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  • Lizzie Costello

Why you might be afraid of video

From time to time, I meet a business owner or leader who knows they need a brand story video but is terrified to be in one. Often, these clients are camera-shy and sometimes worry that what they have to say isn’t important or interesting. Other times, they are afraid of being labeled as egotistical for agreeing to be featured in a video about their company.

I can relate to being camera-shy. There’s a reason I chose a profession that puts me behind the camera instead of in front of it. Being in front of a camera makes you vulnerable and easier to judge. It’s uncomfortable. Talking about yourself is probably not why you got into your business.

That feeling of discomfort is often enough to convince someone not to make a brand story video, or to even make a video at all. But as we all have heard by now, video is one of the most powerful marketing tools available. By forgoing a brand story video, you could be missing out on an opportunity to connect with your audience.

Your brand video is not about who you think it’s about

Earlier this year, I was giving a presentation about video marketing and a wedding photographer asked if we could review the promotional video she just made for her website. In the video, we saw lots of flattering shots of her with her camera in various locations. It was a modern, cinematic video that made her website look professional. But the feeling I had after watching it was, “I know what this photographer looks like behind someone else’s lens, but I don’t know what anything looks like behind her lens and I don’t know why I would want to work with her.”

We didn’t see the product and I said as much as we gave feedback; while the video of her looked great, it communicated nothing about what the customers’ experience could look like. It would have been beneficial to see her interacting with couples in a planning session, what she looked like in the context of a wedding, and, most importantly, what the finished wedding photos looked like.

This well-intentioned photographer thought that her video should showcase herself because that’s who she was asking her audience to hire. But what her video should have done — and what your branding video should do — is show the target audience their own reflection (or a reflection of who they want to be, what they want, or what they need).

Video is your opportunity to connect to your target audience

It seems counterintuitive to say that a video is not about you when I’m asking to interview you on camera. When I ask that of clients who are scared to be on camera, it’s almost as if they think I’m asking them to explicitly pat themselves on the back or to recite their resume.

A promo video shouldn’t ask you to talk about yourself in such a self-promotional way. Your business is about something so much bigger than you: It is about the problem your audience has and how your service or product can help them solve it. Your brand story video should do the same thing.

Even when you are sharing your passions and backstory, it’s with the purpose of humanizing yourself and giving your audience something to relate to. Now, more than ever, consumers want relationships with their brands and want to know the people behind them. But it is an unequal relationship, and at the end of the day your audience will always ask, “What can this brand do for me?” Your video is your opportunity to answer that.

Set yourself free

So many of my same clients who say they are uncomfortable talking about themselves are downright charismatic on camera when they express compassion for their target audience, the problem their business solves, and why it matters to them.

This kind of content is inherently “authentic,” that magical characteristic that consumers want, and brands want to be. Somehow it has become elusive in marketing, which I find baffling. Whenever I sit down to interview someone, I tell them to forget about the cameras and imagine that we’re at a coffee shop and we’re just having a conversation. With this approach, I have never had a hard time bringing out the authenticity behind a brand because the subject feels free to talk about what matters to them most.

What if, the next time someone asked you to represent your company in your branding video, you thought of all the ways you could talk about the target audience and how your company helps them solve a problem, and didn’t even think about what you would say about yourself? I would hope that mindset shift would take the pressure off. Imagine how effective your video could be if you approached your video this way, and how many more people you could connect with.

Costello Productions specializes in brand story videos. Reach out to us at if you need help telling your brand’s authentic story.

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