The untapped power of less

I’ll let you in on a secret that I only really tell my clients. There’s an untapped source of hardworking video content at your fingertips. Right in front of you. You can have it today, but it has to start with you. You can access video content that is harder working, cheaper, faster, better ROI. 


You can access it instantly. All it takes is breaking out of old habits to make it work. From my experience, this is the hardest thing to overcome. Habits are what make crappy video, and breaking habits is a huge part of how I bring value to my clients through our meaningful moments framework.


Breaking bad habits 

Our brains have been conditioned to believe that the more you get, the better the value. Put money in, get something substantial out. So when most people think of a video campaign, words like “around three minutes” or “under five minutes” flow out of the sub-conscious and into briefing documents. No matter what the objective, platform, audience, devices, these are the words that come to us. It’s “how we’ve always done it” hard at work.


This is a bad habit manifesting at the very start of a video project.


This is where most video agencies fail their clients. 


If you wanted to design a car that drives fast, you want high quality, light materials. Something sleek, minimal and made for performance. With bad habits, many video agencies would automatically create the video equivalent of a mini-bus; a three minute, bloated marketing vehicle packed to the gills with as much stuff you can put in it, then is surprised when it doesn’t win the race…


That kind of content is fine if you have a captive audience with a much more critical set of information. But don’t let it be your default setting.


Ok, let’s break some habits right now.


  • “The video needs to be 2-3 minutes.”


Can you remember the last time you watched an advert past a 60 second mark? If you don’t watch that kind of stuff, why would your viewers? Our audiences exist mostly in a mobile-first, muted, scrolling, fickle digital landscape where attention is in the seconds, not minutes. Give yourself permission to think in shorter, more meaningful moments rather than larger bulkier campaigns.


  • “Video is very expensive.”


Big, bloated video campaigns ARE expensive. But shorter, agile video is not. Sometimes I receive a brief which asks for 1 x 3-minute video, and I propose back 5 x 6-second videos for half the price. It’s not what they’ve asked for, but when I can prove I’ve quadrupled the potential for meaningful moments with the viewer, given a series of content to build a relationship with a viewer over a longer period, and done it for half of the cost, I can guide my client to a much better ROI.


  • “We want to include these ten key messages.”


This is not TV. Your viewers aren’t sat on their sofa ready to digest your wonderful back-story. Your viewer is on their lunch break with 10 minutes to spare. This is not the time for information, this is the time for creating moments, for rapport, for trust. Once you give yourself permission to use video for what does best, emotional buy-in, you can lose the filler and put that further down the viewer-journey.


Allow yourself to break out of habits. 

Move from marketing messages to marketing moments.

If this is kind of thinking you’re looking for from your video agency, then I’d love to discuss the meaningful moments method further, get in touch.


Neil Rostance
Posted by Neil Rostance
Partner & Creative Director
Neil is Creative Director of Fat Free, passionate about leading clients towards meaningful moments through video. Neil's specialisms are in concept development, content strategy and creative direction at Fat Free.
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