When the word “storytelling,” comes up, many people first think of their favorite novel, a news article or a movie. Rarely does oral storytelling come to mind, a tradition that many still practice only around the confines of a campfire circle.
World Storytelling Day, an international holiday devoted to the craft founded in 1991, celebrates the tradition of oral storytelling and its rich opportunities to reminisce and help connect our past to our present. Once upon a time in the far away land of Sweden, it was called “Alla berättares dag,” or All Storytellers Day, and was later adopted by Mexico and other Latin American countries.
Brands can use this day and every day after to build off this tradition and create compelling storylines that resonate with their target audiences through the most modern medium today—video production. Our brains are built for processing visuals, which is why companies invest more resources into telling brand stories through video.
Tap into the spirit of this holiday and brush up on your storytelling skills with these important pillars for creating memorable video.
Set your goals and select your target audience
Storytelling and marketing 101 bring us back to this pivotal foundation. What do you want to achieve with the video and who do you want it to resonate with? What resolutions will your video provide to the viewer’s problems? Ensuring your business goals are being met with video should be top priority with any content, but narrowing down your objectives and who you want the video to resonate with will be your compass, guiding the direction of the project.
"The Dance of Life" is a documentary about artist Aris Demetrios created for Sansum's Ridley-Tree Cancer Center created by Lure Digital.
Create a strong narrative arc
Going back to those examples of storytelling mediums, all of the creators of the stories in books, films and magazines follow a similar progression when constructing their stories known as a narrative arc. A narrative arc is a character journey, where every story has a beginning, middle area where tension is created and built up, and an ending. Specifically, it follows this path:
Often, our favorite films take this narrative arc and turn it on its head — starting us in the rising action and teasing us with twists and turns for multiple climaxes. Grasping the basics will help you decide whether you follow a traditional arc, or opt for something different.
Review the four pillars of storytelling
As you’re developing your marketing video’s narrative arc, it’s also time to evaluate and review the four pillars of storytelling.
Plot - What story about your product or brand do you want to tell?
Purpose - What is the main goal of the story and what do you want readers to do after the story concludes?
People - Who are the characters in the story and what is their role?
Place - Where is the story supposed to take place? The location, background visuals, props and aesthetics influence the storyline. What setting do you want your story to take place in and how will this impact the plot?
Evaluate which emotions you want your audience to feel
Storytelling is also about appealing to the emotions of the viewer. Choose one emotion you want to evoke, such as happiness, hope, sadness, or outrage and convey it through elements like colors, composition, story development and background music. Some brand stories start with failure and how it shaped the creation of the brand. Some brand stories are all about creating a product that serves a higher purpose. Need some ideas? Here are a few story types to get your gears moving:
Winning story as told by Nike, a leader in the "winning story" space
Higher-purpose story as told by Apeel Sciences
Refuting shared experience story
Unrelated story with a related moral
Create a script and storyboard your video
Next, comes the writing. Every story begins with what we want to say, conveyed through voiceover, dialogue, text or a visual outline. Compile all of your ideas with a firm script, and then create a visual storyboard mapping out each shot or scene. Most likely, multiple people will be working on this video and having a comprehensive visual reference ensures the team is on the same page.
Crafting this branded documentary for Young Musicians Foundation involved scripting, storyboarding and shot listing. Our video served to showcase their modern approach to music connection while doubling as a fundraising message.
Be mindful of video length
If social media has taught us anything, it’s that our attention spans grow shorter every day. Creating an effective story via video can be challenging, but fitting it into a short period of time is even harder. As video production and social media experts, we recommend creating branding videos between :30 - :90 seconds long. However, some content requires more time to tell an effective story. Whether it’s a 10 second TikTok or 10-minute brand anthem, be sure you’re mindful of telling your story in a clear and concise way, especially if your ultimate goal is to use this video to sell your product.
Next time you are planning on sharing a story about your brand—whether it’s in honor of World Storytelling Day or not—review these tips and process to create your most compelling video yet.
Bring your questions about visual storytelling and video production to us. We’re here to help you with a free consultation to figure out the best video marketing approach in this current climate. Give us a call at 323.596.0606 or email us at email@example.com.