Why Your Videos Need to Tell a Story to Maximize Their Effectiveness

Updated: Jan 4

Video of any kind is proven to keep website visitors around longer, lead to higher lead conversion, and generally improve your online image & perceived expertise.


However, not every video is made equal.

Videos that only feed your viewer information are causing you to miss out on a great opportunity. There's a way you can multiply the effectiveness of your messaging when investing in videos for your business.

How? Storytelling.

Effective storytelling - particularly in videos - is a tried-and-true way to communicate what you do, why you do it, and how it can improve your customers' lives.

In a nutshell, by taking the focus off of data and pure information and placing the focus on stories of the impact you have on your customers, your videos will be more effective.

Stories are far more powerful than data because people don't connect with data. People connect with people. Do you remember the latest presidential survey statistics? Probably not. But you probably remember (quite well) the plot of your favorite movie, right? That's because it focused on a human story, and you connected with it on an emotional level.

Don't take our word for it. This is backed up by years of scientific research that shows the chemical oxytocin - the chemical that bonds us to other people - is released whenever we watch a video or movie that tells a story about a person.

Even with a well-told story focusing on a fictional character, we produce a chemical that bonds us to others emotionally... as if they were a person we knew and we have talked to and interacted with ourselves. Crazy, right?


So why are we so obsessed with this storytelling thing? Why are we such big supporters of "story-driven video"?

 

A Tale of Two Brothers

Me and my brother Dom - we’ve come a long way from making YouTube videos in the backyard.

Nick and Dominic on a mountain after a hike.

After I graduated military school, then joined the Army National Guard, I decided to get serious about video production. Telling good stories requires planning and intention. It was time to stop messing around (but not to stop enjoying the work).


At our heart, we are filmmakers, and filmmakers love to tell stories. (After all, that’s why we got into this stuff in the first place!)


Naturally, we believe in the power of story. These days, we're are tired of seeing so many interesting organizations be sold short with uninspired, cookie-cutter video content.

We aim to change that by telling genuine, people-focused stories.

A good story is worth telling, and not only do people want to hear a good story, but they will remember and share it. That’s the power of a well-told story. To create change.


And here’s the thing: they really work.

 

The Problem


You’ve heard you need video in order to grow. 'It’s how people will find you’, or ‘you need it to do it to communicate the value of your product’.


That makes sense, but you may not be sure how effective it really is. Couldn’t you be spending the money elsewhere?


76% of users say they would share a branded video with their friends if it was entertaining.


“An impressive 57% of people who watch a video [online] for a nonprofit go on to make a donation.” -Fast Company


The amount of information you find online is overwhelming. Not having compelling video content means that you are missing on connecting with hundreds or thousands of potential donors.


But it’s not all about stats, as we've been saying.

 

The Solution: Storytelling


All successful businesses have great processes that, along with other good practices and services, lead to consistent, quality results. Think about McDonald’s, Amazon, Walmart, etc.

So am I comparing us to those powerhouse companies? In a way, yes.


We have studied and looked for a process that works--and we found it.


What works? Our storytelling development and production process.


Great videos are memorable and highly shareable not because of facts or statistics, but because the audience connects with them on an emotional level and the audience’s focus is maintained through a carefully constructed plot.


Specifically, recent studies show that story creates emotional connection on a biological level, and that it motivates people to act.

We mentioned this earlier, but will go into a bit more detail now. First, if you haven’t heard of a chemical called oxytocin, it’s the chemical produced by the brain related to trust, empathy, and relationship-building.


“...we tested if narratives shot on video, rather than face-to-face interactions, would cause the brain to make oxytocin. By taking blood draws before and after the narrative, we found that character-driven stories do consistently cause oxytocin synthesis. Further, the amount of oxytocin released by the brain predicted how much people were willing to help others; for example, donating money to a charity associated with the narrative.” -Paul J. Zak


Paul J. Zak is the founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and a professor of economics, psychology, and management at Claremont Graduate University.


This is key for you.


Basically, Humans tell stories to communicate, and we’ve evolved to change our behavior based on hearing good stories.


So, instead of doing what’s typical: show up, shoot exactly what the client asks for, and piece it together the best we can after the fact, we do things a bit differently to get better results: a focused, highly intentional approach where we focus on connecting emotionally with your audience.


We follow a principle developed by Muse: "guide the heart to move the mind".

 

A Quick Overview of the Elements of a Great Video Story


Keywords/Key Concept - the guiding light of the project, ensuring we’ve nailed down your purpose behind your organization and your video. We agree on a set of keywords or a specific theme that becomes our bible throughout the project.


The Heart - The ‘Heart’ or subject of the story, will be the emotional core. This step includes determining the Heart’s Conflict, Core Question, Journey, etc.


Storyboards - all about Places and Plot. In this step, we create an outline of the story arc and key scenes to tell the most impactful story possible.


We use this process to sort out average interview subjects from the truly exceptional ones and find the best human story to share with your audience.


Here's an example of a powerful story from one non-profit, but that's all we'll say. We'll let the video speak for itself.

You can learn all about the process and the milestones of our story journey, and our storytelling process by reaching out to us for a conversation at 480.421.8043.

 

The Bottom Line


We don’t start with the product or result you provide - we instead focus on connecting people to a real person with an emotionally engaging story that they will remember. That story leads them willingly to this conclusion - this is your result, and this is why they need it.


● Story is highly effective - always more so than the typical approach.

● We tell a story with specific intention.

● We create a connection with your audience and a long-lasting impression.

● We can’t wait to work with you!

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