Vsnap video messaging

The New Communication Paradigm: Using Personalized Videos to Inspire Emotion

Social streams are stocked with logos and inboxes are inundated with brand outreach, but are they striking a chord with customers? Boston-based startup Vsnap says no, and they’re out to shake up the scene by disrupting the model for B2C & B2B interactions – one personalized video message at a time.

To get a better sense of how a simple 60-second video message can revolutionize customer experiences, I asked Vsnap CEO Dave McLaughlin one question – “What’s Vsnap doing to make brand-to-customer communications more delightful?”

As with any truly thoughtful experience design solution, the approach is multi-pronged. Below is Dave’s response:

 What it is

Let me just start with what we do. Vsnap makes it easy for businesses to record, share and measure short video messages as a more personal alternative to email or text. These messages – we call them vsnaps – are 60 seconds max, and you can create on any device and share via social or email. Recipients don’t need to download anything or create an account, and you can play a vsnap on any browser. Our customers are business people who want to be more effective in sales and in delivering awesome customer service and support.

So that’s what we do. Basically, it’s an easy tool to make customers feel special.

What it isn’t

I just want to be clear: sending a vsnap is a one-to-one or one-to-few kind of behavior. It’s not a video Constant Contact where you blast a vsnap to a thousand people. Other providers will give you that kind of service. We won’t. We’re only interested in enabling uses that are personal and feeling-focused.

Why? Well I don’t know. I guess because those are the problems that we are inspired to solve. Those are the areas where we have a solution we believe in.

Visible value

See, businesses have this problem: they need easy, efficient, measurable tools to create customer delight, but email and text are pretty darn poor when it comes to conveying and inspiring emotion. On the other hand, this kind of video – short, unvarnished, authentic, personal – creates a really surprising level of emotion. Which in turn triggers very measurable benefits:

  1. Customers take action about 40% more than email recipients
  2. Customers become more vocal and evangelical online – after all, there’s feeling here and what do we do with our feelings if not share them on Twitter?
  3. Customers stay loyal and churn decreases


Why it works 

For the geeks like me who are reading this, let me offer a way to think more deeply about this idea of feeling-focused communication.

First, we believe that there are moments in the customer dialogue that are inherently emotional regardless of how you communicate around these moments. A purchase may feel pleasurable, or in other contexts it may inspire anxiety. News that your order has shipped may create excitement and anticipation. Or when a product fails in a critical context, the frustration you feel is immense.

Those moments – and many more – are fundamentally defined by what the customer feels. In other words, emotion is not tangential to these moments. It’s essential to them.

And those are just moments where emotion exists by default. That doesn’t even touch the ways that businesses try to create and inject customer emotion. Like, how many conversations have you heard about how to inspire customer evangelism?

I guess I think we should adopt a new convention and call those conversations what they are: feeling-focused.

How it’s different

Most businesses – especially web businesses – communicate almost entirely via email around those moments, even though email is a terrible tool for anything other than conveying factual information. Text in general straight up stinks for transmitting tone, warmth, enthusiasm, sincerity, humor, trust, excitement, concern…

I tell people this: consider all the thousands of emails you’ve received. Now consider all the ones that made you feel really special, really valued by a business you buy from. That’s a pretty teensy-tiny percentage, right?

So we’ve made it our mission to give businesses an easy tool that actually conveys emotion, and therefore can inspire emotion. And I can’t begin to tell you how awesome that is to be working on. Helping businesses behave like humans. As a path to growth. As – we believe – the fastest and most enduring path to growth.

I love that. That’s how I feel.


See what Dave has to say about using Vsnap to delight customers in his vsnap to me below.

Vsnap Dave McLaughlin

  • Katie Del Angel

    What I love most about using video to interact with customers is that it seems like SO much more thought and time was put in — when really the investment and resources needed are minimal. Warby Parker is great at doing this.

  • Great point, Katie. And it is especially personal. It’s not just the old ‘copy and paste’ templated response. I liken it to when you are able to have in person meetings in place of conference calls – you can see a person’s face and that goes a long way. Any opportunity to make the customer experience that much more personal can mean a lot for the long term partnership.

  • Taking action 40% more than e-mail is certainly an eye opener. It’s also interesting this posted on the same day Twitter and Vine announced their acquisition and integration into Twitter. Video is seeping into more and more online interactions…

  • Colin O’Neill

    This looks like a great way to make a real connection with customers. Effort and sincerity are two of the most valuable attributes a company can have IMHO. I’m not sure I agree with the comment that “Text in general straight up stinks for transmitting tone, warmth, enthusiasm, sincerity, humor, trust, excitement, concern…” Good writing is great at doing that and there is a lot of it online—it’s just being overwhelmed by the generic buzzword-laden email blasts that companies send us! Adding simple, direct and genuine video to the mix at the right points in time will definitely make a difference in connecting with customers.

  • I really like this idea, but context is king. If you have a more targeted customer base, these types of intimate experiences go a long way. For broader communications, I’m really loving what Epipheo is doing. And what Epipheo is doing is difficult to explain, so you should take a moment and let them tell you themselves. 🙂 http://www.epipheo.com/

  • Katie Del Angel

    With the integration of Vine and Twitter, and a handful of other video apps hitting the scene, one might wonder what Vsnap thinks of it all (I did) — and Dave has something to say about that too: http://blog.vsnap.com/post/41957205562/why-we-love-vine-and-other-video-tools

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