Authenticity is becoming an artery to the heart of nearly every marketing campaign. Articles across major media outlets like Forbes, FastCompany, and Inc all promote the idea that authenticity can rapidly shape and positively assist a marketing campaign. But what ways can brands whether small mom and pop shops to large corporate brands step out of their company façade and reveal the human behind the brand? Many companies struggle with this attempting to create cringe-worthy testimonial videos or other times interviewing the company founders that looks more like an interrogation than a conversation. Even worse, companies would try to engage in social media in a witty matter that backfires.
So how would a company show its authentic self without creating a perfect public relations storm? Before diving too much into the solutions, authenticity should be concisely defined. The reason being, the common definition of authenticity is usually ‘be real’ or ‘be yourself’ which is impossible. Unfortunately, if a brand would successfully do and say everything that is on the forefront of the Head of Marketing’s mind, they would end up like Jim Carry on Liar where he said everything on his mind and could not lie. With Jim Carry not being able to be inauthentic, he successfully led him to offend many people and making a fool out of himself countless times.
For this post, authenticity is revealing the human element behind a business. It’s the process of removing the layer of corporate façade and showing the human behind it. For instance, when an audience feels the marketing is coming from a human rather than a corporate entity, the company has successful marketed authentically. Below are a few ways that companies can leverage authenticity:
Organic Demo Videos
When companies put together a sizzle reel to market their company, it usually involves high production value film, usually a few minutes long, that requires many hours of planning and execution. The end result usually looks like a high production commercial showcasing every impressive attribute about the business.
During the keynote of a conference I spoke at the end of January 2019, I showed the audience a typical commercial that looks something like this. During the commercial, the audience learned about what the business did, how they did it, and why they should choose them over a competitor. In addition, there is a good amount of editing, b roll, and voice-overs to convey a tight commercial feeling.
After showing the initial video, I contrasted the typical commercial with a video that conveyed a similar experience. However, instead of it being a mind-numbing commercial, the video consisted of a family experiencing a family entertainment center in real-time. In the short video, it accumulated over 12 million views and demonstrated, or rather sold people on the experience of visiting the family entertainment center. By keeping the human element, the second effectively built more trust and sold the audience on why choosing that facility would be a better option for people’s children. Revealing the human element won the audience’s trust.
Authentic Remarketing Ads
For any company that avoids pay-per-click advertising but is considering taking the plunge, the first area they should consider is remarketing ads. For those of you unfamiliar with this type of advertising, when a prospect visits a website or landing page, the page puts a cookie on the user’s browser. After the prospect leaves the page, the business can successful market or rather re-market to the prospect making different ads show up on page reminding them of their initial interest.
In the world of marketing, usually people expect an online ad to look something like this:
A recent shift in remarketing ads is acknowledging that you are remarketing them successful getting a pattern interrupt and having the prospect pay attention to the ad.
Companies such as Startupvitamins have decided that to be honest with what their intentions are and admit to their remarketing ambitions. By doing so, they are revealing the authenticity of their brand and winning the attention of their prospects.
Testimonials are king. In today’s digital age, people are looking for their peers to have reviewed products before they purchase. With that said, if companies are able to successfully receive strong testimonials customers buying hesitations will be quickly removed. Typically, a testimonial would look like this.
The testimonial is impressive, great b roll and film animations with customers speaking about their experience. Unfortunately, just like organic demo videos, large levels of production can lead to the audience having a more difficult time relating. Add a few extra b rolls and animations you will find your audience having a more and more difficult time relating to the person giving their testimonial. Was this rehearsed? How much is this the actual opinion of the buyer?
On the other hand, if there is little video production, a testimonial can have a lot stronger influence on the prospect, see here. In this video, a woman gives her honest opinion about her shampoo and her experience using the product. Interestingly enough, without nearly any production work, the video comes across as extremely authentic.
The point I am driving home here is caution if you plan to use heavy video production on testimonials, it could hinder the audience’s ability to relate.
Whenever a brand can successfully marketing in an authentic way, in other words coming across as a human, the company can dramatically increase the chances of a prospect converting to a buyer. In addition, marketing this way just feels more right, maybe even human.
Jeff Butler Internationally respected speaker and consultant, Jeff Butler helps bridge generational gaps between Millennials and companies looking for their talent and patronage. Butler has quickly built his reputation as a memorable presenter with tangible solutions for attracting, retaining, and engaging Millennials as employees and customers. Within just the past three years, he has spoken at two TEDx events and multiple Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn.