Video To Communicate: The Shiny / Authenticity Inversion

Last Updated July 28th, 2015

Are you familiar with Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign? If you’re not or if you need a refresher, click here to see a few spots, then come right back.

It’s one example of a trend in digital, social, and beyond – a trend toward authenticity. And it informs your use of video to communicate.

The campaign is about tearing down the façade in the beauty industry.

“Real Beauty” reveals the production and editing behind the seemingly perfect images with which we’re assaulted on billboards, television, magazines, and online. The images are shown to have little relationship with reality.

In a way, we all knew the fashion magazine images weren’t real. At the same time, they affected our standard of “good enough” and Dove’s initial spots blew some minds.


Introduction: The Shiny / Authenticity Inversion


Video To Communicate: The Standard

For decades, we’ve been trained that “video” means, approximately, television commercials. Storyboards. Scripts. Casting. Lighting. Producing. Shooting. Editing. Polishing. Broadcasting.

Through incessant exposure, we are taught that the videos we make and share must conform to this standard. And its existence alone was enough to give authority and credibility to its subject.

At BombBomb, we call this style of video “MTV” or Marketing Through Video. It has its value and its place (for example, the Dove “Real Beauty” spots). But it’s not the only way.

The experience of anticipointment has desensitized us and even created distrust toward produced, polished video. Not all of it, of course, but we start watching from a position of lower trust.

Meanwhile …

> Digital and social channels continue to open up for everyday people and smaller businesses to express themselves.

> Video continues to become easier and nearly free to record and share with everyone.

> We proceed deeper into what Seth Godin calls the post-industrial connection economy.

The result? An inversion.


Video To Communicate: The Inversion

An inversion is a change in the order of things so that they’re the opposite of what they once were.

In this case, Marketing Through Video once commanded authority and enjoyed inherent credibility. If you could afford to produce and distribute it, you and your message must be true.

Some of this was deserved. Some of this continues to be deserved. But much of this is rightfully falling away (think: sensational political ads).

More than ever, we can see through the shininess and wonder how much of it is real and true.

Here’s a visual treatment of a Nielsen Global Online Survey of U.S. Internet consumers. It’s a couple years old, but it’s lovely, so it’s here.

trust in advertising, advertising, trust, credibility, authenticity, human

Nielsen asked people whether they “Trust Completely,” “Trust Somewhat,” “Neither Trust Nor Distrust,” “Don’t Trust Much,” or “Don’t Trust At All” 15 different types of advertising.

To make it easier to understand, I added the two levels of “Trust” and “Don’t Trust” scores together and threw out the “Neither” scores for each type. Then, I subtracted Trust from Don’t Trust for a Net Trust score. Here’s how they finished:

  • Must Trusted
  • Recommendations from people I know: 73
  • Consumer opinions posted online: 37
  • Second Tier
  • Emails I signed up for: 25
  • Editorial content such as newspaper articles: 22
  • Brand websites: 20
  • Breakeven
  • Ads in newspapers: 7
  • Ads in radio: 5
  • Ads on TV: 3
  • Ads in magazines: 2
  • Distrusted
  • Ads served in search engine results: -5
  • Online video ads: -10
  • Products shown embedded in TV: -12
  • Online banner ads: -18
  • Ads on social networks: -22
  • Ads on mobile devices: -24

These results don’t mean that you shouldn’t use the less trusted channels or that they’re not effective.

They just mean that you’re working from a position of deeper skepticism. You have to work harder to build trust from that position.

What the top 3 tell us is that real people, real experiences, and real interest matter most. They favor authenticity over shine and polish.

The consequence for your videos? Simple and personal now win trust.


Characteristics: Shiny and Authentic Video

video email, simple video, authenticity, trust, credibility, video production


Video To Communicate: Simple Authenticity

This recent ReelSEO story associated lower production value with higher viewer engagement. The key in that piece: viewer expectations.

This Content Marketing Institute story explains why big brands are walking away from polished and “professional” photos and videos. Spoiler: it’s about trust.

We’ve heard this for several years from some of our best customers.

Approximately: “You know, I have really nice videos in my website, in YouTube, and in Facebook. And they’re useful. But the videos people connect with the most – the videos they talk about – are the simple ones. The one-to-one ‘thank you,’ ‘happy birthday,’ and ‘just following up’ videos.”


3 of the webinar takeaways:

webinar, video email, videos, personal video, simple video, video to communicate

Packed with quotes around this theme, check out the free, 26-page guide we produced called Overcome Your Fear and Start Winning with Video.

Here’s one:

be yourself, be authentic, video email, be on video, perfectly imperfect

Who you are matters. The real you. It’s the easiest and most effective thing you can be – in word and in deed – in person and in video.

When you put yourself out there, people will feel like they know you before they even meet you. The conversation starts at and proceeds to a different place.

In Short:

Yes, a highly produced video is great off the top. But people want to know who you are and what you’re about. Put that forward.

Use video to communicate. Use video for relationships. Don’t just think about video for your marketing.


The Bottom Line

Not only has an inversion taken place wherein credibility is now found more in simple video than produced video. The two are also inversely related.

The more expensive and polished the video, the more broad the audience and the less connection per audience member.

The more simple and personal the video, the more authentic you are and the more the message is just for me. It’s more credible.

If you have the time and money for shiny video, do it! It’s valuable.

But do not miss the opportunity to truly connect with a faster, simpler approach.


Need Help Getting Started?

No problem. You’re not alone. That’s why we produced this guide packed with tips and insights from our customers.


Ready To Start Without Any Risk?

Click here to try BombBomb free for 2 weeks. No credit card info required. Just the chance for you to reach out to a handful of people to see the big difference a simple video can make. Really.

Try BombBomb Free for 14 Days.


The Shiny / Authenticity Inversion - Video To Communicate
Tension Superficial by Pablo | 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.

Awesome content in your inbox.