Making Great Customer Testimonials: 4 Production Strategies
In Part 1 of this series, Making Great Customer Testimonials: 4 Campaign Planning Tips, I shared some key considerations for the planning stage of your next customer testimonial campaign. So, now that you have found customers who are willing to share their amazing brand experiences, it’s time to capture their stories.
As you begin the actual production process, keep these executional strategies in mind:
1. Hire a good director or interviewer.
If your campaign will be executed for some type of broadcast or digital medium (e.g., television, radio, online, etc.), a director who can work with real people can make all the difference. I’ve worked with great directors who weren’t able to deliver a believable testimonial, because they were only effective at getting a performance out of professionals. But, there are amazing directors who are perfect for this task and can deliver magical results. And, if you’re already locked into a particular director or have an in-house production team, consider hiring a professional interviewer who can help real people share their stories in an authentic way.
2. Let your customers say it in their own words.
Testimonials are only believable if they’re real – real people, using their own words. You can set them up to talk about key aspects of your brand. But, I have never found a copywriter who could script a testimonial in a more believable way than an actual customer, using his or her own words. And, if your message is too complicated, let an announcer (or the interviewer) sell those brand features. The customers are there to share how they have experienced the benefits of your brand. If you want a spokesperson to deliver your copy, hire a spokesperson.
3. Don’t have a customer deliver your tagline.
Unless your brand has an established tagline that has become a part of popular culture, just don’t do it. It screams, “hey, this is not a real testimonial; someone paid me to say this!” There are other creative strategies for getting your tagline into the finished commercials (e.g., vocal sting, supers, etc.). Use them.
4. Use a “non-seasonal” wardrobe.
Unless there is a compelling reason for it (e.g., selling parkas or swimsuits), consider outfitting your customers in a wardrobe that doesn’t reflect a particular time of year. A client with an amazing testimonial campaign (probably because they followed the other rules) may not feel comfortable airing it during certain parts of the year, if it’s obvious that his featured customers were filmed in a different season. Unless we’re feeling nostalgic, as consumers we want information that feels timely and relevant. So, don’t allow poor wardrobe choices to inadvertently limit the shelf-life of your campaign.
Brands with multi-million dollar budgets can afford to ignore many of the tips I’ve outlined throughout this series. But, for those who are tasked by either a client or manager to deliver the greatest return on every production dollar, I encourage you to go into your next production with your eyes wide open.
If done correctly, customer testimonials can be a very powerful way to reinforce your brand. But, no advertiser should spend money to execute a testimonial campaign that even a 13-year-old realizes shouldn’t have happened.
About Scott Kuhn
I am the Chairman/CEO of Sheehy+Associates. I believe that business is about establishing, growing and maintaining relationships. And, for more than 20 years I have had the honor of helping countless brands make the kinds of connections, both internally and externally, that are vital to their success. When I’m not working, you can usually find me outdoors with my family – baiting fishing hooks, hiking, and getting lots of help with anything related to a campfire. I love looking at the world through my children’s eyes. They have more perspective on life than many of the adults that I know.