What are ‘talking head’ videos?

Often as marketers, we are faced with the challenge of engaging with a number of stakeholders, so that we may compel them to take a certain action or feel a certain way about our brand, product or organisation.

For this reason, talking head videos have increasingly become part of the marketers tool-kit. 

If you are unfamiliar with what I’m talking about let me explain. In a talking head video the main action involves someone talking to the camera, either right into it or slightly to the side. It will normally be in an interview style with some b-roll footage thrown for good measure, to highlight or embellish what is being said by the interviewee or interviewee’s.

Typically, an interviewer asks the interviewee’s a series of questions (these can be either open or closed questions) to elicit a particular range of responses that can be used to form part of the story when it is cut down for the end video.

These sound bites then become the building blocks of the video and are arranged in order to best fit the narrative that suits marketing objectives of the marketer. 

What are some good use cases for marketers?

Case Studies

One of the most popular and most effective uses of talking head videos is case studies or customer testimonials. 

In a scenario where a brand or organisation needs to build trust, social proof and brand recognition, a well executed and engaging case study video, with a talking head as its foundation, is a really powerful way to engage stakeholders and/or target audiences.

Typically, this will involve key figures talking about the projects and/or products they have worked on and could also include testimonials from clients. 

– Our Story Videos

Everyone loves a good story, or so they say, and some of the most popular stories are developed around the theme of origin. Usually a tale of humble beginnings, where the protagonist battles through a series of trials and tribulations to overcome their challenges and reach where they are today, will engage its audience.

The same format can be applied to ‘Our Story’ videos, when a brand or organisation wants to use the story of its foundation, and explain how its principles and goals came into existence and what challenges the founders faced along the way.

It can serve as a great way to engage stakeholders, to get them to buy into the vision of a brand or organisation.

– Our Culture Videos

Very similar to Our Story videos, ‘Our Culture’ videos typically involve the founders, management and staff of an organisation or brand talking about the overarching principles of their business and why it’s a great place to work.

The target audience for this style of video is usually people hoping to apply to work at the organisation. The video would give them an idea of what to expect and help to attract more top tier talent who share the same ethos as the brand.

It also serves as a way to enhance the reputation of the organisation or brand in the jobs market. Overall, if executed correctly, the video will serve to show off the range of benefits of working at the company.

– General content

As marketers we are constantly pumping out relevant and engaging content to engage our target audiences. This is particularly relevant with services based businesses, where part of the service employs specialist information or knowledge.

Often we will produce articles such as this one, to provide some free expertise to our target audiences. This can give a flavour of what potential clients can expect from working with us and in general can assist in enhancing our site wide SEO and traffic through latent semantic indexing on search engines.

Increasingly articles are being supplemented by short videos that sum up an article in a format that can be more memorable and engaging for audiences. Talking heads, where typically an authority figure at the organisation or brand is speaking about this topic can be particularly effective. 

(Did you know that after Google itself, Youtube is one of the largest search engines with Youtube being far easier to index on than Google. Furthermore with video transcripts, they can enhance your on page SEO when embedded to your website. Another reason why talking heads are so great, as they are filled with relevant terms.)

Often they will also be cut into 30 second clips, to act as a hook to get people to click your link when the article is distributed on social media or via email. Talking heads with some slick motion graphics can be a great way to do this.

  • Pitch Videos:

On occasion your sales team may be struggling to get in front of key decision makers, and our challenge as marketers is to help them with doing so.

More often, speculative pitch videos are being used to communicate the benefits of working with a particular brand or organisation to busy key decision makers.

To really be effective they need to be memorable; so a good talking head video, with a good concept and script, can be a great way to start a conversation.

What are some good examples? and why are they good?

So we’ve talked a lot about talking head videos and how they can be used, so it’s only right we look at some good examples.

Luckily, we get to work with a very wide variety of clients, so have a good range of examples showcasing how talking head videos have been used by marketers in different sectors.

Benjamin Shine – Minotti

Minotti are a furniture brand based in Italy but with an independent arm in the UK called Minotti London. They teamed up with pioneering artist Benjamin Shine to showcase how brands and artists can collaborate to explore the creative process and how this can be used in conjunction with a brands story and heritage.

We used a combination of a talking head interview and b-roll of Benjamin at work to highlight Benjamin’s artwork and creative process, which added some extra weight to Minotti’s brand messaging.

Dimensions Specsavers Ad

Dimensions are a Manchester based corporate clothing supplier. They were looking to reach senior decision makers at Specsavers in charge of staff uniforms. 

They thought it would be a good idea to replicate the Specsavers talking head advert with Ian Wright but this time with Dimensions as the brand coming into focus.

We heard the video had a good reception from Specsavers and opened up the conversion between Dimensions sales team and Specsaver’s buyers.

Re-leased Our Culture

Re-Leased are a New Zealand based software company, who have a large office in London. They are a Sass business in the proptech space and they make lease management software for commercial property managers.

As a rapidly growing company, they need to continually attract new talent to join the team. Re-leased are big on family values and community spirit and this is a big part of their company culture. So Re-Leased wanted to reflect this as part of their messaging.

We took sound bites from various members of the Re-leased staff, as well as from the company’s founder Tom, to explain the company mission, values and why it’s such a great place to work.

Autograph Hotels Collections – Indie film Project

Autograph Collection hotels are part of the Marriott Group. In 2019 they started their Indie Film project which is a series of events taking place at their hotels which aim to explore the art of film making and dig deep into the details that go into it.

We were asked to produce a film from an event from one of their hotels in London with the BBC’s chief film critic Mark Kermode and Sandy Powell, 4 time oscar winning costume designer, who had just finished producing Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman”.

We used talking head video here alongside some b-roll footage from the event, to give a brief insight into what the project is about which also introduces the Autograph brand in a subtle way as a facilitator of cultural discussions.

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