Customer Testimonials: How to Share a Deeper Story

We talk a lot about the “why” behind your video marketing. That’s because the why is the most important part of any story, especially when you’re telling a story visually.

When you’re focused on the why, you can get to the root of how to best tell your story. This doesn’t mean every story you tell has to have a big theme or make a big statement. Rather, focusing on the why of your story keeps you locked onto what’s important.

That’s as true in video marketing as it is in other types of narrative storytelling. For your company, your why is the belief and vision behind what you sell and how you sell it. In big ways or in small, there’s a reason you went into business selling what you sell. You wanted to help solve a problem in your customers’ lives, and had a vision for how to do it.

Most of your marketing videos have a specific vision or belief behind them, too.

The key is, the more you can connect the individual why in your video back to the larger vision or belief behind your company, the stronger that why will resonate with an audience.

That’s exactly what Gillette did in their new video testimonial, called “First Shave, the story of Samson” under the #MyBestSelf campaign, featured below.

In it, Sampson talks about his experiences growing up into his best self as a trans man, and then learns to shave for the first time as his dad helps guide him.

It’s a beautiful story, and it reaches deeper than a traditional customer testimonial normally would. This isn’t about how Samson’s life is so much better after using Gillette’s razors, or how Gillette’s razors saved him thousands of dollars, or made him thousands of dollars, or any of the more traditional success stories that usually come with a customer testimonial.

In fact, it’s not really about Gillette at all. It’s about Samson. A bold play, but one that’s staying focused on the vision and belief of Gillette’s why.

Simple, sweet, and visually beautiful. The natural lighting, editing, and backing soundtrack all weave perfectly together to create a lovely, moving short.

While all three of those could be key takeaways to focus on for your own video production efforts, the only takeaway we want to highlight today is how you can create an impactful story that doesn’t have to sell your product directly to still move people.

A Powerful Message

For starters, the video’s powerful message of acceptance and love is clearly meant to be shared. And focusing on a transgender man shaving for the first time is a story we haven’t seen before, so it was bound to get picked up by news outlets.

Plus, the video ends with Gillette’s “Best a man can get” tagline, the slogan behind their last big viral ad that drew up controversy for calling out toxic masculinity.

Beyond anything else, what you should take away from this video is how you can empower your creative and marketing teams to work together to tell stories that matter.

In this instance, they let a customer tell their own story in a bold way. Think about your own customers: what would happen if you took a similar approach and created a customer testimonial video that wasn’t about how great you are, but how great your customer is?

How to Find the Right Story

If your first thought is “Where am I going to find a customer with a story that good?” that’s fair, and – don’t worry! – you aren’t alone. It just means you need to do more research and communicate more with your customers. Find out more about them. Create more opportunities to have meaningful dialogues with them in your interactions on social media and communications through email. Survey them to learn more about their experience using your product or service, and, for a select few who are open to it, try a phone conversation to find out more.

Listen to them – they have a lot to say if you let them. Just make sure you or your team knows where the boundaries are by keeping the conversation on their user experience  and letting them guide the narrative. This is all about discovering what they’re willing to share about their own lives and the role your brand has played.

You don’t have to wait to find the perfect customer, however. You can still tell meaningful stories in your video marketing without needing to scour the internet to find a candidate for the most viral-worthy testimonial.

Start Internally

If they’re open to it, you can create dialogues with your employees to discuss what’s most important to them. You can tell meaningful stories from people in your local community, or from a company partner whose work impacts your company, or yours theirs.

The point is, video marketing doesn’t have to just be advertisements for your products. It can be meaningful content with an impactful story in its own right. You are, after all, competing with an entire internet full of endless entertainment that’s always available.

If you have any hope to stand out, saying something that’s true and honest can help – especially if it’s on brand with your company’s core mission, core beliefs, or core vision.

Grant Harvey

Grant Harvey