As an entrepreneur passionate about truthful, human-centric marketing, I believe that video is unparalleled in its ability to connect customers with the business owner’s authentic human core.
There are many ways to market, but short of face-to-face contact, only video can establish an innate sense of trust and respect between the entrepreneur and the prospect. Not only are trust and respect the ultimate sales objection killers, they make all aspects of life easier and more joyful.
Side note: How do I know so much about all this? I own a video production company in Los Angeles that specializes in making authentic brand videos. I truly believe there are many production companies out there who can do a fantastic job on your video. Want some tools to determine whether you’re working with one? Get my free PDF here.
That said, here are 5 fundamental characteristics that work together to create a spectacular brand video:
1. An Authentic Brand Video is about the entrepreneur, not the company.
By far the most interesting thing to human beings is other human beings. For better or worse, we are hardwired to notice and care about what we can relate to.
The stories we read, listen to, and watch are almost entirely based on human or human-like characters.
For some reason, marketers often forget this fundamental truth and create videos about things instead of people.
Sometimes a product or service has to be explained to educate customers, but this is a waste of video’s power, and best left to text-based outlets, like websites.
An Authentic Brand Video doesn’t use screen time for product details. It creates trust by revealing some aspect of the entrepreneur’s background or personality and helping viewers understand what it is about her that caused her to create the business.
2. An Authentic Brand Video is about values and beliefs, not products and services.
It’s impossible for someone to gain your trust if the only thing you know about them is what they sell.
For your audience to feel like they know you well enough to be comfortable doing business with you, you must show them what you believe so they can perceive an alignment of values.
We care about the values of our family members and friends, so why assume our customers don’t care about ours?
Stating your values can be as simple and direct as “I believe a happy employee is more productive,” or as abstract as “The infinite oneness inside all of us is the essence of bliss.”
When you say what you genuinely believe, those who agree with you will automatically trust you more.
3. An Authentic Brand Video reveals a flaw or vulnerability.
In our personal lives, trust is established when we tell someone something vulnerable, and believe that person won’t use it against us.
In a brand video, this can be:
- Something we think might be too sappy
- Something true we think could be perceived as false
- An alignment with some kind of spiritual philosophy
Vulnerability in a brand video is magic because it helps your customers self-identify. Sure, some will react cynically, be turned off, or laugh at you. But others (the ones you’re meant to reach) will be more powerfully drawn in than ever.
We like being into things that most people aren’t into. It helps us form our identities. Being vulnerable in your brand video will help you build a niche that may not cast the widest net possible, but will help you find the most passionate and loyal customers.
4. An Authentic Brand Video uses human language, not business language.
The public is so used to being sold to that our brains naturally tune out phrases like:
- Your satisfaction
- For all your _________ needs -Best prices / Best value -Guarantee / Guaranteed
- Free estimate
- If you’re looking for…
- Any industry-specific buzzwords
Often, when we need a particular service, we just ask someone for a recommendation because it’s easier than listening to company after company repeat the desperate, undifferentiating words above.
To those who have to shop around, imagine how much your business would stand out if you were the only one not using the buzzwords above, but instead expressing yourself in your own, natural words.
5. An Authentic Brand Video doesn’t pander to the audience.
In our personal lives, we avoid people who try too hard to please us, or who seem like they’re trying to be someone else to fit into the group instead of just being themselves.
Puzzlingly, businesses seem to overlook this obvious social dynamic.
The fear of offending someone or losing a single sale has caused countless businesses to build their brand videos around what they think matters to the customer instead of what actually matters to themselves.
This results in boring, tacky brand videos that excite nobody. If they attract any customers, they’re low-quality customers primarily concerned with price.
Authentic Brand Videos are unabashed in their honesty. They’re not sanitized or watered down, and they show the audience that the entrepreneur is a genuine person who wants to do business with other genuine people.
The meaning of authenticity doesn’t change when you go to work.
There’s really no difference in the meaning of the word “authentic” whether we’re talking about a marketing video or any other form of interpersonal communication. It’s just what you’re being when you’re giving your audience an uncontrived piece of yourself, and respecting yourself enough to believe that doing so won’t damage you professionally.
Consider whether, in any social context (and business is a social context), you feel more comfortable dealing with someone flawed but genuine, or someone “perfect” but clearly withholding and emotionally inaccessible.
Now go make a brand video that stands out.