Why Authentic Content?

Authenticity in any communication is critical to reaching people at a place where they believe what they see and hear. A rehearsed script can, for informational purposes, be of great value. A rehearsed or overly prepared interview subject, on the other hand, can come across as disingenuous and lose much in the reception. Typically, authentic communications are based upon a testimonial or other proof of worth. These stories are best captured and shared in an unrehearsed video interview.

I have come to call much of the work I do “Attract & Inform Videos.” Whether about a social service, a corporate communication or a fun event, the purpose of the video is first to attract the viewer and keep them engaged so that they can get the information they need to decide their next steps. Often, the “inform” portion is scripted content delivered via teleprompter assisted presentation by a staff member. The authenticity of a real person, who may not present as well as a professional actor in role, provides the opportunity to identify them as staff, i.e., real, and allows for their presentation to be less than perfect.

The “attract” portion of the video is comprised of two elements, b-roll and interview. For example, the interviewee is speaking about speech therapy and the video cuts from showing them in their office to b-roll showing a speech therapist working with a child on their enunciation.

The video interview process is much more than simply showing up and asking questions. Research is needed beforehand to discover the intent of the organization, their manner of achieving those goals, the nature of the volunteers and employees and many other factors. Similarly, knowledge of the public perception is important, particularly that of the demographic aim of the video.

Using real people in advertising requires a unique skill set of the interviewer. Having the knowledge of the research noted above, the interviewer must be able to ask questions in a manner that invites the person to discover, in their own way, the answer. It is in their discovery that authenticity is expressed, both in facial expression and the pauses that come with genuine thought. When a person is first confronted with a question they hadn’t previously considered it is their micro-expressions that reveal their intent, their tempo of speech that reveals their consideration of the statement they are making. Seeing and hearing this in a relevant video, chosen for pertinent subject matter and watched with interest, draws the viewers empathetic response, inspiring them to action.