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Just as bad reviews can do serious damage to your brand, a trustworthy recommendation can work wonders. And while positive reviews are great en masse, a single customer testimonial video can mean more than all those reviews combined.
Videos can help you establish trust by creating a sense of empathy and connection that’s much harder to get from writing. That’s why brands from all industries have teamed up with the best production companies out there to combine the power of the written success story with the effectiveness of video marketing.
Here, I’ll show you how our team created a testimonial video, so that you can use our experience to help inspire your own video production—and win over your audience.
Your pre-production process should begin by picking a client that would make a compelling video. Make sure you choose someone that aligns with the audience you’re trying to appeal to.
For our video, we went with McKesson, a pharmaceutical distribution company. We knew they’d found value in the whiteboard explainer video we had produced for them, and they were a large (Fortune 500) company, so we knew it would help us convince other similarly-sized clients.
You also need to figure out who in that company makes sense to interview—and it might be multiple people. We decided to interview the Marketing Project Manager at McKesson, Samar Mahbouba, because we’d worked side-by-side with her the whole way, so she’d have the most specific feedback to offer.
We then spent time developing the questions we wanted to ask her about her experience. Make sure you give them open-ended questions but ones that are focused specifically on your industry and business. In our case, the primary questions were:
What did you need an explainer video for?
What were you looking for in a video company?
How did the video production go?
Leave a margin for improvising and unexpected results—you don’t know exactly how your customer will answer, and you want to build off their answers to explore ideas you hadn’t considered originally. The best video testimonials are the ones that don’t feel too structured but instead follow a natural flow of conversation to tell their story.
Video testimonials should only take one day of shooting for the interviews. In our case, we were able to finish the interview part of the video in just over an hour of shooting, and then we filmed the setting scenes, like the company building and some beautiful shots of San Francisco, where McKesson’s headquarters are located.
For location, we went with an outdoor space with natural lighting. We got lucky: it was a perfect day with clear skies and not too much wind. But even if you have the same luck, you need to be careful about outdoor filming: you have to get your shots done quickly before the light changes—otherwise, it’ll look noticeably different throughout the footage (which is awkward for a 90-second video). If you’re not confident you can get it done quickly, I recommend shooting your interview indoors, where you’ll have an easier time setting up your gear and conducting the recording.
We asked Samar to face our interviewer instead of looking at the camera, which tends to offer a more conversational and casual tone. Remember, you’re looking for authenticity; if it sounds or looks rehearsed, you won’t get that trust you’re looking for. Another thing that helped with the authenticity: by not showing our questions to Samar before shooting, we were able to capture honest and spontaneous answers.
I won’t go into too many technical details here (read this article on DIY videos if you need more tips!), but there’s one tip I can’t emphasize enough: always use an independent audio recording setup. Meaning: even if you’re recording the video on your phone—which is totally acceptable in some cases—make sure you have a separate audio recording to save you headaches in post-production.
You only have one chance with filming (you don’t want to burden your customer by asking for multiple interviews), so make sure you’re completely prepared before you get started.
The editing room is where all your setting shots, interview excerpts, and branding techniques magically come together. Editing is what pieces it all together into a single compelling narrative.
While the centerpiece of your video should always be the interview, make sure you intercut your testimonial with results. In our case, we showed parts of the video we’d produced for McKesson, as well as footage from our production team working on that piece. You want your video to include both the happy customer (the most important part) and the product or service that made them so happy.
Make sure the video is branded—you want people to remember that the customer is talking about your business. For the McKesson testimonial video, we stuck with the orange that’s the cornerstone of our company’s color palette, added a discreet logo in the lower-right corner, and went with an upbeat instrumental song to set a tone that fit our company. And don’t forget to end your piece with your brand’s logo for you in future to a call-to-action (CTA), so that your audience knows where to go for you in future if they’re interested in your product or service.
If you’re creating pre-recorded videos, you can automate your video post-production tasks to streamline the process.
We don’t trust brands because they tell us to; we trust them because they’ve proven themselves to be trustworthy. That’s why creating a professional and authentic testimonial video can be great for everything from brand awareness to your bottom line.
This was a guest post from Victor Blasco, audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the corporate video production company Yum Yum Videos. Yum Yum Videos offers video production services for brands from all over the globe. Want to see your work on the Zapier blog? Check out our guidelines and get in touch.
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