“Video is just the most human experience you can deliver when you're forced to operate digitally and virtually.” -Ethan Beute

Video is a powerful form of visual communication. But even after seeing the power of videoconferencing during the pandemic, many companies are now reverting to using the same old methods as before. 

It’s a distressing trend, says the Chief Evangelist at BombBomb, Ethan Beute. He’s the author of “Human-Centered Communication,” a compelling book about the power of digital interactions and distractions.

Ethan shares the role of video communication in the digital transformation of financial brands.

The Virus and The Video

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted our world more than anyone could have ever imagined. In the business sphere, one of the biggest changes was the rise of fully remote work and videoconferencing.

Just three to five years ago, many companies weren’t using video calling or conferencing at all. Then the pandemic happened and forced everyone to use video to stay connected with their colleagues and customers. Zoom calls became the norm.

Did this accelerate the pace of digital transformation at the world’s banks and financial brands?

Not necessarily.

Many financial executives have been all too eager to go back to “the way things used to be.” This includes reducing the reliance on video and sending it back to the bottom of the priority pile.

Huge mistake.

People, including financial brand account holders, love connecting with others by video. It allows them to see facial expressions, notice body language, and maintain a sense of humor that’s often missing from other forms of communication.

Relationship-Building via Video

When banking executives have been in the business for a while, they sometimes lose touch with the average person’s daily banking experience. Ethan provides a great example.

Working for a financial brand, you often hear the same questions over and over again about interest rates, mortgages, refinancing, and so forth. Your mind begins to feel like, “Yawn. I’m bored of this.”

But for your customers, a question about a mortgage or refi is the most important concern in their entire lives. They’re feeling vulnerable and need your help at a critical turning point.

Related Content: Connecting Through Cameras: The Visual Sale 

Financial brands must have the emotional wherewithal to connect with people during these “FAQ moments” and provide genuine, heartfelt support. Unlike an email, a video connection provides the opportunity to forge a human connection and leave someone smiling at a challenging moment in their life.

As Ethan says, “Video is the next best thing to being there in person.” Two people anywhere on earth with cameras and internet access can build an instant bond.

Video helps people establish intimacy, which is the first step to building trust. James Robert points out the psychological fact that 95% of our decisions and habits come from the subconscious mind.

When people can see a human being in front of them, their minds naturally ask and answer questions like:

  • What is your motivation? 
  • Do you seem to understand me? 
  • Do you seem to believe what you're saying? 
  • Do you seem to have my best interests in mind? 
  • Do you and your company seem to care? 

“People don’t judge your competence until they’ve judged your warmth,” Ethan says. This strikes at the core of human intent, motivation, sincerity, honesty, and forthrightness. 

It’s basic evolutionary psychology that’s been hardwired into humans for thousands of years. Video is just the latest version of having face-to-face interactions.

3 Basic Trust Questions

At the Digital Growth Institute, we use three basic trust questions to determine whether a person or organization is establishing trust.

  1. Can a prospect trust you?
  2. How are you making them feel?
  3. How can you help them?

The first question is a binary question where the answer is either yes or no, and you can’t proceed to the next question without a yes. When the answer to that first question is no, everything comes to a screeching halt. 

If a person can’t trust you, they don’t want to proceed with sharing their feelings and personal information. Even if they’re forced to continue - because they’re doing something essential like seeking a loan or trying to resolve a technical glitch - they’ll remember that you seemed untrustworthy and avoid interacting with your brand in the future.

Ethan’s book, “Human-Centered Communication,” explains why this happens. In short, “you can’t automate a relationship.” When people are dealing with big systems, they’re still humans who want to know that other nice and caring humans care about their well-being. 

High-Tech for High-Touch and Human-Centered Approach

Video is an essential part of the “high-tech for high-touch” concept. A high-touch business provides a superior level of care, helping its customers feel highly valued.

Ethan is a fan of German economist Ernest Schumacher’s book, “Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered.” Schumacher takes a human-centered approach to economics where efficiency shouldn’t override human connections. Organizations must continually strive to find a balance between “the orderliness of order and the disorderliness of creative freedom.”

When big companies continually scale up, they have a natural bias and tendency toward rigid orderliness. After all, orderliness is what lies behind economies of scale. 

But this magnetic pull toward automation can harm human beings. We’re naturally emotional, messy, confusing, and vulnerable. We question trust. We worry about technology taking over. We’re full of conflicting ideas.

This means there’s an inherent tension between expanding a company and maintaining strong human connections. Financial brands should never scale up so feverishly that they forget to care about the human beings they serve.

Roadblocks to Taking Advantage of Video

If your financial brand is struggling to fully embrace video as a communication channel, it’s time to examine what’s going wrong. Ethan tends to see two main problems with video adoption.

First, people are feeling too comfortable and successful to change. A financial institution might be stable enough that incorporating more video just doesn’t seem like a priority. There’s no noticeable penalty for not using video. 

This is a risky situation. Your customers don’t actively notice that you’re not using video, but they feel less connected to you. Any competitor who can connect with them on video can easily woo them away from you.

The second problem relates to a fear of rejection. People generally fear video communication because it makes them feel judged and at risk of being rejected. Even as they realize it’s better to communicate face-to-face, they hide off-camera because it’s easier to avoid judgment.

Overcoming this problem takes practice. Learn how to handle video calls skillfully and gain hours of practice doing it. Practice launching and ending calls so it doesn’t feel awkward. Have a friend fill the role of a grumpy client and see how it feels to manage their video customer service call successfully.

Ethan often hears objections like: 

  • Sales calls don’t feel right on video
  • I’m not comfortable with providing customer service over video
  • I’m not confident using video technology
  • I don’t like how I look on camera
  • I don’t like how my voice sounds

Most of these objections can be overcome with practice. The rest are about becoming comfortable with being a normal human being. People should be encouraged to loosen up and make mistakes because little flubs only make them look more human and relatable.

Can You Make a Video Commitment?

Ethan and the team at BombBomb are big fans of committing to sending two or three videos per day, for a whole week. If you can make this commitment and follow through on it, during the second week you’ll already feel like a pro at creating and sharing videos. 

After the first couple of weeks, you can start feeling more confident and broadening your reach. Send videos to new prospects, customers, past clients, peers, potential strategic partners, and referral partners. 

In the weeks that follow, you’ll notice that you’re losing your fear of being on video. Making pre-recorded videos and video calls becomes second nature. Plus, you’ll be receiving replies and questions that show the positive impact you’re making.

If you ever start to lose motivation, remember that what you’re doing with video is memorable. People don’t always react right away, but they remember your video and build a positive impression of you over time. 

Can you remember the best email you’ve ever received? Probably not. 

Can you picture your favorite videos? Absolutely! 

Videos engrave images in our minds. Now’s the time to seize the power of video and learn how to make lasting impressions.