Pileated woodpeckers are massive birds. They can grow to nearly 20 inches in length with 30-inch wingspans, and their long, chisel-like bills are designed to wreak havoc on unsuspecting trees.
And, as it turns out, houses.
A couple in the Upper Midwest called a local contractor with just this issue, hoping to replace their aging wood siding with vinyl. They’d grown tired of the constant hammering, and were increasingly worried about the big, rectangular holes the unwelcome bird was creating in their exterior walls. Like many Midwestern folks, these homeowners were sticklers for price and had decided that vinyl was the way to go. It was cheap, it was sturdier than wood, and they were convinced it would thwart the woodpecker.
Then they watched a 90-second James Hardie testimonial video—viewable above—showing another couple who had the exact same problem, and decided to upgrade on the spot.
Harness the power of a great story
James Hardie has mountains of data and stacks of marketing materials showing that their fiber cement siding is bird- and bug-resistant. They’ve even got woodpecker-specific research proving their products can deter the most enthusiastic of pileated pests! But when faced with homeowners who’d hired him to install vinyl, this contractor reached for the testimonial video instead. He knew that hearing a story from a couple who’d been through the exact same ordeal would be more persuasive than reading a bunch of dry, lifeless fact sheets.
“He said exactly what we hoped he’d say,” explains Bridget Kulla, senior digital marketing manager at James Hardie. “He said, ‘This has happened to your neighbors, and they went with James Hardie.’ That’s all it took!”
And it worked like a charm. They happily paid more for truly woodpecker-proof siding. Which is saying something, since Hardie’s product is far more expensive than vinyl.
The Umault team knew that pricey siding is a tough sell in the budget-conscious Midwest, so we were thrilled when James Hardie came to us with this engaging customer story. Their stated goal for this testimonial video was a solid one: prove that Midwestern homeowners who’ve upgraded to Hardie have zero regrets. But we saw an equally important secondary goal: connect a story about siding to feelings of homeowner safety and relief. Capture the emotional journey of a couple with a life-disrupting woodpecker problem that was solved by James Hardie siding. Tell an unforgettable story, and link it to a quality product.
Forget high-polish. Be REAL.
Testimonial videos have a bad rep. They’re meant to connect businesses with potential customers through stories and shared experiences … and done right, they do! But many marketers have decided that real people are a little too “real,” and recreate their testimonial spots using scripted dialogue and professional actors. The result is videos that feel so staged and corny they push consumers AWAY from a purchase instead of toward one.
At Umault, we know that stories told by real people with relatable problems always resonate, even when flashier tactics fall flat. We love conceptualizing testimonial videos that are honest, relatable, and story-driven. We show the problem and solution, warts and all, so our videos can evoke genuine emotional responses that sway consumers. Working with James Hardie on this video reinforced our belief that quality testimonials impact the “decision” phase of the sales funnel; they encourage viewers to empathize and visualize their own success, which nudges them toward purchase.
Misguided marketers may over-polish their testimonial spots, but at Umault, we know that the magic of consumer stories stems from their rawness, realness, and relatability.
What’s YOUR woodpecker?
Are you eager to connect with your customers through testimonial videos, but worried they’ll fall flat? Reach out and share your goals. We promise to help you tell a compelling story that sways even your most reluctant customers, just like we did for James Hardie.
We’ve helped companies just like yours win more customers with video. Tell us about your goals.