Plenty of marketers are jumping on the B2B video marketing bandwagon, leading it to become just as saturated as any other type of content. While we have numerous channels to post videos – TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, brand websites, YouTube – standing out will become more of a challenge.
The content world is saturated. People see roughly 5,000 ads per day, and there are 5.3 trillion display ads online each year. On television, adults see about 2 million ads annually.
According to recent research, 85 percent of businesses used video marketing in 2020, which is a 24 percent increase over 2016. Of these businesses, 99 percent say they plan to continue.
Video isn’t enough. So, how do you separate your brand from the pack? Tell a great story.
Everyone likes a good story. Effective storytelling is why we read books, watch films, or dedicate hours each week to television series. Each culture has its own stories shared for entertainment, cultural preservation, or education.
In marketing, the art of storytelling cuts through the clutter to provide a resonant message to the audience.
We’re inundated with marketing messages in all mediums. Audiences may tune out the noise, but the story helps your brand breakthrough.
Storytelling should be part of your content marketing strategy, no matter what that content is. Stories help you resonate with your audience by stringing marketing and brand messages together in a way that evokes an emotional response in your audience.
Stories Evoke Emotion
When you connect on this level, the viewers retain what they learn, and it can compel them to make decisions that benefit your brand. In addition, they forge an emotional bond with the story and storyteller, making the core message more memorable.
This isn’t a new idea. Organizational psychologist Peg Neuhauser discovered that learning that stems from a compelling story is remembered more accurately and for a more extended period, than dry facts and figures. This idea is supported by cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner’s research, which suggests that facts are 20 times more likely to be remembered as part of a story.
Stories Encourage Retelling
Many of the stories we hear today have been passed down, interpreted, embellished, and reimagined from centuries or millennia ago. However, the best stories stick, and the audience wants to retell them.
This is a natural, human response. If you can tap into that, you can make magic happen for your brand. Marketing spend on a shared story is $0, and your advocates are giving your brand a better and more authentic reach.
Stories Prompt Action
Regardless of the themes, compelling stories have a purpose. The key messages are strung together in a specific order to impact the audience. The stories end with a specific and direct call-to-action, which ties into the key messaging and prompt them to take the desired action.
Stories move people – it’s up to you to move them toward your brand.
How to Use Storytelling in Your Video Marketing
Whether it’s a novelist spinning their latest bestseller or a marketer trying to generate brand interest, the core principles of storytelling are the same. Successful stories focus on themes, elicit emotion, and make sense of complex information.
An exceptional story can communicate the character and values of a brand in a matter of minutes, and video storytelling can be incredibly persuasive.
Think that storytelling is only for B2C brands? Even B2B brands benefit from an indirect, storytelling approach with B2B video marketing.
Think of a brand like General Electric. The marketing isn’t a dry focus on technology with features most of us have never heard of – it’s about the real-world value it provides.
The ad “Building a World That Works “focused on what General Electric builds. However, it is not the nuts and bolts of it all, but a montage of how its technology creates a healthier and more connected world and how it touches us all.
Stories can make us laugh, learn, or cry. Here’s how you can leverage that in your own B2B video marketing strategy.
Focus on the Big Picture
B2B organizations are drifting from boring product videos toward telling the stories we care about.
Is Under Armour selling athletic apparel and accessories, or inspiration? The chance to be a champion or even the underdog that has to fight the odds?
Remember that the story isn’t about you as a brand, however. Instead, it’s about what your brand can do for others. Sure, business is about making money, but that’s not the primary goal – you’re in it to solve a customer’s problem.
Think about why your company exists and how you can sell that. For example, do you sell personal care products or a chance for women to feel beautiful? Are you selling a shirt or a sentimental gift for a best friend?
Find the “why” behind your brand and make that the focus of your messaging.
This is also highly effective at the top of the funnel since inspiring messages attract people to your brand. In addition, consumers seek brands that have distinct personality traits, just like people, and you want to ensure your stories showcase those traits.
Bring Emotion into It
We’ve already covered the value of emotion in storytelling, but it’s also clear that the types of videos that get attention have heart. Almost every brand uses emotions in its messaging, even the unexpected ones.
Google is a technology company with internet-related services. But with innovative storytelling, Google tapped into the emotion of the pandemic and how our online behavior shifted as we envisioned going back to normal, pre-pandemic life – all using Google’s own platforms.
An airline ticket is just a buy-in to a mode of transportation unless it’s a family connecting across the world, a group of friends reuniting, or the joy of the first-ever flight.
Emotions compel action, and emotional ads are nearly twice as effective as those with purely logical content. This approach to video storytelling is emotional marketing, which uses emotion to capture the audience’s attention and prompt people to remember, share, and buy.
The emotions can be different – sometimes, the message is motivated by happiness, anger, nostalgia, fear, or sadness.
Some emotions are more effective than others, however. According to research from Hubspot:
- Happiness brings more sharing
- Sadness prompts empathy and connection
- Surprise and fear cause yearning for what’s comfortable
- Anger or passion fuel stubbornness and virality
You have plenty to choose from. Before you start, get a clear vision of what emotion you want to convey, then craft your story around it.
Tips for Using Storytelling in Marketing
Use Humor to Engage with Your Audience
Humor is commonplace in marketing, but less so in the B2B space. You may think your brand needs to be formal, but remember that you’re still talking to actual people. Making them laugh creates a positive, memorable association with your brand.
Not all humor needs to push limits – you can be funny in an approachable, unoffensive way. For example, Lucidchart, a software platform for chart and diagram collaboration, included humor from internet pop culture to showcase their chart software.
Naturally, the “secret sauce” of tapping into the right message and emotion is challenging, or else everyone would have it down. So you have to get creative.
Yet another Google example, the “Parisian Love” video, was one of the most creative and moving campaigns the brand ever released. Using only Google searches set to music, the video tells a sweet love story.
Show — Don’t Tell
What makes the “Parisian Love” ad so effective? It’s not just about the emotion. The visuals and sounds convey a message that compels viewers to stick around for the conclusion and leaves something to the imagination. They become invested in the story.
Instead of blatantly showing your product or service, think about how you can use angles, audio, colors, and other elements to get the point across.
Master the Art of Storytelling
No matter its form, storytelling is powerful and unites people. Used in B2B video marketing, storytelling can attract people to your brand, elicit a strong emotional response, and build brand loyalty.
Image Credit: Pexels; Thank you