Authenticity: How to connect with your audience

Renny Wijeyamohan Posted in Video
10 November 2015

IN FACEBOOK'S THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS CALL, MARK ZUCKERBERG ANNOUNCED "A NEW MILESTONE FOR FACEBOOK, ACHIEVING 1 BILLION DAILY VIEWS OF NATIVE VIDEOS." WITH AN ESTIMATED 500,000 VIDEOS UPLOADED TO FACEBOOK ALONE PER DAY, THE ONLINE CONTENT MARKET IS AS SATURATED AS EVER.

This means that audiences are getting more and more savvy with how they filter, engage with and share video content. Anyone raised on a film and television diet is inherently a sophisticated media consumer – distributing good content and discarding content that doesn’t quite hit the mark. So how do you connect with your audience then without setting off any tripwires that will cause your viewer to disengage? 

Setting aside the bells and whistles – it all comes down to one simple idea: authenticity. Authentic content not only represents the voice of your brand, but tells your story in a genuine way. It doesn’t feel produced or agenda driven – it feels compelling, believable and natural. In an age where most viral content is real and user generated – branded content that has an air of sincerity behind its message is well placed to generate more engagement. To help connect with your audience, it's worthwhile thinking about authenticity in two ways.

1. Authenticity in content

Each specific piece of content you release should be authentic to your brand. Think about your key values, the imagery of your previous marketing collateral and how consumers perceive you. This should deeply influence your approach towards content creation. Let's look at a couple of examples - take luxury retailer Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton's content will be high stylised, well composed with a feeling of timeless luxury throughout. You only have to take a look at their Spirit of Travel campaign to get an overwhelming feeling of the brand's voice. But Louis Vuitton is going to have a very different brand image to Red Bull - the global beverage company most famous for its self-title energy drink. Like Louis Vuitton, Red Bull is a prolific content producer but it's aesthetic is very different - it's raw, gritty and energetic. Red Bull's skateboarding film Perspective is full of dilapitated re-purposed urban streetscapes given life by aggressive skateboarding tricks shot in super slow-motion. Red Bull could probably get away with shooting some of its content on something like a GoPro (although much of their content is shot on high-end cameras but post-produced with a lo-fi aesthetic) and get away with it. While Louis Vuitton could not. Any content that you develop must be authentic to your brand as your customers understand it.

2. Authenticity as consistency

While each video needs to speak with your brand's voice, your video content channel as a whole must also be consistent with the rest of your marketing collateral. You need to make sure that you have a unified brand message across your website, social media and CRM frameworks. Every element of your external facing comms should have integrity to your overarching brand message. There’s no point producing cutting edge video content if your website is dated – similarly, if you have a top of the line website and social media presence, but your videos are lacklustre then that will create dissonance in the minds of your viewers. Keep your message and the quality of your content consistent across all channels. For example, if you are a professional services firm servicing top tier clients – there’s an expectation that any video content you produce is going to match the quality of your advice and client base. By investing in that content you will not only avoid harming the reputation of your brand, but make sure it make an impact.

Keeping these concepts in mind when producing video content will help you produce content that won't be lost in the noise.

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