In marketing, it’s common knowledge that content is king.

But what type of content works?

These days, video marketing and branded content isn’t just about advertising your products and services. Instead, they are used to tell stories that inform, move and engage with your target audience. 

Unlike hard-selling and pushy ads that shove information down the audience’s throats, storytelling breathes life into a brand and creates an experience that resonates with one’s customers. 

But what exactly is storytelling? And why does it triumph over product advertisements? 

Find out below. 

What is Storytelling?

People might be invested in learning about a brand’s narrative or story, but how exactly does one define storytelling? 

Storytelling is neither a sales pitch nor a 10-minute video about your brand’s sales goals. 

Instead, storytelling is an art form which has a place in every culture and society. 

In a nutshell, storytelling is an approach to marketing that uses facts and narratives to communicate brand messages to your audience. Stories can be factual, modified or embellished to drive key messages about your brand. 

Unlike regular content, storytelling motivates your audience using relatable narratives that communicate powerful messages. It is also emotional and engaging by stimulating imagination and passion.

The most effective stories also create a sense of community based on shared experiences, values, beliefs and histories. 

Take this example of a speculative ad created by filmmakers Daniel Titz and Dorian Lebherz.  [1] 

Source: Dorian & Daniel

The ad tells the story of two brothers, trekking together and bonding over Johnnie Walker whiskey. Unbeknownst to the audience till the end of the ad, however, one of the brothers has actually passed away. The remaining brother is on his way to scatter his deceased brother’s ashes over a mountain cliff.[2] 

This spec ad uses the power of nostalgia to trigger memories of brotherhood but uses a powerful plot twist that leaves the audience sentimental. Furthermore, the combination of emotional stories and scenic cinematic pictures make the spec ad a truly emotionally engaging one.

Its remarkable execution even had viewers thinking it was actually by Johnnie Walker!

Some commenters even shared their experiences of coping with loss.

comment commercial video 1
comment about commercial video 2

How to Make Storytelling Work for Your Brand

Telling stories is one of the most powerful ways an individual can inspire, teach and influence. But how do you make them work for your branded content? 

1. Build Emotional Connections 

Human beings are emotional creatures. When you can bridge an emotional connection with your audience, you could influence their way of thinking or even drive action. 

Emotional connection

Good stories build connections with an audience by conveying complex ideas and powerful messages that evoke emotions. But there are many ways to enhance emotional engagement in your videos including having storylines that are tragic, relatable or nostalgic. 

Emotional content moves your readers and builds trust.

2. Make Branded Content More Digestible 

These days, people are more willing to watch a 5-minute short film than plough through 1000 words of branded content. Video content is more convenient and engaging. It helps you convey more information about your brand.

Mixing company and product details with story material can make information more digestible. One could also use other visual content to convey product messages and other branded content. 

Making information ‘digestible’ is about picking out key messages and building a simple but relatable story that resonates with your target audience. 

3. Create Memories and Boosts Brand Recall

memorable-thing

Jaw-dropping moving visuals with thick plots would probably be more memorable than lengthy product descriptions. But what makes a film unforgettable is its story. A powerful story with a strong ending distinguishes videos from remarkable works of art. 

Authentic brand stories with a context, climax, conflict and closure create experiences – which, in turn, create vivid and lasting memories. Business-wise, this could help you boost brand recall. 

During the storyboarding process, make sure you have context, a problem, a solution to the problem as well as inspirational messages that resonate with your target audience.

4. Keep Your Viewers Excited for More

Humans have short attention spans. It might be easy to grab your viewer’s attention, but sustaining your audience takes a bit more work. 

Not only can effective stories emotionally engage your audience, but they ‘grip’ your audience and leave them wondering what happens next. 

By stimulating curiosity and leaving some questions unanswered, you can keep your viewers engaged from start to finish. This way, you will be able to convey enough information about your brand, core values as well as your products and services. 

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