It’s no big secret that the mass expansion of digital channels, devices, and platforms have led to a vast shift in consumer behavior and expectations. Gone are the days where brands can send generic, mass marketing messages aimed at everyone, ultimately actually speaking to no one. Also gone are the days where brands can get away with creating staged, disingenuous content in an attempt to shed favorable light on their brand in a carefully crafted, fabricated way.
Most brands today are still guilty of this, however. Many brands still put products before people, talking more about features and benefits rather than real experiences of customers. Brands instead may rely on anonymous paid actors, anonymous reviews, or inauthentic paid influencers as sources. But with consumers becoming more informed online shoppers, the traditional impersonal marketing tactics of the past, quickly drive people away.
Video Social Proof is a strategy designed to help brands stay ahead of these shifting consumer expectations and speak to them in a more direct, authentic way throughout the buyer’s journey, establishing trust and building deeper consumer relationships.
At VideoPeel, we believe Video Social Proof is the future of business. So, in order to guide brands as they develop their unique strategy, we developed the Six Principles of Video Social Proof framework: Visual, Personal, Contextual, Timely, Communal, and Measurable.
Keeping in mind that your customers are people, and these people are the power behind your brand, it’s critical to consider the second principle in great detail: personal.
As we said before, without people your business wouldn’t exist. It’s amazing how quickly businesses move past this and develop tunnel vision around product or service itself.
If we examine most eCommerce or business sites today, you will almost assuredly see images of the product or service, and most likely these would be accompanied by images of models or paid actresses using the product in a transparently staged environment. Ultimately, what makes your product or service so special, useful, and appealing becomes lost in a sea of jargon and fake content. You are essentially robbing your brand of the unique attributes that interested customers in the first place.
If you are trying to tell your brand’s story without the voice of your customer, you are missing the most important piece.
Business professionals today need to understand that customers aren’t buying the product or service, they are buying the experiences people like them are having with your product or service. They are buying into the personal connections you are creating with your other customers.
For example, a consumer goods brand making high-end fitness blenders may certainly list the motor wattage, touchpad interface, and various pre-programmed cycles built into their product on their website for reference. However, what makes their product standout, where the conversion from prospect to advocate happens, is in telling that story of a customer just beginning their fitness journey, how that customer needed tools that worked for them as they embarked on this journey, and how this particular blender has aided them in achieving their goals.
This personal experience showcases the meaningful relationships brands can establish by acting as connectors of people first and sellers second.
So, how can brands make their products personal?
First and foremost, and we can’t stress this enough, define your audience. If you aren’t crystal clear on who you are selling to, it becomes near impossible to create any sort of true personal experiences and connections with those consumers.
Once your audience is defined (and this definition is clearly communicated across your entire organization), take the time to understand what is important to them, and what is not. What are their frustrations? What are their motivations? How can your product or service improve their lives, whether long-term or day-to-day? Listen to the voices of your customer and learn what matters.
Then, allow your customers and advocates, to show how your offerings address these items. How does your brand help solve a particular problem or relieve a pain point? When your customer can demonstrate on your behalf that your brand is invested in making a positive impact, you’re demonstrating a level of brand authenticity that simply cannot be faked.
Video Social Proof enables real people to show what’s possible through your brand’s offerings, creating deeper relationships based on trust and the desire for connection in an increasingly disconnected world.
According to Sprout Social, 81 percent of consumers say brands can be good connectors because they carry products and services that appeal to a diverse range of customers. Further still, more than one third of consumers say that brands can help them find communities to which they could belong.
To further differentiate themselves from the competition, brands must facilitate this community cultivation, sharing more than just product or service information, but instead giving customers the opportunity to learn more about the people who make up the brands with which they are engaging.
But remember, building these genuine connections takes time and strategy. Brands that shift strategic importance to relatability and the humanization of their offerings will be in the best position to meet consumers with empathy and understanding at point of need, significantly increasing likelihood of buy-in.
The evolution of video marketing technology means that brands can now more easily and effectively integrate Video Social Proof into their marketing cycles to drive results.
Capturing customer experiences for each representative buyer segment makes it possible to share the right customer experience with the most relevant buyer. By using automations and tools to curate customized messages to different buyers, brands are empowered to take a hyper-targeted approach as they develop and nurture these relationships across the buyer’s journey, and can analyze insights to determine where, and by how much, these efforts lift their business.
There are so many different ways to improve customer experience, and at the heart of it all is the central truth: people matter. Putting people first is a better way to think about and to measure success and can quickly escalate brand growth.
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