Freddy Swan

We all do it.

Before we eat someplace, buy something, or go somewhere, the first thing we do is check out what other people have to say. With a few thousand glowing reviews, we’re in. Mostly amazing reviews but a few negatives. Gonna read those nasty comments for sure.

Simply irresistible.

So, as marketers, it’s hard to resist producing a good testimonial. Who better to sing our praises than a happy customer? A positive testimonial lends authenticity, credibility, and, done well, brand loyalty. Fair enough.

The power of video.

While unsolicited online reviews are incredibly powerful, we obviously have more control over a produced testimonial. And video continues to reign supreme over static executions. The sight and sound of video offer more engagement and a powerful emotional bond between the brand and viewers.

All good? No.

Producing a good video testimonial is more than just getting customers to say a few nice things. In a word, boring. In two, wasted opportunity. If you commit to jumping through all the hoops to get people to agree to talk about your product or service, follow a few tenets to make the most of your time (and financial) commitment.

Everyone loves a list!

  1. Start with a concept
    This is the big one. Before you ever turn on a camera, develop a creative concept. Better yet, start with a strategic creative brief, defining the objective, audience and single-minded proposition. A strong concept transforms a testimonial from expected to impactful.
  2. Be authentic
    Use real people. Audiences can spot an actor and a script. Yes, it’s a ton of work to get real people. It takes time. We also must check backgrounds, so they don’t reflect poorly on your brand. But it’s worth the effort because viewers will view the testimonial as true to your brand.
  3. Spend appropriately
    While we are saving on talent fees, don’t think of testimonial videos as cheap. Viewers can tell the difference between high-quality and low-budget production. Hire the right agency, one that’s a brand steward, and this partner will help ensure we neither under nor overspend.
  4. Cast a wide net
    Not everyone filmed will give you the warm fuzzies. They may have been great on the phone, then turned into wooden soldiers in front of the camera. So, maximize time with a production company and schedule multiple people. For true authenticity, you never know for sure what you’ll get. So, stack the day. Some will cancel. Others will amaze.
  5. Prepare, prepare, relax
    The success of any video production happens before anyone sets foot on set. Pre-production is the process of hiring a production company, securing talent (real people), establishing a schedule and essentially doing as much as possible upfront to ensure a smooth shoot. Again, working with an advertising agency can manage all of this for you.

Here’s an example of a campaign we produced for a healthcare system in Memphis, Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare. We started with a concept, hired an amazing production company and cast real people with a ton of help from our client. The concept pays off the brand strategy of individually focused expertise, showing how two people with seemingly nothing in common do share one thing in common: they both received life-changing care tailored to their needs for the same condition.