Video is one of the most effective and flexible ways to communicate with your audience, be it for marketing, informational or educational purposes.
Automotive manufacturers and other large, multinational organisations whose products span multiple markets need content that can be used to engage with their customers globally.
In this article, we explore the considerations for, and benefits of, creating video for a global audience, and discuss how PHM uses its expertise to help our clients maximise the impact and effectiveness of their video content, while reducing costs and simplifying management.
Creating video for a global audience
In a global marketplace, product owners need their content to reach the widest possible audience, whilst also being as cost effective as they can. This generally means creating one piece of content centrally and distributing it to the markets.
However, language, market variations and cultural differences all present barriers to effectively using the same piece of content in different territories. This leaves local markets with few choices. To use the content they have been given, to find resources locally to adapt it, or simply not to use it. From a central marketing perspective, none of these choices are ideal either. There is a risk the material they are distributing is unused or adapted without the branding control they require.
Taking these considerations into account, is it even possible to design a single video for a global audience? The short answer, if you plan well and think ahead, is YES.
If carefully designed, video content can not only reach a global audience for its intended purpose, it can also have added value too.
When designing any informative media, certain considerations are key:
is the audience?
is the purpose?
is it being shown?
The tighter the definitions, the more targeted and effective the content can be.
However, this is a balance. It is very unlikely there will be a single answer to any of these questions. In fact, narrowing the objectives too far will limit the freedom to create effectively and the scope for the content to be used for other purposes. To get the most value from the assets being generated, it is therefore better to ask these questions in a different way:
Who is the primary/secondary audience, what is the range of their knowledge?
What is the main purpose, what other uses could there be?
Where will it primarily be shown, and what other endpoints could it be deployed to?
Clearly defining the main objectives, as well as determining where else we can add value, significantly increases ROI of the piece.
With a global audience, it is also worth remembering that it is likely there will be a larger non-English speaking audience than English speaking (at least as a first language). And for complex and variable products like motor vehicles, specifications and features will vary greatly between markets. If that is the case, how do you deliver often complex messages to the widest possible audience?
At PHM, we approach every project with the same attitude: one size does not fit all.
We examine the objectives and issues with our client before creating a bespoke solution that best fits their needs, without compromising on the production values or flexibility of the content. We also use our expert instructional designers to inform the narrative, so that the educational benefit of the content is maximised.
Take, for example our work with Volvo in explaining the features and benefits of the technologies in their new vehicle platform.
It was clear from our initial briefings that the videos would be both customer facing and used by dealers for demonstration and training, that they would be available in every territory, and with as many endpoints as possible – social media, websites, TV, exhibitions, dealerships, press-packs etc.
One key requirement was that the content must be useable in all markets without further adaptation, and with plans for technologies to be shared across future vehicles in the range, the content had to be viable for multiple models.
This informed several design choices. Because Volvo is so focused on consumer benefit, we knew we would need to visualise the driver and passengers. We designed characters that were both human and expressive to relay feeling to the viewer, but without an ethnic bias. Mirroring Swedish values, it was important to have male and female representation too.
As using a specific vehicle was not viable either, the decision was made to design a generic vehicle exterior too. While we were delighted to be offered the opportunity to create this model, it too presented a unique challenge. It had to be Volvo. But not A Volvo. Combining characteristics of multiple vehicles while maintaining realistic proportions, drawing from the brand’s design queues without making it less than the sum of its parts, is a delicate balance. I am happy to say I think we achieved this.
Lastly, the decision was made to describe the features using only visuals.
Using no language – on-screen text or voiceover, removes the need for market translation or localisation and has an added benefit of working in environments where audio is unwelcome – such as digital signage screens or at exhibitions.
This approach is not without issues, especially with describing nuanced benefits or particularly complex functions. But this is far outweighed by the efficiency of production and the flexibility of the assets.
The result has been a range of animations providing Volvo with some of their most used and cost-efficient assets. Proving their flexibility, they have been used far outside their original remit, appearing in car reviews, TV adverts, new vehicle walkarounds and even the digital manuals in the car itself.
As a second example, our work for Kia takes a different approach, as the main objective is to educate customers on the operation of the functions, as well as the benefits. In this case, a voice-over is used because the amount of information a voice can deliver, without diverting attention from the visuals, allows for the level of detail required to describe complex subjects.
As these videos are naturally longer, they are also designed in a specific order, delivering the benefits, the operation and the caveats in turn. This allows audiences at different stages – potential customers doing researching or existing customers learning about the function to exit when they have the required information.
This also works when using the videos as training, as dealers can use the same flow when describing functions themselves. Of course, as an added benefit the dealers can also use the videos to demonstrate the functions, especially when impractical to do so in a real-world scenario.
Lastly, because the need for multiple languages is planned from the start, the shots are carefully created to be longer than required, so that additional time can be added where necessary without compromising the message.
The extra effort is well worth it. Simply subtitling may seem the easiest and cheapest option, but it’s proven to divide attention between reading the text and observing the subject. It can also give the impression to non-English markets that they are an afterthought.
Reaching a global audience does not have to be a difficult or expensive task.
Carefully planned and executed, videos can have far wider audience, range of use and impact for spend if localisation is not treated as an afterthought.
Communicating without language allows great flexibility and eliminates the need for duplication, while for more complex stories, communicating in native language gives the impression that the local markets are valued.
We have a wealth of experience in planning, creating and optimising our work, allowing a greater portion of the budget to go on high-production values that will really make your content stand out from the crowd.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02076136700 and ask to speak to Nigel Richards who will be happy to discuss how we can help you make the complex simple.