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Tapping the Power of Visual Storytelling for Marketing [WEBCAST RECAP]

by Jen Cohen Crompton

Tapping the Power of Visual Storytelling for Marketing [WEBCAST RECAP] image
Tapping the Power of Visual Storytelling for Marketing [WEBCAST RECAP]

What is it about marketing and storytelling that make them a match made in heaven? It could be their shared love of the secret sauce: Emotions.

For marketers, it’s the emotions behind the content that prompts people to feel a certain way and take an action—click, share, and/or remember a message. Still, the challenge of telling effective stories lies not only in content creation, but can also be found in selecting the right medium, the right channel for distribution, and the right strategy for cutting through the clutter.

We know that today’s consumer is facing an overload of content and asking him or her to read something lengthy (or anything for that matter) greatly narrows the audience. So what can we do? We can focus on the visual.

The Power of the Visual

Visual storytelling, especially when it combines image and sound, evokes emotions, stimulates your audience, and invites them to connect, interact, and share (think about the vast audiences of YouTube channels or the cult-like following of Buzzfeed).

If you're currently trying to figure out how to grow a more engaged audience for your brand, visual storytelling could be the silver bullet…if executed successfully.

In Arestia Rosenberg’s AMA webcast, "Visual Storytelling: How Brands Use the Power of Video," which aired on June 18th, the Senior Content Producer from Hill Holiday drew on her background in motion picture and television production and development to explain how to create and use compelling video for marketing.

During the webcast, Rosenberg answered some pressing questions about integrating video into a marketing mix.

1.    Why make a video?

Video makes stories visible. It creates context around a message and evokes those deep emotions. We use video to inspire, to make people laugh, and to make our audience do something. When it comes to the data, we know that 83% of human learning is visual and 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. We also know that 40% of the top 1,000 shared Instagram videos are posted by brands. In other words, going visual expands your reach!

2.    What makes a video great?

Videos are great when they mean something. To generate that meaning, every visual story must contain these elements: Characters/people we’re emotionally invested in; a hurdle/journey/challenge; and a goal or reward/payoff. When it comes to emotion, video content should seek an instant emotional connection by tugging at the audiences’ heartstrings, making the audience ROFL or feel nostalgic, or making the audience say, “WOW!” or “WTH?” Remember also that unexpected or surprising elements can really grab attention!

3.    What should you make?

To figure out what to make, ask these two questions: "Wouldn’t it be cool if we [insert something cool]?" and "Do we have the right to [insert that cool thing here]?" Concentrate both on creating something unique (you don’t want to do something that is overplayed) and something your audience wants and will appreciate. Once you find your visual storytelling sweet spot, you're ready to move on to the next phase.

4.    How can it be made?

There are three basic ways to do this (each with its own pros and cons): 1. Hire production partners; 2. Make the video in-house; and/or 3. Curate it. The decision on which way to go, will be based on budget, time, and resources. If you have the budget, go ahead and hire a production partner. If you’re strapped for cash or tight on time, curate it by taking something that already exists and repackaging it. In other words, the answer to this question is, "It depends!"

5.    How do you measure effectiveness?

When it comes to measurement, think about what makes sense. What was the goal of the campaign/video? What does success look like for your company—is it views, subscriptions, clicks, engagement, sales, or a combination of these? Figuring out at the outset what you are trying to achieve will guide how you measure things once you've released your video into the wild.

Remember: It's All About Emotion

At the end of the day, Rosenberg stressed this notion: Emotional content is shareable content. Get the emotion and the story right, put it in motion through video, distribute and promote it on the right channels, and you will see success.

Rosenberg provided plenty of examples of what works and what doesn't in visual storytelling, so please watch the replay or download her slides.

Image Source (Creative Commons): M B.

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