These films are generally a little different to traditional advertising, as they’re not as direct as traditional means. You’ll often see pieces featured on websites, email campaigns or social media that are either short films or social commentary pieces hosted by or “presented” by a brand. This is branded content in its simplest form: content that could be talking about anything, presented in any way, that connects with a brand’s ethos.
You could have a film about the determination and perseverance of a horse trainer, with absolutely no brands mentioned, but it’s hosted on a beer manufacturer’s YouTube channel with their logo popped on the end. It’s about how the themes and feelings these videos explore with the aim for the viewer to connect these with the brand. We’re not talking product features here, it’s about building a brand perception.
Working with Storm & Shelter to tell the story of the Phillips Instrument was a great experience. We came out of it with a beautiful film that we’re super happy with. The team were quick to turn things around when we needed them and were always on hand to help. Looking forward to continued collaboration!
Stuff to consider when making Branded Films
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 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 sells your big idea, getting that script nailed is a big part of an effective ad that gets people talking—or even better—buying. Communicating those brand values is mega important when it comes to painting your brand in the best light. 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 an ad made if the talent is lacklustre and doesn’t sell your brand the way it deserves. With this type of content, the story is the most important aspect, and it’s often these real stories told by real people that are the most impactful.
A lot of the time, clients will often have someone in mind, other times, it’s up to us to research the perfect story to fit the brand. We’ll find the unique and thought-provoking stories that’ll resonate with your target audience.
About to throw your 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.
This content more often than not is unscripted, remember. 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.
Branded Films FAQ
How much does a branded film cost?
Depending on the type of film we’re talking, it can vary quite a bit. You could have a documentary piece shot over multiple locations over multiple days, or a one-day shoot in a studio with a couple of crew and simple lighting. With such a broad net that this content covers, it all depends on the approach that’s going to be most effective. If you give us an indication of budget, we can whip up some ideas that’ll work within it, or take your brief and give you an idea of what it’ll cost to tell the perfect story for your brand.
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 feed back—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.