I wish I could just be the guy that says, “Hey, just do video!” slap you a high-five and we’d call it a day. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. VIDEO is a powerful tool that everyone should be using, however that’s all it is: a tool. And let’s be honest, most people are just using this tool incorrectly.
Can VIDEO destroy your brand?
Needless to say, I have suffered (as we all have) from that dull pain of awkwardness as you watch someone’s poorly-made video for the first time. It’s uncomfortable. And the last thing I want is for anyone watching your future videos to feel the same way. So, let’s fix that shall we?
What is Branding?
First off, let’s make an attempt to define just exactly what the word “branding” means. After several marketing classes in college, I don’t think I was still given a clear and succinct definition. The American Marketing Association defines brand as…
“A Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”
To me, I define your branding as: “The emotion, feeling or opinion of you & your business as experienced by anyone who comes across you or your business.” At the end of the day, there are two types of brands: a good one and a bad one. For example: let’s say you have “branded yourself” as the the laid-back, surfer type. Your brand will exude a feeling of cool, carefree confident and hip. However, each end-user must still experience your brand through their own lens of reality and make a judgement as to whether or not this brand is good or bad. Some may look at you and think, “look at this surfer dude, if he can do it, then I definitely can!” (That’s a good brand!) And still others may think, “look at this lazy guy, he is not professional and should not do business in his sandals!” (Uh, that’s not a good brand!).
This is all important, because rarely do business owners take the time to think about their personal brand or what emotions and experiences they want their subscribers, followers and customers to have. And then, when they decide to jump on the video-making bandwagon, they give their audience a whole new brand-experience that may contradict with what they previously had. Let me ask you this: have you ever been completely disappointed by the film-adaptation of your favorite book? Perhaps the characters were portrayed differently? Maybe the story was changed slightly? You were angry and disappointed weren’t you? That’s what video can do, if you refuse to avoid the following mistakes…
3 Video Branding Mistakes & How to Avoid Them
Branding is important, and it’s rarely discussed, especially when it comes to video. Simply taking this time to shine a flashlight on this area in your business will bring it to your immediate awareness and improve your branding. However, the following is a short list of mistakes (and their solutions!) that can be avoided if you want to be a rockstar with your video branding! Here we go…
Mistake #1: “I Don’t Know My Audience!”
It’s a no-brainer, but the better you know who your audience is, the better you can improve your communication with them. Bill Cosby famously said, “I don’t know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” When you know exactly who you are talking to you and you speak directly to them, it does not matter if others don’t resonate with your message and your brand. Referring back to the laid-back surfer-guy branding, when you know your audience, and you know that your audience actually resonates with this type of character, you can actually ignore and block out all those other “stiffs” who don’t like your brand. So, what can you do to learn more about your audience?
- Survey Your List
- Get feedback from past customers
- Research your competitors
- Create a Customer Avatar
- Read forums, blog comments, Facebook Groups, Yahoo Answers, etc
Remember, you have 100% control over your message and how you communicate it. And, you can influence the feeling and emotion that others may experience when they hear your message, but at the end of the day, you can never control how you make someone else think or feel.
Mistake #2: “Hey, She’s Not an Expert!”
80% of your communication is non-verbal. Yikes! At the end of the day, what you say is far less significant that the manner in which you say it. And here’s the scary part, as your audience watches you on video, their subconscious mind scans your every movement like a hawk looking for it’s prey. A simple quiver, awkward pause or timid look will give them more to play with than a group of high school kids who just found out your last name rhymes with a part of the male anatomy. Double yikes!
Ok, so am I being a little dramatic here? NOT REALLY! Look, at the end of the day, when a new prospect who has no idea who you are, watches one of your videos for the first time, they are in survival-mode. With their guards fully up, they need to quickly assess if you are the expert that you say you are. Can you be trusted? Do you know what you are talking about? A lack of confidence in your non-verbal communication could mean a Permanent NO!
“But James, it’s my first time on video, and I’m camera shy!” I don’t care, and neither does this prospect. Take the time to polish up those unwanted body ques, the stuttering “um’s & ah’s” and raise the bar for your quality of work. If you have to film yourself 100 times before you produce something you are actually proud of, DO IT! The shiny newness of doing online video has worn off just like your new car smell, and the average Internet User expects more today. Are you proud of the videos you are creating? Does every one of your messages convey the passion and conviction for your message? Are you absolutely magnetic on camera?
And for those who answered “no” and think you couldn’t possible raise your video standards: I was the most-timid & shy introvert back in high school. I didn’t change that overnight, but I am my harshest critic, and I always analyze my videos to see how I can improve. Isn’t it time you did the same?
Mistake #3. “He’s as Professional as a 12 year old with an iPhone!”
No matter what your business or your brand, one characteristic that 99% of business owners want to convey is that of professionalism. Oh hey, look at you with that fancy logo, expensive website and copy that convinces! I’m impressed! But what the heck are you doing making shaky videos with low light, horrific shadows and airplane noise overhead?! The wind is blowing straight into the mic, the video is long and dry, I can barely hear you, and your face is dark and pixelated.
It’s impossible to convey a brand of professionalism when your videos are below amateur level. Take the time to find, hire or outsource this problem, or learn some video-making basics yourself. In a nutshell, here are a few quick tips for drastically improving the quality of your videos.
a. Get a mic!
Any option for microphone beats the standard on-board microphone that comes standard with every camera. A wired (or wireless) lapel mic will do wonders to improving the quality of your audio AND the quality of your video overall.
b. Improve the Lighting!
When you film indoors, it’s much easier to control the lighting. and you can purchase a professional lighting kit for under $250 to make you look absolutely amazing.
c. Frame it up!
How you frame your video is extremely important as well. Make sure people can clearly see your face at eye level and that there are no distracting elements in the background that distract from the focal point (your face!) Take the time to prep “your set” properly.
These three factors alone can make a big difference. But at the end of the day, draw a line in the sand and refuse to be satisfied with “good enough.” Be remarkable. Raise your standards for quality. Stand out from your competition. Don’t blend in.