, there are lots of different parties involved. With so many moving parts, it's often noticeable when things go wrong (as is the case for most projects), but this begs the question of "what happens when things go right?" Partnerships could form, and repeat clients are always a good thing. 

Branded content videos are great for established clients or those with a higher budget, as they are (typically) larger-scale productions.

Wrapping Up

These categories can often cross over. And most mid-level producers hardly have to think twice about what kind of video they want and why. But at the beginning of any project and especially career,  it’s valuable to have these starting points to convey your client’s message. They also serve as invaluable explanatory models when you’re pitching to a client. 

There are many possibilities for each client you work with, and luckily the freedom of a production company is you’ll probably touch on each. Now that you have the basics down, the more critical aspect of the client relationship is winning them over. How to Ace the Creative Call & Impress Clients is up next.

Disclaimer

At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

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About the Author

Kathryn McCawley

Kathryn is a Los Angeles-based artist-designer passionate about everything entertainment. As both an illustrator and writer, she is interested in how the two worlds meet through animation. You can frequently find her either at your local plant shop or zipping around on roller skates.

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