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How To Craft A Story For Your Business Video

Video, video, video — the power of video in marketing continues to grow, so they say.

But reading some rehearsed lines in front of a bright background isn’t making the most of our new dawn of accessible technology. Surely not even Google enjoys that?

We should, as Colin Kaepernick tells us in the award-winning Nike video, dream big and aim high. I know everyone is always using the Nike videos as examples, but it’s because they’re amazing so bear with me as I run through some critical ingredients for a story with a punch.

Besides, when I get the courage to go running again and need some shoes, that’s where I’ll be heading to make my purchase. Emotion works.

But I don’t have a big budget like Nike, you say.

Yes but, while the visuals and music were stunning, the real power in the video is the emotional response of the story and the big message. 

You possibly won’t have a story like Colin’s, and you can’t and shouldn’t appropriate his but maybe along the way you do have a smaller ‘truth to power’ story. Or something similar.

Or maybe a philosophy, or an idea about a theme with strength.

Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find something you can uncover that will be better than that fabricated background. And a story is always better than a mere description of your products and services.

But what story? I don’t have a story

But you must.

If you’re a freelancer, there is a certain amount of rebellion against working for the man.

If you’re a creative like a poet or anyone who dwells in the intangible realms you’re probably always goaded about getting a ‘real job’.

I had it when I left my job years ago to focus on playwrighting. My boss told me that I was making a big mistake and other engineers told me the same. The next day however the commodity price of the industry I worked in plummeted, and they shed half of the projects on the floor.

Matchpoint me.

Just there is a little story, and it doesn’t have the Nike punch, but my point is if you spend a little bit of time digging you’ll come up with hundreds of ideas.

Recently I created a video script for new tech, and the scope was emotion over product. The steps I went through to create the first draft went something like this:

1. Locate Your Story In Relation To Your Customer. 

Keeping hold of your story will help but the video is about your customer more than you. You’re the torchbearer; they are the hero.

If you pick the right story to tell it will add additional magic. You’ve been there, you know how it goes and it needs to be relatable to their needs; the two stories entwine very well. Customers buy from people who understand them and if you can link your story to their situation all the better. 

It’s a subtle edge but one that gives you complete authority. With

How can you translate this into a story for your customer or lead to relate to?

2. What’s The Big Emotion?

What’s the core emotion that your ideal customer is feeling right now. Is it to do with the virus? Is it to do with isolation? Whatever it is tap into it.

And what emotion does your product or service offer?

You sell diaries; it could translate into order and greatness.

You’re a coach; the emotion may be transformation or liberation.

Nike sells shoes and sportswear, and that translates into dreams and aspirations.

My content for a client can translate to them being validated or listened to.

Hold onto this idea. You could even convert it to a question or a statement to include on the video.

3. Now Create A Theme

Now you blend your services or products with the customer emotion to create a theme. Think of it as a thesis statement or your promise to your customer — a belief that you hold about the work that you do.

Discover your true self through coaching.

Get control of your life with a swanky new diary.

Transcend your physical and societal boundaries with sportswear.

Tell your story and be discovered through content.

4. Frame The Story

Start by identifying the customer journey and then frame the story with a beginning, middle and an ending.

The beginning should be the opposite to the end to show the change that you provide to your character, lead or customer.

The trick is not to make it too on the nose.

A video for me could be the story of a new business trying to articulate themselves, which was the journey for one of my clients. Whether I’m telling the story to a screen, using actors or animation the video could be a business owner entering a new marketplace or elevating her service.

The marketplace is noisy and busy. The character could have a pitch that doesn’t go so well because she hasn’t found her story, that’s the beginning.

The middle is her searching for her story, tagline and ideal client.

The end, she gets up and delivers her pitch to a room full of businesses and triumphs.

It’s not award-winning, but there is a tremendous amount of emotion that you can pack into an everyday story, and for some of your customers that is the journey that they recognise.

It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, it’s just one marketing video, but if you use the emotion and the theme elements to frame the story, it can have the desired effect on your audience.

5. And If You’re Really Brave,

maybe marketers or branding experts would whack me over the head with a log for saying this, and big brands, who already have a strong following can use their story more effectively.

But, if you’re courageous and willing to trust to the power of your story message, you might consider withholding the actual product and leaving the emotional imprint with the viewer.

Try just dropping the sales or product pitch that we always include at the end of the video and just make it about the story you’ve created. It probably lives on your website anyway, so people know where they are and where they go.

In storytelling, whether a book or a film, the audience loves to figure things out themselves. The phrase ‘on the nose’ means that something too explicit. Curious humans like to put the pieces together themselves and maybe there’s something to being heard and not seen.

Sometimes leaving the audience to put the message together themselves will have more impact, even for us small-timers. The more powerful the story; the less you need to say. 

I hope this has given you a push to get out there and create your marketing video story, if not video itself. Technology and the latest camera is excellent, but a good, old-fashioned tale can make just as strong an impression on your audience, maybe even more. 

For your set of simple project execution templates click here.

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