Big news: We’ve changed the name of our podcast from “So You Need a Video” to “Death to the Corporate Video.” Regular readers of our blog may recognize that as the name of Guy’s book. But in addition to some consistency there, we wanted to update the podcast name to clearly show what we stand for. Our goal is to rid the world of bad corporate video.

When we say “corporate video,” we’re not referring to just any video made by a corporation. We’re talking about videos that are written like you would write a white paper or a sales sheet. Video scripts that have the same bullet points lifted from your landing page. Videos that show Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo with the word “disruption” written over it. Customer testimonial videos featuring sweaty executives that look like they’re being held at gunpoint. 

These videos have been created simply to check a box.

Corporate videos are considered safe. They’re easy to sell to decision makers. You can point to examples of your competitors making them.

And therein lies the problem. Everyone is making these videos and no one is watching them. They’re boring. A corporate video will never generate exponential growth. 

We want our listeners to generate growth with their video marketing, and to do that we must end the corporate video.

Join us on our crusade. Listen to today’s episode below, then subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also read “7 ways to avoid making a corporate video.”

Like the new name? Think we should change it back? Talk to us.

You can listen to the episode using the player embedded above, or you can read a full transcript below.

Episode transcript

Hope Morley: Hello, and welcome to the podcast. I’m Hope Morley.

Guy Bauer: I’m Guy Bauer.

Hope Morley: And for those of you who are subscribers, and regular listeners to the podcast, you probably noticed that the name of the podcast has changed in your feed as of today. We are launching a new name, and renaming this podcast today. It is now called Death to the Corporate Video, and the podcast is about tools and advice to make B2B videos people actually want to watch. So Guy, do you want to explain the reasoning behind this name change?

Guy Bauer: Why again are we changing the name? Well, I think we realized that the old name, So You Need to Make a Video, was a little too generic and bland, and didn’t really sum up our point of view exactly. Our mission as a company, as Umault an agency, is to rid the world as best we can of corporate video. And our definition of corporate video is those boring videos that no one wants to watch, and B2B companies are usually the number one culprit of making corporate videos. Because the overriding belief in B2B is that B2B can be logical, buyers don’t necessarily need to be… they don’t need their imagination, I want to use the word tickled, but-

Hope Morley: I was thinking the word tickled too. I’m like I will not jump in with that.

Guy Bauer: B2B buyers are just going to be totally Vulcan when making their decisions, and I believe that’s just not true. I think the overwhelming evidence in the marketplace is, it’s not true. And so we really wanted… and honestly, I think practically, we wanted to intercept people typing and searching for corporate video and-

Hope Morley: And tell them why they’re wrong about all of their life choices.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. Like corporate video… I mean if you define corporate video, it’s just any video that’s made by a corporation. But I think it’s been…that term has been perverted into a not so great video that has low expectations that doesn’t really need to do anything other than check a box.

Hope Morley: Right. So Guy, explain what you think of… when you say corporate video, what kind of video are you talking about here?

Guy Bauer: The number one thing is that they are written like you would write a white paper. Or they’re written like how you would write a sales sheet. A lot of times they’re written in bullet points. So, “Our product is…” And then bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet.

Hope Morley: Right. The exact bullets from your landing page.

Guy Bauer: Correct. Corporate videos are written like no one speaks. They’re not really written for people to-

Hope Morley: Enjoy?

Guy Bauer: Enjoy. They’re written with the… under the presumption that people are taking notes while watching them. Someone’s going to transcribe those two minutes, and then bring them to a decision-maker, and make a decision off the notes they took on your two minute video. Tangibly, corporate videos are event videos with close-up shots of people eating coconut shrimp. They are-

Hope Morley: Remember events, just a little throwback to 2019-

Guy Bauer: Actually, I wish I could-

Hope Morley: I miss event videos.

Guy Bauer: Videos that have that intersection in Tokyo, Shibuya intersection, with words like “disruption” or “collaboration” or anything, “5G,” anything written over them. Two camera interviews with nervous executives that look like deer in headlights, sweaty, upper lips, or customer testimonials that look like they’re being held at gunpoint. Those are corporate video, and they are so safe when making them that’s why they get made predominantly is because there’s an illusion of safety. If we just make a customer testimonial video, I’m not going to get fired or anything, or I can get my boss to approve it because they’ve seen customer testimonial videos.

Guy Bauer: But when you take a step back, and you look at the output, how could anyone watch this customer testimonial video, where they look like, just like they’re being fed every line and they’re speaking about your product, and all the correct terms, and magically listing out all the bullet points of the product features and benefits, that’s not authentic. And so the number one thing that makes a corporate video, it’s just ineffective. It’s just like two to three minutes of a black hole in your life and soul that you wish you can get back. But unfortunately, you will never get back ever as you slowly…

Hope Morley: Tiptoe towards the grave?

Guy Bauer: Tiptoe towards the… See me and Hope are in sync.

Hope Morley: Yeah. We’re just synced up today. So the title, “Death to the Corporate Video” this is actually the name of Guy, you wrote a book in 2019 using this title, “Death to the Corporate Video.” So I want to take some time. We actually never did a podcast interview, even though it’s now been more than a year since we released this book, we never really actually dug into the book, and I never got to talk to you about it on the show. So why did you write this book and who are you talking to?

Guy Bauer: I’m talking to owners, executives, middle level management, marketers, anyone who is in charge of spreading awareness and interest about a brand can get something out of this book. And the reason why I wrote it was I had just had enough. So if we back up, I started a video production company in 2010, and over the course of eight years or nine years leading up to this book, I had made every single one of those corporate videos, and saw that they were completely ineffective, and picked up on all the patterns. Over the course of nine years our agency evolved, and we started putting in things into place that would prevent some of these… prevent corporate video from being made in the first place. And so this is like the after nine years, this is the blueprint on how not to make a corporate video. Kind of all the patterns we saw as an agency in what leads up to the delivery of a corporate video, and how not to do that.

Hope Morley: Yeah. You mentioned that we’ve created some processes and put them in place to prevent making corporate videos, and I think the most important one there is what you call the two-step process for making a video. So can you explain that and how it will prevent corporatizing your videos?

Guy Bauer: Yeah. So a big mistake marketers make is they go, “we need a video to promote our blank product or blank service, let’s make a video.” And so some person google’s video production company, and usually their city. Video production company, Atlanta, whatever. And right there is the biggest mistake. Everyone wants to rush into the thing, and the thing is the video, but what we found… and it took almost nine years to figure this out. When we look back at all of our successful work, the stuff that like actually worked, we realized that there was a step that we weren’t even unaware that we were doing, and our clients for sure were unaware of. And that is the thinking step, the idea step, and that’s where it dawned on me is like, wait a second.

Guy Bauer: It’s actually a two-step process. Step one is, come up with an idea, step two is make the video, because what a lot of brands do is they come up with the idea on the way to the video production day. So they go, “we want to interview our CEO April 10th.” And say, it’s April 2nd now. So come up with an idea before then, or they may not even ask for an idea.

Hope Morley: They don’t ask for an idea, they say, we’re going to have our CEO talk about this new product launch, come to our office on April 10th, and shoot it.

Guy Bauer: Right. And what that does is they’ve outsourced all of the creative to the CEO. So now you’re banking on the CEO to be your copywriter, art director to come up with a competent, coherent story, and basically do it for you. And then you’re stuck in post-production for months trying to put their words together into something that makes sense or worse, just release the thing. And then it just sits there, and you play it for customers and the room glazes over. So we realized that it’s a distinct two-step process. Step one, think of an idea and part of that is also think of what your strategy is. Is it one video? Two videos? What kind of videos? Is it a flight of videos over the course of two years? What’s the strategy? What’s the idea? What’s the script? What’s, let’s look at the storyboard? Step one is all about pre-visualizing the video, coming up with the blueprint.

Guy Bauer: So if we were building a custom house, step one is the architect phase. Like, what does it look like? Give me the feelings. Like, how does the house flow? That’s step one for the video, and then step two is you give it to a general contractor. That’s the video production company, and then they take the plans that the architect made in step one and go build the thing or in video, shoot it and edit it.

Hope Morley: Yeah. So you have a chapter titled, “your business is not boring.” And I think this is a little bit of a slogan for you as well. Can you explain what you mean by that?

Guy Bauer: Yeah. So there’s two kinds of ways to look at your business is not boring. Some marketers believe that, maybe they would never say this out loud, but that they market a boring thing. How interesting could pharmacovigilance be? And so their mindset is that, well, this is… It’s not as exciting as sneakers, it’s not as exciting as cupcakes or whatever.

Hope Morley: Cupcakes market themselves.

Guy Bauer: It’s not as exciting. And I hear a lot of this actually, when new clients call, they go, “yeah, I know we’re not cool. But it’s about pharmacovigilance.” I don’t know why that’s always my go-to. It’s about pharmacovigilance. So yeah, I know it’s not as exciting. And so that’s like, it’s almost like we need to go to cognitive therapy with these people that think that way, because your business is not boring.

Hope Morley: Let’s bring up that self esteem folks.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. Honestly. So we have to like root that out, like no. In fact, to the people who find pharmacovigilance interesting or need that service-

Hope Morley: Who need it.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. You are interesting as hell. It’s like in Cast Away when Tom Hanks is on the island, and before he got marooned on the island, he’d been avoiding going to the dentist, but then he remarks to Wilson, his imaginary volleyball friend, “boy would I love for you to be my dentist right now.” So like in someone’s time of need, a dentist can be the most interesting person in the world. And that’s… you are interesting, and you kind of need an outsider like us in some cases to say, “no here’s why you’re interesting.” So that’s one way of looking at it that sometimes, the marketers are actually thinking that. That they market a boring thing.

Guy Bauer: The other way to look at your businesses not boring is through usually a lot of the agencies that B2B brands work with may have that bias of, “Eh, this is kind of boring.” So they’ll put junior level people on it, or the agency themselves view it as boring, so they give boring solutions. They’re not going to do something that is exciting. They’ll go for something safer because in the agency, the mindset of boring has taken root. So-

Hope Morley: And that’s where you can see a cycle from the marketer to the agency, and back around because the marketer is maybe apologizing for their product being boring. So the agency is absorbing that message, and they’re not pushing the creative. And they’re like, “Eh this is boring.” And then their attitude goes back on the marketer, and it just circles around and nobody’s getting excited or trying to push or try something new.

Guy Bauer: I love that. I never thought of it like that, but yeah, you’re right. There’s like a feedback echo thing. Yeah. A self-fulfilling prophecy or whatever.

Hope Morley: Exactly.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, totally. And so that’s one of the first things that I think marketers need to get over, your business is not boring. And think about it, you have to be interesting to someone or else you wouldn’t be in business in the first place.

Hope Morley: You’re solving a need.

Guy Bauer: Yeah.

Hope Morley: You exist.

Guy Bauer: You’re interesting. And if we go all the way back, so let’s think of like a really fun brand, right? Like Apple or Nike, right? Well, before Nike shoes I saw those posters. They were like boring, they were like Hush Puppies shoes and stuff, and it was all boring. Nike decided to make shoe brands interesting. Before Apple, I remember I was a computer nerd. It was all like Micron and Gateway 2000, and ads with-

Hope Morley: Very techie, like yeah.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. Apple decided to make it cool, and now everyone follows. So there was a time where someone made a decision. And what is cool? Cool doesn’t mean that if you’re selling hyperscale infrastructure or whatever, and IT stuff. Cool doesn’t mean we put someone on top of a mountain dancing to EDM or whatever that’s not cool. Cool just means it’s interesting, I want to watch this. That’s not… so you can make a decision, it doesn’t mean it’s not so risky. In fact, the bigger risk is to just do what’s safe because then you will end up like Micron and Gateway 2000. And my friend always makes fun. I really loved the computer brand Quantex when I was a teenager. But when have you ever heard of Quantex?

Hope Morley: Which we all still have heard of, correct?

Guy Bauer: They had great deals. I mean, the specs on their computers, they had the best spec’d computers, but you’ve never heard of them, because they were boring. And so you gotta get over it. Like you can be interesting. It’s just you have to make the decision. You, the business owner or the marketer, whoever have to say, like in Star Trek, the one with the Borg where Picard says, “this far no farther, draw a line in the sand must be drawn here.” We’ll cut that. That’s my Jean-Luc Picard.

Hope Morley: Yeah. Really, really excellent.

Guy Bauer: A line in the sand must be drawn here!

Hope Morley: When you make a decision to be cool or to be not boring, you’re also making a decision, you recommend in the book that people should try to make videos that make some customers not like them, which seems very contradictory for marketing. Like we want people to come buy our product. So what do you mean by using your videos to make people not like you?

Guy Bauer: Yeah. You’ve got to polarize because unless someone doesn’t like you, that means you haven’t said enough for someone to really like you. What you want to do is not add to the white noise to the malaise or just the kind of stuff that’s out there, the pile of stuff. Because all that stuff is designed to not offend. So no creative decisions have been made, and I’m not arguing for making offensive remarks, right? About like people or whatever. I’m saying is you have to stand for something. It’s almost like how we’re changing the name of our podcast from So You Need a Video to Death to the Corporate Video. Because, So You Need a Video is too bland and general. Death to the Corporate Video is polarizing and there was… I won’t even go into it. But I can’t believe there’s a corporate video establishment, that we’re going to potentially upset about this. I can’t even believe that’s true.

Hope Morley: There’s an establishment for everything.

Guy Bauer: I always wanted to be a revolutionary. Now’s my chance. I think about that decision. We are polarizing, you may be totally in love with corporate video, but don’t listen to us-

Hope Morley: And you know what? Don’t listen to us, Don’t buy our videos. That’s fine. You can make that choice to be ineffective.

Guy Bauer: Right. But well, and they may believe that it is, that our ideas are ineffective, but the people that have had this thought for a while in their subconscious, that this corporate video stuff is just boring, and terrible. And then they’re not proud of it. Those are the people that will listen to this show, right? And be like, “Oh! You finally said what I always wanted to say.” That’s what you can do as a brand. So be bold, like say the thing that your competitors aren’t saying, we have to stand for something or else we stand for nothing. And I’ll bring up “Hamilton.” Alexander Hamilton wanted to… he didn’t care who he pissed off. He wanted to speak his truth, and whereas Aaron Burr wanted his end goal was to be liked by everyone. So he said generic stuff. He didn’t stand for any particular side.

Guy Bauer: Even after we won the war, he was like, “Oh! I want to see how this plays out because I don’t want to be tied to one side or the other.” He didn’t have the guts to make a decision, and 200 some years later, he’s the bad guy. The guy who wanted to be liked by everybody is the bad guy. The guy that didn’t mind if he pissed some people off is the good guy. You’ve got-

Hope Morley: And he’s on the 10 dollar bill.

Guy Bauer: That’s right. And so you have to speak your truth. You have to stand out or else. It’s like the clip art picture that’s in every PowerPoint presentation where blue fishes are swimming one way and there’s one red fish swimming the other way. But it is so true. I can’t think of any other way. You have to be the red fish or else you’re just… and you’ll still get business. That’s the thing is that bad marketing still wins because you’ll still get business, but you won’t get like exponential business or you won’t get like super value business. You’ll get business because you’ll… if there’s 20 fish, you’re one of 20, you’re going to get picked sometimes. But if you’re that one red fish, even if you cut it to two out of 20 one of 10, you’re still double everyone else because you’re the red fish.

Hope Morley: Mm-hmm and we’ve talked before that it can be more expensive to be the blue fish because you’re paying a lot of money. You’re paying for Google Ads to make sure you’re on the front page of Google. You’re paying to sponsor all your posts everywhere. Like you’re really paying and paying and paying and paying to stand out and be in front of people’s faces. Instead of trying to use your marketing and your video to be remembered regardless.

Guy Bauer: That’s exactly right.

Hope Morley: Awesome.

Hope Morley: So listeners, if you want to read more about this, you can get Guy’s book Death to the Corporate Video on Amazon. It’s a Kindle single we’ll link to it in the show notes, and let us know what you think about our new name. You can send us an email at [email protected] That’s U-M-A-U-L-T dot com or find us across all your favorite social media channels, your Facebook’s, your LinkedIn’s, your Twitter’s anywhere that you might be. We’re there too. So let us know what you think of the show, and leave us a comment or a review on your Apple Podcasts or whatever app you use to listen to the podcast.

Guy Bauer: Thanks everybody.

Hope Morley: Thanks for listening.