With the advent of social media, consumers no longer want to be told what to buy – they want to be involved in the journey. For many businesses working to connect with their audiences, this means that every single piece of content they produce must tell a part of their story.

As Todd Phillips, Vice-President and Editorial Director of Universus, explains, “Too often businesses get caught up in their product and service, but they don’t explain it in the way that people relate to each other through stories. Consider how you are telling your story, it has to match where your customer is on their journey with your brand. If they don’t know anything about you there’s no point in diving into a deep product description – the story needs to relate to them.”

Chris Morris, Supervisor of Video Editing and Motion Graphics at Universus, agrees. “People like stories versus just hearing the facts. Having a narrative that people can relate to, that follows along their path, even a testimonial story about a problem you’ve solved for a customer is so impactful.”

In Phillips’ eyes, the best videos always tell a story. “Even a product feature can have an emotional story that can encourage discovery or curiosity. You have to think about who your target audience is exactly and what influence do you want this video to have them on them – what do you want them to do, think or feel? That feel part is important.”

He advises that the tone is also important. “If you get the tone right, you’ll be delivering the message right. What do you want your brand voice to sound like?” The use of a storyboard can be especially effective in helping businesses to align on brand voice and all of the creative elements of their story.

Morris also notes that effective techniques can include altering videos for different crowds and doing AB testing, sending out two different versions of a video to see which performs better and using Google or Facebook analytics to monitor the feedback. You’ll understand very quickly which version is resonating with your audience.

For companies that do both online and offline marketing, AB testing with Google or social media channels can be a real benefit to your entire marketing plan. It’s an inexpensive way to test different messages, and you can then base your print, event or experiential campaigns on the winning digital narrative and be confident that you are putting your best foot forward across your channels.

In this age of storytelling, how you capture your audience from the first second of your video is as crucial as the overall story you want to share with them. What’s your story look like?

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