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Feb 10

How to Use Video for Brand Storytelling


In: Strategy Insights

We recently discussed why brands need to embrace video for storytelling. Today we’re going to discuss how it’s done. What are the integral elements of a good storytelling video? How about a great one?

Much like a great sales pitch, your story should tell potential customers who you are as a brand, why you exist, and how you can improve their lives. More importantly, it should elicit genuine human emotion and draw people in. Depending on your industry and niche, different tools can provide varying levels of efficacy.

Humor can be a very effective tool in brand storytelling and we all know how much funny videos get shared. Take the Kate Spade series, #missadventure starring Anna Kendrick. The videos feature fictional and often hilarious scenes of Anna Kendrick and her escapades around New York City. Of course, all of her accessories are Kate Spade, but they aren’t ever the focus of the story.

Sympathy is also a highly effective tool for eliciting emotion, but it isn’t the answer for every brand. When Nathanael and Christina Matanick wanted to increase awareness of the problems with the foster care system, they released this video. It’s jarring, moving, and heartbreaking. It made a difference. While sympathy is a natural choice for running a nonprofit or increasing an awareness for a cause such as KONY 2012 so notoriously did, its applications for most consumer brands are limited.

Getting people to watch and share your video without realizing it’s an advertisement is the ultimate sign of a strong video storytelling campaign.

How To Tell Your Story

The first step in understanding your story is to understand your customer base. Who are they exactly and what do they want? Think of the story that will relate to them while simultaneously asserting your brand’s place in that story.

If you’re an SaaS company, interviews with industry professionals can offer valuable market insight while providing a compelling message about the importance of your software. A look into your company’s culture, focusing on the people behind the service can foster a much stronger connection than a sales pitch full of statistics.

For B2C companies, putting the consumer in the shoes of your video’s hero is a surefire way to create that connection. Sure, a home goods company could create videos of redecorating different rooms in a house. But what’s better than a how-to video about hanging curtains? A video about hanging curtains in your first home office, and then turning that office into a nursery for the baby you now have on the way. The same curtains will be hung in the video, but the connection with your target audience, and the insertion of your brand into the timeline of their lives, will be far more lasting.

Whether you’re utilizing humor, sympathy, joy or inspiration, your video should say more about your brand than 1,000 words of copy ever could. If you can’t find a way to connect with your audience and visually display your importance in their lives, your story and your brand will inevitably get lost in the slew of disruptive advertisements that consumers constantly and instinctively tune out. There is simply no more space left in our newsfeeds for content that does anything less than compel us to share it.


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UNION is a full-service digital agency. We create experiences that help brands thrive. We believe to be relevant in today’s marketplace, brands must lead with a digital-first philosophy. We craft engaging digital experiences and integrated campaigns that are built on strategy and driven by data. At the heart of what we do is help brands create meaningful and enduring relationships with highly connected consumers.

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