In-House Talent or Professional Talent: Which is Better for Your Business Video or Commercial?


It happens to the best of us.

Late at night, flipping through channels with a half-empty bowl of popcorn, a snoring spouse, and nothing on TV when suddenly we find ourselves immersed in an infomercial for ShamWow starring a Billy Mays impersonator. It has even happened when perusing YouTube for the latest viral videos – and we end up watching the duration of a riveting testimony endorsing an online university.

Chances are the individuals in these videos have been carefully selected to serve the purpose of making these brands shine to their target audience. Companies have two options when it comes to choosing the stars of their business videos – in-house talent or hired talent from an agency.

So how can you determine whether you and/or your company teammates are ready for prime time, or if you should leave acting to the professionals?

If you’re working with a video production company experienced in dealing with in-house talent as well as casting professional acting talent, the decision will be much easier. A video production company will help you examine several factors to ensure your online video or commercial features the right people to deliver the right message.

Quality of Delivery

The person or persons representing your business in front of the camera should have these essential qualities: a good speaking voice, clear enunciation, wide range of vocal expression (as opposed to a “one-note” delivery), high energy level and a positive attitude. By high energy level, we don’t mean bouncing off the walls, but rather a sustained enthusiasm that connects with audience members and evokes the desired feelings of trust and confidence that your business is the right choice.

Conveying emotion about your business is also important. You and your team may be great at face-to-face sales, but come across as uncomfortable when trying to communicate with a camera instead of a person. If your budget doesn’t allow for hiring talent, a good video production company can coach you on how to deliver lines in a natural manner that conveys confidence. You won’t win an Emmy, but you will be better able to win new business.

If your budget does permit, professional talent offers the following advantages:
•    Experience in quickly taking direction, reading Teleprompters and following cues.
•    Ability to visually communicate through eye contact, body language and movement. Professionals know how to move in front of the camera; non-professionals are more likely to make distracting, nervous hand gestures, or not know where to look during taping.
•    Familiarity with working sets, equipment, the role of each member of the video crew and the shooting process itself.

When Keeping it Real May be Better

For some target audiences, authenticity is more important than professional polish. If your market is more “down home,” the folksy touch may help you connect better by letting people know you’re one of them – someone they can trust will treat them fairly and give them good value. Again, an experienced video production company can craft a script and coach your in-house talent to get your message across with warmth and sincerity while helping you avoid common mistakes.

Maintaining Corporate Identity

On the other hand, a common mistake of business owners or corporate decision makers is letting convenience be the sole guide in casting an online video or commercial spot. Your on-camera talent should represent your brand identity – whether it’s young and sporty, upscale or family-centric. The best person or persons to convey your brand image may not be in-house.

Some Advice About Customer Testimonials

Featuring your satisfied customers on camera can be effective or distracting – effective if their appearance is appropriate for your brand and the setting; distracting if one is at a car dealership dressed for a cocktail party, another wearing a t-shirt with an offensive message, etc. A professional video production company will provide customers giving on-camera testimonials a brief list of clothing and grooming guidelines before the shoot. Depending upon the business and its target market, these standards may vary.

This list also takes into account such factors as whether the video will be shot in front of a green screen, indoors or outdoors – all of which go into determining the colors and fabric patterns of recommended clothing. For example, a non-actor wearing his own clothes to a green screen set wouldn’t reasonably be expected to know not to choose a green shirt that day.

That’s a Wrap

Whether you choose someone within your company, enlist customer testimonials or have your production company put out a casting call, the resulting video should be an engaging, effective marketing tool. Our Hooah Production Studios team is ready to help you achieve the best results toward meeting your objectives. Contact us today!