Death of the Teleprompter and the Three Keys to an Authentic Brand Voice in Video

Summary:  With the exception of broadcast legend Ron Burgundy, mastery of the Teleprompter is limited to an elite few.  For the most authentic and compelling narrative we recommend three keys; platform, alignment, and performance. 

As demonstrated by the self proclaimed “kind of a big deal” Ron Burgundy, the Teleprompter serves as the ultimate tool for the anointed few, incredibly gifted (and coiffed), on-camera news readers. If you or your marketing team has this gift – congratulations!

But for the rest of us, the tempting glow of slow crawling text can actually rob us of our natural and authentic voice and turn even the most animated and compelling expert into an awkward eye-shifting robotic talking head. That’s why for most marketers the Teleprompter is dead and why we advocate for a better approach: three keys to an authentic brand voice for video.

Key #1: Video Platform

So, what’s the big idea?  

Ultimately, to make the effort worthwhile, every well-crafted video should deliver a focused and compelling idea in the mind of the viewer. To get there, we use a simple template:

  • The Big Idea
  • Three Supporting Pillars
  • The Takeaway

Just as it sounds, The Big Idea is your single most important message that you want to live in the heads of your target audiences. It’s a simple concept but at times video creators can get lost in eye-popping production and 4k camera work, resulting in a missed opportunity to create meaningful and memorable impact. Once your simple declarative statement is established, the big idea should live at the top of your plan and also be top of mind for your production effort at all times.

Example: “New York City is the Greatest City in the World”

Since our brains are by design programmed to hold three to five items at a time, think of your Three Supporting Pillars as “engineered” to hold up your established Big Idea.  For some, this becomes 1) a list of three reasons, or 2) three key features, or 3) three big differentiators that make your case. These pillars will act as the guardrails of your narrative and keep the talent on message and on track.

Example:  NY has the best restaurants, NY is home to the top sightseeing, NY has the best events 

Finally, The Takeaway captures an end result or conclusion of your video, based on the summation of all the ideas presented. This usually locks in the CTA or a bold statement about your brand, product, or company and is best tied to your conversion goals.

Example: We know this city and NY is best experienced via NY Tours, Inc.

Key #2: Alignment

With your completed Video Platform in hand, it’s time to socialize your document for executive leadership approval. This step will codify your effort into a mutually agreed upon and aligned path for what will happen in your video. Much like a contract, this step will provide spokespeople clear direction, and reduce production and project churn and the costs and risks of delays.

Once approved, the video platform is shared with your on-video talent — be it a company executive, customer, partner, or other subject matter expert -for review, study, and as the tool for your meetings to discuss and clarify ideas as needed.  This step can be a little bit like jazz — where each participant adds some of their own perspective and experiences to illuminate each idea but in the end, you will have the confidence of what will take place when it is time for performance.

Key #3: Performance

Now you are ready to schedule and shoot your masterpiece. Walking on location or set, your subject matter experts have the tools in hand to share their narrative that is on-message, on-strategy, and on-brand, with the bonus of it being pre-approved by leadership. But how do we optimize this performance?

Having successfully buried our beloved teleprompter, the key to a successful performance now is to have a natural conversation with the person on camera. With your video platform as your tool, pose open-ended questions based on the documented and approved messages. This will guide your talent to familiar key concepts without awkward surprises and will create a very natural, organic, and compelling testimony on camera.

This approach also greatly increases the efficiency of editing, as the Video Platform documents the key concepts and ideas necessary for the video. If followed carefully the end video product will essentially overlay the platform and approvals will quickly follow. In some cases, the Video Platform might be needed as a “refresher” to ensure the content accuracy for the video production.

How Design Electric Put This Framework to Use

As one of the Bay Area’s top electrical contractors in a very competitive market, Design Electric ( delivers more than 40 years of experience in energizing everything from affordable housing, to commercial buildings, hospitals, schools, retail, and more.  They have a clear focus on their core values and principles for success so to make the most impactful video, we used our Video Platform process to capture and amplify their message.

Here’s how we built our Video Platform:

Design Electric Company

Big Idea: Design Electric is the Company of Choice Because we Always Go the Extra Mile for our Customers

Pillar One: Electrical planning and installation is critical for all successful construction projects

Pillar Two: Design Electric provides the broadest offering of services, supporting wiring, and power of all kinds

Pillar Three: Our superior approach, offering both turnkey in-house design and expert installation, streamlines projects and ensures successful outcomes.

Takeaway: Design Electric goes over and above.

Our open-ended questions reflected these points, including:

  • How important is electrical in modern building projects?
  • In addition to power, what are other typical wiring requirements for modern construction?
  • What advantages are there for your clients to have both design and installation under one roof?

Combined with a moving orchestral score and the heroic images of their dedicated workers on live construction sites, the end result packs a punch and captures what makes them the best in the business.  Here’s the video.  

So where do we go from here?

After hundreds of interviews applying this technique, we have seen amazing performances from non actors from around the world and from all walks of life. Let’s face it. We are all drawn to authenticity and capturing a good person speaking well is well worth the effort. And so is brilliant video marketing in your content marketing mix.  And, so is life after the teleprompter …

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