Video Storytelling is one of the finest ways of building a brand. It is a story of your brand from the human perspective. Not through spreadsheets and graphs. But through the groundwork that went into building your organization.
A lot of motivation as an organization comes from a vision. The vision is the most inspiring aspect of a business. Translation of that vision for the lay man is what is simply known as a brand.
Video storytelling simply put, is an emotional visualscape. A good story that tells the audience who you are, and what you stand for. Stories are exceedingly persuasive in rousing passion to convert.
There are many ways to tell a story. From product focused storytelling, to a client testimonial storyline. Video storytelling or visual storytelling works well to generate leads, and ensure conversions. Here is a comprehensive guide to effectively use visual storytelling in your video marketing strategy.
- Video Storytelling Basics
- 6 Rules of Video Storytelling
- How to Make a Storytelling Video
- Video Storytelling Techniques
Video Storytelling Basics
Video storytelling is essentially a marketing ploy to tell a story about the brand or product. It follows a narrative that guides the audience through an emotional ride of problems and presents a satisfying solution. Video storytelling is a combination of the sales pitch and a soap opera. Although it is supposed to be crisp and short a like a sales pitch, it should make the emotional connect of a soap opera. It is a story, but with an agenda.
Everyone can relate to a Story
Using a classic narrative that cuts across demographics is generally what makes a great story. This allows you to adopt a scalable marketing model. A good marketing narrative through video storytelling means:
- A good introduction that sets the stage for the upcoming events
- A protagonist (it can even be your product)
- A problem
- A crisis filled with obstacles
- A fantastic resolution i.e., your product or brand.
It is everything you see in a big budget blockbuster. Although, extremely predictable, it works every time. The victory over obstacles is part of your foundational aspects as a business. And this is the most accessible selling point of your brand.
GoPro uses this narrative to make a great story. They don't show their product, or talk about its features. They simply use the classic narrative to tell a story, and it makes for a great promotion.
Better than a Sales Pitch
A sales pitch, from the consumer's perspective is a bombardment of information. Most people mentally switch off in the middle of a sales pitch. This is why video storytelling is one of the great marketing tactics. It also revolves around getting information across but in an accessible way. It connects with the individual on an emotional level making sure information is presented with a dash of entertainment.
With visual storytelling you can directly show the use case of your brand or product, instead of graphs and figures. It is way more engaging than your average sales pitch.
PhRMA uses storytelling to highlight the new medical research findings for cure of Covid-19. It shows an engaging record of a medical researcher working to save lives. All throughout the story, PhRMA subtly shows the groundwork it lays behind every product. And the effort it puts in as an organization to achieve its vision of finding cure, in this case of COVID-19.
It is Cheap to tell a Story
With the onset of cheap technology and camera equipment, it has become exceedingly easy for everyone to produce various types of videos. A really inexpensive way for video story telling is the interview format. All you need is a storyteller and a camera. This works well with:
- A good storyteller with an engaging personality
- A somewhat personal tale to tell
- The ability to connect the brand with the tale
There are even easier ways to tell a story that are even cheaper. Use your existing repository of videos to edit a beautiful story. You can take clips from your old company gatherings or training lectures. Edit a beautiful collage using additional graphics, and add royalty free music. And you need virtually no money to make a good video story.
Another cheap way to make a video story is to use the Screen Recorder, and tell your story. It allows you to edit, and add stickers and graphics. You can also record your webcam along with your screen and upload a video. SurveyMonkey uses just screen recordings of their product to show its features and functionalities. It does so without any audio, and guides the audience through its tool.
6 Rules of Video Storytelling
There is a diligent process behind visual storytelling. It consists of a framework that helps you organize your ideas. Especially for a B2B marketing strategy, it is recommended you adhere to this process.
For the B2B context, the usual storytelling process needs a bit of an expansion. The usual video storytelling follows 4 Ps: Plot, Purpose, People, Place. The B2B context adds two more points, and unfortunately for the nomenclature, they are not Ps: Audience, Distribution.
A set Plot
This is the basic tenet of a story. Essentially, it is the story. The plot is a loose structure of what you want to talk about. And a set plot doesn't have to be set at all. A set plot means a set of pointers that will guide you through at every step.
Why are you telling this story? Is it to promote a product, or to build your brand? Or is to impress a big client? The purpose of the story is what drives the plot. The more clarity you observe in assuming the purpose, the better you will be able to implement it in the story. The purpose however is a part of the larger scheme of things, and not the scheme itself. So, your purpose can and should be extremely specific.
People of the Story
Who will be in this video story? Who are the stars of this story? Actually, there can also be none. It is not necessary to have people in the story. But if there will be an audio voice over, the perspective also comes under this.
Where is the story set? Is it based inside your office or are you using a landscape for the story. How is this place relevant to the story? For example, if it is a testimonial based story, it makes a world of difference to shoot it in a home setting of the speaker.
Who is this video intended for? What is your audience? It could be singularly aimed at a subsection of audience, or a wide range of audience. It could be a specific client, existing customers, or prospects. Your choice of audience depends on the purpose.
How to intend on displaying this video? And where? This matters a lot, because depending on where you share this content, the duration and the style will follow. Is it a landing page video story or for an ad campaign? You could even distribute it through emails or on a regular blog post.
These 6 rules will make your video production streamlined. And it is all that you need for a good video story. Scrutinize your story through these 6 rules as much as you can. And give the abstraction of these rules the most time. Once you decide on each of these, staying on target becomes easy. You won't be able to make many changes once you set in the production. This is why you should take a few meetings with your team before you set in production.
How to Make a Storytelling Video
No matter what your plot or purpose, a full scale film production is a process of artistic chaos. It involves namely the follow:
The first and foremost step of making a video is conceptualizing it in your head. A good research base helps a lot to conceptualize. It is best to use social media as a medium for research and to connect to your target audience. Mostly, Reddit (sub Reddits), Quora, Facebook pages, Twitter advanced search. All these will help you put yourself in the shoes of your target audience.
To have a good script in line with your plot, include nuances of your audience. Including trends that affect your audience is extremely popular. Another thing in writing a good script is using the grass root lingo. Whatever you say through the course of your video should be relatable, and concise.
Producing in the context of movie making is about allocation of resources. Which also includes setting up a budget for your storytelling video. Each part of the making of a video involves some resource, naturally. To ensure a smooth allocation, appoint a senior member of your organization specifically for this task.
Once you have a script, and a vague idea of how your video will look like: direction is drawing a line in the sand. It is everything to do with the visual and theatrics of the story. Depending on your story, everything from the camera angles, to where the animation should be is direction.
Cinematography is strictly the camera technicalities involved in recording a video. It is execution of the direction. It includes the placement of your camera, and the process of shooting. For example, if you are using the Screen Recorder, it allows you to place your webcam bubble throughout the vector of your screen. This is a cinematography aspect of video making.
Lighting and Art Direction
A very important part of recording is the set and the lighting. Lighting simply put means everything should be visible as it is. The usual camera, including the ones on an average phone comes with a flash for the same. You can also use a lamp as a quick lighting fix. Art Direction is the positioning of objects in your set. And in this case, it includes the costume design as well.
Since audio is a proprietary, you have to either license it. Or use royalty free music. There is a huge database of royalty free music, including sound effects throughout the internet. Youtube boasts a large audio library as well, specifically for this purpose.
Post Production (Editing)
Shooting a video is just the half job done. Post production, or editing is the other half. You might have a lot of different clips, and combining them as per your script is the first step. Then, you may want to omit certain clips or dialogues. Or add filters. A good editing software is a must, which usually come as proprietary software. Luckily for you, a Screen Recorder however, comes with free editor.
This is subject to your script and concept. Depending on that, you might want to add graphics, stickers, animation clips to your video.
And of course some other things
There is a lot of room for creativity in video making. So be open to ideas. Use a drafting system, and take feedback from your entire team on the first draft. Improvise accordingly.
It may seem like a daunting long list, but it is pretty simple and streamlined in the larger scheme of things. Plan out each aspect of the video making process and fix a timeline. This will absolve you of most of the chaos in the process.
Video Storytelling Techniques
There are many video storytelling techniques that can help you get started. Use the following as templates, and inspiration.
The symbol of victory: HERO
Using a hero as to symbolize the good is an age old technique. A hero having superhuman abilities playing the role of your product, brand or narrator. This engages the audience on an emotional level, where they can see themselves as the hero.
Lego uses a very creative way to use this technique, it makes the audience the hero.
The Complete Picture
This technique is spot on for an expansive web content. It involves capturing the three aspects: starting, middle and end. The three point approach is easy and allows for a streamline recording. Just make sure to capture these three points in your script itself. And plan the entire shoot accordingly. It generally includes thought leadership content. Since, this type of storytelling is familiar to the audience, it receives an immediate response.
Overcoming the Monster
This format of video storytelling involves an underdog who takes up an undoable task. And of course, does it against all odds. This is the most relatable method of telling stories. This is opposite of the hero technique. Everybody wants to be a hero, but they see themselves as underdogs. So it hits quite a nerve. You can use this to add intense drama in your video. It should reflect a transformative journey from the problem statement to the solution. And you can use your product or brand as the underdog's aid in the process.
University of Phoenix tells a story of a working woman who also wants to study.
Show, Don't Tell
This is the most underrated aspect of video making. You don't always need to narrate the story. You can simply show the audience through audio visuals. Like in a horror movie. Good cinematography is key. Highlight all good aspects of your product, or subject. And present them as they are. If your product is virtual, you can use the Screen Recorder to simply record your product as it is. Add a few graphics, and transitions for the visual appeal.
Airtable uses this approach to showcase its product. It uses narration in the back to highlight all aspects of its products.
Preserve Visual Hierarchy
This is a key aspect of cinematography. It is basically using the screen space for optimum impact. I.e., if there is something that needs more attention, place it on the top of the screen. And give it the largest frame space. And so on, according to hierarchy of importance. It impacts the way the audience perceives.
A constant movement in visuals keep the audience attentive. So adding small tit-bits all along the video, like GIFs, animated objects, etc. can be eye grabbing. It just adds that extra layers of involvement. It is a technique widely used in video storytelling. You can even use creative transitions in the video itself. And play with the screen space for maximum engagement.
Ikea uses a combination of stop motion and animation in a real setting.
This is the age old technique of using objects as metaphors. Like a clock represents time. Or a sweaty forehead represents stress. There are many such metaphors that exist in daily life. And they are usually universal.
There is a way in video making to capture emotions through the screen. Exaggerated facial expressions, or techniques like slow motion combined with the right audio can trigger an emotional reaction in the audience. It helps audience internalize the scene, and connect to it. This can also very well be done by addressing an ongoing problem in a relatable way. Or by humor. All that matters is the timing.
Airbnb uses a this to evoke sappy emotion, and Kia uses the same method to evoke laughter. Both are equally engaging.
What's the Takeaway?
No matter what the content of your story is, give the audience a takeaway at the end. What is the one thing they should remember or think about? It could simply be the grandness of your product or brand, or a unique feature. Combine it with grand visuals or a knockout image. This comes from the purpose of the video. Whether it is conversion, or generating leads, make a bold statement in the end to represent that.
In a over 2 minute long video, Sqaure Space manages to make an impression and give a strong takeaway.