Choosing the best characters for your company video can be a little tricky. In fact, sometimes it's easier to decide who is not the best spokesperson for your video! There are several considerations when deciding who you want to represent your company.
A lot of companies make the mistake of assuming that their top executive or slick sales guy are the best options for on-camera success without considering who will actually resonate with the audience they're targeting.
So if you're faced with choosing characters to represent your company, you may want to think thoroughly about a few things:
1. Look Beyond Your C-Suite
Too often organizations assume that their executives are the best choices for communicating the company story. And while appointing someone from the C-Suite may ultimately be a viable option, we don't believe it should be the first or even second place you look.
Those in leadership positions have the inherent disadvantage – fair or not – of being perceived as high-brow, stuffy, and not relatable. If the goal is to resonate with the common audience, we recommend leaning towards those who are "in the trenches."
2. Lead With the Why
As leadership speaker and author Simon Sinek regularly says, "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." Sinek has argued that no company is better at explaining why they exist (as opposed to what they do) than Apple and that it's the primary reason the technology company has become a household name.
Find someone who can clearly explain your organization's reason for existence, and stray away from those who are only able to articulate how your organization works operationally.
3. Get Your Customers Talking
One effective trick for communicating your organization's message in a credible way is to interview your customers on-camera. Third-party endorsements are generally a very credible source for communicating a marketing message. When you get your customers talking, the audience assumes that the person talking isn't directly benefitting from saying positive things about your organization.
4. Who Can Bring the Energy?
Find someone who has high energy and can transfer that energy to video. There’s an old saying in news about presenting on camera: you need to deliver twice the enthusiasm to deliver half the effect. In other words, you have to deliver with double the energy, just to make sure the recorded message conveys enthusiasm.
This is one reason why you have so many cheesy television personalities. However, if your spokesperson tries to deliver the information in his or her normal office voice, there’s a good chance the presentation will be flat and uninteresting.
5. Visually Interesting
I’ve always believed that the spokesperson has to appear visually interesting. Notice, I didn’t say “attractive,” because it’s not that. There are plenty of engaging people on camera who are not entering and winning “Best looking person on the planet” awards.
There are a number of ways to be visually interesting. Consider people who have wonderful facial expressions, they wear interesting clothes, or perhaps the backdrop is noteworthy. Regardless, as visual creatures receiving information in a visual medium, it’s a good idea to make sure whatever is on camera looks good, or interesting.
To turn the table, there are a lot of people who work at your company who are not the best choice for your company video. Video is a very transparent medium so don't try to force people to represent your company if it's not a good fit.
Here are some ways to identify people who are often not the best choice to represent your company in a video:
1. Your Boss
Of course, your boss may fit all of the above criteria, but if your boss is essentially a boring, stuffy “suit,” we recommend not having them as a primary character for your video. Aside from potentially coming across flat, people can struggle to connect with people high-level executives.
This isn't a hard and fast rule, if your video is for other CEO’s or a board of directors, your boss or CEO may be the best person to speak in your video. However, we like regular people sharing their stories more than the “suits.”
2. Your Co-worker Who Hates Being on Camera
This sounds silly and obvious, yet you’d be amazed how often people will say, “oh let’s have Peter do it. He hates this stuff but he’s really the best person.” Really?
If Peter doesn’t want to be in the video because he gets anxious, nervous, and scared, there’s a really good chance that will come across in the video.
With that said, being on camera is a skill and a lot of people can better with time and practice. It's still best to choose people who are excited about the idea of being on camera and are willing to put in the work to get better over time.
3. The Rambler
If you can avoid having the person who doesn’t know when to stop talking, do it! The Rambler is the person you ask one question and they take 20 minutes to answer the one question.
There are two problems with this character: First, they will chew up a ton of time and which can be a real drag on your budget. Second, when someone talks that long, it will also take a long time to find the right or best sound bite. They can also be extremely difficult to edit since their stories often run into each other.
Characters are the centerpiece of your video, so it's really important to choose the right ones. While it's difficult to anticipate all of the variables until the day of your video shoot, these considerations can help set you on a path to success. Remember that authenticity is essential and your audience will be able to tell if your video spokespeople are feeling uncomfortable or forced.