It’s natural to want to show off your business’ accomplishments. We all long for that sense of pride. However, these types of stories are mostly self-serving. As with elevator pitches, there’s a time and a place for that.
The best video stories don't start with marketing messages, they start from something real. To find these, you’ve got to dig deep. When is the last time you took a minute to find the real stories behind all the data, stats and fluff?
After all, human-to-human connections are the heart and soul of business. That’s why people choose to work with you, and for you. That’s why you get new customers, and why you retain loyal ones. At the end of the day, revenue is a byproduct of a much grander experience. It’s important to provide a clear path for your target audience to develop a connection to your brand, and video storytelling can be one of the most valuable tools in doing just that.
If you’re unsure where to find these stories, here are a few places you can start looking.
1. A client's success story
It's difficult to go wrong with these because they speak directly to your audience. Think of your most loyal customer. Why do they love you so much? Chances are you either relieved a pain point for them or impacted their life in a very personal way. Let them share their individual journey for others to hear. Done right, you can think of these as video case studies. The important thing, however, is to let them speak from the heart. If you give them a script, it won’t feel genuine. If there’s even a hint of insincerity, your audience won’t buy it.
- Short, pointed story about a specific solution
- Overview client success story covering the results over months or years
- Specific story about how a solution went above and beyond
- Before and after story of life or business change
2. Employee story
Employees are on the front lines and often know the daily workings of your company even better than you might. These stories serve to put a face behind the hard work. Employees have a unique perspective and voice that’s rarely heard. Have someone who’s been with the company for 30 years? We want to meet him/her. As a viewer listening to that story, I’m thinking, “Wow, this company really treats its people well. It must be a great place to work!”
- A day in the life of your employees
- Culture highlight piece (what makes your employees unique?)
- Employee feature
- Personal profile or bio videos
3. Origin story
When asking business owners about how their dream came to fruition, you often hear, “It’s really not all that interesting.” To them, maybe not. They’ve condensed this story into an elevator pitch so many times that they’ve likely forgotten the early stages of that emotional journey. When in reality, businesses often come about because someone wanted to solve a problem in the market.
That type of determination takes compassion, which is something your target audience would be delighted to learn about. Or maybe the business has been in the family for years? There you have it, a great story of family tradition. Let the family pride show. Don’t be afraid to expose vulnerability with these, it’s one of the best ways to build those human-to-human connections that are essential to effective storytelling.
- Interview with your company founder
- Emotional origin story video
- Founder spotlight video
4. How far you’ve come
Similar to the origin story, these really allow people to connect with your brand, but you’ve got to be careful. Again, don’t brag. No one likes a show-off. Treat these more as the underdog story, with a “here’s how far we’ve come and why we continue to give it our all” finish. Let viewers know that you’re driven to mastery because they are in your best interest. Let them know you’re looking out for them, and they’ll be rooting for you in the end.
- Interview a long-time customer or employee about your evolution
- Highlight the changes in your industry and how your company has adapted over time
- Feature a specific product and show how it has morphed
These are really some of the most feel-good stories. People want to know that when they invest in you, they’re investing in something even greater. Maybe it’s a nonprofit or a community group that your business collaborates with? I’m willing to bet there are members of your target audience who have a personal connection with those other organizations. Whoever you partner with, let your audience know why. Partnerships are formed through trust. This will help your audience build trust in your brand, too.
- Show your team volunteering with a nonprofit or community group
- Interview members of the community group to get a variety of input on your product or service
- Collaborate with a relevant business to create interesting content
Considerations for good storytelling
Hopefully, a few great video storytelling ideas popped into your head while reading those suggestions. Now, it’s time to bring them to life.
First, identify those strong characters. They don’t have to be the bigwigs of your business. In fact, it might be wise to avoid giving the execs a microphone to prevent salesy sound bites. Remember, it’s all about connecting with your audience.
It’s also crucial to stick to a consistent theme. If you over-complicate the video, viewers will miss the key message. A great story usually begins with a conflict or something to overcome. What was the problem, and why should we care about your story? And lastly, have an ending. All stories, whether written or visual, need to have a problem, a solution, and a conclusion.
As for the production itself, there’s a lot that goes into producing quality video. If this feels over your head, you’re not alone. Before you decide to take it upon yourself, you might want to check out this blog: Amateur vs. Professional Video Production: 5 Ways to Tell the Difference. We highly recommend teaming up with a professional video production team to tell your story properly. You don’t want all of that pre-planning to go to waste.
Ultimately, when it comes to business storytelling, it's important to do your homework and uncover the most engaging and relevant diamonds that are hiding in your everyday work. By switching your focus away from your business executives and onto your customers, clients, employees, culture, and users, you can create compelling, unique, and interesting content that connects with viewers on a deeper level.