When you look at the videos produced by your competition and others in your industry, what do you see? What do they look like? Do yours look the same? Say the same things? Do you truly stand out?
Just like a bad website design is enough to turn you off from buying a product or service, a bad video can be enough to turn off a potential consumer from choosing your brand over another. More than half of the buyer’s decision is made up before they ever even reach out to you. Therefore, it’s essential that your video leaves your audience with a positive feeling about your brand.
Authenticity is the key to creating any video that inspires your audience to take action. Just think of all the cheesy corporate videos you’ve seen out there. The ones that you’re more likely to make fun of than to reach out to anyone. You know the ones – the Mission videos that stay so high-level that they say nothing at all; the corporate videos that use so much industry speak that you have no idea what they are actually trying to say; or the case study videos that create scenarios so unrealistic, you immediately call bullshit.
But how exactly do you actually create authentic videos? Here are a few suggestions, for a variety of videos.
Whatever you want to call it, the video that sets forth your company’s reason for being is the video that you want to be the most genuine and authentic in. This is the video that’s going to explain why your company exists and why someone should choose to engage with your product or service. Speak to your audience in real terms. Interview your team, especially those on the front lines. Let them explain who you are and what you do. And don’t put words in their mouths. Odds are any script read by employees will be written by a conglomerate of people with a variety of opinions… none of which express how that individual actually feels. Be bold enough to trust your employees to vocalize your company’s mission. And don’t have them recite the mission statement core values… unless yours is a company where those values are engrained in your DNA. Otherwise, they’ll look wildly uncomfortable doing so and that’s the last visual you want.
You know you smell bullshit a mile away when you watch a commercial where it’s clear the actor has never actually used the product their hawking. Or how commercials fail when they awkwardly cram the company name or show the product far too often. These types of videos create a negative feeling and turn consumers away. This is where branded documentaries are so effective. These are micro- or mini-docs that tell positive stories about a product or service in a manner that’s more about what the product or company stands for than about the specific product itself. Yeti has done a fantastic job over the years crafting stories that resonate with consumers because they touch on feelings and emotions that they can relate to. Branded documentaries simply connect on a different level. They create a positive emotional connection with your brand, and from a sales and marketing perspective, those folks are far more likely to reach out to you.
Authentic culture videos are crucial to the sniff test. I know it sounds crazy, but to be authentic, tell true stories. Put your biggest brand advocates on camera – the one who can tell a story about how your in-depth mentor program changed the way they see financing. Or tell the story about the new employee who initiated your company’s recycling program. Culture videos are where you shouldn’t hold anything back. Let your people shine. If you have a crazy team, and you want to attract crazy people – show that. Get your team talking about how they feel, or translate their feelings into a tightly written script (under 300 words, please!). But whatever you do, don’t start saying you’re something you’re not, because you won’t be able to fake it. If you’re saying that you have a fun, laid-back atmosphere, that better be the case. Have the visuals support those claims with team members involved in a heated ping pong match or ribbing one another in the lunchroom. Don’t cut to a silent library of a common area where employees eat in silence or shame.
At the end of the day, whatever the style of video, authenticity is going to make it stand out from the crowd. If you want your viewer to care (which is the whole reason you’re willing to spend a lot of time and money developing them) then you must be authentic.