Videos as a Business Valentine, Or: Personalizing Your Message About Consumer Love

Consider this column a sequel to my previous piece about the value of creating informative – and personalized – videos that secure a brand's identity.

The point is not to simply film and upload a series of videos about this or that topic, delivering accurate but uninspiring information to consumers.

Those clips, with their monotone expression or generic narration, which are often the result of having outsourced the writing and recording of a boring script to anonymous workers overseas; the proliferation of these videos on YouTube and company websites, for every conceivable industry on behalf of every imaginable customer, are a lesson in how to deflate a brand's influence; they are a reminder, in short, of what not to do.

Understand, too, that you need not be a method actor with a flair for the melodramatic, channeling your inner Marlon Brando with a series of facial tics, elongated pauses and distant looks (to the enlarged cue cards taped to the ceiling), as you wastefully complicate a straightforward statement.

For a funny take on how not to act, this bit between Dustin Hoffman and the late Sydney Pollack, the respective star and director of “Tootsie,” should be a must-see piece before you film anything.

I write these words with plenty of humility because, in my role as the Founder of Dave's Pet Food and Dave's Soda and Pet Food City, and as the namesake of my own personal site,, I know how important – and at the same time, humbling – it is to be the “star” of your own videos.

You can watch some of my clips here, here and here.

The real star of these videos is the product I present to viewers, or the workplace culture I share and celebrate online, which is the reason I enjoy shooting these spots.

The videos are also an outlet, one of many, for me to give thanks to consumers for their loyal support, spirited word-of-mouth marketing and preference for independent retailers.

And, in conveying my appreciation and revealing the humorous side of my personality, I hope this one word captures everything I produce (on behalf of my brand) and represent as an individual. That word is authenticity.

I am, if nothing else, authentic; I am a what-you-see-is-what-you-get entrepreneur, friend, citizen and member of my community. There is no artifice to what I say, no mystery to the virtues I uphold.

Sincerity of Belief and a Multitude of Believers: The Consumers Behind a Great Brand

By demonstrating my gratitude – by putting myself in front of the camera – I am, I suppose, a man for all mediums . . . because I also distill my thoughts in writing.

These principles are the inspiration behind my videos and the basis of my book, Creating Customer Love: Make Your Customers Love You So Much They'll Never Go Anyplace Else!

That love is reciprocal. It is real because it is the result of a never-ending courtship, where each visit to a store (or each visit to that store's website) is a personalized experience; where even something as basic as an online transaction, the simple click-confirm-and-proceed-to-checkout process of buying a product, upholds the look and feel of a brand's identity.

In other words, there is nothing ordinary or forgettable – there should never be anything inconsequential – about a romance between a business and its consumers.

Hence the purpose of an everlasting courtship: It is does not have an expiration date; it will not weaken or vanish, unless a retailer – by design or indifference – chooses to squander such reservoirs of goodwill.

Let love infuse your work.

Let it inspire your customers.

Let it be the basis of all you say and do.

Dave Ratner is the Founder of Dave's Pet Food and Dave's Soda and Pet Food City. He is also a member of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association Board of Directors, representing independent retailers alongside Vice Presidents of Marketing for Home Depot, Walgreens and Target.

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