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Raw Video Creates a Feeling of Authenticity Between Organizations and Publics

The public relations trend makes content creation easier and trustworthy

By: Caroline Morse

The introduction of social media platforms created a new tactic for organizations to reach out to customers in interactive and new ways. Users have changed their needs as social media has grown and now require authenticity and unique content from brands that fit changing trends and tactics. Users were able to see a glimpse into the everyday life of influencers and celebrities, and now that same level of authenticity is being expected from brands. Raw video is unproduced and unedited content that creates an authentic feel, almost in real-time, that has become popular on platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram. The new method offers brands an easy-to-make and low-budget way to produce social media content that is engaging and interactive.

Colorpop records raw video during produced event.

Raw Video Creates Authenticity

People and organizations can quickly come off as fake to users depending on their product or content, especially in the cosmetic industry. The industry has garnered negative attention with videos and articles highlighting the practice of over-editing and photoshopping photos. Capturing raw video is a simple way to relate to users, and some brands have begun the journey into using raw video by posting user-generated content but have yet to create their own. One of the most popular cosmetic brands, Colourpop, created a Behind the Scenes highlight reel on Instagram to share video content that shows the reality of getting ready for photoshoots and even work life. Followers can see models getting prepared for without filters, finally seeing how the makeup looks on different skin textures. Raw video is easy to record, with events, announcements and tutorials making great content.

COVID-19 Pushes Raw Video into the Spotlight

The COVID-19 pandemic changed how brands could produce photography and video content, forcing organizations to find ways to create content at home with limited resources and time. It was also crucial for brands to acknowledge what was happening by being truthful and open about how the pandemic affected organizations. One area harshly impacted by COVID-19 was the entertainment industry. Filming, concerts and live performances had to shut down for months resulting in no ticket sales or income for theaters and entertainers. The Fort Worth-based nonprofit, Texas Ballet Theater, had to find a way to produce social media content. So, they created the #TBTatHome Instagram campaign, which featured videos of company members rehearsing alone in the comfort of their own homes. All the videos were recorded on cellphone cameras and then posted without editing, receiving great comments and engagement. The campaign's success impacted Texas Ballet Theater, and the organization has continued to release similar videos even with performances resuming.

Using Raw Video in a Time of Crisis Brands are no stranger to crisis, forcing CEOs and other top executives to release apology statements. While in most cases, a letter or press release signed with an executive's name would be a standard solution to the problem, it has now changed. The public now wants to see the CEO's face and know who is in charge, and they want to see them apologize or address an issue personally. However, the idea of apology videos is not new. One of the best-regarded videos is the 2007 "Our Promise to You" statement from JetBlue Airlines CEO after passengers were stuck on the tarmac for eight hours during an ice storm. The current CEO, David Neeleman, released a short video on YouTube in which he explained the changes the company would implement in an unedited way that showed all his stutters and expressions.

The need for regular statement videos from executives emerged at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to address new protocols and closures. A Twitter video from Marriot International CEO Arne Sorenson went viral in March 2020 while he became emotional while discussing the impact of COVID-19 on the hotel chain and its employees. YouTube apologies are often seen as cliché and come across as inauthentic due to frequent jump-cuts and edits. It is videos, like JetBlue and Marriot's, that seem real and apologetic work best for regaining the trust and sympathy of consumers.

The trend of raw video makes generating social media content easy while creating a friendly and authentic feel that organizations have ignored for a long time. Implementing raw video tactics into brand social media accounts blends with typical content that followers see on their feed.


About the Author: Caroline Morse is a PR professional who studies journalism concentrating in public relations at the University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism, set to graduate in December 2021. Caroline hopes to focus on the cosmetic or entertainment industry while working at a public relations agency after graduation.