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How to Write a Request for Proposal for an Explainer Video

Yes, the dreaded Request for Proposal (RFP). A grueling document that has gotten a bad rep in recent years. The goal of an RFP is to find the right video professional for your video. This is done by gathering various accurate proposals from potential creatives. If done well, an RFP will lead you to the perfect creative to produce your video.

RFP’s get tricky when the concept of idea proposal comes up. This is when a creative actually pitches an idea or vision to the client. The problem arises when companies seek out ideas before a creative receives payment. In essence, the creative is working for free here. That, obviously, cannot happen. This is partially why RFP’s have gotten such a bad rep recently. It’s important to have realistic expectations and goals throughout this process.

Us marketers here at Video Brewery have dabbled in the art of RFPs so we decided to put our knowledge to use. We’ve dug up a few tips to ensure you have a realistic and useful RFP.

Step 1: Elevator Pitch

Start off with a solid elevator pitch.
If you’re confused about what an elevator pitch is, check out this detailed guide from Hubspot. (elevator pitch) In the time it takes you to ride an elevator, you should be able to explain your business.

It’s a great way to inform creatives what your company’s all about. Who are you? Why do you exist? Give them an inside look into who your company is. Tell the creatives what your brand is.

This is also where you can tell creatives what you need your video for. You may need a quick explainer video to show at a conference. Or maybe something different to post on all social media sites. Make sure to communicate your reasoning for your video form. This way your creative will fully understand what you expect of them.

The opening section is also a good place to explain who it is you’re trying to reach. Who are your ideal customers? Let your creative know who this video is intended for so they can decide on a good approach right off the bat.

Step 2: General scope of work

Time to get technical. This section is where you can describe what you are exactly looking for in a video. Explain how you would like this video to relate to and represent your brand.

It’s important to include what type of video you’re looking for and how many videos you are seeking.

  • Do you need an animated explainer video or a four-minute long customer testimonial?
  • Are you looking for a series of short videos for blogs?
  • How long will this (or these) video(s) be?

A typical explainer video is under two minutes. If you’re looking for a video longer than this be sure to specify why.It’s a good idea to explain your goals here.

  • What do you want to achieve with this video?
  • Do you want to establish a larger social media presence?
  • Do you want to increase your conversion rates?

Remember to keep this goal realistic. Everyone wants a viral video, but keep your expectations realistic.

This section is also a great way to communicate any other things that are necessary to your video. For example, this could be the type of files needed (standard is .mp4), the size of files needed (standard is 1080 x 1920), or any other specific information.

Lastly, communicate that you are open to suggestions. Creatives are experts. You may have an idea in mind that you think is perfect for your video. A creative might know how to expand more on your video in a different more effective style.

Step 3: Budget

Step 3 is all about the cash.

Budget is a must to include in an RFP. A lot of factors go into deciding the price. Different styles of video have very different budget ranges. For example, a 60-second animated explainer video costs anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. Whereas a true live action video could cost you up to $30,000.

No matter what do your research! Know what type of video you want and then do some investigating. On Video Brewery’s site, we have a portfolio of our work and the approximate budget for each project.

A $1,000 budget is not a realistic budget for a 3-minute live action video. Even for a custom, made from scratch 60-second animation, it doesn’t hold up. Custom videos (in any style) take at least 60-hours to produce.  Any video production also entails its share of fixed costs.

It’s helpful to give your budget a bit of elbow room. Set a range of a few thousand dollars if possible. This will allow you to make changes to your video throughout the process. Changes such as speeding up the process or changing to a more complex style.

Step 4: Timeline

For this step, the more detail the better! Your timeline should cover all of your significant deadlines.

Your timeline should include:

  • Deadline to submit proposals
  • Deadline for Creative decision
  • REALISTIC deadline for video completion

I stress “realistic” here because there’s no need to be putting unnecessary pressure on the creative. If your company needs your video in a tight timeframe, communicate why this is necessary. It’s not smart to request a video immediately if you just simply want the video now. It’s better to let the creative take their time.

If you have any other significant dates besides the ones stated above, include them! Also, include the reasoning for these dates. This way creatives will understand the deadlines completely.

As a good rule of thumb, an animated explainer video takes 5 – 8 weeks to produce on Video Brewery. Live Action projects can take much longer, depending on the logistics of the shoot.

Step 5: References

The last component of great RFP is the reference section.

This part requires a bit of research also. Provide a few references of videos inspire you.

Look for styleframes, color palettes, and overall tones that you would like to see in your video. Educate yourself on video styles so you know exactly what you want in your search for a producer.

Great places to look for inspirational videos are “Best of” lists. You can find these from places like Motionographer or Vimeo Staff Picks. Wine after Coffee is a VB staff favorite. Looking through startup videos can also spark some creativity.

For example, these two creative explainer videos may inspire something in you.

The most important part of the reference section is to show that you put thought into the video you want. If you’re investing in video you need to show that you know what you’re investing in.

Throughout your RFP drafting you may be thinking where do I put my Creative Brief?

A wise word of warning, it may be too early. You might want to wait till further on in the process when the opportunity arises to be more detailed. Some companies, such as Demo Duck, provide you with a specific Creative Brief later on in the process. You’ll end up saving time in the long run if you wait off on the Creative Brief.

If you still need a bit of help with that RFP, here’s a sample template and a blank template to get things rolling.

Request for Proposal Template

Video Brewery Request for Proposal (sample)


See? RFP’s aren’t that bad. As long as your RFP includes all these tips and tricks, you’re set. Keep it realistic, reasonable, and useful.

Now go tackle those RFPs people!

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