Good stories have the power to make us laugh, move us to tears, and evoke candid emotions.

"Stories create 'sticky' memories by attaching emotions to things that happen." A Harvard Business Review article explained.

This is the power of a strong story. When applied well, it is able to retain people's attention whether it’s in a book, a newsletter, or podcast.

When applied well, the power of a strong story can retain people's attention, whether it's in a book, a newsletter, or a podcast.

Still, we live in a time of content overload. We are constantly vying for people's attention among blog posts, emails, social posts, ads, pictures, and videos.

This is where video comes in.

Bringing stories to life and making messages more compelling - easier to retain.

No form of content is more effective for storytelling than video, and digital savvy brands are quick to understand this. "Video…remains the best performing digital content type." according to Social Media Today.

So how can you leverage the power of video + storytelling to better connect with your audiences?

By the end of this post, you'll know how to craft compelling stories and get the keys to start creating your videos.

Video storytelling: marketing in its most natural form

So what exactly is video storytelling? Video storytelling is a marketing tactic where you weave an emotionally charged story about your brand, products, or services.

When a brand does video storytelling well, it feels incredibly natural and authentic. It doesn't 'feel' like marketing.

The heart of storytelling is narrative-based content marketing to guide viewers into forging a connection with your brand.

How?

It starts off by highlighting a common pain point or challenge and ends with providing a practical solution to that pain.

Instead of focusing on the product features and the brand itself, it focuses on a story and igniting an emotional connection with the viewer.

Storytelling videos leverage the subtle art of self-promotion - by presenting brands, products, or services as a solution.

Reckon's promotional video is one example of a brand storytelling video done right.

It starts with specific pain points for its target audience. It then shows relatable situations business owners find themselves in (especially in the initial years!). Finally, it emphasizes benefits and practical solutions. All in just over a minute!

This shows that a storytelling video doesn't need to be wordy or complex to hit the right notes: short and straightforward get the desired results.

3 reasons why you should use video storytelling

We’ve already established that stories are effective. They’re memorable. Using video storytelling to promote your brand helps to make your brand unforgettable.

But that’s not it.

There are several other reasons why brands should invest in video storytelling.

Here are some of them.

To help retain the audience's attention

Did you know at least 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced every day? And 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute worldwide?

With content overload, you need to create videos that help capture and retain audience attention. This is where video storytelling comes in.

Harvard Business Review saw that 'character-driven stories do consistently cause oxytocin synthesis. Oxytocin 'is produced when we are trusted or shown kindness, and it motivates cooperation with others.'

In simpler words, weaving an emotional, character-driven tale around your product or brand captures your audience's minds and hearts.

To help the audience retain more information

If a list of facts was presented in story form, would it help you retain information more? Chances are, yes!

Stories, in general, help us retain more information. This is one of the reasons why you'll see all big brands create engaging, masterful storytelling video ads for their new product campaigns. They don't send over a list of written product features and benefits but weave them intricately in the video.

Here's an excellent example of video storytelling done right by Apple.

To humanize your brand through emotions

Lastly, it helps you connect with your audience personally, on a more human level. People dislike associating themselves with faceless corporations - you need to show them you're much more than that. Humanize your brand, and be relatable to your audience. And establish a high level of trust.

And you can do all this by appealing to their emotions. Instead of telling them their pain points and solutions, you help them visualize them through the power of visual storytelling.

7 steps for compelling video storytelling

Start off by outlining your goal for your video campaign. Be crystal clear on the results you want.

Next, understand your potential audience. What are pain points and desires? What solutions are they looking for? What emotional triggers do they respond well to?

Use surveys and other methods of data collection to identify your target audience.

Create a narrative and a script

Next, decide on the type of narrative you'd like to create in your video. Some popular storytelling narratives include…

  • Linear Narrative - this is where you tell the entire story linearly, in the order it happened.
  • Non-linear narrative - Have you ever watched videos that started with flashbacks and went to and fro between different timelines? That's non-linear narrative storytelling. It's a great way to add interest to your videos.
  • Quest narrative - In this type of narrative, your story's hero works tirelessly towards a goal.
  • Viewpoint narrative - This is where a brand shares viewpoints of different customers or employees to create an engaging, relatable story.

Once you've decided on the type of storytelling video you want to create, begin writing a script. Even a rough draft will do at this point. So you can start gathering resources, figuring out sets, and shortlisting people who'd make an appearance in your video.

Decide on the video mediums you will publish to

Instagram, Facebook, TikTok? Or perhaps YouTube? Where are you planning to post the video? Which social media audience are you targeting?

A video for TikTok will likely look quite different from a video for LinkedIn.

Therefore, understanding where you want to publish the video and why will help you decide on your video format.

Use the right equipment (camera, microphone, lighting)

Start gathering the essential equipment to shoot your video. If you're outsourcing your video, then your work's done here. But if you're planning to shoot it yourself (and save some dollars), the first thing you need to do at this point is to invest in the right equipment.

There's no need to go all out and splurge on the top-of-the-line equipment - you can shoot a pretty good video with your iPhone or Samsung camera and some natural light.

Look around you and see if there are any free sets you can work with (especially if you can use outdoor spaces or your office space). Find budget-friendly but excellent quality microphones, cameras, and lighting setups you can use.

When shopping for the right equipment, keep your budget in mind and invest in a few solid pieces that will last you a long time.

Film your video

Before you press 'record,' here are a few tips to keep in mind when you start filming your video to ensure you get the best live footage:

  • Make sure you keep the camera rolling at all times - the extra footage is going to come in handy in post-production
  • Shoot multiple times the same scene if needed - don't just shoot a scene once and get done with it. If you think it doesn't look right, reshoot it.
  • If you're using stock images or videos, or even content created independently by your customers, make sure they're high-quality and go seamlessly with the rest of your video.

Edit the video

The post-production of your video can take just as long as the filming part. This is because it's essential to put all the right 'finishing touches' to make your video even better.

A few tips to keep in mind when editing the video:

  • Keep in mind that 1 screen should be equal to 1 idea.
  • Add transitions and motion designs to add oomph to your video.
  • Add subtitles - Don't forget, 'when subtitles are included, 80% more people watch videos to completion!
  • Add a final CTA. This is where you remind your audience of your key goal for your video. Display your call-to-action clearly at the end of the video to encourage viewers to take action!

Distribute the video on all your relevant marketing channels

You've done all the hard work. The video looks excellent, and it's time to start promoting it on all your marketing channels.

Even if you've made the video primarily for YouTube, you can always repurpose its content and upload snippets of it on all your social media channels. You can still drive more and more viewers to your YouTube channel.

When posting the video on social media, choose an optimal time, add a great caption, pay attention to its thumbnail, and engage with all the comments you get on the video.

6 best practices to make your video storytelling effective

When creating a powerful, high-converting storytelling video, keep the following tips in mind, so you don't get too preoccupied with the filming, editing, or how it looks aesthetically.

Focus on the key message

Don't let other video elements such as music or visual effects overtake your key message. What is the one thing you want your viewers to take away? Are you trying to introduce your new product, convince your audience to invest in your course, or simply introduce your brand to a new audience?

Whatever your goal is, be sure to center the story around it.

Use emotional triggers

Understand what emotional triggers your audience responds well to - is it happiness, fear, sadness, or surprise? Identify this and think of elements in your video that can help you evoke them, such as music or imagery.

Other emotional triggers can include:

  • Color psychology
  • The power of the right sound effect
  • Social proof
  • Experiences

Be relatable

Remember: you're creating a product to engage a specific audience. So you need to know it better than you know your best friend. Understand their likes, wants challenges, and needs. Instead of discussing your product features and benefits, make it all about them.

Keep it short

When creating videos, make sure to keep your videos under 2 minutes. But this really depends on the goal of your video and where you plan on featuring it.

Not sure about the optimal video length for different platforms? Consult this handy video length guide.

3 great brand video storytelling examples

Now that you know how to create videos for brand storytelling, here are some excellent examples to inspire you:

Ben & Jerry’s: Company social mission video

Thought explaining your social mission to your audience would be a tedious task? Think again. Ben and Jerry's company mission video is excellently made and beautifully weaves the story behind their why.

Warby Parker: Oddcupations

If there's one brand that knows how to engage with its audience, make them laugh, and encourage them to click the Buy Now button, it's Warby Parker.

University of Waterloo: Landmine Boy

This video is an excellent example of using a personal story to drive the point home: giving everyone a chance to study and reach their goals.

Use video storytelling to connect with and convert viewers

Videos are an excellent way to engage and convert your audience. If you still haven't started investing in video content to reach your business goals, now's the best time to start. Use an easy-to-use video creation and editing tool like PlayPlay and begin creating videos ASAP!