I’ve had the privilege of meeting hundreds of CEOs, company founders, presidents, and C-Suite executives over the years. It’s always fascinating and inspiring to learn first-hand what makes them tick and to hear them describe their vision for their companies.
And that’s the main reason for making a CEO profile video: To give potential investors, clients, employees, partners, and new hires an opportunity to meet a company’s leadership in an extremely personal and intimate way.
In addition, videos are the preferred source of information on companies these days. According to Forbes, 59% of senior execs agree that if both text and video were available on the same topic and on the same page, they’d prefer to watch the video.
With that in mind, here are my top 10 tips for creating a CEO profile video that will inform and inspire!
1) Capture the leader’s unique personality
The first time I met Giorgio DeLuca, Co-Founder of the luxury food brand Dean & DeLuca, I was delighted to see the spry 75-year-old pull up to our lunch meeting on his bicycle. As an avid biker myself, I saw that this would be a fantastic visual theme for our video. By focusing on his zest for life and his passion for food, we made his personality burst right through the screen.
2) Make the video visually rich
I can’t stand boring talking head videos – and neither can you. We are all incredibly visual people. Visual elements such as action shots, graphics, and stock footage will bring the video to life. You don’t need to be completely literal – using more poetic images often makes the point even more powerfully. According to Forbes, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to only 10% when they are reading text. But that’s only true if you give viewers something interesting to watch!
Take a look at how we brought the President of Pinkerton’s message to life by richly illustrating his interview with historical images, modern graphics, and all kinds of other cool stuff:
3) Don’t script or memorize – speak from the heart
Viewers will know immediately if your subject is reading a script. Your CEO needs to come across like an empathetic human being, not a robot, so it’s important to speak conversationally. I recommend recording a 20 or 30-minute interview, and then editing the best moments into a two-minute video. Relying on teleprompters is usually a bad idea because only a very small percentage of people can read from teleprompters naturally. If you feel you must have a teleprompter, try using it just for bullet points to outline the flow of your thoughts. If that doesn’t work, you can always read the full script. But this should be a last resort, for example when legal requires specific language.
4) Use high-end professional equipment
First impressions are everything, and your company’s leadership needs to look like a superstar. An iPhone is fine for quick social media videos, but for any important video, you need a great camera – like a RED, an Alexa, or at least a Sony FS7 or the equivalent. To make your hero look awesome your video production team should come prepared with excellent lighting and audio packages, and prime lenses too.
5) Choose great locations
I recently saw a laughable video featuring a CEO bragging about the size of his company – while seated in a matchbook-sized conference room. Be sure to choose beautiful locations that represent the image your company wants to depict. If you don’t have a fantastic location at your disposal, then rent one for the day, or use your resources and connections to get one for free. And get creative: If you make the world’s best sports equipment, why not film your CEO on a mountaintop?
6) Shoot multiple takes, using multiple cameras
Over the years I’ve interviewed only two people – Howard Schultz of Starbucks, and General Colin Powell – who said exactly what they wanted to say in one take. Everyone else benefits greatly from multiple cameras, multiple takes, and great editing. A CEO needs to sound completely confident on camera. Using multiple cameras allows the editor to easily remove unwanted hesitations, and combine the best moments from different takes.
7) Avoid technical jargon
One of your main goals is to humanize your company and your leader. Corporate jargon is off-putting. Have your CEO speak in a language that everyone can relate to and understand.
8) Keep the video short
Numerous studies have explored the relationship between video length and level of engagement. According to one study, videos that are two minutes get the most engagement, and videos between two to three minutes yield a significant drop-off. You can say a LOT in two minutes.
9) Dress to impress
It always helps to wear clothes you know you look good in, and that makes you feel like a million bucks. However, some patterns and colors look terrible on camera.
10) Use a great director and crew
There’s no getting around it: Having the right people on your team makes a huge difference in the finished product. You need an expert director who can draw out the CEO’s personality. You need a crew that knows how to make every shot look great. A world-class team will have the expertise to make your CEO shine through video.
And with that in mind:
Are you interested in making a great CEO profile video? Indigo Productions will capture your company’s brand, mission, and voice. Give us a call at 212-765-5224 or visit our contact page.