Video storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool used by brands looking to deepen their relationship with customers and clients. It’s an essential technique that should have a crucial place in the content marketing strategy of any business looking to make themselves not only heard, but remembered in these social and content-intensive times.
When it comes to your brand, storytelling is about creating a content marketing culture that is customer-centric. For some time, marketers have been moving away from the traditional selling tactics of regular TV advertising—it’s no longer enough to just say your product is great. The consumer needs to feel as though they share the values of your brand. They need to feel part of the story.
Why is storytelling an effective marketing technique?
Storytelling is patterned cognitive play, says Brian Boyd, author of The Origin of Stories. Our fondness for storytelling, he explains, sharpens social cognition, encourages cooperation, and fosters creativity. All in all, stories celebrate our culture and serve as a testament to the lives we lead.
When it comes to marketing, stories make messages pass more easily. Video production company TellyJuice create video content for a range of national brands. Storytelling is at the heart of what they do. Why? “We are hardwired to engage with stories,” they write, “they make us want to find out more.” That’s why video marketing specialists work with clients to uncover stories about their businesses, allowing customers to connect with them on a deeper level.
Stories have the power to electrify, to inform and educate your audience, moving people to take action and—ultimately—get results.
Use video storytelling to convey emotion
Guinness is no stranger to effective brand storytelling, but this video is an exercise in brand storytelling with a big heart. The concept sees a group of guys playing wheelchair basketball with a twist: only one of the men in the group actually requires use of a wheelchair. The others take part in the sport so as to include that friend who might otherwise have been excluded. Afterward, they celebrate with a round of Guinness as a voiceover reminds viewers that “the choices we make reveal the true nature of our character.”
By presenting a group of athletic, beer-drinking men who are defined as much by their kindness as their physical strength, its an advert we’re unlikely to forget. More than that, it associates Guinness with type of masculinity that has long been absent from beer advertising, and one we should be proud to associate ourselves with.
Be true to your roots
Tapping into its origins and evoking whiskey-soaked Americana is a rather intuitive strategy for Jack Daniel’s, whose product is defined as much by the small town in which it is exclusively manufactured as it defines the the town itself.
To commemorate their 150th anniversary, the whiskey giant released an ad entitled ‘Our Town’, featuring the people of Lynchburg, Tennessee. The approach feels authentic because, after all these years, the brand still calls a picturesque Tennessee town with a population of just 600 people home. What is notable in the ad is that the whisky product barely gets a mention. Instead, it’s about who the people behind that brand are, and where they come from.
Make your brand real
Google don’t really have to market themselves anymore (they never really did), but have instead been working on ways to keep users engaged. This 2013 video is a perfect version of how Google hopes to cement itself as a resource in the everyday lives of its users, bringing people together.
In the campaign, a granddaughter in India decides to surprise her grandfather by reuniting him with a childhood friend from whom he was separated during The Partition, and who now resides in Pakistan. The goal is achieved with a little help from Google Search. It’s all part of the search engine’s wider strategy to become more human.
A follow-up ad extended the story further, allowing the search engine to convey another of their ‘liberating’ features: language localisation. The reunited grandfathers want to make biryani, but reach a hurdle when they don’t know an ingredient local name. With a little help from Google Search, they manage. The adverts tell the story of how Google is making lives not only easier, but better.
Be part of something bigger
For years, Dove have focused on ‘real’ people, part of their Dove Campaign for Real Beauty that challenges how the media portrays women. It’s certainly an interesting take on an industry that has historically purported to ‘transform’, augment and ‘reinvent’ the physical appearance both women and men through use of beauty products.
The latest incarnation of this is the #MyBeautyMySay campaign, that takes its inspiration from results of its 2016 Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, which found 54% of women claimed to have “low body confidence”. The ad tells the story of women of different shapes and vocations talking about their looks—and reminds people the only perception of beautiful that matters is their own.
Quoting Joe Pulizzi as featured in Chief Content Officer magazine: “It is not about what one sells but about what one stands for. That is the way to differentiate oneself.” Content marketing these days is about brands taking a stand.
Incorporate video storytelling into your wider brand marketing strategy
With the shift to inbound marketing, businesses and brands will become more reliant on video storytelling to help convey their unique benefits and differences. It’s important, throughout, to make your brand story a page turner, by focusing on the campaign at the centre of your efforts. Leave your audience wanting more, and they’ll come back again and again.