Create a brand film for the top of the funnel

1. Choose collaborators to help guide the creative writing, production, and editing process.

Most brand films require experienced videographers, producers, writers, and editors who will execute your vision. To choose your collaborators: Search for local or specialized production agencies or freelancers. Meet with several parties to discuss your ideas. Look at samples of their work. Decide which video production company best meets your preferences, goals, and budget.

2. Choose a topic by defining what makes your brand special.

Talk to your collaborators about your brand’s core values, mission, and competitive advantage. Narrow your ideas down to one main topic so that you achieve at least one of these goals: Share a story that appeals to your target audience, like Rose Bay Boats explaining why so much effort goes into making each boat. Show why your brand is better than the competition, like ELAN Languages showing how its translation service is better than Google Translate. Show why your brand is a great company to work for, like Lyft demonstrating how its community can transform someone’s life for the better.

3. Work with your collaborators to write a script that showcases your brand's promise.

Turn your topic into a short narrative that has a beginning, middle, and end. Do this by either creating a fictionalized story that showcases your brand’s mission, like Kodansha, or telling the story directly from the perspective of your brand, like Magis. Some brand films have minimal or no spoken dialogue. If this is the case, be sure to carefully outline the visual narrative with your collaborators. Avoid dialogue or visuals that are focused specifically on selling your products. Show why your brand is unique instead of delivering a sales pitch.

4. Storyboard the film by planning out the visuals needed for the story.

To help do this: Imagine what you want the film to look like. Think about the characters, locations, and camera movements. Describe the tone of the film. The tone will affect the color palette, facial expressions, and more. Walk through the narrative from beginning to end to make sure each piece of the story has visuals that match. Consider what is and isn’t included in the script to make sure the visuals properly supplement any spoken words. Look at the storyboard your production team creates, provide feedback, and approve it.

5. Take care of the logistics like choosing locations, selecting on-screen talent, and gathering equipment.

Choose shooting locations that are relevant to your brand and practical for filming. Your production team will gather the appropriate equipment for those locations. If your video includes narration that comes from the perspective of your brand, like Rumi’s Kitchen’s, be sure to include actual members of your team in the film. If it’s a fictionalized story, work with your production team to hire actors who fit the demographics of your target audience.

6. Source all the footage needed to execute your pre-production plans.

Work with your collaborators to create or find footage from these sources: Original content: This is the footage you’ll create specifically for this project, including talking-head interviews, narrations, b-roll footage, or animations. Most of your footage will be in this category. Stock footage: For smaller budgets, you may choose to use some stock footage. Browse stock libraries like Shutterstock or Storyblocks for this. Owned content: You may already own content that can be used for your brand film, like b-roll footage from another video shoot. If this is the case, locate those video files and give them to your editor.

7. Increase the video’s emotional impact by adding music, clips, and enhancing sounds and colors.

Work with your video editor to: Choose music that creates the right emotional tone and adds to the excitement of the video. Add any relevant sound effects that match the on-screen action and heightens the sensual experience. Create a cohesive color grade that matches the mood of each scene. Combine any narration and b-roll footage to make an engaging storyboard. If your goal is to use the film as a video ad campaign, consider cutting a longer film of over 3 or 4 minutes into digestible separate pieces, like Nike’s Find Your Greatness campaign. UNIQLO’s brand film is an example of using sounds and music effectively.

8. Create an event by using YouTube's Premiere feature or hosting a live premiere.

Although a premiere is optional, it can drive more excitement for your brand film. Some options: Use YouTube’s Premiere feature to create a watch party with your audience. Notify your social channels about the watch party a few days in advance, and schedule the premiere by going to your brand’s YouTube channel dashboard. Click Create > Upload videos > select your video > Schedule > Enter the desired premiere date and time > Set as Premiere > Schedule. Encourage your audience to set a reminder for the event and to share it with friends. Host an in-person or virtual premiere. Invite industry guests, collaborators, influencers, and subscribers to the event. Include giveaways or exclusive content to drive engagement for the brand film. Make the brand film immediately shareable on YouTube, with a CTA in the description box.

9. Publish your shareable film to social channels, or run a targeted video ad campaign to spread brand awareness.

Ways to use your brand film to spread brand awareness: Use your brand film for a video ad campaign on social channels, like YouTube or Facebook, to reach your target audience. Embed on your homepage. Use optimization best practices like adding a high-quality thumbnail, using a video host, and providing video structured data. Share on your social media platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Provide a UTM link to your website to drive and track traffic.

10. Track engagement and conversion metrics to measure the effectiveness of your brand film.