What is authenticity in video content?
In-line, native advertising – paid media that looks and behaves like natural, organic content – worked really well…until consumers caught on. When they began to notice the sly headers and footers denoting the true nature of the content, they either skipped over it or panned it en masse. Combined with increasing saturation in online video, live stream markets, and a collective wariness of brands by consumers, the importance of authenticity in video marketing has never been more significant.
Authenticity is vital
Over the past several years, authenticity in video content has come into favor. Gone are the days of spokesmodels mindlessly hawking the wares of a company they know nothing about, or of print ads and brochures with images of people taking an interest in your brand. These have been replaced by people who use, love and genuinely enjoy a product. Why did this transformation occur? It started with a new generation – one that was born after the advent of the Internet. They have had instant access to new content, information, and news for their entire lives. They expect to be entertained and informed, and they get bored quickly if content does not speak to them personally. They refuse to stand for the overselling of implausible or unreliable content, or a cryptic message that feels fake and dishonest. Some marketers call this new generation fickle; others call them aware. Either way, they demand video content that is real, and to be engaged by real people. The Internet has given a glut of video content to consumers, giving them greater selectivity in deciding which information they consume. Currently, “more video content is uploaded every 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in over 30 years!” To come out on top and be heard above the clatter, a company must create original, authentic content. In a generation where the phrase “fake news” has become part of the lexicon, individuals are wary of anything fake. Native sponsored videos — promotional advertisements with the goal to convince or sell, rather than inform an audience — hurt a brand’s reputation rather than raise awareness. The issue with “native” sponsored videos is that they misdirect users by disguising the source of their message. Brands that create inauthentic content, drum up support disingenuously or attempt to disguise an ad as a legitimate post will soon find themselves facing the firing squad of the Internet mob. Let’s not forget, with the Internet comes instant access to reviews and feedback, with smartphones or computers an arm’s length away. Today’s audiences are savvy consumers, just waiting to pounce at the first signs of negativity or trumped up content.
Authenticity is possible
Though it is not easy, authenticity and originality are still possible. They start with the most powerful communication tool available – telling a story that matters to your audience. Your video’s creative direction must focus on speaking to your audience in a tone of voice that relates to them. Capturing this subjective tone is an art; it’s a combination of keeping your customer’s message authentic and genuine while also ensuring your communication is entertaining, informative, and shines a positive light of a brand’s image. In our experience, utilizing a docu-style approach to tell real, heartfelt stories encounter much warmer receptions. While it’s okay to polish and rehearse a script, brands must be careful not to lose credibility by acting overly corporate. When telling your story, go beyond your brand. How does your content resonate with your audience? Do others perceive your brand in the same way that you do? Going beyond your brand is based on how well your target audience connects with your product or service and not how you think they connect. It is an ongoing dialogue that is dependent on conveying the mission of your company that the consumer relates to based on their own background, interests, and experiences.