What is video storytelling and how can it help your brand? 

In this article we’ll talk about what is video storytelling and show how to create a storytelling strategy in 4 steps!

Marketing Team
Video Marketing What is video storytelling and how can it help your brand? 

Table of Contents

Video storytelling is a marketing strategy that uses the video format to tell stories and establish a connection with customers (both potential and acquired) through them. In turn, this connection can result in a conversion (such as filling out a contact form to enjoy a product demo), in a purchase, or in a spontaneous action of confirmation and support (for example, a positive review or participation in a discussion on a social channel).

Through video storytelling, an organization aims to connect with its target audience and create valuable relationships by increasing its brand awareness through a shared narrative. A video can be an extremely powerful marketing tool, however, it must be built in such a way that it taps into the imagery and experience of the viewers it’s aimed at. Only by tuning into the emotions of its customers can the video activate particular responses in them. And these responses, which are first and foremost emotional, if properly governed, can then be leveraged to give meaning and depth to the brand experience, foster identification between target audience and brand, guide audiences along their path to purchase a product or service, and lead to long-term engagement. 

a short guide on explainer videos

Remembering a story to remember the brand 

First and foremost, at the very heart of marketing activities is the attempt, enacted through the mobilization of resources and expertise, to remember the brand (ideally both the brand and its products), to derive an exclusive space where it stands out over the competition.

Now, by virtue of a mechanism that is as much biological as cultural (the debate is still open), a person is much more likely to remember something (an event, a phenomenon, a topic, a “moral lesson,” but also a product or service) if it is embedded within a narrative.

And if a story is memorable, then it can be used as a point of contact between the world of the brand and the world of the customer. It can represent the beginning of a relationship that, if carefully and consistently managed, is bound to grow stronger and stronger over time.

In marketing, remembering a story never means having arrived at the completion of a communication process, but being able to administer the small capital of attention and interest shown by the recipient. It’s a starting point, then, from which to advance the relationship between those who tell the story and those who listen to it. Even better: between those who show the story and who watch it.  

Video storytelling: an immersive experience in support of marketing  

The link between emotion and (video) storytelling has long been investigated. Video storytelling uses different expressive resources—moving images, sound, voice over, overlay text—that contribute to the translation of something ideal, i.e. emotions, into a perceived and recognizable reality. At the same time, at its best, video storytelling conveys information about products and services in the simplest, most effective and immediate way. In this sense, video storytelling is much more than the typical promotional or sales pitch: it’s able to capture the viewer and hold him or her for longer, because it diverts his or her (typically limited) attention from an exclusively verbal plane to a set of stimuli and signs, for an immersive sensory experience that is inevitably more engaging.

Businesses have been exploiting the physiological predisposition of humans to be captivated by visual stories for years, and video has been used for decades to center a range of strategic marketing objectives: from communicating the quality of a product or service more effectively, to building and promoting brand identity, to initiating and consolidating conversation with its leads or customers. 

Marketing uses the potential embedded in video storytelling to make companies’ strategies more effective. Through video storytelling, brands can channel the emotions of viewers-consumers and simultaneously, after equipping them with a more comprehensive, multifaceted, and in-depth knowledge, use this emotional charge to propel them to action.

The increasing focus on finding the most effective ways to create video storytelling has contributed greatly to the incredible rise of video, now considered the preferred content format for both businesses and consumers. 

Let’s take a look at some data to get an idea of the crucial role that video plays within today’s marketing strategies.

Video marketing: Data to put it in context 

Globally for several years now, videos have been firmly at the top of the list of most effective content. They continue to be considered an important tactic by content marketers, who use them to produce greater engagement and to increase shares on social channels. (Source: The State of Content Marketing 2022 published by Semrush). According to CXL, the number of users watching an average of 16 hours of online video per week has grown 52% in the past 2 years. 

For the vast majority of marketers, video produces better ROI results than other types of content. This is the case for 52% of marketers surveyed by HubSpot and for 73% of B2B companies contacted by Tubular Insights.

Also according to Hubspot, video positively impacts the lead generation process (83% of marketers surveyed said so). According to Brightcove, video generates a 157% increase in organic traffic.

If we shift the focus to the consumer, the statistics reveal the extraordinary ability of videos to inform, convince, and engage: 

  • To learn about a product or service, 66% of people would prefer to watch a short video, compared with 18% who would choose to read an article, consult a website, or read a text post. (Elite Content Marketer) 
  • According to LearnHub, videos generate more shares and “likes” than total shares generated by images and text content. 

It’s the development of video storytelling – within a video storytelling strategy – that has enabled marketers and companies to achieve these results.

How to create a video storytelling strategy: the 4 main steps  

A video storytelling strategy encompasses all decisions related to the storytelling process. It begins with an analysis of the communication need and the target audience, and it ends with an evaluation of the story’s performance. While there is no single, immutable form of video storytelling strategy, some structural steps cannot be missed.

1. What is the goal? 

What actions should the target audience complete after viewing the video? And what exactly does the company want to get out of each piece of content? Open a communication channel; inform, promote, and market a new product or service; grow engagement on digital and social channels; increase brand awareness; tell a founding “myth.” There are numerous purposes and they must be established only after careful analysis of specific business communication needs.

2. Who are the recipients?  

The construction and updating of personas is still a widely used technique, which is developed from a series of full-scale surveys and then focuses on the personal characteristics that are more likely than others to fit potential consumers (gender, age, place of origin, and so on). These are not only demographics but also “qualitative” aspects involving preferences, purchasing patterns, media consumption, and broader cultural consumption. 

3. What characteristics must the story have to connect with viewers?   

We live in an era of information overload in which marketing and advertising messages struggle to carve out a space of visibility in the daily news flow. Brands, to be perceived as relevant, must produce content that is useful to the viewers to whom they are directed. Videos that are truly meaningful in quality and opportunity and can “justify” the time the user will decide to spend watching them. In recent years, marketers have increasingly diversified their video offerings, and today, companies can count on many different types of videos, each created to fulfill a specific communicative function. In this post, we identify three that have become strategically important over time. 

  • Explainer videos explain often complicated concepts, processes, and problems (e.g., using a product or service) by breaking them down into easier-to-understand ideas. Video explainers are able to give concrete answers to real needs. They convey even very complex messages clearly and fluently. They do not aim to sell but to inform and educate. Among explainer videos, product videos deserve further discussion. This is content that shows the use of a product within one or more contexts of use and concretely demonstrates its advantages. In this case, the description of product features has no value in itself; rather, it’s functional in highlighting the product’s ability to solve specific customer problems. 
  • Corporate videos are communication and promotion tools that companies can use to help customers understand and remember the brand, its activities, and products or services. Corporate videos are also used to present and reinforce the visual identity and reputation of a company or institution. They can show how an organization operates in its various processes and departments: human resources, infrastructure, logistics, production, and so on. They are also used to help define and communicate a company’s position in the marketplace: its mission, values, goals, and history. 
  • Social media videos are made to be posted on social networks. They’re short, aimed at a small, select audience (current viewers and those it wishes to connect with), optimized for mobile viewing, and adapted to the platform that will host them and aim to trigger reactions such as shares, comments, and likes. Social media videos are designed to quickly and engagingly tell a single story: focus on a circumscribed topic or precise event, without demanding a degree of depth that is ill matched by the limited time available. Content taps directly into the interests of the viewers it addresses and is synchronized to their habits. A social media video has one major goal: to create engagement. 

4. Did the video work?  

Digital marketing today enables companies to track an exorbitant amount of data that, once cleaned and categorized, can be analyzed with a degree of granularity and depth that was previously unthinkable. Video storytelling can also benefit from video marketing analytics by carefully choosing which metrics to pay attention to: reach, demographics, engagement, conversion, retention. Video analytics are a valuable resource for companies because they give marketing and sales teams a comprehensive view of how leads and customers interact with video. The information that comes from video analytics activity can be used to improve video writing. 

The future of video storytelling: data-driven narratives that help consumers tell their stories  

The forms in which video storytelling can express itself have multiplied at the same time as the types of videos have multiplied, because the communication goals are different. In addition, now more than ever, customers have high expectations and are drawn toward brands that can offer them distinctive shopping experiences. The contemporary consumer is then, in essence, omnichannel. Video storytelling will then have to adapt more and more to the distribution methods envisaged on the different channels, developing ad hoc versions for each of them. The 

new technologies, such as video automation tools, can take charge of format adaptation activities, monitor video performance across all channels manned by the brand, track the evolution of the customer journey over time, and generally offer tremendous support to simplify otherwise lengthy, complex, costly processes.

Video storytelling takes advantage of the benefits of digital transformation to evolve to tell more deeply that new experiential dimension, which is now the norm, in which the virtual gradually integrates with the physical. It is data storytelling, in which the brand-narrator is empowered with the new digital resources for creating the stories in which consumers and customers act. The use of information that comes from data (structured data, such as in the case of a CRM management system, and unstructured data, such as monitoring online conversations) is used to make the viewer-consumer the absolute protagonist: video storytelling becomes personalized.

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