Exploring the Range of Commercial Work
Now that we've gone over marketing, sales, and contracts, let's talk about the different types of commercial work that you might have and how to approach the projects you book.
Corporate Video with a Heart—Nonprofit Work
The first type of commercial jobs we got were relatively small gigs for local nonprofit organizations (FIGURE 4.6). Keep in mind that doing work for a nonprofit doesn't mean non paid. Nonprofit is just a tax status that an organization has, allowing it certain tax benefits. Some of the largest companies in the world are nonprofit organizations. There will be times when you'll be approached by a nonprofit that really does have a very limited budget, so in certain circumstances, as a way to give back to your community, you may want to offer pro bono work. In addition to using your talents to help the community, oftentimes these organizations have donors with deep pockets, either high net-worth individuals or large corporations.
Figure 4.6 Girls for a Change (GFC) is one of our long-standing nonprofit clients. It has grown to a nationwide organization since we first started working with them.
From a marketing perspective, working for a nonprofit is a great way to get your work in front of prospects. These types of projects are a great way to break into corporate video production, especially if you are a wedding and event videographer looking to make the transition.
Small- to Mid-Sized Companies
Next are small- to mid-sized companies. These may include companies you are already working with if you are a wedding and event video producer (for example, photographers, coordinators, venues, and so on). If you do a wedding or event video, give a copy to the key vendors with a note telling them you have a corporate video division that could produce a promotional video for them. Promotional videos are a great way to get your name out and market your business.
Another source of work for companies in this range is local businesses that want to run a commercial on the local cable station. Contact the cable provider in your area to see if there's an opportunity to provide your services to their advertising clients. You could collaborate with the cable provider to have them offer the service (with their branding), but the video itself will be produced by (that is, "powered by") your company. The downside is that the cable company gets the credit for the work, but the volume and consistency of work may be worth that trade.
The Big 'Apple'
The title of this section is inspired by the work we did for Apple Computer when they hired us to produce a string of customer testimonial videos. When you start working on high-profile videos for a client with a global brand, it's a whole new ballgame. Let's talk about some of the general issues you will face.
Because you are dealing with a global brand, there are going to be strict rules and regulations you may have to abide by in how you represent that brand in your video. The corporation will most likely insist on tight control over everything from the fonts you use to the color scheme to how you display the logo onscreen. If you want to save yourself a lot of headaches during the process, make sure at the start to get a representative from every department of the company that will have a say—legal, marketing, product management, and the advertising or PR agency if applicable. Most large companies have entire manuals dedicated solely to how the various company branding elements must be utilized in ads and other types of media. Get a PDF of that manual and make sure your shooters and editors are familiar with the rules.
With respect to creating the team of client and studio representatives, it's a good idea to have one primary point of contact on the client team. You don't want to have to communicate with 15 different people in order to get something done.
The last thing we'll say about commercial work is that it represents one of the best forms of repeat business. Due to the time and energy involved in finding a video vendor a company can entrust with its brand, once you're on board, as long as you deliver quality and consistent work on time (and on budget), you'll most likely have that client for life.