You probably know storytelling is an excellent way to build trust and emotionally engage with your target audience. You also probably know video is one of the most effective tools for reaching that audience these days. So it makes sense that video and storytelling would go hand-in-hand to create a powerful marketing resource for your brand. But what makes a story compelling and how can you best craft and capture it in video form?
Marketing videos rooted in storytelling are our bread and butter here at Talus Films, so here are 6 powerful tips that will help you infuse storytelling into every facet of your marketing including your videos.
We’ll begin with the hero’s journey. This is one of the most common narrative story structures and for good reason - it works. And it allows you to cast both your customer and your brand as characters within the story. You’ll recognize the format from some of your favorite movies, tv shows, and commercials:
There’s a main character who wants something but has encountered a problem which stands in the way of what they want. They meet a guide who gives them a plan to overcome the problem. They are called to action in order to follow that plan which helps them avoid failure and achieve success.
Here’s a recent story-based spec commercial - Through Her Eyes - we created for Osprey Packs. This is a great example of the hero’s journey that we’ll break down in our 6 powerful tips.
Tip 1: Select Your Hero
Everyone wants to be the hero of the story. They’re the main, exciting character after all. But this is the first place where many brands falter in their storytelling. Brands will often cast themselves as the hero. The hero is the one that saves the day, right? Not exactly. The hero is the main character, but they are the one who encounters a problem that stands in the way of what they want. Your customer is actually the hero of the story.
Your hero should represent the target audience and market you’re trying to reach with your video or marketing campaign. When you cast your customer as your hero your audience will be able to see themselves in the story as it unfolds which emotionally connects them to both the story you’re telling and your brand.
In our commercial, Through Her Eyes, we’re introduced to a pair of main characters - mom Madelaine and daughter Cora. They are our outdoor enthusiasts venturing outside together. They represent one of many common Osprey customer types.
Tip 2: Determine Your Hero’s Problem
Next up, you’ll want to pinpoint the problem that your hero has encountered. There are many different types of problems we all encounter in our lives - external, internal, philosophical. These all work together and play off of each other. And they will for your hero as well. These problems, the fears they evoke, and the greater good your hero is out to accomplish all make up this problem they need help overcoming.
In Through Her Eyes, our main characters are facing the external problem of making it easy and comfortable to go on a hike together, the internal problem of facing the challenges that come with navigating the outdoors in this new mother/daughter relationship, and the philosophical problem of making the outdoors feel like home and accessible to all people. As you can see in this piece, these problems are not all fully spoken about one by one but rather alluded to within the story telling voice over and through the visuals.
Tip 3: Introduce Your Guide
Once you’ve introduced your hero and their problem, then your brand can be introduced. The brand plays the role of the guide. It’s your product or services that will address and solve your hero’s problems. By positioning your brand as the guide, you can enter the story with empathy and understanding of the hero’s problems. And you can present yourself with authority as the one who will guide them to success.
Tip 4: Outline Your Plan For The Hero
As the guide, it becomes the brand’s job to present the hero with a plan. They might have the products or services that will eventually become the answer to the hero’s problem, but how does the hero go about accessing or using these tools? The plan the guide lays out tells them how in a clear, concise manner.
Tip 5: Call Them To Action
Once the plan has been clearly laid out and the hero knows what they’ll need to do, it’s time to take action. Humans don’t often take action on their own which is why calls to action are so important and impactful. In video, calls to action take on many different forms - sometimes obvious and other times more subtextual - but, in the end, the viewer is left inspired and ready to take their next step.
Tip 6: Show Their Success
The hero’s journey story narrative relies on transformation. The hero has a journey arc that takes them from struggle to fulfillment. When we show the success the hero has - which is a byproduct of working with the guide, heeding their call to action, and following their plan - there’s a catharsis the viewer feels as the story comes to a close.
In Through Her Eyes, Osprey is the brand who enters the story and begins to guide our main characters. Osprey’s plan comes in the form of the Poco Child Carrier backpack. This specific pack is what makes it possible for our mother and daughter to explore the outdoors comfortably with each other. It makes the outdoors accessible in a way it wasn’t before Osprey entered the story. You’ll also notice that aside from the company’s logo the name of the brand or the product is never mentioned. This is an example of showing not telling. The audience gets to watch as Osprey facilitates the engagement with the outdoors and the transformation our heroes were seeking. In the end, the audience feels emotionally connected to these two and inspired to give the Poco Child Carrier a try on their own outdoor adventures with family.
We hope these tips help you craft your next marketing campaign and infuse storytelling into your creative content. And if you’re looking for a video partner, GET STARTED telling your story with Talus Films today.
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