For some brands, putting TV ads out might not be the best way to reach customers. For others, it’s about hitting those audiences that aren’t covered by their TV campaigns. That’s where brand content comes into play. Strewn across social media and dedicated websites/outlets, this content is generally designed to strengthen a bond with a brand by showcasing the work it does, the products it makes, or the company ethos. This kind of content can take many forms, and as guardians of the realm, it’s up to us to advise on the best approach for brands to make the best impact.
The main differentiator between brand content and branded films are that these directly involve the brand itself, be that through product features or showcasing the brand’s services. Sometimes this can manifest itself as traditional advertising: product videos, talking heads recommending a service, or a promotional video showcasing an event. Other times, they can be weirder, off-the-wall approaches that promote the brand and its values.
Storm and Shelter brought the Visit Scottish Twitter video to life with flair, under a punishingly-tight production schedule. We loved their creativity, collaborative approach and production chops.
We're so happy! You guys absolutely smashed it!
You just got our product and message immediately and that was huge for us. Totally nailed it at the first attempt. We will most definitely be working with S&S for the short and long-term future as we develop our brand.
I found the Storm & Shelter team great to work with, very professional and quick to finish the project to deadline. We’ll definitely be working with them again.
Stuff to consider when making Brand Content
Every video production project is different, but there are a few important things to consider depending on the type of content you're need, who the audience is, and how it's delivered.
Coming up with ideas for a brand content campaign is the most fun we can have with our day. Call us sad, but seriously, we get off on this stuff. This kind of content exists to get people excited about ‘your thing’. That means manipulating tickling their emotions in just the right way, which requires a deep understanding of your market and your customers. The concept has to be on point, balancing creativity with a solid strategy. Two things we happen to be pretty good at. We got this. Trust.
It ain’t just pretty pictures that sell your big idea. Getting that script nailed is a big part of an effective ad that gets people talking—or even better—buying. Those key messages, that selling point, and the way that special offer is communicated are mega important when it comes to painting your brand in the best light and making that thing you’re advertising something viewers just can’t miss out on. Whether it be voiceover-led or just text on screen, it’s important that it’s impactful and speaks to your target audience in just the right way. Researching audiences and competitors and working with experienced writers is our worst-kept secret to success.
These bad boys are helpful not only for us but for you too. Storyboards are the director’s vision transferred from their colourful brains onto paper. These can range from a few crude sketches through to fully-painted boards, depending on the production. The production team will use these storyboards to plan the shots from a logistical and practical standpoint, but we’ll also get your eyes on these so that you can see what’s been rattling around in the director’s head and make sure it all lines up with what you want to see. We’ll work with you to make sure that you’re happy with the plans and get the best idea of what your vid’s gonna look like.
There’s no point spending a bunch of money on getting brand content made if the talent is lacklustre and doesn’t sell your brand and product the way it deserves. We’re here to make sure that the people in your ad look and feel perfect for the role. Whether that be finding that incredibly well-spoken, beautiful hunk of a man or that creepy-looking old woman trained in stage combat, we make sure they’ll hit the mark and look the part. With bags of experience dealing with talent agencies and free agents alike, we know how to scour the Earth to find the perfect talent for any production.
About to throw your brand video across social media? Hold your horses, sunshine. Where are your subtitles? Whilst most people tend to watch TV with the sound on, when it comes to social feeds, very few will listen with audio as they’re scrolling. This means it’s super important to get your ad transcribed and subtitled so that viewers can be dragged into your narrative message without making the almighty effort to hit that unmute button.
We’ll transcribe, translate (if necessary) and subtitle your ads, supplying you with .SRT subtitle files for the social platforms that support them (giving viewers the choice to watch with subs or without) and for those that don’t, we’ll supply versions of your ad with the subs ‘burnt’ into the video so that they’re always visible. Don’t make the mistake of thinking those pretty pictures are enough to draw these buggers in. Make sure your script is seen as well as heard!
Brand content isn’t always scripted, remember. A lot of the time, it means working with people such as staff, brand ambassadors or even joe public. The problem with working with non-actors is that it’s likely that there’s not going to be a tightly-written script, and this opens it up to every producer’s nightmare: unpredictability! What we do is work closely with those people who’ll be appearing in the piece in pre-production. We’ll ideally be able to speak to them or meet with them beforehand to hear about their story/experience, which in turn helps us to write a guide script. That script helps both you and us make sure we’re telling the right story and to make sure we ask the right questions/film the right scenarios to hit your key messages and tell your brand’s story.
Brand Content FAQ
How much does brand content cost?
It’s a classic “piece of string” question, unfortunately! It all depends on things like how many locations we’ll need to cover, how many days we’ll need to film everything you want to include, whether there are actors, the list goes on. That, along with the fact this is such a broad category of content, means it’s pretty much impossible to put a price on. You could have a day’s shoot with two people filming a quick piece to camera, or you could have a 4-5 day shoot with 30 people on it; it all depends on your brief, the sort of content you need, and the best way of telling the story.
How involved will I be during production?
That’s totally up to you! We’re happy to sit down with you at every stage of production, have you on set or even sitting in on an edit, or we can take the brief and come back to you with a first edit. The level of involvement is wherever you feel comfortable—we’ve got processes in place to suit however you’d like to approach it, including dedicated review platforms for multiple stakeholders (goodbye email chains!) and trusted catering & transport contacts for when we’re accommodating an army on set!
How will I review the edit?
We use a review service called Frame.io which allows us to conduct online review cycles of the ad, where you can log in and leave comments directly on the vid. No more long email chains where things get lost and cross-talk makes it a multi-coloured quoted text nightmare. This also means you’re able to have a comprehensive and contained review with stakeholders no matter where they are or when they’re free to feedback—it’s all visible and organised so everyone (who needs to) has their say.
Do you guys cover international requirements?
Sure thing! As well as gracing pretty much every corner of the UK with our presence, we’ve filmed around Europe and understand the logistical challenges that come with shooting abroad. We’re used to having to describe, assemble and disassemble our kit at customs, as well as finding our way around new cities. Who doesn’t love a bit of travel?
I'm from an agency. What makes you guys different to the next production company?
Well, if you’re looking for a company that’s nice and quiet and that’ll just do whatever it says in the brief with a yes sir, no sir mentality, then I’m sorry, you’re in the wrong place. Sure, everything we do hits exactly what your client needs and is in-line with your objective, but we’re the kind of people to run with an idea and throw in a few suggestions and curveballs, giving feedback from a production perspective so that we can make the best possible content for the client. We’re not obnoxious, middle-finger-in-the-air kinda stubborn, we just know from experience that clients enjoy the fact we offer our creative input and give an experienced outside perspective to help content shine and get those other agencies going "ah jeez, wish we’d have thought of that".
How we like to get things done.
Getting great content made should be as straightforward and painless as possible for our clients. So we double down on our processes, thrive on transparency, and communicate like the warm, bright (and slightly peculiar) humans that we are. We’re aware that our clients are busy people—our job is to make your life easier, not to add to your workload.
Sure, making money is important to us; it means we get to keep doing what gets us out of bed in the morning. But we’re always clear about where your budget goes. No sneaking around, no hidden costs. We don’t believe in tricky small print—we like big, bold, honest conversation.
These lovely human beings look after our clients. Look how chirpy they are! Don't you just wanna pick up your phone and give 'em' a call? Or, if interacting with humans in real time saps your energy (know them feels), feel free to lob us an email.