Role of storytelling in video marketing

Storytelling videos, the Rolls-Royce of content marketing

Communication meets narration

Marketing storytelling is storytelling but with the brand and its offer as the main subject. The stories are about the company, founders, employees, clients, products, et cetera. But they always revolve around the brand. Simply put, storytelling is making and sharing stories about your brand.

Storytelling puts narration forward, instead of the traditional product and brand arguments. That communication technique, therefore, focuses on image and positioning. Rather than usual competitive advantages. You can compare two phones in a versus fight with facts: which one has the longest battery life, the fastest processor, the highest resolution screen… However, now, quality is most of the time not lacking anymore and competition is extremely hard. Brands must have something different. A story that makes them unique.

“Facts tell, stories sell”

This quote from Bryan Eisenberg, a renowned author about online marketing, sums it up. Although the goals of this content marketing technique are, as always, to sell, storytelling does much more. That form of content is subtler, deeper. While much less commercial than others, it sells even more. Here’s why:

  • Improves your brand awareness. Storytelling is all about putting the brand in minds and hearts by giving it a human face, a personality that is likable.
  • Increases adhesion. Nowadays, people consume to be, rather than to have. Your vision and what you represent are even more important than your product itself. Consumers adhere to values and will thus prefer brands that stick to the same values and vision.
  • Delivers an authentic message. Tiresome advertisement messages are less and less effective. Consumers are now unmoved, indifferent to commercial messages stating that the product is the best. They are sensitive to stories they can relate to and share.
  • Creates proximity. People love being taken care of, and storytelling often puts the customers at the center of the message. Treating them as individuals instead of user numbers will always prevail. Storytelling does just that, it takes clients opinions and feelings very seriously.

The art of storytelling

Storytelling is great. But that doesn’t mean all storytelling content is great. Crafting the best campaign is a tough and long endeavor, but definitely worth the efforts. Two questions need answers.

  1. Does your brand really make the story?

Yes and no. The creation of your brand always has a story to go with it. Check any “about us” section on any website and you’ll quickly notice that. However, this story is not the one the public cares about. There is a clear distinction between history and story.

  • The first one provides information often used for pride and as proofs of quality: “since 1860!”, “German expertise”, and so on. This story is rational and acts as a commercial argument.
  • The second one is the one that matters for storytelling. It is a narrative story of how customers relate to your brand and how important you are in their lives, what vision you have. Unlike the previous one, this story is emotional. The brand can choose how the message is made but is not able to craft the idea itself. It is authentic, felt by consumers.

2.    How much control do you have on your story?

As said before, the fact that the stories are felt and authentic makes it really hard for a company to control them. A brand can act on several points when it comes to storytelling:

  • The form of the message, its design and personalization. This will considerably impact how well the story is received. The things to consider are its shareability and power on human senses. About emotions, visual content always performs better.
  • The channel used. It must be chosen carefully, regarding the audiences targeted. Once again, the channel must be suited to sharing and entertaining.
  • The emphasis. All sort of stories will gravitate around your brand. Some are more interesting than others. The emphasis must be put on those that are the best at touching the public and that represent your typical customer.

Storytelling, a visual matter

When it comes to brand storytelling, there are few options. As a practice that plays with feelings and emotions, the message must obviously appeal to senses. For that, a visual and audible message is the way to go, as it uses at least two senses. The brain can indeed use the senses of smell and taste through visuals, scoring the usage of four out of the five senses.

Moreover, what makes a story viable is the fact that it can be shared. A story is useless if it is not shared with anyone. Videos are shared a lot more on the Internet than any other form of content. Social videos generate 1200% more shares than text and images combined. Twitter says that 90% of videos views happen on mobile. And these videos are six times more likely to be retweeted, compared with pictures. Finally, according to Axellescom, 88% of storytelling videos are shared on social networks. And 92% of consumers want brands to make more stories in video ads. Videos are, without any doubt, the best form of content to spread your stories.

In practice, how should a storytelling video look like?

There are several things to do and not do in storytelling marketing. Here is a comprehensive list of tips and advice.

  • Usefulness: the story must matter to the targets. They must be able to relate and see value in your message. For instance, a proof that you are close to your customers and that you care about their values. Make your video relevant.
  • Share-worthiness: as previously said, the main point in storytelling marketing is the ability to be shared with others. Make sure your video is accessible and shareable on social media. Make your video participative.
  • Trustworthiness: deliver a true but romantic message. The story must be true but, as it is narration, it only has to be inspired by reality. You can tweak it to fit your communication goals and omit what doesn’t. Make your video believable.
  • Emotional: induce laughter, happiness, pride, commitment, affection, curiosity, et cetera. As Helen Keller (an author and activist) said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart”. Make your video entertaining.
  • Don’t make suggestions. Turn your storytelling content into regular commercials and you’ll lose all the strengths it provides. Let emotions naturally suggest what you want them to suggest. For example, seeing actual influencers loving your product is a lot more convincing than forcing a celebrity to say “I love this perfume”. Simply because pretty much everyone knows he or she never even used it once. Make your video transparent.

Awesome video storytelling campaigns

To illustrate the previous words, let’s take a look at some of the best video storytelling campaigns ever.

  • Nike: the brand has a rather long experience with storytelling. It often features athletes that win with their products as spokespersons. They have made several great storytelling campaigns. Among the best ones are Equality and, even better, The Chance. The campaign focuses on the many great possibilities life can offer. The public is left to understand that Nike is in part responsible for making these dreams come true.
  • Weight Watcher: the company name itself means that the customer is at the center of the brand’s concerns. As expected, storytelling is thereby a core communication method. Their campaign Awaken your incredible is exceptional both in terms of quality and feelings it provides. The brand is totally hidden, and that is intended: customers will be grateful for the opportunity the brand gives them, not for the product itself.
  • Google: corporate storytelling at its best. The Reunion campaign features typical Internet users in their everyday lives. The Google logo is visible almost every time but blends into the background. Once again, storytelling is all about humans’ lives, improved by a company. About what was made possible with Google. It is really hard, if not impossible, to watch this video without feeling emotions.

The best “good” marketing within reach

Often, more now than ever, marketing is associated with commercial and self-interested practices. While tons of marketing techniques are effective, those that work best are always those that bring something to the consumers. Inbound content marketing is the new unmissable technique. Storytelling is content that puts the customers at the center of attention.

Storytelling brings the brand and the public altogether. But it also delivers messages packed with emotions and trustworthy individual (or corporate) stories.

About Timothé Ameline