We hear a lot of talk about ‘personal brand’ all over the internet. And no doubt, we should. When it comes down do it, branding, or the way others perceive us, affects almost everything we do in life, be it personal or professional.
This being said, branding has always been something very, very important to me. The bottom line is I want to be known for something, I want to have a message, and I want others to know exactly what that message is.
As a whole, I think we’re all (at least those of us with blogs and businesses) want the same thing. We want folks to recognize our mission, our talents, and our worth. And more often than not, we completely lean on the words we write to transport that message to the world.
This, in my opinion, is selling ourselves short of the resources available to us, especially when it comes to the power of video.
What’s crazy to me is I look around the blogosphere and see people that have built pretty decent brands, large audiences, and are receiving speaking opportunities—yet most don’t even have a personal branding video. And for those that do, the video is average at best.
Some of you may remember an article I wrote a few months back entitled, “Blogging, Serendipity, and How I Met One of My Heroes.” In that post, I mentioned my love for West Virginia University, sports, and the voice of the Mountaineers (football and basketball)—Tony Caridi, who serendipitously had been reading my blog for quite some time as he is a Hubspot customer, trying to leverage the power of inbound marketing to take his video production company, Pikewood Creative, to the next level.
To make a long story short, I went to Tony’s company and worked with his staff on their Inbound Marketing, and Tony in-turn produced a video for me and The Sales Lion brand.
As promised then, here is the video, and I’m going to sincerely ask that if you’re reading this article to please take a few minutes to watch this. I doubt you’ve seen a personal branding video quite like this and it preludes everything we’re getting ready to talk about…
How to Create a Branding Video that Sells YOU (or your company)
The night Tony sent me the completed version of this video I emailed it to my 10-year-old daughter Danielle and asked her to watch it. A few minutes later I got an excited phone call from my wife. She said:
“Oh my goodness! Danielle and I just watched the video and when it finished she was jumping up and down screaming, ‘My dad is so awesome. My dad is so awesome!’”
Needless to say, those words gave me a huge smile. She had been moved by the video, touched in a proud and positive way. I’m sure she’ s naturally biased but that is still the type of emotion we want viewers to have when they get a chance to watch such a video.
So how is it done? How does a personal branding video go from being a simple visual clip to a moving expression of one’s unique mission and identity? Along with Tony’s help and input, I’ve come up with 2 essential keys:
The Power of Story
Many writers fail to properly use the power of story, especially personal ones, in their work. Most business also suffer from the same. This, my friends, is a huge error.
In speaking with Tony, ‘Story’ was the first word he mentioned with respect to creating powerful video for individuals and companies. As he put it, “Everyone’s got one, you’ve just got to find it.”
This is why, when we shot the video, Tony asked me question upon question, many of which were similar in nature.
I later found out he was asking these questions because he was digging for the ‘Marcus Sheridan Story’, and after he and his producers went back and looked at the clips, they knew exactly what the story was that needed to be told-- from struggling pool guy to Sales Lion to Speaker/Teacher of Inbound Marketing.
Amateur vs. Professional:
In 2006, before I even knew what inbound marketing was, I had a professional video made of our swimming pool installation process, our company, our customers, etc. To say the video was above and beyond anything anyone had ever done in the fiberglass swimming pool industry would be an understatement. It was easily 10 years ahead of the competition and since its production on DVD, we’ve sent it out to about 3000 prospective customers over the years.
Without question, the DVD made many, many sales on its own. It’s quality shocked people and looking back, that was the first time I truly embraced the power of ‘content’ without even knowing what I was doing.
Oh, and did I mention the video cost me about $35,000? Yeah, back then that was a lot of money. But again, it was worth every penny.
And so it is with personal branding videos. For quite some time, I’ve had a video of me giving a seminar on the side column of this blog. Although this video shows good content and has lead to speaking opportunities, it by no means screams of ‘high end’ production. And because I frankly want to speak to millions of people before it is all said and done, I knew such a video, although a ‘start’, was clearly not the end goal.
As Tony pointed out, these days, because technology has allowed each and every one of us to be photographers and videographers, many people think they are pros when they are not, thus preventing their visual branding from reaching its full potential.
Although I’m a huge advocate of Average Joes and Janes ‘just doing it’ when it comes to writing blogs or producing video, I do feel that there is a time and place to let an expert be an expert. Does it cost a lot more to do it this way? Yes, of course, but the potential monetary gain is also more than worth it in almost every case.
As Tony said, “You can go to the grocery store and buy a really nice steak for $30 and cook it yourself…or you can go to a 5-star restaurant and have Bobby Flay cook it for $400.Which one do you think is going to be most memorable?”
Good point Tony.
The video above has hours and hours worth of editing that went into it. There were two cameras, recording at different levels, during the shoot. The dancing caricatures were completely the idea of Tony and Pikewood, as were the typing scenes, music, pace, etc.
Bottom Line: All I did was talk, and then I sat back and let the artist paint the picture.
Take Your Brand to Another Level
Hopefully you see where I’m coming from with this. Branding is huge. It can make or break your successes as a blogger and/or business owner. And because of this fact, the time for you to embrace the power of video is now. If you can only afford to do something yourself, then do it. If you can afford to do something professional, even though it might be a financial stretch, then by all means make it happen.
But embrace video. Tell us about you. Tell us your story. What you are is special, and it’s about time the world understood that a little better, don’t you think?
Let’s talk about video and branding. What’s been your experience with video? Has is affected your company? Have you used it as a branding tool? What have been your observations? And finally, if you’re not yet on the video train, why the heck not?