I’ve been in the video business for more than three decades, and the one immutable fact I have learned is that everyone, and I mean everyone, wants to be entertained. They want to be moved. They want to feel something. The best way to do that? Storytelling.
“But wait,” I hear you cry, “we’re in the technology business and we’re selling very complex ideas and content.” Doesn’t matter. Everyone wants to be entertained.
“But wait,” others still say, “in the tech industry there are a lot of left-brained people who are more interested in analytics.” Doesn’t matter. Everyone wants to be entertained. Even engineers and developers. And here’s why.
1. Storytelling Connects People
People are people. What I mean by this is that the human condition doesn’t really change. Our cultures change, our interests change, but our basic needs and wants don’t.
That’s why Shakespeare’s plays still resonate to this day, despite the fact that they were written 400 years ago. Even though A Midsummer Night’s Dream is crammed with language that frequently doesn’t sound remotely familiar to the modern ear, the characters are still faced with the same problems and insecurities that we deal with today.
Most people want the same three things in life: we want to be safe, we want to belong, we want to matter.
If you can tap into any of those needs, you’ll make yourself and/or your product much more relatable to your audience.
And it doesn’t matter what you’re selling. You could be touting the virtues of how your new phone has a 6.1 inch LCD screen, 1792 x 828 display, dual 12 megapixel camera and optical image stabilization – and people will still be more interested if you frame it within a story that shows how using the product will increase the user’s level of safety, belonging, or mattering.
Make your audience “feel,” and when you do that, you move the needle. You’re not selling a product; you’re selling human nature.
Apple does this powerfully in this Christmas commercial by not focusing on their iPhone’s features but on the resulting human emotions stirred up by using their product.
2. Storytelling Makes Information More Memorable
Believe it or not there is such a thing as the World Memory Championships. Yep. People get together to see who has the best memory such as seeing if they can remember the order of a deck of cards after being shown them. (Just because I know you’re curious, a competitor set a world record by memorizing all 52 cards in a deck in their precise order in just under 14 seconds.)
How do these memory savants do it?
They turn everything into a story to make the imagery more memorable. They create an association that’s easier to draw up from the recesses of their brain. The more vivid, the more memorable.
Our brains are really good at visualization. We remember pictures better than words. When you create a story around a product or service, the viewer’s brain creates associations and those associations make the message “stickier.” It’s not the information, it’s how its packaged.
This Microsoft video does this well by showing the product being used in a real-world scenario. It just so happens that the real-world scenario takes place in a stunt school, providing lots of eye candy. Seeing the stunts is what grabs the viewer’s attention; seeing how the technology provided a tangible benefit to the users is the takeaway.
This method applies to any tech company. Show the product being used in an environment that captures the viewer’s attention and imagination and they’re more likely to remember it.
3. Emotions Hook Viewers Into Buying, Logic Justifies the Purchase
People are emotional creatures and that’s why relationships are so difficult. We more often than not listen to our hearts instead of our heads.
It’s the same way with sales. Science shows that 95% of our purchase decisions are made subconsciously.
You don’t want the car because it gets great gas mileage, you want the car because it makes you feel sexy and powerful! That’s the emotional hook in Rolls Royce’s commercials. The fact that the car gets 40 MPG is simply the logic – the frosting on the cake that makes you feel justified in your wise purchase. Hook with emotion, close with logic.
4. Storytelling Helps Connect to Your Audience
Strong brands have a strong connection with their audience. This is going to sound redundant, but people want to connect with those they feel a connection with.
How do you make that connection?
Become relatable. And storytelling does that exceptionally well.
You want your audience to say, “I’ve been in a situation just like that!” It’s human nature; when you relate to a person you gravitate toward them.
Have you ever heard of the books or website called Humans of New York? A photographer went around NYC taking pictures of complete strangers and then had them tell him something about themselves. In other words, he wanted to hear their stories. What happened? It exploded. It became a cultural phenomenon. People love to hear about one another’s stories.
Even if you’re selling a product that’s exceedingly technical it can still be couched in a way to make it relatable.
I’ll go back to the three human needs: if you brand your technology company as one that improves people’s feelings of safety, belonging, or mattering, you will win hearts and minds. And sales.
Rogers, a large Canadian communications company, uses this approach to great effect with this video that appeals directly to the human needs of safety and mattering.
Using Storytelling to Market Your Brand
Sales is the art of persuasion, and the most authentic and real way to persuade someone to do something is to appeal to their emotions.
People don’t always remember what you told them; they remember how you made them feel. And regardless of what you’re selling or what industry you’re in, storytelling is and will always be the most effective way to get people to feel.
When you’re ready to humanize your message and reveal the values of your brand, give us a call. At VMG Studios we can help you craft your story to reach the greatest audience by finding that delicate balance between emotion and logic, sales and entertainment. Because, again, repeat after me: Everyone wants to be entertained.
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