1714 – Crafting Compelling Brand Videos with Brandmagnetic’s Mariana Henninger

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the CEO & Founder of Brandmagnetic, Mariana Henninger.

Mariana believes in the power of video as a medium because it allows for non-verbal communication through facial expressions and visuals. She has made it her mission to teach entrepreneurs how to create brand videos that resonate with their audience and evoke the desired emotions.

According to Mariana, compelling visuals and understanding the core story are key components of a brand video. She shared an example of a student who used the metaphor of a jigsaw puzzle to convey her message. This highlights the importance of creativity and metaphorical thinking in video creation.

Moreover, Mariana emphasized the importance of good editing, music, and shot selection in creating an impactful brand video. These elements, when combined effectively, can significantly enhance the overall impact of the video.

Creating a brand video, as Mariana described, involves crafting the core story, creating a script, and filming both scripted and non-scripted elements.

This combination makes the video feel conversational and intimate. She emphasized the importance of taking time to edit the video and ensure its quality.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Impact of brand videos
  • Elements that make brand videos effective
  • Importance of building trust, likability, and awareness in brand videos
  • Power of video as a medium for non-verbal communication
  • Creating brand videos that resonate with the audience and evoke emotions
  • Key components of a brand video: compelling visuals, understanding the core story, good editing, music, and shot selection
  • Production investment and time required for well-polished brand videos
  • Process of creating a brand video: crafting the core story, creating a script, filming scripted and non-scripted elements, and editing

About Mariana Henninger:

Mariana Henninger is a renowned Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker and the founder/director of True People Films, a highly acclaimed boutique creative video agency. Specializing in producing influential documentaries, her company, True People Films, focuses on assisting online entrepreneurs earning $1-3M+/year to significantly boost sales through their unique Influence Documentaries.

Mariana's expertise in directing and producing extends to collaborations with prominent entities such as Microsoft, Hulu, Mount Sinai, HSBC, and HP, as well as media giants like Peacock, NBC News, The New York Times, The Atlantic, TIME, and The Wall Street Journal.

With her impressive portfolio, Mariana Henninger stands as a pivotal figure in the world of documentary filmmaking, shaping narratives and empowering businesses through her compelling visual storytelling.

About Brandmagnetic:

Brandmagnetic is a dynamic platform dedicated to assisting online entrepreneurs in swiftly building trust and boosting sales through visually captivating and emotion-driven brand videos.

Specializing in crafting beautiful and impactful visual content, Brandmagnetic focuses on creating videos that resonate deeply with the audience, eliciting genuine emotions and establishing strong connections.

By leveraging the power of compelling storytelling and striking visuals, Brandmagnetic enables businesses to convey their messages effectively, leaving a lasting impression on potential customers.

Through their expertise, entrepreneurs can enhance their online presence, engage their audience, and drive sales growth.

Tweetable Moments:

13:11 – “You want to feel when you're watching a brand video that you're having an intimate coffee with someone, that they're sharing something that you're getting to hear as a friend.”

Apply to be a Guest on The Thoughtful Entrepreneur:

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Brandmagnetic at

Check out Brandmagnetic on LinkedIn at

Check out Brandmagnetic on Instagram at

Check out Mariana Henninger on LinkedIn at

Check out Mariana Henninger on Twitter at

Check out Mariana Henninger on Facebook at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us. Right now it's Mariana Henninger. Mariana, you are the CEO and founder of Brand Magnetic. I have to also say that you're an Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker. I want to ask you about that in the course of our conversation. But your website is brand magnetic. Mariana, thank you so much for joining us.

Mariana (00:01:20) - Hey, great to be here. Josh.

Josh (00:01:22) - All right. Yeah. Please tell us what you do, the impact that you have with brand magnetic.

Mariana (00:01:26) - Yeah. So I am 100% focused on this thing called brand videos. So brand video is a 2 to 4 minute video that tells the parts of your story that resonate with your audience. It really is all about creating that emotional connection, accelerating trust. You know, we talk a lot about, know, like and trust and we're like the know, you know, people are aware of us and they get to know us. They're hooked. There's the hook. And then we want them to get to trust so that they can buy from us super fast. And then we forget the like factor. Right? It's like, why would I choose to work with this person? Why would I choose them over anyone else? And that's where understanding who that person is their values, their mission, what makes them them, what drives them when there's resonance there? When there's connection, when there's like a feeling of this.

Mariana (00:02:13) - This is a friend of mine. This is somebody who knows who I am and gets me. That's how we build trust faster. So I help folks, entrepreneurs, to create a 2 to 4 minute brand video as a conversion tool for their business.

Josh (00:02:28) - Now why video? Why is video is so much more impactful than to say written copy words on a page?

Mariana (00:02:36) - I think, Josh, you could probably answer this question as.

Josh (00:02:39) - So I.

Josh (00:02:39) - Know, but I want your take on it as well. And anyone who's been around me for any length of time knows I.

Josh (00:02:45) - Love short videos.

Josh (00:02:47) - I think it is just so underused, underutilized, and so powerful. All right. But I'm more interested in your answer.

Mariana (00:02:55) - Well, you know, video is a medium that not only we connect with because when most of us when we're chatting with somebody, we're looking at them. We're there's so much that's not communicated in words. And, and a lot of that is our facial expression, our language, our vibe.

Mariana (00:03:11) - And then in the brand video, I talk a lot about compelling visuals. So if we were to sort of illustrate most of us at work, most of us would be kind of in front of a laptop or an iMac or whatever the case may be. But when we're really tapping into the power of visuals to communicate emotion, we're looking at metaphorical visuals, non literal visuals. These are kind of the things that I teach in Brand Video Academy. These are the things that really help us go from being analytical about something, to just being carried away by a journey and by that story in sort of scientific terms. It's called narrative transportation. It's when you shut off that part of your brain that's thinking dollars and cents. That's thinking, can I afford this? Can I have time for this? Is this the right fit for me, for all these other sort of logistical reasons? And all we're thinking about is like. This is it. This is what I need. This is my person, you know? And so really, using visuals, using music, using all of these amazing layers of video to bring that person to that emotional state.

Mariana (00:04:16) - And, and to me, the super power of the brand video is that everything else that they see from you, every single social media post or email that you send their way, every other touchpoint that comes after the brand video that should kind of live at the top of your funnel is seen through the lens of that brand video. So now when they see you, when they see Josh, it's like Josh, their friend, and Josh whose story they know and Josh they've resonated with, and Josh, who's Josh and not Joe and not anybody else. Right.

Josh (00:04:49) - I think we've all seen examples of when this is done very, very well. You know, you think about like even like, you know, like I think about like American Ninja Warrior and like the packages that they put together or some of the contestants, you know, and they've got the piano music in the background and, you know, they've got the, you know, the playing with the kids and all this other stuff. And sometimes I think, you know, you can get cynical about this stuff and like, oh, come on, I know what they're doing.

Josh (00:05:18) - But it still works. It absolutely works. Even if you think it doesn't.

Josh (00:05:23) - It's cheesy, it works. It's great.

Josh (00:05:25) - It is. It absolutely works. Absolutely. And and so what are the elements of like, you know, like if we were to say, well, listen, here are the main things that are kind of the components of this 2 to 4 minute video that, that, that are going to be impactful as compared to, I think, which is easy for a lot of us to do, is just do a simple talking head video, right where you're just looking directly in the camera, you're talking directly to the viewer, and there's no cut shots. There's none of that other stuff.

Mariana (00:05:56) - Yeah, no. First of all, that is still a powerful way. So, you know, as much as what I work with my students with is producing something high end, producing something really beautiful that's very layered and sophisticated. Honestly, if you're if you're not doing anything just to do that is super powerful.

Mariana (00:06:15) - So I don't want to diminish the power of showing up on camera and sharing your story. By the way, another example that I love to think about is Shark Tank. They also do this a lot.

Josh (00:06:24) - And guess oh.

Mariana (00:06:25) - Yeah, when, when do they when do the sharks ever like really react to something? It's when that person when do people cry on that show? It's when they share that story and they. And then all of a sudden for the sharks and for everyone else, it's like, oh my gosh, look at this person behind this business, right? Look at what drove them to do what they do now. All the pieces sort of fall into place when you hear that backstory. But anyway, to answer your question, what are the components of a brand video aside from just you being on camera? It's really thinking about compelling visuals. So the first the first part of the story is the most important. It's the core story. It's the part of your story that resonates with your audience.

Mariana (00:07:04) - It's really understanding two things. We want to ask ourselves what feeling do we want our audience to have after watching our brand video? And that, and the way you answer that is not by guessing. It's by really talking to your audience. It's really understanding what are the components that need to be in place emotionally for them to to be ready to buy from you. Sometimes it's like having the confidence that they can do it. Sometimes it's feeling like they're they're going to be taken care of and they're going to be coached and they're going to be in good hands, and they're going to be in the hands of somebody they trust. This is why we talk about trust, right? And anyway, so for everyone, it's a little bit different. Oftentimes it kind of falls into this, this sort of universe of feelings that I mentioned. But the core story is then again, the parts of your story understanding what resonates with your audience, what's the language that they use that you also can use, that sort of aligns with what you've been through and what you're passionate about and that, you know, will kind of create that connection.

Mariana (00:08:05) - The second part that isn't available if you're just speaking on camera, are the compelling visuals. And so most of us when we're working, we're kind of in front of a laptop, we're in front of a computer, and that is a very boring visual. So we want to try to think about the visuals that sort of express those emotions. And this is what any good documentary or film will do to create that sort of narrative. Transportation is to understand what what visuals can create, can evoke those emotions. So a lot of it might be in nature, a lot of it might be, you know, non-literal visuals. So to give you an example, I have a student who is the podcast teacher, but ironically, she doesn't have a podcast herself. She just does it really well and has done it for other entrepreneurs. And so now she's teaching you how to create your own podcast. And so she she came to me and was like, well, what's my story? I don't have a podcast, like, what can I possibly say? And I asked her, so what's one of the questions that we kind of went over was, what's your hobby? And she was like, well, I love jigsaw puzzles.

Mariana (00:09:11) - And she kind of went on to other things like, okay, jigsaw puzzle is perfect because you're looking for things that have movements. So when you're you're thinking about a jigsaw puzzle, you're like you're moving the pieces around. And then very metaphorically and beautifully, a jigsaw puzzle is something that you go from chaos to something beautiful that's like, connected and put together and make sense. And you have a roadmap to get you there. Which is exactly what she does with the entrepreneurs that she helps to create a podcast. She takes them from being confused and chaotic and having pieces all over the place and not knowing what they're doing, not having a roadmap to crafting this. Awesome thing that's put well together and she's going to hold your hand. So the idea that she loves systems and she loves organization, all those things we tap into, you know, you might have an overcome story where you've overcome a challenge, or you might have a passion story where you're like, incredibly obsessed and passionate about what you do and all the aspects of it.

Mariana (00:10:08) - So those are those are the two main components. Obviously, you know, a good, good editing is kind of an entire day that we could talk about good editing, but, you know, the right music, the right sort of when, when do you cut a shot? All those things are kind of a bit more advanced. But those are the two really important components.

Josh (00:10:26) - Yeah. And so someone might be listening to us and they go, oh my gosh, yes, I totally would want one of those. I wish I could. I wonder what it takes to get that done. So if we want to just be very realistic about kind of like levels of quality, can you talk about maybe what's involved in regards to production investment time in order to get a really well polished video versus, I don't know, is there is there something in between and what are the what are the consequences potentially. And and also kind of just kind of figuring out the business plan of should someone move forward with this.

Mariana (00:11:07) - Yeah. No. Absolutely. That's that's a great question. So I primarily work with entrepreneurs to create something that's really high end and polished and really beautiful, and where we are kind of carried away into the story. And and by doing so, we're not thinking about the weird visuals. There's nothing kind of distracting us. And there's a reason why there's so many movies in Hollywood that are successful that are really well done versus like, there's a once in a decade Blair Witch Project, which is kind of shaky in all over the place. Right? We love we love being transported. And that's kind of what high end cinematography will. That's the power of it, right? That said, I've also created a course where you can learn to do this on your phone if you're not quite ready for that bigger investment of a more high end brand. Video I've been able to, like, break down how to film this and how to edit this all in your phone. Again, we started this conversation by saying, even if you're going on camera and that's it on your phone to share your story, that will have impact.

Mariana (00:12:12) - So, you know, just by adding some visuals and kind of understanding how to how to craft your story in that way, that's going to be a conversion tool, all of that sort of included in my program. But essentially you want to think through those things to get to a brand video, whether it's done on your phone or done with a cinematographer that comes and films you for a day. And so if I were to talk a bit more about this latter option or this latter sort of way that I work with clients, it's we craft your core story. We really understand word for word. We create a script. You don't memorize the script, but you do practice it. So it sounds conversational on camera. And then part of that interview too is not only you're going to read the script to camera, but then you're also I'll ask a couple of questions just to get a bit of like the non scripted sort of conversational aspects that aren't always in the script and just kind of make sure it sounds like really, again, really conversational.

Mariana (00:13:11) - You want to feel when you're watching a brand video that you're having an intimate coffee with someone, that they're sharing something that that you're getting to hear as a friend. And that's that's sort of the tone that we want to bring to it from start to finish. It's about a 4 to 6 week process. You know, editing is a little bit like building a house where you don't want to rush it. You don't want to use cheap materials, you really want to take the time to craft it. And so we don't sort of rush the edit so that you have something quick. We prefer to just spend a little bit more time on it. And this part is basically me with my team of editors going back and forth. You know, I'm working. I'm used to working on documentaries for months. And so I'm literally looking at every single second of a brand video and like, let's crop this shot here. Let's add this little thing here, let's the music isn't quite right. Let's try again. Let's look for something like this anyway.

Mariana (00:14:02) - So it really is like a labor of love to get it to that perfect place. Yeah. So like a 4 to 6 week time frame is, is sort of the minimal that we work with. And then sorry to answer your second question though, Josh, which is really important, is like how does this work in your business. Right. Where where does it go the should I, should I answer that or do you want to ask them.

Josh (00:14:25) - Yeah. You know, and there's the other thing too. You know, when we talk about kind of the ROI is also setting realistic expectations in regards to what would it cost to do this, you know, so everything is either going to be an investment of time and or investing in experts that can absolutely produce a very polished product, because this is just what they do. And there's rules of video and video storytelling. That. It's just it's going to be really, really hard to master, even with a really good guide, which can kind of point you in the right direction, but just helping someone who's maybe they're they're on the edge or like, I might do this, but I kind of want to know, am I ready for it? I don't want to waste anyone's time if this is clearly not in my budget.

Josh (00:15:08) - But maybe again, we could think about, you know, kind of what that path forward might be.

Josh (00:15:14) - Yeah. For sure.

Mariana (00:15:15) - So I typically work with founders, with businesses that are in kind of like the multi six figure seven figure range in their business. This is a sort of a high end advanced marketing tool. The the brand that we work on together. And it is when you're ready to to invest in something that's differentiated, that's going to make you stand out from everyone else. Like when I sort of left the documentary world last year to start this business, I was just blown away. You know, we see sort of branded video, which is what the corporates I've worked on some projects with, like Microsoft and Hulu and Wells Fargo, and they call it branded video because it's supposed to look kind of documentary. It kind of does. It doesn't totally look like a commercial, but those are incredibly detailed. You know, like there's a lot of nitpicking sometimes way too many cooks in the kitchen.

Mariana (00:16:07) - And so unfortunately, if you're an artist and you kind of know that term, the work suffers a little bit sometimes when there are too many opinions involved. But either way, I was blown away at how the actual like really. Essence of documentary filmmaking isn't used in the entrepreneurial space, isn't used in the business space? Nearly not nearly enough. You've got some folks like Russell Brunson who invest in, like, feature length documentaries for his business that bring an incredible ROI. You know, I follow a coach that says immersion causes conversion. There is the power of being immersed in somebody's world, immersed in their ideas and kind of their emotional journey. But in terms of ROI, again. So if you're if you're kind of in the multi six figure maybe going on to the seven figure range, this is a tool that will set you apart, that will it's a little bit what people do on social media. I call it microdosing where people have to like watch a lot of your content to kind of try to do listen.

Mariana (00:17:16) - You're making your audience do all the work when they have to piece together who you are through the value that you're giving constantly, like you're constantly doing value, value, value. You're the.

Josh (00:17:25) - Extra great.

Mariana (00:17:26) - We get it. You're the expert. But who the heck are you?

Josh (00:17:28) - Right.

Mariana (00:17:29) - So let's that's what the brand video does. It packages your story in a way that. You're not focusing on your story throughout your marketing process. This is the one video that they need to watch in the beginning of your funnel. Once they come into your universe and everything else that they see after that, every email, every social media content, everything else is framed through the lens of that brand video. And what that means is, like they've gotten to know you. So now when they get an email from you, like I said before, it's Josh, not somebody else. It's it's Josh, their friend who they've gotten to know. You see the difference? Yeah.

Josh (00:18:05) - Yeah. And again I don't mean to.

Josh (00:18:08) - So let's just talk generally for the industry. Are we talking something that's generally, you know for a great well polished 3 to 4 minute. Is it something that's normally more than $25,000 or around in there. I don't want to know.

Mariana (00:18:23) - That's what you want to know the price. So as of today, in September, my price is 10,000 for this and it will go up. So it really is because I want to get as many case studies as possible. And folks coming in. So that's the price point at the moment. And it will go up over time.

Josh (00:18:40) - But yes it will. That is a for your level of skill. That is actually for anyone that happens to be catching this, you get it quickly. In 2023 when we recorded this get on that your website brand magnetic. When somebody goes there what would you recommend they do?

Mariana (00:19:00) - Well, there isn't much for you to see at the moment because we're revamping the website and creating a lot around it. But right now what there is is the brand video Starter guide.

Mariana (00:19:09) - It's the thing that will most be of value to you as you start thinking about your brand, video and your story. All the things we talked about today, you know, how to how to pinpoint the things that resonate with your audience, how to think about compelling visuals, how to bring that all together. That is the brand video starter guide that you can grab right there on brand

Josh (00:19:27) - Yeah. Excellent. All right. Mariana Henninger, thank you so much for joining us again. Once again, your website brand magnetic dot com. Mariana, thank you so much.

Mariana (00:19:38) - Take care of that. Thanks.

Josh (00:19:44) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our listener Facebook group. Just search for the Thoughtful Entrepreneur and Facebook.

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