What Your Video Marketing is Missing: Ethos and Brett Favre

What do Wrangler JeansCopper Fit Compression Sleeve, and Micro Touch Tough Blade all have in common?  If you guessed the commercials I can't get out of my head right now you would be correct, but the answer I am looking for is Brett Favre.  The former Green Bay Packers quarterback and 2016 Hall of Fame inductee is a spokesperson for each of these brands.   Favre had a legendary career in the NFL and his credentials as an athlete are beyond impressive.  He is a Super Bowl champion, 11 time Pro Bowl selection, 5 time NFC Player of the Year, has completed more passes than anyone else in the NFL, and his record for the most wins was just tied with Peyton Manning at 186.  But why in the world are we talking about Brett Favre right now?  It has to do with ethos. 

Last week, I posted a blog about Greek philosophy and rhetoric.  Rhetoric is vital in crafting a persuasive message.  Within rhetoric, there are three modes:  ethos, logos, and pathos.  Today we will discuss ethos and how it relates to video and marketing.

According to Literary Devices, ethos "is a way of appealing to an audience by showing one's credibility and ethical character."  Ethos is basically one's credibility and credentials.  Credibility and trust go hand in hand.  Before your audience will even consider listening to your message they need to know that you are a credible source, otherwise they won't trust you.  Until the question, "Who are you?" is answered, their guard will be up and everything you communicate will be tossed out.  This is why ethos is essential in marketing.  If you can't get your audience to trust you from the start, you will never be able to persuade them to listen to and adopt your message.  That's why one's credentials are often given at the beginning of their message.  

How can this be applied to video?  If you are creating a video for your business, you need to first present yourself as an expert within your industry.  Talk about how long you have been in business, important projects you've completed, your level of education, etc.   Including endorsements from others can bring instant credibility.  That is why Brett Favre has appeared in so many commercials.  He is seen as an accomplished professional athlete who embodies what it means to be a man.  You may not have heard of the Copper Fit Compression Sleeve but you have definitely heard of Brett Favre and you know he was a serious athlete.  It's easy then to make the conclusion then that if Brett Favre endorses Copper Fit then it must be worth the purchase.  

Another thing to consider in video marketing to establish credibility is the quality of your video.  If your video is shaky, has weak audio, rough edits, is poorly lit, then your appeal to credibility is in jeopardy.  You could have a great message and be an expert in your industry but the quality of your video communicates otherwise.

But ethos can apply to more than videos for businesses.  It may be less obvious but weddings videos can also display ethos.  The question that needs to be answered in this setting is, "How credible is a couple's love for each other?"  A husband can attest to his love for his wife by communicating how well he knows her.  He knows her favorite movie, whether his wife is messy or clean, and he can list the names of her best friends from college.  He is communicating he is an expert in the industry known as his wife.  What is communicated to the viewer is that he really does know his wife, which means his love for her is real.

Why am I harping so much on ethos and credibility?  Because in my opinion, as a Communications Major, certified Google AdWords Planner, former ad agency employee, a videographer with years of experience, and entrepreneur, (see what I did there) ethos is foundationally the most important rhetorical appeal.  You can have a logical argument, you can move people to tears with your stories, but if you aren't seen as credible, no one will give you the time of day.  If you want to your audience to listen to you, show them you are a credible source or just hire Brett Favre and he will do the job for you.