A new video is coming up. You won the pitch for it. Now you sit at the table with the client and the agency he trusts. And you feel like the last fool! Because the majority of what is being discussed at the moment about your films communications concept is beyond your comprehension. The only thing you know for sure is that the agency is currently consolidating its reputation with your client. Instead of being a creative partner and co-thinker, you’re being pushed into the role of an execution assistant with a video camera. That doesn’t have to happen.
Even if the boundaries towards the agency are shifting more and more, or just because of it, it is becoming more and more important for video productions, producers and directors to be able to produce more than just films and videos. But to be able to derive them in a communicative way. This requires a communication concept.
This article explains in a simple way how agencies proceed in the development of communication concepts. It shows you the sequence in which all important questions are asked and solved and gives you the necessary technical terms.
In a nutshell
- An idea, a message in a video, is only worth as much as its justification. Customers seek security. They want to feel that you think everything through carefully and in detail.
- A communication concept helps you to derive the content. It makes them justifiable. It gives you arguments why you have made a decision.
- At the same time, a clean derivation helps you to achieve more impact with your video. Because you can use it to tailor your video (in the best case with surgical precision) to your target group.
- Agencies work on the development of a communication concept with a fixed procedure. In this article you will find a sample for this.
The Communication Concept: An Introduction
There are three reasons why you can make movies. One, because it’s fun and enjoyable. Two, simply because there’s video. Or three, simply because you have a very specific purpose.
If you produce a corporate film for a company, it’s a commissioned production. Most contractors choose between two options:
- they follow the principle of one-stop shopping and choose a video production company that handles everything from creation to distribution.
- or they assign a clearly defined part of the job to a production company, while the creation and distribution, and often also the quality control of the video, are placed in the hands of an agency.
Neither of these two types is fundamentally wrong. The only important thing is the availability of the necessary skills.
Creative handicraft business or film agency?
If the film production sees itself as a pure handicraft enterprise, which produces sponsored films or product videos with a certain creative competence by order, agency and video productions complement each other in a meaningful way.
Because the allocation of the available budget for the production is subject to the agency’s role allocation in this traditional way, more and more production companies are also offering themselves as agencies. On the one hand, because the key to budget allocation is decided at the concept level. On the other hand, because it can’t be that difficult to write a screenplay and place the video used in the social media.
Filmpulse Magazine advocates the development towards moving image agencies. We clearly see the future of professional production companies as moving image specialists and film agencies.
The basics of a Communication Concept for Sponsored Films
However, video productions can only be successful if they can discuss with agencies and customers at eye level. Expertise in script writing, storytelling and production processes is not enough. It is essential to understand and master all steps of the development and implementation of a professional communication concept.
When creating a communication concept, a professional agency follows a process that involves seven successive steps:
- project idea
- target audience
- communication objective
- impact monitoring
Here we show and explain how it works.
1The project idea in communication concepts
First of all you define the project idea together with a client. A project idea is not understood to be a creative idea. It is about describing the initial situation, recording what the analysis of the existing situation brings to light and how you want to use this learning for a certain purpose.
Formulating the project idea is the first step. This is the beginning of every journey. It is quite possible that in one of the next steps you will look back at the project idea only to find that it needs to be adapted. That is totally ok. Yes, if that is not the case, you should even ask yourself whether you have really thought through all subsequent steps correctly and carefully.
2Communication Concepts: The target audience
In the best case, your client will give you a meaningful description of who the target audience is. the basic rule is: if you don’t know your audience, shoot into the blue sky with a shotgun and closed eyes. Effects do not occur in this way.
In order to understand your target audience really well (note: there is the word “grasp” in it), you work with personas.
The professional calls a persona the exemplary character description of a person who is typical for the target group. This way a target audience suddenly gets a face. And you can ask yourself at all the following steps: would this person like that?
Normally, this description of a typical representative of the target group is not limited to just one persona. The more differentiated you divide your audience, the more clearly you can address them. But also note that too small a differentiation makes tangible results impossible.
If your client does not have a description of his target audience, you work with theses that you discuss with him and define together.
From a superordinate perspective, there are always three areas that you can differentiate in your target group:
A The supporters
Regardless of what you wanted to communicate, there will always be people who think what you want to say is good.
Trying to convince advocates of something they already think is communicative pollution!
Nevertheless, you should keep an eye on this important group. This is where your fans gather. Maybe your job is to reward them for their behaviour or to encourage them.
B The Indifferent
People and person from to the indifferent cells do not care the bean about what you want to convey to him. They think it’s neither good nor bad.
This neutral attitude has the advantage that you don’t have to be considerate of prejudiced opinions and views. Conversely, you cannot build on knowledge or already existing values.
Therefore, your starting position is completely different if you want to serve this kind of target group communicatively. You start from scratch, but you also have all options open.
C The Critics
This group does not love you at all. Their opinion on what you’re up to is already there. What you are doing is rejected because it is badly unnecessary, unnecessary superfluous or even morally reprehensible.
Critics are a highly demanding target group. They smell roast if you want to convert them with simple recipes and turn them into advocates.
What do you want to achieve?
So far you have formulated your project idea and learned who your target audience is. You have recognized whether they have a positive, neutral or negative attitude towards your project.
The next step is to think about what exactly you want to achieve. This is the communication goal. It must be strictly distinguished from the message. The message makes a difference, and this effect must first be defined.
3 The goal in communication concepts
In general, agencies orientate themselves towards a psychological behaviour process, which almost all people follow. This process is as easy to understand as it is to describe. It describes the way in which an action can be triggered in people, in five steps:
ACommunication Concepts: Knowledge / Awareness
An action is only ever taken if you even know what it is about. Nobody buys detergent, detergent of a certain brand, if they do not even know that it exists.
This kind of knowledge is also called awareness.
BCommunication Concepts: Attitude / Image
Just because you know something doesn’t mean you’re gonna like it. You can be indifferent to your cause, or negative. Even if you know that detergent X or Y exists, because you have seen it in a TV commercial or passed the product in the supermarket, you won’t buy it just like that. You will only do so if you find the product “good”.
The attitude of how you see a thing is also called image. Therefore, obviously, the term image film. It is supposed to change the attitude towards a company in a positive way.
But beware! Image has not only to do with a company. Brands have an image, just like products and managers. (See also the article on the difference between brand core and brand identity).
CCommunication Concepts: Intention to take action
The intention to act is that magical moment when a person decides to do something. She or he wants to act, but has not yet done so. Motivation is the classical means that leads to an intention to act.
Why does one distinguish between the intention to act and the action itself?
There are several reasons for this: For example, the time axis of the intention to act and the action itself is often completely different. An intention to act usually lasts only a very short time. In concrete terms: a few minutes perhaps hours. If the action cannot be carried out in this time frame, the intention will lead nowhere.
So even if the detergent advertising has convinced you of the superiority of the product and you want to buy it, if you can’t find it on the shelf the next day or if you can order it on the Internet with a click of the mouse, you won’t buy it.
DCommunication Concepts: Action
The action is about the execution of the intention. Typical examples of how the action is addressed in communication are details of the place of purchase or an Internet address.
ECommunication Concepts: Repeated action
Not only with products, the goal is of course not a one-off action. Purchases should be repeated. If this is the communication goal, the message is tailored to it.
4 The message
Now it becomes concrete! After the steps you have taken so far, you know your target group, you know whether they rather approve or reject your request or are indifferent to it, and you have considered whether it is about information (awareness), an attitude (attitude, image), an intention to act, the action itself or its repetition.
Now it is about the actual message. That’s what your video has to formulate in order to pay attention to all the steps mentioned above.
This also makes it clear why we talked before about the fact that whoever formulates the message too early will at most land a chance hit.
But if you follow these steps, you can – just like any professional agency – clearly justify your message and argue like this. And in a way that will stand up to the scrutiny of an agency or a counterpart on the client side who is trained in communication.
5 The measure in communication concepts
The message alone does not reach your target audience. This requires a measure. In most cases where you are a moving image agency, the measure will be a video. The content of the video is the message. The means of transport (the measure) is the moving image.
The channel through which you distribute the measure is also part of the measure. Often the channels are divided according to the scheme of PESO storytelling:
- P stands for paid measures
- E is aimed at messages that are created by third parties and communicated in their own sense (Earned)
- S indicates measures which are shared and disseminated by third parties, for example in social media (Shared)
- O means Owned, these are measures that are disseminated on their own channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).
It goes without saying that the type of measure must be appropriate to the target audience and its behaviour. If your target audience is not watching videos on Facebook, film is the wrong medium. Then maybe a poster or an advertisement in a newspaper will have a stronger, i.e. better, effect.
6 Communication Concept: The Budget
Once the measures have been defined, the framework conditions are defined to such an extent that an initial budget can be drawn up. This includes all necessary measures.
In a first step, the budget is drawn up as a guide calculation and parameters to be discussed, and then refined step by step in dialogue with the customer
7 Impact monitoring for communication concepts
Often, impact monitoring is forgotten, not only in budgeting. It should cover all important areas.
The focus is on the impact targets. But also the adherence to deadlines and, at the level of the individual measures, the KPI (Key Performance Indicator) are part of this last, concluding step of professional communication planning and into the communication concept.
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