4 ways your video can forge a personal connection and grow your brand
The power of video to forge a personal connection with viewers cannot be overstated. Video offers huge potential to break down barriers and attract new members of your tribe. What’s more, storytelling through video can create a strong bond, because viewers — and customers — are drawn to it on a personal level.
There are, of course, obtacles: When you’re an entrepreneur, depending on your personality, you may feel uncomforable revealing yourself on camera. Maybe you like keeping your business and personal life separate, or guarding aspects of your personality. Sharing your personality, therefore, places you in a vulnerable position, as revealing your real self opens you up to criticism.
You then ask yourself, Will being real turn people off or alienate potential customers?
But, let’s say you take the plunge anyway. Here are some simple ways to create moments of connection in your videos, to help tell your story, and build your tribe:
1. Briefly mention your interests, passion or even your quirks.
We all frequently make judgments about people we will never meet based on their performance on video. By bringing in personal details, you break down barriers. For example, if you’re opening a new office in Maine, you could say something as simple as, “I’ve always loved Maine because I used to visit my grandparents there when I was a young girl.”
If you’re talking about competition in your industry, you could say something like, “It’s tough competing in this space, but I have to say I’m a very competitive guy. I won the chili cook-off in my town three years in a row.” Small touch points like that can humanize us.
2. Share something about yourself so quickly that you never even go off topic.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk showed how painless and relatable storytelling can be in a video interview with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In just a few seconds, Musk told us how Star Wars had had a big impact on him because it was the first movie he ever saw.
He next shared that he had named SpaceX’s Falcon rocket after the Millennium Falcon, the broken-down starship appearing in several Star Wars films; and in that moment, we instantly saw him as a daydreaming child. Our impression: He’s someone to whom we can all relate.
3. Show how you live your company’s culture.
In a video series with Makers.com, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki revealed that she always makes sure she’s home for dinner with her family. “I tell people I’m not available between 6 and 9 p.m.,” Wojcicki said. “‘If you have something important, we can do it at 9.’ A lot of times, people are happy because they get to go home and be with their families, too. It’s important to be able to have that balance in your life.”
This brief detail about Wojcicki’s day uncovered a side of YouTube’s corporate culture that no credo could ever communicate. Think about the culture and values of your organization. Chances are that your company culture reflects the personal beliefs that drive your own work. What detail can you share about your life that mirrors those values?
4. Show how a vulnerable moment helped you grow.
If you have time in your video, consider sharing an experience that shaped who you are today. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi did this when she shared, on Makers.com, the backstory of her first U.S. job interview. She recounted that, when she first arrived from India to study at Yale, the only clothes she owned were saris and jeans. Neither would work for a job interview.
So she took all the money she had — $50 — and bought an interview outfit at her local Kmart. The one problem: She’d run out of money for shoes and had to pair her bright blue polyester pantsuit with orange snow boots. Wearing that outfit, she walked proudly into the interview. She could feel the other students laughing at her, and yet she held her head up high, conducted the interview and got the job.
In the video, Nooyi balanced this story with a glimpse into her work ethic during her rise up the corporate ladder. “I’ve always focused on doing a damn good job, and just hoping the rest takes care of itself,” she said. By sharing this truth, she transformed herself from an untouchable CEO to a flawed, vulnerable (but still powerful) human being.
Of course, some videos offer very little room for storytelling, but short or long, your videos should help your viewers see beyond the façade. The above strategies are simple organic methods for taking off the mask. So, go into filming with an open heart and a willingness to share who you are. Those revelations will mean everything to your customers.
by VERN OAKLEY