People Look for Patterns
As with any form of branding, whether it is your company brand or your personal brand, having a consistent visual identity will help make your content recallable and easily identifiable to your target audience.
People look for patterns to help them assign meaning to what they see. They also respond emotionally to what they see. That’s why understanding and controlling the visual components is so important. Marketers know that consistency is key if they want their brand to mean anything to their customers. They know that you need to see their logo and brand messages, see their colors, see their spokespeople, and be exposed to all the archetypal elements of their brand many times in order for it to be “sticky” and memorable.
A brand is not just your company logo and tagline. It’s about incorporating all of the elements that infuse your brand with meaning into your video presentation. To do this we’ll refer back to developing your creative brief (another chapter in the book).
A Unified Visual Appearance
You need to create a look and feel for your video presentations that helps your audience identify with you and your brand. This can be done with the consistent use of background settings, props or objects, music, audio, wardrobe, makeup, hair, set design, color, lighting, editing, graphics/text and overall styling to establish a unified visual appearance.
Imagine you are watching a video where we enter the living room in a stately mansion. It is a warmly lit room with dark mahogany paneling. Heavy drapes cover the windows. A large bookcase covers one side of the room, housing old vintage bound books. Plush red velvet and leather furnishings decorate the room. A blazing fire flickers away in a magnificent open fireplace. Above it hangs a 6-foot gold framed mirror, flanked by a display of antique rifles and mounted animal trophy heads.
Without a single word being spoken, we as the viewer have formed an opinion about the type of person who lives here. Consciously and unconsciously we have also developed feelings about this particular room.
What sort of “room” are you inviting your viewers into? How do you want them to feel? How can you use your visual identity to influence and persuade them?
This is why it perplexes me every time I see a person wanting to position themselves as a business thought leader using their computer webcam. They may be giving an interview or presenting their expertise, but often their background setting is completely off-brand, e.g. cramped office space, kitchen, lounge or worse a bedroom! Not only that, random things that have nothing to do with the video topic like shelves, plants, pictures, and goodness knows what else also appear in the background. This approach can undermine their authority and does not serve to create a great first impression with viewers.
A kitchen setting may work well for a food expert speaking casually about food topics, but would you seriously hire me as your video presentation coach in the setting depicted in the images below? Without even opening my mouth I have already confused and distracted my viewer with elements that have nothing to do with my message. Note also how my kitchen fit out is upstaging me in all its light reflecting glory. Yes, I’m looking at you fridge!
Leave Nothing to Chance
In filmmaking, everything that appears on screen has been carefully selected and placed to visually communicate the scene to the audience. Nothing is left to chance. Everything serves a purpose. I urge you to take advantage of this key filmmaking principle and apply it to your own video presentations. Everything that appears on screen must reinforce your brand. Everything the viewer sees and hears must reinforce how you want your brand to be perceived.
Play it Subtle with Symbols
Visual symbolism is a key influencing component in filmmaking an obvious example is with props, set dressing and clothing. For example, in the final scene of the crime thriller The Counselor (directed by Ridley Scott), the character Malkina (played by Cameron Diaz) appears wearing a gray hooded garment. Her actions have recently caused the deaths of two of the main characters. It could be suggested that Malkina’s clothing style is a visual metaphor for an Angel of Death or perhaps the Grim Reaper. Her styling choice not only reinforces her character’s dialogue in the scene it also visually suggests to the audience that death cloaks all that comes into contact with her.
Another example from the same film is where the character Westray (played by Brad Pitt) is sitting on a couch speaking with the Counselor (played by Michael Fassbender). Directly above Westray is a large painting that shows a finger pointing toward the exit (the bottom of the painting also stays in frame throughout the whole scene surrounding Westray’s head, shoulders, and back). It’s a turning point in the film where the Counselor needs to confirm whether or not he is going to participate in financing a drug deal with the Mexican cartel. Not only is he being warned by Westrey that there is no turning back once he decides to proceed, the large visual metaphor of a finger pointing toward the exit is a subconscious signal to the audience that the Counselor should heed the warning and walk away.
Everything you see or hear in movies or on TV has been meticulously and deliberately placed there to create the desired effect, and to influence the audience into thinking, feeling or responding in a certain way, whether the audience is consciously aware of it or not.
We will devote a chapter to each of the key influencing design elements: color, text and fonts, sound, lighting, shapes, and symbols……”
Well, that’s just a brief sample of this (draft) chapter. I hope it got you thinking about your next video presentation. As always, thank you so much for stopping by, and if you aren’t already on our early notify book launch list, then feel free to register here.
Also, if you would like to get some personalized feedback on your current video presentations – let me know about it here.