Top 5 Tips to Get the Best On-Camera Reviews from Real Customers

27.01.2016 13:15

Top 5 Tips to Get the Best On-Camera Reviews from Real Customers

John Pucci, Chief Creative and Marketing Officer at Hawthorne Direct


John Pucci is an award-winning creative director with a wealth of talent and experience working on major brands via both the agency and client side.  Currently, he leads the creative, digital, business development, and production departments at Hawthorne Direct. His expertise encompasses pitching new business, developing creative and producing work for key clients 3M, American Addiction Centers, Armor All, Black + Decker, Brother, Charter Spectrum, Dyson, Energizer, Equifax, Gerber Life, Hamilton Beach, HomeAdvisor, The Hartford, It’s Just Lunch, JG Wentworth, L’Oreal, Pella, ShopAtHome, Transamerica, United Healthcare and more.



When making a purchasing decision, the overwhelming majority of consumers, nearly 70% according to a Nielsen survey, trust customer reviews. Aside from the product benefits and features themselves, customer reviews can be the decisive factor for potential buyers who are mulling over their options. The rise of digital media over the past several years makes customer testimonials even more accessible and ubiquitous in the buying process.


Video has long been acknowledged as an incredibly powerful and persuasive communication medium, and when combined with customer testimonials, video can provide visual cues that support the message and drive the sale. Most brand decision-makers understand the potential of customer reviews on video, but many aren’t sure how to put a program together to capture real customers on film. Here are five tips that can help:


  1. Finding customers: So how do you find happy customers to star in your review video? Going to the largest group of consumers with a variety of tactics is key — email blasts and social media contests can be effective ways to identify the right people. Many people are drawn to the idea of appearing on camera, but narrowing down the list to the right group is important.


  1. Building personality profiles: Once you’ve identified a pool of customers who are willing to participate, take the time to ask them about their use of the product or service to make sure they connect with the brand. A consumer who really connects to a product will naturally bring up points that align with the brand message.


  1. Creating customer scorecards: Once you have built the profiles, record video interviews with the goal of creating a short list. Take the time to evaluate prospects based on their background, strengths and connections to the brand.


  1. Hosting a meet-and-greet: Once your real customers have been selected and are scheduled to be filmed, host a gathering prior to filming to put the customers at ease. Appearing on camera is a unique experience for many customers, and it’s an opportunity to build customers’ confidence before the shoot.


  1. Conducting the interview: When it’s time to start filming, make sure that an experienced interviewer is available to handle asking questions that draw out the essential points about the brand. The experience will help the customer be more at ease and appear more natural on film.


There are many additional choices to make when creating customer video testimonials, including the setting — a public venue, a home or even a studio setting can work. If you have challenges finding real customers who can effectively communicate your message, you can consider having professionals read real customer reviews, though the use of actual customers tends to be more convincing for viewers.


Keep in mind that choosing the right people who have used the product or service is both an art and a science — and it is essential to ensuring the campaign’s success. Delivering a marketing message literally in the voice of the customer offers an emotional pull in an otherwise rational selling commercial. Listening to what real customers have to say offers the buying audience a chance to hear an experience from a virtual neighbor. And that’s a powerful selling tool.