Why you need a good video

Film is at the heart of storytelling. A good video requires a good story to prevent people from clicking on the Stop button. 

As viewers, our attention is caught as long as we feel something, meaning as long as we are entertained, surprised or moved. If we can identify ourselves with the hero and the goal he's pursuing, we'll probably want to know how he gets through the end of the story.

For a startup, a video is useful to:

  • give on overview of what you do - the so-called explainer videos you often find on homepages (ex: Mailtime or Peppermint)
  • detail how a specific feature works - the infamous tutorials (ex: Mailchimp or WeVideo)
  • raise funds for a crowdfunding campaign (ex: Hexo+)
  • build trust among users with customers' testimonials (ex: Airbnb)
  • attract talents by displaying your company culture (ex: media temple)


Airbnb started making videos 6 months after their startup took off. One of the girls at their customer support suggested to film hosts at their home, to help establish a sense of trust for the brand and the experience of living at a stranger's place.

Then they made videos about the amazing story of the founders, to show they were real risk-takers - because they wanted to attract this kind of talent.

Venetia Pristavec, the woman behind the scene, admits the ROI is not easy to measure, but over time, metrics showed a pretty high conversion rate.



How to build a great video

Depending on the quality standard your brand requires and the talents you can access, you'll probably be able to do part of the job yourself. Anyhow, it's going to be a 4-step process, from writing the script, to filming the scenes, to editing the footage and adding the music or voice over.

I'll focus on the script here - the actual story. Here is what you should pay extra attention to:

The end

You usually know the message you want people to remember (buy this, try that, share it) but what is the feeling you want people to leave with at the end of the story? Inspired, excited, zen, angry... What kind of world are you building for your audience? Is it about justice, happiness, magic...

The tone

The more unique and sharp your personality is, the more exciting it will be to listen to your story. Your tone/personality can be elegant, fun, exciting, sincere… Remember the Dollar Shave Club video? Everybody does. Why? Because it's f**ing unique!


The hero

Using a customer - or a partner if you’re a marketplace - is usually a good bet, because they have true stories to share and they’re a great way for future customers to identify. But choose carefully because not everyone has an interesting story to tell. Uber uses them a lot to justify their mission. The less you have them talk about your product, the better! Because it won’t sound like you’re selling something, and you will sell it all the better! Remember, the hero is not you or your product: it’s the customer!!! Your job is to be their mentor: to inspire them to be who they dream to be.

The driving force

What will set the story in motion? Try to avoid the all-too classic problem-solution approach and find something more intimate. Think about who your hero wants to be rather than what he wants to have.

The sequence order

Most stories begin with the origins of a problem, but you can definitely start with the end ("this is the conclusion, then this is how we arrived there") or with the middle ("an event, then how we got there, then how we solved it"). Look at this original loop scenario by Field Notes.



The toolbox


Peppermint - the simplest

Dollar shave club - the most hilarious

Field Notes - the most original and movie-like

Bellroy - the most poetic

Sonosycle - the hipster-est

Whiteboard - the most literal, but the music and, even more, the end, makes it a real good one.

Mailtime - the quirkiest

Sandwich videos - the inventors of quirky (there is a whole collection to watch)


Mailchimp (marketing email software)

WeVideo (editing video software)


Fanm Djanm - the classiest

Patagonia - the wildest

Customer of employee stories

Airbnb here or there - the most joyful and heartfelt

media temple - the most beautiful


The Glif - the most excitingly descriptive

Hexo+ - the most wow (make sure to watch it full screen!)

Prizm - classic but efficient

Editing tools

Get started with these few tips.

Shoot great images with Wistia.

Edit your footage with WeVideo.

Make easy screencasting from your desk with Skillshare.

Find free music on Free Music Archive or Jamendo.

This article explains how to choose the right music.