SAP Design
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SAP Design

How to Use Video to Boost Your Product Strategy

Generate interest and earn trust along the product design and development process

An abstract image representing camera lens in a blue-green gradient.

According to a recent study from Vidyard, videos are becoming an important component for organizations undergoing a digital transformation. While we already recognize the impact of video content for Marketing and Sales, videos can also play a strategic role for product teams.

Videos can be used along essentially every phase of the design and development process, whether it’s to generate interest about upcoming releases, to educate users about new features, for onboarding, to attract new customers, or even to recruit new talent. Another plus? Video content is almost always hosted on a video platform that enables you to view and compare stats, which is a great way to track key performance indicators and see how your product is being perceived along the way by both internal and external stakeholders.

Any product team can leverage the power of video with some basic skills or, if budget allows, a dedicated video team. Let’s take a closer look at how you can use different types of videos to support your product strategy.

The product demo video

Product demos may be the simplest videos to create, but they are an important part of getting the buy-ins from key stakeholders and customers in the early, late and even final stages of the design and development process.

Whether it’s to convey a rough vision of what a product will do, or to show the end results, using a pre-recorded video demonstration is an easy and sure way to create an impact.

Why use a video instead of a live demonstration?

  1. You can craft the perfect scenario, eliminating errors and loading times.
  2. You can design the screens and interaction to look real and alive even when the system isn’t yet up and running.
  3. You can take advantage of captions/text or voiceover to convey additional meaning, such as to help viewers understand what’s happening on the screen or to lead them through a workflow.

The showcase video

Similar to product demos, the showcase video walks users through the new features and design of the product. Compared to product demos, these videos are a bit more condensed and dynamic, aiming to show the product in action by using UIs in combination with live-action footage to better tell the story and sell not just the screen, but the entire experience.

Let’s have a look again at the same application as before, but this time showcasing all new features:

Showcase videos contextualize the impact of a product by showing how a real person uses it and what’s happening outside of the screen. This really drives home the business value behind the product, which might not be immediately evident just from watching the product demo.

The product commercial

Product commercials are a great way to communicate your product vision and experience. These videos are often full of metaphors. They are rich in motion and sound, and their primary purpose is to evoke emotion.

The video above is a great example of a product commercial that creates emotion and communicates the vision and brand identity of SAP Mobile Experience, rather than focusing too much on the details of the product itself.

The explanatory video

Explanatory videos are short animated videos, or a series of videos, that explain a product or service in an engaging way, often using illustrations and caricatures.

Let’s look at one of our most popular explanatory videos, the “What is SAPUI5?” video.

Notice how abstract the graphics in this video are compared to the actual product? These videos show less product details and use simple and easy-to-understand motion graphics. This technique is used in videos to focus in on the message without getting caught up on details that may distract from the greater concept or product vision.

If you’re interested in learning more about motion design and animation, you might want to read my colleagues’ interview on Working as a Motion Designer for Enterprise.

The customer testimonial video

We love talking to our customers about their experiences with our software. Testimonials are a great way to capture and spread the message to a broader audience and in that way generate more loyalty or even attract new customers.

A video of this type requires a solid commitment from the customer. While shooting the actual video may take on day, you can expect the entire production process to last about six months when factoring in the time for creating a rapport with the customer, signing off on a storyline, aligning on timing, editing, and more. Luckily, we’ve found out that our customers actually enjoy the production process and form an even stronger bond to our organization. In fact, we are still in touch with many of the customers who appeared on our videos to this day.

The behind-the-scenes video

Product stories are a great way to show the values, methods, and collaboration that makes a great product come together. Behind-the-scenes videos can depict essentially any stage of the design and development process, such as exploration, research, iteration, and even user adoption.

In the following video, we show the process that went on behind the development of the Corona-Warn-App — from the UI design and information infrastructure, to how the team managed to build a consistent and easy-to-understand design between Android and iOS while following all accessibility requirements. These kinds of videos are great for conveying thought leadership, demonstrating why your team stands out from the competition.

Another example of behind-the-scenes video content is our Behind SAP Design video series, where we interview different talents about their roles. Apart from showcasing our great talents at SAP, the series proved to be a great conversation starter for customers and event recruiters and led to numerous networking opportunities for our colleagues.

The product expression video

The product expression video is something we’ve been experimenting more with lately on our SAP Design Medium channel. These kind of videos and GIFs allow us to build a visual world that extends beyond our product to touchpoints across our digital and physical worlds. Together with our software visual design, they make up the full experience of our brand expression. The style we’re developing for SAP Design is open and friendly with a focus on bold, layered concepts, vibrant emotional color combinations, and whimsy. For more on our visual direction, read Transforming Business Through Design.

A GIF representing the visual design direction of SAP Design. Here we see an abstract animation showing elements of human figures engaging with different aspects of the design and research process.
An animated gif showcasing elements of our product expression

Simple tips to kick off your video strategy today

Now that I’ve walked you through the different types of videos, it’s time to think about how video content can help shape your product strategy. Keep in mind that creating video content takes effort and requires planning ahead of time. I always advise my colleagues to start collecting information and video material early on in the process and to keep everything together in one folder.

Here are some other tips to get started:

  • Identify key opportunities for video early on in the product development process and plan in time for building in video.
  • Talk to your video team or a video expert for ideas and advice.
  • Create and share a product pitch deck with your video team that includes the key messages and the business value of your product.
  • Keep archived footage of everything related to your product, whether that’s user testing recordings, ideation workshops, events, or behind-the-scenes moments.

Dragomir Ralchev is Video Lead for SAP Design.

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