Cleantech companies typically require a certain amount of scientific sophistication to comprehend, and therein lies the conflict with defining its value for an audience. A well-produced video is one of the best ways to bridge that gap.
A Cleantech Company Is More Than Just It’s Science
Ask most cleantech scientists why their idea is destined to scale, and they will likely tell you “because the science works.” Unfortunately, as millions of broke patent holders have discovered over the last couple hundred years, the recipe for success also requires money, timing, necessity, novelty, competitive advantage, and luck. It also needs a compelling story to capture peoples’ imaginations and appeal to their sensibilities.
And there’s no better medium to accomplish that goal than video…if you do it right.
Cleantech Marketing Video Tips
Here are some tips on how to make a video for your cleantech company that appeals to the heart and mind.
- Video Is About People–No matter how cool your invention, people will be more interested in how it intersects and impacts their lives than they are about your patents or your processes. Forcing people to watch a machine performing a repetitive task is about as exciting as watching paint dry, even if it excites you.
- Keep It Short–We’re all familiar with the adage, “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” It shouldn’t take ten minutes to explain a renewable chemical, clean fuel, repurposed material. I recommend to my cleantech clients to keep all videos under two minutes.
- Focus On One Topic–One of the mistakes I see most often in the cleantech space are videos crammed with too much information. You want your audience to have one or two (at most) takeaways. Focus on outcomes first, and leave the process on the cutting room floor.
- Describe the Competitive Advantage Up Front–Studies on viewing habits have shown 90 percent of the viewers who click the play button on a video will watch it for at least 10 seconds. By the 30-second mark, about one-third of all viewers have moved on to something else, so your video either needs to identify the dilemma or the outcome upfront. If you have to include credentials, patents, and history, place them further back in the auditorium.
- Testimonials Are Helpful–Watching the founder of a cleantech company on video extolling the marvels of their water, waste or energy solution is what’s known as a “dog bites man” story. Everyone has seen it, and no one is surprised that an inventor or entrepreneur is excited about their invention. It’s humdrum. Third-party validators, however, give the video more credibility, especially well-known industry figures.
- Use More Than One Talking Head–Video gets stale quickly. A good video editor will break up visuals in two to four-second clips. That’s why you need multiple people and multiple settings.
- Use More Than One Background–Unless you are Bill Nye, The Science Guy, it’s going to be very difficult to keep the audience’s attention. Do NOT spend the entire video standing in front of your invention or the laboratory or else you will lose your audience even more quickly than usual. Going back to my first point, interacting with people is good.
- Have Talking Points In Advance–Some people like to have the crutch of a word for word script, but I believe some spontaneity gives a video more life. Knowing the points to be covered in advance is critical because a narrative structure has to be baked into the cake while filming.
- Hire Professionals–Nothing looks more amateurish than homemade video, and yes, it’s obvious you did it yourself on your iPhone because the video shakes, and the sound and lighting quality are non-existent and detract from what you are trying to convey. If your cleantech company is trying to raise millions of dollars or find a lead customer, your ability to project a professional image is worth the extra money your company has to spend.
- Personalize Your Video–If your backstory was instrumental in the company’s foundation or growth, use it to create a bond with your audience. You are humanizing yourself as the narrator of your own story. It allows your audience to get to like you and want to root for you to succeed.
As a cleantech company, you have one significant advantage: everyone is on your side. No one is in favor of pollution or climate change. As a fellow human being, your audience is sympathetic. That’s a step businesses in other industries don’t get to take for granted. Bring that goodwill along for the ride, and keep the science, engineering, and financials in a separate place where your prospective audience can go AFTER you’ve pulled on their heartstrings.