There can be a huge difference between how you perceive yourself and how others see you. Psychologists call this a dissonance problem. And that also exists in the business world. But here we call it branding. Or when it’s a problem of perception; branding dissonance. That’s when there are different perceptions of the brand, or company, depending on whom you ask: employees, management, clients or customers.
And that might be problematic.
Let’s first define what an image is. It’s the profile or representation that the company wish to project to the public. We can take it one step further and add that it’s (also) the impression in the consumers’ mind of a brand’s personality, both real and imaginary; both qualities and shortcomings. Often completely outside of the control of the company (even with the advent of the ubiquities social media).
An image doesn’t exist independent of perception. It’s a bit like the old question; if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If no-one knows what your brand represents – does it really represent anything? And if it does represent something, do your stakeholders share your thoughts and ideas about what that is?
Suddenly it stands to reason that it’s essential to communicate one’s image. And in the right way. To the right people. With the right values. The values that you want to represent. We typically see it in ads: Apple want’s one thing, Nike another, Tesco something third. But that’s companies whose core business is targeted at consumers.
But what if you customers are companies?
AN IMAGE FILM
Companies that operate in the b2b market can have the same need to communicate in order to affect its surroundings and stakeholders. Likewise, to position themselves in the market the value of a strong position can be diverse, for instance when recruiting new employees. Who wouldn’t want the best applicants instead of the competitor? But truly great value lies within the relationship with clients and stakeholders, where especially trust and integrity can be decisive. B2b-relationships are somewhat more complex than b2c and the company’s brand, and the communication of it, is essential to secure and optimize the company’s operational conditions. Communication that can target a wider range of stakeholders; from politicians to business partners to customers.
An image film provides the company or organization with the opportunity to tell an authentic story, that highlights their specific strengths compared to the competition. It’s an opportunity to stand out from the crowd in an exciting and engaging way.
But the content and the story has to be right. Because, if you don’t tell the story about your brand, then you’ll find yourself making an information film instead of an image film.
And information films just don’t change opinions like image films do.
IMAGE VS. INFORMATION
Companies often want to explain what it is they do. Describe processes and how they create value for their customers and their surroundings. Spiced up with a couple of cases. And this is absolutely a worthy cause. But these types of image films aren’t really image films, they’re information films. It’s a type of film that can fulfil a great need for a company that needs to explain a lot of factual information.
But to be completely honest, these films don’t change the outside world’s opinion of the company. If a film is to change an opinion, it has to delve deeper down, than just conveying factual information about products and services. Which, when the branding-layer is removed, isn’t necessarily so far from the competitors. Does the company however wish to affect its stakeholders and surroundings so they understand the character, culture and soul of the company, then we need more drastic measures. We need to get away from the corporate picture postcard and instead focus on the authentic story that’s unique for every company.
SCANDLINES & NETS
One of our latest examples of an image film is a film we made for Scandlines.
Here typical factual information is saved for a couple of slides at the end of the film. Instead we focus on displaying a more authentic and stylized image of who Scandlines is. Told both through a speak whose entry point is Scandlines pay-off: ‘There’s something about sailing”, as well as the values inherent in the company. We combined a poetic speak with authentic pictures, that documents rather than stages. That’s one way of telling a story, nurturing the right feelings, instead of just mindlessly listing a variety of statistics. Here you get a sense of a company. What they want, what they value and where they’re coming from.
Another example is an image film we did for Nets. Contrary to Scandlines, Nets needed to communicate exactly what Nets is. The general perception of Nets is usually limited to nemID and the Dankort. But that’s just a fraction of what Nets does. Here the challenge was to find a way in which we could sneak information into an image film. The solution was to use a considerable amount of motion graphics. In this case the speak was more corporate, and thus played less on emotions. With the execution relying on a creative concept in line with Nets’ brand, telling their story and communicating an image through visual narration.
An image film often requires a larger production and a longer process than other types of film. There are typically many internal stakeholders who want’s a say in shaping the storyline. And that usually leads to a lot of requirements, conditions and concerns.
And even though the scope is often bigger than in other types of film, the process is still the same.
Target audiences, purpose, style and feeling has to be clarified first. And if the demands are too wide apart, it might be a good idea to make several versions each with their own focus. After that the work of creating the content begins. Typically, this kicks off by collecting data through research and interviews with key stakeholders. Then we develop a synopsis and write the script. This is followed by putting together the storyboard, and then the production of the film. When all the footage is recorded, the film moves into post-production with editing, colour grading, motion graphics, sound editing etc. The production time can be anywhere between two to six months, depending on the film.
HOW TO INCREASE THE VALUE OF IMAGERY
When you’re making a film, there will always be a lot of raw footage that you don’t need. And there are a number of ways to optimize the value of that excess raw footage. It’s all about making what’s called a “b-roll’. The b-roll can be handed over to the client, who can use the material in other productions. Internally, externally and with or without our help.
Another example of a secondary product is the movie for Nets, which introduces a new product. Most of the footage is actually produced for the Nets image film. This footage is then supported by interviews and specific footage that fits the particular story arch.
Several large companies also see the benefit in producing what’s called “stock-tapes”, which can be forwarded to media outlets, such as DR, SVT or BBC. That way the media have new and updated material to use if and when the company in question is in the news.