Ever wonder what it’s like to work with Gordon Ramsay? Back in the heady days of 2005, when I was a fresh-faced graduate trying to make my way in the world, I had the opportunity to work as a runner on the TV show Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. It’s a long-running format where Gordon Ramsay enters struggling restaurants and tries to save them from closing by sprinkling a little bit of Michelin-magic on inept owners and clueless cooks. He is a man who can not only fit the f-word into every single sentence, he also knows a thing or two about creating places people actually want to spend their money and time on food.
Gordon’s checklist of crimes against dining was long. One element he would take immediate action against was the menu. Time and again the struggling establishments were trying to please everyone with a broad range of dishes, from fish and chips to chicken korma and everything in between. By trying to please everyone, they ended up pleasing no one. It’s the same thing we experience with the video briefs we get from brands.
‘We need it to reach our shareholders, customers, sponsors, potential clients, parents, teachers, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker…and Mrs Johnson at number 34. Oh and we’d like it to go viral as well.’
It’s a list worthy of making anyone swear like the fiery Scot, as well as having the potential to leave a restaurant-sized room full of unhappy viewers. What looks tasty and makes sense to some makes others confused and hungry.
Here are four things to consider when planning your next video production:
What story are you trying to tell?
A good menu gives the chef a chance to showcase the finest local ingredients, crafted in imaginative ways and presented just how you like it. A video production is no different; it needs to tell a story. If you don’t know what story you’re trying to tell, it becomes a jumbled mess of cuisines that don’t hit the mark.
There is an art to storytelling. Like every great meal it has a start (entrée), middle (main course) and end (dessert). A good waiter knows the best combinations to help guide you on your culinary journey to make sure you are left with a taste in your mouth that keeps you coming back for more. A video producer will help you tell your story in a way that has your audience asking for more.
Who are in your audience?
Restaurants are filled with diners from all walks of life, each with different likes and dislikes. All of them are able to have a similar, positive experience.
They won’t eat the same dishes but they can all find something on the menu they like. If you don’t have a target audience in mind when creating a video, how can you possibly get the messaging right for their tastes?
Even if you want to try and reach more than one group of people, you don’t have to create a whole new production for each group.
Sometimes a simple tweak of the ingredients is more than enough
Sometimes it takes a pinch of spice here or a drop of sauce there and you can cater for more than one person with a simple tweak. Video is no different. You might have a message that is 90% relevant to the majority of people. By tweaking the last 10% - perhaps your call to action – you can hit a wider audience and leave them with a pleasant aftertaste. Using the restaurant analogy, there’s often no need to redesign your menu for every person walking through the door.
It’s hard to work out whether the amount of video uploaded to YouTube every hour outweighs the number of times that statistic has been used in blogs. (It’s 18,000 hours of video per hour in case you’ve missed it.) Not every video ends up on YouTube so it goes to show why so few videos achieve viral status.
People share things for any number of reasons but a lot of the time it’s because they want others to share the same experience. They also need to be entertained. You can’t expect the monthly financial reports to hit the same mark as ‘Charlie bit my finger’.
At the end of each episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon would return to the establishment to see how they were going. Those taking his advice were filled with satisfied diners, happy staff and revitalised owners.
If you want to talk about our recipe ideas for your next production, we promise we won’t swear like Gordon! Contact us to schedule in an incredibly stress-free consultation.
By Ian Bignell