Gotta See it to Believe it: User-Generated Video

January 26, 2014
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Written by Mike Abb


How often when people go to describe a story or item do they struggle to communicate the nuances and detail necessary to allow us to truly get what they are speaking about? Those people stammer and fidget and end up saying, “If I could only show you.” They’re right, an image is worth a thousand words. There’s a reason we quote that old saying. We need visual evidence to support our claims, making video – specifically user generated video, the number one media for brands today.


Since we have been able to fathom the recording of images they have played a crucial part in our culture. From the early camera obscura to the 4k resolution cameras of today, there is no substitute for capturing life so precisely.  We all know why you come to this blog. You care about marketing and more importantly shopper marketing. You want to know more about what makes the difference between buying or denying. Well, I can tell you right now that the difference is video.


Home movies have always been a fad; something we all dream of doing but very rarely do these recordings see the light of day. The main reason is editing. Editing is a pain and it’s where the game is really won and lost. I tell people all the time that content is a game with two halves. The first half is where you concept, arrange and record your content. But no championship trophies are awarded after the first half, it’s all about the second half. So let’s talk second half strategy shall we? The second half is where you edit and syndicate your content. Tailoring the content to the crowd you are trying to reach is where the game is won. Easier said than done though, editing is the crutch here. If you never make your way to editing or do a poor job the message you are trying to communicate becomes harder to promote.


With cell phones and DSLR cameras now staples in the household, everyone has become a documentarian. Couple that with the rise of social media and YouTube and we all want to share our recordings. Content is king and the more we share, and the higher quality it is, the more popular a person can become. These abilities are low hanging fruit to the big brands that spend fortunes on media campaigns that often end up being so outrageous or contrived the public simply dismisses it and thus the “buy it now” message that accompanied it. Yet tons of high quality content is being produced for free by the populace every day, and the brands are now trying to tap into this resource.


We’ve talked in previous blog posts about people trusting other people and with video this trust is reinforced. It’s one thing to talk about some product or service, but it’s an entirely other thing to show what you’re talking about. A picture is nice but not completely trusted thanks to the miracles of Photoshop. Video on the other hand is much harder to tamper with, making it very, very valuable to brands. They need the consumer base to verify the quality or lack thereof of their products. Yes, even videos that expose something negative are valuable to brands. If you’re not actively trying to capture what people are creating visually about your product or service, you are missing out on the future and effectively burying your head in the sand.


Remember that it’s not enough to simply hit record and post to the internet, you must make a concentrated effort to provide quality and ease of understanding. Today’s cameras, computers and smart phones have amazing performance for the price point, leaving no excuses for not having access to video and editing equipment. Gear alone isn’t what makes a quality product. The more work upfront planning your creative and production requirements the more you set up your media to achieve the messaging and reach you desire. So, the next time you’re telling your products story you can just show someone what you mean.




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