Reducing Image Quality to Build Trust

Last Updated February 22nd, 2016


How do we unlock and win sales opportunities?

We build trust. And rapport. And relationships.


How are big brands increasingly trying to build trust and convey authenticity?

By dumbing down the quality of their visual images. Really.


A great piece I just read walks through the concept. Here in this post: get a quick overview, read a few quotes, and enjoy a key takeaway about your own videos.


Build Trust with Your Audience – Reduce Your Image Quality

“Visual Realism: The Way to Build Trust with Your Audience,” a piece written by Victor Gamez for the Content Marketing Institute, makes a compelling argument about user generated content, image quality, trust, and authenticity.

Here are a few choice quotes from the story:

Far from perfectly posed images or elaborate sets, the types of images that work on Instagram and Snapchat feel spontaneous, imperfect, even quirky.

Merrill characterizes the aesthetic as a way to bring authenticity to your brand, explaining that errors and imperfections help you stand out in an environment filled with picture-perfect content.

Videos are a little shaky and unrehearsed. Photos are slightly crooked or have an arbitrary composition.

The result is a visual style that creates a sense of identification with the photographer or videographer as a real person.


What’s Going On? Who’s Doing This?

“Picture-perfect” is out. Errors and imperfections are in.

Gamez shares examples from Coca-Cola, Levi’s, BetaBrand, and GE. Big brands.

And they’re all trying to get real. They’re favoring the authentic over the shiny because it feels more approachable and honest.


What This Means for Your Videos

In short: good enough is good enough is good enough …

In under 2 minutes: this video …


In three points:

1. Don’t let a lack of polish in your videos prevent you from recording and sharing them. Imperfection’s a benefit, not a detriment.

2. Stop trying so hard to look like the big brands. Because they’re now trying to look like you!

3. Big brands have to work to look “real” and authentic. You have it available instantly and naturally.


More on Video Quality to Build Trust

The Shiny/Authenticity Inversion

Gary Vaynerchuk with Tom Ferry: Good Enough Video


The Importance of Trust: Relationships Through Video


In the Words of Our Customers

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Want more tips like these?

Click here to learn more about our free  guide “Overcome Your Fear & Start Winning with Video.”

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Build Trust with Simple Videos – Free

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Record, send, and track the results of simple, personal video messages. People will be happy to see you! Really.

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Fun Bonus about What This Means for Your Emails

Below is a passage from Harvard Business School doctoral candidate Andrew Brodsky titled The Dos and Don’ts of Work Email from Emojis to Typos.

He makes the same point Gamez makes with visual imperfections – but in your typed-out emails.

Given that email makes it so easy to fake and edit emotional displays until they are “perfect,” how can you do more to make your emotions seem authentic?

The answer is to do something that makes it seem like you are not actually “crafting” your message. Counter to most business advice, in situations where authenticity is very important, it may be worthwhile to consider making a couple of typos. What makes errors so believable is that they make you seem less competent: Why would someone ever make a typo if they were trying to impress me?

Especially when you are high in power, making occasional minor errors can even help you to seem warmer and more approachable.


Thanks to Victor Gamez & CMI

This post was inspired by and draws from “Visual Realism: The Way to Build Trust with Your Audience” by Victor Gamez of Percolate for the Content Marketing Institute.



trust, relationships, relationships through video, trusting, trustworthy, character, integrity
Trust by Terry Johnston | Flickr Creative Commons, Mods & Commercial Use Allowed


Ethan Beute | About The Author

Chief Evangelist at BombBomb, host of The Customer Experience Podcast, and Wall Street Journal bestselling co-author of Human-Centered Communication and Rehumanize Your Business, Ethan Beute collects and tells stories of clearer communication, human connection, and higher conversion through simple, personal video messages. BA: University of Michigan. MBA: University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

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