Article first published by Little Black Book in July 2018.

Grading  – Our Creative Director; Jason Dollery draws on his previous experience
client-side to put into context how important this subject is to all parties involved, from film-makers, creatives, to marketing and communication professionals.

If you’ve worked in a senior marketing position looking after brand guidelines, its fair to assume you’re familiar with the term ‘visual identity’. It may have been presented in the creative toolkit section with a mood board, swatches and/or mocked up examples of how static imagery (posters, packaging, banner ads etc.) should be used when promoting the company. Visual identity is a fundamental element of a brand’s guidelines, but honestly to those of us in the marketing profession, have we ever created or even seen one for our brand’s video content?

Now if you’re in production or part of a creative team this question may seem strange, but more often than not the marketer – the key stakeholder who today is one of the driving forces in the creation of content – probably would never have seen a visual identity for their branded video. The direct result of this is elements such as video grade will not be on their radar…

I worked for five years without this guideline. I produced around 20 films across three brands acting in a senior marketing role. However looking back, although I can see products where – shown correctly – scripts were unified, logos and end boards hit their marks, there is a distinct variant in how the video within each brand looks. Some films look over saturated, others look dull. And it’s only when viewing them as a collective can I see something is wrong. The fact that the primary communication platforms for video content – such as YouTube – group videos together, mean this non-unification can confuse and jar with the brand’s value and message more than ever before.

Now I can’t stress enough how grading is a fundamental element of video production and anyone in the industry will know its purpose. However for those of us who got thrown in the deep end and have been driving this new wave of content creation, we may have missed its importance, so to the detriment of our videos it is often skipped/rushed to save time and money.

Our Grading Insight film presented by director Peter Morrell and strategic director Ayo Hughes looks at why and how this technique can unify your branded content and raise its overall production value. Whether you are in corporate communications or above-the-line commercials, this technique is a crucial one to learn and utilise in ongoing campaigns.

Written by Jason Dollery, Creative Director at Sandstorm for Little Black Book’s influencer series.

Jason joined Sandstorm in 2015 after a decade working client-side building and supporting global brands, he now uses his unqiue dual-sided insight to enhance our client’s TV commercials and branded content campaigns.


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