We’ve been telling stories for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Believe it or not, the visual part to the tales we tell is also prehistoric; just google those beautiful ancient cave paintings depicting events. Written language had not even developed, but one thing was (and is) clear: Stories and visuals go hand in hand – and they strikingly work at reaching and engaging audiences. It therefore easily crosses over to multimedia companies and advertisers – and we know it – it’s an immensely powerful tool. Your story can embody the spirit of your brand.
Where do the images come in you ask? The visual language is changing at paces we never knew would be possible thanks to the creation of YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Readers, consumers, and people, are constantly tuned in, switched on, and connected. It not only means that there are several platforms to spend time on, but there are a whole lot of screens we connect to, and they’re getting smaller by the minute. No longer are film, TV, or even public announcement screens the norm, but laptops, tablets and even mobile phones are even used to watch content. The point is, with more resources, there are more opportunities for media to create a deep relationship with customers. Visual storytelling helps the viewer feel like they’re reached, not attacked.
Here are the key elements that are part of convincing storytelling.
Where’s the story?
First and foremost, brand storytelling is meant to draws us in emotionally and to convey an experience. When we feel involved, we respond. This implies bringing your brand to life, and archetypal stories do just that: talking about genuine, human experiences with relatable characters. Often, storytelling involved using classic archetypes, or characters used to tell stories. We get to know heroes, or run-of-the-mill characters, and even outlaws maybe, but they’re the ones we like and cheer for.
Carl Jung, who developed the concept of archetypes, stated, “All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes….In their present form they are variants of archetypal ideas, created by consciously applying and adapting these ideas to reality. For it is the function of consciousness not only to recognize and assimilate the external world through the gateway of the senses, but to translate into visible reality the world within us.”
Here is a list of archetypes used for branding.
And speaking of heroes we like to relate to, here’s a video on our own CEO, Agu de Marco, explaining how he got Wideo into 500 Startups.
“Set out to invoke wonder”
Part of good storytelling has to do with wonder, mystery, and possibility. There is no need to “give it all away” when you tell a story, as it leaves no imagination to the viewer, which is essential when creating a connection. Here, the idea of “what could be” instead of “what is” becomes extremely more effective. You’re not just laying down facts, but invoking something different. The idea of a possible world, a new world, an imagined world that is not unattainable, but desirable. Andrew Stanton, filmmaker and brain behind the ever popular Toy Story and Wall-e, describes this well in a TED talk below.
Grab their attention
Don’t forget, storytelling is not only content; it’s also about the design! How we format our stories, their appearance, and their look are also an integral part of the whole story in content marketing. Visuals quickly enhance a narrative and add value that is pivotal to effective engagement. Without image or video, it’s like seeing a movie with the sound muted: you’re only getting half of the picture. And as mentioned before, it’s necessary to attract audiences that are so used to screens (we are a YouTube generation after all). In this case, it’s important to be creative with your brand, but also keep it authentic. Anything too confusing or elaborate will alienate your viewers and probably create mistrust in what you stand for. They must stand as something that reflects your brand, your ideals, your intentions, and often resonates much stronger when it is connected to human experience.
In short, visuals and storytelling go hand in hand, and the essence of it all is to have it originate in something authentic, sincere, and tangible. Remember, a timeless and a mighty tool goes a long way, and as viewers (and potential customers) we are always thirsty for a good story. Get creating your stories!