What You See Is What You Get: Authentic Brand Videos Build Trust

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By Hope Horner

You were once an entrepreneur with a great idea. Then, you took that giant leap and turned your great idea into a tangible product or service. Now you want people to pay for it. The problem? Outside of your friends and family, no one knows who you are or why they should believe what you tell them about your amazing new product.

If it's any comfort, your problem isn't unique. As a three-time entrepreneur, I've faced this numerous times myself. Today, I help people overcome this obstacle -- by harnessing the unparalleled power of video.

Building trust and credibility with potential buyers is absolutely critical to growing your business. While it doesn't typically happen overnight, a well-made video can certainly kickstart the process. Here's how:

Storytelling on Steroids

Sure, a picture is worth a thousand words. But a 60-second video is equivalent to roughly 1.8 million words. Imagine the story you can tell with that many words.

Not only can a video give audiences a better understanding of your product, but it also has the power to evoke emotion from your customers in ways other media can't. Video gets people excited, helps them empathize, and makes them yearn for that stress-free solution you're offering. Creating an emotional connection with audiences compels them to believe you understand their pain points and to trust the solutions you provide.

Of course, where you tell your story also matters: Don't just keep it hidden on your website or social media pages. Thanks to digital video distribution platforms, you can quickly infiltrate all of cyberspace and ensure that your video is poised to target audiences whenever they browse their favorite websites or consume related content.

The Proof Is All Around Us

Video has helped many new startups and established companies take products or services to mainstream audiences. In fact, major brands have been capitalizing on this marketing approach for years.

In 2014, it took Chipotle just three and a half minutes to solidify its status as the thoughtful alternative to fast-food chains serving up greasy food made with GMOs. The company's ad features a scarecrow that challenges the status quo in food production. It not only won top honors in the PR space at the 61st annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, but also helped build a highly trustworthy reputation for the brand -- which is likely why its recent challenges haven't totally sunk it.

A few years prior, Michael Dubin, founder of Dollar Shave Club, decided to create an irreverent, hilarious YouTube video (starring himself) to drum up business for his subscription razor service. Within two days, the company had more than 12,000 new subscribers. That video cost less than $5,000 to make and has since been viewed more than 23 million times (and Dollar Shave Club was since acquired by Unilever for $1 billion).

While video has proven its ability to catapult brands to unimaginable heights, but how do you create a brand video the right way?

1. Don't start a war. If you insult your competitors in your video, nobody will sympathize with you if they retaliate. Plus, if they're already established companies, they probably have the resources to one-up you.

Aside from the fact that videos focused on the best qualities of a product -- as opposed to the negative attributes of a competitor's -- feel more trustworthy, there are a few more reasons you should keep it positive. You also don't want to offend or alienate your target customers, who may have purchased or considered purchasing from your competitors. Finally, dwelling on competitors' weaknesses can give the impression that you don't really have any strengths to talk about, so ditch the inferiority complex.

2. Give people what they appreciate most -- authenticity. Documentary-style videos give founders the opportunity to share their stories directly with audiences. These types of videos are typically found on company websites and can be shortened into commercial formats.

In video interviews, give genuine responses; don't over-rehearse or memorize scripts verbatim -- you'll sound generic. People recognize and relate to what is real. Likewise, video is one of the best ways to introduce your team to the world, as we did in our 2015 holiday party video.

Sure, people can read team bios on your website, but video gives viewers an opportunity to see your team in their element. It's OK for the video's vibe to feel more relaxed and team-oriented, but it's still important to boast a high-quality product. If it's shot on a smartphone or poorly edited, for example, it can relay an unprofessional message to customers.

3. Turn customers into your best salespeople. Testimonials are a great way to build trust for your brand, but avoid stereotypical before-and-after photos and infomercial-type jargon. Show real customers talking candidly about why they love your product -- and make sure they smile often on camera.

Making a killer video for your brand doesn't have to be hard. Stick to these tips, and you'll have one you can be proud of. Throw in the right combination of promotion and quality production, and it may even launch your brand to stardom.

Hope Horner is founder and CEO of Lemonlight, a video production and marketing company.