It’s a film that you commission to be produced and distributed, to promote your companies mission.
It’s not “entertainment” though it can be entertaining. It’s not a “investigative documentary” though it can be made in a “documentary” style. It is a film that you commission me, to make about your company or organization. Industrial films are not made to be “theatrically released” or broadcast as “entertainment” though some do find their way to Broadcast & Cable; today the primary outlet is the internet through your own website.
I have made commercials, public service announcements, video news releases, documentaries (sponsored), corporate training programs, educational films, awareness films, corporate branding films, safety training films, product announcements, infomercials, etc, etc. These are all “industrial films” or films that are sponsored by companies or non-profit organizations such as yours. If you want to “get a message out” making a film is an excellent way to do it as it works for you 24/7-365.
Corporate video, vs Industrial film:
There is quite a bit of overlap in the definition of these terms, to most people there is no difference, but I like to think of them as defined by their intended audience. If it’s a corporate video it’s audience is primarily internal, the employees of the corporation. An industrial film’s audience is primarily external, the prospects, customers and the general public is the intended audience. In larger companies corporate video is primarily used for training and communicating within the company and is handled by staff dedicated to this task. Industrial films are generally made by outsiders, by contract, to interpret the companies message to a general audience. There is a great advantage to hiring an outsider for making a film to promote your company to a general audience, the outsider has the same perspective as the audience! Writing about oneself is difficult, making a film about oneself is harder, having the same perspective as the audience is an advantage as there is no fore knowledge about the company and what might seem obvious to an employee can be confusing to the public.
Smaller firms, or those who do not have dedicated staff will hire a producer (me) to handle all aspects of creating a concept for a film, producing it and handling it’s release (distribution) to it’s intended audience.