Stories are what help us understand the world. Stories are at the core of who we are. And through the sharing of good stories is how we come to see a new perspective, get motivated to achieve new things, and connect to ideas and people.
There is SO much out there about the importance of story. Talking any more about the power of story here is really not worth it. If you don't believe me, check out resources like The Story of Telling,Framing the Story, or just Google "The Heroes Journey" if that isn't something you were taught in English class.
What isn't discussed as much is the power of the human story that can be accessed in short films for organizations.
Customers are barraged by polar opposites when it comes to video marketing such as strange click-bait videos ("2,000 ton snake chases puppy!") or banal infomercials that last 20 minutes long. You know better though right? You know that a catchy music track, some quick editing, and maybe some nice shots can go a long way. But even a pretty well-crafted video is still missing out on what really gives content the life necessary to make a difference.
Enter the Human Story.
In an exhaustive study of most-shared articles and content on the Internet, Wharton Business School Assistant Professor Jonah Berger discovered an amazing thing about what makes content more likely to be shared. The answer? Human emotion. Feelings.
Sam Malcolm summarized Berger's discovery nicely; "Naturally contagious content usually evokes some emotion, so rather than harping on function, we need to focus on feelings. In particular, we need to focus on high-arousal feelings such as awe, excitement, amusement, anger, and anxiety". In addition to this insight, the TED Ads Worth Spreading White Paper gives a some points in this regard:
"Visual media, like Internet video, amplifies . . . emotional responses. The effect is so profound that web giant Google consulted with anthropologists to understand and catalog our reactions. It’s all the stuff that makes the world go around: human moments, human myths, transcending our limits, transcending our prejudices, rediscovering ourselves, laughing at ourselves, and believing in our dreams.”
So lets look at a video example and talk about how the creators focused on the "human moments" in order to make a great Human Story video.
This is a real story, with a great subject. Not only is the video made with thoughtful shooting and smart editing, but it evokes some of the emotions discussed above including the following:
The filmmakers obviously cared for their subject in how they crafted the story and interacted with the subject's environment. Contrast this with a traditional ad featuring a model or actor who is following a script and trying to make a very clear point. Instead of this route, the filmmakers told a great story and the sponsor was shown at the end.
Another important point is that Pfizer's brand is directly connected to the story though never explicitly shown in the meat of the video. The brand and the story are closely related but you never hear the name "Pfizer" or see obvious Pfizer products or services being marketed, and yet the emotions and general feeling of the film are connected to the brand and the direct call to action to share your own story on GetOld.com gives you a way to share the emotion and connection experienced. Pretty powerful.
The Bottom Line
Brands are moving towards human story videos like the one shared above. The content is at the front, and the brand takes the visual backseat. This approach clears the path for viewers to connect on a deeply human level to the stories of what truly great brands can offer in products and services. Videos like these aren't for every organization, but when done correctly they can be incredibly powerful in establishing a brand's presence,image, and impact.
Here are a few more examples we enjoyed:
I am a graduate student in Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University. I enjoy writing, hiking, and spending time with my family.