Why Top Brands Love Video Storytelling

Brand storytelling is an effective way to share your story, sell a product or service or even take a stand on a particular topic. Storytelling is a way to be unique. Put your story into a video and you’ve just captivated your audience.

The average attention span of a human is the same as a goldfish.

If the human attention span is so short why even bother? Here are some interesting direct stats behind the value of video content shared by the wonderful team at Buffer.

  • Video generates 3x as many monthly visitors to a website as other content
  • Visitors spend 88% more time on a website that includes video
  • Organic traffic from search engines increases by 157% with video
  • Consumers are 46% more likely to seek information about a product or service after seeing it in an online video
  • Consumers are 85% more likely to buy after watching a product video
  • Consumers have 52% more confidence in their online purchase that had a video

The numbers don’t lie. Successful brands understand the power of video storytelling and are doing it with good reason. Video storytelling creates an excellent opportunity and value for your brand.  The power of a brand message in video storytelling lies in its uniqueness.

To really move a target audience, people need to be inspired and/or see themselves within your story. Perhaps you want to create a belief system that stirs emotions, triggers behaviour and builds memories. Science supports this as behavioural neuroscience has shown that people are primarily emotional decision-makers.

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In many instances, the video is not so much about the action we wish the viewer to take but more about the emotion that triggers and drives them to take that action. If we get them to feel the emotions, we know we will have motivated them to take some form of action, whatever that might be.

The average length of a single internet video is 2.7 minutes. This varies depending on the purpose of the video and who it is geared towards.

Let’s look at Dear Kitten, a video by Friskies

This is a commercial that is coming in at 2:57 minutes.  What makes this video so powerful and effective is the emotion it creates. Whether you are a cat lover or not this commercial is likely to make you smile and laugh. The brand in this case is creating a memorable story.

Although I don’t have a cat I found myself telling friends and sharing this video on Twitter. Why would I do that? Sometimes unexpected things make us happy and trigger something in us that we weren’t expecting.

Let’s look at another video, this one by UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare did an excellent job with this creative video that speaks to dancing as being one of the ways of ending up in a complex health care system.

The point: patients get into a healthcare system that is complex but United Health Care is there to help. However complicated the claim, UnitedHealthcare promised to make the entire experience through the health care system simpler and a whole lot easier for the patient.

Through the use of funny related storytelling they are able to communicate their message far better than any text copy could.

In this video the excellent use of storytelling is creating a desired action without actually telling the viewer what they should be doing. There is no long list of benefits, it is simply a story that the viewer may or could relate to.

The reality is medical and healthcare professionals are embracing the power of social media which includes the power of video storytelling.  They understand the power of the brand message in video storytelling, the uniqueness it offers and emotional connection they make with their audience. Successful brands get it – they understand their audience and the power of video storytelling

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The point is brands need to be able to tell a story that evokes feelings and emotions. Lessons can also be learned from Andrew Stanton, the Pixar writer and director behind both Toy Story and WALL-E.

According to Andrew there are 5 golden rules to a great storytelling:

  1. Make me care
  2. Take me with you
  3. Be intentional
  4. Let me like you
  5. Delight me

Taking a little bit of advice from each of the golden rules that he applies to his movies is really not that much different from the art of brand storytelling through social media. We are not trying to get lost in the video but rather we are trying to create a human connection and bond with our audience, even if only for a brief moment or two.

In the case of the healthcare industry, as seen in the UnitedHealthcare commercial, rather than tell patients what to do (i.e. sign-up or login) they share real life examples of why someone would want to. It not only shows the benefits without actually spelling it out, it also shows them what they might be missing if they don’t act.

The takeaway is that you are putting the viewer (your ideal persona) into the story through video storytelling. When you use video to reach out to your audience the story needs to be all about them. As humans we focus on ourselves and those we know.

Let’s look at another video, this one by Always #LikeAGirl

This exemplifies how brand storytelling can create a powerful message. The intent of the Always video campaign was to draw attention to the use of the term ‘Like A Girl’. If used as an insult this term can significantly impact the confidence of adolescent girls.

The intention behind the campaign was to show the huge impact the expression “like a girl” can have on a girl’s self-confidence. More importantly, Always took a stand by declaring it was time to stop using the expression with a negative connotation. A powerful campaign was created with the effort to “move girls everywhere to keep their confidence throughout puberty and beyond”.

Why do storytelling videos have so much impact?

Brain science supports the power of storytelling and how and why people remember them. Scientist can see neuroimaging evidence that tracks actual changes in the situation described by a story.

Unlike movies where there is an “escapist experience”, the social media experience in brand video storytelling “is less about giving yourself over to something, but rather using media as a proxy for conversation in your social circles.” said Ze Frank, President of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures Video Media in a recent article.

The take away here is that when you create a video think about the action you wish your target audience to take. Is it to inspire or simply motivate the viewer to do something important in life? Is it to purchase your product or solution?  Frank’s advice is to make “sure the audience understands some minimum viable thing that will inspire them to share it.”

Regardless of the actual action you wish the viewer to take, you are creating an emotional, memorable brand experience through the power of brand video storytelling. Knowing your target audience, your ideal personas and what triggers move them to act, will help you get there.

People are changing the way they look at businesses. The buying journey is not what it once was as now approximately “70% of the purchasing decision is made before even talking to a sales rep”. Video storytelling is a very effective and a powerful way to connect with your target audience and guide them through their purchasing decision before they even reach out to you directly.

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Brains love a good story and you can see the data that proves it – videos are consistently rated as the most engaging content. They are often light yet powerful and the key is in it’s uniqueness and knowing your target audience and ideal personas.

Edited photo - Diana Diana Davies-Harju, Partner, Marketing at InnovaMap

InnovaMap is an Ottawa based content marketing firm, specializing in the health industry. Creating strategic content strategies and online sharing that connects you to your target audience.

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