What Is a Brand Documentary?

A brand documentary is a very short (usually under 5 minutes) film made primarily from unscripted interview footage. A brand documentary may also be called a “branded documentary” or “mini documentary”. It will typically feature the president, CEO founder, or owner. Some brand documentaries also include other staff members or clients.

In addition to interview footage, brand documentaries often feature “b-roll”, which refers to any footage that isn’t people talking. This can be interesting footage of the organization’s facilities, operations, equipment, or even the interviewees engaged in other activities.

Brand documentaries vs. conventional marketing videos

Unlike conventional marketing videos, which advertise products and services, brand documentaries give viewers a glimpse of the real humanity behind the brand. We love making this type of video because it gives us the opportunity to get to know entrepreneurs and business leaders on a deeper level.

Brand documentary interview
Brand documentaries feature visceral, authentic moments.

Conventional marketing videos use a script, with the exact wording planned ahead of time. This can often lead to a result that feels stiff, salesy, or inauthentic. By contrast, well-made brand documentaries feel genuine and trustworthy because they offer the audience visceral moments from the real people behind the business.

Since the story is developed after the filming instead of before, the editor can build the narrative around the most touching moments. As an editor, I personally love this aspect. I almost always discover a hidden passion that the business leader hadn’t previously considered a marketing asset. Because of these discoveries, the process of making a brand documentary can add a lot of value beyond the video itself.

Here’s an example:

Notice how everything Darren and his employees say seems to come from the heart. That’s because it does. Like most people, these guys aren’t actors. If we had tried to get them to recite lines from a script, the result would have been… awkward. Instead, we just captured them talking about the things that matter to them. What we got was a group of guys breathing life into an industry most people never think about.

How to make a brand documentary

For best results, hire a video production company that specializes in this type of work. Here are two important factors to consider when selecting a production company:

  1. Does their interviewer have a keen sense of empathy and a genuine interest in getting to know business leaders? 

    Production companies tend to underestimate this responsibility and assign it to the director, or whoever happens to be on set. As a result, the conversation is surface-level and focuses only on the rote specifics of the business. The interviewee never gets warm enough to reveal genuine emotion. By contrast, a great interviewer takes plenty of time to ingratiate herself to the interviewee and has an enjoyable, reciprocal conversation.

  2. Does their editor know how to discern emotion from information? 

    Brand documentaries commonly suffer from the need to inform, which is a great goal for written media, like websites and brochures. However, the real strength of the brand documentary is its ability to inspire. A talented brand documentary editor knows how to build a story purely from emotional impact statements.

The right interviewer and editor working in tandem can produce a beautiful, moving film that achieves everything you need in a brand documentary. Concurrent Productions specializes in premium brand documentaries. If your business can benefit from more trust and authenticity, please contact us!