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The Entrepreneur's Dilemma

Communication is a complex subject, and each new form of oral, visual, or digital dialogue has its own set of criteria that make it effective; as well as its own snake pit of hazards that can make it downright dangerous. Let’s put the current Macarena’s of marketing, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest aside for one moment and speak about another hot trend in marketing communication – video.

Visual communication is about tapping into your audience’s emotional response to innate psychological desires: that’s the reason video is such a powerful marketing and branding vehicle. Video possesses more emotionally connective tools than any other medium. Using picture, movement, color, sound design, music, and motion graphics to speak directly to an audience with each viewer experiencing an intimate one-on-one experience makes Web video unique in its ability to communicate online. But you have to know how to use these tools in order for them to be effective and to make a memorable impact on your audience.

Audience response is less about what you say, and more about how you make people feel. Use these tools without sufficient understanding, purpose, and expertise and you may make the wrong kind of impression.

“People forget what you say, but they remember how you made them feel.” – Warren Beatty

We created the video below for one of our clients and it illustrates how presentation elements can be used to attract attention, create desire, and motivate action by tapping into an audience’s emotional underbelly. The opening line grabs the viewer’s attention with a verbal slap-in-the-face, while the Lombardi-style motivational script and performance hold the viewer’s attention with the music and sound design emphasizing each major point and gesture; all while ramping up the viewer’s emotional response to the message; culminating in a triumphant call-to-action and a light-hearted postscript to remind people that sports are suppose to be fun.

You Ain’t No Tony Robbins

I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs and most know that appearing in their own marketing videos is a dangerous game. No one wants to look like a fool; however, there are those whose egos and/or acceptance of the hype and misinformation surrounding personal branding have led them down the proverbial garden path of delusion. I trace a lot of this current excess in ego-marketing to three things: open access to great communication tools and venues; the mystique of the misguided personal branding concept; and a failed grasp of the implications of the so-called customer-conversation revolution.

Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

Low-priced, high-tech hardware and software combined with easy access to inexpensive high-speed online presentation venues has created a new class of entrepreneur who has great ambition and ideas but little understanding of how various communication methods differ, and what makes each effective.

Because video involves so many different elements, with some communicating directly and others subliminally, it is imperative that you understand how each impacts the presentation and delivery of the message. Concept, script, performance, and styling each impact an audience in different ways. If even one of these elements is off, the result will be a muddled and confused message met with skepticism and disbelief. Of all the elements mentioned, the most important is performance; a bad performance by an entrepreneur can make him or her appear to be a fake, no matter how well intentioned and genuine they are.

There are charismatic business speakers like Tony Robbins who are presentation phenoms, and there are a few entrepreneurs who can make people hang on every word, but these people are few and far between. If you’ve ever thought of being your company spokesperson in order to save móney or to inflate your ego, ask yourself, are you really as good as Tony Robbins? Unless you’re a communication savant, it is best to have your marketing communication created and presented by people who know what they are doing.

The Personal Branding Myth

You often hear celebrities talk about ‘Their Brand’ as if they were a laundry detergent, a notion that reveals a lack of understanding of the differences between brand and personality. It’s the equivalent of people talking about themselves in the third person; something that is oft-putting, and often a sign of a narcissistic personality disorder, not surprising, considering the arrogance that can develop from being catered to by media and fans.

Personal Branding is nothing more than another way of saying ‘self-promotion.’ Unfortunately, it often crosses the line that separates marketing your business and that icky feeling you get when you hear over-hyped media stars talking about themselves as if they were products. Unfortunately, this trend has crept into the realm of entrepreneurial marketing, a trend that does not serve the entrepreneur well when brand is confused with an individual’s personality.

Number 6: “I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own… I am not a number, I am a person!” – The Prisoner

The Web provides a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs, but common sense has been buried by a tsunami of fad marketing hype. Social media has turned meaningful communication into nonsensical blather, privacy into an unlocked diary, and real relationships into fanciful imposters. There was a time when people fought desperately for their individual humanity as artfully portrayed by Patrick McGoohan in the classic 1960s “The Prisoner.” Sure we have moved on, this is a different age, a different time, and technology has opened the door to all kinds of new opportunities; but no matter how much technology has changed, people are still people, and the fundamentals still count no matter how much the purveyors of the next marketing gimmick scream at us to jump on board before you miss the boat. Let the shysters, charlatans, and carpetbaggers sell their snake oil to someone else. You are not a number or a product, you’re an individual, and that carries more weight in the marketplace than a pet rock.

About The Author
Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a website design and marketing firm that specializes in Web-video Marketing Campaigns and Video Websites. Visit,, and Contact at or telephone (905) 764-1246.

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