In his biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson tells the story of Steve learning the importance of imputing information in a product. The idea is that every thing you do, and how you do it, conveys information about your product or brand. That is why opening up the new iPod or iPad box is such a unique experience. The packaging isn’t blister wrap; it is a thoughtful and well designed experience that conveys the message that you have purchased something special, something of exemplary quality.
Online video has become a requisite part of any online presence. With prices falling for video equipment and editing software, the video seems to have been commoditized. The conventional wisdom is that if you have a site, you should have video on it, even if it is just a link to Youtube.
You shouldn’t. But let me explain.
Most filmmakers will not tell you this. We want to make movies, it's what we love. But, video is NOT the same as print or static banner ads. You have the opportunity to convey much more about you and your brand, to impute more than a standard print ad. You have the ability to engage and communicate directly with your viewers in an active way and connect with them on a much deeper level. However, this opportunity also carries risk. It’s never been easier to throw up a quick video to Youtube and link it to your site. Cameras are as cheap as your smart phone (or even cheaper) and most operating systems come with free movie making software. Don’t do it. “Fast, cheap, good, pick any two” goes the saying. That video you posted conveys immense amounts of information about your brand. You’ve invested immense amounts of time, money, and thought into building that brand into something of which you are justly proud. Does the video you have on your site impute that? Or does it impute an impression that you do quick and shoddy work, that you aren’t willing to invest in quality? Good videos are hard to make no matter what the price of the tools used to make them. Videos are a commodity, good videos are an investment. If you aren’t willing to invest in video that does justice to your brand, I would encourage you not to risk posting a video that damages it, because when you are selling professionalism and your video looks like a hobby, your viewers will only take home the most compelling, visceral evidence that they experience. A bad video can and will overpower an excellent website. A good video can create a deeper, longer lasting relationship. Doesn't it make sense to invest in the best possible presentation of who and what you are?
NOTE: There is, of course, a place for those simple phone clips and rough unedited pieces. Facebook and Twitter are great for letting your audience in behind the scenes but make sure to contextualize it as such. Any attempt to gloss up what is expected to be rough, changes it from a peak behind the curtain into a failed attempt at marketing.