Are you guilty of quickly clicking the YouTube skip button when some ads show up?
However, there are sometimes I forget about actual video I was watching and simply watch till the end.
I don’t know about you, but there are some ads I just continue to watch even if they go way beyond three minutes.
These videos are not only because they are great at drawing you in.
It is because they are driven by powerful stories.
Truth be told. Digital has not killed brand video ads.
It has put the power of telling real brand stories on steroids.
According to Fast Company, there are more videos uploaded online in 30 days, than all the combined videos created by top three US TV Networks in the past 30 years. In fact, for every minute, there are about 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute on YouTube alone. Brands creating videos online need a well-thought out strategy to stay gain any share of attention online.
The recent MTN Nigeria Traditional wedding advert is one of the few that reminds us of the power of storytelling for brands. The video depicts how a groom used the power of mobile technology to fufill the wishes of his visually impaired bride on the day of the traditional wedding ceremony. It subtly tells a story of how the power of technology makes richer and beautiful.
MTN Nigeria: Traditional Wedding Day
So many brands have already started shifting their communications this way. A bit different from using outright brand awareness, sales and humour, there’s the shift to drive communications using storytelling as a vehicle for marketing. People relate more to real life stories that resonates with their lives. Advertising agencies in Asia have long been using this and in fact have created some ads that move you to the brink of tears. Some of the notable ones include Unsung Hero ads from Thai Life Insurance with over 31million views or MetLife Heart-touching Commercial, My father is a Liar. They are long and uncomfortable but the power of the stories they tell make people watch and share with others. Here is another on I love from Samsung India;
Samsung India Service – We’ll take care of you, wherever you are.
Why are they so powerful?
Because people buy based on emotions not logic
A few years ago, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio made a groundbreaking discovery, he postulated that emotions drive decision making. He had studied people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated. He found that they were normal, except for two distinct things; they were not able to feel emotions, neither could they make decisions. They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it very difficult to make even simple decisions, such as what to eat.
Douglas Van Praet, the author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and inspire) Marketing, also supports this. In the book, he opined;
“The most startling truth is we don’t even think our way to logical solutions. We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don’t hinder decisions. They constitute the foundation on which they’re made!”
The power of leveraging stories that inspires some emotions in us cannot be overstated. Like we always say. People may forget what you said, but they will hardly forget how you made them feel.
How then do can brands create powerful videos with storytelling that goes beyond the ability to string equipment and social media channels together?
1. Ground your Message in Cultural and Human Truth
A colleague quickly shared the Airtel ad when it launched.
Have you seen the Airtel Ad? it was so my mum! I simply responded by smiling.
That was the power of grounding your message in cultural and human truth. The strategic rigor of ensuring your message resonates with your target audience individually means that your message needs to be rooted in cultural and human insights.
Airtel Nigeria: Prayer Warrior
Little wonder the video won the Grand Pix at the 2018 African Cristal Awards.
Before then was another brilliant story that show he role of data plays in Life’s precious moments.
Airtel Nigeria: Life’s precious moments
Shout out to the Noah’s Ark Communications Agency team for this.
Way before you express the idea in video, you need to get close to the potential customers life, understand what inspires him, drives his decision making and influence the usage of your product then find the role of your product in his life. Bill Bernbach one of the early grandfathers of Advertising summed up the idea this way;
“Nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature… what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action… if you know these things about a man you can touch him at the core of his being.”
The quote is an oldie, but it holds firmly true.
2. Cutting through the video clutter
Emotional storytelling includes content that is funny, emotional, heartwarming, or educational, that triggers something in the brain which makes the video compelling and shareable.
However, with both customers and business owners creating video content, advertisers are seeking new ways to get content rise above the content clutter. While humor and comedy skits seem an easy direction, we already have a lot of comedy, fun and parodies that already flood our timelines. For brands willing to stand out in our visual feeds and making their content share-able, they need to rise above the laughing clutter.
Fidelity Bank: We keep our word
If you want your video content to stand out, create a story that is story-driven and creates a narrative that places a higher priority than simply selling your product. No people don’t have to cry, but the video must be meaningful and impactful to be memorable.
NESCAFE NIGERIA: This is our journey: From Pushcart Operator to Businessman
3. Tell authentic stories about brands and human relationships
Video ads that get shared and viewed the most are usually not about the products alone. The ones that resonates well tells you a lot more about the customers. In a season where consumers themselves are creators and consumers of self-made, exciting and amateur content, video content is exploding in volume and context. If you run a business and want to use video content, your ability to cut through the clutter and stand out with a video message is critical.
While the role of functional messaging might remain, the overarching promise for your brand and product communication shouldn’t be about how great your product is, it should be about how powerful customers become when they use your products. However, over the last few years, several brands have recognized the importance of building and associating brands with powerful storytelling. Providing an emotional context in marketing campaigns using authentic stories make adverts more engaging, and more impactful.
Access Bank: Going the Extra Mile for You
Peal Milk Nigeria: The Unstoppable Stories: Bose Omolayo
Panadol: Tales of Tough
The strong relationship between brands and their customers’ needs to go way beyond products. Even beyond videos, other forms of communication channels – from billboards, radios, banner ads and social media tools, the power to tell stories is on steroids. In a season of a lot of content clutter, brand communications need to become more inspirational than functional.
People interact with thousands of brands every day of our lives. Brands that want to win need to capture stories of those emotions that embodies brand-consumer relationships.
Let’s see which other brands ups the limits this way.
These are my thoughts. What’s yours?