How to Come Up With Creative Video Concepts

Welcome to the sixth lesson in our Video Basics series. Here you’ll learn how to generate the creative approach that truly brings your video content to life for your audience.


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Your Questions to Complete After Watching

1. Which values do you share with your audience that you’ll want to communicate through your video content? What are the most important brand values and messages for you to get across?
2. Which visuals and sound best reflect your brand and the values you’ve just identified? Create a moodboard if you like, which can include colours, locations, music, voices, video clips, etc. Think about the type of emotions you’re likely to want to express.
3. Can you think of any creative video approaches you’ve enjoyed in the past in adverts or branded content? Would any of these concepts work for your own brand? (Take a look at our Video Worth Sharing for inspiration!)
4. If you’ve created video content in the past, assess one of your videos for its creative concept. Is there a more exciting and effective way to express the message of the video than the one you used? Do you think a different approach would resonate with your audience more? What would you do differently in the future?


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Full Transcript

Once you’ve got your goals, your audience insights, and your core message, it’s time to work out the idea behind your video content: the creative thought that brings your video to life and makes it really resonate with your audience.

Choosing the right creative approach can be the hardest step in making effective video. Over the years we’ve developed a specific process that helps us turn marketing messages into creative yet achievable video concepts.

I’m going to walk you through that process and show you how great video ideas are born.

Step 1: Focus on Your Problem

First, make sure you’re certain of the problem you want your video to solve. What’s it aiming to achieve? Who are you talking to? What do you need them to know and do? It’s worth writing these points down to solidify them in your mind before coming up with any ideas. This is your very basic brief.

If you have audience insights, include them here. If you don’t know what they are or how to find them, click here to watch our video about understanding your audience.

Step 2: Brainstorm Creative Ideas

Keeping your brief in mind, spend at least half an hour by yourself brainstorming creative ideas. A creative idea is an approach that doesn’t need to be fully fleshed out, but should encompass what you know about your goals, audience and core message.

For example, creative ideas could include:

  • training video that looks like reality TV,
  • a metaphor comparing your service to space travel, or
  • promoting yourself through a personified version of your brand.

Why brainstorm alone? Research has shown that this way you’re more likely to come up with a range of creative ideas unaffected by the views or concerns of others. To give yourself the best odds, allow yourself to come up with as many ideas as possible, nevermind how strange they may be.

Don’t restrict yourself. Look for inspiration from unusual sources and let your mind cross-pollinate. Keep a record of everything you think of. If you do have others to brainstorm with, send them the notes you made in step one and ask them to come up with ideas by themselves too.

Step 3: Review Creative Ideas

Now it’s time to include your brainstorming team. You need to pool all the ideas everyone has come up with and discuss them. Here you can be more realistic and critical  consider which ideas are not only true to your brief but also possible to achieve.

Democratically decide on your favourites, which should be no more than three or four.

Step 4: Pick Your Final Idea

It's time to kill your darlings. Out of all the ideas you've generated, you need to commit to the one you think is best. Though this might seem like the hardest step, it shouldn’t be. At this stage your final ideas should all be really good. So don’t over complicate things — go with your gut.

Deciding on any one idea is much more important than trying to pick out the perfect idea. And as we’ll see, an idea only takes you half of the way to a great creative concept.

Step 5: Repeat With Executions

Now you have your core idea, the next step is deciding on its execution. This is a more specific description that considers the look, sound, and practicalities of how your idea will be brought to life. Your core idea can have many different executions, and it’s up to you to pick a good one.

Executions of creative approaches could include:

  • filming a training video in the style of Big Brother,
  • creating an explainer animation that is set in space and positions your service as a rocket, or
  • shooting a promotional film where an actor portrays your brand.

Now you need to repeat the last three stages, but this time for executions. Come up with ideas alone, discuss them as a group, and then whittle down to your favourite. For this stage you can also use images, sounds or moodboards to help visualise your executions and decide between them.


Once you’ve got your final creative idea and execution, you’re ready to start developing it further with a script and a storyboard. But that’s for another video — for now, celebrate that you’ve found a creative concept that will communicate your message and resonate with your audience.