Video storytelling, a powerful tool for your brand
What Is Video Storytelling?
Welcome to a fascinating discussion on the significance of commercial storytelling, a marketing method that is derived from our innate human nature to tell stories. But what makes video-based narrative so effective, and why should brands invest their time, money, and resources into producing such deep and complex narratives?
To answer this question, we must dive deep into what really makes a story, how its impact can strengthen brand identity, and, with current methods, tell them in a way that generates floods of engagement.
In today’s high-stakes digital world, most of the stories we hear about are not from books or cinema but from an almost constant flow of online content streamed through our handheld devices, targeted directly at us.
The rise of personalized video storytelling has been on the up for years, and it just keeps getting bigger and better. And now, as we see daytime TV slowly dying out, it has opened up a huge void on the internet for brands to take advantage of, and using compelling narratives is just how they’re doing it.
Youtube has its subscriptions, Instagram and TikTok have their influencers, and through these platforms, brands are inundating us with big-budget video branded content and ads that surprise us, inspire us, and of course, inform us of their services and products.
Video Storytelling Examples
Big brands tend to have big wallets, and when it comes to building a narrative-based video campaign, the amount of effort and resources stuffed into maybe less than a minute of footage is astronomical. They throw the book at it! And every now and again, we are swiped off our feet.
IKEA – 2023
This striking story from IKEA is based on using motivational language to encourage viewers to think twice about keeping their old, dated furniture to replace it with something clean and sophisticated. The choice of music genre is no mistake either.
The brand is doing its best not to leave out the generation takeover, who probably listen to rap. It also has allowed the campaign to spit whimsical lines for the audience’s enjoyment while staying socially acceptable. Well done IKEA, for creating an entertaining ad that certainly reinstates people’s affiliation with the brand!
McDonald’s – 2019
This global fast-food giant is famous for its constant delivery of knockout ad campaigns, and this story from McDonald’s is a fantastic example of how far corporate giants go at making profound and moving ads.
In this example of a McDonald’s Christmas, we are straight away impressed with the quality of animation and calming cinematic orchestra, instantly building on our affiliation with the brand.
The story unfolds as we are guided through a typical household, the United Kingdom in this case, and confronted with typical division in the home. But what unites them in this picturesque winter fantasy?
The story cuts to the young family waiting at a local Drive-through, and all of a sudden, their unconditional love is all too apparent as they share their fondness for their favorite McDonald’s products. A huge hit of fulfillment, satisfaction, and happiness. And what do all three of these feelings affiliate with? Satisfying hunger!
Apple – 1984
Climb aboard the time machine as we travel back to the 80s with this compelling story from Apple. This advert is a direct reference from George Orwell’s science fiction novel, 1984, as we are dropped straight into a dystopian dictatorship. First of all, the ’80s was an era rife with big sci-fi movies such as Blade Runner, Mad Max, and Alien, so feeding this craving was perhaps at the very center of Apple’s strategy.
Everything, including the zombie-like followers of the socialist dictatorship, takes on a gray hue, representing uniformity and control as they stare up at their leader, motionless and without feeling. Suddenly, this colorful, vibrant figure armed with a sledgehammer rips through the scene, sending the sledgehammer through the air.
As the sledgehammer strikes the towering television screen, the scene is filled with brilliant white, and we are left with a profound statement from Apple, essentially telling us that they have saved the year 1984 with their colorful new line of Macintosh computers. This mighty show of strength shows the brand is strong and will do anything to keep its customers safe while providing vibrant color to our currently stable world.
Google – 2020
Stripping things back now, let’s take a look at this heart-throbbing story from Google. It’s sometimes difficult for brands to really touch us emotionally. However, this ad from Google has blown millions of viewers away with this heart-wrenching account of a senior man reliving his life, remembering his late wife Loretta, all thanks to Google’s services.
The simple graphics and slideshow of happy memories are backed with a lone piano, keeping things as subtle as possible for us to devote all our affection to the story folding out in front of us. The strong message from Google shows how life-changing their product can be for some people, often without us even realizing its true power.
Yes, these big companies have the money and the resources to almost guarantee success. However, lucky for most of us, we don’t have the headache of trying to please an audience the size of a nation!
Quality is the aim of the game here, and what you can accomplish with the support of Freepik video, image and vector assets will give you a chance to create visual narratives that are just as gripping and just as memorable as the examples above.
Video Storytelling Technique
Stories provide us with some of the most enlightening experiences, often far more exciting than our normal day-to-day lives. No matter how a story is delivered, whether you receive it through book, television, or word of mouth, the strength of the story comes from the narrative, a timeline of events.
The most impactful stories tend to dance around the strongest of emotions, love, fear, and power. Of course, other feelings like greed, sadness, happiness, anger, guilt, surprise, suspense, and satisfaction can all be thrown into the mix. However, the strongest stories are good at delivering a direct hit on one of these emotions, leaving us overwhelmed with the experience. And it’s this tactic that may be of most use when creating short, high-impact video campaigns or commercials.
Video Storytelling Basics
So video content is on the rise, and with new gadgets and tech, we can tell stories like never before. But how do you compete with the top Youtube channels or influencers on Instagram? It takes a good story, meticulous preparation, and devotion to the project. Let’s take a wander through the necessary steps to create your very own commercial hit.
It’s all very well conceptualizing an epic story with twists, suspense, and romance. But when it comes to creating a functional commercial video, you are not trying to demonstrate your artistic self-expression like a film or music video.
This video has a commercial purpose to gain as much attention from your specific target audience as possible in a very short amount of time. In a sense, you are creating a video directly for an audience and not the other way around. Therefore, clearly identifying the social demographic and their needs is crucial and may steer the project in its intended direction.
A story that resonates with the brand
All the brands you are aware of have a mission statement or a brand identity based on certain values, giving them a humanlike identity, and these qualities should shine through the story you are telling. Such values range across:
Luckily for storytellers, these values alone can be the spark that generates a compelling story filled with human emotion and resolve. Using the Google advert as an example, you can see as plain as day the company’s drive to improve quality of life through their digital services, and they may even mean it.
The stronger the brand bonds with the story, the more likely audiences will believe in the story and invest in the brand, perhaps sticking with them for a lifetime.
The plot thickens
Creating a compelling video story means attacking it one step at a time, and the first step would be to convert your story with a beginning, a middle, and an end into a plot. The plot is simply the events that take place in the story. It is a vital step that will help break down the heavy story into simple terms for perhaps a video production team to understand.
To the uneducated, storyboarding is a method by which a story’s plot is mapped out, essentially guiding a video production team. It offers insight into the multi-dimensional landscape a story often presents to us. And with the harrowing challenge of turning a story into a visual masterpiece, it is a proven method no matter what level of video production you are at. Storyboards often take shape in a structure not too dissimilar to comics, with each frame representing a scene that follows onto the next.
Traditionally it was pencil to paper, scribbling out scenes and possibly adding in some dialect, but it is totally up to you how you create your own storyboards. This allows us to plan and direct each scene from a well-thought-out road map that everyone in your team can understand.
This is where the real magic happens. Sourcing video content has never been so easy, and there are a few avenues to go down. The easiest way to get your footage is through utilizing stock videos, and with Freepik’s brand new stock video service, you will have free-to-use footage ripe for the picking. Depending on the story you want to tell, you will have a variety of high quality footage to pick from, and with fresh content uploaded daily, original videos are within your grasp. All footage available on the site can also be edited, giving you total freedom to make it your own.
The second avenue to try is hiring content creators to do all the legwork for you. This appeals best to those who want specific content that they are in control of. Perhaps you envision using actors and a specific location. However, with all this control comes a price tag, but perhaps it is worth it!
The third avenue to go down is doing it all yourself, buying the equipment, and testing your skills to the max! This is only advised if you have the necessary skills with tested knowledge of camera equipment, audio, and production techniques. This method will give you ultimate control, but with a deadline looming, perhaps you will need some help.
You will likely need graphic elements to enhance the experience and deliver on brand identity. Such elements may include striking typography for titles. Great for pulling in audiences. Font styles will need to be used to provide viewers with vital information, and additionally, you may want to consider the option of subtitles. Use decorative elements to enhance the video further and provide functionality, such as background designs, vector designs, text boxes, and the all-important call to action.
Sound, often overlooked, can be the make or break of your project. To provide your audience with an immersive experience getting the right music or sound effects is something you should take seriously. Pick your soundtrack carefully and look out for copyright infringement.
Youtube has cracked down on the rights of audio use over the years and can even tell if you have used audio illegally, usually in the case of well-known music. Sourcing audio legally can mean using stock audio.
Free or paid for, professionally engineered sound will give you the satisfaction you are after, and with an array of various sounds, from sound effects to solo pianists, you can find pretty much anything.
On the other hand, you can go straight to the source! Why not approach a local band or music producer and get something really special to further enhance your visual narrative?
Today there is only really one method to compile all your hard work into a fully-fledged multi-sensual experience. And that’s using today’s industry-standard video editing software such as Premier Pro. It won’t take you too long to pick up the basics, such as working to the correct frame rate, learning the timeline or channels function, and the various tools and effects the software provides you.
With strong content and meticulous creative ability, your project will take shape into a truly immersive experience, pulling audiences in with captivating footage and atmospheric audio, all held in place by a gripping narrative.
The importance of storytelling goes far beyond the need to sell a service or promote a new line of products. They provide us with experiences that we learn from, share deep, binding emotions, and provide us with satisfaction and resolve.
This apex predator of visual communication, with all its complexity and intricacy, will strengthen brand identity and awareness to new heights, making that profound connection to an audience that may lead to them wanting more and more. You may be forced to make a sequel!