Is it time for B2B business leaders to step in front of the camera?

Should your business put your leaders front and centre on video? In our opinion, the answer is ‘yes’. 75% of B2B buyers are influenced by information found on social media and market research generally puts approval of the CEO as a key factor in people’s buying decisions. But there are a few key pointers our expert filmmakers say are necessary to consider first.

We live in an era where the web and social media provide endless opportunities to learn about brands. The result? Better informed customers and potential colleagues, with greater insights available into whether they want to work with or buy from each business.

But how do business leaders tie into all this? It’s simple: they can be the most effective advocates for articulating everything customers and future colleagues want to know about what makes an organisation special. Not to mention, people buy into people, which gives leaders a unique opportunity to shape the company’s reputation.

Getting it right

This year, it’s been estimated that over 82% of website traffic will come from videos and, therefore, greater investment in film is a smart choice for any leader looking to improve stakeholders’ understanding of their business and bring their proposition to life.

But this doesn’t mean every company should immediately force its leaders into the limelight. There are a few questions to ask first:

  • What is the topic your business wants to address?
  • What is the story, narrative or message you want to share, and who is the audience?
  • When and where will the audience engage and be most receptive?
  • Is a business leader best positioned to front a brand film, or would another spokesperson be more relevant?
  • Is film the right route to that audience, or would another format be more appropriate?

As Matt Peltier, our Head of Film, says, “At Brands2Life, we help brands answer these questions. A brand film is the most impactful when used to solve a communications challenge, but it must always be authentic and relevant. We use insights to establish the storyline that will engage the audience; we suggest using either the CEO or a different leader, depending on the message; and we use research to determine what format is the best route to the audience, by exploring whether ‘a face’, animation, graphically-led film, or perhaps a podcast would be better.”

Putting a face on-screen

Once the format and spokesperson have been chosen, our next step is to spend time preparing the individual to become the face or voice of the brand. This part’s important, as many leaders aren’t natural on-screen. Realistically, almost no one is at first – even TV presenters take a lot of training.

Training a spokesperson can take many forms – from formal media training through sharing best – and worst – practice to on-the-spot coaching. Some spokespeople may be nervous and require confidence-building whereas others may be the opposite and need some techniques to ensure they don’t ‘freestyle’ too much.

As Matt puts it: “Our role is to get the CEO to give the best of themselves, whether nervous or enthusiastic. We do this by coaching, media training and deploying some trade secrets. We’re a team from all walks of life – from experienced TV producers, directors and script writers, to entertainment, drama, reality TV and documentary specialists. So, you can trust us to transform any business leader into an engaging speaker when the cameras are rolling.”

Capturing attention

Moving onto the next stage of the creative film-making process, the focus must then be on how to present the brand’s message in the most impactful way.

“Our content lives and dies on whether we capture the audience’s attention, which drops with every minute that passes and every acronym that is used. So, we have to be succinct and use everyday language,” says Matt.

Stuart Metcalf, our Senior Producer and Director, agrees: “Around 70% of our work is in B2B video, but there is a B2B content trap. People think content needs to focus on products and benefits but, actually, people buy into people, and  the emotion of their stories. So, the more relevant and authentic the better… B2B video has to become smarter, learning from B2C.”

The way the spokesperson holds themselves is central to executing this well. “To relax the person, so they can tell the story of their brand with authenticity, it is important to do pre-interviews, deep dives, and build out the narrative and messaging the organisation wants the audience to take away from the film. Altogether, this helps them find their most authentic, passionate voice… This, alongside sophisticated production techniques, including green screens, animation or even props, can help them elevate the content, so it really captures the audience’s attention.”

The power of digital film

An emotional connection continues to sit at the heart of any buying decision, and this is no different for B2B marketing. When created to a high standard and communicated across the right channels, digital film becomes a uniquely powerful medium.

As Stuart explains, “Video is generally excellent for short-form, shop-window storytelling. A 30-minute piece on cybersecurity, for example, is generally far more impactful if reduced to 60 seconds to get audiences wanting more. Those interested will then click to see more content on the subject, pointing them towards the desired location.”

Digital and social films also offer a far greater return on investment than TV.

“Audience research can inform selection of the talent to put in front of the camera and, because we understand the channels and what the audience want, we can create powerful subject matter than really engage. Plus, with the data and metrics that are available, ROI can be measured more easily than with TV,” says Stuart.

In a digital world where video traffic’s importance is ever-growing organisations that tell their stories through a passionate, authentic voice will have the greatest cut through. So, the next time your business utilises film, we say: it’s smart to get your leaders on. Given the right medium, message, and production, they can be the most beneficial brand advocate a business can have.

As we said at the start the better customers and staff know the leader of a business the stronger their bond with the brand and the more likely they are to buy. Smart use of film in all its forms, especially delivered through social, can ensure that awareness is raised, and a relationship built. Executed well it can become more like a conversation with a friend.  And, as we all know, that kind of relationship is the most important sales tool of all.

If you want to know more, contact Matt Peltier or Stuart Metcalf at Brands2Life.