Substance over form in your marketing-the value of authenticity and choosing cattle over hat

I had just come back from a Sunday morning run at the time of the Maria Bailey hotel swing fall case controversy when I made a video about the matter.

My video sought to extract some lessons from the whole affair; not political or public relations lessons but legal lessons based on the principles of negligence and personal injury claims. I did that and the video I make is set out below.

If you watch the video you will see I am still dressed in casual clothes, clothes you might wear when you are out on a Sunday morning and trying to jog or run when you are of a certain age and fitness level.

You will also see that I shot the video at home in my ‘home office’, a converted bedroom with a desk, pc, and a bookshelf. Nothing fancy-just a workspace that, for me, works, and works well, too.

Fast forward to the present day (24th November 2019) and I noticed during the week that the video I made about the Maria Bailey case was a success by any metric. I have looked at the analytics from my YouTube dashboard and they have been very impressive, for example:

  • 221 hours of watch time
  • 21 new subscribers
  • 98.2% likes to dislikes
  • 107 likes/thumbs ups, 2 dislikes/thumbs downs

By any metric these statistics are excellent and made it well worth my while to take the 9 minutes and 5 seconds to make the video, even if I was not dressed like a solicitor and adlibbed or riffed about the topic I wanted to discuss and share.

The online marketing guru

But the funny thing is a few days after publishing the video I received an email from a guy who told me he could help me make professional videos, that I should not be making videos in dirty tracksuit tops and exhibiting the signs of vigorous exercise, that I should not have such a tatty bookshelf as a backdrop, that I needed better lighting, better sound, and so on.

A digital marketing guru, if you like.

This guy told me I should copy Dave Ramsey and put on a suit and have the video done professionally in a book lined, walnut panelled office.

This approach, quite frankly, demonstrates an approach to, and understanding of, marketing that is shallow, misguided, dated, and totally devoid of nuance or sophistication.

What that guy fails to understand is the value of interest, curiosity, authenticity, genuineness, and substance over form.

He failed to understand the opportunity offered by video and social media for an entrepreneur or small business owner to connect directly with the audience he seeks to serve in a real, substantial, unfeigned way.

It does not always require being dressed in a suit and making a perfect video in soft lighting in a wood panelled, book lined, salubrious office.

No, sometimes what works is a sweaty, real individual delivering value and significant, useful information of interest to the viewer.

Check out my YouTube channel here and judge for yourself.


If you want to market you or your business, and maybe that’s the same thing, choose substance over form.

Choose dinner over gong.

Choose cattle over hat.

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