Strand Studios

Engagement Through Storytelling

The Filmmaking Mentality

To get the most out of video, it’s best to approach each project like a filmmaker rather than a marketer. People don’t enjoy being sold to, unless you’re a salesperson interested in the art of the sale.

Instead, it’s all about being relatable. Getting an audience on your side because the story your brand is telling, resonates with their own. When you go this route there are several perks:

1. Stand out among a sea of advertisements

Did you know that the average person sees 5000 adverts a day, they’re mostly on social media. At any given time, you’re only a couple of scrolls away from a bad advert.

Adverts so bad that they’re literally fatiguing the masses who scan them. It’s why ad blockers exist. By making content that audiences want to see, you bridge that gap. Remember the power is in the hands of the consumer.

2. Entertain and engage

Get to know what your audience enjoys watching and make similar content. It doesn’t always have to include the product or service you’re offering. Your brand can sponsor more entertaining videos that fit your brand archetype.

An interesting case study or documentary subject can pull in an audience, if you offer insights that reflect their own belief systems then they’ll likely stick around for more.

3. Build a genuine following

When you produce content that your audience wants to see, something amazing happens. They subscribe, they share content with their friends, they become genuinely interested in what your brand has to say on topics they care about.

If the content is relevant, frequent enough and offers value in some shape or form you will gradually build your audience.

4. Empower your audience

In ‘The Brand Flip’ by Marty Neumeier he uses an illustration of a brand ladder to communicate how a customer feels about a brand.

  • Satisfaction: Satisfaction is the first stage of the ladder where an audience feels confident in the brand about the kinds of content they put out.
  • Delight: On the second step of the ladder, you’ve gained an audience’s trust, they’re more likely to tell their friends about your content.
  • Engagement: On the third step there is a sense of belonging. They’re on the same wavelength as your brand and feel part of that community.
  • Empowerment: At the top of the ladder we have fulfilment, this is where an audience feels like their life wouldn’t be as good if the brand suddenly disappeared. It would leave a void which would need to be filled.

It’s a slow journey to take an audience up that ladder, but with consistent, high quality content you will see them move up.

Becoming A Storyteller

Which brand films have had the biggest impact on you? Likely something that has resonated on a deeper emotional level. What about the last brand video you shared? Becoming a better storyteller will massively improve your video content, here are some pointers:

1. Go big or go home

Consider a story arc which spans over a series of videos, have a set theme where you don’t try and sell, instead you try and offer value to your audience.

A series of videos can fit into a wider campaign, if you plan ahead you can get extra content out of these bigger projects.

An example of this is the Sakeru Gummy vs Long Sakeru Gummy adverts, a chain of Japanese adverts that went viral across the planet which were episodic in nature.

Over 2 million views on this version alone.

2. Hit them in the feels

Adverts that trigger an emotional response tend to outperform those that are purely factual. Instead of delivering a list of technical specifications of a product or service, show how that product or service will solve a problem for the audience.

3. Make use of story structures

It’s worth having a framework to build upon, we often use the AAA structure:

  • Attention: With so much content floating around your social feeds, it’s important to hook the viewers attention early on so they stop scrolling. Interesting visuals or bold dialogue can aid with this.
  • Appraisal: After setting up the narrative with the hook, you can introduce your brand if it’s not overbearing and taking away from the rest of the film. The appraisal is the pitch section of the video.
  • Affinity: In closing the video you want the audience to have related to aspects of it in a way where they see themselves within the brands story.
4. Keep it visual

There’s a time and place for dialogue but realistically if the world of video, your objective should always be to try and tell a story visually first. Videos with too much exposition or description can come off as stiff and unauthentic.

Consider how to frame and light your subject, the angle of the camera and which sound/ music would fit the narrative.

5. Don't force it

Give yourself plenty of time to write. The first draft of the script is rarely the finished article.

Collaborate, run a writer’s room where you can brainstorm ideas. Don’t be too strict on yourself when getting ideas on the page, you can always take a subtractive approach to picking out the best ones later.

6. Put the audience first

It really does sound like common sense, but you are not your audience. You really do have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to make content for them. Bias can get in the way, it’s always worth keeping this at the forefront of your mind when you’re pitching ideas, otherwise you could just be making a video that you like, and your target audience doesn’t.

7. Creative > Corporate

Video is a creative medium and videos that are creative encourage engagement. Avoid boring corporate video tropes that focus too much on the sale.

Ask yourself, is this interesting for our target audience or will it bore them?

Continue to Part 7.