The Cambridge Online Dictionary defines – Humanize as to make something less unpleasant and more suitable. There is also the mention of kindness and gentleness.
Before you start your video production journey with the intent to deliver humanized content, try to identify the irritants.
Take away all those elements that dehumanize your content.
Become conscious that you want to deliver a piece of content that is real. Spread awareness and place an active demand on all stakeholders to the need of delivering a video that is organic and genuine.
Where should you start the journey towards humanizing videos?
Many marketing videos are produced without talking to a real human from the intended audience. We may not have the time to conduct in-depth research of the audience every time we are producing a piece of video content. However, at least once a year, try to realign with your brand audience to understand their expectations from the brand. Yes, you can do this as a B2B company too, there are still humans on the other side.
Traditionally, agencies used to have planners who would represent the customer into the process. If your team is small and you cannot afford a dedicated resource to do so, nominate a team member and let her speak for the audience. The will to represent the audience should be an explicit and conscious act.
Three important elements should be a part of any exercise that seeks to represent the audience to humanize video content.
While research will help you identify what is that you need to talk about, empathy will help your story gain the audience's perspective. Without empathy it is difficult to establish a connection with your audience.
How does one bring empathy into the process through kindness?
Lofty words, one might think, and that person couldn’t be more wrong.
How can you empathize through kindness?
· Choose simple words instead of complex vocabulary
· Avoid acronyms and abbreviations that are not a part of the common parlance
· Use concepts that are relatable
· Use the language of the audience
· Tell a story instead of making a presentation
Honesty is all about creating expectations that one can fulfill. Honesty is also about respecting the intelligence of the audience. With honesty, you acknowledge the ability to make sound decisions on the part of the audience. This leads to a genuine relationship.
What are the important aspects of an honest video?
· Fact checked
· No exaggeration or hyperboles
· Creating a wholesome picture – the product or service proposition is a part or an extension of the brand’s values
· Does not airbrush to create a synthetic reality
Led by Story
Simply put a story in a narrative with tension and resolution. A story that follows contours of life brings the audience along into the journey. The ups and downs of a tale has a humanizing effect owing to relatability. Individuals project themselves into the video that is led by a story.
Video content producers must consider its potential and not limit the medium to an announcement or a monologue.
Driven by Value
Good journalism with its what, why, when, where, whom and how approach is a good example of delivering value via content.
The goal of effective communication is to warrant action. A comprehensive approach to information packaging will help you deliver a takeaway. Try to answer questions, solve problems, show a better way of doing things to build value through your content. To receive value upon time investment is a very human expectation. By fulfilling human expectation, you are humanizing your content.
How not to dehumanize your video content?
Unfortunately, a lot of technology depiction goes overboard. Data scientists are not using 20 feet screens to run simulations. Hologram is not a widespread usable tech yet. While we must talk about things like data, analytics, artificial intelligence and so on, we are required to think beyond science fiction driven imagery. A great reference to a realistic future was in the movie ‘HER’, directed by Spike Jonze. The movie is a story in the future, and while technology is on the next level, it does not depict earth being some star war type space colony.
Sound plays a very important role in forging our perception. Most stock footage-based videos do not carry speech. The treatment is one that of a VO coupled with music. This does great disservice in dehumanizing content. Brands must consider generating live action content with real human sound bites.
Beyond human conversation what makes things alive are the ambient sounds, traffic, keyboard and so on. A video that is completely stripped of these would build a synthetic perception. Human subconscious is highly sensitive to such omissions.
Replacing real team members with models
Stop using models to talk about your company, or worst have them pretend working on a computer layered with a VO. There is no better brand ambassador than the team that believes and nurtures your organization. Put them in front of the camera and you will get some great footage.
The last point that you need to consider is that you do not necessarily need live action footage to humanize your videos. Animation done properly can evoke emotions, ‘Finding Nemo’ is a great example of this.
What one truly needs to humanize videos is to treat them with sincerity. You need to build a sense of belonging amongst your audiences, people have a deep need to feel connected and this happens when you tell stories with truth.
If you want to explore humanizing your video content, let us connect – firstname.lastname@example.org