Christmas is almost here. It seems to be getting earlier and earlier this year as the retail stores are getting its Christmas video out, John Lewis have just released its latest offering. Having a successful video is crucial for it Christmas sales.

Last years ‘Man on the moon’ campaign went viral with over 25 million views of YouTube and according to Marketing Week “for the week ending 14th November, the department store reported its first weekly sales total to surpass £100m. The £110.4m total was an increase of 1.5% year on year and up a whopping 15.8% on the previous week when the ‘Man on the Moon’ ad launched. This video campaign was a cracker indeed.

Video is an investment in your brand. A video made this year, could be next year’s sales and marketing tool.  What is the return you want on your investment in making the film? Now, it might not be purely for financial gain, for instance if you are filming a conference, is it to use as a marketing tool to attract more people to next year’s event? Is it to enhance your reputation? Is it to generate more customers? Is it to reassure your staff, making them feel valued and ensuring your retain the best people? As you can see from these questions, it’s not all about the money, but could be used as a way of investing in communicating to your staff to get them on board to where the business is heading.  Thinking of the return you want shows the value of video – it’s a business tool that generates profits, both in a monetary or reputational sense.

The cost of making a video can be seen as high, but not if viewed in the context of what you need it to do. Having video on your website significantly increases your ranking on Google – some say by about 80%. Calculate how having a video could lift you in the rankings, and in turn, estimate the potential increase in customers.

By not investing in video and trying to do it as cheap as possible will not necessarily give you a greater ROI. Imagine the Communications department of a large organisation were holding an annual conference and they wanted to video the occasion, so they hired just one cameraperson to cover the event.  The video was to be played out on their website, to record key note speeches that would be used and replayed at other times, and also be used to showcase the senior management team in staff training sessions.

Roll forward 6 months later and now the Sales and Marketing department need some content to market the coming years conference. Last years footage of speakers and speeches was good – but what the Sales and Marketing department really need now is video content to attract potential attendees and event sponsorship for the next event; Re-using last years video is clever, but it’s missing an element – it’s missing how great the event actually was. This can be done by adding short interviews with the attendees (the jargon term for this is “Vox pops” interviews, latin for voice of the people) and showcasing shots of networking areas with sponsors’ stands bustling with people as this would really help sell the event. Therefore looking ahead, and spending a bit more on the additional production budget (invest in a producer and another cameraperson)  would of meant getting more content on the day of the event so that it could be used for future use.

Planning ahead means carefully thinking through all the requirements and making the most of the opportunity to get footage. Thinking a video production through from a strategic perspective can reap rewards and give a greater ROI in the long run. It may mean spending a little more on a larger team, more kit and an experienced Director who gets the bigger picture and knows how to get the most out of the shoot – but cutting costs may turn out to be a false economy and just mean finding additional footage, setting up another shoot some time later, or needing a much more complicated edit to get the video you want.

Now you may not have the budget to go a John Lewis style ad, and don’t just think about having a video for Christmas. Plan ahead. Think about what video communications you will need over a 6- 12 month period.  Don’t plan your video budget based on what you think you need to spend. Budget for a video by thinking about the impact that it will have on your marketing and business and the results that you expect to see. Think message and content – rather than the medium. This will increase your return of investment.

First published on LinkedIn by Simon Banks