Most people spend more time planning a one-week vacation
than they spend planning their life.
Michael Hyatt, Author, Speaker, Consultant and Friend
Eulogies are peculiar things. Probably because we all know we’re going to have one, yet we’re somehow afraid to acknowledge that we’re one day closer today than we were yesterday.
In those moments when we allow ourselves to think about our eulogy, we hope they’ll share a life full of accolades, beauty and wit. But if we’ve “done it right” they will naturally focus more on our purpose and the impact we’ve had on our world. In the end, it’s a life well lived that all truly great people seek.
In much the same way, that’s what you want out of video – a purpose that leads to results. You can be sure that the exciting process of producing your video will come to an end. The script will be filed away, the camera will be put on a shelf and the edit long forgotten. In the end, there’s only one question that will matter about your video — Did my video accomplish it’s purpose?
The Most Important
The truth is that the most important components of your video are not the most obvious things like its quality, creativity and awards won. That’s only part of the picture – the tactical or execution side of things, (which is really the easiest part). But there’s another key component that all great videos should begin and end with – a clear strategy. My friend Laura Click of Blue Kite Marketing says it this way, “strategy must always come before tactics”. The question is, “How?”
Beginning With The Right End
In his bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey coined the now infamous phrase, “Begin with the end in mind”. In other words, “Know where you’re going”.
The same is true for film and video. You absolutely need to have a clear and specific picture of a successful ending.
- “What does the perfect ending look like for this project?”
- “What are the tangible results of this project’s success?”
Usually that picture begins to “come into focus” when you’re able to identify the problem(s) that have to be solved to make a successful ending possible. Put another way, you have to answer the question, “What’s causing you or your business a great deal of pain right now?” Then, and only then, can you determine the best solution to address that pain. Without a clear answer to these foundational questions, you can never be sure you’ve actually arrived at the “right end”.
Planning For The Right End
Assume for a moment you have a 16 year old daughter who is about to drive her first cross country trip – alone. She knows where she’s going, (Aunt Sally’s house in Modesto, CA) but has no idea HOW to get there. As her parents you’re going to do everything you can to make sure your little girl arrives safely arrive at Aunt Sally’s! But knowing where she’s going is only the first step.
Developing a plan to get her safely there is the next step in the process. Let me continue with the analogy. How do you get her there? Well, you can certainly give her a GPS, (the way we use a Creative Brief), or you can send someone with her whose been to where she’s going. Either way, before you send you only daughter on a 3 day, 3,000 mile trip, you’ll make sure she has a plan. Am I right parents?
As a father, I’ll also know my daughter’s tendencies like: being easily distracted, having her music up too loud or texting while driving, (strictly hypothetical). Because of that knowledge, I’m going to:
- ask her some tough questions before she leaves,
- very clearly convey my fatherly wisdom,
- and build in some checks and balances to make sure she makes it to Aunt Sally’s in time for dinner.
To make sure your video project has the “right ending” you have to be able to answer 2 key questions.
- What are the biggest issues/obstacle/challenge related to the success of this project?
- What is the single most important thing you want to convey?
Tom Landry said it this way, “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” Make sure you plan for the right ending.
It’s not rocket science, but it does require time and effort. In the same way you live your life with purpose and meaning, so too your video should be strategically designed, planned and executed for the right ending. Accolades, beauty and wit are all well and good, but video “done right” will always be measured by the same areas as our lives – purpose and impact. In the end, that’s the kind of video truly great companies seek.