On any ordinary day, how many decisions does your audience have to make? It’s the surprisingly huge number of 35,000, and in the context of content overload, how can brands expect their target consumers to make yet another decision to watch and engage with their video – and then take an action to make a purchase.
Some marketers can be in danger of regarding content as a silver bullet, whilst in reality, they are feeding editorial calendars without meeting ROI targets. But strategically planned content is critical to growing your brand. At the heart of this lies video content that elicits a reaction in your audience, whether that’s sharing, joining a community, or booking a holiday.
Read on to discover my three stage formula proven to maximise the power of video content and boost ROI.
Why Video Storytelling Works
Firstly, let’s think about why video works so effectively? To beat decision fatigue, we need to rely on the system 1 part of our brain. Put simply, our unconscious has evolved to make quick emotional decisions that will keep us alive such as who to trust, whilst the logical thinking is left to the system 2 part of our minds. Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor sums it up neatly:
“We live in a world where we are taught from the start that we are thinking creatures that feel. The truth is we are feeling creatures that think.”
It is no surprise that marketers strive to make a connection with the emotionally driven part of the brain to gain trust initially and then develop their brands. We can achieve this through emotional video storytelling.
From stories around the campfire to Hollywood movies, humans are hardwired to respond to storytelling. Indeed, it’s been shown in the science lab that watching emotional stories can actually change our behaviour; even to make us want to donate money (see Paul Zak‘s ground-breaking work). These empathetic connections become powerful when translated into brand content when we can encourage our viewers to take action.
Start With Emotion
The most compelling films begin by developing these emotional connections with viewers. In order to achieve this, we must use data-driven insights to key into their motivations at the planning stage. Importantly, these must be genuine motivators for your target consumers. My advice is to write down all the emotional drivers for the audience and then push them as far you can until you discover the one which will resonate most.
A word of caution here as emotions in a video must feel authentic making it important to target genuine drivers that will connect with your audience. Think Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner campaign vs Heineken’s World Apart; both drinks brands used a campaigning position with the emotional driver of bringing people together despite differences, but the former backfired because it lacked the brand authenticity vital to successful campaigns.
Don’t Forget The Facts
Now your film has sparked a connection with the viewer, it is time to reinforce their emotional decision with logic. The trick here is to keep to the point and only add the essential facts. A useful tip is to ask “So, what?” If the fact you want to add elicits that response, remove it from your content.
The inclusion of factual messages depends upon where you are in the sales funnel; with an awareness-raising brand film, you do not need to diminish the emotional impact with too many facts, but for content at the consideration or decision stage, you can be more detailed as your viewers are actively seeking more information.
The emotional opener has grabbed the attention of your audience, strategically chosen facts reinforce this affective decision, but the film still needs one final push to encourage your consumers to take an action. It makes sense to revisit your primary emotional message at the start of the film. In the case of a family holiday, for instance, if you have used the driver of capturing memories before your children grow up, reinforce this in your call to action.
With video content, you can also add links to encourage viewers to take the desired action, and with the advances in shoppable video, click to make a purchase.
- Follow the “Emotion – Fact – Go” formula to maximise the power of video storytelling.
- Keep messages simple, especially factual content. Ask yourself, “So, what?”
- Use market insight to ensure that content uses the most effective emotional drivers.